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JUNG'S TRANSCENDENT FUNCTION: Merlin, the Weird, and the City of Dis, a course with Mark Napack

  • Tuesday, July 06, 2021
  • Tuesday, July 27, 2021
  • 4 sessions
  • Tuesday, July 06, 2021, 7:30 PM 9:00 PM (EDT)
  • Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 7:30 PM 9:00 PM (EDT)
  • Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 7:30 PM 9:00 PM (EDT)
  • Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 7:30 PM 9:00 PM (EDT)
  • Zoom, Eastern Time
  • 0


  • Members who are Seniors over 65 and Full-Time Students

This program is not recorded.


Being stuck, blocked, repeating the same pattern over and over again. Life serves up impossible situations at times. According to C. G. Jung, we have within us a capacity that can shuttle us beyond our impasses. He has called it the transcendent function. In this course, we shall explore the transcendent function from a variety of perspectives. The purpose here is to awaken our own sense and ability to work with this necessary function of the psyche.

First, we shall look at what Jung meant by the transcendent function, by discussing his essay on the matter. Then we shall look at it in operation through the "clinical material" of some great symbolic literature. In Old English poetry, there is a force that operates beyond our expectations which breaks down walls and sends us on our way. It is called the "Weird." What many don't know about Merlin is that he was a highly traumatized individual who was able to heal and transcend his injuries through a process that Geoffrey of Monmouth describes in his Life of Merlin. In honor of the 700th anniversary of Dante's death, we shall conclude with a discussion of Dante at the City of Dis from the Inferno. The transcendent function is beautifully evident there in the form of the angel.

Class format: Presentation, followed by discussion.

Suggested Readings (available online or emailed excerpts): 

            C. G. Jung, "The Transcendent Function," CW 8.

            Old English poems, "The Ruin," "The Wanderer," "The Dream of the Rood."

            Geoffrey of Monmouth, "The Life of Merlin."

            Dante, Inferno, canto 9.        


I  Jung and the Transcendent Function

II  The "Weird" in Old English Poetry.

III  Trauma and Recovery in the Life of Merlin.

IV  Dante and the Angel at the Blocked City of Dis.

Mark Napack, M.A., S.T.L., M.S., studied archetypal patterns in comparative literature at Columbia University, after which he applied Jungian theory to the redemption motif in medieval theology for his thesis at Fordham University.  He further studied Jung, psychology, and the history of religion at Loyola and Catholic Universities. A long-time graduate and college instructor, Mark has presented at international conferences and his work has appeared in scholarly journals and books in English and French. Mark Napack, LCPC, is also a Jungian-informed psychotherapist in North Bethesda, MD.

Zoom links will be shared about 24 hours before the program start time. Registration closes before Zoom links are shared. If you do not receive your link 24 hours in advance, please reach out asap directly to

By agreeing to enroll in an online program offered by the Jung Society of Washington, you are also agreeing to comply with our terms. This means that you cannot record (through internal or external devices) the audio, visuals (photos), or  any videos of the program. The intellectual property belongs to the presenter, and we ask you not to violate this policy. Also, we highly value the anonymity of the content of the program, of the presenters, and of individuals present in the program, and hope that everyone can contribute to a respectful and trust-building online environment. Thank you!


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The Jung Society of Washington is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, a nonprofit educational institution. Our IRS form 990 is available upon request. Although many of the Jung Society's programs involve analytical psychology and allied subjects, these offerings are intended, and should be viewed, as a source of information and education, and not as therapy. The Jung Society does not offer psychoanalytical or other mental health services.
Images of mandalas throughout this site were created by Carl Jung's patients between the years 1926 and 1945.
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