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Rilke's heart and soul were deeply touched through his relationship with Lou Andreas- Salomé. Struggling to find the voice for the creativity living within his soul, he writes to Salomé, “You see, gracious lady, through the unsparing severity, through the uncompromising strength of your words, I felt that my own work was receiving a blessing, a sanction." Was it Salome, his own soul, or both whom he embraced in this sacred and unholy union?
Inherent in every relationship is a strong projection. Like Rilke's longing for Salome, and Jung's and Toni Wolfe's longing for each other, we too hunger for our love, our innamorata to awaken the hidden life of our soul. At times we do find another with whom we can build a good life, while all too often we unfortunately feed our demons through the "dark marriage."
While we may deeply adore or come to loathe our partner, ultimately the other is a reflection of our inner life, replete with angels and demons. Rilke came to understand these challenges of withdrawing such projections onto the other when writing, "and in between, this uninterrupted outward addiction and that interior existence I can barely reach any longer, are the true dwelling-places of healthful feeling . . . "
Drawing on the experiences of Rilke, Nietzsche, Jung, and Toni Wolff, we will look at the power of such attractions to a muse, and the challenges inherent in such relationships for men and women to re-collect and re-integrate these projections.
Dr. Michael Conforti is a Jungian analyst and the Founder and Director of the Assisi Institute. He is a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute - Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master's Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England. A pioneer in the field of matter-psyche studies, Dr. Conforti is actively investigating the workings of archetypal fields and the relationship between Jungian psychology and the New Sciences. He has presented his work to a wide range of national and international audiences, including the C.G. Jung Institute - Zurich and Jungian organizations in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, and Venezuela. He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings (2007) and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche (2002). His articles have appeared in Psychological Perspectives, San Francisco Jung Library Journal, Roundtable Press, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and Spring Journal, and his books has been translated into Italian, Russian and a soon to be released Spanish edition of his work.
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