invoked or not invoked, the god will be there
It took a lot of effort, however, to convince myself of the truth in the wisdom of Confucius 2500 years ago, "great things have no fear of time". One has to work hard for a long time. One has to learn to put aside nagging fears that, somehow, something may be wrong 'in here', before one realizes the individual is caught up in the world, like a fly in a giant spider web. One may feel sick and depressed with physical symptoms and completely lost and helpless as to the cause or meaning. And then as one looks into the shadow the 'Divine spark' of truth ignites and one begins to see the problem is really 'out there', in an unbalanced, collective world that is not whole. And by going against instinct trying to get on the bus for the ride to fit in with the great herd that is like a bunch of goats -- when we are not even meant to be goats at all, but like true-Self tigers -- it makes us unbalanced too. If ignorance about spiritual growth and how we functionally relate to the world limits us to standing around masticating grass, when the cellulose is indigestable rather than eating our proper tiger food, we deserve to become weak and sickly. Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome (PASS) is a violation of one's natural disposition as a result of external influences, i.e., work life. It is a consequence of the falsification of type (in Jung's typology of psychological functions).
As the ego begins to gather strength with more psychological (including symbolic) understanding and a healthier outlook, one seeks clues as to where to go. The psyche begins to compensate and generally tries to produce a compromise -- namely, to indicate the direction in which there might be some enthusiasm, or where the psychic energy may flow naturally. It is easier to train oneself to work in a direction where one can go more with the flow, like down the river supported by one's instincts. That is not quite so hard as paddling one's canoe upstream against a strong current in opposition to one's nature and flow of energy. Therefore, it is usually advisable to introvert, wait a while and monitor the psyche, to find out where the natural flow of interest and energy lies. And then one tries to find a way to get there, to actually work there.
At a turning point, in 1987-88, I was in Italy, beginning the study abroad programs for landscape architecture students. Before leaving Switzerland, I had been under considerable pressure to apply to complete the Propadeutical exams in the Training Program on a path to becoming a Jungian analytical psychologist. At the same time, I had been under pressure to have a significant portion of my colon removed by one of Europe's most highly recommended medical specialists. I was uneasy about this. I had been told of people who had similar operations, appearing to some as if the potential to let go in areas of sensuality and relatedness had been frozen in time, leaving a rather cold, stiff, mechanical man, matter-of-fact personality. We've all met him as the 'Tin Man' in the Wizard of Oz. I worried that I might be cut-off from such matters of heart as relatedness to self and other people, nature and appreciating timeless qualities rooted in gut sensation, emotions and deeper feeling.
I had returned to Zürich for a coloscopy, when I had what would seem like a paranormal experience, as a signal. It happened in the room where I stayed the night before my appointment, in a separate guest/sauna suite accessed from a passage below the barn attached to an old house in Horgenberg, midway down the West side of the lake, belonging to Canadian/Swiss friends. It delayed my arrival by more than an hour at the surgeon's clinic in the main Zürich teaching Hospital complex. It was for the last inspection before a final decision was to be made whether to operate. Four different electronic clocks including 2 of my own, a Swatch and a Braun travel-alarm, were moving back and forth, independently, registering different times on each occasion, when I got up throughout the progress of the night for the usual visits to the bath before a coloscopy. I observed this several times during the night thinking my perceptions were a little strange from the laxative I was given in pill form. But in the morning all clocks remained at varying times. And the alarm on my travel clock did not sound to wake me up. All 4 clocks were delayed, as I discovered after daybreak. It was winter and I should have been on the road earlier for an 8:30 AM appointment. The only time which remained correct was outside, on the electronic clock in my car parked on the far side of the house-barn complex, which I verified over it's radio as I sped away.
Like several numinous experiences with the unconscious I had at major turning points in my life when danger was at hand, this was an experience of incorruptible, compensatory value. We had been going along for several years with a completely rational medical approach. When I arrived at nearly 10 AM and explained the events which caused my delay, the work was rescheduled during the clinic's lunch hour. The internal medicine specialist discovered my colon (seemingly, my gut level of sensation and emotion) had become so extremely sensitive with pain as they had never observed before in his clinic. It was necessary to put me under general anaesthetic to finish. The entire experience signalled the surgeon, a Dr. Funk, to exercise caution, to wait for some further time and to maintain a 'watching brief', having worked with Jungians previously sent to him. The body symptoms soon diminished, and without medical prescriptions. As both of us quickly concluded, I had begun to change my work environment and lifestyle for the better since I left Zürich and the Jung Institute. It appeared with my Eranos experience and development of the landscape architecture study abroad program I may have shifted to a healthier path which was most true for me.
As I came to understand, later, I was beginning to discover the unique path toward my own personal myth, down the very long road toward my own Christ or Buddha-like nature in the Self. I had begun to move forward. It was the real and the mythical Journey to become that which one is from the beginning, accessing the DNA of the human psyche, the source patterns originating 'in here'. I was no longer attempting to imitate some Christ-like 'role' impressed from without by society, according to some externally imposed cultural/religious dogmas based on a supposed historical fact, 'out there'. The professional 'worldview' may be regarded in much the same way. That 'role' is just another collective dogma externally imposed. We all have our externalized 'religions', or perhaps a better expression would be cult 'possessions', and for many these days the professional persona is it. That's all there is! We tend to define ourselves in terms of professions or job titles, etc. It gives us something to believe in, to get by, but what if it should be wrong, or if work is suddenly removed by recession, redundancy or retirement. We are suddenly nothing, nobody. Psychological depression ensues. In alchemy this is called the Nigredo, the beginning of The Great Work. I had arrived at another benchmark already well into this creative process, which began at midlife during my teaching years in Canada.
Marie-Louise von Franz
Marriage is an ordeal. It puts 2 people in positions favorable to the psychological growth and maturing process, and love is a projection of something we may see in the other person, out there. It usually mirrors an opposite, something which needs attention in here. It is usually a short-term affair of the emotions, until we have assimilated or transmuted what that was, internally. And then another archetype of psychic energy constellates, and so on... are we going to divorce a partner and remarry again, perhaps 3, 4, 8 or 16 times or more in one lifetime? I don't think so.
Assimlating lectures and seminars attended while in Switzerland with all the mind-spinning that goes on, I began to spend more quiet time in contemplation and had walked or wandered on cross-country skis in the Alps almost daily, also learning Tai Chi, Hatha yoga and other body-psyche centering exercises with fellow students who were trained teachers, or in similar classes for groups at the Institute.
At a crucial moment under intensified pressure from this, I failed to notice my dreams were attempting to draw to my attention I might be needing to assist a fellow student by driving to hospital emergency, a medical doctor, who was a very lively, well-liked person and apparently a well-known pediatrician in Brazil, having discovered some rare diseases peculiar to Amazonia. She was studying at the Institute, also belonging to a small group doing private seminars with local analysts on special topics of interest to us. It was just before she went into something like a toxic shock syndrome, which I knew nothing about medically. She had phoned several times in previous days asking for rides to lectures, as I passed nearby in my car, saying she had little energy to walk to the train. When I dropped her off in front of her apartment one Thursday afternoon, she seemed so weak I suggested she see a doctor. She insisted as a doctor herself, she understood what was happening to her, not to worry, she was just a little anemic.
When I dropped by to see how she was the following afternoon, she said it was a turning point in her life and psychological growth process, that becoming anemic had a purpose in helping her to be more receptive and to settle down into her own training process. She had intended to deal with her medical condition after completing the interviews for the next phase in the Institute's training program and had done so and just received her acceptance by phone that day. She insisted she would would be alright and chose not bother local medical people on a weekend. If necessary, she would see a Swiss doctor on the following Monday. Her 3 Brazilian teenagers (not speaking anything but Portugese) and I looked at each other feeling otherwise, that she might better go with me to hospital emergency immediately. But she was adamant, reminding me again she was a doctor and knew best. She insisted it was not necessary.
I went home and the next day, Saturday, was under a kind of state of psychological siege, as my instincts reacted to the situation I had encountered the 2 preceeding days, and in conflict with the angry farmer who was telephoning constantly, demanding work of little importance be done immediately, and on a weekend, while complaining about the world in general. He was roaring away in our common language, but in barely understandable Italian, with many words in Swiss-German and an impossible Swiss+Southern Italian accent he had acquired in the post-war years, when dealing with seasonally migrant farm workers before much of his land rights had been sold for urban expansion.
The farmer's psychotic episode carried through Sunday as well, with frequent calls and demands, where it was like working in an acute psychiatric hospital ward where the patient had the key rather than me. I was not able to react in time to realize the severity of our fellow student's situation, to take my car and go and try to persuade her to let me take her to hospital from her apartment in a nearby town, telephoning her to inquire about her condition and offer assistance again, which she declined. She finally admitted she was really in deep trouble, calling with a much weakened voice early on the Monday morning, asking me if I would get the phone number of the personal doctor of an artist neighbor next door to me, who worked in the psychiatric hospital where students went for case demonstrations. After driving to the student's place immediately and delivering her to the clinic, the doctor, a woman, made a quick examination. She then came out and directed me not to wait for an ambulance, for the woman's older son and me to help her to my car, as she was now too weak to stand, to drive her to the nearby Mannedorf Hospital emergency entrance where staff were waiting.
After checking her in, I left and returned with an older American student in her sixties who boarded down the hill with a family and then discovered they were long lost Swiss relatives. I suddenly remembered at a meal all together at the house it was revealed she had been an intensive care nurse for many years in former life. Our colleague now in a hospital room bed explained, as she began to cry, she had been given an x-ray and had been told she was in advanced stages of 'white lung' with her lungs filling rapidly and would have to go on a respirator immediately, while they attempted to drain the fluid. She told us she understood the critical diagnosis and as a medical doctor knew her chances for survival on a ventilator were something less than 23%, before she was taken away to the Intensive Care Unit. Students were allowed in to visit and try to communicate with her and help nurses massage her feet to attempt to keep her in the body. After a week there being unconscious on different ventilators, none of which worked well for her, she finally was taken in the region's large 'helicopter hospital' ambulance on respirator where there was a heroic team effort to save her life in the Zürich main teaching hospital. I had terrible feelings of sadness and regret and could not hold back the tears as I watched the enormous red helicopter with the white cross on it lumber over the garden behind my farmhouse apartment where I sat in the grass on the edge of the orchard as it slowly became a tiny dot and disappeared over Zürich. Two of the students, Brazilians in analytical training who had known her for some years and were very close to her, also had tried in vain to persuade her to go to hospital that weekend. They had gone to stay with her children after I had driven her to hospital.
Like many of the medical staff, our friend also was a middle-aged doctor. And her Zürich intensive care room quickly filled with tubes and machinery as they brought in every antibiotic and resource they could think of to stop what appeared to be an infection. Near week's end they informed we fellow students there was very little hope, but they would operate to see if they could isolate the source. I then went home and began to get dreams connecting clues picked up by my psyche since she had arrived at the Institute 9 months earlier when she had joined our on-going study group, and then while she related to me her life story unconsciously in rapid fashion in a stream of consciousness on the drive to the hospital. Chung, one of her Brazilian friends was with her the morning she died and called me with the news. The phone rang again and it was my training analyst Toni offering empathy with compassion. In the same weeks as this episode Toni Frei, one of the most respected senior international training analysts, who had been only Director of the renouned experimental Zürichberg Klinic for people with acute psychology disorders had been subjected to a takeover by medical people on his board. He had been suffering through the agonizing decision to resign from the successful clinic he had founded and developed with international recognition, and to expand his private analytical praxis with increased involvement in the Jung Institut's training colloquia and on its propadeutical and diploma examination committees. The ordeal aged him visibly.
When she died our student colleague had been nearly 3 weeks on respirators in care of the most sophisticated treatment and medical teams available in Switzerland. They could keep her alive no longer. When she first arrived in Zürich she had told several of us she had been practising as an analyst for some years in Brazil under supervision of a respected and accredited older Jungian training analyst in a case colloquium. She had been refused admission to Brazil's only training program because she had done her first personal analysis with a blacklisted male analyst. She actually had told us she wanted to get a head-start on her 'next life' by coming to Zürich, and it was a last-ditched attempt to deal with the patriarchy, the powers running the world by getting professional recognition for successful work she had been doing with her clients. Funding was very tight, but she had managed to secure additional support from the Brazilian Government to see her through the Zürich-Küsnacht program. I made a slow, long drive alone to the morgue - crematorium on the far side of the city to pay my last respects and took some very long walks in woodlands and mountains and alongside remote lakes. I consulted Ruth Ammann, a teaching analyst and sandplay therapist who was also a Swiss ETH educated practising architect. I agreed to do a series of sandtrays as a personal experiment to see if I could determine what my self might reveal on my own personal and professional direction. And I also booked an appointment with Jung's daughter the astrologist to prepare for a reading of my chart, to try to gain further clues as to what might be constellated regarding my future path.
I had terrible feelings of guilt, that I had been unable to see or understand my dreams had been warning of a potentially dangerous situation which then developed so quickly. Prior to this episode, our paths had not crossed as our friend and several others in our English-speaking group of foreigners were busy with interviews for advancement to the next stage in the Küsnacht program. I had not talked to her in more than 2 months, although she had been in close communication with several others going through the interviews and the 2 Brazilians. It looked to others who were angry about her process, that she had been confronted head-on with too many personal issues in the interview process and appeared to have become rather complexed, knocked into a kind of 'abaissment de niveau mentale', which was von Franz' interpretation after her dreams had been taken to her by the student's new analyst who had only seen her several times. Von Franz had suggested from her dreams it did not appear our friend was actually meant to die from the experience. I concluded this unfortunate woman had become rather too unconsciously 'in the head'. She was complexed, distorted or blocked in one or the other of the psychological functions (sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition) and was completely neglecting her body and other instinctive functions and, furthermore, it appeared to friends she had been unconsciously procrastinating, letting something like a common female infection go untreated for months. And it suddenly took an irretrievable turn for the worse.
The person in our group who had been closest to this Brazilian student who had been a physician also had a child in Switzerland with her, new about the interview process and was a very earthy woman of the arts with a personality with a lot of empathy and warmth. She was a musician, also a potter who worked with clay, having set up a wheel and a kiln in her apartment so she could continue this work which she found to be very grounding. She had begun teaching other women in the program to work with earth materials with their hands. Like me she was also turning out for anything organized, locally, for bodywork promoting a balance with headwork and a centering in the psyche, such as hatha yoga, Tai Chi, etc. She had been making little turtles and putting a glaze on them around this time and gave one of them to me along with a beautiful crystal from a collection she had. This instinctive gesture in a moment of warmth and sharing gave me something to contemplate over time. She organized a memorial service which was attended by students and many analysts in the Sala Terena of the Institute. She then confronted one of the interviewers, privately. She too had been accepted into the next phase of the program, but was immediately thrown out and returned to America, her only alternative being an even more academic program. She eventually did a Phd in Jungian psychology at the Pacifica Institute, got cancer in the process, but survived the experience and became a Jungian 'therapist', although she could not call herself officially a Jungian Analyst. She later wrote a book about her story.
It was not until recovering from the shock of this unfortunate event, months later, that I was able to see, with hindsight, how my dreams were beginning to signal something. A situation was evolving, revealing our Brazilian colleague was not very grounded in her 5 senses, or in the body, and there was some potential problem brewing. I suppose my psyche picked up various clues, listening to her talking half-consciously as many people do on such occasions, as a group of students would meet in a cafe while waiting for the train, or while walking to classes, where she described several dreams in the course of conversations with several in our intensive study group. She also took nearly 5 months after her arrival in Switzerland to find a male training analyst she felt she could trust. I had become concerned and, instinctively, I brought her and several others into an ongoing class for yoga and other body movement exercises, with meditation, in the Kellershal in the basement of the Institute. This ongoing class, which was cancelled, abruptly, several years later, had been very grounding and relaxing for people in such a heavy depth psychology lecture/seminar environment, particularly for those who had various body symptoms. After this unfortunate sad event, which was very upsetting to me and everyone in the entire student and analyst group in Zürich, and to the local Brazilian community, I had to admit to what I felt was a personal failure trying to get through to someone in a time of need. Moreover, I just could not deal with the sick farmer any longer.
I asked myself, "What can I learn from all this?" I came to heal myself, but returning to a university campus to teach and do research in the academic way of a 'head trip' that was unacceptable to my instincts and the body would be courting with disaster, and this was confirmed from time to time in my dreams over the years. My training analyst, one of the most senior in the profession, was echoing what my whole Self seemed to be saying, as we monitored the dreams. Using the Institute and my own process was helpful in evolving a healthier life and professional approach more true to myself, more centered in feeling. Becoming an analytical psychologist didn't seem my individual way forward either. The training program was too 'academic', too much in the intellect for one who was not needing to be even more in the head.
What happened was that while all this was going on during my first sojourn in Zürich, attending lectures and seminars and working with my dream process and discussing various things with people in all stages of the program, at the Küsnacht Jung Institute during the mid-1980's, my dreams continued with a subterranean theme, whereby in the unconscious, I completed the Institute's propadeutical exams, supervised casework and the diploma exams... with one exception, the thesis requirement.
Few among the modern Jungians are aware the original analysts like San Francisco's Joseph Wheelwright (autobiography: Saint George and the Dandelion) worked with Jung on their own shadow and inner growth process until, one day, it was obvious they had 'become', from within, and were ready to take clients either under a supervised phase, or to work on their own with preference to the Law of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, 'the doctrine of justification by works'. This was in a leather bound codex, one of 52 Coptic translations made about 1,500 years ago of still more ancient manuscripts. The Gospel of Thomas may include some traditions even older than the gospels of the New Testament, according recently to Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University (see The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, also excerpted in Secrets of the Code, edited by Dan Burstein). They were discovered hidden in a jar in a cave at Nag Hammadi, in upper Egypt. The Gospel of Judas Thomas was bound into the same volume as the Gospel of Philip. In the Gospel of Thomas and other passages in the Nag Hammadi codices, Quispel found attributed to Jesus acts and secret sayings as cryptic and compelling as Zen koans, entirely different from those in the new Testament, e.g., the "living Jesus" said:
There were other people, including some well known individuals with inquiring minds, like Canadian author and Professor Robertson Davies, and the American philanthropist Paul Mellon and his wife -- who set up the Bollingen Press Foundation in the USA when they had to return at the outbreak of World War II -- who had gone to Switzerland and analyzed with Jung, as the Mellons did, or with others. These were very 'learned' people. They sought to live more in the service of their own process, the philosophical journey to the Self, in the spiritus intus alit (the spirit that nourishes eternally), seeking 'veritas', or truth, which happens to be the Latin motto of my alma mater (meaning kindly nourishing mother), Harvard University:
Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten what Southern Ontario born Professor J.K. Galbraith had said, in his Harvard 'economics' lectures, his books and in the press, about the wisdom gained from his own 'conservative Canadian experience', as a creative individual at the Ontario Agricultural College. It had been one of several federated colleges which became a part of the new University of Guelph, in 1964-65, when I was in Toronto working on the consultants' team as site planner for the the Master Plan for University expansion. If he had stayed at the Guelph College, Galbraith felt he would have been stifled, remaining forever a local Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics never to realize his full potential in work and life and the international recognition he later received.
My relationship with the University, the School of Landscape Architecture and Director Victor Chanasyk (deceased, 8 February 2006) was very friendly and most productive, creatively. The 2 of us were friends and relished debating various issues over the years. All the Faculty had great energy in the developing years and quickly built the School into a leading North American program in Landscape Architecture, whereupon all things being cyclical, it from time to time suffered the tendency to rest on laurels. This Faculty - program success story also was assisted by very energetic and intelligent students, who in early 1970's came up with the idea for a North American annual student conference for the 50 or so university programs in Landscape Architecture at the time. (A New York Times article dated 17 June, 2004 -- "From the Ivory Tower, Lessons in the Dirt" -- reports the number of landscape architecture departments in the U.S.A. swelled from 57 in 1986, to 76 currently. With 5 in Canada, that's a North American total of 81, not to mention the many technical college programs in 'landscape design'.) The Guelph students aptly called their conference the L.A. BASH, also honoring French Canada and bilingualism. The roster of guest speakers has been inspiring over the years, as LABASH quickly became an annual institution in its own right, meeting on different campuses. LABASH returned home to Guelph several times over the decades. The author gave a slide talk on the present work at the 2003 LABASH at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Interestingly, the 2004 LABASH was held at the University Maryland with the professed theme, supposedly: 'Be the Change', but in profession and in education it seems to be always 'business as usual'.
Following Victor Chanasyk's tenure as Director at Guelph, my inquiring mind and creativity soon became oppressed to the point where I felt, slowly, I was being suffocated. This, I may add, often happens in particular to creative people around mid-life while interacting with their work environments. In the longer run the effect should be positive if read correctly at the time, nudging one forward in life and psychological growth. At the time, in the conservativeness of chill, long winter skies, with a prevailing intellectual ethos handed down from a colder, 'Northern', Anglo Saxon Protestant mentality that had been transplanted in Southern Ontario (according to JK Galbraith), intuition, warmth and an openess to basic truths of a psychological and ecopsychological nature and the academic freedom to share them was blocked, no matter how well one might try, thoughtfully, with friendly good humor, relatedness and above all with compassion. It's simply too easy for the male persona always to escape into externals from any too 'soft' and therefore fearful, consciously intimate scene.
My efforts up and down the faculty office corridor and in the faculty lounge were simply ignored, with an icy silence or a change of subject. There was little philosophical debate, or discussion of fundamental principles, a lot of superficial discussion of things like R-V's and materialism, or accreditation of the Ontario University of Guelph's program by the Washinton D.C. based American Society of Landscape Architects increasing the BLA program from 4 years, to a 5-year curriculum. It may be viewed as an attempt to make up for the non-existant, aesthetic-philosophical, or so-called 'human factors criteria', better described as an in-depth foundational framework or knowledge base for the profession rooted in biological habitat theory, and in other fundamentals in archetypal and depth psychologies, all grounded in universals in step with the latest acknowledged hypotheses underlying the scientific and philosophical view of the world.
The new vision required students to 'spend' a fifth year in a BLA program with an increased list of outside, non-LA courses, and an internship, or a study abroad semester alternative with the latter evolving into a 'get thee away to another university' semester. A rather unconscious wish one would surmise, as if to make up for a theoretical framework in human behavior that was incomplete 'in house'. And there was no discussion of Canadian sovereignty, or of evolving the professional education in Canada to meet distinctly Canadian needs, with a more introspective and therefore deeper intrinsic value based population than its more extroverted neighbor to the South. Canada would be more open to integrating the feminine principle or Yin aspects in education with more Canadians on faculty, particularly influenced by the very intelligent, arts supporting Pierre Trudeau as Prime Minister. And the Canadian academic establishment was inspired by such giants as Marshal MacLuen and others who had been leaders in the arts including professed Jungians Robertson Davies and Northrop Frye. Enlightenment on these and other matters at School policy discussions on Faculty-Student Council was viewed by some with alarm, and almost a disdain for more Canadian or in-depth content. It seemed at the time as if there was an unconscious attempt to evolve landscape architecture education into a pseudo-science based technology, ignoring the integration of the arts and sciences reflected in the works of American founder Frederick Law Olmsted a century before. An integration also was reflected in the concurrently original educational programs at Harvard and at Michigan State University, which were then followed by other institutions.
To survive, creatively, by moving forward in life and work, one necessarily takes matters into one's own hands and resolves to go ahead on one's own. That is if one does not want to be continually oppressed into stagnation in a depressive state of psychological putrefaction, or even physical illness. An atmosphere of hostility developed among the faculty in which there were others with similar sensibilities. Several key faculty simply got fed up and left. Students got caught up in this attitudinal problem as well. And many remarked they had no choice but to put up with it, as it was only for 5 years (3 for first professional degree MLA students), asking how I could go on, staying there year after year. And in such a mechanistic atmosphere hostile to peoples' feelings and meaningful life, to putting the questions of the timeless way of building, archetypal pattern languages, spirit, creativity, the feminine, the Great Mother Earth mythology, the 'Gaia principle', quality, value and values in designed environments smack bang in the middle of the table for discussion.
