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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Depth Psychology’s Archetypal Agreement

In 1909, Freud and Jung traveled to the United States together for the Clark lectures, which was the beginning of the end of their relationship.  In 1912, Jung (1912/1976) published Symbols of Transformation, the book that caused their split.  After that, Jung began his confrontation with the unconscious and experienced the reality of Philomen and other autonomous imaginal figures.  During this time, Jung played with the things of his childhood. In his autobiography, Jung (1961/1989) noted that his experiences at this time sowed the seeds for all of his future work. 

In 1908, van Gennep wrote Rites de Passage, although it was not translated into English until 1960. In 1909, Rank wrote the Myth Of The Birth Of The Hero. During the 1960s, Victor Turner wrote an article about liminality, the transition phase in rites of passage, and followed with his book The Ritual Process: Structure And Antistructure, in 1964 and 1969 respectively.  Jung’s Man And His Symbols was published posthumously in 1964.  This book brought Jung’s work to a more popular audience, and contained over 500 pictures in addition to the text.  Man and His Symbols would be Jung's last project, since he completed his own article and edited the other chapters only ten days before his death in June of 1961.

Tarnas (2006) notes that both Archetypal Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology were born during this period. Grof was working on the cartography of the psyche in the mid-1960s and Hillman wrote Suicide and the Soul in 1964.  Tarnas explicates that the Uranus-Pluto planetary archetypal complex was also evident in the major psychological theories and therapies at the time: 

The major innovative psychological theories and therapies that emerged during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s were especially concerned with the cathartic release of repressed instinctual and emotional material: the breakdown of somatic armoring, the discharge of aggression, and the achievement of orgasmic potency and erotic freedom were regarded as crucial for the attainment of psychological health . . . . The psychological milieu of the Sixties was pervaded by the concepts and practices of such figures as Wilhelm Reich, Fritz Perls, R. D. Laing, Norman O. Brown, Herbert Marcuse, Albert Ellis, Ida Rolf, Will Schutz, and Arthur Janov.  The characteristic innovative modalities of the era were bioenergetic release, emotionally intensive encounter groups and gestalt therapy, physically intensive rolfing and other forms of somatic intervention, the primal scream, nude marathons—all distinctly reflective of the Promethean-Dionysian archetypal complex. (pp. 445-446)

Grof was born during the Depression “T-square” when Saturn and Pluto were in opposition and Uranus was square to both. During 1964-1967, Saturn was opposite to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction: these same archetypal players were involved both in Grof’s birth chart and were world transits at the time that Grof was formulating his cartography. [link to Grof's chart] Here again, there is another instance of the phenomenon of doubling that von Franz (1977) notes is a signal that something is trying to come into consciousness.  This major death-rebirth theme (Saturn-Pluto) being illuminated (Uranus) was coming to consciousness during this time.  Grof came to the United States in 1967 to conduct further LSD research and to test his cartography, and found that the Saturnian climate of fear and restriction had all but shut down work in this area. 

In 1910, the time that the movie Mary Poppins portrays, these planetary archetypal players were not aspecting each other in this particular way, but other dynamics in the Mary Poppins portrayal chart reflect this same death-rebirth pattern. [link to Mary Poppins portrayal chart] Cancer and Capricorn are known as the "gates of the sun," the constellations in which the solstices occcur, and they represent the death and rebirth of the king (Sun). In 1910, Neptune was in Cancer and Uranus was in the opposite sign of Capricorn. The theme of death-rebirth (gates of the sun) was being illuminated (Uranus) through mythology and religious rites (Neptune). We see this in the above mentioned works by Jung, Rank, and van Gennep. Rank’s The Myth of the Birth of the Hero and Jung’s Symbols of Transformation involved this mythological motif, while van Gennep found this same death-rebirth pattern in rites of passage. Jung's own confrontation with the unconscious around this time also reflected this dynamic.

Lastly, in 1964, I was turning six years old, when I first saw Mary Poppins.  I have Pluto in Virgo and the Uranus-Pluto conjunction was transiting my natal Pluto at this time. [link to my transit chart in 1964] Thus, I had my first exposure during this archetypally appropriate time to the theme of my dissertation.   1964 was also the year when the classic children's Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Rankin & Bass, 1964) premiered, and as previously mentioned, this story is where I first noticed the cosmic play, death-rebirth pattern. Now that we’ve seen how the archetypal stage is set for Mary Poppins, we will continue to see how these themes play out in the culture of the 1960s, and then in the movie itself.


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