Neesee and Robert are both excited to learn that her new condo is ready, but Bobby tells them he doesn’t want to go back and forth between houses. Although many books have been written about the psychology of violence (as I learned during my days directing a program for court-referred perpetrators), Dr.
The same dynamic of denial applies to entire nationsa€”and goes far toward explaining why the a€?nicesta€? and most restrained people sometimes pick up a gun.
Listening to the Rhino deals not just with outwardly expressed violence, however, but with confronting and transforming archetypal violence (as imaged by the dream figure of the Rhino) manifesting from within the psyche. Following up on Jung's advice to translate emotions into images, Dallett writes about how a symptom or an illness, whether somatic or psychogenic (or both), represents an attempt at incarnation imparted by a spiritual force badly in need of translation from a literal source of suffering into an actively lived symbolic work. Active imagination furnishes a primary Jungian tool for this kind of deep work, but as Dallett reminds the reader, Marie-Louise von Franz always insisted on the importance of completing at least these four steps: setting the ego aside, tending the images, reacting to the images, and putting the results to work in life (italics added).
This belief may well be a candidate for what Dallett identifies in another context as a pathological identification with spirit: what Jung identified as inflation. In the chapter a€?Sedating the Savage,a€? Dallett presents many examples of how psychotropic medication represses unpleasant emotions while supporting artificial idealized states of happiness and surface contentment. While the matter of healing is a major theme of this book, the other is violence, and Dalletta€™s point here is that when violence is repressed it puts the individual and collective into grave peril.
Dallett returns our attention to the potency of active imagination as a tool to activate the psychea€™s potential for literal physical healing as well as psychological wholeness. On the cover is a picture of a rhinoceros with two birds perched on its back, a classic example of a mutually beneficial biological symbiosis. Jungians are often the last bulwark in todaya€™s field of mental health practitioners, who remember the unavoidable reality and necessity of darkness and violence. We must develop an ego that is strong enough to contain the violent side of human nature, Dallett suggests, in order to live up to a€?what Jung saw as the millennial task (of) carrying the divine opposites of good and evil within the individuala€? (p.87).
To contain the worst kinds of violence, Dallett suggests that we find a way to give expression to our destructive impulses without causing too much harm. The gist of Dalletta€™s argument, however, points towards incorporating more of the almost lost Jungian technique of Active Imagination. The Rhino did not simply show up to heal the dreamer, but to inform her that she was to serve him.
In Pat Britta€™s own words a€?During my early association with The Rhino, I could tell he wanted something of me, but I did not know what. In the alchemical laboratory of human life we are also mirrors for transformations on a larger scale, the transformation of the spirit in nature. Dallett reminds us that one-sidedness is one of our greatest dangers, be it the lopsided, misunderstood spirituality that denies the spiritual reality of violence or the overly rational slant of todaya€™s scientific community.
We read in some detail here about the work of Jungian analysis, with special emphasis on active imagination, a method for bringing unknown parts of oneself into awareness and into connection with onea€™s everyday personality. Seamlessly, the book then turns to two major topics of special concern in todaya€™s world: the nature of violence and the use of psychotropic drugs.
While this discussion of violence focuses on the psychic sources of explosive violence, another section, on the use of psychotropic drugs, looks at contemporary uses of prescription drugs to damp down or cover up difficult, painful, unwelcome emotions (and violence). What we have in this small book is the fruit of a penetrating mind nourished by long experience of the psyche, and now offering us the essence of that experience, fueled by passionate concern over issues of todaya€™s world. Why is there so much violence around us - shootings in colleges, bullying in schoolyards, violent movies in theatres, graffiti in public spaces, news on television? Janet Dallett is a Jungian analyst in her seventies, now living in Port Townsend, Washington.
Britt had hundreds of Rhino dreams in the course of her nine-year analysis with Dallettt, which always focused on the meaning of his latest appearance.
Britt truly grasped the Rhino, writing poetry about him, painting his picture, and even casting him in bronze so he could stand in her front hall, and her damaged heart healed. Dallett attributes Britta€™s healing to her commitment to the Rhino, a voice for what Jung calls the Self, the God within.
We are doing to the wild part of our psyche what we have done to the wild parts of the earth. Robert and Neesee decide that the only solution is for Bobby to continue living at Robert’s home while he and Neesee take turns living in her condo. Dallett's clearly and concisely written book offers thoughtful and sometimes surprising reflections, case anecdotes, and scholarly musings on violence as a spiritual problem. It is easy for introverts in particular to skip the final step, but doing so severs inner from outer, contemplation from action. James Hillman has presented a similar critique, which can be summed up by the dictum: Silence the symptom and lose the soul.
