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EHE Process/Spiritual Path ,Spirituality
Record Type: Review   ID: 306

Modern Woman in Search of Soul

Singer, June

This book is partly autobiographical—an account of how Singer found her soul, guided by Jung and Jungians (she is a graduate of the training program for analysts given by the Jung Institute for Analytical Psychology). Mostly it is the book she has wanted to write since her first-hand acquaintance with Jung and his colleagues at the Institute in Zurich. Her aim is to present the path of individuation and the psychology of Jung by a female Jungian. She felt there was a great need for such a book as Jung’s views of feminine psychology were obviously from the standpoint of a male Jungian (as he was the first to admit). Part One is about her conception of the Visible World (the outer world plus what the conscious ego knows, and the Invisible World, which involves not only the unconscious but that of the outer universe that is beyond our ken and even the outside world, which reflects our unconscious depths. She points out the limitations of the former and describes some of the ways in which we become aware of the inner world, which is Jung’s collective unconscious, the transpersonal, and William James’s MORE). The doors to the inner depths that she touches on are physical change, extended physical illness, meditation, relationships, science, music, death and grief, and mind-manifesting drugs. She adds that how one experiences it depends upon one’s psychological type, from the Jungian viewpoint. Strangely lacking from this list is anomalous experience.

Part II is on ways of exploring the invisible world, by men and women, but mostly the latter. In this section she shows "how Jung, gnosis, and chaos are interwoven" (p. 47). [Is not an anomalous experience a bit of chaos?] She describes how the frontiers of science, including physics and psychology, are revealing the invisible world and what she calls the new paradigm, in which the scientists at the leading edge of every field have "moved beyond the old paradigm … [of determinism]. They are engaged in an endeavor to make the invisible, or at least some part of it, visible" (p. 76).

In the remainder of the book, she describes her personal search and what she discovered that she made part of her own life. It is a record of how she uncovered more of the invisible paradigm. She describes what she learned from Gnosticism, not only of the past but today; modern apocalypticism and messianism, including discovering the inner messiah; and transpersonal psychology, including a section on Ken Wilber.

In Part III, Dancing in Both Worlds, she describes spiritual practices that are both ends in themselves and that are revelatory (i.e., they are projects of transcendence). For her, the sacred dance is "a symbolic expression of living out fully and bodily what we understand to be the essence of our own nature and the purpose for which we are here" (p. 153). The practices she describes are sweeping the temple (i.e., honoring the environment); the practice of dying (in which she describes a dream of what it is like to die, since which she has lost her fear of death); utterance; attending to the body; introspection and expression; attending dreams; gnosis and creativity; and meditation. She notes that what these practices have in common is that they "take the sacred ideas and thought forms and enact them in our daily lives" (p. 174). The last few chapters are meditative in nature. Finding the Marvelous in the Mundane; The Unfolding of the Invisible World; The Perilous Path ("dangers associated with a radical change of consciousness"); and The Two in the One. She describes the end of modern woman’s search for the soul. It comes after "she has gathered together all the parts of her from the most sacred to the most mundane and woven them into a unique pattern that is her own … completion comes with the interweaving of the timeless background—the soul—and the repetitive tasks with all their variation that occupy a woman’s day" (p. 220).

Although this is more an autobiography of ideas and concepts, not an EHE autobiography, Singer does describe some of her key experiences and even more those of two of her clients.

Publisher Information:York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1998. Pp. xv + 231p. Ind: 227-231; 1 photo; 79 refs
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