One has to face politics and the reality of the psychological and biological crisis of soul, living in a world that came to be shaped in such a way that it precisely matches the existentialist world view... i.e., in a man-made environment becoming increasingly mechanistic, atomised, soulless, and self-destructive... a crisis of modern man which is essentially a one-sided masculine problem. Over the years the atmosphere, which may be found just about everywhere one would add, caused me no end of stress, personally.
As professionals we are all caught up in a time and culture that is part of a stupendous Western evolutionary project. It is but a necessary and noble component of a great dialectic, struggling to bring forth something new in human history. Each perspective, whether it be labeled as masculine or feminine, yang or yin, classicism or romanticism, etc., needs to be affirmed and transcended, recognized as part of a larger whole with each polarity requiring the other for its fulfillment. A synthesis is required leading to something beyond itself. It lies beyond reason, in a new reality for any given field and for every individual, who requires some sort of initiation, either vicariously, as is more often the situation, perhaps associated with an illness, or rarely by personal choice. It is a creative act toward a larger reality that, unfortunately, cannot be grasped by intellect or before it arrives. One has to have faith in the self and one's own developmental process. One has to say 'Yea' to nature's plan and the great adventure in life.
In Guelph, my collaboration and personal relationships with the College of Agriculture and other colleges and departments and non-LA faculty was very positive, productive and encouraging and my relationship with the LA students was friendly, good humored and mutually inspiring for the most part. Studio projects were relevant, often real, taking us into communities for joint projects with local authorities, or a lot of fun, for example while getting students to come forward with eco-humanistic principles and more deeply felt values while designing a house-garden villa on a country property as a reflection of everything which correponds with one's most whole, most true self. At the College level my insight and creativity was recognized and given freer reign, however. I was given a major role on a committee which set the overall 'Mission for the College of Agriculture for the 1980's'. I also began to shift more of my energy off-campus, to legitimate, required 'community service' work which was at Provincial and Federal levels, governmentally, and with conservation NGO's.
I became a Board Member of The Conservation Council of Ontario, debating government policy and coordinating communication and efforts of some 34 non-governmental organisations with widely varying conservation interests. There were frequent invitations to make policy presentations to Government committees and we also made many unsolicited interventions. I also chaired a standing Parks/Reserves Committee, which reviewed and commented on Federal and Provincial policies and park management plans. The CCO President, George Cadbury descendent of the English Cadbury (chocolate) family took me under his wing and got me involved as a Private Member of the CCO Executive so I could speak for myself, independent from the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects I had represented earlier in the Council Membership together with Michael Hough. Cadbury had retired in Canada after serving as the European Director for Reconstruction for the entire post-World War II international effort. I became very active in the Conservation Council over the years with this encouragement and got other faculty from around the university involved in the work of the organization on occasion. In those days the CCO was frequently consulted from the highest levels in government. I made a number of interventions to the Premier and a Cabinet Secretariat consisting of Ministers and Deputy Ministers concerned with the Province's natural and cultural resource base together with Mr. Cadbury, well known planning consultant Max Bacon, pioneer of the Bruce Trail Association Ray Loewes and several others.
My lifelong passion for integrative and interdisciplinary research, and major creative task identified while at Harvard, of trying to put qualities of warmth and timeless, meaningful character into design process and built environment simply went underground. It was limited to some innovative teaching in courses which I revamped substantially each year, building on experimentation and what I learned from the previous years, and with one-on-one work with graduate students, in a creativity-discovery and mind-broadening, personality-unfolding, mentoring process, which communicated along the faculty corridor only in a very limited way. It happened on infrequent thesis or integrative project committee work that was sometimes received in a heavy-handed, put-down fashion by some of the LA faculty, or often in the form of back-stabbing. My academic C.V. expanded to 17 pages, nontheless, being maintained in University format by the Director's Secretary. As communication on my work effectively was shut down, I was criticized constantly for not publishing enough. It happened in a visciously calculated cycle, peaking after annual tenure and promotion meetings, where it was more than insinuated that with a Harvard background it was my obligation to publish quantities of statistically verified research to make up for what the University considered a weak funded research and especially publication record for the entire Landscape Architecture faculty during the 1970's and early 80's.
I used several short films to illustrate how creative process connects with psychological developmental and maturing processes. To bring the research environmental support context to consciousness -- how difficult it is to dare to question the 'status quo', how society typically treats people doing fundamentally creative work -- in this lecture I showed a Canadian National Film Board feature: Bambi Meets Godzilla. It's a very short, animated film, taking less than several minutes without words (and without any explanation on my part) to illustrate the work of a malingering dark, if relatively unselfconscious, Neanderthal-like mentality. A little deer, a fawn appears. It leaps into a ray of sunlight in a clearing in the woods. It has blinking, soft-focussed, compassionate eyes with long lashes as it pauses to look out into the eyes of the audience. Its newly born little legs are in a spread position as if to lend support to a just born, but well-placed standpoint, involving hope, academic freedom, ideas and what the mercurial and creative fecundity and rhythms of growth and rebirth the adult stag and the deer stand for: wisdom. Symbolically, both the stag and deer embrace the active masculine and receptive feminine principles in the conducting of souls. As the little fawn stands there looking in a friendly way from the projection screen toward the audience a giant dinosaur-like foot suddenly smashes down from directly above to obliterate into a cloud of dust this dear little earthly creature of creativity and fragile new beginnings. Extinction... murdered!
There is a rich mythological tradition full of such tales about conventional wisdom, and how society unconsciously reacts to block new truths and the mercurial aspects of creativity. Perhaps in the near future we may come to see there is an aspect of this archetype behind the human rights abuses of so-called 'religious' extremist groups and the horrible terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001. When we look at abusive methods of a few American and British military toward prisoners in Iraq that have been broadcast around the world we are really seeing two sides of the same coin. And it comes again in publishing forbidden cartoon likenesses of the Prophet Mohammed. Christian and Islamic societies have misoginist tendencies which get projected on each other.
From this 'opposites' viewpoint, we might well look into our own collective dark shadow, to see what it is that, possibly, may be similar in our North American 'subconscious' (according to the intellect-power psychology of Alfred Adler and reductionist psychology of Sigmund Freud), and therefore attracted such atrocious acts against buildings occupied by thousands of people. They were built 'taller' than cathedrals of the past, as if giant file cabinets for efficiency of business and anonymity, with external appearance to reflect a 'light' that may not be too spiritually illuminating. Such buildings and often their surrounding landscapes have become powerful visions of a fast-track, intellect-without-spirit, coldly calculative mentality and global economic and cultural powers which do little for the common soul on the street and have-not regions of the world. We may care to re-evaluate this celebration of bigness, quantity and confusion with such huge, secular erections, and the anxieties and the personal and cultural alienation and poverty in remote and disavantaged regions that are increased by globalism incorporated in such monumental, symbolic architecture... realizing all that glitters is not gold.
As if to make matters worse for me, my course outlines for 'History of Cultural Form' and 'Design Studio' (including a House Symbol of the Self Project) were sent up the line in the university where they were not discredited at all as may have been calculated. They actually reached the President's office. They were placed on a special President's Honor Roll created for such examples of sought after multi- and/or interdisplinary offerings to be encouraged throughout the university and advertised as special 'creme courses' in the outside community. Notoriety was failing me again. My 'History of Cultural Form' lecture courses began to attract older 'mature students' with inquiring minds from the greater drive-in service region. There was some faculty recapitulation when they saw more University dollars might be allocated on the basis of increased numbers attending.
Envy can be a wicked thing and I just kept falling into situations which then catapulted me onto a stage which I never anticipated, exposing normal neurotic tendencies in some individuals, a minor psychological crisis due to a state of disunity with oneself. Neurosis is a mild dissociation of the personality due to the activation of complexes with emotional reactions like a sudden abaissment in consciousness after being 'hit' with new information when an ego possessed by intellect thinks it knows all there is to know about something. It reveals an incompatability of character, with too great a split between the thinking and the feeling function. Yet it has a purposeful end in the longer term, as it presents an opportunity to become more conscious of who we really are, as opposed to an adapted persona like a professional role, or some other aspect of personality we merely 'think' is our totality, or that we should be like. By working through our conflict, fear and anxiety, and any anger, depression or guilt associated, we become aware of our limitations. We then may discover our true strengths, our more gifted potentialities and more of our balanced whole self. According to Jung, it is simply a way for a self-regulating psychic system to restore a balance between functions. It is similar to the role of dreams, but more forceful and drastic. Establishing a connection between consciousness and the unconscious would be the overall aim resulting in a renewed progression of energy in life. It is at the center of the notion of renaissance meaning to be reborn with a wider, or more differentiated, conscious view of oneself in participation with the world with the opposites in play.
My little UNESCO - published and IUCN - worldwide distributed National Park planning handbook, Planning for Man and Nature in National Parks: Reconciling perpetuation and use, written in Switzerland with the help of a grant from The Conservation Foundation in Washington, got me invited as a member of the Canadian Government delegation to 2 interrelated, major, international conservation conferences. They were back-to-back at Banff in Canada, and at Jackson Hole in Grand Teton National Park USA over a 2-week period during my early teaching years at Guelph. The first conference was the General Assembly of the IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature (today's World Conservation Union) an NGO with membership throughout the world which met every 5 years. The other was the Second World Conference on National Parks and I was invited by Parks Canada as a member of the Canadian delegation.
Taking an active vocal part in the sessions and at various informal meetings at these important international, invitational conferences got me noticed in the Canadian conservation network. A very prominent, in her own right, and tireless, Canadian and international conservation supporter, married and in partnership with a prominent Canadian multinational businessman, with factories in many countries and stores in many cities worldwide, several times a year after University of Guelph Board of Governors meetings, began to park her Maserati-Citroen leaving the engine running in a no-parking zone on the street in front of the Landscape Architecture Building. Quietly, but not unnoticed, she would arrive at the end of the faculty corridor and appear in my office to plan conservation strategy and meetings. Being unique, or perhaps one of several in a country with no import distribution or dealer network, this luxury automobile was not likely to be stolen, but it was highly visible to all.
Mrs. Bata had me serve as Treasurer, then President of the Canadian Committee for the IUCN (then viewed more a research arm substantially funded by and sharing Swiss headquarters with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature), for organizing and chairing meetings, communicating and coordinating the work of scientists across the country participating in IUCN-sponsored 'NGO' projects or intergovernmental conservation efforts. The meetings were held in the Bata International Centre in Toronto and our Executive group enjoyed the special priviledge of holding our regular meetings in Mr. Bata's high-tech executive boardroom while the larger group meetings were held in their meeting hall with excellent food laid on. The boardroom was an electronic marvel with moving panels like a high security Pentagon situation room which could be focussed at the push of a button on a particular time zone, manufacturing or sales region and facilities anywhere in the world. In appreciation for my efforts I was sent to take special management courses of my choosing -- social-environment impact assessment for large resource development projects -- at the Banff Centre in Canada's Banff National Park. This was courtesy of an ear-marked donation to WWF-Canada.
These events made academic worklife more bearable as my contributions were appreciated and recognized outside the University. Locally, they were like a fly in the eye for some of our faculty and certainly did not help my situation. Neither did my lending a hand to my brother-in-law and close friend, the Associate Executive Director of the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens NY, on one occasion, with a weekend fund-raiser for social services programs. My contribution primarily was moral support, and in coping with pedestrian circulation and crowd control, faced with an instant overwhelming success during the Great Irish Street Fair, which attracted a New York weekend crowd of around a million people.
I spent many delightful vacations at a heavily fortified refuge from academia, an Italian sanctuary, with my sister's family near the mountain headwaters of the Po river in the larger region of Piemonte. I always helped with the enormous amount of work needed to maintain and eventually with strategy discussions to give public access to a medieval castle rebuilt at the beginning of the 15C, later modified in 1860. Castello della Manta, near Saluzzo, is particularly known for its many exquisite and remarkably well-preserved frescoes. I could never find colleagues to share my enthusiasm for this incredible place, to discuss the significance of fresco motifs which had apparent connections with recurring creative themes in the history of architecture and urban design, and gardens especially. The castle's baronial hall is surrounded by frescoes, which on close inspection were found to be based on alchemical and mythical compensatory themes: for gardens of the mind/psyche. These 'inner landscape' motifs connect with other works prevalent at the time, and have influenced for centuries 3-dimensional architecture and gardens in the 'outer landscape'. This baronial chamber fresco sequence is in a castle (where there are other rooms painted later on) with themes which appear to be part of a larger cycle mirroring creative process going on in the collective psyche, leading up to the beginning of the Renaissance. It was done in 1420 and has been attributed to an unknown 'Maestro della Manta'.
The Manta Frescoes in the International Gothic style are part of a subterranean train of thought stemming from the Alchemy of the Ancients and the late Middle Ages, which carries over into the Italian garden villas of the Renaissance, with important motifs which seek not necessarily to inform outsiders. Rather, they provide subtle and not so subtle hints, valued as 'environmental cues' for initiates in philosophy on the way forward in their quest. One of the aims in alchemy was to produce a universal, 'imaginal' medicine for disease with an added enhancement effect, visible to the initiate, in constellating archetypes of wholeness in the human growth and wellness process, for example, in balancing the various faculties of mind (including the psychological functions Jung later defined), thus nurturing the unfolding of greater personality and creativity.
The environmental cues may serve to inform the lives of all people experiencing such places embued with certain qualities and, at the very least, give weight to a language of archetypal patterns to look for in evaluating the psychic health and balance provided in contemporary environments. Basically, the spaces we inhabit must be places -- with soul, in order for us to be healthy in them. It gives us a better qualitative framework of understanding to attack and prevent such problems as 'Sick Building/Environment Syndrome', with many symptoms which baffle our imagination as to how to get a handle on what remains an enigma for us today.
Alchemy was a non-ecclesiastical philosophy, notwithstanding the fact that alchemists unconsciously projected, and many did hope to synthesize base metals into precious silver and gold. Until Carl Jung came along, alchemy was mostly seen as 'erroneous pre-chemistry' in the history of science. Alchemists mainly were striving to extend the spiritual realm of 'light' by pushing back what we might see as materialism, what they felt to be the heavy and dark world of matter. Alchemy resembles some of the diverse sects of early Christian Gnosticism. It may be likened to sport and the Olympics, where athletes often have to work hard and discipline themselves for years, suffer defeats, and climb up through the ranks until they reach the bronze the silver and the gold... with visible character accomplishments in the unfolding of greater personality. When we speak of the 'great ones' transforming silver into gold we are unconsciously recognizing a process with a bewildering proliferation of symbolic and allegorical images. It often involves exposing oneself to a kind of 'carnivale', to undergo an 'Odyssey' in life of epic proportions. It seems the whole world conspires to prevent anyone leaving closed ranks and the conventional wisdom held by established societies, by succeeding creatively and on the spiritual plane.
The eagle is the incarnation principle of the deity. In Classical times it was the highest god, Zeus. And in the first fresco in a 3-room sequence, the noble bird portrays the downcoming of the god into the field of time. He literally falls down from the heights, on his back, descending into the world of the pairs of opposites, like good and evil, yin and yang, and etc. He is looking down at the world intertwined by a laurel leaf with 7 leaflets. Laurel is an emblem of victory and distinction and also suggests peaceful and sensitive conversation with courtly manners. And 7 also is the number of 'self realization' described by popular sociologist Abraham Maslow who had worked with C.G. Jung, or 'individuation', which is Jung's original term for the psychological maturation process.
So, what does the eagle really represent here? Well, we look above his head and we see 2 things. A golden crown with 5 points on top which is the number of the 5 senses and life's essence (heraldic systems notwithstanding). But closer inspection reveals only 3 of the points on the crown are surmounted by golden balls indicating actual self-achievements in the field of time. It would suggest there may be some homework imminent for this bird who seems to have a very youthful countenance. Above this scene is a banner which encloses the bird's head space in the shape of the Greek figure omega, the end or aim (as in alpha and omega -- beginning and 'end', which is also the purpose). What may follow elsewhere in this castle? The banner turns itself into an acanthus leaf at both 'ends' representing duality and the opposites. In the center of this omega band is written in old German "wand gott wild". It translates as 'what god wills' and/or 'what a wild god' more in archaic German. And so one can see as in all symbolism there are 2 sides, 2 aspects to be considered.
Now, this inner self represented by the eagle, which is the incarnation in you of aspects of the highest god that you have realized at a particular point in time, is really Grail stuff. The Grail is that which is attained and realized by people who live their own lives. It is brought from 'in here' by the neutral angels. The Self is our potential, inner-human nature personified 'out there' as God. The inner Self intends the Grail as spiritual life evolving like the bouquet or essence out of nature. The Grail symbolism is authentic life lived as a result of its own organic impulse from one's inner center, one's true being, while leaning toward the 'light', or intuition which actually appears in the castle in the power of 'word' in a stencilled 'leitmotif' in the other 2 frescoed rooms in part contemporary, elsewhere not, but complementary to the frescoes which have been described. The word is "leit", again in Modern/Old German with the dual meaning also, 'a lead' and/or toward the 'light'. The inner Self is the godhead of intuitive light incarnate within us. If love is god and god is light, then light is also love... also, very importantly, for the love of wisdom... but in terms of more refined feeling and values, and this is the end or autonomous, teleological aim of one's Grail quest. Following the light of the inner Self with intuition and feeling thus brings us to compassion, which includes sympathy and empathy and thus meaning able to function with feeling and relatedness. Also, when we are animated - enlivened and illuminated with intuition and feeling, we emit a kind of radiating 'warmth' which comes from our inner nature. The warmth is for oneself, and other people, and all nature's nature including the anima mundi, or soul of the world. Environments organically charged with mythemes and embued in the timeless way with character qualities from archetypal patterns appeal to the human soul. They are simply inspiring however conscious we may be of detail.
Carl Gustav Jung
The Manta frescoes are based on illuminated manuscripts preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. There is some material also on file in the Mellon Library collection in New York. The main works surround a large Baronial Chamber for jurisprudence and form one of the more interesting fresco cycles of this period, widely considered to be secular. However, when viewed today from the broader perspectives of archetypal psychology and symbolism, we may see what appear on the surface to be unconnected themes as an interrelated network, undoubtedly spiritual and therefore religious at a much deeper level, with an implicate, sequential order in evidence with reference to an initiation process not of the literal, outer world as depicted, but on the figurative level of psychological growth processes common to the inner and imaginal world of the human psyche, as evidenced metaphorically in different mythologies from around the world.
The Frescoes and the process they allude to serve higher development in terms of wider consciousness and conscience, embracing moral and ethical purposes where aspects of gods and goddesses are bundled together within a higher Self contained in each individual human being. The Self may unfold, gradually, into individual consciousness in an individuation process involving initiation and psychological growth in which maturity and aspects of personality evolve, including self-control -- the Law and Order of the Universe -- as perceived through receptivity to the matrilineal or female principle and the individual's inner conscience, ethics and morality one discovers for protection against wayward impulses. It may be seen as complementary, but it is each individual's inborn, originating source for his/her own and external law and order, or such external authority as the person's father or anyone who seeks to impose conventional morality, standard religious principles, etc. However, such external authority that has been imposed in ways which are too dogmatically patriarchal may instill complexes with inhibitions overriding inner authority, where the conscious mind may go too far and may be controlling or hindering the rest of the personality and a balancing of the various instincts. One then is always on the edge of being pulled by a wayward impulse into an enantrodromia, a flip-flop in behavior, thus initiating a Fall (out of the Garden of Eden) and a more conscious balancing process which may follow in the aftermath.
We may see this latter problem playing out in the ongoing debate between advocates of Darwinian evolution and various indoctrinated, North American Bible-belt 'creationist' groups. Likewise, the existence of Muslim extremists who abuse human rights or have terrorist behavior patterns may be due in part to having certain instincts repressed in extremist fundamentalist societies, religious seminaries, or in refugee and terrorist training camps. Taken in its proper historical context, the term jiha'd, or jeha'd meant, figurativeley, a holy or religious campaign and therefore a war against one's inner demons as unbelievers. Its a problem, once again of losing sight of the need to maintain balance with an introverted attitude in segments of society that have become far too extroverted with a tendency to act out, literally, when the stone picked up in the street really needs to be thrown at one's own head, figuratively. One has more success in changing the world by first truly changing oneself and thus setting an example. The savior complex in the hero may get projected into some cause in the outer world by the ego, but the calling which really comes from within needs to be heard as one to save oneself by getting in touch with one's inner needs.
There is a common thread which also may be in evidence here, which led Jung to his 20C contributions in understanding creativity and the unfolding process of the human psyche. The deeper significance of the frescoes has not been appreciated by many observers. The problem is some of the academics and psychologists who held a conference on the frescoes more than a decade ago are of a school of thought which tends to block the reality of a timelessly universal or 'collective unconscious', connected with the DNA, which Jung first demonstrated in his early work: Symbols of Transformation. The collective unconscious contains the archetypes and it lies in deeper layers of the psyche below the societal, family and the personal, or biographical 'subconscious' which Freud wrote about. We are not born with a 'clean slate' as many have thought. It would explain how similar themes turn up in mythology in various periods in different parts of the world at times when there was no possibility of communication between them. We will return for an interpretive look at the frescoes and other contemporary garden themes in a later Chapter. The meaningful thread which connects with garden design may hold the key to the education of future designers able to connect with the Creative Source for design works more in tune with the great Music of the Spheres.
The Manta frescoes had been preserved in the last 2 centuries by Provana-DeRege family, partly with some ongoing assistance with a small bequeath from a New York philanthropist. In 1984, they were donated along with part of the bundle of rights to the castle, to Italy's FAI - Fondo per L'Ambiente Italiano, in an arrangement similar to the National Trust in the UK. The frescoes in the baronial chamber were cleaned in 1989, bringing remarkable color and detail to light for the first time in centuries. When the castle donation was received, an announcement banner was placed by the FAI across the head of the railway quays under the entire interior roof span of Milano's railway Stazione Centrale. The castle has since become the 'crown jewel' of the FAI properties.
Contemplating the meaning of these important frescoes led me to make connections with the 'Romance of the Rose', Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' (which include a reference to the Saluzzo della Manta Castle Chaucer visited on his 'grand tour' travels South of the Alps early in the 16C), the 'Hypnerotomachia Poliphili' and other contemporary literary works having considerable influence on the visual arts. Pondering the environmental design connections and the meanings was one of several quests into streams of research which led me to the study of symbolism, the archetypes, ecopsychology, alchemy and ultimately the psychology of C.G. Jung.
Architect Josè Luis Sert had rendered a squaring off of the 'inner campus' ring road (we also had an 'outer campus' traffic circulatory - diversion road) in green and terra cotta colored Prismacolor pencils, on an approximately 8x11 gridded piece of paper sketched to no scale, as we had gathered around it tacked in the middle of the presentation room display wall, in the 'Sert, Jackson Associates' Cambridge MA office. We were working on a squaring of my slightly curvilinear FL Olmsted-like ring road, so to be sensitive to existing roads, vegetation and contours, a pedestrian - vehicular separation and service access solution around major pedestrian axes connecting student residences on the perimeter of the campus and connecting walks in the interstices. We were working together with Sert's 2 partners, Huson Jackson and Joseph Zalewski, and my 2 Toronto 'Project Planning Associates Limited' University consultant Master Plan design team colleagues. We were in the preliminary design back-and-forth discussions, between the Cambridge firm and our key design team members, including myself, architect-urban designer Darham Malik responsible for new building concept space allocations, and traffic engineer Werner Billing advocating ambitious and rather imposing 4-lane wide ring roads. Other members of the combined consortium all felt 2 lanes would be adequate
Every one sought elimination of former Highway 6, Gordon Street, which had unfortunately divided the campus into 2 parts being a heavily traveled Provincial highway. It was unfortunate our proposal to bring the new Highway 6 bypass expressway into Guelph from the 401 expressway East was not implemented as it favored a substantially heavier traveled desire line to and from the Toronto region angled south and eastward of the original Highway 6 alignment. The bypass eventually built was the 'Hanlon Expressway', to the west, angled in the direction of the lessor traveled desire line to 401 West, more in the direction of London and the Windsor and Sarnia borders. Our integrated traffic solution optimzing access and traffic objectives for the region, and locally both town and gown interests, was not promoted sufficiently by the University preoccupied with a major building expansion program and on-campus construction projects during expressway planning by the Province and City of Guelph. The PPAL solution would have eased traffic congestion locally in the Toronto region 401 - Guelph corridor, while at the same time eliminating the bisection of the present University campus with an increasingly busy, high volume, 3-4 lane major traffic artery.
