Recent Events in France – What Can Jung Tell Us?

As we ponder what has occurred in France and other parts of Europe in recent weeks, does what Jung writes in Memories, Dreams, Reflections shed some light on the psychology of the young men and occasionally women involved?   The extremist fundamentalist groups and activities provide a seemingly profound identity for the marginalized.  If these young people were included in the more conventional collective identities, which are usually more benign, would the extreme options be less compelling?

“The very beginnings of societal structures reveal the craving for secret organizations.  When no valid secrets really exist, mysteries are invented or contrived to which privileged initiates are admitted…

The need for ostentatious secrecy is of vital importance on the primitive level, for the shared secret serves as a cement binding the tribe together.  Secrets on the tribal level contribute a helpful compensation for the lack of cohesion in the individual personality, which is constantly relapsing into the original unconscious identity with other members of the group…

The secret society is an intermediary stage on the way to individuation.  The individual is still relying on a collective organization to effect his differentiation for him; that is, he has not yet recognized that it is really the  individual’s path to differentiate from all the others and stand on his own feet…

Such collective identities are crutches for the lame, shields for the timid, beds for the lazy, nurseries for the irresponsible; but they are equally shelters for the poor and weak, a home port for the shipwrecked, the bosom of family for orphans, a land of promise for disillusioned vagrants and weary pilgrims…”

Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 342-3 (Late Thoughts, section II)

Jung’s comments seem to be relevant here, more than 50 years on.


Simone Campbell-Scott, MA, LCSW is a Jungian Analyst, Poet, Art Curator and Educator living and working in Baltimore MD. She is a faculty member of PAJA.

Stirring the Pudding

The Cornstarch Pudding Theory of Change

When I began graduate studies to become a therapist, one of my professors said that eventually—she meant after years of experience—each of us would develop our own theory of change. The mystery of the process of change and how—or if—I would ever understand it lodged in my mind. If graduate school professors in a clinical program didn’t know how people changed it must be even more complicated than I thought. Then again, facilitating change seemed so basic to any therapeutic process that ignorance was appalling.

I wended my way through developmental stages of change from Freud to Erickson. I studied psychodynamic models, interpersonal models, and behavioral models. (In social work school we didn’t study Jung—that would come later, after those and subsequent studies failed to provide the truths I sought.) Still, I didn’t know how change was actually achieved or how to explain this murky process to clients who asked, reasonably enough, how talking to me was going to make a difference to them. They wanted to know what made things change, and I wasn’t altogether sure.

As I endeavored, in those early years as a therapist, to answer doubtful, anxious, or do-I-dare-to-hope queries, a cook who had come in to “get the missus off my back” asked, “You mean we just sit here and talk and it makes me feel better?” This was a practical man whose livelihood depended on results–and he inspired me in the moment to construct a rather elaborate analogy to cornstarch pudding.

When I was a child, I liked to help my mother in the kitchen, though she was often hard put to find tasks she could readily delegate. One day, when I asked to participate, she stood me on a chair by the stove and said, “Here. Stir this until it gets thick and clear.” I looked into the pot and experimentally stirred milky liquid with a wooden spoon.

I could not imagine “thick and clear” in relation to what was in the pot. My mother, a culinary Samurai, was not to be questioned, so I stood and stirred. My patience ran as thin as the substance in the pot, so I occasionally called her over to inspect. Yes, yes–she barely even looked over her shoulder–it’s fine. I would then rededicate myself to the unpromising process of stirring. Eventually, steam rose from the top and I excitedly called her again—was this it? No, not yet, but soon after the substance in the pot suddenly thickened, became glossy and—clear!

I have a vague memory of my client looking at me quizzically, but perhaps my enthusiasm for my own story somehow convinced him to give the therapeutic process a chance. Just as Jung says, the combination of our psychic realities produced change in both of us: he took some college courses and I joined a Jungian seminar. Together, we grew our individual selves.

Cornstarch pudding is proof of transformation, and I love this story for its promise: if you stir the pot–set over proper heat–you’ll get the sweet reward. Of course I’m talking about the life-giving vessel of analysis: the pot that holds, the fire that heats, and the spoon that stirs the contents so the magic of transformation can occur.

“The movement does not lead right out of the sacred spot but remains within it.”

Jung, CG, Psychology and Alchemy, Volume 12 of Jung’s Collected Works, Para. 178

In the analytic consulting room the seeker brings the ingredients—history and hope, shadow and soul. The ingredients are contained in place, process, person and purpose. Weekly, they are stirred, a circular process that serves the basic human need for a new and transformative sense of wholeness—and it yields amazingly consistent results. I wish I’d been able to say this to my long-ago client.

If you want to check this out yourself, the recipe for transformation—I mean cornstarch pudding—can be found in The Joy of Cooking, an aptly named, time-tested and trustworthy guide. You can make it any day or every day, and it is always good.


Deborah Stewart is a Jungian Analyst and Licensed Clinical Social Worker residing in Cape Cod, MA. You can find her at She is Co-Creator of This Jungian Life Podcast.  She is a member of the Philadelphia Association of Jungian Analysts, where she co-chairs and teaches in the training seminar and contributes to the Association’s blog. She is an active member of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and participates in other professional organizations. She has a special interest in trauma and is the author of Encounters with Monsters: The Significance of Non-Human Images of Trauma in the Psyche.


