Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chilies in Chimayó


The chili man, selling his wares.
Courtesy of Dan Safran, photographer.


Another story from our editing days in Truchas, New Mexico. 

Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way


Meaning “only lives when we experience it in and through ourselves.” The Red Book
On Sunday afternoon in the late, brilliant sunlight of fall, Naomi, Dan, Donald and I meet the Tree of Life.

We have sought out a man who sells chilies in front of a shop across the street from the El Santuario de Chimayó. Donald and I had bought a variety of chilies from him two years ago and used them to spice up our legumes and meats, so we are excited to find him again and replenish our supply. 

He tells the four of us that he was a chef in Santa Fe for years, and he describes each bag of chilies with great care. He tells us which are male chilies and which are female chilies, and how to use each. The female chilies, he says, are hotter. When we question him further, he says the actual plants are male and female, the female being taller. After he has drawn pictures of salt shakers on our plastic bags of chilies with an indelible marker by way of instruction to use salt, and describes how to use each, he sells me a cookbook of his grandmother’s Spanish recipes. Later Naomi tells me she saw a recipe for how to cook a goat head. 

Then he instructs us to enter his shop and see his paintings. There on the back wall are beautiful collage paintings of a tree. The colors are deep, rich shades of greens and browns. Naomi declares, The Tree of Life! and we realize that the book that we have been editing is itself a Tree of Life.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Launch Report of April 14 and 15, 2012


Contributors Present: Chie Lee, Sharon Heath, Jacqueline Gerson, Naomi Lowinsky,
 Karlyn Ward, Patricia Damery,  Dennis Patrick Slattery, Jean Kirsch,
Robert Romanyshyn, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, at Saturday evening dinner.

The experience of gathering with the contributors to Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way, was so much richer than I could have imagined!

Several of us traveled to Los Angeles for the weekend of April 14 and 15. The Saturday evening before the launch, one of the contributors, Chie Lee, President of the Los Angeles Institute, gave a dinner for the authors and their spouses. Eleven of the thirteen contributors were able to be present.

For the first time Naomi and I held the book in our hands, as Mel Mathews, publisher of Fisher King Press, mailed the first copies, hot off the press, just in time for the Launch! It was one of those several, practical matters that always make one grateful when things work out. Here was this lovely book that we had midwifed over the last year and a half, and it was everything for which we had hoped—and more!

As we gathered Saturday evening, several talked about what it meant to write his or her story. We shared a kinship libido, experiencing not only a renewed consciousness of our own roots but also of how those roots interweave with those of others. It reminded me of the redwoods of coastal central and northern California, whose roots interconnect until it is said they are genetically one tree.


Henry Abramovitch on Skype from Jerusalem.

Jerome Bernstein, Sante Fe,
 joined us on Skype. 
Eating delicious salmon and chicken, rice and new spring asparagus, we got to know those we had not met and celebrate with those we had. We also toasted our publisher, Mel, and Patty Cabanas, his partner, both of whom could not be with us, for the related, participatory experience they foster through the small press publishing process.

On Sunday we had a full house, one hundred chairs filled. We met in Temple Isaiah across the street from the Los Angeles C. G. Jung Institute, as we needed more space. Christophe Le Mouel, Executive Director of the LA Institute, arranged Skype so two of our authors from Santa Fe and Jerusalem could also join us. Again, we become one with everyone present, virtually or physically, as we laughed, cried, and applauded peoples’ unique and personal journeys of individuation, mentored in part by the philosophy of C.G. Jung. The day was punctuated (to stay in an editor mode!) by refreshments provided by three analysts of the LA Institute. Our gratitude!

We celebrated resilience of spirit and of life; a holding of darkness and light, and of forgiveness and love. I returned home, full of feasting on so many levels, tired but renewed.

Read Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way to join in this celebration of life and become one with this Tree of Life. Consider ordering from the LA Institute Bookstore (please call 310 556-1193 ext. 228 or e-mail bookstore@junginla.org) as a thank you for their enormous contribution to birthing the book into the world. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding the Cover: Flight into Egypt

Join us this weekend for the book launching!  For details and registration, contact the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. CEU credits available. 


