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Whups! I look closer and flip on the light, then blink several times into the mirror above the bathroom sink. More wrinkling on the sides of my mouth gives me the appearance of an angry crone; only with a broad grin does she vanish. And puffy pastiness spooks my eyes, a condition that suggests sleepless nights that rarely occur.

Then I remember my age and sink back upon my heels. For years I have been smoothing blush upon my sallow cheeks before social engagements lest others be alarmed by my cadaver-like complexion. All of this makes me vulnerable to cheerful come-ons to try this or that rejuvenation cream.

After marveling at the youthful complexion of Kate Middleton during Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I looked up her product, BB Cream Golden Glow, she has been touting, worldwide, much to the dismay of the Royals. The compound of water, cyclopentasiloxane, octyldodecanol, dimethicone, and glycerin promises a healthy glow effect with just the right hint of illumination, offers immediate and long-term hydrating benefits, protects skin from premature aging and environmental stresses, and promotes skin regeneration. Just the product for me, I mused!

However, I scrolled down further and learned that a twenty-ounce-jar of BB Cream Golden Glow costs $393.

Yet, my heart of hearts knows the utter foolishness of all of this. Only earnest obedience to the consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) within our shadowy depths brings about this glow. In this daily dying, we find ultimate life. It’s always been that way.

 

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Yes, there is another book out on Donald J. Trump, one that relates this phenomenon to the global epidemic of narcissism—admittedly a disturbing read. In my take, the book exposes this malignant crud incrementally poisoning the human psyche; its challenge is to recognize and transform our individual and collective narcissism—a tall order, indeed.

To facilitate this process, two psychiatrists Leonard Cruz and Steven Buser invited Jungian analysts, psychologists, and academics to contribute essays on narcissism that later evolved into A Clear and Present Danger – Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump (2016). These essays evolved into a multifaceted picture of this disorder, with resonance in mythology, psychology, literature, relationships, gender, and world history. Ours is not the only era that has been adversely affected.

Against this background the authors also referenced Donald Trump, the then Republican candidate for the Oval Office and his supporters through depth psychology’s collective and personal unconscious; in both lie the roots of narcissism, a noxious energy that undermines relatedness and obliterates spirit in any expression. Such clarity afforded me a respite from the overwhelment that had been eating me alive.

However, the concluding essay by Clarissa Pinkola Estes lands the book on a positive note. We are precisely the leaders these dark times call for. Do not lose heart.

 

Across time and space, the fertile ground of the unconscious has attracted visionaries and depth psychologists: the former from the vantage of religion and the latter from psychology. Both access the Numinous. Both compel obedience. Both demand publication for the benefit of like-minded seekers. Both effect substantial change in the community that, on its own, is incapable of producing.

Fortunately for us, there is a seminal study, Experiencing Hildegard – Jungian Perspectives (2012) written by theologian Avis Clendenen that leads the student into such complexities of the unconscious explored by these seekers: evil, the dark side of God, the Divine Feminine, anima and animus, and synchronicity and viriditas (greening).

No matter that eight centuries separate their arduous work, achieved through suffering: pressura (migraines) in the Benedictine Abbess and psychic disorientation in Carl Jung. Hildegard’s subsequent Illuminations and Jung’s Red Book evidence the profundity of these revelations that still draw others toward this paradoxical diminishment and enrichment—within which lie the freshest life springs, within which lies conversion of life.

And fortunately for us, Avis Clendenen will frame her rich insights within multi-media presentations at the meeting of the C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis, next Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, 2016, at the First Congregational Church in Clayton, Missouri.

We are in good hands.

 

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