It is tiresome to be reminded that Jung believed active imagination to be the sine qua non of coming to terms with the unconscious. Oxpeckers or a€?tick birdsa€? sit on top of the rhino eating insects and noisily warn of approaching danger. It contains big ideas that deserve to be pondered and digested many times and reading this book is an excellent way to re-engage this material.


Dallett reminds us that the etymology of the word a€?violencea€? suggests a close relationship between violence and God.
Dallett makes a convincing case that our culturea€™s addiction to love, peace and happiness in effect creates senseless violence and that we must learn and find a way to teach our children, that the terrible side of life is not going anywhere.
Dallett reminds us that, once a respectful and responsible attitude towards the unconscious psyche has been developed, the meditative dialogue of Active Imagination is the technique for the on-going and life- long task of engaging emerging images. Dallett grounds her reflections by allowing us a glimpse into the lives of two former patients, Pat and Teresa and she shows us the difference in attitude of these two women towards powerful inner animal dream figures. Britt had this dream, but because she took the image seriously and engaged it for decades to come. It is a potentially dangerous, primitive animal that has visited the dreams and fantasies of Ms. Dallett makes the analogy to the alchemical work, which Jung had translated into psychological terminology.
At first I thought his message was personal a€“ urging me to view life as whole, not with the limited eye of my rational ego. Our collective ego is still trying to maintain its autonomy in relation to the larger mysteries while the power of the feminine in her own totality is pressing into consciousness. This discussion is unusually clear and thorough, giving a readable and rounded picture of this form of psychological worka€”both its potentiality for healing and its dangers.
And why are we so fascinated by violence that crime, killing, and war are often at the top of the news? I hear him pronounce: a€?If a thing is worth doing it is worth doing easily!a€? By this he means, according to Britt, that if a thing is worth doing it is worth taking the time to get to know it, so the thing can show you how it wants to be done. When connected to your inner program something beyond the ego comes to your aid, but when you try to go against your destiny you hit a wall. Later she realized he wanted to reach a wider audience; he wanted to speak for life, all life, animals, plants and the earth itself. We North Americans have naively idealized the Christian virtues of kindness and self-sacrifice, dangerously repressing our so-called negative emotions. We are sedating the suffering of body and soul with psychoactive drugs, unaware that pain is a reaction against something that needs to change. Also criticized is the widespread habit of using meditation to get rid of (repress) the emotionally charged images flowing from the unconscious. I would like to see this insightfully expressed logic extended more often to the state of the oppressed struggling on every side and in all corners of the world. The Indoa€“European root of the word a€?violenta€? is wei, which means vital force and one definition of the word God is a€?an immanent vital forcea€? (p.86). The reader is encouraged to reflect on seemingly counter-intuitive statements, such as a€?violence is the human spirita€™s protest against the enforcement of more goodness than it can stomacha€? (p.92).
This suggestion, although fundamentally right, may need more elaboration than this book provides, because the danger of infection by archetypal forces is high and not to be taken lightly.
With reference to Barbara Hannah, Dallett devotes a segment of the book to a much needed review of what Active Imagination is and discriminates what it is not.
We are informed on the front page that this book was written with contributions by The Rhino and by Dalletta€™s former patient Pat Britt. Dallett writes, a€?The Rhino has been the central figure in hundreds of Pata€™s dreams continuing still today.
The alchemists believed that their work was to redeem God or the son of God, whom the alchemists imagined as a a€?fabulous being conforming to the nature of the primordial mothera€? (p. We are encouraged to look at the place within ourselves where we remain a€?fundamentalista€?, where spirit is trapped in a literal, concrete enactment, physical illness or cherished convictions of the nature of reality. The cover photo of a rhinoceros with two small birds casually perched on its back leads us into a text full of insight into both interior and outer worlds.
Only a profound understanding can put forth such subtle and complex ideas in such apparently plain talk. Britt had been so ill with bacterial endocarditis and kidney failure that she was expected to die in her early forties.
However, if something is hard to do you should change your relationship with it, or let it go. We are suppressing the healthy masculinity of normally active children with Ritalin, either because the way we are living is driving our children crazy or because they do not conform to our expectations. In my men's groups we always knew which men were at greatest risk for another violent incident: those who maintained that their anger was an aberration they had now overcome with penance and good intentions. An overemphasis on decency and virtue not only darkens the personal and collective shadow, it unconsciously identifies with divine goodness and thereby falls into inflation and self-righteousness.
These and other New Age maneuvers are enlisted in the service of propping up the happy persona that conceals the darker dimensions of conflictual psychic life. Yet Dallett goes farther: Psychiatric medication should only be used to contain severe symptoms, she argues, preferably in small doses and even then only temporarily. Most of the examples of violence in this book break forth from the uptight middle class, where swings are removed from parks to prevent lawsuits.