Barbara's painting on easel in her studio.
Courtesy of Dan Safran, photographer.

We followed a serpentine path to the publishing of Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way, the book that will be launched April 15 at the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, guided by several synchronicities.

This is a story of one of those: how my co-editor Naomi Lowinsky and I found the painting for the cover, Flight into Egypt.

One morning during the week we spent in Truchas, New Mexico, editing, we were invited to join some local artists for a brunch. The group was a high-spirited one of writers, photographers, and painters. As we sat around a table in the laps of chairs of iconic women, Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo, Aphrodite, we were told that we had to visit the Cardona-Hine Gallery on the other side of town. Later in the day we walked through the tiny village, dodging the ubiquitous dogs of Truchas. We were met at the doorway of a spacious gallery by Barbara McCauley who showed us her own paintings and those of her husband, Alvaro Cardona-Hine. We toured Alvaro’s studio, in which we saw many of his powerful paintings, and then Barbara’s smaller studio.

It was there we saw her: Mary, riding a donkey, imploring the reader with her stare. About her is that White Presence: a lot to contend with! Barbara said that it was “one of several paintings of women that simply appeared.”

As we sat studying the painting, a quiet came that often accompanies mystery. Naomi looked at me questioningly: What about this painting for the cover?

Barbara McCauley, myself, and Naomi in Barbara's studio.
Courtesy of Dan Safran, photographer.
Later we learned of the longtime connection of Barbara to one of our contributors.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Launching: Marked By Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way

On April 15, 2012, we will launch Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way at the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. Authors include Henry Abramovitch, Jerome S. Bernstein, Patricia Damery, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, Jacqueline Gerson, Sharon Heath, Jean Kirsch, Chie Lee, Naomi Lowinsky, Mel Mathews, Robert D. Romanyshyn, Dennis Slattery, and Karlyn M. Ward.

The idea for the book began two years ago when publisher Mel Mathews of Fisher King Press suggested that Naomi Lowinsky and I co-edit a collection by Jungian analysts and teachers. Naomi and I were in the early stages of planning a seminar on Jungian memoir writing, and this opportunity offered us an alternative venue. We considered authors whose work showed an ability to write personally about professional matters. Soon we had a list of eleven confirmed contributors, and with us, thirteen.

There are many stories about the way this Jungian collection found its form. Especially exciting is the energy generated through serendipitous encounters. Almost all of the authors will be at the launching, several meeting for the first time. The two unable to attend will read from their stories over Skype.

One author asked me, Why do you think there is so much energy among the authors around this book? I don’t know exactly but I have ideas. When we write personally about soulful experiences in our lives, energy comes. The stories are a testament to the resilience of the human soul. When we really live our lives, our lives find their natural shape, and fate becomes destiny. In the end, that is the only “Jungian” way, one unique to each of us, informed by getting to know our own inner the terrain and its connection to the larger psyche and world. This is what Jung modeled for us in the recently released The Red Book.

Not only are these personal stories but they are also told in context of the collective backdrop of history. Hitler’s rise spread analytical psychology throughout the world as Russian and German Jewish refugees fled Europe to Israel, United States, and Mexico. Some of these stories describe meaningful paths in the wake of such pain, chaos, and horror. Several paths evolved from life threatening illnesses and/or an early personal loss and descent, processed in poetry, dance, music, writing. Tensions are described as individuals suffer the poles of academia and art. Inner and outer teachers and mentors arrive, among these, C. G. Jung. Often the person is first introduced to Jung through Memories, Dreams, Reflections, or Man and His Symbols. A common theme is the courage to be open to direct experiences of the unconscious at those times all seems lost, finding a way and new direction through despair. The stories are informative, funny, poignant, and often with unexpected consequences.

If you are in the LA area, please plan to attend and hear these authors read excerpts from their lively narratives. Attached is a link to the location and time.

If you cannot attend you can order your copy of Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way at fisherkingpress.com or amazon.com.