Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way is a collection that includes and illuminates the inner life. When Soul appeared to C.G. Jung and demanded he change his life, he opened himself to the powerful forces of the unconscious. He recorded his inner journey, his conversations with figures that appeared to him in vision and in dream in The Red Book. Although it would be years before The Red Book was published, much of what we now know as Jungian psychology began in those pages, when Jung allowed the irrational to assault him. That was a century ago. How do those of us who dedicate ourselves to Jung's psychology as analysts, teachers, writers respond to Soul's demands in our own lives? If we believe, with Jung, in "the reality of the psyche," how does that shape us? The articles in Marked By Fire portray direct experiences of the unconscious; they tell life stories about the fiery process of becoming ourselves. Contributors to this edition of the Fisher King Review include: Jerome Bernstein, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, Jacqueline Gerson, Jean Kirsch, Chie Lee, Karlyn Ward, Henry Abramovitch, Sharon Heath, Dennis Patrick Slatterly, Robert Romanyshyn, Patricia Damery, and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky.
NAOMI RUTH LOWINSKY was born in California to Jewish parents who emigrated from Europe to escape persecution. Her childhood was spent in many landscapes: North Carolina, Italy, New York, New Jersey, back to California. She studied literature at the University of California at Berkeley and now writes poetry and prose, teaches psychology and creativity, and practices Jungian analysis. She is a member analyst of the San Francisco Jung Institute, where she teaches in the training program as well as in the public programs. She is Poetry and Fiction Editor for Psychological Perspectives, a magazine published by the Los Angeles Jung Institute, and reviews poetry for The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal. Her book, The Motherline: Every Woman's Journey to Find Her Female Roots, was published by Putnam in 1992. Her first poetry collection, red clay is talking, was published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2000. A chapbook, a maze, was published by Modest Proposal in 2004. Her most recent collection is crimes of the dreamer, published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2005.
Redefining age-old concepts of masculinity, Jungian analysts Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette make the argument that mature masculinity is not abusive or domineering, but generative, creative, and empowering of the self and others. Moore and Gillette clearly define the four mature male archetypes that stand out through myth and literature across history: the king (the energy of just and creative ordering), the warrior (the energy of aggressive but nonviolent action), the magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the lover (the energy that connects one to others and the world), as well as the four immature patterns that interfere with masculine potential (divine child, oedipal child, trickster and hero). King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is an exploratory journey that will help men and women reimagine and deepen their understanding of the masculine psyche.
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky offers us a superbly detailed investigation of the powerful, mythic forces of the world as they are revealed to the active creative self. Don't miss this enlightening and fascinating book. —David St. John, Author of 'Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems' and 'Prism.’
Naomi's poetry and prose is infused with the suffering and joys of humans everywhere. Insightful and deeply moving, she brings us the food and water of life. —Joan Chodorow, Author of 'Dance Therapy and Depth Psychology', editor of 'C.G. Jung on Active Imagination.’
A passionate love letter to those who yearn to be heard. A must read for every woman who longs to write poetry. —Maureen Murdock, Author of The Heroine's Journey and Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory.
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky reinterprets mythic and historical reality in provocative versions of the stories of Eurydice, Helen, Ruth, Naomi, and Sappho. The voice of The Sister from Below argues, cajoles, prods, explains, and yes, loves her human counterpart, and becomes the inspiration for Lowinsky's stunning poetry in this highly original book. —Betty de Shong Meador, Author of Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart and Princess, Priestess, Poet.
Who is She, this Sister from Below? She's certainly not about the ordinary business of life: work, shopping, making dinner. She speaks from other realms. If you'll allow, She'll whisper in your ear, lead your thoughts astray, fill you with strange yearnings, get you hot and bothered, send you off on some wild goose chase of a daydream, eat up hours of your time. She's a siren, a seductress, a shapeshifter . . . Why listen to such a troublemaker? Because She is essential to the creative process: She holds the keys to the doors of our imaginations and deeper life the evolution of Soul.
The Sister emerges out of reverie, dream, a fleeting memory, a difficult emotion--she is the moment of inspiration--the muse. Naomi Ruth Lowinsky writes of nine manifestations in which the muse visits her, stirring up creative ferment, filling her with ghosts, mysteries, erotic teachings, the old religion--bringing forth her voice as a poet. Among these forms of the muse are the "Sister from Below," the inner poet who has spoken for the soul since language began. The muse also appears as the ghost of a grandmother Naomi never met, who died in the Shoah--a grandmother with 'unfinished business.' She visits in the form of Old Mother India, whose culture Naomi visited as a young woman. She cracks open her Western mind, flooding her with many gods and goddesses. She appears as Sappho, the great lyric poet of the ancient world, who engages her in a lovely midlife fantasy. She comes as "Die ur Naomi," an old woman from the biblical story for which Naomi was named, who insists on telling Her version of the Book of Ruth. And in the end, surprisingly, the muse appears in the form of a man, a long dead poet whom Naomi loved in her youth.
