ARASThe Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism

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ARAS Connections
Image and Archetype
• 2011 • Issue 1 •
In This Issue

Welcome by Tom Singer

Participate in our New Image/Cultural Complex Research Project by Tom Singer

Unveiling the New ARAS Online Tutorial by Stacy Erickson

A Postscript to The Palette of Anselm Kiefer by Jacqueline J. West, Ph.D. & Nancy J. Dougherty, LCSW

Calendar of ARAS-Related Events

The Book of Symbols

Explore Archetypal Images Weekly on Facebook

We Value Your Ideas

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This edition introduces three new features of ARAS Online and it is the goal of ARAS Connections and ARAS Online to continue such innovations. The fact is that we have a wonderful internet platform that permits all kinds of experimentation and subscribers are invited to email us their ideas for new features.
Stacy Erickson, the curator of ARAS in San Francisco, has spent over a year developing a tutorial for ARAS Online. The tutorial was designed to guide new--and not so new--users of ARAS through the many possabilities for online research that the archive supports. Most of us probably use just a fraction of the search capacities of our site and it is worth taking the time to read the tutorial as a way of deepening our understanding of how to use ARAS Online. The tutorial is designed to be a practical, step-by-step guide to the best use of the site while simultaneously informing the user about the underlying spirit of ARAS and its method of exploring symbolic material through amplification.
The second new feature is a review of a current art exhibit. For some time, we have imagined this as something we would like to include and the opportunity presented itself when Jacqueline West and Nancy Dougherty approached us with the idea of writing a "post-script" to their lovely article on Anselm Kiefer that appeared in the last edition of ARAS Connections. It happened that there was a Kiefer exhibition that so fascinated our authors that they wanted to update their article with material from this new show. It seems fitting that our first review of a contemporary show should feature such a distinguished artist whose work is both monumental and archetypal.
Finally, in this edition we are announcing a new research project that will rely on the good will and interest of our users to make it work. Again, for some time, we have been wondering how we might offer a more interactive potential for our users on the site. We were not so interested in creating a "chat room" as in getting our users to help us explore the world of images as it relates to issues that have engaged and shaped the collective psyche through the dynamic of complexes. Complex theory is at the heart of Jung's earliest contributions to psychology and remains a grounding concept for many who study and practice Analytical Psychology. We know a lot about personal complexes, but much less about social or cultural complexes, other than the fact that something akin to complexes is very active in the psychology of groups (from local tribes to international nation states) as they try to work through conflicts and recurring patterns of emotion and behavior. Exploring how these cultural complexes come alive in the imagery of a society is a fascinating, relatively unexplored region and we are inviting our users to contribute their images and ideas to this study.
We are excited that our site is so alive with these new projects that we are introducing through ARAS Connections. Gallery reviews, new tutorials, and the cross-cultural research project of symbolic imagery in the complexes of groups are all filled with the excitement of growing potential for ARAS Online.
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of ARAS Online for National ARAS

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Participate in our New Image/Cultural Complex Research Project
by Tom Singer

American Progress by John Gast. Oil painting, 1872.

Many artists create images that reflect the social, political, and religious conflicts of their times--and these conflicts are often the expression of cultural complexes in the collective psyche. This research project invites you to contribute examples of this type of symbolic imagery to ARAS Online.
C.G. Jung's Red Book has brought renewed focus on Jung's ability to express himself in images. He wrote the Red Book at a time of deep personal and professional crisis. One of the more compelling parts of that crisis was the fact that Jung was in great fear for his own mental health and the possible eruption of a psychosis as signaled by his unbidden, waking visions of impending catastrophe in Europe. Jung later remarked that he greeted the outbreak of World War One with some relief in that it indicated his visions were more about destructive forces in the collective psyche rather than the threat of a personal psychosis. Jung's relief at realizing that his own psyche had been invaded by material from the cultural and archetypal level of the collective psyche underlines an important area of concern for Analytical Psychology and ARAS. The interpenetration of personal, cultural and archetypal material often makes it difficult to differentiate what is personal, what is cultural, and what is archetypal. This research inquiry is particularly focused on the cultural or social level of the psyche and how it expresses itself in symbolic imagery. There is no doubt that the imagery of the collective psyche often provides the conscious and unconscious material of artists. Such imagery may have archetypal roots, but it takes a good deal of its psychic charge from activated complexes at the level of the cultural psyche.
The goal of this research project is to engage all our readers in an interactive participation with ARAS Online by extending you an invitation to contribute images and commentary on cultural complexes that have captured your imagination. We want to reach out to you to help us explore image, complex, archetype, and culture in a new way. We are creating a separate "space" on ARAS Online to house this research project and from time to time we will include examples contributed by our users to the quarterly ARAS Connections (ARAS Online reserves the right to edit any material submitted and to choose which submissions will be placed in our ARAS Online collection). Here is a sample "entry" based on the American idea of "progress", that outlines how we would like you to present your material to ARAS Online.
More information about the notion of the cultural complex
Please send your submissions to '; // -->

Unveiling the New ARAS Online Tutorial
by Stacy Erickson, curator of ARAS in San Francisco


