Carl Jung and Gateways Themes

Gateways artist coaching method employs universal themes identified by the psychology of creativity; and revealed in the work of Carl Gustav Jung. Universal themes highlight the connection between creativity and spirituality. They mirror an artist’s inner and outer challenges and point the way toward overcoming them. Grounded in the core ideas of Carl Jung, Gateways themes also integrate the psychology of creativity as understood through the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, and various spiritual traditions. Gateways creative artist coaching is designed to foster the spiritual aspects of creativity in line with clients’ own values while improving creative performance and output in practical terms.

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) integrated spiritual understanding with scientific investigation and discovered patterns of growth toward psychic wholeness which he called “individuation.” His discoveries and therapeutic methods include familiar terms like personality types, shadow, anima and animus, active imagination and much more. His work has been deeply embraced by creative artists, spiritual leaders, and others who have experienced its rich insights into creativity and spirituality. Jung found correspondences between dream imagery and mythological motifs, and he noticed that the most powerful symbols and myths expressed by humanity seem to arise from a common, deep substratum of the mind he named “the collective unconscious.”

Jung used the word “archetype” to describe the persistence of patterns arising from the collective unconscious that have operated through the millennia. Archetypes can be described as primal patterns (of action or behavior), primal forms, images and energies that govern our creative lives. A child’s devotion to the parents, whether they happen to be reliable parents or not, is an archetypal behavior pattern. Personifications appearing in dreams can be archetypes, as are the Gods and Goddesses of religious traditions who personify various energies or human creative realities. Mythology is the oldest picture language of mankind. It portrays these energies of the inner life and their outer manifestations. For example, in Buddhism we meet the elephant Ganesh, destroyer of obstacles; Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the Sustainer; and Shiva the Destroyer. In Christianity, we meet Mary Mother of God, the feminine aspect of the God force. And there are many more. The snake image, coiling in upon itself can be a symbol of history repeating, of spiritual energies rising, regeneration, elemental life, or can signify something negative and threatening, depending upon which cultural lens it is viewed through.

In Jungian terms, our psyches are born encoded with the “archetypes” of the collective unconscious with which we remain uniquely connected throughout our spiritual and creative lives. Jung’s teachings can help us to be fully engaged in life while growing spiritually at the same time. When we encounter an archetypal image, our creative inner lives become animated by the energies running through that image.

Gateways coaching uses themes that relate to the creative process. The themes consist of universal images/patterns that help clients to clarify what is working (and not working) along their creative career path. In other words, Gateways Art Coaching themes are “mirrors,” reflecting various aspects of the creative process. The themes also become “windows” (or entry points) through which clients identify what is uniquely true for them. Empowered with this creative clarity, needed actions also become clear. When actions are then taken, clients move begin moving into momentum and acceleration.

Anyone can relate to all seven of Gateways universal themes. However, most clients are experiencing present challenges that are illustrated by one (sometimes two) of these creative themes predominantly.

Gateways themes help creative art career professionals to clarify and meet the following universal challenges to the Creative life:

  • Coping with attitudes about creativity that influence our working process, past and present.
  • Facing colleagues, friends and significant others who influence our creative process.
  • Overcoming obstacles as we embark upon a career transition or a new goal.
  • Lightening up the critical voice and fine-tuning our creative gifts.
  • Finding a balance between the head and heart in our creative process.
  • Moving into closer alliance with our intuition and re-vitalizing our creativity.
  • Gaining more insight and trust in the spiritual aspects of creating.

QUOTES by Carl Jung:

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.”

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to what you should be doing in your worldly pursuits.”

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*Essay by Barbara Bowen of - the definitive source for artists and creative careers in transition. Contact Barbara to empower your creative process and for help with your career goals. She would love to hear from you.*