Review by Malcolm R. Campbell
In the introduction to this spiritual and psychological collection of essays, poet and Jungian analyst Naomi Ruth Lowinsky writes, “I didn’t have to account to God or my analyst for why I wasn’t Moses, or for that matter, Jung. I had to account for why I wasn’t Naomi.”
This visionary collection follows the transformations that molded Lowinsky from the prima materia of her young self in chaos and doubt into the Naomi that life and the gods were waiting for her to discover.
Readers of The Rabbi, the Goddess, and Jung witness outrageous fortune’s wont to injure seekers of the voice within with the arrows from its quiver of devils, demons, shadows, temptations and tricks. Ultimately, when the seeker hears and responds in harmony to that voice, s/he discovers the meaning of Joseph Campbell’s promise that “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are” and that the Tewa prayer’s answer from nature’s light in “Song of the Sky Loom” is a Garment of Brightness.
In “My Lady Tree,” Lowinsky writes that “Words bring the raw stuff of emotion and experience into a focused form that we can share; they bring the prima material of the unconscious into consciousness; they tell our stories.” Late in the book in “Grandmother Spider’s Song,”—in contemplating the state of the planet and humankind’s relationship to it—she tells one of her inner mentors that she doesn’t know what to do. The mentor responds, “You’re missing the obvious fact that’s right under your nose. Your tool is poetry. That’s what you do.”
Every section of this book is richly illustrated by Lowinsky’s poetry, her response to the sights, sounds and voices of her journey from a lady tree she drew as a child, to her experiences with a secular Jewish upbringing, analysis, India, Africa, the forgotten feminine, Jung, Faust, alchemy, Kabbalah, old gods, spirits and the living Earth.
From “Lady Tree”:
You have written the book
Of life Your roots know sky
Your branches know down
below ground water
You drink from my dreams
From “Your People are My People”:
Your people are the drum beat people the field holler
People the conjure people Blues people Jubilee people people who talk
Straight to God Your people are the Old Man River people
The Drinking Gourd people singing the Lord’s song
in a strange land
From “Sisters of My Time”:
What became of our fierce flowering? Don’t you remember
how that Old Black Magic revealed Herself to us—gave us the fever
the crazy nerve to burn bras, leave husbands, grow animal hair?
We knew Her belly laugh, Her sacred dance
Her multiple orgasms—It was our period.
Lowinsky brings to her search for herself and to this book an exquisite facility with words, a Jungian’s knowledge of consciousness and symbols, the ability to synthesize the common threads of diverse peoples and cultures into a universal whole where opposites disappear, an adept approach to dreams and active imagination, a cast of wise inner mentors, and an abiding love of the creaturehood of the sacred Earth.
Her path is not a recipe for her readers’ paths because her readers have widely varied ancestors, upbringings, goals and skills. Instead, The Rabbi, the Goddess, and Jung is a wise and loving demonstration of a path, flaws and doubts included, that inspires rather than prescribes.
Lowinsky recalls walking a labyrinth and hearing Earth’s voice telling her that staying in balance is what it’s all about. She goes home and reads in a book in her library that the chaos of a labyrinth opens up the mind to new and transcendent dimensions. “The world,” she writes, “is still as big a mess as it was before I entered that labyrinth. But I feel more balanced, rewoven into earth and soul.”
Reading the spell cast by the words of the prose and poetry of The Rabbi, the Goddess, and Jung will disturb the minds of readers walking the labyrinths of their lives enough to help unlock the silent inner voice and the journey toward the privilege of a lifetime.
TITLE: The Rabbi, The Goddess, and Jung: Getting the Word from Within
AUTHOR: Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
PUBLISHER: Fisher King Press