Individuation, the central concept of Jung’s psychology, is the foundational image and aspiration of Jungian psychoanalysis – and life. It is the theme of many a fairy tale, the sought-for treasure of a quest, and the “juice” that makes symbols compelling. Individuation has an innate developmental arc and a psychological trajectory that allows us to bring conscious intention to our own individuation process. However, vital transformational events are not simply occurrences ego alone can command; they are ultimately mysterious. They arise independently from the unconscious and what Jung termed the Self, the center, circumference and true center of the personality. In this episode Joseph, Lisa and Deb circumambulate and amplify the concept of individuation and images of the Self.
Here’s the dream we discuss:
“In the beginning of the dream, it’s morning. I’m waiting for my father in the house where I grew up. We are about to drive halfway across the country to look at graduate schools. It is nearing afternoon and we still haven’t left the house. I know from previous experience that it takes more than a full day of driving to reach our destination, which leaves me feeling anxious. Now my parents and I are in the car heading down the highway. From the backseat, where I used to sit, I’m looking outside. We reach an empty stretch of road surrounded on either side by farmland. The sky is overcast- halfway between rain and sunset; I notice a few geese flying across the road from the left of my line of vision in a small V-shaped formation. Once they have reached the other side they circle back, flying in the opposite direction; they have doubled in numbers and form a more unified chevron. I am standing in a field with my girlfriend. We are watching the dark shapes of the geese bobbing in the dusk. Suddenly they start to glow, one by one as if each is carrying on their bodies a neon orb, similar to a brake light. I look down in the mud by my shoes and see a broken red light, one that could fit on a bike; I tell my girlfriend that the cracked object must have come from the geese. She agrees with me, which I find very reassuring.”
Photo by Lisa Marchiano