Our culture loves and hates Cinderella, but mostly we misunderstand her. Either romanticizing or disdaining Cinderella causes us to miss the psychological truth of the story and the chance to reach for its wisdom.

Cinderella is one of the oldest and most universal fairy tales. The Chinese version, Yeh-Shen, was recorded almost 1,200 years ago. There are more than 500 versions of the Cinderella story around the world: African, Native American, Middle Eastern, Jewish,and Asian variants. Surely the story communicates something of great importance.

In today’s popular culture, Cinderella’s stereotyped image of femininity has never been more profitable. Cinderella and other princess dress-up clothes are in huge demand, and Disney Princess (of which Cinderella is a featured member) was the top-selling licensed entertainment character merchandise in 2011, beating out Star Wars and Sesame Street. Princess-themed movies such as 2013’s Frozen are huge financial successes.

On the other hand, feminists have taken issue with Cinderella, resulting in modernist reformations. In The Cinderella Complex: Women’s Hidden Fear of Independence, Collette Dowling used Cinderella as a symbol for women who depend on men because they lack the moxie to change their own lives. Peggy Ornstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter is written from the perspective of a mother of a princess-crazed preschooler. She argues that marketing “girly” values has pernicious effects on the self-esteem of girls. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is a children’s picture book that turns the traditional tale on its head: the heroine, wearing only a paper bag, saves the prince from a dragon. When the prince subsequently scorns her shabby attire, this Cinderella tells him to hit the road.

Cinderellas come into therapy with stories that don’t always end “happily ever after.” Accomplished professional women are inconsolable when they discover that their prince failed to embody their purpose in life. Invitations to explore what the love affair asked them to engage in themselves are met with resistance. On the other hand, some women seek therapy because they are lonely—while simultaneously devaluing their longing for an intimate relationship: “Do I really need a man to make me happy?”

These Cinderellas either over-burdened or under-valued any potential prince. What are we to make of these various misunderstandings of the psychological message of Cinderella? Are we passively to hope that “someday my prince will come?” Or should we assert ourselves and tell the prince to get lost? Both these ways of understanding the tale concretize the prince as an external other instead of understanding the tale symbolically.

A Native American version of the tale, The Invisible One and the Rough-Skinned Girl, points the way to the internal space that all Cinderella stories encourage us to discover.

At the far end of village by a lake lived a mighty hunter who was invisible. His sister lived with him, but he would not marry until he found a woman who could see him. Many approached his wigwam and his sister would ask, “Can you see my brother?” Many tried but none succeeded, so the invisible hunter remained unmarried.

In this village lived a widower with three daughters. The two eldest were very cruel to their younger sister. They hacked off her hair with a knife and burned her skin with hot coals, leaving scars that made her known as the Rough-Skinned Girl. One day the two elder sisters decided to try their luck with the Invisible One in hopes of winning him.

“What is his shoulder strap made of?” asked the mighty hunter’s sister.

“A piece of rawhide,” fibbed the first sister.

“Braided grass,” the second sister lied.

The Invisible One and his sister were not deceived, and sent the sisters back to the village. The Rough-Skinned Girl decided that she too wanted to try her luck with the Invisible One. She had no finery to wear, so she made a dress out of birch bark, and the villagers and her sisters laughed. But the Invisible One’s sister welcomed her.

“My brother comes. Do you see him?” she asked. The Rough-Skinned Girl’s eyes lit up with wonder.

“Yes! I see him! But how can there be such a one?” She went on to describe him: “His shoulder strap is a rainbow! His bowstring is the Milky Way!”

The sister smiled. She gently bathed the Rough-Skinned Girl’s wounds, and dressed her in soft deerskin. The Invisible One took the Rough-Skinned Girl’s hand and they were married. Her disfiguring scars were healed, and she became known as the Lovely One.

This story helps us see that the prince is not a person who rescues women from meaninglessness or restricts them to limited roles. The prince is an image of inner reality and its potential for connection with something greater. This kind of union—an inner marriage—is what moves us into an experience of wholeness that is transformative. When we understand the story of Cinderella in this way we see her and her prince without sexist or feminist distortions and can welcome union with the truest of princes as a profound experience that is well worth the quest.


Lisa Marchiano is a licensed clinical social worker and certified Jungian analyst in private practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her MSW from New York University and completed analytic training at the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. She is also a mom. Lisa is on the faculty of the Philadelphia Jung Institute. She is Co-Creator of This Jungian Life podcast. Her writings have appeared in Quillette, the journal Psychological Perspectives and in PSYCHED Magazine. She blogs on parenting for Psyche Central at Big Picture Parenting, and on Jungian topics at Lisa is building an online community where mothers can explore the profound changes that motherhood brings. Please come by and visit at


I am writing this inaugural blog post for the Philadelphia Association of Jungian Analysts exactly five years to the day after the publication of C. G. Jung’s Red Book on October 7, 2009.  The Philemon Foundation that I co-founded in 2003 funded its publication.  This groundbreaking and legendary chronicle of Jung’s inner journey is the “esoteric”, or inner, substance behind Jung’s “exoteric”, or scientific, model of the psyche that fills over twenty imposing black bound volumes of his Collected Works.  In contrast to their sober presentation, the Red Book is visually stunning; in contrast to their extraordinary word count in eminently readable type separated into sensible volume headings, the Red Book is an organic artwork of unsurpassed calligraphic and pictorial beauty.  Jung’s many mysterious paintings complement his finely wrought hand written text in a fashion that rivals any manuscript produced by the most gifted of scribes in a medieval monastic scriptorium.

