Sunday, August 29, 2010

Facing Multiplicity

That was the theme of the 18th Congress of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, which ended Friday in Montreal. (Full disclosure--I attended as a volunteer.) The event attracted close to 700 people, including two of the best known living Jungians, James Hillman and Jean Shinoda Bolen. Both have written many books--Jean Bolen is best known for Gods in Everyman and Goddesses in Everywoman, while Hillman has addressed issues of psychotherapy, vocation and others.

The conference got off to a rollicking start with some local analysts appearing in costumes celebrating their heritage. Yvon Riviere and Guy Corneau were especially handsome as 18th century French cavaliers, dressed in lace and satin.

Attendees were invited to a special lecture on Jung's recently published Red Book by the editor, Sonu Shamdasani, and to a performance of the Jung-White Letters by four analysts. The Red Book is an exploration of Jung's own unconscious process during the period when he was suffering from something close to a breakdown, and is adorned with well-crafted pictures of some of the characters he encountered in the underworld. The Jung-White letters were exchanged between Jung and Father Victor White, an English Dominican priest in the 1940s and 1950s. The performance was well-received and offered an interesting insight into this sometimes volatile relationship.


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