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News from ARAS
• 2007 • Issue 2 •

Welcome again to the ARAS Online Newsletter. This edition continues the mission of the previous newsletters in bringing you information, updates, and examples of how to use ARAS Online. Neil Russack's classic essay on the spiral is this edition's example of how to use ARAS to amplify archetypal material as it emerges in an analysis. In "Amplification: The Spiral," which first appeared in the Journal of Analytical Psychology in 1984, Dr. Russack demonstrates the art of "spiral thinking" or how to move around an image using all the different modalities that help us come to know and understand symbolic material. It shows how the archetypal image comes alive in the psyche and how one can use ARAS Online to trace the many "faces" of an archetype. Dr. Russack is a Senior Jungian analyst who practices in San Francisco.
If you happen to be an Apple computer user, you might have been to one of Apple's trademark stores which features a "genius bar" where, theoretically, a very smart person is available to answer all of your computer questions. ARAS Online has its own "genius bar" and his name is Jeff Levinsky. Torben Gronning conducts the first of a two-part interview with our resident computer guru to learn about his experience of designing/building ARAS Online. What the interview doesn't tell you is that Jeff is a very modest and lovely person who has the rare ability to navigate just about any technical or interpersonal obstacle in getting a job done well. His ability to think through problems is so fine and crisp that one continually learns from Jeff--not just about the matter at hand, but about the art of thinking itself.
Finally, our practical tip on how to use ARAS Online describes the "search" feature of the site. We have built a site that we hope is easy to use and that allows one to move seamlessly from theme to theme, from image to image, from culture to culture. The "search" feature is at the heart of this capacity to search quickly and precisely.  We hope you continue to enjoy ARAS Online.  Let us know how it is working for you
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of the ARAS Online Committee
ARAS Hint: Ways to Search ARAS
The ARAS search box works almost exactly like Google's. One difference is that the ARAS search box automatically displays a list of words as you start to type. Although these are archetypal themes are ones we've found most helpful in searching the archive, you are not required to use them. Instead, you can type in any word or words you wish to search on.
For example, you may be looking for artwork from Pompeii. Although "Pompeii" is not one of the archetypal themes, you can still type it in and find 66 records on the subject.
We've identified about 10,000 archetypal themes over the years and have used them to index much of the archive. When you search on one of these themes, the first records that appear will show that their "Keywords include" the theme. These are records we've confirmed relate to that particular archetypal theme. Further down or on subsequent pages, you'll see other records whose textual descriptions contain the same keywords. For example, if you search on the archetypal theme "peacock," you will find 149 records: the first 84 are the keyword matches that directly relate to the theme and the remainder are records that mention "peacock" as well.
You can also use the ARAS search to go immediately to a specific ARAS record just by typing in its number, such as 3Mf.002.
Click here for more ARAS searching tips.
Amplification: The Spiral
By Neil Russack, ARAS San Francisco.  This classic article originally appeared in Journal of Analytical Psychology 1984, Vol. 29, Pages 125-134 and is reproduced with permission.

I am particularly interested in the creative healing process which occurs in the psyche of the human being. For three years I had the fortunate opportunity of sitting for an hour a week with a man in whose unconscious the symbols of the spiral appeared and reappeared in such ways as to make me try to understand this wondrous process. Nothing much seemed to happen on the surface, but in the depths it was a different story, and that is the theme of this paper.
Along with the dreams I will describe illustrations of the spiral as it first came up in the different cultures of the Neolithic period. These, I hope, will amplify the meaning of this symbol and help us to understand the patient better. Most of the descriptions have been worked out from slides in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS); for the purpose of this paper all except one have to be given in words.
The patient is a forty-four-year-old male teacher who sought therapy because of his increasing problem with writing commitments and an inability to complete his Ph.D. He had had some short-term psychotherapy ten years before, at the time of the death of both parents. Three significant people, one of whom was the patient's Ph.D. adviser, died within a year prior to the patient's seeking help. He made it quite clear that their deaths were extremely upsetting, and said it reminded him of the anxious feelings he had experienced at the time of his parents' deaths.
This is the initial dream:

I was walking down an old street. To my left there was a garden wall. I could see over the wall what I at first took to be an elephant's head stuck in the crotch of a tree. It was a non-bearing fig tree. I went around to the corner where the wall joined the house and climbed over it. There was a clay finial which was broken in my climbing. I walked across the garden which was mostly paving stones, like a patio, to the tree. I could see when I got close that it was an octopus in the tree, and that the two arms closest to me had been stuffed, taxidermised, and that's why I had mistaken it for a head. The two dead arms were close together and separated from the other arms and I had mistaken them for a trunk. I reached up and touched the treated arms. They had a hard leathery texture and I could see stitching in them. I turned to see if anyone in the house had discovered me in the garden.

This dream was presented in the first hour. I asked him, 'What is a dead, taxidermised octopus doing in a tree?' He did not know and appeared even apologetic that he did not. I said the octopuses that I knew were found in water. The patient's association to the octopus was that it was exposed and unprotected. He said this was how he had felt most of his life.
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An Interview with Jeff Levinsky
By Torben Gronning
The making of ARAS Online has been a bit like building a bridge over uncharted waters. In addition to the financing you need an architect, a designer, a crew, a chief engineer, a detailed plan of action, project management by the day or hour, and someone with the skills to modify the project plan when you run into unforeseen obstacles.
Making the ARAS image archive available in electronic form owes its existence to a great many people, but Jeff Levinsky — architect, chief engineer, designer, and project manager — was key in making it happen. Jeff is a multi-talented computer scientist, who has been a true boon to the project. He graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley, taught at Stanford University, and has worked on many computer applications in education, genealogy, and other fields. In addition to consulting, Jeff is also very active with the Friends of the Palo Alto Library and donates time to Native American tribes, where he teaches the use of computers.
Torben:   Jeff, why does the world need ARAS Online?
Jeff:  First, to make the collection available to a much wider audience; ARAS has many interested users from all over the world, most of whom cannot easily come to New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to work with the images. Second, to preserve the collection's paper images from discoloration and from tear and wear. Other benefits popped up during the project. We discovered new ways of presenting the collection for the users, and we made paths to many lesser-known records.
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Send Us Your Questions
If you have questions about specific images, searching, how to use ARAS, or archetypal symbolism in general, please email them to us at
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