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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Situating Ourselves

In the "Kaleidoscope of Culture," we can see the same archetypal pattern of death-rebirth—separation, liminality, and return— shuffled and reshuffled, using the “things” of our world, to see more deeply into the pretty pictures that popular culture paints.  It is indeed through the images of popular culture, these shining, ephemeral, ever-changing surfaces that we will look in order to get a deeper understanding of the archetypal aspects of play.







Jung (1912/1972) says that if you want to know the human psyche, experimental psychology and medical texts would not help. Instead, one needs to “wander with a human heart through the world,” for it is here amidst all of the varied experiences of life, among which Jung lists: the horrors of prison, the salons of the elegant, brothels and gambling-halls, churches and ecstatic sects, through love and hate and the experience of embodied passion, for “he would reap richer stores of knowledge than textbooks a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with real knowledge of the human soul” (pp. 246-247, para 409).  Jung also said that “ 'at bottom,' psyche is simply world. I hold Kerenyi to be absolutely right when he says that in the symbol the world itself is speaking” (Jung, 1951/1990. p. 173, para. 291).  Van Eenwyk (1997) notes:


Jung believed that the structure of the psyche reveals itself in its dynamics.  Like the metal filings and the magnet, elements of everyday life that come under the influence of archetypes share in its dynamics.  Each element takes on the particular character or “leitmotif” of the archetype that informs it.  The elements of everyday life that participate in the leitmotif of an archetype, Jung called associations, within which archetypes function as nuclear elements.  The conglomeration of associations that gathers around the nuclear element (archetype) constitutes a complex, the leitmotif of which is a “feeling-tone. (p. 29) ∆RC[in5]

Grof, similarly explains that the basic perinatal matrices are similar to complexes, and aggregate archetypal material accordingly.  With Tarnas, Grof found that the different feeling tones of the perinatal matrices seemed to closely correspond to the different outer planetary archetypes, so, for convenience sake, we can refer to these planetary archetypes as a short hand for expressing different leitmotifs of cosmic play. Again, leitmotifs are musical themes or ideas that can represent different ideas, people, or objects. Leitmotifs add richness and dimension because they can reveal and reinforce different themes, identities, etcetera.


Before we actually examine the cultural pieces, Chicago (Marshall, 2002), Disneyland, and Mary Poppins (Stevenson, 1964)— in order to set the stage—we will look at the time of the turn of the Twentieth Century, where depth psychology, film, chaos theory, and quantum physics have their roots.   We will begin by cultivating a cosmic perspective and take an excursion into astrology. Then we will consider the astrological aspects present at that time, essentially seeing “how the sky was gathered.”  Then we will paint a picture of culture at the turn of the Twentieth Century, and see “how the world was gathered” (metabletics) through the events of popular culture: from scientific discoveries, through the birth of the film industry, getting a lay of the landscape where these synchronistic seeds sprouted.  And last, we will examine popular culture itself more closely before exploring the different cultural pieces, Chicago (Marshall, 2002), Disneyland, and Mary Poppins (Stevenson, 1964).



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