Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places (1996)

We may well experience moments of happiness, but they are ephemeral and can neither be willed into being nor perpetuated by hope. Rather, Jungian psychology, as well as much of the rich religious and mythological tradition from which it draws many of its insights, avers that it is the swamplands of the soul, the savannas of suffering, that provide the context for the stimulation and the attainment of meaning. As far back as 2600 years ago, Aeschylus observed that the gods have ordained a solemn decree, that through suffering we come to wisdom.


In the final analysis we do not solve our problems, for life is not a problem to be solved but an experiment to be lived. It is enough to have suffered through into deeper and deeper meaning. Such meaning enriches and is its own reward. We cannot avoid the swamplands of the soul, but we may come to value them for what they can bring us.

We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation.

The Middle Passage | Swamplands of the Soul | Tracking the Gods | Under Saturn's Shadow | The Eden Project | The Archetypal Imagination | Creating a Life | On This Journey We Call Our Life | Mythologems | Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life | Why Good People Do Bad Things | What Matters Most | Hauntings