Two towering figures thread their way through this book: St Teresa of Avila, the sixteenth century Spanish Carmelite saint, writer and reformer and C. G. Jung, the founder of modern depth psychology. Through sharing fifteen key papers, chapters and talks written over nearly twenty-five years, the author draws on their writings to focus on, and explore, the interface and relationship between the Christian mystical tradition and Jungian, depth psychology.
Jung saw the human psyche as “by nature religious” and made this insight a principal focus of his explorations. In this regard, the book aims to explore an essentially depth approach to spirituality and numinosity relevant for todays’ largely post-religious situation. Jungian depth psychology, with all its own richness, can serve as an essential psychological foundation for, and bridge to, the Christian mystical tradition.
Over the past 1500 years, the Christian tradition of theologia mystica, or mystical theology, has flourished in particular communities and individuals with great transformative beauty, vitality and strength – like a mysterious, hidden river of Love overflowing into society, such as in sixteenth century Spain. Key to understanding the transmission of this tradition down the centuries has been the sixth century writings known as the Dionysian Corpus, written by Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite. These writings have evolved over more than 1000 years of interpretation and translation, being closely identified with the tradition of theologia mystica.
The author looks forward with enthusiasm, hope and optimism to renewed, creative and invigorated approaches to understanding the nature of our inner life that characterize the essential writings of St Teresa of Avila and C.G. Jung. St Teresa of Avila’s writings assure us our life journey can be graced by divine presence – describing various stages of transformation of the soul, in God’s Love, in her classic book on prayer, the Interior Castle. Living symbols were a major preoccupation in the life and writings of C.G. Jung, where he explored the psychological foundation of religion, particularly the Christian tradition – what he termed the path of individuation.
The author believes, under different guises, we are in the midst of another flowering of theologia mystica in our own secular time. The unprecedented spiritual longing and emergency of our own times is fuelling a strong need for the depth psychological tradition of Jungian psychology and the ancient tradition of theologia mystica to become more widely known, understood, practiced and lived. There is a wider evolutionary shift happening in our times – in the diamond heart of individuals, groups, nations and the global community. Something new and unprecedented is being born in our world today – we are not only in a new time, but a new era.
“Julienne McLean, in The Diamond Heart: Jungian Psychology and the Christian Mystical Tradition, has accomplished a remarkable task. She articulates the heart of Christian contemplative and mystical experience in a manner possible only to one who is, herself, a devoted practitioner of that tradition—bringing it into dialogue with depth psychology, which is uniquely able to attest to the importance of such traditions for individual and collective well-being in the twenty-first century. In this collection of essays, depth psychology achieves its potential to articulate the threshold at which human psychological experience implies and invites participation in what is divinely transcendent. While focusing on Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle, McLean’s narrative veritably dances in affectionate familiarity with exemplars of spiritual practice from across time and space, including Pseudo-Dionysius, Gregory Palamas, and John of the Cross. Analysts, therapists, and spiritual directors whose work often takes place at the psychological-spiritual threshold will recognize the sagacity of McLean’s treatment. For others, this book might be their first experience of how depth psychology and genuine spirituality can complement and mutually illuminate each other, and how stimulating of personal reflection and insight the conversation between them can be.”
–Robert Isaac Skidmore, PhD, MDiv, Orthodox Priest, Professor in School of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Southern Oregon University. Author of Edge of the Abyss: The Usefulness of Antichrist Terminology in the Era of Donald Trump
“In this remarkable new collection of essays we can see, once again, the impact of St Teresa’s writings, as strong and vibrant today as they were 500 years ago. Julienne McLean, whom I have had the privilege to know this past quarter century, approaches St Teresa’s mystical texts from her own training, and practice, of Jungian depth psychology. She has been a Jungian analyst, supervisor and teacher at the Association of Jungian Analysts in London for many years. She brings her deep knowledge of the healing of the psyche to these mystical texts, recognizing what she describes as ‘the unprecedented spiritual longing and emergency of our own times.’
“Julienne takes the ‘bull by the horns’ and presents the fusion of the Jungian path with the transcendent mysteries in a refreshingly unembarrassed fashion. She states that one of the consequences of the deep spiritual hunger of our generation is to foster ‘an overwhelming need for the depth dimension of the Christian tradition.’ Those looking for this depth dimension need look no further, they will find it in this set of priceless essays–indeed, a ‘diamond of great price.’”
–Professor Peter Tyler, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality, St Mary’s University, London
Table of Contents
Jungian Psychology and the
Christian Mystical Tradition
- Walking Towards Jerusalem – Tribute to Dr Gerhard Adler
- Opening the Heart, Approaching the Numinous
- Jung and the Christian Way
- C. G. Jung and Prayer
- St Teresa of Avila and Depth Psychology
- St Teresa of Avila and Self Knowledge
- God Enters through our Wounds
- Symbols of Transformation in Christian Spirituality
- Edges of Wisdom, Compassion and Living Waters
Reflections on the Christian
- Introduction to the Christian Mystical Tradition
- The Threefold Way
- The Third Spiritual Alphabet, Guide of St Teresa: A Learning Hidden Deep in the Heart
- The Third Spiritual Alphabet, Guide of St Teresa: Exploring the Path of Recollection
- Introducing the Mystical Text “The Interior Castle”
- Mystical Theology and the Renewal of Contemplative Spiritual Practice