Gary S. Bobroff
Lying behind much of the way we talk about the inner life today is the work of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung. He revolutionized how we discuss dreams and archetypes and gave us our words “introvert,” “extravert” and “synchronicity.” However, what made him a true psychological pioneer was that he looked inside himself in a way that is still unique today.
From earliest beginnings of human civilization, we have considered dreams a doorway to the soul. Jung saw that they showed us parts of ourselves that were being rejected by our waking consciousness: strengths unexpressed and shadow figures run amok; qualities that we were missing about ourselves; and desires that we’d rather not acknowledge. The mission of dreams was to balance us, to compensate for our often one-sided attitude toward life and lead us to integrate what we need for health and growth. We know today that dreams can have messages for us that are not only psychologically relevant, but even biologically urgent, relaying information about illness. Jung introduced the term “wholeness” to describe the aim of the unconscious: the further filling out of ourselves; an increasing completeness in the unique being that we are.
#2) Personality Types
Jung saw the differing pathways in our personalities. He observed that some people got energy from interacting with people, while others were drained by it. Introvert or extravert, intuitive or sensate, thinking or feeling; he described these differing forms as Psychological Types and they led to today’s MBTI categories. In normalizing different kinds of personality, Jung helped us to get over our natural biases against other types.
While he recognized variety in human personality, Jung believed that there was no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. He saw each individual as having a unique blueprint for growth, an untold inner story, and he knew – from his own experience – that one man’s medicine is another’s poison.
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – C. G. Jung
by Gary S. Bobroff
For those who don’t know, please tell us a little about your background.
I originally came from St. Petersburg, from a diverse background which has always cherished and appreciated Soul, Depth, Intelligence, Art and critical thinking. I recall performing at a young age and being asked to ‘feel things’ and to think for myself. As a very young child, I encountered a vision which guided my way into a creative realm throughout life, a mixture of gratefulness, goal-setting and turning the darkness of life into it’s magic and light.
Your primary work is Darksoul Theatre, what is it and what is the history of this project?
Darksoul came to me as a Soul-saving art form in 1993, it allowed for expression and a refinement of the oil of darkness into the purity of light. I have spent all of these years creating via music, film, written and performance work, some of which is available via Amazon, iTunes and multiple other retailers. I have taught and expressed that darkness and negativity are entirely different elements, often misunderstood and fused together. I stay away from negativity but enjoy, create, and carve out of darkness. Three common misunderstandings in regards to Darksoul are: 1) That people choose to spell it ‘correctly’ by separating Dark and Soul which are indeed one word (both under copyright, when I was 13 and Trademarked via the Patent Office several years back). 2) That some assume I took this from the ancient 16th century text, Dark Night of the Soul — which I had no conscious knowledge of at that young age. I simply played with my creative shadow, in the dark, engaging with Soul matter. 3) That Darksoul must be something scary or negative, wherein again my work is to share the creative process of refinement of that energy which can by some be seen as negative into something creative and purposeful.
What first got you into Carl Jung?
Unlike many Jungians, I was originally an admirer of Freud’s work. I found it limiting but brilliant nonetheless. I believe if it weren’t for Freud, that Jung’s extraordinary concept of the Collective Unconscious may not have been found. Freud touched upon the unconscious but did not go deep into its ever-world, Jung did and thus, we have a newfound way of healing ourselves and potential clients, via the elaborate and ever-developing field of Depth Psychology. I believe the Collective Unconscious was that magic 3rd which transpired from the Transcendent Function, from the tension of the opposites between Freud and Jung (teacher and student).
What does ‘soul’ mean to you?
My wisest person in the world, Sophia (I always spell with a capital Grand and a capital Mother) shared her Soul with me. Soul with a capital S is the very essence which resides within our being, Some of my colleagues would consider this statement metaphysical in nature, and thus discount it’s usefulness, however it is hard to explain something like true love or true trust or even spiritual instinct, but they can be seen as clear symbols of where we need to go and how we should act and respond in life. The Soul, I believe, is a gift of the great creative force, God if you will, which is special and unique within each of us. At times developed, heard clearly and in unison with the body and mind, and at other times in dissonance, unheard and uncared for.
