-Entelechy: Acorn To Oak
Relevant notes on Entelechy (Click)–the Aristotelian principle of “Endings within Beginnings” and the guiding principle behind Rosengarten’s Tarot of the Nine Paths (See “The Hermit Effect”).
Relevant notes on Entelechy (Click)–the Aristotelian principle of “Endings within Beginnings” and the guiding principle behind Rosengarten’s Tarot of the Nine Paths (See “The Hermit Effect”).
View Rosengarten’s Tarot of the Nine Paths: Advanced Tarot for the Spiritual Traveler (Paragon House, 2009) including the Complete Travel Guide (click)
By Robert Johnson
Many years ago a wise friend gave me a name for human love. She called it “stirring-the-oatmeal” love. She was right: Within this phrase, if we will humble ourselves enough to look, is the very essence of what human love is, and it shows us the principal differences between human love and romance.
Stirring the oatmeal is a humble act—not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks; earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night. To “stir the oatmeal”; means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything. Like the rice hulling of the Zen monks, the spinning wheel of Gandhi, the tent making of Saint Paul, it represents the discovery of the sacred in the midst of the humble and ordinary.
Jung once said that feeling is a matter of the small. And in human love, we can see that it is true. The real relatedness between two people is experienced in the small tasks they do together: the quiet conversation when the day’s upheavals are at rest, the soft word of understanding, the daily companionship, the encouragent offered in a diffuclt moment, the small figt when least expected, the spontaneous gesture of love.
When a couple are genuinely related to each other, they are willing to enter the whole spectrum of human life together. They transform even the unexciting, difficult, and mundane things into a joyful and fulfilling component of life. By contrast, romantic love can only last so long as a couple are “high” on one another, so long as the money lasts and the entertainments are exciting. “Stirring the oatmeal” means that two people take their love off the airy level of exciting fantasy and convert it into earthy, practical immediacy.
Love is content to do many things that ego is bored with. Love is willing to work with the other person’s moods and unreasonableness. Love is willing to fix breakfast and balance the checkbook. Love is willing to do these “oatmeal” things of life because it is related to a person, not a projection.
Human love sees another person as an individual and makes an individualized relationship to him or her. Romantic love sees the other person only as a role player in the drama.
A man’s human love desires that a woman become a complete and independent person and encourages her to be herself. Romantic love only affirms what he would like her to be, so that she could be identical to anima. So long as romance rules a man, he affirms a woman only insofar as she is willing to change, so that she may reflect his projected ideal. Romance is never happy with the other person just as he or she is.
Human love necessarily includes friendship: friendship within relationship, within marriage, between husband and wife. When a man and a woman are truly friends, they know each other’s difficult points and weaknesses, but they are not inclined to stand in judgment on them. They are more concerned with helping each other and enjoying each other than they are with finding fault.
Friends, genuine friends, want to affirm rather than to judge; they don’t coddle, but neither do they dwell on our inadequacies. Friends back each other up in the tough times, help each other with the sordid and ordinary tasks of life. They don’t impose impossible standards on each other, they don’t as for perfection, and they help each other rather than grind each other down with demands.
In romantic love there is no friendship. Romance and friendship are utterly opposed energies, natural enemies with completely opposing motives. Sometimes people say: “I don’t want to be friends with my husband [or wife]; it would take all the romance out of our marriage.” It is true: Friendship does take the artificial drama and intensity out of a relationship, but it also takes away the egocentricity and the impossibility and replaces the drama with something human and real.
If a man and woman are friends to each other, then they are “neighbors” as well as lovers; their relationship is suddenly subject to Christ’s dictum: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” One of the glaring contradictions in romantic love is that so many couples treat their friends with so much more kindness, consideration, generosity, and forgiveness than they ever give to one another! When people are with their friends, they are charming, helpful, and courteous. But when they come home, they often vent all their anger, resentments, moods, and frustrations on each other. Strangely, they treat their friends better than they do each other.
When two people are “in love,” people commonly say that they are :more than just friends.” <pst [ep[;e think that being “in love” is a much more intimate, much more “meaningful” relationship than “mere” friendship. Why, then, do couples refuse each other the selfless love, the kindness and good will, that they readily give to their friends? People can’t ask of their friends that they carry all their projections, be scapegoats for all their moods, keep them feeling happy, and make life complete for them. Why do couples impose these demands on each other? Because the cult of romance teaches us that we have the right to expect that all our projections will be borne—all our desires satisfied, and all our fantasies made to come true—in the person we are “in love” with. In one of the Hindu rites of marriage, the bride and groom make to each other a solemn statement “You will be my best friend.” Western couples need to learn to be friends, to live with each other in a spirit of friendship, to take the quality of friendship as a guide through the tangles we have made of love.
