• benjamin@anewpossibility.com

    April 3, 2022 at 5:29 am

    Good morning, Judy,

    Thanks for asking this question. I’m going to take a stab at a preliminary response, and I’m sure Lorie will have more to add as well.

    I’ll start by saying I’m sorry for the unfortunate recent experience with the 15-year old girl and her mother. There are instances where “to just be rid of her” is probably the best course of action, so I’m glad you were able to do that as an action of self-care. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but it feels important not to take this experience personally. It likely had far more to do with the dynamics within their family system that have resulted in this girl’s depression in the first place. And perhaps, you conveniently stood in as the “negative mother” archetype within this girl’s psyche. Regardless, it was clearly not a good fit, and hopefully they will find the support they need.

    But this issue of an extreme high being brought low is one that we have observed. Lorie’s mentor, Jungian analyst Nathan Schwartz-Salant, who became our friend in the last years of his life, had a theory and actually published a book on this very phenomenon. The book is titled The Order-Disorder Paradox: Understanding the Hidden Side of Change in Self and Society, and you can read the introduction and first two chapters here. I don’t feel it was Nathan’s best work … the book is a bit incoherent, but it does address the question you are raising.

    In our own life, Lorie and I have witnessed this order/disorder phenomenon, and have actually gotten quite tuned in to observing when and how it manifests. We talk about it as the conunctio/nigredo phases of any alchemical process. You can read about this archetype starting on page 136 in Lorie’s book Kigo. Take a look there and let us know if this writing or Nathan’s writing supports more understanding. It will be good to engage more conversation on this topic as it has so much relevance to the alchemical work we are doing ourselves and supporting others in doing in their own lives.