In Friday night’s lecture, we will encounter what Jung called, in his later years, "the incalculable paradoxes of love." Our single word "love" fails to adequately capture and express the powerful, often contradictory feelings that drive behavior and animate one’s soul. We will turn to the three Greek words for love (eros, philia, and agape) and explore the psychological distinctions they express. We will look at both the inter-personal and intra-psychic dynamics of love, as well as its light and dark sides. Finally, we will address the healing and wounding nature of this greatest of paradoxes.
Saturday’s workshop will be a continuation of the lecture themes of love, exploring more deeply, through discussion and exercises, our personal experiences and reflections upon them.
PITTMAN McGEHEE, M.Div., D.Div., studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1969, formerly serving as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston. He is currently a Diplomate Jungian Analyst and the director of the Institute for the Advancement of Psychology and Spirituality, as well as the Carolyn Fay adjunct lecturer in Analytical Psychology at the University of Houston. He is widely known as a lecturer and educator in the field of psychology and religion, as well as a published poet and essayist
The Incalculable Paradoxes of Love
Dr. Nash has taken much delight in this image of the Shekinah, the feminine presence of God in Judaism, known as the Divine Presence (literally “indwelling”), that accompanied the joyous recognition of the power of the feminine principle. Such joy however was popularly accompanied by a naïve glorification of “her,” which twisted the dark side of the feminine into light, overlooking and casting out the realities of evil and the difficult path that leads to transformation through the hard work of integrating the shadow. In accord with Jung, the ancient Kabbalists painted a far more varied and intricate portrait of the feminine aspect of God, both light and dark – a spectrum of potencies ranging from creation to destruction, from loving sexual union to demonic possession.
Although focusing on the feminine aspects, Dr. Nash will keep faith with the Kabbalists by showing their masculine counterparts, for the feminine and masculine aspects should not be split apart; splitting being the original sin in Kabbalah. The healing power of bringing about a loving union between the sexes and facing the evil that exists in Creation and in our own shadows (carefully so as not to be caught up in them), redeems the darkness in Creation, which emerges as an ongoing dialogue with God in which humanity plays its important part. Through a focus on the forces of unsentimental spiritual/sexual love and its inherent dangers, the seminar will draw parallels to Jung’s concepts of individuation, ego-Self dialogue, animus and anima, spirit/matter unity and ultimately the coniunctio. The Friday night lecture will illustrate the Sephirot Tree, sometimes called the Tree of Life, and the myths surrounding it, while the Saturday seminar will be a continuation of these stories interspersed with our own daily-nightly lives, including accounts of dreams and whatever manifestations of the unconscious the participants deem appropriate.
NOMI KLUGER NASH, Ph.D., has been a Jungian psychologist since 1979, after careers in other fields of theatre and politics, finally fulfilling her promise to herself made at the age of 16 to be an analytical psychologist “when I grow up” … which growing up process is still in the making. She divides her times between her two homes in Michigan and Jerusalem where she writes and teaches and has a small private practice.
The Feminine Principle in the Kabbalah: Shades of Darkness and Light