The topic of our Sat., April 14th meeting speaks to what many of us long for in today's world: Creating human community. We may wonder about the forces at play that divide us, cause us to devalue the "other," and what, if anything, can be done to promote healing in our fragmented, polarized world which is gaining unsettling momentum.
Jung and early pioneering analytical psychologists recognized that fairy tales (along with myths) were stories that developed around archetypal themes, portraying the unlearned behavior and wisdom of the human species. Fairy tales were recognized as being the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes. As such, they provide useful symbols with whose help unconscious contents can be brought to our awareness for understanding and integration. A close look at fairy tales provides us with a way of talking about the forces (both dark and light) in our lives that maybe inherently feared and thereby too often avoided in our collective and individual lives.
In a letter to Bill W. in 1961, concerning the problem of alcoholism, spirituality, and the early days of AA, C.G. Jung wrote: "I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community."
Recently the Pope was quoted in an opinion editorial (David Brooks, "How Would Jesus Drive," New York Times), as using the phrase, "artisans of the common good" to describe those who practice an everyday way of life that is guided by acts of kindness and consideration for others. While this may be seen as idiotic or naïve by those cynical and jaded, it could be argued that such "small acts" are in fact the heroic weaving of the wholeness of everyday life.
We will look at a few fairy tales from both east and west, as well as discuss examples from current culture, such as the most recent movie from Guillermo del Toro, "The Shape of Water," to observe how we can participate in creating "protective walls of community" and the possibility of "real religious insight." We can then perhaps have moments when we are able to disarm or depotentiate the evil or "dark principle" in ourselves, our communities, and this world.
Mara-Lea is a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst who has a Bloomington based private practice which includes a fairy tale study group. CIFOJ Board members have described her presentations as "relaxed and very engaging." And when it comes to fairy tales, Mara-Lea has been recognized as a "grand master" at guiding others through these archetypal domains. We hope you can come to hear this wonderful presentation on Creating Human Community.