Through a Jungian Lens

The quest for self-evident truths

All Relationships Begin, and End, In Separation

If you are thinking the title is talking about divorce, you would be wrong though that is a separation that some will face or have faced at one point in their lives. I am thinking about the bigger picture, one that began with birth and ends when whatever it is that serves us as spirit and soul, leaves the body. I know, you have already deduced that I hold to the idea that we are more than just biological beings that have no meaning other than that of staying alive as long as possible because with death, there is nothing else. Soul is real, spirit is real.

We know we are going to die and lose everything we have accumulated, lose all connection to others whether they are friend or foe. We know that even the ritual of marriage reminds us of the time when the marriage relationship will end with the words, “til death do us part.” We lose grandparents, parents, siblings, extended family, friends, enemies, and too many others whom we have never met but still have an impact upon us when they die.

A few days ago, fifteen people died in a bus accident in the province in which I live. I personally didn’t know a single person on the bus taking a hockey team to a playoff game. But, I knew of the team, I used to know players on that team. I had even taught some of those players. Though I didn’t know a single soul on the bus, I felt the loss of relationship. Strange. And it wasn’t just me who felt this way. The links to the hockey team of the past had thinned over the years, but they are still there.

However worthy it is to make this post about those young men who died a few days ago, this post needs to go deeper. There is one relationship that suffers the most from separation – the relationship one has with one’s self.

“We live our lives estranged – from others, from the gods, and worst of all from ourselves. Intuitively, we all know this. We know that we are our own worst enemies, We never stop seeking to reconnect, to find home again, and in the end, we simply leave it in a different way. Perhaps there is no home to which we can return. We can’t return to the womb, though we try, and few of us are confident of a future celestial home. So we live, always homeless, whether we know it or not.” James Hollis, Return to Eden, p. 11

Over the next several post, I will be turning to this book by James Hollis, not only to provide a template for this blog site, but in order to do work that is demanding my attention. I need to build a stronger relationship with myself if I am to have any quality to my relationships with others. And in order to do that, I need to come to grips with the reality that all of my relationships, the how and why of them, finds their roots in my first relationships – mother and father. This isn’t an easy journey to take, but it is a vital task.


  1. Thanks for this. Hollis is a great interpreter of Jung’s work, as well as his own original thinking. I’ve been to 2 of his workshops and have come away inspired.

  2. I met Hollis for the first time when I attended a workshop of his a month ago. I have his newest book, but not Return to Eden. It’s good to hear from you again and I look forward to your contemplations on this work.

    • jungian

      April 11, 2018 at 10:49 am

      So good to hear from you, Jean. I did a weeks-long workshop with a Jungian analyst which delved solely into this book. I first met James on-line in the late 90s when he did a Jung-Books-Talk. I was impressed then and remain impressed by the man and his work. I do hope to hear your words weigh in here from time to time. – Robert

  3. Very appropriate post…I’m a big Hollis fan … currently enrolled in the Magnum Opus program with the Center for Applied Jungian Studies.

    • jungian

      April 11, 2018 at 11:44 am

      I look forward to your comments, thoughts, and even clarifications of concepts as the work continues, Stephen.

  4. Colleen Culligan

    April 11, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I look forward to following this discussion as well. Although I was a follower of Jung, I only found Hollis at mid-life, through his Finding Meaning book….I was dumbstruck by its thoughtfulness and profound depth. I continue to read Hollis, and will follow your insights and contribute if possible.

    • jungian

      April 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you, Colleen. I am not a trained analyst so my insights might not be all that profound. LOL! Still, I do enjoy risking the questions and see how those questions resonate with who I am at this stage of my life. I look forward to your words here.

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