A guest post by Susan Rowland, Ph.D.
We have choices. We do not have a choice about whether we are going to have this pandemic. We do have a choice about how we have this pandemic. Self-isolating is not self isolation, nor has it ever been. Not only do we need people “out there” to put the toilet paper back on the shelves, but the world needs help and we can give it.
A huge part of the threat facing us is psychological. Fear, loneliness, panic are all natural results of the insidious spread on the coronavirus. It is our nature that is challenged, our psychic nature as well as the suffering body. The shadow is out there and in here – for everyone. While there is a material aspect of this shadow in the actual virus itself, it is far more pervasive and unstoppable in psychological form. This is in-spirited shadow and the in-spiration is dark and potent for alchemical transformation.
Of course the coronavirus will transform us and is already doing so. The choices that face us are: do we consciously participate in this planetary alchemy or do we unconsciously participate in it? We are all in this together whether we want to be or not.
So it is time for creativity to get large, get out there and get going! It is time for depth psychologists of the intrinsically creative psyche, and for artists of all kinds to get stuck into the corona-spirit-shadow all around us. We are in a time of unseen acts of transforming kindness of mythical proportions. For example, neighbors on Apps contact and support neighbors. Who is our neighbor in this time? Our neighbor is everyone who can be reached online and on social media. Writers, get you writing, painters get painting and share online. Depth psychologists too have ways of materializing the transforming images of the deep and collective psyche.
This is the time is of rapid, planetary alchemy or put another way of psyche-social and material evolution. We are part of it; we have choices!
Susan Rowland, Chair of the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life MA, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle and her MAs from the University of London and Oxford University. She was the first Chair of the International Association of Jungian Studies (IAJS). She is author of many studies of Jung, literary theory and gender including C.G. Jung and Literary Theory (1999), Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), Jung as a Writer (2005), and also edited Psyche and the Arts (2008). Another recent book is C.G. Jung and the Humanities (2010), showing how Jung’s work is a response to the creative, psychological, spiritual, philosophical and ecological crises of our age. In 2012 her book, The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Complexity Evolution and Jung was published by Routledge, showing how the Jungian symbol is a portal to nature. Susan’s work is not so much “about” Jung as an attempt to develop his special insights into myth, technology, the feminine, nature and the numinous for today’s wounded world.