Lall, J: Making Theory, At Home and On the Road: With appreciation to Bernd Jager


Jean Lall


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In my efforts over many years to stitch together a theory of depth psychology that could accommodate its divinatory and visionary aspects I have found inspiration in the work of the late Bernd Jager, who earned his PhD from Duquesne’s Department of Phenomenological Psychology in 1967. In this presentation I want to draw attention to some of Jager’s insights which may be of value for Jungian studies more broadly, especially his focus on the contrasting but complementary dimensions of journeying and dwelling, of the festive and the mundane in human existence. Jager traced the origins of theory back to the ancient Greek custom of theoria, a journey to consult a distant oracle, to attend a religious festival in another city, or to fulfill a sacred obligation. Theoria referred not to ordinary vision but to sacred sight, the exchange of glances between people and the deity, the witnessing of a holy spectacle, and the ecstatic vision granted to initiates in the mysteries. It also designated the planetary aspects, the way the planets “gazed” at each other as they revolved in the heavens. The path of the theorist led out to the place of illumination or festivity and then back to the home city where the oracular message or holy vision could be absorbed and interpreted. Yet Jager understood being at home – dwelling, inhabiting one’s own body and household, habits and customs – as equally foundational for theory. I will elaborate upon the themes of journeying and dwelling and present a case study of a divinatory event in which the two came together one sunny afternoon in a back garden just off the pilgrimage route in Canterbury.

Presenter Bio:

Jean Hinson Lall, M.A., dwells in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where she is an independent scholar and a psychotherapist and astrological consultant. She is a past member of the IAJS Executive Committee.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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