The Sister from Below is a personal story, yet universal, of giving up a creative calling because of life's obligations, and being called back to it in later life. This Fisher King Press publication describes the intricate patterns of a rich inner life; it is a traveler's memoir, with outer journeys to Italy, India and a Neolithic cave in Bulgaria, and inward journeys to biblical Canaan and Sappho's Greece; it is filled with mythic experience, a poet's story told. The Sister conveys the lived experience of the creative life, a life in which active imagination--the Jungian technique of engaging with inner figures--is an essential practice.
The Sister speaks to all those who want to cultivate an unlived promise, those on a spiritual path, those who are filled with the urgency of poems that have to be written, paintings that must be painted, journeys that yearn to be taken...
So begins the confrontation with her life. When Angela’s mother cuts her visit short when Angela’s brother Jimmy calls, saying that the family farm must be sold, Angela withdraws, weaving fervently as she tries to hold all of the pieces together. Then, to her shock, she discovers that Jake is having an affair. It is only when the men she has trusted all her life fail her through death and betrayal, that she begins to discern the pattern of her own life.
Through flashbacks, Angela contrasts her childhood on a small Midwestern farm, with her current life. Angela was the middle child with her older brother and a younger sister, Dorothy. Her childhood was safe, predictable, and, she thinks, happy, as she would have described her marriage. She met Jake in California when they were both graduate students in marine biology. After an accident on a student research trip to study sea snakes, she decided not to continue in marine biology, learned to weave, and married Jake.
When Angela walks in on Jake embracing a student, she has to face that her marriage is not the ideal relationship she had thought. She asks Jake to move out. Her mother sickens with the flu and then pneumonia, and Angela returns to the Midwest to care for her, becoming profoundly aware of the impact of moving away so many years before. She also realizes that what she always experienced as betrayal by her father was, in fact, two way, a necessary act of separation, and, following a mythological snake story theme throughout the book, of creation.
Angela returns to California understanding that she must reenter the garden she has avoided after seeing snakes mating in it years before. Only now is Angela able to consciously accept the cycles of life, sloughing off what is old so that life may continue. She decides to plant the garden. Angela and Jake discuss where they go from here. As Angela completes planting the garden, she sits alone, finishing the weaving she has been working on over the last months. For the first time, she is able to let go of the weaving. Angela’s father, so omnipresent in her life, takes his rightful place as one of the ancestors. In being able to relinquish the past, she is able at last to feel the Spirit of Place of that earth upon which she lives, often depicted by a serpent, and to arrive.
The title of the book, Snakes, reflects real life stories and the mythologies underlying them. The novel is studded with these stories, which also provide a frame for the larger story. Each chapter begins with a quote, usually from a snake manual, often presenting the reader with facts which are the fertile ground from which mythologies grew. The snake as life force prevails in the end as Angela’s relationship to the serpent moves from terror to acceptance of the energy of the Great Primordial Boa.
One of the author’s first teachers in the non-ordinary world view is Don, an analyst who also studied with a Navaho medicine man. On a ten-day trip to the Southwest with Don and other analyst candidates, she experiences disincarnate forces and beings. Her sense of reality expands. She joins a group studying the overlap of shamanism and analytical psychology, and continues to have experiences that demand another kind of attention.
To make sense of it all, the author consults with her personal analyst and then with a spiritual teacher/psychic. Her analyst sees everything in personal and psychological terms, while her consultant Don has the shaman’s sense of a larger reality. Even he, however, is only human, as she learns when his wisdom fails her in the face of a shocking event. During a sweat lodge ceremony, the author sees a skeleton sitting next to a man who is murdered the following day. She grapples with a sense of responsibility for not telling anyone of her vision; Don, in pain himself over this loss, is unable to help her. He also fails to support her when she confronts a “higher up” in the Jungian community about his behavior toward a student in the study group. The author realizes that as important as her analyst and Don have been, she needs a spiritual teacher to guide her.
Conventional matters become ever more troublesome. Her crisis culminates when, after a long drive through a rainstorm, she fails a crucial step of the certification process. The construction of the foundation of their new home is also halted by the massive rains. A tornado touches down on the property, doing little physical damage but disrupting the energy of the ranch on various levels. Does this mean another path is demanding her attention, one not embraced by such institutions? Within months Don dies of a sudden heart attack. Finally Damery consults the spiritual teacher Norma T. for a nine month intensive, unconventional training.
Meanwhile, seasons on the ranch come and go. When a vineyard on a second property shows signs of distress, the winemaker threatens to refuse the fruit as it appears to be failing to ripen. The author and her husband adopt an unusual approach to solving the problem. Through the ministrations of yet another spiritual adept, this one very much grounded in the earth, the crop is saved and the author is initiated into the ways Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamics. A new era of farming begins, one based on spiritual stewardship of the land. A new worker arrives, Natalio, who tends the plants and the ranch, bringing Mexican folk wisdom and lore.
Other crises are afoot, however. The author and her husband accept an offer on the second ranch upon which the original grapes were not ripening and a grape contract dispute ensues. The timing of this difficulty corresponds with the author’s second appearance before the certifying board. Using her new skill of balancing the worlds of matter and spirit, she navigates these challenges successfully. During the same week she is officially certified, a settlement is reached with the winemaker. The author’s insight and intuition develop and integrate as another year on the ranch begins. The land and all the beings who inhabit it are thriving.