In this episode of Vital Psychedelic Conversations, Johanna takes the helm for the first time, hosting a conversation with Jungian analyst-in-training, writer, researcher, 5Rhythms® teacher, and Vital student: Mackenzie Amara; and clinical psychologist, long time PT collaborator, and Vital instructor: Dr. Ido Cohen.
As this episode features three huge fans of Jung (Johanna wrote her Master’s dissertation on The Red Book and teaches a course through PT), they focus less on education and the future of psychedelic therapy, and instead get pretty deep; shining a light on an integral part of psychedelia (and life) we often avoid: the shadow. What is the shadow and what is true shadow work? What did Jung give us, and why is Jungian psychology so relevant for integrating psychedelic experiences?
They discuss the notion of the unconscious as a place you can develop a relationship with and access by very different means; the idea of the healer as the container; the problematic binary of good vs. evil; the flawed concept of ego death; the differences between authentic and neurotic suffering and personal and collective consciousness; the archetype of the wounded healer and why facilitators should both be wounded and in the process of healing; and how wonderful it is that society is beginning to embrace the weird and what makes us unique.
There are no shortcuts in life and there is no “cure” for the parts of the human condition we aren’t comfortable with, but in the capitalist, efficiency-above-all-else West, we aren’t raised to sit with the unpleasant, and instead learn to seek a quick fix, which has created an environment where we’ve lost the ability to feel in the ways that we need to. Can you be with someone else’s pain if you’re running from your own? Can you have real compassion if you’ve never suffered? Can you be complete without knowing your shadow?