AN EVENING WITH
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Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are. - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
What do Julia Child, the analytical psychologist, and the alchemist Morienus have in common? In their various kitchens, the chef, the analyst, and the alchemist take raw ingredients and, through their labors and various transformative processes, create something sublime. As Morenius has said, “This thing for which you have sought so long is not to be acquired or accomplished by force or passion. It is to be won only by patience and humility and by a determined and most perfect love.”
The psyche’s hunger for manifestation in the world is equal to our hunger for spiritual nourishment. Susan Negley’s training in the culinary arts of classical French cooking and mastery of its processes enhanced her understanding of alchemical transformation, making it more palatable. After decades of dreaming about food, its environment, preparation, and presentation, she came to realize that this was the language her unconscious was using to speak to her, connecting the mundane and the spiritual. The feast of metaphor and analogy in dreams led her to a bittersweet understanding of one of life’s greatest mysteries — life and death.
The ritual of the harvest and the Thanksgiving celebration is the right time to take a deeper look at how dreams of food and sacrifice connect us to our mythic underpinnings and can lead each of us to the questions: Which myth do you live by? What is the lingua franca of your soul? Susan’s thesis for her certification as Jungian analyst is “The Coniunctio Gastronomique: A Study of the Process of Individuation in Culinary Terms.”
Susan Clements Negley is a Jungian analyst in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. She is a senior training analyst with the Texas Seminar of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, where she has been the training coordinator. In 1975, she graduated with the Grande Diplome from the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. Her training in the culinary arts
led to her later interest in the alchemical arts and her diploma thesis, “The Coniunctio Gastronomique: A Study of the Process of Individuation in Culinary Terms,” a portion of which is published in Psychological Perspectives. Her firsthand account of the scene in Uvalde, Texas, after the shooting of school children was recently published in Jung Journal and can be read here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19342039.2022.2088989?src=
She is currently working on Jung's theory of the Persona.
Please note: The material contained in the linked article is very moving, profound, challenging to read, and difficult to bear.
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