David Tacey Interview on Carl Jung, Mysticism, Comparative Religion and the Politics of Mythology

by | Jun 28, 2023 | 0 comments

Interview with David Tacey:

📚🌌🔍 We are delighted to introduce Dr. David Tacey, a distinguished professor in literature and depth psychology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. With a prolific career spanning eight books, including “Jung and the New Age” (2001), “The Spirituality Revolution” (2003), and “How to Read Jung” (2006), Dr. Tacey has made significant contributions to the field of psychology and spirituality. Born in Melbourne and raised in Alice Springs, central Australia, Dr. Tacey was deeply influenced by Aboriginal cultures, their religions, and cosmologies. This early exposure to indigenous wisdom and spirituality profoundly shaped his worldview. After completing his PhD at the University of Adelaide, he further honed his expertise as a Harkness Fellow in the United States under the guidance of James Hillman, a prominent figure in depth psychology. Dr. Tacey’s scholarly pursuits also led him to lecture courses at the summer school of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, further enriching his understanding of Jungian psychology and its applications. For those who have grown up reading David Tacey’s works, it is an exciting opportunity to engage with his ideas through this interview. Dr. Tacey’s generosity shines through as he offers listeners the chance to request essays from academic journals that may no longer be in print. Simply reach out to him via email, and he will gladly share the requested essays in PDF format. Such accessibility is a testament to his commitment to spreading knowledge and fostering intellectual curiosity. While the resources, videos, and podcasts provided by Taproot Therapy Collective and its social media platforms offer valuable insights, it is important to remember that they do not replace professional mental health treatment. If you require assistance, it is essential to seek support from qualified mental health providers and contact emergency services in your area if necessary. Join the exploration of mysticism, psychology, religion, comparative religion, sociology, anthropology, depth psychology, psychoanalysis, and therapy by delving into Dr. David Tacey’s writings and engaging with his fascinating ideas.

This is an excerpt from the interview with David Tacey.

for the full version check out our youtube or podcast:

Joel: Shamdasani is of course the editor of the red book as well, yeah. So I mean he kind of is the reason it was published too. I mean, you have Richard Noll and company who’s attacking Jung, so maybe that motivates the family to want to defend him. But my understanding was Sonu basically got these copies of where Jung had mailed the red book to the publisher, but it was not a complete draft and said unless you let me publish the big one, I’m going to publish the perfect one. And then the family gave him permission.

David: That’s right, but actually coming back to the red book, I think what we can see there is that direct experience of the god or the gods or the numina or whatever you want to call it. I don’t really care. I’m not attached to a particular language. It’s very disruptive. Jung’s red book is basically an analysis of his own psychosis. He couldn’t find an analyst for himself, so he tried to analyze himself through his own psychosis. And I think it’s rather coy and childish for the Jungians to constantly refer to this phase of his life as his creative encounter with the unconscious. Anyone with half an inkling about psychiatry can see that Jung was struggling with a full-blown psychosis.

Joel: There’s a debate about how much of it was a loss of control and how much was active imagination. And what mindset was he in when he was doing this? He was seeing patients. He was peeling the meat off his soul to talk directly to God.

David: And then talking out and going to the… Don’t forget what I said to you about China. I think Jung was a good example of China. His Persona was still intact. He was still acting as a respectable psychiatrist with his patients. But within himself, he was a seething cauldron of psychotic activity. Like he’s a volcano that had exploded. He wanted to make it conscious and go all the way to the bottom.

Joel: Yeah, he did. And he went all the way to the bottom. He does say in some of his essays that the psyche is like a volcano which can blow its top at any moment. Well, of course, and it’s in all of us, whether or not we pretend that it isn’t there or wish it away or try and cling to the… Partly, it’s a father wound. Coming back to the father wound, Jung was terribly wounded by his father. He wanted to help his father understand the interior dimension of Christianity, but his father wasn’t interested. He basically thought his son was mad, and he had lost his own faith. His father was refusing the pathway that was being offered to him to try and reconcile some of his Persona. I think it’s a classic case of healing the Oedipal complex. Jung had outdone his father, but he didn’t want to destroy his father like Oedipus did. He wanted to remake his father and redeem his father. And, of course, then the whole thing gets acted out with Freud, Freud was…

David: and C.A. Meyer, and then Meyer through Hillman. You know, and then to a certain extent Hillman through his work.

Joel: I would be fascinated to know how much the father complex came up in what James Hillman was telling you about your analysis.

David: Well, my analysis was about my father wound. Now, we give other people the medicine that we need. I have had a very big father wound. I fronted up to Hillman one day and I just said, “Guess what, Jim? My father has decided to come over here and meet you and talk with me about my analysis. And I asked Hillman if he could meet my father and engage in a conversation with him. I thought maybe Hillman could offer some insights or help heal the wounds between us. But Hillman, being the wise and experienced analyst he was, told me that it wasn’t his place to meet with my father. He explained that the healing needed to take place within myself, that I had to confront and work through my own father wound.

David: And that’s the key, isn’t it? Ultimately, the healing and integration of the father wound, or any psychological wound for that matter, lies within ourselves. We can seek guidance and support from analysts or therapists, but the real work happens internally. We have to face our own demons, explore our own depths, and find our own path to wholeness.

Joel: Absolutely. Jung’s journey with his father wound and his exploration of the unconscious in the Red Book are powerful reminders of the transformative potential that lies within us all. It’s a reminder that we have the capacity to confront and integrate our own shadows, to embrace the complexities of our psyche, and to find meaning and purpose in our lives.

David: And in that process, we may discover a deeper connection with something greater than ourselves, whether we call it the divine, the numinous, or the collective unconscious. Jung’s work and his personal experiences serve as an inspiration for those who are willing to embark on their own inner journey of self-discovery and healing.

Joel: Indeed. Jung’s legacy continues to resonate and influence countless individuals in their search for self-understanding and spiritual growth. His willingness to explore the depths of the human psyche and his recognition of the importance of confronting our inner conflicts and wounds remain relevant and valuable in today’s world.

David: Absolutely. So, in conclusion, while there may be different interpretations and debates surrounding Jung’s life and work, there’s no denying the impact he has had on the field of psychology and the exploration of the human psyche. His exploration of the father wound and his own inner journey serve as powerful reminders of the transformative potential within each of us.

This is an excerpt from the interview with David Tacey for the full version check out our youtube or podcast:


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