The little sketch by Josè Luis Sert grew out of heated discussion which went on for several days in the Cambridge office of the Spanish born special University 'Design Review Panel' architect, of the firm 'Sert - Jackson and Associates'. This firm was the special design consultant for the newly amalgamated University's new arts complex in the center of campus, which was to set a humanistic tone and set the character for future projects. Sert was Dean of Harvard's Faculty of Design when I worked in the Toronto PPAL office, 1964-1965. The University of Guelph Master Plan had been my single most time consuming project. This plan, with several design review critiques held in Cambridge MA, took form during the year before I applied to Harvard. I returned to Cambridge as an MLA student at Harvard's Graduate School of Design in Fall of 1965. The much celebrated architect and brief personal mentor and critic during the University of Guelph's design process was known for his influential buildings and respect for sites, as the more 'humanist' architect from the modernist Bauhaus School of Walter Gropius. Dean Sert, or the 'Teeny Weeny Deany' as we Harvard students referred to him, privately, in admiration for his short height and heroic achievements in architecture and for his tenure at Harvard and as a local resident of the City of Cambridge MA who had built a landmark atrium/courtyard house for himself and his wife, was considered a major contributor on the world architecture scene by fellow architects and critics. He had been an earlier associate of architect Le Corbusier in Paris.
The little unsigned Josè Luis Sert concept sketch eventually was removed from my office during a conference when several visiting professionals had used the furniture to store their winter overcoats. It was presumably someone not on the original, 1964 PPAL Master planning team, who knew its source and value, although I never recalled identifying its architect to anyone, or suspected anyone might run off with such personally valued memorabilia. This pair of documents tacked inside and outside my office closet, including the HGSD diploma signed by José Luis Sert, Dean of The Faculty of Design and Nathan Marsh Pusey, then Harvard's President, had been visible mainly to myself during most of my tenure at Guelph, a reminder in darker moments an aspiring humanist and design education innovator with some differentiated feeling and intuition was definitely worth something, especially when my efforts toward better design for human - aesthetic needs was being put down constantly.
Following the ceremony where my daughter graduated with an arts degree, the University of Guelph President, Don Forster, saw us observing the convivial congratulatory crowd from the edge of the Campus Green in front of Johnston Hall. He brought over to meet us the University's Chancellor who was the first woman to be appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario. Our conversation with these 2 learned individuals was as remarkable in wisdom shared as it was animated. Pauline McGibbon also happened to be Honorary President of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario, who's Patrons included internationally recognized and much locally celebrated academics and writers. They were Canada's Northrup Frye, Robertson Davies and Hans Seelye (or Selig? - stress researcher), all from the University of Toronto. From time to time, they attended Foundation lectures by internationally well-known Jungian analytical psychologists, mythologists, authorities on comparative religion, archaeology and other subjects. As a member and frequent attender of lectures and seminars I had seen them gathered in lively discussion with other members around bookstall tables during the lecture breaks.
There was another Toronto CG Jung Foundation Patron I would meet personally 5 years later, Switzerland's Marie-Louise von Franz. She was a gifted and prolific writer who had researched together with Jung for over 30 years. She was reknown in the field of analytical psychology and had been one of the several founders of the original CG Jung Institute in Zürich-Küsnacht CH. Jung's contributions to knowledge were most certainly recognized in Ontario's 'company of the wise', whose members included at the time at least several hundred individuals including these several men and women who were recognized as truly 'learned' on the higher intellect and spiritual plane.
The College of Family and Consumer studies had the beginnings of a restaurant school set up above Villefrance on a trial basis in a renovated older villa with classrooms and newer residence accommodations. It was built as a Bata family investment for use by Canadian universities. 15 years earlier, Guelph's College of Family and Consumer Studies had co-sponsored along with the Ontario Agriculture College's School of Landscape Architecture the 2 'History of Cultural Form' courses Owen scott and I had developed and taught together with one of the CFCS faculty, architect Joan Simon. She was one of my colleagues who got cancer and later died in a car accident. She was married to architect Charles Simon, a former design studio co-teaching partner, who had helped on the design and construction drawings for my house in Arkell Springs area. Having discussed, read summaries and course outlines and understood my work and grasped the foundation of knowledge presented on which it was based, the University Vice President-Academic, with much enthusiasm, went back with copies of my material, to Guelph and Landscape Architecture who's cooperation was needed. The response which later came back over the phone from the VP was most unfortunate... "It is sad, they refuse to move forward." End of Story on the second attempt after going on the creative journey -- to interest Guelph's Landscape Architecture faculty on design for human needs from the viewpoint of psychological understanding et al.
Not long after the second attempt briefly outlined above, I found examples of student work hung in the Landscape Architecture building corridor with references to archetypes on which the designs supposedly were made. But they were done conceptually, in a calculative, reductive, deterministic and mechanical fashion. There was no evidence any of the work had been created with intuition and feeling in an organic and timeless way, or with any in-depth understanding of pattern language. Information 'about' archetypes was being instructed, but the mechanical results were as lifeless as designs made with the usual site design 'concept' approach.
In frustration I had returned to Canada where I consulted the Italian Embassy in Ottawa on what my options might be, especially without my Italian partner verifying my status on a local commune basis for Visa or Permessi di Soggiorni. I presented my entire situation to the Cultural Affairs Attache, a Sig. Coniglio, with a typical, 'classic' Italian education who quickly assimilated the nature of my program and what had happened to me, my legal status, my teaching background and experiences working with communities and connections with old families, the FAI -Fondo per L'Ambiente Italiano and WWF-World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Italy. As his surname translated as 'rabbit' and his intuition worked at lightening speed and he had a good sense of humor as well about this, we made a joke of the fact it was like a confession between the fairy tale figures of the Hare and the Tortoise, in a bar, after the fact. He said not to worry, that time and the Italian State were on my side, to be patient, recognizing I had undergone a kind of initiation in Italy and "You are as one of us." There were alternatives but the best thing to do was to remain with one foot in Canada, residentially. I needed to wait and try to attach my study abroad option to any Canadian College or University. This would be the better way forward as under my unique circumstances the Italian State would be in a diplomatic position to assist me.
A new cultural protocol had been completed between Italy and Canada and with my qualifications the way would be most desireable. I had relatives in good standing from a diplomatic family in Italy going back many generations, with places in Vercelli and in Manta-Saluzzo in Cuneo Province. The Castle commune of Manta had been like a vacation home for me in Italy since 1968, where I had been known locally and had stood in for my brother-in-law at various events. But if one of the several places in Italy where I had excellent cooperative relations were to host a student residential base for university programs they would be only too happy to become my own longer term base in Italy. The State in sponsoring me would sweeten the pot for a university. It would underwrite the cost of my required trips back to the university on State-owned 'Al Italia'. Further, it would reimburse setup costs and some of my expenses for travel and accommodation while away from home base in Italy for non-local guiding and teaching on student field trips in other parts of the country. We concluded my research and understanding of the 'Grand Tour' for foreigners and 'universals' and 'la psicologia Jungiana' were something more recognized and thus respected in old world Italian society, but I was far ahead of my field in new world Canada and, like the Tortoise, I would have to wait patiently and try to find private groups to bring to Italy in the meantime.
In Zürich a decade earlier in 1984-86, I had sought a sabbatical reprieve to attempt to deal with medical symptoms at the C.G. Jung Institute. My gut began to react very seriously as it had in Guelph after a while, this time, to being 'pushed' into the 'academic', analytical psychologist training track, stiffening under stress like it was turning into a piece of Roman, lead sewer pipe surrounded by concrete. In fact my Swiss colon specialist had shown me drawings and descriptions from medical texts which fit this description, graphically. In compensation, as one may see in hindsight, I had a dream, indicating I was like a combination of frigate or battleship, and large merchant marine ship on the high seas aimed at North America, having developed more armour plating for protection of the body and internal organs from stress, and such highly sophisticated sonar, radar and electronic radio shack equipment close to being illegal for a non-military, normal citizen in today's New World, North American milieu. I was beginning to feel the grounded X-ray like vision I had developed enabling me to see right through many situations was making me appear to the unwise like some kind of heavy duty, shamanic menace to their society being the 'unwashed', so to speak, thinking of that old adage: "cast not your pearls". It seemed I had acquired some rather unusual perceptual abilities and an ability to forcefully communicate, emotionally and intellectually. And I had pulled this up out of the collective unconscious by some form of 'Theft' with reference to mythology.
It was around this time in the summer of 1986 I decided to consult Jung's eldest daughter, Gret Baumann-Jung, on my astrological chart to look for more clues as to what I might do. I was determined to pay even more attention to my colon which had been reacting severely during previous years, noting in my journals what was going on in both the interior and outside world around the times it became irritable. I also continued to record and monitor my dreams very carefully in the journals, noting feeling. Some time after this, I had an archetypal dream -- which comes from a place deeper than the personal, or biographical unconscious -- from the collective, or universal psyche common to everyone. It concerned the tortoise, which I was advised to contemplate very seriously, recalling also the little glazed turtle I had been given by a friend when mourning the sudden death of our student colleague. The tortoise is an important symbol of cosmic order and it stands for obstinate strength and the notion of power conjured by its 4 stumpy legs, as well as, patience, endurance, stability, creative fecundity, longevity and above all, slowness. It supports the world on its 4 legs as if to mediate via its body (representing humankind) between the primordial waters and lower, or flat shell of the Earth, and its curved upper shell like the dome of the vaulted Heavens. It thus evolved in mythic thought as mediator between the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell. It's task of supporting the universe thus relates the tortoise to the greatest gods and for this reason was adjudged to posses the powers of knowledge and prophecy.
There were personal associations with the Piazza Matteo in Rome. It has a marble fountain with 4 bronze turtles crawling into or out of the upper rim. It reminded me of the 4 humors of the Ancient and Renaissance Philosophers and feelings about the value of bringing up from the waters of the unconscious and differentiating and balancing what Jung described as the 4 faculties of mind with which we relate to the world.
In Rome and a Villa, one of the most respected books on the culture of 'place', Eleanor Clark writes in her chapter on "The Fountains of Rome", of the Romaness of the sudden little cobble-paved clearing the Tortoise Fountain inhabits and of its unusual beauty in the whole setting. She notes the life-sized bronze tortoises were so valued as to be removed during the German occupation. She described the water moving (it has remarkable symbolism) up in 2 or 3 ways and down in 3 or 4, through marble cockleshells and over the gleaming bodies of boys, whose lifted arms and raised knees make opposing circular patterns through the water. She notes the striking and problematic part for her being the alluring beauty of their smiles... "they are almost exactly that of the Mona Lisa". Animated. These are examples of genuinely original, 'true-Self' artistic expression embued with the 'Music of the Spheres'. Rome's revered Fontana of the Tartaruge (turtle fountain) underwent cleaning and complete restoration in 2005-6.
This is real art made while connected with the 'Music of the Spheres'. It is not merely an outrageous comment on society and environmant mirroring some unsettling, unbalanced state of affairs within the artist, unconsciously caught up in the world, like a fly in the web of some enormous spider (often a symbol for the negative or terrible mother) from a societal point of view. Rather it has the call and the 'allure' of Magic. It is embued with the power of myth which in some mysterious way either reflects wholeness, or suggests the path forward to a more balanced situation, to freedom and to a more whole environment, biophysically, culturally and psychologically. Taking the water connection metaphorically as standing for the collective unconscious, it is like the creative tidal wave ridden by the greatest artists like a Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarotti, or Henry Moore.
It simply means working from a conscious standpoint. It is to work creatively, maintaining a balanced 'state of mind' or being, connected with the body -- and the whole, or True Self -- being centered in the 4 faculties (also known historically as the 4 compass directions, 4 elements, 4 humors, 4 seasons, 4 temperments) -- via 'liminal land' where creativity flows from a well spring, or from that tidal zone which is really between the '2 hemispheres' and the older and lower, 'limbic' parts of the human brain connected with various energy levels, like the Kundalini chakras associated with different parts of the body.
I also reflected on the significance of the giant stone tortoise at the Prince Orsini's 'Sacred Monster Park' at Bomarzo. He designed it with Renaissance architect Pierro Ligorio, near the equally famous Villa Lante, in Lazio, made in collaboration with the main architect Vignola. The tortoise at Bomarzo carries a statue of a woman on its back representing 'winged', or spiritual 'messenger' victory... in mediation between the heavens or consciousness and the depths of the earth/waters of the unconscious. The eyes of the tortoise are staring at another large stone sculpture of a greedy mammal appearing out of a ravine below, ready to devour its prey. It is none other than a submarine form of the great (It) nave, a ship on the high seas. It is the whale, a symbol of the colossal in nature with both generative and destructive aspects, implying a necessary containment within the unconscious where a view of the world may need to be destroyed from the inner level, before initiation and regeneration via a rebirth into a wider form of consciousness with a newly clarified state of life. Thus the symbolism implied by the heavily armed frigate cum merchant marine ship crossing the high seas is not piracy as we would normally think of it. The meaning or intent is positive. Indeed it is timely from the psyche's viewpoint stemming from the collective unconscious as we enter this new 'Aquarian' era. The creative individual(s) embodying the archetypal idea must take empowerment seriously and step up to the task going forward with the self and not allow personal ego and base ends to get in the way. Its one's life task or mission vocationally, mindful of the meaning of the True Self and VOCATUS ATQUE VOCATUS DEUS ADHERIT at the top of this Chapter Page, and again the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, particularly:
Grounding the above intuitive leap then, the transformation of the tortoise into a zither which emits music, like poetry, a language which calls up emotions -- which eventually may be transformed into spirit, or feeling together with higher intellect -- would epitomize the Art of Alchemy. And we may regard the tortoise as 'the symbol of the raw material of the Art'. The tortoise belongs to Saturn's line like lead, the prima materia of the Work, which may begin, accompanied by some form of psychological depression which may signal its time has come and/or the process may be overdo and blocked. Chinese alchemists saw the tortoise as 'the starting point of the development'. Rather than signalling a period of chthonian involution or regression, on the contrary, we may see the tortoise is on the true path forward in life, toward the beginning of the spiritualization of matter, its goal symbolized by the wings.
The Roman Philosopher and man of letters, Pliny the Elder regarded the flesh of the tortoise as 'a salutory antidote to Poison', attributing to it the properties of 'a preservative against witchcraft', or evil. All antidotes carry in them a poisonous characteristic and Heremetic (Gk Hermes/Roman Mercurius) philosophers regarded the tortoise as an epitome of the alchemical Work. Thus by biting off a little poison as an antidote or cure it contributes to a psychological death to cure a one-sided attitude or view of the world. And it is said that Mercury gains the infinite wealth as the Philosopher's Stone accords. In the traditions of Hinduism, the tortoise's withdrawal into its shell is an image of the highest spiritual significance. It is a symbol of involution and return to the primeval state to refind a basic spiritual attitude. The head coming forward out of the shell, with obvious phallic significance of the masculine principle, the logos, would symbolize a return to society and the outer landscape with a more grounded 5-senses function brought into consciousness enabling also more refined feeling, higher intellect and, above all, intuition... all centered in the body.
From the alchemical viewpoint, the tortoise then symbolizes matter at the beginning of an evolutionary process. Within a short time, in August of 1986, I came to the conclusion that going further on the 'Zürich' path was not for me. It seemed like the university the CG Jung Institute had become was too much of an intellectual 'head trip'. I must emphasize this was my personal situation and it may not apply to some Jungians. It did appear to me, however, that some students were already 'overeducated' as far as their thinking functions were concerned (some already had Phd's), and some were needing more grounding, especially in their 5 senses, or other functions, including feeling and intuition -- extraverted or introverted -- to become centered.
Varro, 116-27 B.C.
For me, Zürich was no longer a place for balancing psychological growth in compensation to more one-sided intellectual education, for actually rounding out the psyche as accomplished by the 'mature Jung' in whose name the Institute had been established. Typological labelling seemed to contribute to people remaining stuck in the head, while ignoring the need to differentiate and round out all of the 4 functions and maintain more balance between introversion and extroversion. The Jung Institute's more academic environment was not what all the earth and ground of family and Küsnacht household, the solace of the Tower at Bollingen, of stone and construction, gardening and sandplay that the Jungs had stood for. In fact older and wiser analysts often commented the Institute could do with an even smaller library, with just a few key texts and more emphasis on grounding people in their bodies, while allowing more space for the necessary inner work on the personal 'individuation journey', in preparing the psyche for the healing of souls before beginning to work with clients.
The Eranos Foundation had a well known history since the 1930's, as a conference center where great researchers from all over the world like Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and other eclectic, cross-disciplinary, philosophically-inclined, creative individuals met and stayed during August. They dined alfresco, discussing topics of interest to themselves around a circular stone table under a very old Cedar of Lebanon on a stone-paved terrace overlooking the lake. They gave morning and afternoon lectures within an annually chosen conference theme to a paying audience, who stayed in nearby hotels on the Ascona waterfront several kilometres away being bussed back and forth.
Eranos had developed into 3 multilevel houses with rooms and apartments set among narrow garden terraces stepping from a wall along the lake road down to the lake in Moschia. They are overhung with hortensia (philodendron), camelia, azalea, rhododendron, eucalyptus, cinammon camphor, bamboo, cedar of lebanon and fruit trees. The property runs along a steep slope below the now very busy 2-lane lake road connecting Ascona with Brissago and the nearby border with Italy, followed by the Italian villages of Cannobio, then Cannero Riviera on the road to the towns of Verbania-Intra and Pallanza at the mid-point along the West side of the lake. During the rest of the year people from around the world sympathetic to the cause of wider consciousness vacationed at Eranos. It had inspired a number of people who used the setting for writing-sabbaticals including the popular Jungian writer James Hillman.
Eranos evolved from a fisherman's house bought for the daughter of a Norwegian industrialist, Olga Froebe-Capteyn, its founder. She had been a member of the nearby Ascona 'Monte Verita' artist community located just above the property and discovered Jung's psychology. The artist community was a South-of-the-alps base for Northern European, especially German-speaking, grand touring artists. It was similar to what Pallanza, further down the lake in Italy, had been for the English and where Queen Victoria had stayed nearby in Stresa across the Bay of Pallanza. The waters where this bay meets the lake contain the very famous, sumptuously planted and meticulously maintained 'classic' and 'romantic' examples of island garden villas, Isola Bella and Isola Madre, respectively. They were built beginning in the 16C and evolved over time, from 2 barren, rocky islets. The 2 island villas (a third closer to Pallanza is private) have been owned to the present day by the Milanese noble family, the 'Borromeo'. The Cannero Castle Islands also were placed under Borromeo jurisdiction after they had to be taken away by the Milanese Visconti from a band of marauding brigands who had occupied them.
At Eranos, at the Swiss end within this larger lake setting, I rented a wooden lake skiff for fall, winter and spring from a concession in Ascona, where the owner was happy to let it for very little, as it would not have to be taken out of the water and subject to winter dry rot. I began rowing it to Ascona for groceries on occasion and everyday, when not too windy, I rowed out into the middle the lake and around the 2 enchanting Islands of Brissago with varieties of camellias in bloom from October through March. It is now Swiss government-owned with the opulent villa-house and luxurious botanical gardens open to the public.
It was like trying to row with the oars while pulling together 2 very different worlds, the 'outer' and 'inner', the 'classic' and 'romantic' of landscapes, represented by the 2 pairs of islands reflecting the inland sea of the unconscious. The task was to fish up from the depths and to bring forth the essence, the truth integrating 'Veritas', the question of value and values, virtually, up out of the waters of the unconscious and onto the Lago Maggiore shoreline integrating the opposites in consciousness. It was placed on the mainland, literally, as 'design on the land', or 'Ecodesign with/for Human Nature' at Foundation Eranos. I was creating out of 2 separate entities what were to be a new third.
In point of fact, days after arriving for a year's sabbatical from teaching, in the Zürich area in the summer of 1984, I had identified the South-facing slope of the Monte Carza cape being one of several places on Lakes Maggiore, Lugano and Como where I might possibly meet up with friends from Milano for winter weekend hiking escapes on the South side of the alps in a sunnier, warmer microclimate. This happened while falling asleep staring at a raised plastic, colored relief map of Switzerland propped on my lap while sitting in a comfortable chair in a student room rented on the lake side of an old villa on waterfront property, in Erlenbach. It was less than 100m along the lake of Zürich waterfront from the C.G. Jung family house in Küsnacht, literally 'next door' on the opposite side of a public swimming beach. My Milano friends were Lodovico and Sabina, both members of 'old families' connected either with WWF-Italy or the FAI-National Trust for cultural properties. Sabina's family had an old farmhouse set up for visiting student groups in the foothills between Milano and Liguria near their old tower at Torre degli Alberi. And Lodovico's family owned a 34ha/87acre waterfront farm-villa peninsula on the Lake of Como, and another property of the same size encircling a bay on the Argentario coastline in Southern Tuscany. Our families had stayed briefly and visited at Torre degli Alberi and had summer-vacationed from time to time together at Cala Grande on the Monte Argentario promontory in southern Tuscany. Much later, I was to help Lodovico and Sabina on occasion with planting and maintaining a field of lavender for the production of both essenza and aqua di lavanda below la Torre.
The landscape architecture study program simply came together for me, while exercising, walking and exploring the mountain footpaths and the local villages and rowing the wooden skiff around the 2 Swiss Islands of Brissago. I watched a grove of cypresses in the water next to the islands change through the seasons and the many varieties of camelias in the gardens as they bloomed in succession throughout the winter in that special 'Mediterranean' microclimate. They were followed by early spring mimosa in late February, then the azalea, then the rhododendron season lasting until mid-April, followed by the roses.
Eros also took place in another way which was synchronistic. It happened at an Eranos concert in the form of romance, after a friendship began with a new Eranos translator engaged to help with the Foundation's history project, an invited guest from Cannero Riviera, in Italy, with a grandmother living in the oldest house in a hill hamlet (Oggiogno) 300m above on an alp (which is technically a bench on the side of a mountain). She appeared one day with her mother and daughter, a new member of the local Eranos circle of invited guests. The occasion was a cembalo recital given by Katrine Ritsema, the Eranos co-director. The friendship evolved into partnership. Together, we left Eranos for Cannero Riviera on a new adventure 6 months later. And the first Canadian, study abroad landscape architecture students arrived in september.
During my entire 9-month stay at Eranos I had reflected on my life experience, contemplating the meanings, what I had learned, and, with hints from the unconscious through dreams, I began to create from my heart what I also knew was a very grounded study abroad Grand Tour experience. In a 5-year university of Toronto pilot program, it actually worked out that 14 week, EU-Italy travel-study semesters costed the students (or their parents) very little more than living away from home for a semester at a Canadian city university. I designed the program for advanced undergraduate, or graduate, landscape architecture students. It provided opportunities to experience and study the culturally outstanding examples and vernacular samples of famous landscapes, hilltowns, urban design, piazzas and gardens. A contextual focus was provided with local planning-design projects in studio work. There was an emphasis on the design principles and lessons of cultural form, including many built-in, timeless, archetypal design patterns. Students also experienced the great museums, and Italian culture in general -- where Italy contained 60 percent of the world's cultural heritage according to a more recent UNESCO report, and what had been already known for some years being the container for some 48 percent of the world's major works of art.
