Latest stories

Is the way of the soul riskier than the way of the spirit?

We have now looked into two of the three marks that distinguish soul-work (psychology) from spirit-work: pathologizing and anima confusions are regarded as inherent activities of the soul, and therefore in soul-work we must attend to them and engage them on their own terms, rather than trying to get rid of them.

Loving anima confusions

I have started to discuss Hillman’s three criteria for telling soul-work and spirit-work apart. The first was that soul-work would take the soul’s pathologizing seriously. Now the second: love for anima; Hillman says that he would not recognize someone as doing soul-work if they “dismiss anima confusions for ego strength or spiritual illumination”. There’s a good bit to unpack here.

Self-misunderstanding and the mirror of Narcissus

A while ago, I have posted some reflections on “the mirror of Narcissus”, a phrase that Tim Wu uses to characterize the Instagram culture of mass self-presentation in pictures. That phrase implies some kind of narcissism. But is that just a vague association with an old myth, or is there a deeper connection?

Understanding (Hillman’s notion of) pathologizing

I have quoted Hillman, from his “Peaks and Vales” essay on the difference between spirit and soul, as listing three distinctive features of soul-work, in contrast to spirit-work. The first of those three is that “pathologizing” is not “dismissed for growth”. But what does that even mean?

Metaphors aren’t for real

I found myself staring with blank bored eyes at the scribbles Martin was making, self-absorbedly waffling on about advantages and challenges and bla bla bla. And just like every week, I desperately wondered...

How Jungian is the “pathologizing” nexus as indicator of soul-work?

In Mysterium Coniunctionis, Jung points to a fundamental difference between Christian religion and alchemy. Both are concerned, according to him, with the monumental task of unifying opposites; but Christian religion finds these opposites projected in spirit (Geist) and alchemy projects them into physis (Stoff), whereas “none locates the problem where it originated, namely, in the human soul”...

More ways to distinguish between spirit and soul

In my previous post, I have discussed Hillman’s criterion for distinguishing between spirit-work and soul-work from "The Myth of Analysis". Hillman has also written an entire essay on this topic: “Peaks and Vales", and there he lists three more criteria.

To be spared from dying alone

They say that the thought of dying alone causes such a horror in the human soul that it will go to great lengths to avoid it — even if it means to break out of the order of things, for a fraction of an instant. Now I’m a reasonable, grown-up person, and I’ve never given anything much about such talk. But lately, I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve come to believe that there may be something to it, that...

Leif Frenzel is a writer and independent researcher. He has a background in philosophy, literature, music, and information technology. His recent interest is Jungian psychology, especially synchronicities and the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious.

absurdity alchemy allegorical style archetypes causality climates dark side death eros erotetic arch fairytale style film frame analysis ghost story style impressionist style intertextuality Jung philology liminality literature magic methodology mirrors mystery mysticism myth adaptation style narrative analysis pathologizing persona personal note personification prefiguration projection psychoid research program romantic love self-knowledge shadow soul spirit subjectivity symbolistic style symbols synchronicities technology time