SEE DR. ROSENGARTEN’S VIDEO ON PSYCHOLOGICAL TAROT: A PSYCHOSPIRITUAL APPROACH TO THERAPY (CLICK)
What experts have said about Tarot and Psychology: Spectrums of Possibility:
“A deliciously rich exploration of the Tarot. Never have I seen the Tarot’s deep wealth of meaning uncovered and explained with such skilled and loving intelligence.”
-Allan Combs, author of Synchronicity: Science,
Myth, and the Trickster and The Radiance of Being
“Arthur Rosengarten’s Tarot And Psychology: Spectrums of Possibility joins Sally Nichols’ Jung and Tarot and Irene Gad’s Tarot and Individuation as the third major book on Tarot from a Jungian perspective. Spectrums of Possibility combines moving case studies with practical details of exactly how Tarot can be used as a therapeutic tool. There are no apologies here for his acceptance of Tarot as a divinatory tool; instead Rosengarten tries to show even skeptics how divination is rooted in the synchronistic coming together of a questioner’s need with the layout of the Tarot.
More than any other book to date, it also provides a deep theoretical examination of how this synchronicity is inherent in the archetypal symbolism of the Tarot. An important and useful book.”
– Robin Robertson, Ph.D., author of Jungian Archetypes
“What happens when psychic arts meet scientific methodologies, when prediction marries meaning, when image and empiricism come together? In this radical breakthrough and brilliant masterwork, Art Rosengarten merges Tarot’s 600 years of psycho-socio-cultural symbol-encoding with the newer discipline of psychology…I predict a major success, and a turning point for Tarot as well as for psychologists who pioneer the use of this demonstrably valuable resource.”
– Mary K. Greer, author of Tarot For Your Self, Tarot Mirrors, and Tarot Constellations
Click to hear an interview on Shrinkrap Radio with Dr. Art Rosengarten on the subject of Tarot and Psychology
Know Your Jungian Personality Type, that is. It will help you better understand your own personality tendencies, style, strengths and weaknesses as well as areas for growth, improvement, or greater self-acceptance. It will also give you critical insight into the personality tendencies and style of people you are in relationship with, and better ways to communicate with them.
Your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Take this free online Jungian Typology Test based on MBTI (Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator) to learn more about your natural personality style. A useful tool in in both individual or couples therapy to help understand important thinking styles, similarities and differences.
NOTE: There are no “right or wrong” answers; if you’re not sure which response is more accurate, go with the answer you feel best reflects who you’ve been over the past year or who you are at rest. This survey is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the most widely-used type test in the world. It is not meant to label or reduce your full complexity and individuality. It gives important information about how you tend to perceive events, approach social situations, your strengths and weaknesses, and decision-making styles. If coming in for counseling, bring your results into our session and we can discuss them further.
As an example, below are Dr. Rosengarten’s MBTI results/profile after recently taking this test:
Idealist: Portrait of the Counselor (INFJ) Introverted Intuitive Feeling Type with a Preference for Judgment
Counselors have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential. Although they are happy working at jobs (such as writing) that require solitude and close attention, Counselors do quite well with individuals or groups of people, provided that the personal interactions are not superficial, and that they find some quiet, private time every now and then to recharge their batteries. Counselors are both kind and positive in their handling of others; they are great listeners and seem naturally interested in helping people with their personal problems. Not usually visible leaders, Counselors prefer to work intensely with those close to them, especially on a one-to-one basis, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes.
Counselors are scarce, little more than one percent of the population, and can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except with their loved ones. They are highly private people, with an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that Counselors are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
Counselors tend to work effectively in organizations. They value staff harmony and make every effort to help an organization run smoothly and pleasantly. They understand and use human systems creatively, and are good at consulting and cooperating with others. As employees or employers,Counselors are concerned with people’s feelings and are able to act as a barometer of the feelings within the organization. Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language. Their great talent for language-both written and spoken-is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way. Counselors are highly intuitive and can recognize another’s emotions or intentions – good or evil – even before that person is aware of them. Counselors themselves can seldom tell how they came to read others’ feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the Counselor’s remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena. Mohandas Gandhi, Sidney Poitier, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Goodall, Emily Bronte, Sir Alec Guiness, Carl Jung, Mary Baker Eddy, Queen Noor are examples of the Counselor Idealist (INFJ).
