Journey into Depth is a thorough comparison of monastic formation and preparation for becoming a Jungian psychoanalyst: two domains that share deep similarities in the experience of initiation. Using anthropological guidelines, Sister Mary Wolff-Salin discusses the three stages of an initiation process: separation, a period of liminality, and integration. Of these three periods, Wolff-Salin focuses on the liminal stage and experiences, such as an ordeal, obedience to elders, receiving of tradition handed down, and spiritual guidance.
Journey into Depth bases its monastic reflection on a fictional journal that combines true human encounters to encompass many historical experiences. Wolff-Salin provides in-depth analysis of what happens within a human psyche when undergoing a prolonged period of initiation into a new way of living. Reflections on Jungian training are based on interviews with trainees and recently qualified analysts.
Of interest to monastics and those studying the interplay between psychology and spirituality, Journey into Depth draws together threads—both spiritual and psychological—and gives valuable insight to the initiation process. Wolff-Salin also illustrates a deep commonality of experience as well as spiritual consequences in terms of growth.
Journey into Depth begins with an introduction. Part One: Monastic Initiation begins with Section One: "Anthropological Reflection on Initiation," Section Two: “A Monastic Journal,” and Section Three: “Commentaries” (includes “A Monastic Commentary,” “Anthropological Commentary,” and “Psychological Commentary”).
Part Two: Analytic Initiation includes an introduction, Section One: “Theory,” Section Two: “Experiences of Training” (includes “Ordeal,” “Disillusionment,” “Integration,” “Dreams,” “Summary”), Section Three: “Archetypes” (includes “Night Sea Journey and the Hero's Progress,” “Fathers and Mothers,” “Masculine and Feminine,” “The Encounter with the Shadow,” and “The Archetype of the Self”).
Part Three: Conclusions includes “Initiation and Obedience,” “Transformation,” “Transformation and Death,” “Inner/Outer, Self/Other,” “Initiation and Mystery and Identity,” “Identity and Individuation.” Journey into Depth also includes appendices.
Sister Mary Wolff-Salin is a Jungian psychoanalyst who has published books on connections between Jungian thought and spirituality or community life. She lives in the community of the Hermitage of the Advent in Marshfield, Massachusetts.