Regulars and Shorts

Soul Work: Alchemy of the Inner Marriage

By Greta Belanger deJong

Depth psychologist Theresa Holleran to speak at April’s Jung Society.
by Greta Belanger deJong

Theresa Holleran can’t be old enough to be a wise woman; after all, we’re the same age. But the truth is I knew her at half this age, and she was wise then.

holleranThis month, Theresa is the featured speaker for the Jung Society of Utah. People interested in depth psychology, dreams, archetypes, myth—all things inner—gather monthly to hear a talk on some aspect of Carl Jung’s philosophy. The first hour is for conviviality (coffee and cookies are often served), and then people settle down for the lecture—usually an imported expert. This month we have our own expert, our wise woman. Theresa Holleran, LCSW, a transpersonal therapist for more than half her life, is a longtime founding member of Red Rock Counseling who recently joined with several other therapists to form Mountain Lotus Coun­seling: Transformational Services for Individuals, Relationships, Groups, and Community. She will talk about “The Alchemy of the Inner Marriage.”

Theresa tells a story like a spider spins a web. Before you know it, you’re held, spellbound. She knows poetry by heart. She’s a painter and a dancer.

This night she will talk about marriage. Your marriage. No, not the one to that person in your bed. The marriage of the two energies who clash or dance inside you, who make you whole: the inner masculine and feminine. These same energies inform our actions, and may be tied to the fate of our planet.

Working with the masculine and feminine energies—control/surrrender, penetrating/receptive, doing/being, protective/ nurturing and so on—transforms us from Ego-centered to Soul-centered consciousness, she says.

There is the wounded masculine and feminine, too: the negative archetypes. “For instance,” she says, “a man in the grip of his negative inner feminine is moody, sullen, unavailable, vaguely reproachful of others. His heart energy is shut down. He’s not available for relationship. This can trigger women around him to go into their negative masculine, which shows up as blaming, rationalizing, borrowing on the righteous opinions of others.”

We tend to look outward for fulfillment, projecting our longings onto another. But when we become conscious of our projections, we can discover what wants cultivating within. Once, Theresa says, she fell in love with an adventurous, worldly man. She heard his stories of one amazing exper­ience after another. “After we broke up, I had a dream in which he took my hand and said, ‘Let’s go off into the world together.’ When I woke up I knew I had a big fat projection. The ‘he’ inside me needed to take my hand.” And so she has become an adventurer, herself.

“Robert Johnson [Jungian analyst and author] says when a woman starts wringing her hands and saying ‘I don’t know what to do,’ she should ask, ‘What am I feeling? What value am I trying to connect with?’ To discover what needs to be done, go into feeling value. Tend to the needs of the body and heart. Through working with our woundedness, the healing takes place.”

And therein lies the treasure. “Alchemy is our ability to turn suffering and loss into the gold of transformation, to live life with a more expanded sense of self,” she says.

No one ever said marriage would be easy.

Jung Society of Utah: Thursday, April 10. U of U Student Union, Saltair Room. 6:15pm (lecture at 7). Free. (Donations welcome.)


This article was originally published on March 30, 2014.