Monday, March 15, 2010

“The Muse is both the anima and the Self.”

Patricia Damery, a writer and a member of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, reviewed The Sister From Below in the Winter 2010 issue of Jung Journal (Patricia Damery’s articles on shamanism and alchemy and her poetry have appeared in professional journals.)

“…The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way, maps a creative person’s developing relationship to the psyche through active imagination and dialogue with inner figures and ghosts. Marbled with details of what is also a remarkable life, Naomi’s story leads us through a series of conversations with muses, beginning with Our Lady of Florence….The muse is both the anima and the Self—at once, psychopomp and feminine core of the psyche.

Damery points out that the cover painting (Phases of the Moon, by Bianca Daalder-van Iersel) is an image that also carries the theme of the book. “In Florence at certain times of the day, the Ponte Vecchio is two bridges: the bridge itself and the one reflected in the water.” She quotes from The Sister from Below,

There is the flesh and blood bridge, full of tourists, which you’ve just walked over, looking at rubies and pearls. There is the other, deeper bridge, insubstantial, with its reflected arches and yellow painted shops in the dark waters of the river. They touch each other, these two bridges, reflect on each other, can’t be without each other, and yet are inhabitants, like you and I, of different realms. Your lost Lydia is like the bridge, dreaming of itself in green waters. It is because of her, that every time you come to Florence, poetry flows. For it is not just the Lady herself, but the longing for the lady, out of which poetry is made. (38–39)

“Experienced at once, these two bridges form a mandala. To know wholeness we must access with both realities, often through suffering.”

Damery continues, “The book is also smart, steeped in mythology, literature, and history. The Shoah, in which most of Naomi’s extended family perished, is ever present. There are the other muses too: Sappho and her erotic poetry; Helena, the Root Vegetable, first met in a dream; ancient Naomi of the Book of Ruth and of Canaan, where the goddess was still worshipped; and last but not least, a male muse, John, a poet Naomi loved in her youth.”

“Through Naomi’s sensitivity…we learn how one woman has lived and created in the watery realms of synchronicity and of dreams. It is memoir of her soul. It also reflects the transformative power of the creative process that can heal not only the wounds of personal self, but also, through the honoring of mystery, that which ‘appears to us when we close our eyes and look into our own darkness—the place where gods and humans meet’, those of a culture that has become overly rational and linear.”

The Sister From Below reviewed in the NAAP News

Lynn Somerstein, reviewed The Sister From Below in the Winter 2010 Issue of the NAAP News.

Lynn Somerstein writes, “I read voraciously; sometimes finding sisters, brothers, lovers, parents, selves inside the pages of books. My deepest of all of these leaped and raced with me in The Sister From Below….

"Chapter seven- Old Mother India blowing minds away, wearing a sapphire blue sari. Lowinsky writes,


Old mother

Which one of us swallowed the other?

“And I feel again birthing the baby who became my son and not knowing if I was birthing or borning, if I was I or if I was my mother, and this is the territory, the “terrorstory” the muse stalks, the birthing ground, where your cells snort and breathe….”

And Chapter 9, titled ‘Helena is a root vegetable.’ A Pan-like creature visits, says, Everything is alive. Even the stone you sit on. Even the dead leaves. Even the dead are alive in me. There is no death. Climb on my back. I will carry you. I am the secret of what green does in the darkness, of what rain does, and the wind.

Lowinsky is a Jungian feminist writer artist analyst. Fearless and incandescent; this is her ground- and ours. Come visit.”

Visit indeed!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Earth Day Conference with Naomi Lowinsky

FIsher King Press authors Naomi Ruth Lowinsky and Patricia Damery will be presenting at the following conference:

Listening to Earth / Listening to Psyche:
Old and New Pathways to Healing Our Relationship to the Earth

Saturday April 17, 2010 9:30 am - 5 pm
Cost: $125
CE Credit: $15 CE Hours: 6
Approved for MD, PhD, MFT, LCSW, RN
Location: Unitarian Church 1187 Franklin St SF 94109
Reserve for this event with the San Francisco C.G. Jung Institute.

Because the Mountain is My Companion: 
Poetry of the Natural World
Presented by: Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

Poetry's roots are shamanic. There are poets of the natural world who return us to a realm in which earth, stone, tree are alive, luminous with divinity, a realm in which animals are our companions, our gods, our teachers. So are mountains.

There are poems which can alter our consciousness—opening our senses to the experience of the sacred, and to the wildness within us.

Dr. Lowinsky will read some poems that evoke these deep, essential experiences of the "unus mundus"—feeling part of everything that is—some of her own and some by poets she loves: Wendell Berry, Patiann Rogers and Gary Snyder.

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, PhD, is an analyst member of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. She is the recent recipient of the Obama Millennium Poetry Prize, awarded for "Madelyn Dunham, Passing On." Her most recent publication, The Sister From Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way has recently been published by Fisher King Press. She has had poetry published in many literary magazines and anthologies in addition to her two poetry collections, red clay is talking and crimes of the dreamer.

Invoking the Divine in Psyche and Matter: 
Analytical Psychology and Biodynamic Agriculture
Presented by: Patricia Damery

"We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future," Thomas Berry asserted. "We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension. But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation."

Carl Jung approached the human psyche through invocation and active imagination, an approach similar to that of Rudolf Steiner's to the earth through Biodynamic agriculture. Both men were deeply influenced by the scientific work and poetry of Wolfgang von Goethe. In this talk some of Goethe's basic principles necessary for the kind of consciousness which apprehends these "dynamic forces needed to create the future," will be presented, a consciousness that is at the heart of participatory science, and an experience of transcendence. Examples from analytical practice and farming will be cited and the biodynamic ritual of "stirring" described, which is at once a "setting of intention" and a prayer. Through this consciousness we are distinct and we are at one with creation, an individuating experience.

Growing up in small Midwestern farming community, presenter Patricia Damery witnessed the demise of the family farm through the aggressive forces of agribusiness, and, like most of her generation, left. Coming full circle, she returned to the land and farming when she married her husband Donald and joined him on his ranch. Her work with the psyche and the earth emphasizes feminine-based practice.

Patricia Damery, MA, is an analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and practices in Napa. With her husband Donald, she has also farmed biodynamically for ten years. Her forthcoming book Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation is to be published by Fisher King Press in the spring 2010. Her articles and poetry have appeared in the San Francisco Library Journal; Jung Journal; Psychological Perspectives, and Biodynamics: Working for Social Change Through Agriculture.
Also presenting at this event will be:

Jerome Bernstein on: Explorations of Borderland Consciousness

Johnson Dennison on: Balancing Navajo (Diné) Ceremonies with Western Medicine: Introducing Nature and the Spirit of the Holy People

Maria Ellen Chiaia on: Gaia Speaks and the Gods Enter