Ann Belford Ulanov is a Jungian analyst practicing in New York City, Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor Emerita of Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary, and author of many books, including Knots and Their Untying, Madness & Creativity, The Unshuttered Heart, Spiritual Aspects of Clinical Work, The Wizards’ Gate, and Cinderella and Her Sisters: The Envied and the Envying.
Ulanov’s insights unfold in conversation with themes in Jung’s Red Book which, according to Jung, present the most important experiences of his life, themes he explicated in his subsequent theories. In words and paintings Jung displays his psychic encounters from1913–1928, describing them as inner images that “burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me.”
Responding to some of Jung’s more fantastic encounters as he illustrated them, Ulanov suggests that our problems and compulsions may show us the path our creativity should take. With Jung she asserts that the multiplicities within and around us are, paradoxically, pieces of a greater whole that can provide healing and unity as, in her words, “every part of us and of our world gets a seat at the table.” Taken from Ulanov’s addresses at the 2012 Fay Lectures in Analytical Psychology, Madness and Creativity stands as a carefully crafted presentation, with many clinical examples of human courage and fulfillment.
Seated in her nest of ashes, Cinderella embodies human misery. The essence of inner and outer nobility, she is the envy of her cruel stepmother and her ugly sisters. Using this familiar story, Ann and Barry Ulanov explore the psychological and theological aspects of envy and goodness. In their interpretation of the tale, they move back and forth between internal and external issues – from how feminine and masculine parts of persons fit or do not fit together to how individuals conduct their lives with those of the same and opposite sexes, how they conflict, compete, or join harmoniously.
“The Cinderella tale, so simple and so profound, offers a direct road into and through the thickets of envying and being envied. Envy between sisters, between mothers and daughters, between the sexes, between nations . . . between different parts of our own psyche, even of God – these are the multiple places of wounding we touch in this book. The central role of envy in determining the very nature of our society – its politics, for example – is, we think, crucial.”
After considering this rarely discussed human emotion, the authors focus on the nature of goodness as it surfaces in the envy experience. They reflect on its abundance, ability to unite disparate parts, its abiding presence, and its joy, then conclude with a glossary of terms and a brief review of the psychological literature on envy.
The spiritual power of the Feminine shines forth in this psychological study of four Old Testament heroines from Jesus’ family tree. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba are the only women mentioned by name in the Gospels’ genealogies and, for Ann Belford Ulanov, this indicates that they impart something essential to the lineage of Christ. By exploring their brave and unconventional lives, she demonstrates how salvation enters the world in the feminine mode of being human, through these women’s embodiment of such powerful and deeply feminine qualities as ingenuity, audacity, determination, compassion, seduction, and devotion.
“Like bolts of lightning, the stories of these outcast virgins illuminate what spiritual wholeness can be in the lives of contemporary women and men.
Ann Ulanov’s riveting insights into their daring acts reveal their deep significance in the genealogy of Jesus and expand our understanding of the words courage and love.” — Marion Woodman, author of Addiction to Perfection and Leaving my Father’s House