You invented Soul Photography in recent years, what inspired that and what’s the nature of the work?
Soul Photography is a strong supposition that not only do we contain cellular memory but that we have the option to both unconsciously and consciously experience events within our being, mind and body, in a psychosomatic way. Opposite to that of PTSD, a way to bring joy and light from previous experiences into our daily existence. I performed this original concept, at a live show in Tokyo, Japan and later via the Edinburgh Festival. You can hear a BBC radio interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgNRlvv7cZ4 An audio self-hypnosis-like-work of the basic process for Soul Photography can be purchased via iTunes (circa 2009).
How is your work a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious?
I envision archetypes as if they were keys to unlock different doors. I currently host a radio podcast, titled the ‘Archetypal Mosaic’ on a top Los Angeles public radio station, KPFK, and recently performed a Darksoul Theatre Halloween stage show, titled ‘The Archetypal Joker’ wherein the psychological backstory of the Joker archetype came into play, a kind of backstory before the comic book version. Archetypes bridge the conscious with the uncurious by becoming workable images for us to use and activate, to fly upon (image-wise), as did King Solomon via a magic carpet in the Old Testament. Whether some view the stories as fact and others see them as workable metaphors … the connection to the Great Divine resides, I believe, in the communication within the unconscious realms, our dream states and all that occurs there. We don’t just waste time sleeping, we dwell into an ether of the divine.
I know Dionysus is important to you, how does this infamous Greek god play a role in your life?
Bill T. Jones was Artist in Residence at UC Davis, where I was receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in the early 2000’s. He chose me to play Dionysus, in a double character scenario, within The Bacchae Project. Since that time, and possibly prior, the archetype has been activated within. The Dionysus archetype is shunned by society where men are expected to appear masculine and strong all the time, men are not given the space to be expressive, emotional, true to their Soul. Dionysus is a free man, one who is not afraid to connect to his Anima publicly, one that is not afraid to truly respect and care for women and Intersex individuals without having to shun his freedom of self, his shall we say, respectful omni-sensuality. A 30 track music digipak and a musical video shot on Hollywood Blvd, featuring the iconic branding genius, Angelyne have both recently been released to further strengthen the archetype of inspiration via the Darksoul theatre brand.
You recently presented at a conference in Sicily, can you tell us more about that event and your role?
A great honor was the presentation in Sicily. Attending Pacifica Graduate Institute, and being part of the DJA (Jungian and Archetypal Studied program), I’ve had the pleasure to study from some of the greats; Lionel Corbett, Susan Rowland, Nancy Galindo, Kieron Le Grice. At the Art and Psyche conference, met with incredible people in the field, Sonu Shamdasani (whom I had the honor to interview), Carl Jung’s grandson, the elegant and humble Andreas Jung, Israeli art therapist, Janice Shapiro (who recently appeared on my radio program) and the current curator of ARAS NY, Ami Ronnberg.
My presentation was titled, ‘Intersex as a Transcendent Function.’ To prepare, I originally met with Intersex activist, Hida Viloria then spoke with the author of the book, The Transcendent Function, Jeffrey C. Miller over the phone and studied Jung’s concept (both the 1916 and 1958 versions). The purpose of the paper and presentation was to show the power of Divine Communication between all sexes in our communities and how peace can be created naturally. The paper which initially nearly failed at the institute (at times having original thinking in the field equates to inflation from certain professors and theorists) … gathered traction on an international level. Further development of my part is due, in order to bring this concept into actualized usefulness in the future. A version of the paper is scheduled for publication in late 2016.
Congratulations on recently receiving an Entrepreneur award from SCORE Los Angeles for Success in Creativity. What was that like and what part of your work were they honoring?
Thank you, the award was given to three individuals for a culmination of entrepreneurship skills. Multiple projects and the tracking of their individual success, not solely based on numbers, created a profile of visible movement in the creative and business individuation. David Berkus, a business mentor, nominated me. The ceremony was elegant and also honored a great elder in the community, Don Donner. I have always deeply appreciated elders who are not usually bitter, but instead gift wisdom and care for others’ success. I plan to collaborate with Mr. Donner next year.