I then returned to Piemonte, via Lausanne on a TGV fast train, allowing the students a free weekend in Paris. They took a less expensive overnight 'couchette' train to the Lago Maggiore, where I met them on a Monday morning at the Verbania-Fondatoce station near Pallanaza for bus transfer to one of the slow Navigazione public lake boats. They enjoyed a leisurely morning trip up the lake, contained by mountainous landscape, to home base for the semester. This was a former pensione now a residence, together with a former villa that had long ago been converted to a schoolhouse. The setting is a tiny hill village perched on a cliff 300m above Cannero Riviera with its lakeside embarcadero built up on alluvial outwash fan deposit jutting onto the lake immediately below. Although the whole study abroad approach is not at all the same, in a way, the setting here is similar to the well known 'Vico Morcote' experience developed for Southern California Architecture students on Switzerland's Lake Lugano, with its views from a hillside pennisular hamlet down over Morcote and across the lake toward a bay inside Italy -- but without the higher Swiss costs of a residential base for travel-study programs. Vico Morcote is in the CH Canton, Ticino (the Ticine).
Most of Cannero Riviera sits on the alluvial river fan below a gorge between the Monte Carza (m1116) and the Cima di Morisollo (m1311). It is sheltered by south-facing terraced slopes rising steeply above, with an aspect creating the warmest winter microclimate along the entire lake. The Lago Maggiore itself has a special Mediterranean climate caused by a deep trough of water carved into mountainous terrain. Cannero benefits from its 'riviera' aspect reputation. It is known as the 'Camelia capital' of Europe. It has been favored by a number of writers including Massimo d'Azeglio, who also painted there and designed and built a villa. A painting of his, entitled Lo Studio del Pittore a Cannero, (The Painter's Studio at Cannero) hangs in the Gallery of Modern Art (Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna) in Torino (incorrectly spelled and pronounced Turin from the colonial English speaking world). Other people of the arts spent time around Cannero Riviera over the years, with several writers and painters including the present author having secondary residence there today enjoying the setting of villas and narrow terraces with vines and even some olives, many oranges, lemons and cedars (cedrus species) -- with the native Chestnut forest and associated species predominant on the steep slopes above. There are references to Cannero Riviera, its surrounds, and the magical qualities of the lake in many English and Italian novels -- by writers who naturally appreciated and therefore identified with the light and the warm transparency of atmosphere experienced in this rather special local landscape.
The older and slower motorships on the lake, which were preferred to the faster hydrofoils, had regionally suggestive names like 'Capriolo' (roe deer), or 'Verbano' (after the Latin name for the flower verbena, which had been the Roman name for the lake). There were wonderful lounges amidships with seating arrangements around tables, which enjoyed views on both sides and over the stern on these boats. I liked to use these uncrowded lounges on outings during the low tourist season, Fall semester. They were most suitable for mini-lectures, travel orientation and student seminar sessions en route to places we studied.
On first arrival at the Embarcadero in Cannero, the students stored their packs at our apartment. They then walked to a beachfront cafe where they had a swim followed by an Italian welcome, with an orientation to the currency, language and basic cultural etiquette (the do's and don'ts for foreigners, so to be welcomed and fit in with local communities). This was followed by a stroll along the entire waterfront to a large table prepared at a local restaurant's terrace overhanging the lake under a pergola beside the embarcadero. They then picked up a few groceries from local shops to get started in their home base up in Oggiogno, above Cannero. They put their supplies and heavy packs in cars to be hauled up for them, and trekked up the Roman footpath to meet and settle in with their host family. They stayed with the permission of the Commune on the upper floors of the retired pensione in this hill hamlet perched on a cliff 300m above, with commanding window views over gardens in the foreground, and over the lake surrounded by mountains.
As the waning limpid light of the Mediterranean summer gave way to the clear skies of grape and olive harvests, we attempted to recreate the atmosphere of warmth and awareness sought by the Ancients and the Renaissance humanists. In their revival of the Ancient idea of the contemplative life and of the Academies of Plato, Pliny and others, Petrarch and his followers earlier in Tuscany had felt that artistic and philosophical creativity could only blossom in the quiet of the countryside.
A way of being that is more connected with the earth, through a little gardening or landscape construction, walking, nature observation and other outdoor activity, with proper, slow, not too-active or muscle-stiffening exercise -- with movement perhaps including today some yogic exercise to maintain the subtle body -- keeps both mind and body in balance as the Roman, Pliny the Younger had described. It serves not only to root us, to center us and inspire creative work that evokes more feeling -- and warmth in the built environment -- it also aids ontological maturation in the designer to balance the intellect with conceptual-technical science emphasis in design education.
Awareness of archetypal patterns in environment and how to design with them also can constellate, eventually enabling us bring into consciousness our own innate wisdom and values, that we may work with the 'arche' more evident in pre-industrial environments which people always seem to like. Together with all aspects of the 'techne' we educate so well today, it may smooth the way for the designer, to become, in order to function more as an 'Authentic Master'. That is, to be able to create more human works and environments where the people who live with them may themselves feel more rooted... and able to think with more feeling than our culture has allowed. Working in such a way also reduces the stress on the designer of the work, and of the workplace, an important goal in itself.
As the students were encouraged in this atmosphere it was found that they increased their ability to think more originally, also 'originatively' -- according to their own origins -- as they drew together in their sketchbook-journals and design projects, their emotions and feelings, their intuitions and ideas about the places they experienced in their travels and attempted to synthesize the wisdom they discovered. In this way, they were reassessing constantly the meaning of the word 're-creation' which landscape architects and other designers so often take for granted in their professional activity, when needing to design livable structures, outdoor rooms as places, and urban open space and recreational environments, with and for people.
Many of the Ancient and Renaissance villas evolved, albeit rather unconsciously, as a rural vessel for the grounded contemplative life which the psyche seeks, which may give birth to new artistic and philosophical consciousness, and thus a psychic balance of opposites needed to access creativity especially. From the quiet and seclusion of the countryside it then moved to the cities and towns. It eventually suffered in the city where it became inflated with too much power. As it went too far into the head it became stuck in a lower form of intellect. It degenerated with the utopian designs for the 'Ideal City' of the Renaissance -- playing with superficial symbolism and geometrical forms -- it became preoccupied with unrealistic formalism, with lifeless patterns of layout and with regimentation. It finally led to insensibility, sterility and the supreme disregard of the 'Baroque' and, later, of the 'English Landscape Gardening School' for limitation, rigidity and symmetry. The newly won intellectual freedom was still too immature and lost sight of value, which is rooted in feeling. It resides at the archetypal level deep within the human psyche, and this was getting covered up, becoming dissociated with ego consciousness, collectively.
The 'Ideal Cities' of the Renaissance unfortunately were the forerunners of modern city planning -- from an ungrounded 'l'Etat c'est Mois' false self, superficial and materialistic spirit typical of Versailles -- which undermined the vitality of our cities. Unbridled reason in the Industrial Revolution and in the Age of Reason eventually triumphed in the adoration of bigness, quantity and confusion, leading to modern unplanned and many 'designer' designed environments with no power to evoke deep feeling. That is what happened and then went wrong after the brief humanist interlude in history that was termed the 'Renaissance' (so named centuries later by Jacob Burkhart and others). It began in what recently became unified as the Italian Republic.
Environments which are whole are full of deep feeling, always. This happens because the wholeness touches us, reaches the deepest levels in us, has the power to move us, sometimes even to bring us to tears and, most importantly, to 'animate' or enliven us, and to make us happy. This is why it is so necessary for emerging artists and for environmental planners designers to have experienced the organic wholeness of 'old world' environments on 'The Grand Tour'.
Sitting in classrooms for slide lectures emotionally animated by the instructor with analytical interpretations is a good introduction. It whets the appetite for getting out to regions containing concentrations of landmark places and museums. But there can be no substitute for kin-aesthetic experience of great works, while being grounded in the body, in situ, as one moves through them or around them, while having time to absorb them, noting details, evaluating them for oneself, possibly to apply later being assimilated in small design projects done in local context. It works positively with what has been described as the 'fatal charm' of Italy and, traditionally, made the Grand Tour South of the Alps: a requisite in the education of so many people of the arts, although it also was undertaken by people of the sciences to round out their education as well.
These pre-consultants' engagement projects sometimes helped communities develop terms of reference for later work by design professionals. It was a teaching model developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and I had used it frequently in my design studio courses in Canada.
After one of these community projects, in Piemonte, the Université de Montréal, French Canadian student team's design studies -- for the Cannobio streetscape and waterfront, on the Lago Maggiore, which had been presented to the town council together with the other students' projects -- were requested and exhibited the following year. It was in a summer exhibition, in a special 'precedents' category in an anteroom prior to entering the display rooms containing the professional consulting team submissions concluding a major urban design 'invitational competition'. In our work, prior to the design competition, we had convinced the community to broaden their terms of reference for the competition to the entire village, rather than the town requiring the competitors to focus on isolated waterfront problems which could not be improved effectively without, at the same time, solving larger planning issues dealing with overall pedestrian streets, vehicle congestion and one-way circulation patterns and parking, street furnishings, and etc. Our students first worked individually, then were combined in teams with common interests with each team taking an alternative approach.
Similarly, in another project, in the town of Volterra in Tuscany, student teams prepared preliminary master plans for restoring the gardens and house of the 'Villa Giardino' where they stayed, for its development as a center for educational and cultural exchange programs. It was a cultural learning experience as the villa and gardens had been willed to the city for administration and our helpful and enthusiastic hosts were the Communist Party, the ongoing elected majority.
These student projects were done with the communities in exchange for lecture input from local experts on various subjects as we travelled around, describing influences on the the built environment -- from geomorphology, soils and vegetation, to Etruscan (by the Associate Director of Volterra's well known 'Guarnacci Etruscan Museum'), Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and more modern layers of civilization. This included a summary of political and economic history in Volterra, and a perspective on the history of philosophy -- in local context leading up to the present natural and cultural landscape -- by a retired Professor from Rome the Commune brought over from San Gimignano for the occasion.
The students' projects created a lot of good-will as the program was welcomed and assisted by some communities on an on-going basis. In the next town up from Cannero Riviera, of Cannobio, on the Lago Maggiore, at the end of the evening of presentations to the Sindaco (mayor) and town council, and the lively discussion and debate which followed, there was a long pause while refreshments were sent for by the Mayor. Architects, planners, developers and anyone likely to be in any way involved in the forthcoming competition had been excluded. Someone who had been summoned at the last moment also rushed in with a thick stack of typically Italian quality-designed and printed art publications. Each of the 14 students, myself, the translator and the 2 family supervisors of the students' 'retired' pensione accommodation were presented with a book which the grateful Mayor signed on the spot. It was a beautifully done photo-essay with descriptive poetry and folklore concerning the town and the Val' Cannobino region. It sold in bookstores for around one hundred dollars Canadian.
The home base for the program evolved quickly. It was midway between Ascona and Pallanza, on the slope of the Cima di Morisollo, beside the slightly more south-facing, sunny mountainside (Monte Carza) jutting like a cape into the the Lago Maggiore. A cooperative agreement was made with the regionally unique, for Italy, Landscape Museum, in Verbania - Pallanza. It is in the Middle of town several blocks from the lakeshore, in the Museo dal Paesaggio (museum for landscape painting, literally) which has a large cobbled courtyard with a portico along one side, in the middle of the building behind a passage with a door providing access from the cobbled main pedestrian street running down to the lake. It is at the main crossroad with the via Nazionale, well inland at this point going parallel to the lake through the center of town. Board Members of the Museum, which was not just the usual landscape museum for paintings, were very involved with conservation of the landscape that had been painted. They included a Torino-based architect, his Landscape Architect wife and her sister, a botanist living in Torino (of 2006 Winter Olympian events), across the Piemonte Region of North-West Italy, closer to the border with France. They had developed an inventory with conservation priorities for around 350 historic garden villas along the lake. The museum had lecture space for a small group in their library, and board members could be brought from Torino, on a Friday or a Monday (when visiting local family on weekends), for an annual lecture on the regional resource base and the special landscape of the Lakes. We would meet them later in the semester at their office while on a field trip to Torino and Cuneo Provinces, or on our way to Liguria on the Mediterranean coastline.
The official Italian residential base for the program was high above Cannero Riviera which sits on an alluvial fan on the lake, with public boat and bus transportation connections. Cannero has a population around 1,050 which swells several fold with visitors in high season, and there are in addition several surrounding small frazzione (hamlets) on the steep mountainside above. The students stayed with the Pedroni-Brizzio family, on the top 2 floors of their retired Pensione, in Oggiogno (pronounced 'Oh-john-yo'). It is a charming very old car and truck-free, quiet, stone or terra cotta tile-roofed hill village, with narrowly winding, stone paved pedestrian ways. It sits above a rock cliff, beyond small parking lots, at the end of a 4km long, one small car wide road for the most part, with tortuous hair pin bends with an occasional widening in the road allowing vehicles to pass. It rests, timelessly, just above and slightly back from the edge of the cliff at m500 above the lake level which is normally around m200. Oggiogno enjoys the most impressive views over the serpentine Lago Maggiore far below. The large, serpentine, lake basin is on a north-south axis in the Ticino River contained by mountainous topography, in some places steeply plunging into the lake. Looking southward from above Cannero, itself visible immediately below from some vantage points, the visible lake basin curves a little to the east then west, then east and out of sight around a mountain promontory to the south. The passenger boats look like tiny water spiders from this elevation, as they glide past silently below.
Oggiogno is connected to Cannero by a winding footpath with a series of wider views unfolding over the lake, the remains of the 2 Cannero Island Castles, and Cannero itself jutting out into the water on the alluvial fan (Google Commune Cannero Riviera official web site for images). These views alternate with enclosing forest-framed vistas. There is a little chapel midway up, with views into and over a deep gorge cut down through bedrock over time, with audible cascades. Some of these paths date from Roman times or were formerly mule trails, with rough cobbled sections and stone steps along with more recent paths safely connecting hamlets above the more easily traveled lake.
The hike up and down and all the other outdoor activities kept the students grounded and in the best of shape. They always went up and down, enjoying the fresh unpolluted air and vistas with great enthusiasm, sometimes twice daily with their smaller day trip rucksacks, with myself and/or occasionally Maria Teresa Brizzio of their pensione hauling up travel packs and their food supplies with our cars, and of course anyone feeling briefly a little under the weather. Sometimes, I hiked down to Cannero on studio days for lunchtime at home, and then back up afterwards, enjoying the very inspiring path experience just to keep in the best of physical condition with a refreshed mood and energy level.
The younger of 2 helpful sisters at the pensione in Oggiogno, Maria Cristina, was at the time completing a biology PhD in water quality management at the University of Milano. She was learning English and befriended the students and helped integrate them within the hamlet and the larger Cannero community below. They were invited for occasional pasta or polenta meals and fireplace roasts of dried chestnuts which the students had gathered earlier as they came up the hill through the native Castagna (edible chestnut) forest. Different folk music choral groups from the region were brought in, annually, by the Brizzio sisters and a Cannero council member, on behalf of Oggiogno, to coincide with the students' presence. They gave concerts to a packed house in the much larger, main Church down in Cannero where I lived. This was one of Oggiogno's cultural contributions to the larger community. Some of this hospitality was returned with students ordering turkeys which they roasted with all the trimmings for Canadian Thanksgiving, when Oggiogno and some Cannero people were invited to join us in the little schoolhouse - villa for a banquet.
The (Lat) ACADEMIA, (It) ACCADEMIA, or simply the 'ACADEMY' setting for the program was a small villa in Oggiogno, known locally simply as the 'ASILO'. This 'villino' had been a preschool with a portico, walled gardens on 2 sides, and windows and balconies with views 'to die for', over a stone walled meadow in the foreground, overlooking the lake and the mountains opposite covered with chestnut forest, interspersed with terra cotta tile and stone roofed villages with predominately creamy off-white, or yellow-ochre shades of warm color on the walls of the houses. The ASILO in the same colors also has a beautiful 'Art Deco' plant motif frescoed around coved soffits below the roofline, and there is some 'trompe-l'oeil' work on exterior walls, all done by an artist family who had traveled the region early in the 20C. The little villa with 2 walled-in gardens had been bequeathed for joint ownership by both the Church and the Commune in the 1920's, with deed restrictions that it be maintained, solely for educational purposes.
There was an old story going around that the little 'villino' was originally built by owners of a larger villa above it, in order to block construction of an access road with stables, and a parking lot with garages planned below the hamlet along the lower terraces extending down to the rock cliff. They contained an idyllic foreground scene for the village view, with the delightful little ASILO-schoolhouse on a rise with terraces to its sides, including high, stone-walled vegetable gardens, fruit tree areas and vineyard remnants belonging to various houses in the hamlet. Below the little Academy are terraced pasture meadows, stepping down toward the cliff, with a larger meadow with low stone seat wall at the edge, which then drops away sharply toward Cannero. Had it been built in that location the road alignment and new facilities would have completely despoiled the rather delightful foreground within a larger enframed vista ejoyed from the original owner's larger Villa Marguerita above, as well as from the Church terrace and many other substantial vacation villas stacked up the steep hillside and carved into narrow, upper village garden terraces, as well as the garden villas lining the lower developed terrace of the hamlet. In former times hundreds of years ago Oggiogno had a population of around 3000 people. Today around 35 year round residents with a much larger summer community.
The vistas from a Church belvedere above and from the Accademia-villino are particularly spectacular, down over these verdant terraces in the foreground, and then down again over the deep, dark blue pool of the lake far below contained by surrounding steep sided mountains, whose chestnut forested lower flanks on the opposite side are peppered with stone and tile-roofed villages.
This is warm and sunny Italy, on the southern edge of the Alpine Massif near Italy's border with Switzerland. Seldom do these delightfully warm vernacular places appear as austere, gray and cold as some medieval and northern architecture.
Earlier the villa-ASILO had been a lower school for children from several mountainside hamlets. Apart from a 'Museum room' for a small collection of local artifacts, it had fallen into disuse for some time, simply as a garden adjunct to the Pedroni-Brizzio family being its local guardians, there being less than 30 permanent residents locally, where many houses had become expensive foreign-owned vacation villas. Local residents knitted and raffled-off sweaters over the winters and the proceeds were used for maintenance and improvements along with a larger charitable donation which I made annually. I became an informally adopted associate of the hamlet and was given an iron goat bell by the locally elected consigliere (town council member) and was dubbed "Maestro" of the "Accademia per le Studente Canadese". I also took over the winter volunteer's job of sweeping the Roman steps/footpath down the mountainside when an older Cannero resident who brought flowers and maintained the little chapel half-way up the path could no longer clean the fallen chestnut leaves in late autumn, which then made the path and steps dangerously slippery and almost impassable when soaking wet.
The building was rewired by the Brizzio sisters' older brother, Alberto from Cannero, an electrician in Switzerland. A bathroom was installed, including an extra shower to relieve morning lineups in the 2 top floor baths of their former Pensione, along the footpath a few steps away. A cooking stove and refrigerator were donated and placed in the old kitchen so the students could prepare many of their meals to reduce expenses. They were coached in Italian culture, food and cooking by Maria Teresa, Maria Cristina Brizzio and myself, and by my partner who also often translated for lectures by, or presentations to people speaking only Italian. The students dined in the adjacent downstairs classroom. It had an appropriately 'down-to-earth village atmosphere', wood burning stove brought up from the cellar and installed to be used to take the chill away on some of the cooler, late November and December mornings and evenings. In the intervening years since this pilot study abroad project, various renovations were made to the little Accademia - schoolhouse, including some wood floors needing to be replaced and the installation of a modern kitchen for community dinners and festivals.
The downstairs classroom of the Academy overlooked the lake and mountainous surround, with a little porch, and smaller walled garden a few steps below -- both used for alfresco eating, sunning, admiring the views, sometimes for individual design critiques with the instructor. The classroom itself was used for dining, slide lectures, seminars and travel-study orientations and various group gatherings. The mood inspired, the receptivity to creative work coming out of oneself, and the general conviviality ever present ...for landscape architecture faculty on various campuses who remember him, or at least who have heard of him... was a little like that created by former Lousiana State LA Professor Stanley White, in his later teaching years.
After he retired Stan, who was one of the several very best landscape architecture design professors, went around from school to school doing ad hoc studios. He would be running down the hall and turn the corner through the door, sliding on his desert boots into a classroom packed with students, while pushing a wheeled projector cart with one hand with its shelves stacked with slide boxes and favorite tools of his teaching trade he had collected. In the other hand he held a violin and bow, with which to make music of the spheres. He was a rather short and wiry person, and he would slide to a full stop with a big smile on his face as he greeted everyone. Students would be hand-clapping in anticipation of yet another lively and joyous happening, lasting several hours with individual critiques. This would be punctuated by frequent asides and bowing of the violin amid lectures to the whole class.
Those of us in teaching who have been around for a while who experienced Stan as a teacher probably learned more with him as a mentor while discovering how to 'generate', to originate designs, out of ourselves. It involved enfolding patterns with 4-dimensional, experiential sequences of events -- with a hierarchy of unfolding spatial enclosures, character, patterns and activities all layered into landscape -- in a kind of grand poesis. Most would agree they discovered more on how to design with Stan than in any other studio experience, undergraduate or graduate. His teaching props included that old violin with bow jammed under his arm, as he would from time to time bow his way among the drafting tables sounding a few bars (he was no great violinist), greeting everyone with that big smile and a warm, and a friendly, "Hi there. Here we are!" The overall impression was like, 'Get with the feeling folks, make a delightful experience out of everything you do!'.
Now I don't play the violin, and we didn't have a piano handy for me to lean into Beethoven's 'Fur Eliza', or the 'Moonlight' or the 'Pathetique' sonatas. I often brought up my good stereo system, or at least used a locally borrowed 'ghetto blaster', to play appropriate Italian classical - Baroque chamber music, traditional Romantic or Neapolitan love songs, Alpine folk songs, and rock music: e.g., by Eros Ramazzotti, or Zucchero (Sugar) Fornacieri [i.e., "Voodoo, Voodoo I got a feeling"], to name but 2 of Italy's most popular performers today. Students brought their favorite music along, and I favored the classical, especially Mozart in 4/4 time, that studies have shown is particularly conducive to creative work. Together with the local, special quality of light streaming directly into the building through the windows, or filtered throught the louvered shutters, the effect of the entire ambience was animating, it really enlivened us. Indeed, often it was electrifying with everyone relax-jawed and stress-free, rosy-cheeked and, of course, smiling in a state of blissfull joy, on a natural high -- in which one remains very well planted in the earth, very much in the body, in place -- grounded firmly on one's 2 feet, in a new standpoint, like walking out of a Birkenstock store in a new pair of sandals, shoes or hiking boots.
The students felt in place in our little Academy, so much at home with themselves they often radiated a supercharged presence in the here and now reality, as you can see on many slide photographs taken during studio and seminar sessions, and at group meals. It was pretty much the same wherever we went, and when gathered around some feature at student led seminar presentations, in situ, with discussions on carefully place-specific, orchestrated topics. This 'happened', naturally, in nature out-of-doors during our field trips, within the many special spaces and places that we experienced in that radiant, Mediterranean quality of light with its especially enlivening ambience.
Faculty colleagues, especially at Guelph, who seldom entered or participated in my classes there, always claimed disparagingly that I appeared disorganized. But they had no way of understanding nature at work in an organic teaching style, when I was unafraid to cast aside recitations from formally prepared lecture notes on hand, that when followed could be as dry as dust. I preferred to go with the flow and the creative synthesis which came out spontaneously to meet special needs of the moment. It was content that was incubated the day and night beforehand, and it was carefully orchestrated, but not rigidly pre-programmed, calculatively. It was not Machiavelian, it was not stiffly mechanical in presentation. It was what students needed in the here and now reality, as one watches then reacts to what they are ready to absorb next, as one's 2 eyes, intuition, and feeling make contact with those of each in the class. One cannot place too much beyond that in their hoppers, or they become swamped with information overload. One can go a little further if the subject is well lubricated with metaphor, however, and I have slowly learned to do that.
