Transcendence – the Missing Fourth

(public lecture)

with Murray Stein

Frirday 8th April 7.00 to 9.00pm

The feminist theologian Sallie McFague is critical of talk about transcendence. It can be a disguised form of top-down dominance, a patriarchal style of discourse. The one who claims knowledge of the transcendent can trump those who are without such gnosis, and traditional teaching has been used in this way to achieve and to hold dominance. Contrary to this, as she writes, “The ‘view from the body' is always a view from somewhere versus the view from above, from nowhere; the former admits to its partiality and accepts responsibility for its perspectives, while the latter believes itself universal and transcendent, thus denying its embodiment and limitations as well as the concrete, special insights that can arise only from particularity” ( The Body of God, p. 95). The type of strong transcendence I will be speaking about in this lecture, however, is precisely grounded in the body, is concrete and particular rather than an abstract overview from above that claims objectivity and universality. It is transcendence embedded in event, given to a particular subject, deeply related to an individual psyche, and connected to physicality.

Working with Dreams and Active Imagination in Jungian Analysis, with Special Attention to ‘the Numinous'

Saturday 9th April 10.00am to 4.00pm

(professional seminar/workshop)

with Murray Stein

In a letter to P.W. Martin (20 August 1945), the founder of the International Study Center of Applied Psychology in Oxted, England, C.G. Jung confirmed the centrality of numinous experience in his life and work: “It always seemed to me as if the real milestones were certain symbolic events characterized by a strong emotional tone. You are quite right, the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology. Even the very disease takes on a numinous character” (Jung 1973, 1: 377). If one holds the classical Jungian view that the only genuine cure for neurosis is to grow out of it through pursuing individuation, then treatment based on this model would seem necessarily to include “the approach to the numinous,” as Jung states so firmly in this letter. The individuation process, as proposed by Jung and his followers, typically includes experiences of a numinous nature.

The question is: How are such momentous experiences related to and used within the context of analysis and the individuation journey, and how do they contribute to the overall process of individuation? On the answer to this complex question rests the difference between psychological individuation and the development of spirituality. While the psychological hero(ine) of the individuation journey is by no means identical to the spiritual hero(ine) of the journey to God (however this term may be defined), it is not always easy to tell where their paths diverge, precisely because Jung placed such central importance on numinous experience for individuation. And yet they do diverge, and decisively.


Murray Stein, Ph.D. is currently President of The International School of Analytical Psychology in Zurich (ISAPZurich). He is the author of In MidLife , Jung's Treatment of Christianity , Jung's Map of the Soul and many other books and articles. Most recently he has edited and published Jungian Psychoanalysis in collaboration with an International team of Jungian psychoanalysts. He lives in Switzerland and is a training and supervising analyst with ISAPZurich.


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