You’re going to be offering “Dark into Light Jungian Consultations” soon and the current tagline is Turning Negativity into Creativity – that sounds really transformative and powerful, what can you tell us about it?
Thank you for asking, I plan to open a Darksoul-Jungian consulting operation in the near future, incorporating the process which I learned both naturally via Darksoul for over 20 years, along with the studies of Jung’s elegant work at Pacifica as well as the meetings and interviews with some of the great people in the field — in order to bring about a form of creative individuation for those who request my services and inspiration.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Archived website MikhailTank.com
Verified Twitter @mikhailtank
E-mail for bookings, potential clients and questions
Gary will be on Mikhail's radio program on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles next week talking about his work with Our Archetypal Nature.
By Jason E. Smith
Carl Jung was ambivalent about the idea of training institutes being established in his name. This ambivalence is amply reflected in a statement he is reported to have made in reference to this development. “Thank God I am Jung and not a Jungian,” he declared.
This is not a very comforting sentiment for someone like me who identifies as a Jungian, who trained at just such an institute, and who has dedicated most of his adult life to the study and practice of Jungian Analysis.
How can I reconcile having taken on the title of Jungian Analyst when the great man himself was so disparaging of the idea?
In his attempt to cast some light on the phenomena of the psyche, Jung knew that he was investigating a great mystery, which he called “the densest darkness it is possible to imagine.” Presumably, his comment about the relative merits of being Jung vs. a Jungian point to his concern that his followers would become slavish imitators, forgoing the mystery and concretizing his concepts, effectively turning them into a kind of dogma.
Jung, it should be said, was also distrustful of groups and preferred to emphasize the importance of the individual. However, this distrust has the effect of thrusting all groups, including the family and the community, into the collective shadow. Jung’s statement also creates the possibility that the experience of being a Jungian becomes colored by a sense of inferiority.
Certainly, the danger of imitation is very real. When I started training as an analyst, I had a cherished image of Jung – one that, in many ways, I sought to emulate by trying to read what Jung read and seek out similar visionary experiences to those that Jung experienced. I even considered starting to smoke a pipe and wear tweed jackets with patches on the elbows, just like Jung. And I was certainly not the first, nor the only, person to succumb to this temptation.
In light of this danger, it seems to me, the real problem would not so much be in wanting to become a Jungian, but in wanting to be Jung. In light of this, I suggest a moratorium on this particular saying. For, while the statement may have been right for Jung to make for himself, for the rest of us it would be more correct to reverse it and to say: “Thank God I am a Jungian, and not Jung.”
by Gary S. Bobroff
“I thought of Jung as a noetic archeologist, [he] provided maps of the unconscious.” – Terence McKenna
Most of us imagine that we know ourselves pretty well. But like a periscope that thinks it’s the whole submarine, our self-image makes no accommodation for the fact of the unconscious. Yet there are maps that can help us. If we are honest, we can come to discover how to orient ourselves in the tidal pathways of the unconscious; we may come to see that our shadows and strengths fall into archetypal patterns. If we are lucky, these maps may help us to come into possession of the greatest possible treasure–our inner gold.
In the 1920’s, after they had finished developing their ideas on Psychological Type – the root of today Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ – Antonia “Toni” Wolff and Carl Gustav Jung discovered that they felt like something was still missing. Not fully satisfied, Toni soon identified larger psychological structures that were evident, yet hitherto unnamed. Calling them Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche, she initiated the process of identifying the primordial forms of the human psyche, forms which we know today by the singular term, archetype.
She observed two poles, two axes, in our internal world. On the first, she saw displayed a natural split in how our energy flowed toward people: for some it moved toward people in a collective sense, toward the group, the family, the team, the tribe, society and the social group; for others it moved toward people in the one-on-one sense, with thought and concern primarily flowing toward individuals, friends and lovers. Toni saw this difference in what we were fascinated by and drawn to; what compelled us forward in life; in the differing pathways our libido took toward our fellow humankind. In her observations, she brought consciousness to an inherent dialectic tension in human nature.