Really good teaching is prepared. But it is more of an event, a happening. It is not so much a locked in step, 'a + b = c' recitation from a script, itemized and pointed to, as one ticks off each idea on a film making an overhead projection to a screen on the wall. Although that too can be helpful on occasion, visually, especially with materials and techniques. But my subject is design and creativity is to be set free in organic process. Everything in moderation is the guideline. One is reminded by the image of melting down Goethe's 'Faust', the shadow blocked figure in every one of us who really can't be creative until set free. An old analyst friend in Zürich Toni Frey had given me a copy of Goethe's Italian Journey. I read it several times before and while preparing the study abroad semester program. It really helped me launch this whole thing. Now Goethe is one who made the Grand Tour who really had something to say! This book was on the shelf in our little Academy library, but few would have read it, or even suspected the wisdom it contained. Goethe of course is the great philosophical hero, an icon in the German speaking world everyone knows of.
The 'Oggiogno Museum' room, also on the ground floor on the courtyard and main entry side of our Academy, was essentially a storage adjunct to a very old stone-walled and roofed museum in the center of the hamlet housing a local historic landmark, the 'torchio', an enormous wooden press for crushing chestnuts, olives and grapes. The museum adjunct space in the Academy, with windows into a portico along the side of the building and a walled garden beyond, was also used for more formal, end-of-project reviews with outside critics and guests, when refreshments were sometimes laid on by the students' Oggiogno host family and residents. Studio (restaurant) and layout tables were upstairs and downstairs in the other 2 classrooms. Upstairs, there was a separate room for my library-loan collection, and an office/equipment storage room with a desk and storage chest for myself. A 3m deep outdoor balcony ran alongside these rooms which gave access through French doors, also from the upper staircase - circulation corridor. It was used for outdoor sunning, also frequently for quiet reading and study, occasionally for studio project work on tables brought from inside. Running the entire length along one side of the building, the balcony and portico below enclosed one side of the larger of 2 walled gardens and sheltered a paved area underneath held up by columns and lintels with railings of wrought iron worked in a way typical of Piemonte.
The teaching and learning concept was modelled after the 'Academies' of the Ancient Greek Philosophers and the Roman and Renaissance country villa owners who became patrons of the arts, like Cosimo, son Piero and grandsons Lorenzo and Giuliano, and others besides the Medici. They had invited philosopher mentors like Marsilio Ficino, credited as having been the originator of 'archetypal psychology', and their students, Pico della Mirandola, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo Buonarotti and others, to participate with them in 'villeggiatura'. This gathering was not merely to cultivate the arts, or grow flowers, or food and wine for the table, as Cosimo had explained in his famous letter inviting Ficino to Careggi. They were being specifically invited to cultivate food for the soul, really for rounding out the '4 humors', corresponding to what Jung amplified into the 4 functions of sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking, altogether fostering a more balanced and enhanced way of life, with easier access to original, artistic creativity.
In 1462, near the end of his life, Cosimo de Medici wrote to his humanistic protege Ficino: "Yesterday I came to the villa at Careggi, not to cultivate my fields but my soul. Come to us Marsilio as soon as possible. Bring with you your Plato's book 'de Summo Buono' (On The Good Life). This I suppose you have already translated... I desire nothing so much to know the best road to happiness. Farewell and do not come without the Orphean Lyre."
As patrons of the arts these mercantile and very powerful, materialistic families were beginning to open their hearts, in a process of compensation, moving them ever slowly toward philosophical study and discourse, toward awakening compassion, including warmth, and support for, and participation in various arts. This included the notion of 'communitas', and funding great art works and civic design projects. Of course they meant to impress the public and be remembered, and did not sponsor people like Botticelli or Michelangelo, or let art works be done without attaching their names to places and pieces as commissioners and donors.
Ficino had felt that all things offered soul, that what was 'out there' in the external environment largely determined what was 'in here', in our psychic reality. This is 'animism', a belief in anima mundi or 'world soul', the attribution of living soul not just to human nature, also to plants, and indeed to all of nature's nature. It included the nature of cultural form in the built environment, thus architecture and designed landscape.
The humanism of the early Renaissance called for a kind of re-awakening of Ancient values, so deeply rooted in the origins of humanity, as to be evident in the remains of earlier civilizations. These values were felt to reflect the soul of man. And, when concretized in the music, art-making and discourse that 'took place' there and in the form and character of the built environment itself, could thus rekindle 'old feelings'. These feelings have always given humankind a sense of belonging, of dignity and self-worth, a sense and emotion, of being 'in place', in the interwoven web that is the world of man and nature.
When they are allowed to surface from our depths and are recognized, such feelings, or values, connect with basic patterns embodied in towns, buildings, open spaces and artifacts which are alive. They do not teach people new facts about their environment. Rather in awakening old feelings, they give us permission to do in artistic expression what the wisdom of experience always tells us we have wanted to do, when we abandon our fears about doing our own feeling and thinking according to our origins. It is this fear that makes us abandon our stable wisdom of what is simple and right, that allows us to be seduced by artifice or clever contrivance, whether it's the latest constructed fad or newest mechanically assembled style, that may ignore the aesthetic issues of intrinsic beauty or comfort.
The Florentine humanist Marsilio Ficino was the first Renaissance man to place soul at the center of his vision. Now in the Ancient world the organ of perception was the heart. The heart was immediately connected to things via the 5 senses. It was the place of the imagination, thus being the place of intuitive perception as well. The common sense was lodged near the heart (we sometimes refer colloquially to it as our common 'gut sense') and its role was to apprehend images. The Greek word for perception was aisthesis which means at root a breathing or taking in of the world in the gasp, 'aha' (of the Gestalt) or the 'uh' of the breath in awe, in wonder, surprise and amazement. This is the aesthetic response to the image presented.
From notes for lectures accumulated long ago I believe I owe this explanation partly to Jungian and archetypal psychologist James Hillman, from his various books and in the Eranos Papers, and to Thomas Moore's The Planets within, and in some measure attributed to the Dutch Professor of comparative religion G. Quispell. The latter came to the Swiss Küsnacht C.G. Jung Institut in 1985 for a lecture series on "Gnosticism--A Jungian Interpretation". He defined the meaning of 'Gnosis': "intuitive knowledge of the heart, the wisdom of Sophia, which does not meet with reason". In Quispell's lexicon "wisdom was a lady -- but her past was shady". Looking at this positively as in the ancient Judaic mystical tradition she was always going before the Lord, the male god, laughing, joking and entertaining to his delight thus hooking men, who eventually came to the understanding further down the path, that there is more to wisdom than man 'thinks', that the holy spirit (and source of our creativity) is the (inner anima or soul projected on) lady or woman--the wisdom of Solomon. Sophia was the irradiation of eternal light and immaculate mirror of God's activity and the 'image of God' was to be found in the 'anima' contrasexual archetype in the body of man (animus in the woman). "World history therefore may be viewed as a struggle between Sophia and the 'malicious' Creator (the darker 'flip' side of God we find in the Gospel of Job) with the wrongful intention of wanting to keep man unconscious." It is not difficult to see that the practise was threatening to the patriarchy and forbidden, Gnosticism: getting light from matter, and it was similar to Alchemy: separating spirit from matter.
We may surmise from all this that our new rebellious youth are simply modern Gnostics. Youth often report snake-dreams and like all animals the snake represents an instinctive part of the psyche. But reptilian instincts are very far removed from consciousness in the evolutionary chain. And snake-dreams often occur when the conscious mind is being made to deviate from the instincts, as when we try to behave like sheep following conventional 'wisdom', thinking that intellectual understanding is all there is. As Dr. Jung said about the snake: "The lower vertebrates have from earliest times been favorite symbols of the collective psychic substratum, which is localized anatomically in the sub-cortical centers, and cerebellum and the spinal chord. These organs constitute the snake. Snake-dreams usually occur, therefore, when the conscious mind is deviating from its instinctual basis." The snake is often seen with a forked tongue, or double role, and in mythology has double meanings. Seen negatively, it is an enemy of light and it arouses fear and brings death, although it may just be a necessary death of an attitude. And it poisons. Again, a little poison may be a cure for something. In point of fact snake venom is now being experimented with by friend and Professor Frank Markland at the University of Southern California, for curing some forms of cancer -- with something like a 70% success rate in experiments treating breast cancer, from interviews in a 2006 PBS television special. The snake can also be a symbolic savior in animal form (helping rid us of the negative mother complex and anima and animus possessions). It stands for the logos and the compassion of Christ. And when it appears in this form it represents the potential for becoming more conscious and whole. Rather than intellectual understanding, it promises knowledge born from the immediate inner experience in the form of insight and secret wisdom -- which is Gnosis.
From an etymological point of view we may establish several word connections. The origin of the verb 'to be' in English (Fr and It Essere: to be and to belong to) comes from the Sanscrit word Asme meaning 'to breathe life into'. You may get the connection with athsma, a symptom in the respiratory system when something is wrong with one's way of being. We breathe through our lungs and our lungs enfold the heart. When we speak of being we think of our personal 'belonging to' and thus our 'identity', a kind of self-knowing, an inner-standing or feeling of just who one is in the world, even from one moment to the next. It means to be oneself, or to be at one with oneself, hence at-one-meant = Atonement, or Redemption.
For Marsilio Ficino, the spirit -- or religious function (from Lat religare meaning to tie up, make fast, moor like a ship, to twist or interweave or bind together, as with strands of thread or rope) -- in the heart received and transmitted the impression of the senses. The heart's function was therefore aesthetic. From our 5 senses we also derived our 'orientation', our sense of 'where we are' in the world around us. If I haven't confused the reader too much with this little 'tour de force' with the dictionary perhaps you may see, therefore, there are certain qualities in environment which animate us, make us feel most alive, most whole, most like ourselves. They appeal via the common animal sense to the heart and our innermost feelings and this is the basis of 'aesthetic experience'.
According to James Hillman, in Ficino's translation of Plotinus he called the Greek goddess Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) the world soul (Lat anima mundi) as he awarded to her the sensate world. In Greek mythology Aphrodite was the goddess of fertility. For her each thing that is sensed smiles, has allure, calls forth 'aisthesis'. 'Calling forth' provoked 'kaleo', also a Greek word and this was Ficino's derivation of Aphrodite's main characteristic which was 'kallus', or beauty. It can call- (forth something within) us, which is archetypal. It connects and centers us in feeling at the deepest levels of our very being. For the Stoics, the word 'kosmos' means also 'anima mundi' (the world which enlivens us) and the word is fundamentally aesthetic. Cosmetics in the true sense is something which is universal and therefore it is timeless, although it has more to do with the character, texture and colors on the face of things. It is the animated radiance, the numinosity of the gods shining through in the material world.
With the loss of Aphrodite in much of our industrial, post industrial, modern and post modern built environments our cosmos has become merely cosmic -- vast and empty. It wants to function like a piece of mechanical clockwork, a quantity, unanimated, its essence, its vital 'quality of being' drained. In much of our built environment today we find no 'sense of place' and for many it is depressing owing largely to sensory deprivation. The physical world of things lies largely outside the soul. We live in a most artificial and constructed world. Much of it is made of plastics and other materials made to look like something else. There is little integrity in genuine use of materials. Almost everything is made in an entirely abstract and mechanical way. Where is the joy and beauty in our environment and in our lives today in many parts of our North American cities?
Carl Gustav Jung was one of the first modern students of mythology, philosophy, psychology and religion (originally trained a medical doctor) to see in the dreams of individuals and in the mythologies of the world that there was a primal experience of intelligence that was native to the cosmos as a repository of permanent, inborn values. It had a central ordering principle with the tendency to move us toward greater wholeness. He named this principle the transpersonal Self, or inner image of god.
Sigmund Freud had earlier noted that some epochs of civilization become out of touch with the Self and they become neurotic. Jung observed that Nazi Germany had become psychotic. "We encounter pathology in art and environment which mirrors the state of our society. Sickness is 'out there' in our cities and buildings and can affect us inside so we too get sick. If we live in a world whose soul is sick", as Hillman has said, "then the organ which daily encounters this sick world first and directly through aisthesis will also suffer, as will the circulatory channels which transmit perceptions to the heart."
The biophysical environment affects us primarily at a pre-conscious level and can serve to constellate the Self. We are only beginning to appreciate the impact which environment has on us. In the 20C the world itself became a patient suffering breakdown. The symptoms have been fragmentation, specialization, expertise, depression, inflation, loss of energy, jargonese and violence. Recent studies link this with the increase of cancer, heart disease, aids and other illnesses which are now being attributed to a general malaise of environment. As Dallas Center for Culture and the Humanities psychologist-observer Robert Sardello noted: "Our buildings are anorexic, our businesses and institutions paranoid, and our technology is wound up to the point of being manic".
The process of building today is calculative, as in 'classicism', to the point of being almost devoid of creative spontaneity in 'romanticism' that could breathe life into our environment and inspire our feeling of well-being through our senses. Scientist-mathematician turned architect-contractor and educator Christopher Alexander from Berkeley CA makes the following observation: "For most of the world the task of building has been reduced to a grim business of facts and figures, an uphill struggle against the relentless surge of technology and bureaucracy, in which human feeling has been almost forgotten." He adds that "beauty too has been forgotten, even in those places that openly concern themselves with appearance." We have lost our deeper soul connection with cosmetics in the true and deeper cosmic sense. It is as if our heads have been so intellectually cultured to think calculatively that our minds have been severed from our hearts and the deeper feelings and common gut sense rooted within our bodies.
In The production of Houses Alexander writes: "The real meaning of beauty, of houses as places which emphasize one's life, directly and simply, the connection between the vitality of the people and the shape (and character and color) of their houses, the connection between the force of social movements and the beauty and vigor of the places where people live -- this is all forgotten, vaguely remembered as the elements of some imaginative Golden Age... There is a great deal of concern about this problem, but the approach we devise is strangely abstract, without feeling. It deals with the issues but it glides over them. It does not concern itself with feeling, it creates a mental framework in which solutions are as mechanical and unfeeling as the problems they set out to solve... one needs to be connected with the feeling at the root of the problem."
Today, we speak more of creating places, and of embodying them with special human qualities. As professional artists and designers we strive to grow beyond the mere idea of abstract and mechanical and electronic design of 'spaces', forms and objects. Perhaps we are finally looking for another Renaissance as we gain perspective on the swings from 'classicism' to 'romanticism' and back again that have come and gone over the ages.
CLASSICISM: is formal or calculative thinking or design, where one plans, manipulates, controls with emphasis on physical or material things. It is a technological approach connected with the center of our civililization done with a kind of 'Faustian will' Martin Heideggar describes, which eventually becomes the 'will-to-power' characterized by abstract thinking. It takes for granted that the conquest of nature is the on-going business of mankind. When we take this approach we torture our environments and our cities into submission, and they in turn torture us. We may follow examples of acknowledged excellence, often of the Ancient Greek or Latin standards that are simple, harmonious, well-proportioned, and finished in accordance with established forms having literary or historic associations (i.e.classic ground). Things (e.g. clothes) could be made in simple style not much affected by changes in fashion in following the restrained style of classic antiquity. It is a calculative manipulation of things which are beautifully organized and which ought to make one feel that one fits in with them. But it often means being among things as objects, even people as objects. In design, emphasis is thus on technique and the 'how to' of building.
ROMANTICISM: is informal or originative design that is done creatively, according to one's own origins. The dictionary definition is preferring grandeur or picturesqueness or passion and emotion, or irregular beauty to finish and proportion, subordinating the whole to parts, or form to matter. One must submit to reality rather than imposing oneself upon it. For example, a poem cannot be willed by a poet -- it simply comes, from within. One submits to the problem situation, the poem, or the environment and allows it to work on him/herself. How we see the world becomes a magical factor in what we do in the world. The critical factor is -- as Ingrid Lehman who taught philosophy at Canada's University of Victoria says -- not the physical stuff of which everything is made, describing, naming or quantifying relationships, but "the quality that cannot be named", "the quality of our relationships in the world.... The existential meaning or dwelling aspect comes on a level which is not as accessible or toucheable as things are, rather it centers upon the being of my existence, of my being in the world. It means something other than being among things as objects. It means being with other people. It means my being, my being in terms of an essential belonging which cannot be analyzed in terms of things". 'Value' is at the heart of the matter', and that is feeling. "The quality without a name is the very core of our being in the world".
In classicism and romanticism, if one is the thesis and the other is its antithesis, are we not seeking a new synthesis as we come to the conclusion of what the astrologists call 'the end of the dark, shadowy age of Pisces' which began roughly at the time of Christ? Our new era is that of 'Aquarius', the waterbringer. Water in symbolism stands for chaos, but it is also the 'prima materia' from which all life proceeds. The baptismal water signifies a return to a chaotic state, followed by spiritual rebirth and regeneration -- a re-creation. From the new waters of intuitive wisdom there emerges a dynamic animal or (anima) soul life. Water thus mirrors the human soul.
Perhaps as creative people we might consider what the early Renaissance humanists were up to in their devotion to 'humane matters'. They saw man as a responsible and progressive albeit intellectual being, aware of the importance of common human needs and abstention from profitless or meaningless theorizing. These people were good reseachers seeking humane action in the study of Greek and Roman literature and antiquities. Do we need to better understand the meaning of research? Why do we study the historic example in art and literature? To conduct research means to look again, to search again, to re-find what has gone, what has been lost in the past. It is as if to follow the tracks left by some kind of animal to its origins, to trace the footprints of former civilizations. And what is that animal? It's the human soul, our own animal instinctive nature, enclothed in the culture of former times. We need to see reality again directly, as an animal.
We also need to refind an educational process for initiating designers and builders, in which human dignity and feeling come first. This should be a fundamental human process, a journey, in which people integrate their values as they find their own way, their individual orientation and identity, and find meaning in life. It should be a process in which they form social bonds, in which they become anchored or rooted in the earth, so that the things we make also have soul qualities and human worth, that people feel proud and happy to be in them or around them, that become a part of their lives, a concrete expression of their place in the world, a concrete expression of themselves.
With the addition of the Virgin Mary at the bottom we may complete a downward pointing feminine triangle with the number of points on the combined upper and lower triangles now being 4, which is the number of wholeness = holiness. So we now have a diamond-shaped, intermediary figure, with one grounded triangle pointed downward, into the Gaia wisdom of the interior of the earth, a horizontal plane like the earth's surface and the upward-pointed triangle connecting with the heavens. Does this recognition of the feminine and of the receptive, Yin principle and the unconscious not begin to make more sense even when viewed in such an abstract way?
One may suppose our definition of villeggiatura may have had its origins in places like the Academy of Plato. For the wealthy Romans the concept meant withdrawal from the politics and congestion and the heat of the summer of the city to the country, or to the warmth of the Mediterranean seaside in the winter, the architecture inspired by it, and the activities the Roman Patrician pursued during his moments of recreation and the meaning that the country retreat had for his life and family. While in form the country house had to provide the physical environment for recreation, or re-creation, it is often the very creation -- the reflection of the true Self of the owner -- in the design and furnishing of the villa and the planning of the gardens which conveys a sense of significance of these places for the owner.
Pliny the Younger, wrote a great deal about his several villas in his letters, but we have only speculations about what they may have looked like. One of the main reasons for Pliny's love of country life was the peace and quiet which it afforded him for writing. On a typical day he got up with the sun and stayed inside with the shutters closed until he worked out in his mind exactly what he wished to write, working mostly by dictation until noon, when he would ride or drive with horse through the country. This would be followed by a light lunch and a short 'siesta' or nap, (It) pisolino, after which he took a walk or read aloud or practiced speeches to aid digestion, then a walk or some exercises before a bath. Supper at sunset was the main meal followed by listening to music or some other entertainment. Finally, the entire household including other literary individuals and family took a last stroll in the garden ending the day together in conversation. Obviously he was rich and could afford such a life. What is more important here is the balance between physical and mental exercise and the cultivation of a healthy body as well as mind which imitated the Greek ideal.
In terms of actual remains we know more about the suburban villas in Pompeii, and the enormous villa in Tivoli, East of Rome, built by Hadrian that was more on the scale of a small town. Cicero called his Tuscan villa the 'Academia' after Plato's renouned teaching center, and it became a place for villa dialogue.
In the 14C Petrarch revived the ancient idea that the contemplative life of artistic and philosophical creativity, the life of 'otium' could only blossom in the quiet of the countryside. Otium means time to oneself, leisure, idleness, retirement, peace and solitary quiet. Cicero had associated 'otium' with study and philosophy. The ancient Romans had differentiated the life of 'otium' from 'negotium' in politics and business. The early Renaissance mentor Marsilio Ficino felt that anyone who was melancholy like himself, and therefore of artistic temperment, could only find surcease in nature and the little villetta given to him by Cosimo de Medici allowed him to do just that. His ultimate book assembled from 3 earlier books, was simply called Liber de Vita, or the The Book of Life and it became an underground classic of the Italian Renaissance. It was suppressed by the Church and academia for his approach to images, daemons and planets in relation to health.
Perhaps if he were alive today we might find Ficino prospering at the Findhorn garden community in Scotland, having been there for several decades, or in someplace like the Yasodhara Ashram farm on Kootenay Lake in the interior of British Columbia, that is if men and women were not discouraged from talking with each other. The Book was recently translated by Charles Boer, Spring Publications, and it is a guide to food, drink, sleep, mood, sexuality, song and many verbal and vegetable recipes for maintaining the right balance of soul or body, and spirit. It is really the founding text of archetypal psychology. It is not a heavy work, but written with a good tongue in cheek sense of humor.
Alberti, the humanist architect of the 15C spoke of the villa as being not only a place for repose (meaning to repossess something, i.e. soul) but that its only purpose was to nourish the entire family and not a place to give pleasure to others. He also felt one should not frequent it too often or for too long at a time, since such a way of life detracts from business affairs and economic survival. By the late 15C the villa became a place for the enjoyment of a peaceful private life removed from either the political duties or mercantile affairs of the city. Villas were located in a favorable climate or microclimate aspect, usually on a South sloping site with the 'true views' over countryside.
After the middle of the 16C there was a remarkable shift in interest from the architecture of the villa to the garden setting and eventually to landscape gardening. This is an interesting development mirroring the inner needs of mankind which were surfacing, for the cultivation of the inner landscape and alchemy which had become an underground train of thought and pursuit. What is most notable is the projection on water and its use became an outstanding characteristic: at Villa Farnese at Caprarola, Villa d'Este at Tivoli and Villa Lante at Bagnaia, near Viterbo, and many other places.
A work with many prints from woodcuts based on themes from alchemy, dated 1467, attributed to the Venetian monk Francesco Colonna had a tremendous influence on gardens and architecture which lasted for centuries. It was called the HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI and as the name suggests it was highly obscure and the reader easily gets lost in a maze of detail, but when viewed from psychological and mythological understanding, it reveals the underlying symbolic journey or individuation story of the typical creative personality, one who is driven forward more by the puer/puella aeternis 'eternal youth' (creative child) archetypal constellations in the depths of the psyche. We shall return to this theme later as it has great significance for the education of designers.
Why is there so much historical emphasis on the villa the reader may wonder? And as a setting with house and garden and farm areas combined? As Pliny's experience suggests, it serves to ground intellectual activity... and 'classic' intellectuals in their own nature and in nature's nature. Most creative people and artists, and leading scientists as well, are also highly intuitive. They sometimes can get a long way from the ground. The way of villeggiatura helps not just creative people, rather it is of use to all of us in bringing balance and a common ground into our lives. If we consider 'classicism' and 'romanticism' being 2 extremes and we all have our tendencies from time to time, then having the time and freedom to establish a connection with one's own nature and with nature's nature in a peaceful villa, or in a small village setting, affords us 'villeggiatura'. It is a vehicle for bringing a better balance among all of our instincts which are part of our nature as a human animal.
