Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Body and Psyche: The Archetypal Explorations of Symbolism of Trees in Taiwan
by Chen, Hsueh-Chun, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2020, 369; 28088867
Abstract (Summary)

Archetypes are images and at the same time emotions (Jung, 1961/1976d, para. 589). The archetypal images of trees are both natural and cultural symbols (Jung, 1954/1970c). Jungian analysts viewed images as bridges to the unconscious (Abt, 2005), and emotions as bridges between the body and psyche (Chodorow, 1991). The main goal of this research is to deepen the development of dream analysis in the field of Jungian psychology. This dissertation is a theoretical research inquiry to investigate Jung’s (Jung, 1961/1976d) concept of archetypes in the symbolic materials of 10 Taiwanese indigenous trees to fill the void of Eurocentric Jungian psychology as well as a bridge between the psychological and ecological. This folkloric inquiry adopted a combination of historical narratives and comparative analysis (Stausberg & Engler, 2011), and the Jungian method of archetypal amplification (Jung, 1954/1975c) to study the texts and visual materials of the trees in Taiwanese culture.

10 trees were selected from the 39 distinguished Taiwanese indigenous trees that were also mentioned in Shan Hai Jing or Classic of Mountains and Seas (P. Guo, Jiang, & W. Li, 1628), which listed 127 specific ancient tree names for a total of 474 times, and 64 types of trees with their modern names. These trees became the 10 subjects of research and included the banyan, mulberry, paper mulberry, bamboo, cane, flame gold-rain, soap-nut, fragrant maple, camphor, and ring-cupped oak trees. The symbolic themes of substance, mythic animals, life, self-sacrifice, flame, water, colors, and numbers were addressed. The archetypal images of the Inverted tree, the World tree, Tree of Knowledge, and The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree were compared through both Taiwanese culture and Jungian psychology. Thresholds of transformation were specifically found in elements such as tree roots (banyan), leaves (fragrant maple, mulberry), and trunks (flame gold-rain, bamboo).

Additionally, the transcendent functions of joy, fear, and grief as archetypal affects were found in the materials collected and were compared with Jungian psychology in the “Archetypal Affect System” (C. Stewart, 2001) and Taoist alchemy (Beinfield & Korngold, 1991). Above all, the banyan tree played a significant role in Taiwanese psyche because of its multiple archetypal aspects found in this research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilkinson, Tanya
Commitee: Chalquist, Craig, Yang, Rur-Bin
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: East-West Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Therapy, Asian literature
Keywords: Collective unconscious, Mediatory symbol, Natural history illustration, Qing gan, Transformation
Publication Number: 28088867
ISBN: 9798672169552
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