In relationships, INFJs are warm and affirming people who are usually also deep and complex. They’re likely to seek out and promote relationships that are intense and meaningful. They tend to be perfectionists, and are always striving for the Ultimate Relationship. For the most part, this is a positive feature, but sometimes works against the INFJ if they fall into the habit of moving from relationship to relationship, always in search of a more perfect partner. In general, the INFJ is a deeply warm and caring person who is highly invested in the health of their close relationships, and puts forth a lot of effort to make them positive. They are valued by those close to them for these special qualities. They seek long-term, lifelong relationships, although they don’t always find them.
Read the timeless advice below adapted from the ancient Chinese Book of Changes or I Ching. Hexagram 44 “Coming To Meet” skillfully describes a therapeutic strategy that empowers all living systems (including all interpersonal relationships, marriage, family, and work relationships) towards their natural states of completion, well-being, aliveness, and wholeness. As a therapist I adapt these principles in counseling as a template for positive relationship growth and change and can help you to apply these basic principles to your own unique situations.
On “MEETING HALFWAY”
“Coming to meet halfway is possible only between people who are mutually honest and sincere in their way of life.” I Ching
1. The hexagram describes a “correct” relationship as one in which two people come to meet each other halfway. Halfway means that both are open and receptive to each other. It must be mutually voluntary.
2. We must maintain reserve in our relationships until the coming to meet is mutual. Maintaining “reserve” is the correct action (or nonaction) during turbulence and communication breakdown
3. Coming to meet halfway is possible only between people who are mutually honest and sincere in their way of life. It is the great joy of such relationships that they are full of mutual trust and sensitivity
4. “Coming to meet” is best understood as a contract made between two people. If one is indolent in performing his part, or has mental reservations about what he is willing to do, the contract may fail. Although such a person may have entered the contract without any immediate objections, his attitude may contain objections which arise only at the time his obligations are to be performed. Such a person may secretly feel that contracts are not to be taken seriously, or, on seeing how difficult it is to fulfill his part, he may hedge on doing it because of some idea that all contracts are subject to fitting into his concept of what is “reasonable.”
5. It is impossible to come to meet such a person halfway and it is better for us to go on our way alone and to wait until the fundamentals of unity are firmly established before we commit ourselves to other people.
6. When we cater to another person’s ego because it is uncomfortable to go on our way alone, we choose the high road of comfort rather the low road of modesty and loneliness. Withdrawal from the high road is the action often counseled by the I Ching (The Classic Chinese Book of Changes).
7. If a person is treating us presumptuously, and if we remind him (or her) of this, he may correct his habits for a few days, but gradually revert to the same pattern of neglect. This he does from egotistical indolence (apathy), something in his point of view makes him feel he has the right to be indifferent.
8. Likewise, we must withdraw from the indolent person, “cutting our inner strings” of attachment to him, and no longer look at his wrongdoings with our inner eye (preoccupations, self talk, ideations etc.).
9. This enables the person to see what he is doing in the mirror created by the void. By dispersing any alienation we may feel, we also lend strength to his superior self. Momentarily, his ego is overcome. We need to realize that his change is short-lived, but it is an essential beginning. The change does not last because it is only founded on his response to feeling the void. It becomes permanent change when he sees clearly that unity with others depends upon his devoting himself to correcting his mistakes. Only then can we abandon a more formal way of relating to him.
10. The sense of loss, loneliness, or poverty of self a person feels on our withdrawing from him is called “punishment” (in the I Ching), but I prefer the term “mindful disengagement.” Mindful disengagement works only if it is applied in the way described—we must consistently and immediately withdraw, neither contending with him nor trying to force progress by leverage. We withdraw accepting his state of mind, letting him go. We must take care not to withdraw with any other attitude than that required to maintain inner serenity, and to keep from “giving up on” him (or her).
11. If on the other hand we withdraw with feelings of alienation, or of self-righteousness, our ego is involved as the punisher. The ego lacks “the power and authority” to punish. The culprits not only do not submit, but “by taking up the problem the punisher arouses poisonous hatred against himself.” One person’s ego may not punish another person’s ego.
12. When a person returns to the path of “responding correctly” (being open and receptive) we likewise go to meet him (or her) halfway, rather than tell him he is doing things correctly. In this way he comes to relating correctly from his own need to relate correctly and we do not force it on him. Our consistence and discipline in feeling out each moment and responding to it does the work.
13. It is unnecessary to watch a person’s behavior to see if he is becoming worse or better; we need only be in tune with ourselves. Our inner voice warns us precisely when to withdraw and when to relate. We need only listen within.
14. It is important to work with a situation only so long as the other person is receptive and open, and to retreat the instant this receptivity wanes. When we understand that this represents a natural circle of influence, we learn to “let go” when the moment of influence passes, and not to press our views. This gives other people the space they need to move away from us and return of their own accord.
