General Editor's Introduction to Volume 14

  • Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson
Keywords: introduction

Abstract

Welcome to the 2019 Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies. This volume marks an important milestone in the history of journal, the first year in which it is being hosted by the University of Alberta to enable wider accessibility and influence in the community of scholars interested in Jungian ideas. Great thanks go to Dr. Alexandra Fidyk and Professor Luke Hockley, as well as the fine staff of the University of Alberta’s Library Publishing Team, for making this partnership possible.

Essays in the 2019 volume reflect the theory of emergence, the theme of the 16th annual conference, in June 2018, of the Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies held in Portland, Oregon. Emergence is a feature of complex and adaptive living systems, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, studied by scholars in the natural and human sciences. Jung’s 1916 theory of the transcendent function anticipated emergent phenomena: the tension of the opposites, he said, creates “third thing . . . a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation” (CW 8, par. 189). Thus it is no surprise that contemporary Jungians have turned their attention to the exploration of emergence articulated by our sister disciplines in much the same way Jung himself was fascinated by the scientific discoveries of his time.

In keeping with the theme of the 2019 volume, and thanks to the artful suggestion of Matthew Fike, the six scholarly essays are arranged in three pairs suggesting an emergent order. The first pair begins with Susan Courtney’s exploration of the medieval symbol of the salt-point and its component elements—circle, square, and point. The salt-point is an image of the Self that emerges, over time, to produce coherence of body, soul, and spirit. Courtney explores five kinds of time that shape human experience, from our standing in earth-bound time to our interconnectivity with eternal, archetypal forces. The themes of time, timelessness, and the journey toward the Self are the subtext of the second essay, in which Lisa Pounders uses the lens of alchemy to analyze the vivid, unprecedented bone paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe that were produced when the artist discovered her soul’s home in northern New Mexico. Pounders demonstrates how creating visionary works rooted in a specific landscape reflects as well as fosters the emergence of symbolic material that transcends time and space.

The second pair of essays turns from personal and artistic themes of emergence to the presence of emergent phenomena in political life. Inez Martinez examines the cultural and religious roots of toxic patriarchy in the U.S. through literary analysis of Charles Brockden Brown’s 1798 novel Wieland or the Transformation, An American Tale. She argues that President Donald Trump’s followers, socialized to worship a Judeo-Christian almighty father that divinizes narcissistic traits, easily embrace his claims to unlimited power, obedience, and adoration. Elizabeth Nelson’s essay on toxic masculinity describes what may be called the devouring father in the western tradition. She argues that the puer-senex dyad reveals this wound through the omission of pater (Latin, father). The essay explores the impact of generative fathering on communal life expressed in a male developmental triad puer-pater-senex that is parallel to the female developmental pattern maiden-mother-crone.

The final pair of essays returns from the chaotic nigredo of communal strife to the promise of fresh, restorative emergent processes. How can human participation with the continuously creative psyche fuel the transformative practices we need to bring about a more healthful future? Bianca Reynolds offers one possibility: the utility of a Jungian theoretical framework for the creation of play texts. As a case study, she explores the contemporary family homecoming drama in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County and Reynold’s own original play, Eventide. The second essay in this pair, by Douglas Thomas, explores Dream Tending, a method of working with dreams that treats the images as living entities from the timeless archetypal world of the mundus imaginalis. Thomas points out that the vital dimension of a dream-centered life is play, which offers significant psychological value after the exodus from childhood. Play opens the potential space of new meaning—for individuals, communities, and cultures.

The six scholarly essays individually explore the theory of emergence and, in their sequencing, enact emergence. We continue the practice of including poetry and art, paired with the essays and poems, since they too offer images of emergence. A separate section includes all of the art selected for this year’s volume, accompanied by the artist’s statements about the work.

On behalf of the members of the editorial team who have worked so tirelessly to create this volume, I welcome you to Volume 14 of the Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies.

Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson
General Editor

Published
2019-06-11