These works belong together; Jung the physician-scholar and Jung the artist-sage; the black and the red, the nigredo and the rubedo, like the beginning and end that form the complete alchemical work, Jung’s metaphor for individuation, the process of becoming whole.

There is no mistaking that the Red Book was welcomed heartily; over 150,000 copies of this expensive, ten pound book have been sold in almost a dozen languages, the most, as might be expected, in English because we Americans have always been Jung’s greatest fans.  Lauded by press worldwide, the Red Book was the cover article for the Sunday New York Times Magazine on September 20, 2009, entitled The Holy Grail of the Unconscious (  For a time it was also the focus of erudite exegesis in essay and webinar by some of my Jungian colleagues, who discussed its historical roots, its place in the development of Jungian theory, how it reflected Jung’s personal psychology and its possible symbolic meanings.

Given the powerful emotional response to the Red Book’s publication, it is surprising that not as many colleagues and still fewer lay readers, availed themselves of these printed, posted and videoed forays into the deeper regions of the volume’s hidden secrets.  Yet the book demands to be owned and I have long lost count of how many tell me with unalloyed pleasure that this fantastic work of art and soul has pride of place in their homes.  People seem to need to own it as if it were some kind of psycho-spiritual talisman that bestows deep wellbeing.

With great curiosity I have followed the book and its audience, watching as fewer articles and essays appeared over time and seeing the conversation recede into the background to the point where the following seems to be the case:  Although recognized the world over as one of the most significant and beautiful revelations of personal transformation we are fortunate to have, and despite efforts to make it more accessible to everyone, active interest in the Red Book and its contents has diminished significantly.   What’s going on?  Why do most people who proudly own copies admit, somewhat sheepishly, that they have not been able to completely read it let alone grasp its arcane content and fundamental message?

The explanation for this state of affairs seems straightforward:  the Red Book is a staggeringly difficult book to understand; its psychological and emotional density, its symbolic obscurity and atavistic style, its private passion and coded language and its beautiful but enigmatic illuminations simply overwhelm (many of Jung’s paintings are not illustrations of the text but seem to be a kind of deeply meaningful but hidden parallel narrative to the content of the Red Book).  Perhaps, if we were more classically educated it might be easier, but little help seems to have come from Europe where that is more the case than here in the States.  Perhaps headway will be made with the publication of a smaller sized Reader’s Edition (weighing in at a more manageable one pound ten ounces and having a faux leather cover and feel in the hand not dissimilar to popular copies of the Bible), a text of the Red Book that can now at least be read without a lectern.  What are we to do with the fact that the book confronts the reader with its daunting opacity?  If this is the case, what is its true value to the non-specialist, to the regular reader other than the Red Book being extraordinarily beautiful, imaginally impressive, and carrying a kind of scriptural imperative?

The answer is deceptively simple but is actually quite profound.  It was wisely given by the Red Book’s editor and Philemon Foundation co-founder, Sonu Shamdasani, at the end of the article from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, an answer worth repeating:  Sara Corbett, the article’s author, poses the question:  “What about the rest of us, the people who aren’t Jungians, I wondered. Was there something in the Red Book for us? “Absolutely, there is a human story here,” Shamdasani said. “The basic message he’s sending is ‘Value your inner life.’ ”  

Value your inner life.  Perhaps, for most of us who might never greatly understand much about the content of the Red Book, merely its existence, is tangible reality, its magnificent testimony to one person’s commitment to his inner world, tells us that the inner life is possible, nay, it is essential for us all.  Value your inner life; stay open to what is within, own it, paint it, imagine it, love it, suffer it through dream, fantasy, relationship, imagination, pain, smiles, tears and sighs; do whatever can be done to partner with it so that life’s depth and radiant fullness can happen.  Value your inner life; none of us are Jung, most are not even Jungians, but there is a universe in each one of us from which meaning is born as it was for him.  Hidden in that very big and imposing universe of a red book by this sage from Switzerland is the most essential, compelling and wondrous of messages:  Value your inner life.


Stephen A. Martin, PsyDis a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland and has his doctorate in psychology from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Co-Founder and President Emeritus of the Philemon Foundation, he played a critical role in the publication of C.G. Jung’s Red Book. He is also Co-Founder and past President of PAJA. Dr. Martin is in private practice in Ardmore. For further information about Dr. Martin and to download examples of his published papers please visit his website:


The Holy Grail of the Unconscious:  Sunday New York Times Magazine, September 20, 2009:

The Making of the Red Book