The Living Symbol In and Out of the Consulting Room - Maria Chiaia, Naomi Lowinsky, Richard Stein, Bryan Wittine, Suzanne Wagner
Saturday and Sunday, October 10 & 11, 2009
9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Reserve for this event at San Francisco Jung Institute"Symbols act as transformers"
- C.G. Jung (CW Vol. 5: 232)
Living symbols are messages from the depths of our being to our conscious "I", messages that reveal mysterious things about ourselves and our lives. Psychotherapists across traditions have found that symbolic images open the way to the creative possibilities of the unconscious. We discover these images through free association, dreams, fantasies, creative productions, and within the relational field between analyst and analysand. They evoke fascination, awe, fear, joy, upset, disorientation, but are inevitably transformative when we approach them with respect and attend to them in a contemplative way.
In this conference five Jungian analysts with different approaches will speak to their experience of living, transforming symbols in their lives and clinical work. What does the living symbol look like in clinical practice and in life? How does the symbol enter our psyche, and what does it do once it becomes known? What are the spiritual implications of symbols? Through lectures that include theory, art, poetry, and clinical material, the speakers will offer their unique perspectives on the ways symbols guide processes of growth in and out of the consulting room.
The Word Made Flesh - Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
It is as if the poet could still sense, beneath the words of contemporary speech and in the images that crowd in upon his imagination, the ghostly presence of bygone spiritual worlds, and possessed the capacity to make them come alive again. As Gerhart Hauptmann says: "Poetry is the art of letting the primordial word resound through the common word." - Jung, (CW 5 p. 303)
Our medium, in analysis, is language: the spoken word. Like poets we seek the "primordial word." We are engaged in the Promethean art of bringing life, fire, libido back to our analysand's word: so the word is made flesh; the symbol comes to life; the God is renewed.
When a person stumbles into analysis, she is typically split off from the surge of her libido, cut off from the meaning of her words, severed from her authenticity and from her Gods. She is incarcerated in taboos and constrictions that block her feeling, steal her breath, smother her fire.
If the analysis goes well she will find her way back, through the circumambulations and meanderings of the analytic conversation, to her own primordial word. She and her analyst will create a private language, a personal Tarot deck of living symbols, born of their shared wanderings in her internal landscape: her Gods and demons, dreams, memories, wounds, and longings. This is the stuff of her soul. Together they come to know what moves her, what excites her, how her words become flesh. Perhaps she will find a creative form in which to manifest the power of her personal symbols.
I propose to tell the story of such an analysis, the one I know best – my own – and to reflect on how language and poetry expresses the living symbol: the word made flesh. A series of poems about my analytic experience will structure the talk.
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, PhD, is an analyst member of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and a widely published poet. Her book on creativity, The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way, has just been published by Fisher King Press. She has published a collection of poems about the analytic experience, crimes of the dreamer. She is the poetry editor of Psychological Perspectives, teaches writing classes in many settings, and is in private practice in Berkeley.