Book review Labyrinths

Book review ‘Labyrinths’

‘Emma Jung, Her marriage to Carl and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis’ (by Catrine Clay) – 2016

An intriguing book about the wife behind one of the founders of psychotherapy, Carl Jung, and the early years of psychoanalysis: Emma Jung-Rauschenbach. The author, Catrine Clay (a director and producer of documentaries at the BBC) puts it bluntly: ‘The world would not have the Carl Jung it knew, without Emma Jung steady in the background.’

“She was the nurturing soul from which he drew essential strength”, as Carl Jung let the Reverend Schaer put it into words at her funeral. Emma was the one that guided him home when he was ‘lost in his own labyrinth behind the doors of his Cabinet’. She even mediated between Sigmund Freud and her Carl, who she named to Freud as ‘his spiritual son’. She asked Freud in a letter (“following the voice of my unconscious” and Carl not knowing she wrote this letters): “Do you not see in him the follower and fulfiller more than you need?” In a later letter she straightforward advises: “Do not think of Carl with a fathers feeling “he will grow, but I must dwindle”, but rather as one human being thinks of another, who like you has his own law to fulfil.” Emma could not prevent the separation between this father and his ‘heir’. In 1914 Jung resigned as president of the International Psychoanalytic Association, along with other Swiss members, all rejecting ‘the papal policies of the Viennese’. Freud reacted with: “So we are rid of them at last, the brutal holy Jung, and his pious parrots.”

The book also sheds light on the relationships of Carl Jung with other women, like Sabina Spielrein en Toni Wolff, patients that became colleagues and intimate friends. It made Emma get herself ‘lost in the labyrinthine problems of her marriage’, ‘in tracking the other through all the twists and turns of his character’ (as Carl put down in a paper titled ‘Marriage as a Psychological Relationship’). The reader also gets an insight in the life of the family Jung through interviews with the grandchildren.

Emma started later in her life working as an analyst herself, was the first president of the Psychological Club of Zürich (which still ‘fulfils an important function in the worldwide development of Jungian psychology’) and studied and lectured on the Legend of the Holy Grail.

“A light emanated from her” (Carl Jung).

How does this book relate to Core Energetics?

Core Energetics has its roots in psychoanalysis by the work of Wilhelm Reich, a colleague of Sigmund Freud. If you know where you come from, you will know better where to go to. It is a golden law in life. You find it in many quotes mostly from famous men.

We are living know in a time where women are starting to take the co-lead in many domains of life. It will have profound influence on our personal and professional lives and on public life in general.

“Labyrinths” is a tribute to the underexposed influence our ‘grandmothers’ had, in the shadow of the men in their time. The Freudian history –or more to the point: tragedy– is characterized by the theme of the father fearing his son will kill him. This theme of patricide you find in many myths about the birth of a successor (according to Otto Rank). It is the wife of a shepherd, her name is Spako, who plays a principal role in the myth of the hero, King Cyrus the Great of Persia (600 B.C), by advising her husband to do the right thing in life. Isn’t significant her name means ‘bitch’?

We can learn from “Labyrinths” to view the ‘labyrinthine nature’ of relationships not as a maze, where we get lost, but as a continuing, confronting and conciliative path to the core of who we are and what we have to offer the world. So we are not in the end driven by the past, but drawn into future. In our mission as well as in our methodology.

It is truly time for a change!

Reasons to read this book by Core Energetic Therapists

How the field of psychoanalysis developed in its early years, is well described through the eyes of a woman who in that time stayed in the shadow of all the men who dominated this new profession. There were exceptions, like Lou Andrea-Salomé. However she became foremost known through her stormy relationships with famous men, like Friedrich Nietzsche and Rainer Maria Rilke. And ‘recently in Irving Yalom’s novel “When Nietzsche wept”…

It is interesting to read about the role Emma Jung played at the background in the life and work of her husband and his relationship with Freud and other colleagues.

Conclusion and advice for our work as Core Energetic Therapists?

We can learn from her ideas and interventions, now that women play a much stronger role in the foreground in professions and in public life. It can inspire men and women to deal in another way with leadership, conflicts and dynamics especially between the sexes and… in the training, profession and organisation of workers in Core Energetics.

It is an intriguing and inspiring book for all women and men who work in the Freudian tradition. To tackle the task: ‘What’s next (and in what way)?

About the writer of this review

Jan-Willem de Goeij (1950), a social, mental health and body oriented psychologist, and core energetic therapist. He works with individuals and –in cooperation with colleagues– with couples and groups, like body oriented intensives and workshops for men. It strikes him time after time how the body shows us the way in our lives. His mission is therefore to follow the movement from the inside.

Besides working as a trainer and therapist he works with the labyrinth as a universal and from all time walking meditation to find your way in life.

He contributes to the legacy and development of core energetics by giving therapy and supervision to students in core energetics and by being a member of the team of the Core Science Foundation and of the Ethical Committee of the Netherlands Institute of Core Energetics.

12 august 2018

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