San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Years ago, I heard documentary filmmaker Stephen Segaller say that psyche speaks to us using the language that we give it. Every time we learn something new, he said, we have expanded psyche’s repertoire, and its ability to express its needs and desires. Psyche is as hungry for manifestation in the world as man is hungry for spiritual nourishment. This is expressed, as it is with love, through the instinct of our desire. Through its appetite the soul makes itself known to us.
Cooking has become the language of my soul. Like with the alchemists and their alchemical arts, my training in the culinary arts of French cooking and mastery of its processes has enhanced my understanding of spiritual transformation, what Jung calls individuation. As such there is a feast of metaphor and analogy when using the language of cooking and eating to talk about psychological development. My diploma thesis, the Coniunctio Gastronomique, is a study of the process of individuation (in culinary terms). Food, known across time and culture as the symbolic link between man and god, is the medium for incarnation- god becomes flesh through the act of eating and incorporation. Modern man has forgotten this. Rituals, such as saying grace, if said at all, have become lip service. The gods are not pleased with us; much of our food has become sterile or contaminated. How often do we leave a meal full but not satised? We need to live with a better taste in our mouth.
The feast is an essential element of community, offering nourishment through creativity, preparation, serving, and sharing. The feast provides a framework for communion for those preparing and partaking. The banquet becomes an archetypal image for the coniunctio oppositorum. Who is or isn’t at the table is an important question to ask about our complexes, shadow, and wholeness. Dreams at table or altar often supply the answer. As Brillat-Savarin said, “To entertain the guest is to be answerable for his happiness as long as he is beneath your roof.”
Susan Clements Negley, Jungian Analyst has a private practice in San Antonio. She graduated from the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris in 1975 and had a first career cooking in restaurants in New Orleans and Houston, returning to San Antonio to open a catering business and later a restaurant. Susan began her training in the Texas Seminar of the Inter- Regional Society of Jungian Analysts in 2000. Her thesis: The Coniunctio Gastonomique: A Study in the Process of Individuation in Culinary Terms charts the mythic and alchemical underpinnings of this journey from the professional kitchen to the symbolic kitchen, the Psyche, where there is always something cooking.
When & Where
Jung Society of Austin
The Jung Society of Austin, an educational, all-volunteer, non-profit organization that has been in continuous existence since 1985, was formed by interested laypeople who wished to provide Austin and its surrounding communities with a gathering place where anyone seeking to learn more about Jungian psychology and related concepts could meet, communicate, and learn with other like-minded individuals. For thirty years, the Jung Society of Austin has offered lectures, classes, workshops, trips, film series and a variety of special events for people interested in exploring issues of psychological and spiritual development in a secular environment. The majority of classes, workshops and lectures are open to the general public; many programs offer counseling professionals opportunities for the continuing education credits they need for their professional certifications.