In our stressful world today we may refer to the modern cottage or country house as a restorative place in villeggiature in which to crash, instinctively. Each letter of the word CRASH may stand for a certain basic need, and the letters form a hierarchy from the top down, beginning with the letters of the word, i.e., CRASH: Creativity (intuition and higher mind), Religion (power feeling and matters of heart), Aggression (power of thought or head), Sexuality (more accurately a sense of intimicy and relatedness, and thus the 5 senses linked with emotions), Shelter (containment and protection from the elements/Hellements, and Hunger (we need edible food for the body and food for the soul).
Now PHILOSOPHY is what helps us balance and maintain all of the above instincts in consciousness. While holding these instincts and the opposites in tension, we move upwards from the bottom of the ladder. We reach upwards for the wisdom of the body and creativity, or Sophia, as projected in mythology from the underlying archetype deep in the collective unconscious, interconnected or interwoven together. We may image it as integrated, bound together with the (Lat) Philo = (It) filo or (Eng) thread. It is often portrayed in alchemy and mythology representing the life form, or Kundalini Yoga energy of the serpent which seduces our attention via projection and connects ...that is, if we actually get the picture in ego-consciousness. Perhaps it is not too much of an intuitive mind stretch, then, to see what follows: From a symbolic standpoint, the villa/house with garden surround, the cathedral/church, and the walled town are universal symbols of containment and the Self, our utmost potentials in life, striving to move forward into consciousness, in an ever more differentiated and integrated wholeness (individuation is Jung's term for this). It is also a state of wholeness and/or holiness, or relationship with one's spiritual side, as our word 'religion' -- whether we find it through organized religion, or in individual spiritual process -- in gnosis). Religion derives from (Lat & It) religare, which means, literally and figuratively, 'to bind together' ...as with thread.
Now the Greek word for House is Oikos which also means Ecology which is the study of the relationships between people, animals, plants, and their habitat. When we recognize there is both an outer, physical and an inner, symbolic landscape reality of the Self, the ecological dimensions are expanded considerably. There is much talk about 'sense of place' these days which enables placing ourselves in all of nature. It means to dwell. How all of these things interreact with our dwelling, our very being in the world is the task of environmental ecology, including ecopsychology, which helps us to better 'ecodesign' with and for humankind, including all of nature's nature as part of the terms of reference.
True to its origins in the 'Gymnasium' way of the Ancients, in the study abroad Italy program for landscape architecture students our little 'Academia' approach to teaching and learning 'took place', in a very practical and tangible way, in real environments with a 'sense of place' associated with exposed patterns and topics studied, often while strolling out-of-doors as the Ancient philosophers and their students were so moved.
Our students remained quite grounded with all the healthy exercise, being outdoors much of the time in contact with surrounding nature and such warm and inspiring environments. They also enjoyed more time for contemplation made difficult under the pressures of modern academia in the heady University setting and congested big city life. In villeggiatura, in our little Italian Accademia schoolhouse-villino setting, we sometimes moved the portable chalkboard and tables and chairs for outdoor classes under the shade of the portico, or into the warm sun in the little walled, entry-court garden.
I rather suspect such a grounded approach encompassing the archetypal 'Pattern Language' way of teaching, while being in direct contact with nature and the out-of-doors, would have appealed to the Ancient Greek Philosopher-teachers. These wise individuals seemed to understand what grounding and 'earth' was all about. One sees it metaphorically in their mythology with projections (certainly conscious for the Philosophers) on the Great Earth-Mother Goddess, associated with obtaining a firm foundation on which to transform the lower plane of intellect integrated also with the 5-senses, intuition and feeling (referred to as the 4 elements) to inform and evolve true intelligence, including intellect on a higher plane within a greater personality with refined sensitivity, sympathy, empathy, grace and sense of humor. Thus compassion would necessitate recognizing both the positive and negative aspects of one's character, discriminated within a unified sense of wholeness, of balance and well-being.
The Greeks philosophically were devoted to the higher qualities of the mind, or nature (higher mental plane) to reason, intellectual keeness and moderation in living well physically. They also were sharp traders. To the Romans they were the highest culture. Greece, or Grecian Land as countryside or landscape was a symbol of the mental plane in the sacred Greek scriptures. Greeks (as Achaians) symbolized the mental faculties which contend against the emotions (Trojans). The Philosophers were like Princes to the Greeks, considered Great-Hearted, being a symbol of the higher mental faculties which raise the lower nature and purify it (when allied with the Buddhic emotions). The Greek ideal was of the higher nature versus the phenomenal phases of existence on the lower mental plane, of which the first is the enduring and real, and the second the changing and unreal. The first is archetypal and perfect, the second proceeds from it beginning at birth, but is always deficient as a copy of the first, and is changeable, being in process of becoming perfect in essentials. The higher nature comprehends the lower, but the lower simply cannot understand the higher because it is not recognizable, not yet assimilated into consciousness. It has not been differentiated and integrated in the psychological growth - maturing process. The greater can contain the less, but not the less the greater.
To the students' advantage, atmospheric ozone depletion is less serious in many parts of Italy than in southern Ontario and it was not so dangerous to be under the sun for limited periods in fall term, winter or spring. Or even summer, although Italy is crowded with tourists and it can be rather hot when away from water or the high mountains in July-August. The level of artificial lighting in our little garden villino was deliberately kept quite low with one incandescent bulb per room at the beginning. Later on, the quantity of lighting was 'improved', unnanounced, by village friends thinking they were doing the program a huge favor. The low level lighting was to discourage work on design projects during the night, so the students could peruse reading materials they were asked to bring along or from my library on occasion, in their rooms in the evenings. But the priority was to allow time for adequate sleep which all the fresh air and walking demanded. And the unconscious needed it to assimilate the whole experience while universal values and creativity constellated, from within.
The students lived rather simply, perhaps in some respects more like the local residents, who sometimes invited them into their homes where they would roast chestnuts in their fireplaces for them, or invite them for polenta or pasta meals. They became accustomed to the music of churchbells counting the hours and quarter hours, day and night, and signalling important events in the community. Everyone enjoyed the pleasant wafting of a little smoke around the hamlets from wood burning fires on November mornings and evenings. They often encountered 'la Nonna' for a lesson on wringing the soap out of a wash if they went down to use the old outdoor laundry, although Maria Teresa ran their laundries through her machine for them, which the students hung on the line at the base of the 3m, and higher as it went along, south-facing retaining wall beside her large vegetable garden. Students often met the local flock of sheep and goats with bells clanging, while coming and going up and down the footpaths, or on weekend outings exploring the neighborhood, or when they hiked to the Cima di Morissolo summit.
These study abroad students were generally happy and content. And they were very appreciative and in constant awe of the genuine warmth of the Italians and the pleasant containment of such inspiring landscape. In their free time they also had a lot of good-natured fun. They often would hang out with local Italians of similar age, in 2 of the Cannero cafes, or picnic on the beach and swim in the lake. There was an annual soccer meet between the students and these youths from the community. Not having the advantage of language, the students often were left in a muddle by the agility and wit of the locals with their rapid 'reinterpretations' of the rules of play, which remained something a mystery. This play at the community soccer field was very comical to local observers, and the students also took it in a very good-natured way.
Sometimes we borrowed furniture on an outdoor beach cafe near the water's edge with a view over the bay, down the lake surrounded by mountains on both sides terminating against mountains in the distance. It was managed by a couple who were friends of mine, along with the local campground and a grocery shop. The group sometimes met for class at another cafe in the village owned by a local couple who once worked in England who spoke English with them. It had an indoor room suitable for group meetings, and an enclosed garden with the choice of sun or a shaded, vine pergola over outdoor stone tables with moveable chairs. We sometimes used these places for assembly or brief lectures or seminars before departing on field trips. They were handy and friendly places in inspiring settings for travel/study orientation sessions and basic 'survival-Italian language and culture' sessions, before boarding the local busses or boats.
As we travelled, I lectured, pointed out and explained examples of timeless archetypal patterns in environments which supported feeling and provided layers of meaning, leaving one with something also to think about. The students did seminars on various design principles, patterns or features in situ, often in prime examples of places, like amphitheatres, or on steps and other important features at various waterfronts, garden villas, hilltowns or urban piazzas.
What better place to study the outdoor 'amphitheatre' than in a fine Roman example, or the outdoor 'Stair Seats', or 'Staircase as a Stage' patterns, in seminar, sitting on the steps of the Municipio, the town hall of Cortona, in Tuscany, overlooking the medieval piazza while observing and being observed by the townspeople as part of the community.
It was before Cortona became so expensive, famous, and crowded with tourists after that New York Times, 'Number 1' bestseller, on life in and around Cortona, Under the Tuscan Sun: at Home in Italy, now also a film in the cinemas. It was written by Professor Frances Mayes from San Francisco, who bought and restored with her husband a farmhouse as a vacation villa with a view of Cortona. It was quickly followed by Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy, by the same author, and other widely read books published by others in the Nineties, several remaining on the New York Times and other newspapers' 'Bestseller' lists for several years and still selling well, as others jumped on the Tuscan countryside and Cortona bandwagon.
Very near Cortona, there also lived a landscape and impressionist painter, an old personal friend, Robert Shaw with his partner Jane. They recently moved closer to Lucca. He sells his paintings at known galleries in Berlin, Zürich-Küsnacht, Rio di Janeiro, Chicago and San Francisco. They lived around the Cortona landscape for over 35 years, long before it was 'discovered', along with another old friend, who's godfather was the internationally well-known German Chancellor, Willy Brandt. This friend is a local garden and building restoration contractor, also a local, much respected creative - natural philosophical character adding color to the local scene, who came as a youth from Germany several years before Shaw, when some of the narrow streets lacked stone paving and supplies were still brought into the town on donkeys. We would meet these and other townspeople in cafes for cultural insights on contemporary and former life in medieval, walled hilltown surroundings.
We went down into the valleys and plains, where we would meet up with 'Roberto' on his latest painting location in the Tuscan countryside. He would haul all of his largest paintings in progress out of a borrowed barn and lean them against a wall, followed by a lively picnic and critique. Another local friend on one occasion invited the entire class for a luncheon at his old villa. This was followed by a lecture he gave on modern brain research and learning patterns in the context of language education approaches he had evolved and work he was doing on bilingual language training for the Government of Canada. It was offered spontaneously while we gathered around his garden terrace which had a commanding view over pleasant farms and typical Tuscan countryside punctuated by everpresent, olive trees and dark green cypresses. Our walk that afternoon included the nearby Convent of the Cells founded in 1211 by St. Francis of Assissi, today occupied by Capuchin Monks. It still has the original cell once occupied by Saint Francis during his years there, which the students visited, one at a time, for a few moments in silence that same afternoon, and during other semesters as well.
We would discuss wholesome, archetypal design patterns and the symbolism, of water in landscape for example, while seated around an 'Alcove' pattern built of stone steps down to the sea level on the edge of the pier in Amalfi, on the Sorrento peninsula below the Bay of Naples, under the warm yellow glow of low angle winter sun reflected off a wall of old terraced houses stacked up the cliff above us. Important emotions and feelings were touched in a way that is not possible reading a book or attending a slide lecture in a classroom in Canada, having coming in out of the cold on a typical winter's day.
From the Lago Maggiore old market communities and island and garden villas overhung with luxuriant vegetation, which we visited via the Navigazione lake boat service, or water taxi, we made bus or train trips nearby to Switzerland, and around Italy's Piemonte, including the car-free waterfront historic village and 'Sacro Monte' (sacred mountain) park above Orta, a charming car-free town with a beautiful waterfront piazza, and, just offshore, a jewel of an Island, S Giulio on the Lago d'Orta with an old monastery and church and many pallazzi.
We also saw the importanat Lake of Como garden villas, including the FAI owned villa at 'Balbianello' on the tip of a wooded promontory jutting into the lake, accessed by water taxi. It was consistently rated by the students as the best garden villa exerience for the semester. Knowing the custodian family at Manta, another National trust property, I was given special permission to spend a good part of the day alone at Balbianello with the students, and for a seminar on the stone steps of the SE-facing amphitheatre-like embarcadero, followed by sketching design patterns in the gardens. It was on a Monday during each semester, free of tourists when FAI properties are closed to the public. The rather special etherial atmosphere and contemplative mood inspired at Balbianello was especially conducive for calling up the emotions and kindling deeper feelings for archetypal design patterns.
We avoided the 'Cinqueterra' which has become the 'in place' for the English speaking countries for hiking between coastal villages next to vineyards and explored a less developed part of Liguria on the sea coast, staying in Camogli with its superb little harbor and warmly painted buildings with so many beautiful examples of trompe-l'oeil. By boat and by foot we went from Camogli to Portofino, hiking and observing the ecosystems of the 'regional nature park' promontory, around the coastal cape between these 2 harbor villages. We returned from Portofino in the evening by bus along the ridgeline on a corniche road high above, with views down over villages of tiny sparkling lights set against a dark sea background.
We also made trips to Milano, and the Veneto, including Verona, Vicenza and Venezia (Venice) in Northern Italy. A dear friend of my family who lives in the historic pedestrian, car-free center of Vicenza, walked us around describing the local culture and what it is like to live in such a beautiful protected district. She took us into Palladio's famous Teatro Olimpico and guided us along curving streets lined with Palladian palaces. Arrangements were made with the walled hilltowns of Volterra and Cortona in Tuscany, where we were given free access to classroom/design studio facilities with electricity and heating for studio project oriented travel bases, from which we took local trains to experience Firenze (Florence) and the Tuscan Landscape and hilltowns. We chartered a bus annually for the Tuscan Landscape tour. We also stayed in Rome-Lazio for up to 2 weeks, in a Church-owned residential hotel surrounded by a quiet park in a pine forest near the Roman wall and the Porta S Pancrazio gate, the American Academy and the Fontana Aqua Paola on the Gianicolo, one of the 7 hills of Rome, with its impressive view down over Rome's historic center. In the Bay of Naples area we studied court garden houses and backyard gardens which incorporated water features for physical and psychological cooling effects in hot summers within the excavated townscape of Pompeii, and the sea/hill villages and garden villas on the island of Capri, and along the Coast of Amalfi. We stayed in Sorrento or Atrani, where the semester ended during the celebration of the Amalfi festival of S. Georgio, when his large silver statue was brought down a long, steep staircase from the Church by an army of bearers and paraded along the waterfront in a major weekend Processione.
I always had an eye for posters announcing chamber music or other concerts for local culture in old churches or castles to attend as we went about. I usually managed to get one of several busses chartered for a day in the semester, for example on the 'Tuscan landscape' tour, somehow, to arrive just as the sun was setting over the little valley of open meadows and olive trees at the Abbey of S Antimo. The door would be flung open just as a monk in his coarse, brown, hooded robe was sitting at the organ on the narrowest of balconies hanging at the second storey level from the wall of the Church, playing on one occasion, the Bach 'Toccata and Fugue in D-', as a beam of low angle setting sunlight streamed through the door opening and up the nave to the altar. We would get back on the bus for the return to Cortona after dark, past illuminated hill villages listening to Italian love songs or chamber music. These events served well to warm up the students' feelings, and for appreciation for chamber music in 4/4 time which has been found to be supportive of creativity. And for good archetypal patterns in the built environment also supportive of spirit, in feeling and higher thought. In Venzia (Venice), the trip was always scheduled around the weekend in late November when there was an annual concert with the entire '4 Seasons' being played in the little Church with the school for girls where Antonio Vivaldi had composed and taught his music students.
The traditional artist's Grand Tour to 'warmer places', south of the Alps, more efficiently organized into a place-location and time-distance coordinated semester, from a residential and studio - teaching base facility had seemed valuable in providing an integral 'foundation' in landscape architecture design education -- providing it could be maintained affordable -- and this was achieved. It was work which simply 'arrived' and progressed, more as a series of natural 'happenings', animated with much spontaneity and liveliness, to which I realized happily, I had only to submit as my vocation. It came from a creative calling deep within my psyche, being my contribution in service to creative younger people in my own mature professional and teaching life.
I had first offered to do my program for credit through Landscape Architecture at the Universtiy of Guelph. The home faculty Study Abroad Director, admitted they were locked into a program in England based at a University-owned house in London, employing local instructors. I pointed out I was prepared to offer a 'grand tour type' program with studio and lecture-seminar courses, more deeply rooted in values than the usual 'anywhere' courses students were being sent to. It would be more efficiently organized than traditional Grand Tour wanderings by individuals travelling alone and, above all, more affordable for students (or their families). I was aware England had become extremely expensive for students and, in fact, the Guelph School of Landscape Architecture abandoned their study abroad program shortly thereafter. The Guelph LA Study Abroad coordinator indicated my Harvard classmate who was then Chairman of the University of Toronto Landscape Architecture program, had been phoning to inquire about me, that he might be interested in my helping out by putting together a study abroad experience through their program. As it turned out, the timing was right to begin sending UofT fourth year undergraduate students (then in a 5-year BLA program) for a Fall semester with me in Italy. And there would be space for several students from other canadian programs.
The students did a history/theory course, studio, and many elected an ad hoc supervised, special projects elective course actually supervised by me, but attached to one of the faculty back in Toronto (otherwise, with 3 courses and administrative duties I would have been entitled to full-time pay and status--what top level University Administration had hoped for). To make a fourth course in a full term of credits, also qualifying for student-loan program status, there was an art historian's intensive history offering, which the LA students did with UofT Architecture Study Abroad - Italy students. It was on 'Baroque church facades' in Rome and was laid on by Architecture during our stay in the city, taught by an art history professor from Germany.
I had longer term possibilities in the works to be implemented when my program's position became more established and known among the other 5 Canadian LA Schools, for a second 'Spring' semester open to students from the other schools, where in either semester students could stay and do Lazio and part of Tuscany from a World Wildlife Fund for Nature environmental education center on the Monte Argentario Promontory. This longstanding plan involved planning and design work for WWF 'Oasis' reserves and a nearby national park, in exchange for assistance from WWF, together with accommodation and some local expertise on various subjects. I also had and still maintain the necessary connections to organize student projects for historic cultural properties in coopertion with Italy's FAI, or National Trust.
The LA Study Abroad Program was obviously a 'plum' for attracting faculty as well as students' attention, if anything more unconscious on the part of faculty, older, less open and more set in the conventional wisdom of established ways of seeing and doing things. But being rooted in timeless design patterns and old world environments, it was not 'modern'. It was not the latest 'in thing' going on in the fashion world of colder 'modernism' for its own sake, the inner, shadow projection stuff spilling out unconsciously along the way in a typical designer's long and difficult journey to wider consciousness and greater personality.
Unfortunately, a wall against this journey may so effectively block the path culturally, some individuals don't make it unless they receive a serious kick from something like a life-threatening illness. From what is being presented here from the perspective of psychology, especially Jung's broader and deeper archetypal and experiential perspective, one may begin to see an inner purpose in many illnesses from a psychosomatic viewpoint. One wonders how many people indeed manage to awaken in time to survive grave illness.
The overall cultural problem is the stuff from which some architects and other rather inflated designer egos typically feed upon. We get too much into the head and caught up in a materialistic world of fads and superficiality, operating without the benefit of wider ego-consciousness with balanced access to all 4 faculties of mind. We don't appreciate the need for a contemplative ability to introvert and meditate, or recognize there is an inner life with a developmental purpose, an inner rift in a society which is so extremely extroverted. As a more distant and true perspective may be lacking in environmental decision-making with respect to depth of intuition and values and judgement, it's as if our 'system' is educating players who have not been dealt a full deck of cards.
Now we are all unconscious of the opposites in the Garden of Eden like this in the beginning. But formal education is inadequate in raising the bar and most remain in the garden of innocence far too long, finding their way into positions with power, or money, which can be used to buy one's way out of a necessary Fall into wider consciousness. In compensation Nature and the Universe may conspire to fight against such puerile ego positions, where people may carry on through life with psychological development in which some aspects of personality remain in the youth or young adult stage, with difficulty reaching psychological maturity at the mid-point in life usually around age 40. The true Self tries to compensate, by engineering a flip-flop in the form of an enantiodromia, thus gradually enabling the Self to gain superiority as one moves back and forth between positions like the swing of a pendulum between the opposites of classicism and romanticism as ego-conscious widens. The Disney film, 'The Wizard of Oz' is an amusing illustration of how such a compensative battle between the Ego and the Self may actually occur if one examines the characters from a mythological viewpoint psychologically, seeing the interplay of the underlying archetypes, where the Wizard at the control panel in the background may be seen as an enactment of the greater Self.
One rarely finds architects, designers and developers living in coldly modern erections they may have 'engineered' so calculatively, sometimes concretizing unconscious, inner shadow projections from their darker side. It's their clients and the innocent bystanders and everyday users of outdoor and indoor spaces and non-places who have to deal with these environments, and the stress and alienation from the soul and spirit forced on the psyche and body. We have only touched the surface investigating symptoms like 'sick building syndrome', which sometimes may apply to the exterior landscape as well. Various symptoms may in large part be due to environments alienating people from their true nature.
We ask why towns like Windsor in Ontario have such a disproportionally high rate of cancer and other diseases compared with Canada's other cities. There may be many pollution factors to consider, and the problem may not be simply biochemical, as the psychological aspects and stress resulting from alienation of the soul by coldly uninspiring and uninviting industrial and other built environments such as commercial strip developments may have substantial, long-term impacts.
The home environments of some famous designers, as was notably the case with architect icon, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, were often not minimalist, of cold and alienating aluminum, steel, glass and concrete, with white-walled, largely transparent rooms sparsely furnished with stiff, gleaming metal and leather furniture, seemingly bolted to the floor on an unrelaxed and rigid grid pattern. Mies, reportedly from others and some old photographs, lived in a Chicago apartment with lots of cushy 'old furniture', sumptuous drapes, and warm colored, textured wallcoverings hung with many works of art and personal memory-steeped belongings. If anybody needs to be convinced on the transparency and sensory deprivation of his designed buildings, the film+sound loop on his ultimate project, the Berlin Museum should suffice. It was produced for Phyliss Lambaert's Canadian Centre for Architecture retrospective on Mies, made shortly before she retired from the scene. It was recently shown at the Whitney in New York, and then in Montréal.
Each of the several Toronto faculty who in rotation came over to visit and help out with some teaching and a critique of student work during project reviews, for 10 days to 2 weeks in the middle of the fall term, being caught up in this 'head stuff' seemed unconsciously to be projecting an inner need on what I may have stood for, to come down to earth and do some maturing of his own, psychologically and professionally. It all seemed to be pointing to the need for more depth in appreciating a more conscious relatedness and a humane design intelligence and the touchy subject of the innate, cross-cultural value issue and to values which are timeless.
Perhaps there was a need to do some of the inner work represented by what I had attempted. Each openly, but unconsciously expressed in various ways visible to myself, my female partner, the neighbors, officials in various towns where we were guests along the way, and to the students... an intent to take over the program for himself, implying he would do it differently based on what was attached to his own ego-consciousness. Or, probably, he was not aware of, but was coming up from behind, so to speak, in his darker, inner shadow projections onto the outer world from the inner regions of the North and the fourth and inferior function buried in the psyche which is may well be inferior thinking. It perhaps represents unfinished business held over from the mid-life crisis when nature normally calls one to have to bring this function up, or the third and transformative function, if even that is still very unconscious.
This is somewhat predictable to one who has been downstairs in one's the psyche to have a good look around, so to intuit what dark behavior patterns might come up from the basement in the personal psyche of others blocking repressed archetypes of a more human potential trying to push their way up through blockages and more negative shadowy behavior patterns, from one's very foundations in the universal unconscious. We all have our darker side and when we are unaware it can take over and get the better of us. We may be seized by an archetype and likely to act out unconsciously when unaware of the archtypal mythemes historically. The problem is how to contain potentially destructive, or negative shadow behavior when such unconscious people are in a superior position, politically. It reminded me of dealing with my Swiss farmer employer whose worn out, patriarchically one-sided standpoint eventually knocked his legs from under him, and gave him such pain in the back as well, thus robbing him of the true masculine logos.