The ARAS Online Tutorial is an introduction to ARAS Online and how to use it. In following one example, you will be shown basic skills to help you navigate the collection. These skills provide tools for a practical application to assist you in your own image search.
The structure of the Online Tutorial follows the search through the collection based upon the exploration of a woman’s dream. By design, the Tutorial tends the symbolic in conjunction with the dreamer’s associations and feeling qualities. In this way, it also suggests a more intuitive approach of being ushered across the threshold from the rational realm of the everyday into a receptive state where one can encounter the meaning within the universal images of the collection; symbols that point beyond the known towards the deep substance of life. The Tutorial provides an experience of the contents of this vast collection within a basic framework.
Within the body of the Tutorial, ARAS records--including images as well as portions of the accompanying text--are woven together as they follow the thread of the dream. The unique aspect of the Tutorial is how it poetically describes both a method for searching the collection as well as illustrating various capabilities of the Archive by presenting “keys” as technical pointers to deepen the experience.
The Archive’s Online Tutorial honors the work of Olga Froebe-Kapteyn whose gathering of archetypal images and whose connection with C. G. Jung unfolded into dialogues about emerging themes in the form the Eranos Conferences. Olga’s work was then carried forward by Jessie Fraser and the Archive grew and developed, seeding the birth of the collection on the Internet.
We hope you will find the ARAS Online Tutorial both useful and enjoyable.
Explore the tutorial.

A Postscript to The Palette of Anselm Kiefer: Kiefer at the Gagosian, NYC, Nov 6-Dec 18, 2010
by Jacqueline J. West, Ph.D. & Nancy J. Dougherty, LCSW

Detail of Trinity by Anselm Kiefer

Much to our delight, just as our paper The Palette of Anselm Kiefer: Witnessing Our Imperiled World appeared in the ARAS online newsletter (ARAS Connections 2010, #4), synchronistically a remarkable show of Kiefer's current work opened at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City. A few of the pieces in this show so directly echo and extend our previous reflections about Kiefer's work that we've been irresistibly prompted to create this "postscript." We imagine that a number of you would be as excited as we are to see how Kiefer's work continues to evolve, how it encompasses and re-imagines the political, historical, mythic and spiritual themes in which he is so very well versed. We have not undertaken an overall review of the show, but have selected just a few pieces that deepen and develop the images we considered earlier. The show is no longer hanging, and it can be entered effectively only in present tense. So – here we go.
Leaving behind the rather bleak city-scape of rows of New York City warehouses on West 24th, the gallery visitor enters tall, opaque glass doors to face a large white wall on which Kiefer has hand-written, in his inimitable script, the title of this show: Next Year in Jerusalem. This title immediately summons the visitor to prayer that is rife with political intensity; it summons her to take a deep breath and enter into a state of being that is at one and the same moment both sacred and profane, historical and eternal, intellectual and emotional, conscious and unconscious.
With this induction, the visitor walks down a stark, white-walled hallway that opens into a huge warehouse expanse thickly populated by Kiefer's works – including numerous, very large three dimensional pieces encased in tall glass vitrines. An impressively large metal container, reminiscent of a train car, is parked obstinately in the middle of these tall cases. In marked contrast to the visually accessible pieces throughout the rest of the exhibit, the boxcar encloses and makes only minimally visible an impressive number of enlarged photographs printed on rather ragged, large hanging sheets of lead.
In counterpoint to the glass vitrines and the massive boxcar, the warehouse walls present numerous complex paintings built out of paint, earth, branches, hair, constructed objects, snake skin – the variety of raw materials that inhabit Kiefer's images. Even before one begins to focus on a particular image, it is hard not to feel bombarded by the enormous scale of the works and how very many of them there are here. This impact is not irrelevant; Kiefer's work is inherently about bombardment and our human relationship to the forces of destruction and creation that express themselves in warfare as well as in transcendent images of the divine.
Read the entire article and see more photos from this show.

The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images


We are very excited to announce that our most recent publication, The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, published by Taschen this past December, is now a bestseller. It quickly sold out on Amazon and many other websites and stores. Amazon has since restocked so if you haven't purchased your copy yet, please do so by clicking this link!
The Book of Symbols is currently being translated into German, French and Spanish.

Calendar of ARAS-Related Events
In New York:
1. March 31, 2011: A screening of two films by Zahra Partovi. REM and The Bus will be shown starting at 7pm, reception to follow.
2. April 7, 2011: New York Friends of ARAS Event and celebration of The Book of Symbols Diane Fremont, Laura Lombard and John Mendelsohn, three contributors to the book, will present three different symbols in both word and image. Reception to follow.
3. March 3 - May 20, 2011: An exhibit of works in glass by Lisbeth Langkjaer
In San Francisco:
1. June 11 and June 12, 2011: Picasso at the Institute and The De Young Museum with Shira Barnett and Patricia Sohl
2. Fall, 2011: Ancient Greece/Modern Psyche: Images in Women's and Men's Initiation with Virginia Beane Rutter and Tom Singer
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