This characteristic tension is highlighted in bright psychedelic neon in the last fifty years of American history. It is the divide between belonging and freedom from belonging; between a value system that is group-oriented and one that is individual-oriented; one emphasizes escape from society and other connection to it. It has provided us with two opposing views of goodness in American life: the redemption in community of Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life versus the redemption in breaking away from community of Kerouac’s On The Road and Kesey’s Acid Test and Cuckoo’s Nest. Of course, this split goes back to our earliest days: we can see it in our ancient mythologies and philosophies. It is evident in perhaps the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet, wherein ‘to be or not be’ also has a lot to do with ‘to belong or not to belong.’
by Dr. KD Farris
Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, saw peace as a dove whose right wing was the masculine and left wing was the feminine. "Without both wings," he said, "the dove of peace cannot fly."
In this way, the masculine and feminine are forever finding balance with each other, the kind of balance that allows for their flight because both sides move together in grace as they soar in a harmonious direction.
REVOLUTION BEFORE RENEWAL
As a consequence of the industrial revolution, knowledge birthed by the principles of the feminine fell farther and farther away from daily culture. Prior to mass-produced farming, food, home, and hearth, were the domains of the feminine guild, and through the feminine, the power of the masculine was held in balance; a partnership between the sexes was achieved.
Having lost that which held the two wings of peace in place, the feminine archetype was marginalized as the masculine charged headlong into the creation of a new world. From this new world emerged technological advances, scientific discoveries, and aeronautic achievement. Welcome to the 20th century.
by Jason E. Smith
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud declared that dream analysis was the royal road to the unconscious. Over a hundred years later, despite extensive research into the process of sleep and dreams, as well as the experience of countless thousands of people who have been helped by engaging in the process of dream analysis, prejudice over the value of dreams in psychotherapy and in everyday life continues to persist.
It’s Only a Dream!
In the scientific study of dreams, one of the qualities most often remarked upon that differentiates dream activity from other forms of mental activity is the bizarre and almost hallucinatory quality of the images that are often encountered during dreaming. The bizarreness of dreams, and our own tendency to accept the weird happenings in our dreams at face value, is what most distinguishes the dream experience from that of normal waking life.
It is just this peculiar quality, together with the uncanny nature of so many of our dream images, that makes it so hard for our waking minds to accept the dream as having meaning and value.
As Carl Jung points out:
“The dream is often occupied with apparently very silly details, thus producing an impression of absurdity, or else it is on the surface so unintelligible as to leave us thoroughly bewildered.”
by Dr. KD Farris
ON LIMINAL SPACE
In 1906, anthropologist Arnold van Gennep writes about his cross-cultural observation of tribal rituals, which he calls rites de passage, noting that they consistently contain three distinct stages: separation, limen (liminality), and aggregation. In other words, they always have a beginning, middle, and an end. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, Victor Turner picks up van Gennep's work, expanding on these ideas and contributing language through which we can see our contemporary lives taking shape, mirroring these same archetypal structures.
In the tribal rituals that both van Gennep and Turner observe, the beginning stage is established by successfully separating the "initiates" from their known world so they may freely enter the middle stage of liminality. The middle stage, which is the longest lasting of the three, is the prime subject of this lecture series. This stage is orchestrated so as to prepare the initiates to take on their "new station in life," a concept which nowadays is barely known and rarely understood. The third and final stage serves to integrate the initiates back into society where they will then fulfill their new station. Traditional uses for these tribal rites of passage are to demarcate predictable life transitions such as birth, adolescence, marriage, pregnancy, and death. But many other transitions occur which are common yet unpredictable, and which carry the same need for preparation, support, and acknowledgment.
In contemporary life, our awareness of our own "first stage" is often a sudden and abrupt occurrence which serves to "rupture" our sense of being. These days, our culture lacks proper rituals to mark the time and space of these ruptures, their critical role, and subsequent changes. Consequently, we are often plunged into transitions of great magnitude without identification or ceremony. Rupture characterizes our descent into this disorienting terrain, while disorientation characters our experience as we enter and begin to move through it.
By Gary S. Bobroff
For those of us of the romantic disposition, imagining new love objects to be Ms. or Mr. Right is a chronic condition.
Such idealization is made even more irresistible when there are ‘fated‘ events, when we run into him or her coincidentally or when other synchronicities to do with them occur. When we meet them and, for example, after a lengthy chat, we reveal that we’ve been holding in our hand a black heart-shaped rock all this time and she opens her hand and shows us a white one just the same.