C. G. Jung
The notion of 'The Grand Tour' carries an enormous projection for both artistic intuitive - emotion - feeling and scientific sensation - thinking capacities, as the forces of 'romanticism' and 'classicism' interreact within the psyche. And it encourages an integration of these opposites so each individual's androgenous personality can unfold and mature in wider consciousness, as contents of the unconscious are gradually fished-up and attached to the ego.
One of our guest faculty coming over from Toronto for his 2-week mid-semeter "break" went 'native', to use a meaningful expression related to some tribal culture initiation rites. An anecdotal account goes as follows: He guided the entire class while in Venice for an after dark urban landscape exploration under night lighting. He got out his finest from his suitcase, including a dark, full-length coat to the ankles and a large, dark, wide-brimmed, western style hat. He appeared with the students in the common courtyard, where one of the neighbors remarked, after observing them all bound off like a bunch of little children, that the instructor was in his "costume Carnivale", appearing to some perhaps as if a trickster figure in modern dress who had forgotten to bring the accompanying black and white harlequin mask for his outfit. I noted our guest appeared to have an Italian sounding name, to which one said, in translation, "He looks Italian, but it seems he cannot even pronounce place names correctly or speak a word." Another simply uttered the following: "Schifoso. Sembra che quell' uomo in vacanza fa un brutto scherzo ai studenti!"
After the students visited various bars their guide then took them to the gambling Casino where they were abruptly thrown out after it was found members of the group were improperly attired, excessively drinking, noisy and causing a disturbance, as the students later related in a more sober and apologetic moment. They arrived back at the Pensione many hours after a 10:30 PM curfew which everyone was aware of and had agreed to before leaving.
After a long day of bus and train travel from Cannero with 2 bus rides to coordinate with time schedules and a train change in Milano and stops to see Verona and Vicenza historic centers along the way, and needing to be ready for a busy teaching itinerary in Venice on foot the following days, my partner and her daughter and I, who had come along with me on this trip coinciding with an Italian holiday long-weekend, all retired early in our room at the rear of the second floor.
The pensione had taken several days research time to find, starting with the guidebooks, then recommendations from other pensione booked-up many months in advance, or not willing to accommodate students. It was in the real Venezia, not a 'touristy' neighborhood. It was cheery, immaculately clean and our stay had been negotiated early in the year at a most favorable November price for students. It was in a rather wealthy, non-tourist, residential neighborhood where everyone looks for accommodation, but seldom finds as anything cheap is entirely outside Venice in the industrial and point-of-access town of Mestre with it's congested and more polluted, car-filled streets. Our Venetian pensione and a group of old townhouses surrounded a tree-shaded common courtyard with sitting benches and well-designed garden plantings that was like an island Paradise unto its own. It was a perfect seminar/teaching example, featuring among many others, 2 combined 'timeless design patterns' to be studied on my master list of 'best examples' to be found in situ not found elsewhere on our Grand Tour itinerary. The patterns were 'Courtyards which Live' and 'Family of Entrances'. The quiet court with houses on 3 sides was behind a high wall enclosing part of the fourth side, with a locked metal door being the gate in the wall giving access outside to a narrow pedestrian street winding through the larger neighborhood after crossing many canal bridges.
On returning the group created such a rowdy commotion after ringing the bell which the owner family in the Pensione could not hear as all occupants had fallen into deep sleep in bed in rooms to the rear. The students then began to yell and bang loudly, attempting to break down the door to the compound. They of course being mostly drunk, were reportedly belligerant according to the neighbors, having returned very late, in the dark of the morning, with our angry Toronto guest and guide, to find nobody waiting up for them -- that is, until some of the neighbors got up and came out to see what was going on -- fortunately before phoning the police.
The group supposedly had been out for a trattoria cena (early supper) nearby, followed by an 'evening' stroll in the Piazza San Marco and the Piazzetta which connects it with the Grand Canal, and a stroll along the Canal. After the early morning's noisy commotion, on the students finding the door to the compound locked many hours after the curfew, the entire close-knit neighborhood now was back at the doorstep at 8 AM, complaining vociferously about my bringing in these disrespectful (north) "Americani animali", whom they maintained had "terrorized" their proud and peaceful, tightly knit Venetian neighborhood in the middle of the night. And in a time of public mourning! Our guest from Toronto, whom they referred to as the "Americano" who apparently had arrived in the rush to Canada escaping from the United States in the 1960's-70's, had either handed in his American passport on arrival or, somehow, had conveyed he was not Canadian like the rest of us, excluding my Italian partner of course, who had been watching him very carefully, being the students' watchful, ever-protective and helpful Italian Mother figure.
All had been warned repeatedly, after we learned the unfortunate news on arrival and, again, with pleading, several times before the students left the previous evening, that the family-run pensione was not only half-staffed, but the owner and her son were in shock and grieving and could not sit up all night waiting for a group of students to return. The family, all 4, had been in a violent car crash near the airport the previous Sunday. The sister and father had been killed in an accident with the car of some recklessly driving tourists who had just rolled off the aircraft with apparently no designated driver coinciding with the name on the car rental contract. And the group unfortunately just happened to be American. The surviving mother and the son repeatedly begged, and this was translated each time to the guest faculty person and to the students, that the students respect their sudden loss of family which also had traumatized the entire close-knit community. The entire neighborhood was like an extended family owing largely to successful, 'community'-sensitive, timeless design patterns built into the physical form and character of the court and its containing architecture and special furnishings and plantings atypical of the more austere and commonplace Venetian style 'campo'--also beautiful but in a less intimate way.
After much consoling of the neighborhood group and persuasion of the 2 remaining of the pensione owner family, we were allowed to complete our stay. My Italian partner and I were told we were welcome to return by ourselves, but never to bring professors or students again from Canada. The commotion was an inexcusable act of leadership and from one of the students' own Toronto Faculty. He was a supposedly senior member of the Canadian profession traveling with us as a special teaching guest. In a program who's purpose was to enjoy an in-depth educational travel opportunity. My aim in Italy was to ground the students so they could sense and feel and try to grasp the meaning and value of non-academic, 'down to earth reality'... real people and places with timelessly valued archetypal design patterns, both vernacular in nature and, also not to be overlooked, important 'recognized design principle' precedents.
The Toronto faculty member's only comment was as 'off the ground' as the previous night's Grand Tour debacle, that I was the problem and everything was all my fault, having "thrown a glytch into our (Toronto) Landscape Architecture Program". I suppose I had really "screwed up" home faculty "control" which were the words he used for a false persona-warp on the students' mindset which may effectively block the students' intuition of meaning or response to underlying values and their 'true-self' way of seeing, believing, thinking and doing things, in freedom -- each for her or himself -- according to true, creative origins in the unconscious and cross-culturally innate values. It seemed I was definitely guilty of something, merely allowing the students to un-brainwash themselves from what was considered the 'in thing', the latest cool number: superficial fashion.
After this unfortunate and very sad event, I then had to make a special trip to Venice which really has no low tourist season the following year, and at my own expense, tagging along with other supervising parents of Cannero/Canobbio children on a grade school trip. I spent 3 days on foot hunting for other suitable pensione, before finally compromising quality of location and settling on environment without the special examples of pattern language teaching content, not typically found in other towns, to persuade a hotel beside the open air fish market to take a group of university students the following November. It then had to be in a highly tourist-impacted commercial district over the noisy street day and night. And at prices which then became more than doubled for subsequent groups. And with the ubiquitous, objectionable stench of fish guts.
The Canada home faculty also wore out their welcome in Cannero Riviera and on the Lago Maggiore. The local Italian expression for some ger-'manic', testosterone possessed types who charge South over the Alps in great numbers for sun, escaping a hyper-active pressure-cooker culture obsessed with control and order symbolic of that stubby, phallic vegetable level in consciousness, is 'zucchini'. And the term 'zucchino' was frequently applied by the some of the local population when some of these faculty were around. At the end of the 5 years, my Italian partner and I both were so fed up, having swallowed so much, and had so much anger to deal with, along with the abysmal financial circumstances in which we were left, having invested so much personal time, energy and, above all, money, it caused the breakup of our relationship. We simply couldn't survive, being economically dependent on such a one-sidedly conscious (really unconscious) bunch of scheming tricksters. They were like Godzilla, bent on stamping out a creative teaching and learning response to an identified problem, which sought to balance and embody in planning and design both Yin and Yang, the archetypal feminine principle and the true masculine Logos. It is something perceived as a threat in pseudo-intellectual and in academic society which is really just a disembodied head, perhaps more typical of the design culture which may be flying at high altitude with little grounding on a firm foundation rooted in a psychological integration of the opposites, where even the overly valued thinking function often is the inferior and fourth in the quaternity, and therefore most remote and least conscious, occurring more autonomously in a state of possession, really a form addiction.
Each year over a period of several years, my partner had been promised by Toronto faculty, verbally, a contract for the following year to assist me in booking the travel component of the program, for simultaneous and alternate translation -- her profession -- with a Cambridge Language Institute degree and considerable experience as a former translation section head for several languages, at La Fiera, Milano's year-round, International Trade Fair. It included translating for the Fair's Director, and supervising a translation staff of several hundred people working in German and French. Like me, she had left the big city and the exhausting dodging of game-playing that such work entailed for a more peaceful and family value-oriented existence back in her home communities on the lake.
My partner's new promise of more rewarding work in an educational setting was appealing and was to involve translation of guest lectures/critiques by Italian experts and teaching an Italian language and culture course to round out the students' semester load. Her mother was available to help out with the household when she would occasionally translate locally, or travel during studio projects on longer trips in Tuscany-Lazio Regions with myself and the students. Several times, after promises of a university contract, she gave up various local tourist bureau and currency exchange jobs on one side of the lake or the other -- which she commuted to by hydrofoil, 2 round trips per day -- and an assortment of language tutoring at home and teaching in private schools along the lake, only to discover there was no contract materializing before the semester began. And she was then entirely without work having to pick up these threads and start all over. Her comment was, "If these so-called Toronto landscape architects are your professional 'friends', openly trying to buy me to assist them while they stab you in the back to get rid of you, so they can come over sit ignoring the students and do their own sketches then run around and play with the students, I surely would not want to meet any 'real enemies' you might have encountered from back there in Canada among such mentally cold and aggressive, Neanderthal, Ice Age people!"
Back in Toronto each new student group had to fight, from February onward, when I would cross the Atlantic at my own expense, to Toronto for a slide-talk and to meet them in March, after they had been enthusiastically sold on the value of the program and its continuation under my leadership by the previous class. As the students reported, the lobbying in the Chairman's and in the Dean's office would begin in the new year when the previous students returned and would continue through July, or early August, when I would typically get a phone call confirming there would actually be another program beginning late August. In the third week of August I would meet the students in Paris. I would get a formal, contractually limited appointment in the mail to sign, typically around the end of September, or in early to mid-October. I would then get some of the money for my expenses budget advanced, but too late for minimum deposits needed to book scarce student travel pensione accommodations for the semester. Everything had to be booked on a last minute basis unless I sent money orders for the necessary partial down payment and paid for them myself.
There were various administrative foulups, sometimes seemingly very intentional. As one example, almost every year I would get written notification from the Dean of dates for the intensive 10-14 day history course with the Architecture students in Rome, and then the dates would be advanced, with no phone call or written notification, so I would arrive days or a week late with the landscape students. Some of this at first appeared to be rather unconscious, but as years went by it appeared to have have been cunningly set up by faculty, as dates began to shift back and forth after my enquiries. After the fifth year of the program, I got a letter from the new Dean of the newly reinstated School, an architect, saying all of this had been my fault and goodbye.
This had humorous and interesting legal implications. I had been warned about the architecture - landscape architecture faculty and the University Administrations' experiences with them from the beginning, by a higher University official, who had inquired if I had any family connection with my cousin, their popular and respected, deceased former Provost and brief President before his heart attack. Don Forster also had been a very effective, popular and well-respected President of the University of Guelph who also left UofG on a very firm financial footing. I therefore maintained a good paper trail in my dealings with the former College of Architecture. I also was warned by University administration they would protect me from Architecture and Landscape Architecture faculty who would try to get rid of me because of the mature design approach and values I stood for. But it would be difficult for them to provide continuing protection and help consolidate and expand my program to include other schools of landscape architecture, "desireable" from their viewpoint, "both economically and from the viewpoint of maintaining a pool of the best students"). That is, if Architecture at Toronto won its battle to save their faculty and undergraduate programs, and a new architect were to be brought in from outside as Dean. Landscape Architecture had a slightly better reputation with administration and was to be saved and moved to the College of Forestry. A caretaker administrator had been sent in by the President's office to rid the University of Architecture, which senior officials had been very unhappy with for many years, or to reshape it (eventually it happened -- as a graduate faculty), if it proved too unpolitical outside the University and by the media, to eliminate entirely.
The art historian from Germany teaching the history of Baroque church facades intensive, condensed mini-course in Rome warned me on hearing of my difficulties never to put anything intelligent or meaningful in my program or course outlines. Based on the bitter wisdom of his own experiences only a few lines of 'fluff' would be acceptable to keep one out of the way of immediate sabotage by the home faculty.
The Toronto College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture eventually was demoted to the status of a School in the University, then finally to a 'Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design', in which the distinction of 'Landscape Architecture' and apparent connection on the masthead with the professional national CSLA & licencing Provincial OALA organizations seemed to disappear altogether. Attached to Toronto's College of Arts and Humanities, in a University which seeks mainly to be a leading graduate education institution in Canada, the 5-year undergraduate professional programs in Architecture and Landscape Architecture were dropped. In the present round a core of remaining faculty started up 3-year, 'first professional degree' programs at the graduate, 'Master' degree level. One would wonder who may have been trying to set up to 'master' what from a psychologically in-depth point of view, but wishes them well, nevertheless.
The Romans were a very powerful, extroverted, sensation-thinking, sober, materialistic and above all, mobile conquering civilization, with some horribly abusive habits toward people and animals and in public spectacles. But they did not wipe out entirely the cultures of those they overtook, as in the case of the Etruscans for example. We know less of the Etruscans. One may surmise something from the sublime, smiling faces on the terra cotta statues on their tombs, sometimes depicting sirens with a smile like Leonardo's Mona Lisa, and the fact that their Augurs did the fortune-telling and the divining for the Romans, including the locating and laying out of new settlements. The Etruscans probably were a more agriculturally rooted, settled, earthy and perhaps wiser, more introverted, intuitive-feeling civilization for the most part. It is clear, moreover, some of their contributions were highly respected by the Romans as to be indispensible. Lest we all becoming possessed and run out to buy pendulum crystals for decision-making, it is wise to take the necessary time to become aware just what these shamanic skills of Etruscan augurs and others with occult knowledge of the Music of the Spheres actually comprises.
The 'Curia' experience reminded me of a slide and tape lecture program set to great classic and romantic music themes which I often played for my students near the beginning of a semester. I used this to set the stage for the integrative work needed in a profession which, by its very nature, must encompass both the arts and the sciences. It was entitled Classicism and Romanticism: the Sober and the Sublime. It had a scene set in the Roman Curia, with a painting of Ceaser standing precisely where I had seen the Minerva statue in my dream, facing the Senators seated at the bench, with a voice looped into the sound music-narration tape uttering that famous phrase: "Et tu Brute!" (Yes, thanks for a hell of a trip, guy!) Athena/Minerva was one of the major deities of ancient Greece and Rome, and like Apollo, a benevolent civilizing influence. Representing an aspect of the anima, or soul in man, she supports good things -- namely wisdom, understanding and the creative arts. In Greek mythology she was the daughter of Zeus (Jupiter of the Romans), and sprang in birth fully-armed from his head, as if with higher spiritual powers in the form of intellect.
An investigation I made indicated such a terra cotta statue of Minerva as observed in my dream really had existed in that very spot in Roman times -- although it was certainly not visible on the painting from the slide-tape presentation. The slide photo was of a modern tempora sketch showing Julias Ceaser standing in that very position, while gesturing as if pleading his case with the other Senators just before he was murdered on the spot, as narrated on the audio tape. The Statue of Minerva had in Roman times occupied the same location in the Curia, or Senate building. I later discovered the terra cotta statue still exists. It has been stored for decades in an inaccessible part of the Capitoline Museum which has been continuously 'under renovation'. I hope one day to find someone with access to take me to see it and to bring to closure that whole moving archetypal experience. Recalling it still sends shivers running up and down my spine, so much for a psychological inner landscape death experience as an example connected synchronistically with events in the outer world of time. The Museum, in modern times flanks part of Michelangelo's Piazza Campidoglio. The entire complex sits on top of this central hill in Rome overlooking the Roman Forum where the Roman Curia - Senate building still stands today fully intact.
Interestingly, the Zürich, original Jung Institute is administered by its 'Curatorium' and it begs association, intuitively, with the Roman Senate, or Curia, which also can be taken as if it were to be a very powerfully manipulated 'cure-ya!' The moral would seem to be... when a rite of initiation to experience the darker side of god comes due in life, one is going to get it one way or another. But some ways may be more authentic than manipulative head games at universities or diploma institutes, and perhaps none of them are very pleasant or affordable, unless understood in their proper, more universal, mythological context. Going it alone can be tough.
Minerva/Athena may be viewed as not having being born out of the mother's womb or nourished by the 5 senses, relatedness, compassion and the intuition of the positive or Great Earth Mother. Metis, a Titaness, was expecting Zeus' baby Athena when he was warned the child would be greater than him. So he turned Metis into a fly and swallowed Metis. Later, Zeus had a terrible headache and ordered the blacksmith god, Hephaestos, to crack open his head. An immortal god cannot be harmed, and from the split appeared Athena, fully armed as goddess of wisdom and war, and patron of Athens. She was dangerous if aroused to anger. She always wore armor and was unbeatable in combat. One may view this on the other hand as not being so grounded in the archetypal feminine. Athena was born directly from the world of thought and ideas, much as are many of the daughters of our highly educated civilization, today, who identify with the word and world of the more patriarchal masculine. This would also be projected from the Freudian or family subconscious of some men as well, in their ideal of what modern woman should represent for them, although that notion may not reflect the underlying essence of modern woman either. Athena/Minerva is but one of many aspects of the archetypal feminine in the deeper layers of the androgenous psyche common to both sexes. She waits in the depths of the psyche -- really it is that force, or energy that she personifies -- ready for an opportunity to be constellated then brought into ego-consciousness in life's meaningful journey.
Athena/Minerva helped Perseus slay the serpent-headed monster Medusa and, as a war goddess, fought for just causes. She also was a guardian of Prometheus, implying she may assimilate some feeling and some of the extroverted form of intuition from exposure to him. To the Greeks, the Romans, the Renaissance and later, she became the virgin goddess of wisdom, with her wise old owl perched near her, often on a pile of books, symbols of 'library' knowledge. She was seen also as the founder of civil government through the communication of this educationally 'acquired' form of learning. Patrician women in public life, especially if they patronized the arts, were often portrayed with the attributes of Minerva, sometimes wearing armor, or with the owl armored and on the books. Occasionally in art she sits, holding a painting of someone deceased, a token of regard for the person depicted in the inner painting. If it is a female it may represent the absent mother, a missing nurturing earth aspect of the feminine in ego consciousness. If it is a male it would more likely be an absent or missed positive father figure in some respect.
Above all Athena/Minerva personifies the 'lower intellect', or 'library knowledge', as one aspect of 'wisdom'. But this is also Janus-headed (like the Roman god of thresholds or doorways looking in both directions at once), or 2-sided, as there is another more grounded, altruistic and higher intellect which cannot be 'acquired'. It is based on the wisdom of life experience seen in the light of innate inner values.
I looked upon such synchronous inner/outer events as evidence of my ongoing 'alchemical' and/or philosophical individuation process, and the development and bringing into consciousness of my inner anima soul, with aspects of wisdom and communication, which come from a psychological growth and learning experience, involving some enlightenment and having to deal with secret knowledge of a Great Mystery and the unconscious, together with the wisdom of life's experience. When tempered with library knowledge it sheds some light on the meaning and value of what has happened. The secret as all this happens is to find the right balance between the Tree of Life (inner and outer landscape experience) and the Tree of Knowledge (abstract, the library), while staying very grounded in nature and society -- in the world and in the human body. One can get swallowed by the whale which stands for the unconscious and a 'descent to the goddess', for many of both sexes, in the inner symbolic journey into the depths under protection in the belly of the whale. It enables us to rebalance the opposites by recovering the feminine, receptive principle and gnosis, the wisdom associated with the instincts constellated by the 'Tree of Life', which is not provided for in formal and abstract, intellectual/library education.
C. G. Jung
The year with part-time work on a farm on a hillside above the village, Uetikon am See, in Kanton Zürich, had been very healthy and informative for me while studying at the Jung Institute. Apart from work maintaining the farm there was my own garden in a larger plot shared with 2 neighbor families not related to the farmer, a lot of walking or cross-country skiing with my dog Flynn -- a long hair and tail Welsh Cardigan Corgi -- and occasionally with a student friend from the Santa Fe area who also had her dog there with her. There were many cherry, apple and pear trees. There was pruning, picking, conserving, or pressing juices for pear/apple saft, from the various fruit trees, and a little bit of canning for myself. I helped weed the farmers' vegetable garden as well (never to toss any weeds that were invasive or with seeds into the compost pile). I helped with produce conservation in the storage cellar. There was summer mowing of grass under orchards with the tractor mounted with a cutter bar. In winter there was snow removal with a blade on the tractor. All of the tree prunings were dried on the upper floor of one of the barns to be bundled, pressed and wired into faggots for starting stove fires. No stick falling or cut on the property was wasted. I prepared the firewood for several households. This included splitting with an ax meter lengths, having first been cut twice into three stove lengths on a circular saw, then stacking the wood to dry for heating, and in the farmer's house it was used for cooking as well. Stacking had to be done beautifully and precisely, from ground to soffit, along 3 sides of an old barn and all around its doors and windows. Swisstyle! Everything had to be no less than perfect or it might fall down in an earth tremor or strong wind. In a small and strange way perhaps, I had fallen into a somewhat similar situation with very down to earth outdoor activities as Dr. Jung had evolved in his own grounded lifestyle, as I remained very close to the cyclical rhythms of nature in the outer landscape. One of the more widely published pictures of Jung shows him seated in the courtyard of his tower at Bollingen wearing a heavy apron splitting kindling for his cookstove. You can find this image of Jung under the Pattern, 'Settled Work', in A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings Construction, by Christopher Alexander et al.
After the first advanced psychology study sojourn, and years later in the 1990's, upon initiating then having the study abroad program taken away after 5 years, in 1992-3, there followed an opportunity for economic survival back in Ontario -- a research contract from the Arts Council of Ontario. It was to begin the current work, to write on the significance and meaning of gardens and gardening, interpreting today's timeless message from the most significant historic prototypes. The proposal was vetoed by the one of the members of the approval committee, another former friend and senior landscape architect in the profession... after Council staff had indicated with enthusiastic anticipation that my proposal was almost certainly to be approved for funding being the first submission ever to meet virtually all of their selection criteria. There was no identification on the proposals submitted to the committee, but this particular individual, his wife and family had been friends of mine. And he and his wife had actually come to visit me in Cannero while I was doing the program based there, new my work from discussions and visits to Guelph, and from an article I wrote in Landscape Architecture Canada back in 1982, on Research Needs in the Profession-- the article and my unwillingness to pay a surcharge doubling the annual Ontario Association of Landscape Architects membership fee in order to pay lawyers to push through with professional registration when there was no unique body of design theory relevant to the profession incidently got me thrown out of the OALA. It was obvious from the content of the research proposal no other person from the arts, garden designer/expert or landscape architect in Canada could have authored the proposal. It appeared, once again -- 'Et tu Brute!' -- I had been duped into a profession in Canada I had joined out of altruistic passion for more humane method and for ecology-minded reasons, only to be continuously fleeced by what appeared more and more like a company of old boys behaving like a bunch of unconscious clowns with a 'high school tech.', or 'fraternity' house mentality.
