Author Archive

Carl Jung and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

St Niklaus Tree

By Tony Woolfson, Ph.D.

Click here to Register for Jung and the World Religions Around two hundred years ago there lived a Hungarian Hasidic Rabbi called Rabbi Eizik. He lived in a place called Kallo and one evening just before the Sabbath two young Hasids happened to arrive in town and as was the custom they sought out the hospitality of Rabbi Eizik of Kallo about whom they had heard so much. Already tales were being told of his miracles throughout Hungary, and the visiting Hasidim greatly anticipated spending the Sabbath in his company. Soon everyone had gathered together to celebrate the Sabbath, and all waited in anticipation of the sign given by the Rabbi to bring in the Sabbath and welcome the Sabbath Queen, the Shekhinah. But the Rabbi did not stir. He sat perfectly still and although all eyes were upon him he was obviously in deep concentration. The visiting Hasidim were very surprised at this because no one ever delayed bringing in the Sabbath past eighteen minutes exactly before sundown, and all knew of the rush at the end to prepare a table fit for the Sabbath Queen! Tree ImageAll at once there was a knock at the door, and a young couple entered. The young man was dressed in white, as was worn in Safed where it is told that the Holy Ari, Isaac Luria, and his disciples donned white robes before going out into the fields to greet the Sabbath. The young woman, also dressed in white, was quite beautiful, comely with very dark eyes, her head covered with a white scarf. The Rabbi rose, at the same time signalling for the Sabbath to begin. The Hasidim began singing the traditional song of welcome to the Sabbath bride. The Rabbi welcomed his guests and treated them with every respect and kindness, paying just as much attention to the woman as to the man. This was already too much for the rather traditional Hasidim, but they were guests and could neither do nor say anything. After the meal the rabbi of Kallo rose and said: “This couple has come here to be wed this day. And I have agreed to marry them.” Now these words were shocking to the Hasidim because Jewish religious law forbids marrying on the Sabbath. And so the young Hasidim began reading Psalms to themselves, to protect them from the proposed desecration of the Sabbath. At that moment the rabbi turned to the Hasidim and said, “Of course, the consent of everyone present is necessary, if the wedding is to be performed. Please tell us if we have your consent.” Tree of LifeAnd there was almost a pleading tone in his voice. Now it is one thing to witness a desecration of the law, but another thing to agree to it. As the young Hasidim did not dare refuse the rabbi to his face, they instead looked down and continued reciting Psalms, and a great fear was in their hearts. At last, when they raised their eyes, they saw that the couple were gone. The Rabbi of Kallo was slumped in his chair. After a long silence the Rabbi said: “Do you know who they were?” The young Hasidim shook their heads. And the Rabbi said: “He was the Messiah, she was the Shekhinah, the Sabbath Queen. Throughout many long years of exile they have sought each other, and at last they were together, and they wanted to be wed. As everyone knows, on the day of their wedding our exile will come to an end. But that is only possible if everyone consents. Unfortunately, it seems you could not, and the wedding did not take place.” A lot of Jewish tradition and Jewish mystical tradition can be found in this story. Another story concerns a man called Carl Jung who early in the year 1944 had a wondrous vision of the Shekhinah, or Malkhuth as she is known in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Sefirotic Tree. Tree Image 2The Tree of Life is a symbol that we pray will always live for us, despite human efforts to cut and burn, to despoil, to profiteer from this sacred symbol of life and death. As you view these images which show the Tree of Life in various shapes and sizes, you might wonder why it is of such major symbolic importance to both the Jewish Mystical Tradition and C. G. Jung. To learn more about the influence that the Jewish Mystical Tradition had on Carl Jung from presenter Dr. Tony Woolfson please register for the Asheville Jung Center’s 5 seminar series on Jung and the World Religions.

