The Selkie swims ashore at night, sheds her seal skin, hides it, and delights in her human form. In Celtic lore, she is the wild feminine soul, a creature of land and sea, innocent and beautiful, who cannot thrive in domesticity.
The archetype of Initiation is primordial, and its force shapes our transformative transitions. For Jung, this change reshapes spiritual, emotional, intellectual, behavioral, and social dynamics.
Informed by his anthropological studies, Jung understood the necessity of formal ceremonies, accentuating their role in facilitating separation from parental influences and integration into the adult community. These rites fulfilled archetypal developmental demands to mark a clear break from childhood and foster a deeper connection with the adult community, often through physical and symbolic rites. On a cultural level, these ceremonies helped contain unconscious forces that made collaborative culture possible.
In 1959, the Barbie doll hit the market and created a stir. American mothers objected to her sensuous form, so Mattel marketed it directly to children, a tactic never used before, and it worked. The maternal archetype of Hera, sentinel of the social order, goddess of childbirth, and protectress of the home, was supplanted. Aphrodite, the captivating goddess exuding an aura of beauty, desirability, and persuasive allure, had arrived.
“Loss of soul amounts to a tearing loose of part of one’s nature; it is the disappearance and emancipation of a complex, which thereupon becomes a tyrannical usurper of consciousness, oppressing the whole man. It throws him off course and drives him to actions whose blind one-sidedness inevitably leads to self-destruction.”
CG Jung CW6, para 384
Elderhood can be a time to shed the roles assigned to us. Menopause can be welcomed as a rite of passage with the Hag silently waiting for us to see her. If we have learned how to recognize her, renewal and reclaiming is possible. The stories of those who have gone before us carry a strange beauty that can stir a memory in our soul and set us on the path.
With high spirits, we three revisit our first meeting and reflect on the discovery of kinship between us. Our experiences of trust, reciprocity, and shared hardship marked by endless conversations and abundant laughter forged our bond during analytic training. Yet it reflects more than our shared life; friendship is archetypal.
Imposter syndrome constellates the gut-wrenching fear of being exposed as a fraud no matter how much we have learned or the successes we have demonstrated. In 1978 two researchers identified and explored a painful phenomenon among some high-achieving women. Despite their high levels of success, they were convinced they were not as competent, intelligent, or skilled as others might think. Instead of identifying with their capabilities, they often attributed their success to luck, personal persuasion, or an unanticipated burst of energy. Further research revealed this struggle was equally distributed among men and women.
The uses and abuses of ChatGBT artificial intelligence language model have taken the collective imagination by storm. Apocalyptic predictions of the singularity, when technology becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, frighten us as we imagine a future where human intelligence is irrelevant. Prof. Michael Littman joins us to contextualize the advancement of artificial intelligence and debunk the paranoid rhetoric littering the public discourse.