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Liturgical Press

Journey into Depth

The Experience of Initiation in Monastic and Jungian Training

Mary Wolff-Salin; Foreword by Sebastian Moore, OSB

Journey into Depth
Journey into Depth

ISBN: 9780814652152, 5215

Details: 128 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 05/01/2005
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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.

ISBN: 9780814652152, 5215

Details: 128 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 05/01/2005


A delightful and enjoyable book.
Journal of Analytical Psychology

. . . this book will appeal to those interested in the dialogue between Jung and religion, and the psychology/spirituality crossover.
Religious Studies Review

Sr. Wolff-Salin provides a text valuable to vowed religious seeking a better psychological understanding of their life and a text for the analytical therapist willing to see some connection between their training and specific religious experience. Similarly, she provides a readable text for the general reader with some interest in initiatory experience.
Catholic Books Review

Rituals of initiation are largely missing in our society. The ‘Peter Pan' syndrome prevails in many young adults. This study of the initiation process in monastic formation and in Jungian Training fulfills a need to explore this gap. And the contrast of the two forms of initiation is a fascinating study.
Fr. Timothy Joyce, O.S.B., Glastonbury Abbey

In this well-documented and clearly articulated text, Wolff-Salin engages the reader in reflection on the elements and nature of true initiatory experiences. Drawing on insights from Jungian psychoanalysis and her own monastic experiences the author skillfully discusses elements common to the initiatory stages of monastic life and the training of Jungian psychoanalysts. She leads the reader through the classical stages of initiation (i.e., separation, liminality, and entrance into a community), thus enabling reflection on various forms of initiation, both monastic and non-monastic, as aids to a transformation of life as an opening on one's existence ‘into the abyss of God’
Rosemary Rader, O.S.B., Past-president of the American Benedictine Academy