Into the Heart of the Feminine

An Archetypal Journey to Renew Strength, Love, and Creativity

Into the Heart of the FeminineMassamilla and Bud Harris have just released an incredible new book through.  Massimilla recently led her lecture and workshop titled “Facing the Death Mother.” The response for this event was great, and we are pleased to announce that a recording of the lecture is now available for you to watch. In their new book, Into the Heart of the Feminine: An Archetypal Journey to Renew Strength, Love, and Creativity, Jungian analysts and authors Massimilla and Bud Harris dynamically weave their own personal and professional experiences in the form of rich and compelling stories, providing a down-to-earth book available to a wide audience. A Book for Women…and for Men Imagine within each of us, there is a deep, powerful source for living lives of love, creativity, and fulfillment. To imagine this foundation for life and the energy it produces is to imagine ourselves and our world filled with the influence of the archetypal feminine – her passionate creativity, love, and ageless knowing. Personally and culturally, this force – which lives at the heart of our lives – has been diminished and wounded until it seems to have retreated beyond the horizon, in a world filled with rationalism and an anxious search for the material “good life.” This is a powerfully moving book that goes beyond gender roles into the soul of the archetypal feminine, exploring how it has been damaged and traumatized, and finding out how this condition affects all of us. Into the Heart of the Feminine was published by Daphne Publications. Massimilla Harris, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst with a practice in Asheville, North Carolina for the past 25 years. She holds a doctorate in Psychology and is a graduate of the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She is also an author, teacher, award-winning quilter, and certified Solisten Provider. Developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, Solisten is a special kind of music therapy that, along with Jungian analysis, enables Dr. Harris to help people bring mind and body together to release their full potentials. Bud Harris, Ph.D., originally became a businessman and successfully owned his own business before returning to school to become a psychotherapist. After earning his Ph.D. in psychology and practicing as a psychotherapist and psychologist, he experienced the call to further his growth and become a Jungian analyst. He then moved to Zürich, Switzerland where he trained for over five years and graduated from the C. G. Jung Institute. He is the author of ten books, lectures widely, and practices as a Jungian analyst in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Harris is also a Chiron author and his book The Fire and the Rose: The Wedding of Spirituality and Sexuality is another outstanding read.

Original Religious Experience

We are early into our Zürich seminar series with Dr. Murray Stein leading a discussion on religion and Jungian psychology. We so far have had 2 marvelous presentations by Dr. Stein looking in depth behind the archetypal experiences within religion. In the first seminar Dr. Stein describes the difference between an “original religious experience” and a religious experience that has been contained in the constructs of doctrine, dogma, and other elements in our organizations that while they might water down the experience, perhaps makes them “safer” for the individual experiencing them. Watch this brief video where Dr. Stein touches on this concept. We are interested in your thoughts on this as well. Does modern religion somehow discourage an “original religious experience?” Are people who have such experiences outside of clear religious constructs at times labeled psychotic or delusional? Is there a need to try to reconnect to these experiences? May it at times be dangerous to so do? We look forward to your comments…

Click here for more information on the Jung and the World Religions 5 Course series with Murray Stein

Dying into Life

By Bud Harris Ph.D. and Massimilla Harris Ph.D. “Does our essence live on after death?” was a compelling question asked during the Asheville Jung Center’s webinar on “Re-visioning the Dead, Alive in the Afterlife” with Jungian analysts, Murray Stein and John Hill. “Is there an afterlife?” and “How should we face death?” are questions that touch some of the deepest fears and longings in our heart. At some level we all wonder what is this dream we call life, where is it going and does it matter? Jung thought that facing these questions was key to our quest for wholeness when in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (p. 302) he states, “A man should be able to say he has done his best to form a conception of life after death, or to create some image of it—even if he must confess his failure. Not to have done so is a vital loss. For the question that is posed to him is the age-old heritage of humanity: an archetype, rich in secret life, which seeks to add itself to our own individual life in order to make it whole.” Jung goes on to say: “Reason sets the boundaries far too narrowly for us, and would have us accept only the known – and that too with limitations – and live in a known framework, just as if we were sure how far life actually extends.” Click Her for More Information on Re-Visioning the Dead