15. We must avoid egotistical enthusiasm when we think we are making progress, or discouragement when the dark period ensues. Throughout the cycle we learn to remain detached. Holding steadily to the light within us and within others. The instant we strive to influence, we “push upward blindly.” If we insist on accomplishing the goal at all costs, our inner light is darkened and our will to see things through is damaged.
16. The strength of a person’s ego corresponds to the amount of attention it can attract. On the most simple level this recognition is by eye-to-eye contact; on the more basic inner level we strengthen other people’s egos by watching them with our inner eye. Only when we withdraw both our eye-to-eye contact and our inner gaze do we deprive his ego of its power—“We cannot lead those whom we follow.”
17. Inner withdrawal is an action of perseverance that has its own reward, but only when it is modest perseverance, not an attempt to impress others by getting them to notice our withdrawal. In many situations the problem is resolved, not through any external action that arises spontaneously on our part, but by simply “letting it happen,” through letting go of the problem. Our “action” is to “let go.”
I whole-heartedly subscribe to this elegant strategy of “meeting halfway” as a template for modern relationships. I can help you implement needed changes and fine-tune where necessary in ways. Contact me at Moonlight Counseling (760) 944-6710 to set up an appointment.
Adapted from the essay: “Coming To Meet: Advice From The I Ching,” by Carol Anthony, [included in the anthology, Challenge Of The Heart, John Welwood, Shambhala).
By Art Rosengarten, Ph.D., January 21, 2000.
Like many of my generation, I still hold the Sixties with reverence for its underlying vision, its music and emotion, its call for change and possibility. Such things resounded through my youthful imagination like thunder through lightning.
In the Seventies I did graduate study in philosophy, religion, and psychology in San Francisco, and discovered the practice of psychotherapy to be the perfect professional calling. Compassionate and intuitive, creative and effective, intellectual and spontaneous, how better to align my spiritual and artistic passions with meaningful employment?
I was then first introduced to Tarot in a Graduate Weekend Seminar. Despite my innate cynicism for faddism and fakery, I was touched to the bone by the cards. All questions and answers of a personal nature seemed to coalesce under their spell. I spent the next three years during off hours from my clinical practicums making daily Tarot experiments until my world, such that it was, seemed more an outer confirmation of my cards, than the reverse. Words failed to describe the compelling synchronicities of this phase, and I remained largely in hiding like some protective keeper of great secrets.
Then came the Eighties. I wrote the first accredited doctoral dissertation on Tarot (which I compared with dream interpretation and projective storytelling) and demonstrated statistically the reliability and validity of the Tarot method. This was amazing, but I didn’t know how to estimate exactly how amazing? I asked my Committee Chair, a well-known expert in the field, how my findings would be met in the conventional academic world? He said my study would probably garner more interest if I had demonstrated Tarot’s lack of validity and reliability. Academic psychologists would chomp at the bit to scientifically dismiss Tarot as another medieval anachronism. Even the Parapsychologists (wolves in sheep’s clothing) would likely be uncomfortable (threatened) by a mantic method that couldn’t easily be controlled in their experimental trials. (Technically, Tarot readers are not psychics, but diviners). So much for my noble efforts.
I put the work on hold and focused instead on my clinical development in conventional psychology. Through internships and Fellowships I worked for years in private psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, and eventually full-time private practice which I continue to this day. I took as much advanced training and personal analysis as I could, and received two professional licenses in California. But I was not done with Tarot. I continued teaching, reading professionally, and experimenting on the side. I knew the power of conventional psychotherapy, and indeed the beauty, yet to my mind it paled next to the potentials of an instrument like Tarot.
I felt strongly that the real Tarot has been improperly lumped with gypsy folklore, raffish occultists, and New Age-ism and if it belonged anywhere given its Italian Renaissance roots, it would more likely find its natural home in the psychology of the individual, including Jungian, Humanistic, Dynamic, and even Existential psychologies. Other systems, particularly in this turbulent age of brief, cost-contained, issue-targeted modalities, might also benefit from Tarot’s rich, image-based, multi-level, non-linear language which seems to possess some uncanny knack for mirroring subjective experience. Nowhere does it say psychotherapy must remain dull.
Unfortunately, I could not find a single book that did poetic justice to the spectrums of psychological meaning and healing laden in Tarot. I decided if I couldn’t read it, I would have to write it myself. I prefer not to be alone. TAROT AND PSYCHOLOGY: SPECTRUMS OF POSSIBILITY has been a most satisfying culmination of this love affair.