At the table

When I sit at the able and the cutlery and glasses gleam
When the napkins are folded white
When the chair scrapes the floor just right
And my skirt rustles on the seat
Neither brocade nor velvet, neither cotton nor silk
But a soft and pliant fabric
Like the wished for comfort of the soul
In love with God
That is when I know I will have found you

To earn a seat at that table
Requires the silence of the self
Quiet as a proverbial mouse
All potentia, possible movement, thought, desire
All probable outcomes
Held as softly as a breath before beauty
Suspended in time until the hand reaches out
And issues the invitation

Come, sit at my table
On the right side of the hand of God

And you, my friends, will have already gathered
Each sitting at the place of honor
For there are no contradictions
At the table God sets
For those who seek
The narrow path

In Projection and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology, Marie Louise von Franz writes about the Self’s social function. She states that it is in the very structure of the Self to provide a place where each person “gathers around him his own ‘soul family,’ a group of people not created by accident or by mere egoistic motivation but rather through a deeper, more essential spiritual interest or concern: reciprocal individuation.” (1978, p. 177).
I was struck by the notion that in the very essence of the Self, there is provender for those who travel the narrow path of individuation, the very act of engaging in that process brings us into the deep community of one’s fellow travelers. The Self provides the structure around which we can find sustenance, companionship, respite and inspiration. This is the motif of the King Arthur’s Round Table, the table at which Christ sat at the Last Supper. Not only does this table image symbolize the re-membering of our psychic projections, it also reflects that we need to be in the company of others on the same quest.
Jung states: “In this world created by the Self we meet all those many to whom we belong, whose hearts we touch; here “there is no distance, but immediate presence.” (Jung in von Franz, ibid). That is what emerges as we participate in the Assisi Community and in the von Franz study group, in the Depth Psychology Alliance and other worthy groups. Whether physically present around a ‘real’ table at conferences, or gathered around our telephone lines, the Self is the organizing principle that brings us together. Our meal is rich, our time precious. Thank God for that!

Von Franz, Marie Louise (1978). Projection and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology. Chicago: Open Court.

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Tags: Franz, Jung, Louise, Marie, Reciprocal, individuation, table, von


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Comment by Esther Waldron on April 29, 2013 at 2:25pm

Dearest Silvia, Thank you for bringing beauty and depth to me with these wise and beautiful words. So much that you've written resonates with me - a love of poetry, a love of Von Franz's writing, and my own current efforts to gather a roundtable in the heart of London. Thank you again for your encouraging, soulful words. Warmly, Esther.


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