In Jungian thought, the Self, which is the psychological equivalent to the image of God, often breaks into consciousness violently.
Active Imagination is not guided fantasy nor is it art, but, following Hannah, Dallett sees Active Imagination as a creative function. 28), an earthy, fabulous, night creature, like the Rhino, equally life threatening and life giving. We meet the rhino of the title as he first appears in the dreams of a gifted woman whom the author has known for more than 30 years, initially as her Jungian analyst.
Rage, she says, is a natural instinctive response to a threat to the Self; violence is the human spirita€™s protest against the enforcement of more goodness than it can stand. In the light of this observation, the missionary and the terrorist stand revealed as brothers-in-arms. Making a work of art, breaking a therapeutic impasse, or modifying a relationship are three of many possibilities for new forms of expression that liberate the archetypal power from remaining trapped a€?in mattera€? (in symptom or illness).
One can almost hear in popular a€?thinking positivea€? propaganda the voice of the family cheerleader castigating brothers and sisters for being so a€?depressinga€? as to discuss Dad's alcoholic violencea€”or on a national level, the violence inflicted by the precarious rule of empirea€”out in the open.
Although the alarm should be raised about overmedicationa€”psychotropics are even being found in public water suppliesa€”I have known people with major psychiatric disorders for whom the advice to go off meds to do a€?psychological worka€? has been disastrous. Dallett pleads us to acknowledge that the terrible in human life is real and that only by confronting it, by taking it by its horns, do we have a chance of not being controlled by it. The Rhino represents an instinctual mercurial principle in psyche that holds the power to heal or to wound. The Rhino becomes an imaginal companion for Pat Britt and Dallett speculates that his a€?dependable presence may compensate the uncertainty of a life in which death is always at handa€? (p.33). We follow the patienta€™s devoted inner work with the dream rhino, as he emerges into a living imaginative reality: mentor, opposite and guide, and we learn of the healing of her life-threatening physical illness. In Britta€™s initial dream, the dream that is thought to foretell the course of therapy, a small rhinoceros charges her, but she catches him by the horn and holds on. If you can let it speak to you, and give it what it needs you will have an inner partner for the life that remains to you, however long or short that may be.a€? (p. Royalties, in part, go to the International Rhino Foundation, which helps to preserve the rhinoceros from extinction. I am thinking of people legitimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder who took similar advice from their gurus and ended up psychotic; one, a former student, is still homeless and ranting in the streets. As fantastic amounts of money continued to be funneled upward, the number of Americans living below the poverty line soars higher than ever before.
There is a story about the late Edward Edinger in which someone asked him, a€?What is new in Jungian psychology?a€? He replied, a€?New?
Then I am reminded of the story of Edinger and his comments about what is old and what is new in Jungian psychology. Instead she asks us to recognize violence as an intrinsic aspect of the collective psyche, one that must find expression and that does have a purpose as when a€?the Self often breaks into consciousness in ways that are violent, primitive, even monstrous. The unconscious is a minefield of devastating, destructive potentials, but without venturing, and at times suffering this minefield, there is no way of getting to the treasures.
In Pat Britta€™s case, it was the spirit released from a life threatening illness that took the image of this large, gravelly voiced Rhino. Finally we see that this work gives the former patient her independence of analysis and analyst. I have also known people with schizophrenia who could never hold down jobs or attend school without some kind of long-term antipsychotic medication. People still dona€™t understand the old.a€? Author Dallett might heartily agree with this sentiment. He speaks to our desperate post-modern world, saying we must turn away from our arrogance and learn again to live with the rhinos, the crocodiles, and all the natural, instinctive forms of life a€“ now, before they are gone, leaving us alone, alienated, and doomed to extinctiona€? (p.37).
What's important in such cases is to prescribe a correct and accurate dosage not only to contain extreme symptoms but to make psychological work possiblea€”work that includes dealing with the psyche's responses to the need for medication. If the Self in such sufferers is enraged, social constraints and injustices give it excellent reason to be, for as Martin Luther King pointed out long ago, a riot [like a symptom] is the language of the unheard.
In her latest offering she reanimates many penetrating insights from Jung and reminds us that they are as cogent and urgent now as when Jung first presented them.
In response to her dream, the woman took up the task of relating to the unconscious through art, dialogue with the rhinoceros and study of dreams. The remarkable dreams and healing experience of this dreamer make up one part of this rich book and serve to illustrate and put flesh on the abstract bones of some of C.G. But the growing data about the impact of a deep alignment of psyche and body reveals that we have merely scratched the surface of that mysterious intersection. A connection and engagement to the depths of the psyche that stimulates powerful healthy growth and that transforms body as well as psyche is unhappily still on the fringe of accepted consensus today, this in spite of what depth psychologists, in addition to Jung, have intimated or stated for over one hundred years.



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