Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Deborah Bryon - Participation Mystique in Peruvian Shamanism

Chapter excerpt from Deborah Bryon (2014). Participation Mystique in Peruvian Shamanism, Chapter 7 in Mark Winborn (Ed.). Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond. Fisher King Press, 2014.

The psychological organization of the underlying "participation mystique dynamic that is most frequently manifested within the context the modern world is not the same as the experience in indigenous cultures, and therefore does not hold the same meaning. This is because the etiology of the phenomenon is dependent upon and a direct byproduct of the existing collective cultural experience.

In any culture, the information that we distill from our experience shapes the way we will perceive and interact with our environment, informing the assumptions we make, and ultimately creating the narrative we form about the world. Although the intrapsychic developmental process itself is the same during infancy, the content of our individual experience – largely dependent upon cultural context - creates a feedback loop that then forms the structure of our processing style in adulthood. In adulthood, we learn how to learn by creating a bidirectional exchange between method and content – what we learn determines how we will approach learning in the future.

For example, the approach I am taking in my explanation of this subject matter is very different from the tactic a Q’ero medicine person would most likely use. I am thinking, using a method of differentiation to form a conceptualization in an effort to try to understand the dissimilarities in how we process as a function of culture. A Q’ero medicine person would take in the experience phenomenologically, allowing it to stand on its own without interpretation. The difference wouldn’t matter because they would be focused on the experience of the connection itself.

The Q’ero grow up in a village community called an ayllu, and depend on their physical endurance and the support of their ayllu to survive. Living in close contact with the simplicity of nature is very different from spend days existing, in the comforts of modern living; a kind of virtual world comprised of automobiles, air conditioning, television, digital music, cell phones, and computers. While providing convenience and comfort, these modern accommodations insulate us from the natural rhythms of life associated with manual work, changes in weather patterns, communal gathering, and non-mechanized travel.

Peruvian medicine people, who refer to themselves as p’aqos, perceive and experience the world the world primarily through their senses using their bodies. P’aqos track everything going on around them – whether it is noticing the movement of Apucheen, a condor flying overhead as a manifestation from the spirit world, discovering a quiya, or sacred stone, laying in their path, or noticing a tingling sensation in their bodies when they are sitting on a waka, or power spot." (pp. 149-150)

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Full sample chapter available at the Fisher King Press link.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Call for Papers - 3rd European Conference in Analytical Psychology


3rd European Conference in Analytical Psychology, Trieste, Italy
Thursday 27 August 2015 - Sunday 30 August 2015

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Michael Eigen - Variants of Mystical Participation

Chapter excerpt from Michael Eigen (2014). Variants of Mystical Participation, Chapter 5 in Mark Winborn (Ed.). Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond. Fisher King Press, 2014.

"Mystical participation - is it a state that underlies experience? Can we better say it is a dimension of experience or sets of dimensions, rather than situate it below-above or earlier-later? What you and I might mean by mystical or participation or related terms may not be the same. I am not sure what I mean but loosely refer to something sensed. It may occur in varied affective keys: dread, awe, love, heaven, hell, joy, ecstasy, horror, hope, hate. Yes there are hate frenzies, hate ecstasies, hate unions. Destructive as well as creative mystical participations.There are those who say that destructive union is part of creativeness.

Dimensions plural. Mystics speak of going through many doors, worlds, gates. Beatrice in Dante’s heaven goes from one heaven through another. Heaven keeps opening. Invagination is often an implied image. In my early twenties, after a physical intervention by a somatic therapist he asked how I felt and I spoke the truth: "I feel like a vagina." My whole body became vaginal. His paranoid aspect came to the fore and said, "How do you know how a vagina feels?" At that moment, in my experience, I was one.

A vaginal self - a vaginal body. A Lacanian might say imaginary vagina. One could give a gender analysis and rake me over the coals for my biases. What can I say? In my mind, my body vagina. Hallucination? Can the body hallucinate? Yes, it can. Was it hallucinating then? At the moment, I didn’t care. It was wonderful.

Winnicott speaks of positive aspects of illusion and puts in that category much art and religious experience. Beneficial, enriching illusions. Not at all divorced from truth. They enlarge the domain of emotional or perceptual truth. In my case, to experience my body that way stayed with me the rest of my life. More it opened a gate of experiencing that has grown since then. Once touched, such moments make you aware of possibilities that can undergo development." (pp. 130-131)

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Full sample chapter available at the Fisher King Press link.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thomas Ogden - Fear of Breakdown and the Unlived Life

Abstract: Winnicott's Fear of breakdown is an unfinished work that requires that the reader be not only a reader, but also a writer of this work which often gestures toward meaning as opposed to presenting fully developed ideas. The author's understanding of the often confusing, sometimes opaque, argument of Winnicott's paper is as follows. In infancy there occurs a breakdown in the mother–infant tie that forces the infant to take on, by himself, emotional events that he is unable to manage. He short-circuits his experience of primitive agony by generating defense organizations that are psychotic in nature, i.e. they substitute self-created inner reality for external reality, thus foreclosing his actually experiencing critical life events. By not experiencing the breakdown of the mother–infant tie when it occurred in infancy, the individual creates a psychological state in which he lives in fear of a breakdown that has already happened, but which he did not experience. The author extends Winnicott's thinking by suggesting that the driving force of the patient's need to find the source of his fear is his feeling that parts of himself are missing and that he must find them if he is to become whole. What remains of his life feels to him like a life that is mostly an unlived life.

Thomas Ogden (2014). "Fear of Breakdown and the Unlived Life," International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Volume 95Issue 2pages 205–223.