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This Jungian Life

May 12, 2022

Vocation, once associated with serving God through service to others, is now most strongly associated with a career having personal worth. Vocation spans a range of needs and values:  commitment to making ends meet, striving for material rewards and social status, or the more internal satisfaction of research, helping others, and artistic expression. Freud considered love and work the cornerstones of our humanness, and Jung said, “In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” A discernment process is essential to determining the difference between a true calling and ego ambitions, what we want versus what we can have, and distinguishing dream from dedication. Ultimately, however, vocation is a state of being—so perhaps we can invest the work we have with a sense of call.


“I was at the beach with my mother and grandmother. My mother was driving a red car. My grandmother in the passenger seat, me in the back. It was stormy; the waves were wild and aggressive. My mother was determined to drive as far as possible to find old family members who we no longer speak to, to enact revenge. I was silent. The waves were angry, the wind swirled and howled and rocked the car. She was on a mission.”


James Hillman. A Blue Fire.

James Hillman. The Soul’s Code.

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