Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Jungian Counselling & Self Awareness on the Holidays

December 27th, 2011 · counselling, Jungian, Jungian counselling, Self, self awareness, The Holidays

Jungian counselling

Yule Log with Snow by Midge Frazel

My Jungian counselling experience has shown me that, once the lead-up to the Holidays is over, there is often a quieter period in which people often come to new kinds of self awareness.  This can often lead to new paths on a personal journey towards wholeness, if individuals are willing to walk them.

From a Jungian counselling perspective, there are at least four striking opportunities for self awareness that people might encounter during the Holidays

  • A Break From the Regular Pattern of Life

The Holidays often offer the opportunity to get outside of the patterns of life that we all find so consuming, just for a while.  As we take things at a more leisurely pace, perhaps we begin to examine aspects of our lives, and to ask some really basic questions.  The frenetic pace of work, kids’ activities, sports involvements, and so on gives way to a time when we can look at the pattern of our lives, and just be aware.

  • Connecting with My Earlier Selves

The Holidays can further self-awareness by putting us in mind of our selves at earlier points in our journey.  Childhood Christmases, full perhaps of great joy, or, in some cases, great pain and disappointment.  Adult Christmases with a new love.  “White knuckle Christmases” on your own, perhaps in a strange new city, or possibly after a divorce.  All are versions of myself: what do they show me about who I am, right here and right now?

  • Connecting with Where I am Now

And Jungian counselling is certainly concerned with where I am right at this present, and what the issues are that are coming up for me.  What is it right now about myself that is hard for me to look at about myself?  What does this have to do with my values, goals, morality, spirituality — yearnings?

  • The New Year is Coming

The New Year is many things, psychologically, but one of the key dimensions, from a Jungian counselling perspective, is as an opportunity for renewal.  Life extends on the other side of the gate to the New Year.  Whatever has gone by this year, we have the opportunity in the coming year to live in deeper self awareness, and in our own inner truth, on the singular road of our own journey towards wholeness.

With very best wishes for the holidays, and the coming New Year,


PHOTO: © Some rights reserved by midgefrazel
VIDEO: “The Road Less Travelled”, by 
© 2011 Brian Collinson 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga)



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The Holly and the Ivy

December 19th, 2009 · The Holidays



Holidays 1 Vibrant Jung ThingOnce again the Holidays have rushed to be upon us.  It often seems that, once we hit the first day of December, the calendar somehow catapults us forward through the month of December and into Hanukkah, Christmas and then the New Year.

It’s a busy time, full of a combination of demands upon us, social times, and a tidal wave of various and sometimes conflicting emotions.

It’s a season that emphasizes joy.  Consequently, people who are going through a range of very common difficult human experiences can find this season particularly hard.    

For the recently divorced, separated or bereaved, the holidays, with their emphasis on family togetherness, can be a brutally difficult time.  Living with the reality that a relationship that once promised love and acceptance is no longer there, and often, dealing with limited access to children at a time of the year that may have had particularly intense connections with children in the past can be a particularly difficult emotional experience.

For many people, even encounters with relatives at this time of year can also be ambivalent or difficult.  It can be painful to realize that relationships with family members, that should be filled with closeness and trust are in fact much more tentative and superficial.  Where in earlier times, connections with relatives may have been much closer and warmer, now geographical distance and time constraints keep us much more nearly at arm’s length.

Yet there is another character to this time of year, when the days grow short, and we long for the return of light and warmth.  This is a season which possesses an archetypal character and which has held significance for people probably just about as long as there have been people and they have been noticing their environment.  I think here of theHolidays 2 Vibrant Jung Thing words of an old carol of the season:


The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
Oh, the rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.


These are lines well known to many who come from the Christian tradition, as they come from a famous carol, “The Holly and the Ivy”.  This carol actually has pre-Christian origins and may well date back over 1000 years. I believe that this carol points to some of the transpersonal meaning and significance of this season. 

For many centuries, people have always taken the evergreen holly and ivy indoors during the winter in the hope that the occupants of the house would survive difficult conditions just like the hardy holly and the ivy. The colours of the Holly and Ivy, green and red are traditionally associated with the winter solstice.

From very ancient days, people have always met the solstice with courage and hope, and faith in the return of the sun.  For us, too, these holidays call us to recognize that within ourselves which is evergreen, perpetually living and growing, even in those seasons and times when the warmth and light of life can seem very far away indeed.  In Jungian terms, to find this evergreen part of ourselves is to find the permanent and indestructible core of our unique personhood, the Self.  It is at that place within us that we touch the divine.

I’d be very interested in your comments about how you approach the Holiday season. Are there symbols in this season that bring you life joy and hope?

My very best wishes to each of you on your individual journey to wholeness, especially in this Holiday season,

Brian Collinson


PHOTO CREDITS: © Dink101| ; © Tinabelle|

© 2009 Brian Collinson

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