When a real out-of-the-ordinary meaningful coincidence happens, we fall immediately and blissfully into the presumption that ‘it’s fate’—that this person is ‘the One.’
However, while synchronistic events are known to occur at the beginning of life-long happy partnerships, they also occur as a part of less successful, or even tragic, relationships. Coming to understand the truth of this latter possibility involves a loss of naïveté, but if we are lucky often something else is gained too.
Jung observed that synchronicities arrive in relation to the emotional activation of an individual “we observe them relatively frequently at moments of heightened emotional tension, which need not however be conscious.”[i] In noticing such a pattern in our world however, Jung was not discovering something entirely new, such an understanding is found throughout the ancient world.
In the East, it was the basis of the Tao and I Ching and in the West we find one example of it in the writings of a teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas:
“A certain power to alter things indwells in the human soul and subordinates the other things to her, particularly when she is swept into great excesses of love or hate or the like. For a long time I did not believe it…[but] I found that the emotionality of the human soul is the chief cause of all these things.”
~ Albertus Magnus, 1200-1280
It is a profound revelation and deeply meaningful, that we live in an era in which we are becoming aware of the way in which feeling extends beyond the body in these special moments but conscious apprehension of the meaning of these events also requires discrimination on our part.
Synchronistic incidents are drawn into form by the presence of emotional conditions in us and they point toward something active and alive, but unconscious in ourselves; toward something that we can come to learn about ourselves.
Here, a special meaning is evident—the ancient person might say that it shows the presence of the Gods—but we cannot say whether it is a blessing or a curse. Seeing past romantic illusions allows us to begin to draw insight from such experiences and to start to uncovering the meaning behind the larger patterns of who we are attracting.
In general, attributing to fate the role of bringing us our ‘right‘ or best romantic partners, gives away much of our power. “Faith is a disability insofar as it constrains you from self-interest,”[ii] says Solomon and having too much faith in the universe demonstrates an abandonment of the power to choose; a natural authority given up; an unwillingness to exercise conscious, mature choice.
And it is just this royal authority in us, the ability to consciously say no to some and yes to others, that is a necessity for entering into mature partnership, for choosing to say ‘I do.’
Part of the shadow of the romantic type is pointed to here. Archetypally, the inability to choose consciously reflects the absence of the inner King or Queen, the quality in us that blesses and places value appropriately. The King or Queen archetype represents the natural flow of libido and feeling toward those qualities that serve our interests.
The psyche of the romantic type is often dominated by the opposite archetype, that of the child—that in us that resists parenting ourselves and prefers play and following the dictates of feeling. Going with the flow has its place, but it also reflects a refusal to stand up when it is needed, and often this is an on-going and regressive life-pattern.
However, within all of us there is also a larger instinct toward wholeness, toward the integration of all the parts of who we can be, toward the discovery and conscious development of our inner King or Queen.
Sometimes we must struggle to recover this part of our natural inheritance.
Synchronicity in our romantic lives is often a signpost pointing us that direction. While it may not indicate the blessing of a relationship, it almost always directs us toward pieces of ourselves that we need to reclaim to become more whole. These pieces might be recovered through loving, but they may are also sometimes recovered through leaving the relationship.
Sometimes we gain what we need in ourselves by learning to say ‘no.’
In synchronicity, the world reveals its nearness to us. It is active and responding to our inner life producing meaning to help us grow, but can we drop our ego’s need to make that meaning fit into a pretty little heart-shaped box for us?
It is terribly difficult not to get swept up into assuming that a new relationship is fated and blessed when synchronicities abound. Tragically, however, not every synchronicity is a blessing from Aphrodite. And, in an era infused with New Age thinking and naïve romanticism that sees all synchronicity as a simple romantic blessing, it is especially important that we learn that there is more than one God alive in us and seeking redemption.
Can we drop our ego’s agenda and still feel the wonder of being alive in a world filled with such mysterious, mischievous and occasionally un-pretty, meaning-making magic?
[i] Letters, vol. 2.
[ii] Far From The Tree, p. 33.