In December 1995, I went through the interviews, only to be summarily refused the following February, in a haughty note from the same Chairperson of the Curatorium's Selection Commitee. The verbal attack by one interviewer in an angry voice was I "should have completed the program years before. Its too long ago since you were here, its is no longer the same program. It has changed in the meantime, into a more clinical psychology-based [university] program." It had moved, more from recognition and shaping of a vocational art, more in the direction of manipulative or mechanistic technique and, increasingly, catering to a much younger, less mature (and now rapidly dwindling) body of students. I also was told by this same woman, one of a 3 member Committee doing separate interviews, "You are too old, (at 54?) and furthermore, feeling types are no good as analysts!" The second interviewer, a younger, newcomer to the Committee recognized sensitivity and relatedness, obviously with a very refined feeling function herself. She said on the basis of feeling differentiated above all else, I positively had her vote, not to worry. The Male on the Committee, the only one with a medical-psychiatrist as well as a Jungian background simply said "I have to deal with these damned women!", implying he would play the game and vote the way the first interviewer and the Selection Committee Chairwoman told him to vote. The latter was at the time embroiled in a controversial divorce with an internationally know local Training Analyst from British upper society with a quite a reputation, and among others known for various 'raisings and lowerings' especially with clients, and who had been 'disgrazia', in an embarassing way too many times it seems. And I had been around a decade earlier, in a very small educational institution where there were few secrets. Some of the famous stories associated with Institute people embroiled in public scandals over the years make the incidents related to national and international figure-skating and the previous Utah USA Winter Olympics seem mildly pedestrian.
In conclusion, it also was obvious to me and to my 2 local, very senior training Analysts that typological labelling had become an excuse for ignoring the rounding out process of individuation in the training of analysts. One said as we were keeping a good sense of humor in discussing the interview outcome, " Well what did you expect from those people?" It obviously didn't matter who I was or had become, or what I may have accomplished in life experience and in working with the dream and the unconscious. It means in the personal and inner maturation journey requirement, if one couldn't voluntarily walk into the unconscious as if in a shamanic way, or face the prospect of a 'Fall' in a 'descent' into the unconscious, alternatively, one then could take the intellectual route typical of most formal education. You become an analyst 'persona' more mechanistically, by taking the right-hand path following the tree of library knowledge... and then go and work with clients... perhaps.
What fewer people know is that in a setting where one's own creativity, inner process and maturity are the key variables, Jung and the first generation of Jungian analysts laid considerable emphasis on the fact that an analysand can go only as far as the analyst himself has been -- in the individuation and/or maturing process -- it is just why it can become such a dicey affair, today, with certain risks including an amount of 'raising and lowering' being acted out in various quarters very much frowned upon by the North American analytical psychology establishment. Also, it is nature's way that analysts who have not completed the inner journey, in practise, do not tend to get 'Jungian analysis' clients walking through their consulting room doorways with dreams in hand. They get mostly people looking for traditional counselling or verbal therapy in the analyst's former professional role of social worker, clinical psychologist, or whatever. The unconscious knows.
Von France had said "the difference between an ordinary person who suffers and the healer is that the healer finds a way to overcome and get out of his trouble without outer help. He can overcome his own suffering, he finds the creative way out, and that means he finds his own cure, which is unique... The healing hero, therefore, is the one who finds some creative way out, a way which is not already known and does not follow a pattern. Ordinary sick people follow ordinary patterns, but the shaman cannot be cured by the usual methods of healing. He has to find the unique way--the only way that applies to him. The creative personality who can do that may then become a healer and is recognized as such by his colleagues."
For example, from the point of view of balancing the collective understanding or worldview, one may well receive a vocational calling from the unconscious to be one of the pathfinders instrumental in facilitating a paradigm shift, in helping to move one's discipline, profession, or the collective in general forward to a new level in consciousness. One then is in a position to cure or assist people from the same field or group having similar problems according to the now famous law of justification by works. It was recorded in the long suppressed, Gospel of Thomas which had been excluded from the bible and buried for many centuries at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt. Unfortunately, modern intellectual society only tends to recognize diplomas and Zürich and Boston had the only IAAP internationally accredited analytical psychology training programs open to some people from the arts and non-therapeutic professions. Whereas many other Jungian training programs already had become more clinical psychology based, open only to people with a physician's or a licensed therapist background in clinical psychology, for example.
Well, this two-fold experience I had at the Zürich-Küsnacht Institute was not saying much for Jung's psychology which was for the second half of life. What about the important unfolding of the 'true Self', whom Jung had stood for as opposed a false self, or 'the company of the wise', or being grounded or centered in the body, or for love, feeling, respect, relatedness, sympathy, empathy and compassion for others and nature's nature. Or for striving to develop and balance introversion together with extroversion and to bring up and maintain balance among all 4 psychological functions: sensation, feeling, intuition and thinking. This was an understanding Jung himself had labored so hard to amplify in his work and, above all, to have mastered himself, in his own personal 'Great Work', to use the alchemical expression.
I concluded, that genuine psycho-therapy with work on the body-mind totality for unearthing the self in striving for a more grounded foundation with a more rooted growth process as Jung had discovered in his own maturity was not what the Zürich - Küsnacht Jung Institute evolved. But it was being practised by the several very senior Jungians I had the very good fortune to work with.
It was obvious to myself and the older and wiser practitioner-training analysts, and to some more astute observers, that training foreign analysts obviously had become quite an industry in Zürich. Feeding this mill required an ever younger pool of students, including some of the psychologically and mythologically 'uninitiated'. It seemed this crowd was needed to maintain an ever increasing number of Jung Institute-trained and affiliated analysts in the region, with a list that numbered at one time in excess of 250 associated with the Zürich-Küsnacht Institute's training program. One Curatorium Selection Committee member actually said to me, in as many words, they didn't want someone around so grounded, so able to see right through everything, moreover, talking with the students, especially about various goings-on in the past and serious continuing problems I had observed, or had been prompted by dreams to discover, with insights. I had become something like a menace to their society, their public persona, their business. Their survival was locked into a questionable training program developed by the first group of Swiss 'Jungfrauen'. It required a minimum 300 hour personal analysis, but training was based on an academic intellect-centric model the Jungs themselves never approved of, which C.G. himself had given benign consent to, but merely it seems because this group had established the program in his name and he didn't wish to ignore them. Whereas he had his own more important research and writing agenda, but at least wanted some opportunity for input in what might transpire at the Institute bearing his name. The Institute is currently experiencing increasing difficulty in attracting qualified students and it has fallen upon difficult financial times, with fewer students and an increasing number of expensive lawsuits. Many training analysts left in recent years to form an entirely new training institute now based in Zürich proper.
I was helped by more senior local analysts who advised me not to fall prey to this technocratic system by repeatedly applying (and wasting more and more money -- around $2700CAD/Swiss francs for just one of several interview processes during stages in the program) as North American men increasingly were having to do, until one got accepted from the Matriculated Auditor stage into the Training Program. I was helped, quickly finding several garden design/build/maintenance projects, while I considered what to do next. I monitored my dreams, talked with senior experts in Switzerland and in Italy and arrived at training as a Jungian sandplay therapist under the auspices of the International Society for Sandplay Therapy (ISST), which I began. I had been 'thinking' beyond immediate vocation and the interim need for healthy, active outdoor-based 'Platonic Academy' teaching in my current profession where I had been shut out, being creative -- perhaps towards an ultimate sit-down profession -- when ready for real retirement from landscape architecture research and teaching, probably later on when in my 70's, when mature individuals are in their prime wisdom in later life, being most effective and spiritually grounded like the shaman, or other 'Elders' (in the sense used by Native peoples) as therapists in depth psychology.
I was pretty much able to keep my feet on the ground with a sense of perspective during 2 Swiss sojourns each lasting several years, as I explored the 'inner landscape', although with imagery certainly far less profound than Jung's -- my typology and introverted and extroverted functions are different -- while strengthening and maintaining my own deeper, ongoing relationship with the Self. I found my own unique creative solution and way forward. The problem became one of being recognized back in my field, as someone who could make a positive contribution, one who could bring new understanding to innovative teaching and to improving the theoretical constructs and philsophical foundational framework.
During my sojourns in Switzerland, I continued to read 'about' psychology, but at a slower, less preoccupied pace than previously while in Canada. Staying grounded with all the fresh air and contact with nature in the countryside allowed me to assimilate what I had read while teaching in Canada, and to integrate more of the darker side, where the 'light' of new consciousness may be found buried in the collective psyche common to all, as one works beyond the personal shadow, or biographical, 'Freudian subconscious' -- including the shadow-shocks of one's life experiences -- into the culturally oppressed 'collective unconscious' shadow in Jung's terminology. The process often enables one to predict future events, as in the way of Prometheus.
On that day we had a particularly emotionally moving seminar on the symbolism of water in built environment. It was on the pier in Amalfi, a short walk from Atrani. The student had discussed how water in the built environment reminds us of a source of life, spirit, a vehicle of cleansing and a center of regeneration. She gave examples from fountains and other water features experienced in our travels. We had watched the festival of S Giorgio on the waterfront where a huge silver statue was carried by many down a long, steeply descending staircase into the piazza at the front of the cathedral. The religious 'processione' then wound along streets down to the waterfront for a blessing of the fishing boats, before returning. There were various musical bands and local and regional officials of the Church, the State and the Commune, in typical Italian-style parade fashion, with everyone ambling along, where the uniformed groups, comically -- for European Northerners and North Americans -- are typically 'marching' Italian style (really ambling along, wavering from side to side in loose columns, being very much out-of-step with one other). It then returned to the main piazza and back up the steps again, now with the sounds of giant, almost ear-shattering single fireworks exploding overhead, intermittently, which lasted until late into the night. We were observing how the Belvedere across the town above the beach had been developed to accommodate such religious processions, and the daily Passaggiata, a strolling of people in a kind of outdoor, community living-room experience, where almost the entire townspeople gathered in their finest to visit and to be seen on weekday evenings and on weekends.
The present day was the last in our semester and travel program. At dawn I was ready with file in hand, including information on how to drive to the English-speaking hospital near the Vatican in Rome, if advised by the local medical Doctor. I got the name and phone number of the Amalfi Doctor and the location of the nearest Pronto Soccorso, at the hospital in Salerno. I found some of the students, but they said nothing seemed amiss, so I waited at the local bus stop where we were to meet early to go to Salerno to catch the narrow guage Circumvesuviana Railway to Pompeii for the day. The students arrived at once, on time as usual, and I could see that one was obviously looking very pale, distressed and slightly bent over. To my surprise it was the student who had given the seminar the previous day. It had been with content at a level of intelligence that was most impressive, and with such feeling everyone was so moved that we were practically in tears. She had really gotten the picture on archetypal patterns in environment which supported 'warmth' and centered people in feeling while grounding them in the body. In a most effective way she also had summed up in her own words the essence of what the Grand Tour semester comprised. I had the feeling, well you know how it is... the whole thing is unfolding and coming into being ...as it should. The idea of the Grand Tour and the experiment with this program actually was working as I had hoped. What a success storey for the small and beautiful, and a positive reward for my feelings of self-worth as a person who had forsaken the 'dogmas' of profession and of religion, only to begin to discover the values, moral viewpoint and spirituality coming from within, in the experience of 'gnosis' often frowned upon in a form of 'intellectual' society with access to the unconscious blocked, in which agnosticism or complete denial often prevails.
Everyone had been rather mellow the night before as we had dined-out in a local trattoria for a 'last supper' as a group. We were 13, incidentally. The traditional Neapolitan Zampogne (bagpipe) musicians had come into the restaurant, as they do before Christmas, going from table to table playing for everyone, after which they are given a free meal. As the student came up to me this morning she said she was very athletic and had never been very sick for a day in her life, but had awakened in the night with severe pain. I wondered about food or water she may have consumed. I was not convinced it could be something like 'Montezuma's revenge' as she was suggesting, as the only symptom was constant pain. Everyone drank mineral water while traveling from home base and we stayed in communities with modern treatment facilities. It was something that was almost nonexistent in towns in modern North and Central Italy. She felt she would soon be alright and didn't want to go to the Doctor for the community, whom I had already determined spoke no English.
As the bus pulled up, I decided the quickest solution was to take her to Pronto Soccorso in Salerno, at the large Ospedale Regionale, where she would get immediate attention by people who could communicate with her directly, in English. As the bus arrived at one of the first stops in Salerno, there was the usual well-placed direction sign pointing toward hospital 'emergency' nearby. In spite of the bus ride over the tortuous, cliffhanger, 2 small car wide road, and grinding, inching, back and forth manoeuverings to pass oncoming trucks with mirrors pulled tightly against the sides, she said she was not feeling nauseous and if anything the pain was slightly better. I insisted she go, nodded, and her 2 roomates quickly got on either side. They each put an arm under one of hers and quickly 'ushered' her, firmly, down and through the bus exit door and across the street and into the hospital. That was it. She was going. And we all were polite, but no further discussion.
The hospital staff investigated real pain and what I had feared, the possibility of an appendicitis attack. They kept her for the better part of the day just to be sure, with the 2 girls staying with her. They then ruled this out, called it a "mistero", gave her antibiotics just to be sure, and sent the 3 girls back to Atrani. At her insisting, I had gone on to Pompeii with the remaining students and we all arrived back in Atrani at about the same time later in the day. She was much better although completely exhausted. Early that evening, the 2 girls sharing the room with her and I listened to her as she recounted with emotion the events in her life that led up to the semester, then saying goodbye to parents, and with finality to the boyfriend. She recalled getting on the plane, coming abroad and the highlights of the Grand Tour semester... as she slowly drawled into silence, still pale of face, and fell sleep. The next morning she woke up and came to say it was like nothing had happened to her physically the previous day. She had good color in her face, her seasoned tan had returned and she was smiling as usual and bouncing around full of energy. We stayed together as a group for a little while, just to be sure before they all left. We all said our best of goodbyes and gave each other a hug and they went off, happily, to travel on their own in smaller groups for a week, before going to their various departure airports and home to Canada to rejoin families for the Holiday break.
I cringed as I though about the students' return to business as usual in their landscape architecture theory courses and design studio in chilly Toronto in January. I breathed-in and exhaled a deep breath and felt tremendous relief that another study abroad program had gone well with the students. As I reflected on the previous day's experience I saw it as an initiatory experience involving a kind of inner transformation with an affect experienced through the body, so it would not be missed or forgotten. I then bought a crate of lemons as big as grapefruits from the Atrani street market picked from the Almalfi hillsides -- considered the best in Italy by Italians -- to put on the balcony back in Cannero to use through the 2 winter months. I loaded down my car with the lemons, my bags, slide projector and teaching gear, including 2 travelling-library milk crates of books and photocopied articles. I then went for a walk, then had a substantial midday collazione on the terrace of an outdoor restaurant, took another long walk and went to bed to be ready to begin the long day's drive early the next day, back to Piemonte's Lago Maggiore and Cannero Riviera. I had a dream while in REM sleep, with a wise old man with long grey hair and beard speaking before waking the following morning. It conveyed, in as many words -- "The training period is over. You now know what to do and how to get the job done." Assuming of course students are sufficiently mature, receptive, ready and willing.
It was as if the student, 2 days before, had participated in a kind of initiation rite with a psychological death for a completed ego-redevelopment phase. And the affect at the end of our journey together as a group signalled separation, with the pain in her body, from a kind of re-birth involving bringing her Self into wider consciousness embracing the opposites. Now these would include romanticism and classicism, art and science, more conscious masculine and feminine aspects, and a new outlook with renewed energy to move forward on the next step in life with some spirituality developed, and toward professional fulfillment, all evolving as it should.
She was developing real intelligence, including emotional intelligence, bringing together the opposites, which is not primarily a one-sided intellect, not mere piling on of more and more 'high school' education. It was the result from rebirthing in the primordial waters she had been talking about in her seminar on the waterfront pier the day before this separation affect was experienced through her body. She had talked in her seminar on the significance and symbolism of water in biophysical environments, as constellating cues, or unconscious reminders for human growth processes. She had been able to remain grounded in the body while persuing her bliss as the semester progressed. She was one of the few to achieve the right balance between reading and being open to new experiences. She was able to make a meaningful step forward undergoing a transformation in consciousness.
During the entire semester I had been observing everyone and listening to the group carefully, and to the observations of the Pedroni-Brizzio family in Oggiogno, who also closely monitored the general health and attitude of each one of them, signaling anything unusual to me, which seldom occurred. And I was constantly on the alert for any problems, consciously observing and listening, aided by dreams with insights from my own unconscious, although I really couldn't get to know these students so very well in such a short period of time as a little over 3 months. I was so fortunate to enjoy the company of such openly intelligent students in general.
It predicted such things as internecine rivalries and other quirks to be expected and dealt with on the basis of the students' differing psychological complexes and developing functional typologies, suggesting through dreams various things for me to be consciously on the watch for by the end of our first week together, in France. From that point onward, if anything was amiss or anyone was under the weather, or upset by anything, I would usually be forewarned in my morning 'newspapers' recorded from dreams. This activity made the work easier and more enjoyable for me as there were fewer surprises and little opportunity for mishaps. And I was alone without other faculty around also working with the students I could converse with. The psyche always knows what is going on, but when ego-consciousness is not informed, not getting the message, it generates anxiety and stress in our lives. Unless we were traveling away from home base as a group over the occasional weekend, I at least enjoyed my weekends completely free from this responsibility. I was able to rest and to focus my complete attention more on my own needs and the needs of immediate family and local friends than on workdays.
There were other, meaningfully significant events which happened to me in my own ongoing Odyssey creating my own personal myth on life's inner/outer journey of the psyche. Much occurred far from the Jung Institute, and quite removed from the study abroad programs and students and there were some unpleasant experiences, to be sure. They included major kicks I received when I got stuck, or sinister shadowy goings-on in communities I was able to predict from warning dreams months or sometimes years in advance in the playing out of inner events. They then had to be experienced on the outer level as they happened. But I had no control over these events and in some cases would better have kept my big mouth shut about them, if I had said something. I had to witness these darker aspects of collective shadow and endure whatever came my way in the outer world further down the path. But thanks to dreams and intuition, I was less shocked as I was somewhat prepared and, in some cases, I was even able to get out of harm's way. There were times where I felt deeply I simply had to make a conscious stand on principles of conscience and ecological integrity for humanity. I then had to suffer the consequences of going against darker forces in the collective. There are always those who choose to ignore foresight or wisdom on ecological and humanistic matters who become subservient to shadowy evil, or narrow and selfish material ends. The laws of nature eventually catche up with them, from within, in various manifestations of retributive justice.
I had been warned by the wise gnome of Zürich. The more difficult in life, the left hand path, in the longer run, is always the more rewarding turn at the fork in the road when it comes to personal growth. But taking an overdo intiation rite in the public domain at midlife, in my late 40's, would prove far more difficult than attempting the same artificially, going through more 'calculative' academic 'head trip' hurdles in the Jung Institute's Analytical Training Program. Moreover, I realized I might well live longer and happier in the longer run and I would also get through the most difficult part of the journey with my colon intact. This proved over the years to be a major blessing.
Slowly, I assimilated inner life together with my outer life experience, subjectively, and within the perspective of objectively acquired library knowledge. It allowed me to bring forth from the inner level, in the inner reaches of the mind, in languages more familiar to feeling and intuition lying dormant there waiting to be brought into consciousness, timeless archetypal symbolism, universal design patterns and deeper meanings of gardens and gardening.
In this process, known to ancient philosophers and attempted by the alchemists in stumbling upon the 'lapis philosophorum', the Philosopher's Stone, or supposedly transforming it into gold, metaphorically, there is also a Promethean style 'Theft of Consciousness'. For that, one has to suffer something like the Myth of Prometheus, being chained to a rock under the hot sun while the eagle comes down every day and plucks out one's viscerals. I discovered this enlightening fact of mythology with psychosomatic and healing connections specific to my own situation, while noting emotion and feeling and amplifying symbols from my dreams coming from the inner level. And it connected with my physical gut problems. Moreover, there were obvious and awesome connections with commonly recurring mythemes reflecting the archetypes in the collective unconscious.
The proof of genuine religious experience is not in the dogmas of faith, ultimately it is in the gnosis of one's own inner and outer landscape experiences. In the end it is always the god within. But it is easier to believe the source is entirely outside oneself. We are actually the creator, and we are in no way separate from the forces which create our existence. We are those creative forces. Difficult as it may seem to accept, we are the god, the inner Self humanity has so long looked for outside. If we do take responsibility for our amazing creativity we may be humbled and feel, "Is that all its about--only me--myself?" The unconscious, deeply versed in imagery, ritual and body language, out of which it creates its dreams, picks up information from music, architecture, landscape, traditional rituals, people walking in the street, and the unspoken word of parental and collective influences. The sources are manifold. And out of it all our mind creates meaning. Even Christ simply may stand for our impression of the archetype of humanity as a whole. The archetypes Jung speaks of are more like the synthesis of our own experience, reaching positions others have met too. If we dare to touch such experience it can be searing and awesomely breathtaking. It breaks the paradigms, the boundaries of our present personality and concepts as it transcends. It shatters us to let a new vision emerge, reaching, soaring like the eagle flying above the single events in life. It is no coincidence the great hawk (Hawthor) of the ancient Egyptians represented the human spirit.
I attended lectures on mythology, some by the well-known mythologist and quintessentially learned man who came to his vocation circuitously over a long period of time, while studying and contemplating literally in the woods, alone. He had taught at Sarah Lawrence College. Professor Joseph Campbell talked and wrote about inner life, having written Myths To Live By, The Hero with a Thousand Faces and many lectures and other books, on how our psyche's re-create ancient legends in our daily lives to release creative potential -- that there is a single pattern of heroic journey and that all cultures share this pattern in their various heroic myths. He defined myth simply as other people's religion and Western religion as misunderstood mythology consisting typically in interpreting mythological symbols as though they are references to historical facts. The post humous, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living, is taken from his Esalen Institute lectures supplemented by excerpts from his books and some writings of others. The selector - editor is Diane K. Osbon. It is very illuminating, inspiring and humorously enjoyable, especially if you personally happened to attend any of his slide talks or seminars, or perhaps remember his voice and personality from the landmark PBS-TV Series with Bill Moyers on 'The Power of Myth'.
The Joseph Campbell Foundation has been publishing other previously unavailable material and out-of-print works as The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell. To this end Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation was released in 2004, New World Library, California (available for Province of Ontario people at Caversham Booksellers Harbord Street, Toronto). Edited from uncollected articles and lectures, this volume (only discovered of late by this author in January 2006) explains very simply the functions of myth -- essentially to help each individual through life, providing a sort of travel guide or road map to reach fulfillment which Campbell called Bliss (satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one's abilities or character). The cover image is of a well known archetype, a detail from the Virgin on the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci. Now this was a wonderful affirmation of personal process over time and an inspiring read for arts and design students. As summarized from the jacket, with typical straight talk, wit and insight, Campbell shows how myth can help us truly identify and follow our bliss. He combines storytelling and ability to apply the larger themes of world mythology and their most poetic mythical metaphors to the challenges of our work and our daily lives, our personal growth and the quest for transformation. Here and in his lectures and seminars Joseph Campbell combined cross-cultural stories with the teaching of modern psychology and particularly the many insights of Carl Jung in examining the ways in which myths shape and enrich our lives.
In the inner/outer process one becomes more aware of the origins of consciousness and the possible human in the wellsprings of the collective, or universal unconscious, and of the subjective interdependencies and cross-fertilization between outer and inner landscapes.
Liz Greene, astrologist and analytical psychologist (Jungian)