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Groesbeck, C.J. (1989). C. G. Jung and the Shaman's Vision. J. Anal. Psychol., 34(3):255-275.

(1989). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 34(3):255-275

C. G. Jung and the Shaman's Vision

C. J. Groesbeck, M.D.

The study of Jung's life came to be of great importance because of his contributions to healing disciplines. With the widespread dissemination and popularity of his ideas over the last twenty years, his name and personality have now penetrated not only medicine and psychiatry, but also anthropology, art, sociology, and virtually all the humanities, as well as some of the sciences, such as physics. While it is important to understand the various facets of Jung's personality, it is crucial to recall that he saw himself primarily as a physician and psychiatrist who was involved with the task of healing. In order to do this he realised that not only was it necessary to study psychiatry and psychology beyond the traditional confines of medicine, but also theology, philosophy and art, as well as many other disciplines. Nevertheless, his primary influence relates to his desire to understand the healing process within the psyche, as well as his more expanded concept of individuation, that is, an individual realising the full potentialities of his life given at birth.

In his biography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, written in his latter years, Jung gives an account, unparalleled in the history of medicine, psychiatry and psychology, of his own self-analysis and inner, self-realisation (JUNG 22).

It is clear from this work as well as from many others, that he saw himself as ‘the patient’, the one upon whom he wanted to experiment in order to understand the vicissitudes of illness and health, and for whom his understanding of the unconscious evolved throughout his life.

My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality, too, desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole. I cannot employ the language of science to trace this process of growth in myself, for I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.

What we are to our inward vision, and what man appears to be sub specie aeternitatis, can only be expressed by way of myth. Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than does science. Science works with concepts of averages which are far too general to do justice to the subjective variety of an individual life.

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