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The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego 

Publisher’s Description

Our complexes act as dynamic intermediaries in the life-long dialogue with the unconscious, determining the ways in which archetypes and instincts enlarge ego-consciousness.

Shalit provides us with a conceptual scaffold with which to examine the inner structures and assumptions that underpin our everyday actions, discussions, loves and hates. Includes case material.

 The complex is the key to our inner world. The images in our dreams reflect the complex meeting ground between the archetypes of the vast unconscious and the realm of personal experience.

The complex carries material from the unconscious into consciousness. Sometimes the major roads are blocked, and communications maintained only “over inconvenient and steep footpaths” (Freud). When refused entrance into consciousness, the complexes become phantoms in the shadow.

 “The fact that complexes are painful is no proof of pathological disturbance. Suffering is not an illness; it is the normal counterpole to happiness. A complex becomes pathological only when we think we have not got it.” C. G. Jung



 The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego


 The Complex in the History of Psychoanalysis

Introduction; A Plenitude of Complexes; Jung’s Personal Complexes

 Complex Psychology

Introduction; The Complex as Path and Vessel of Transformation; Core, Cluster and Tone; Archetype and Ego

 Oedipus and the Archetypal Complex

Freud, Jung and Oedipus; The Myth of Oedipus; Hero and Complex; Mars and Eros: The Drive of the Complex; Mother Self - Father Ego; The Primal Scene; The Sword and the Shield; The Complex Path: From Archetype to Ego; The Wounding of Oedipus; Oedipus’ Journey; From Delphi to Thebes; Patricide at the Cleft Way Crossroad; The Riddle of the Sphinx; The Cancerous Complex

 The Complex in the Shadow

The Autonomous Complex; The Complex and the Call; The World Parents; The Abandoned Child; A Mother Complex; Kafka’s Letter to Father; Inflation, Hubris and the Tower of Babel; Inflated Ego - Emptied Self; Integration of the Complex; Castration at the Gateway to Individuation





The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego 
 Erel Shalit

 “The Complex is the best discussion [on the subject] I have seen.” Dr. James Hall

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant work on important subject for both psychology and theology, March 22, 2011
This review is from: Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts, 98) (Paperback)

This is a fantastic work which is useful for both psychologist and theologian. Shalit describes the complex in terms of death anxiety, sexual complexes, and inferiority complexes. These complexes work together to create a sense of desperation and dissatisfaction which eventually propel higher evolution and good works. According to Jung, "the perfect have no need of others" (p.28). Therefore, "only through imperfection, and recognition of it (by encountering our shadow), can we constructively relate to the divine spark within" (p.28). This epitomizes Shalit's message, which is that the complex, even when seemingly negative, has a way of forcing us to reverse our inferiority and achive security, and this eventually leads to evolution (but only after a detour through the shadow). "The complex's engine is initially driven by the power of death-anxiety" (p.30). This statement reminds us how closely connected ontology, systematic theology, and depth psychology are. Anyone who has read Heidegger will see the connection between the death-anxiety complex and his being-towards-death - a concept which also comes up frequently in Paul Tillich's Systematic Theology. "Complexes are the carriers of life energy" (p.31). This goes back to Jung's concept of psychic libido energy which can be diverted into a number of pursuits both good and seemingly bad. The complex simply provides life energy which propels all actions, and if we have a mystical sense we will realize that all of these complex-driven actions are ultimately GOOD. In fact everything is all good. We realize this as soon as we unserstand that even negative experiences have a way of producing food for the soul, and the soul will eventually use this food to evolve into a loving and compassionate individual.




“Erel Shalit has written a vigorous book. He explores the world of archetypes and complexes using the writings of Freud, Winnicott, Kafka and Andersen, as well as Adler, Jacobi and, of course, Jung. There is an interesting chapter on the Oedipus Complex, and one on the integration of the shadow which draws extensively on a case illustration from one of his patients who grew up in a kibbutz.” From The Journal of Analytical Psychology

 Oedipus Denied... not so quickly!

by Mel Mathews

 Whether we know it, or not, whether we care to or are able to admit it, every human being is influenced by psychological ‘complexes’. In The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, Erel Shalit explains the difference in an ‘autonomous complex’ and an integrated complex. Shalit explains, “The fundamental task of the complex is to serve as a vehicle and vessel of transformation…” In other words, Psychological complexes are necessary aspects of our being and when we are able to recognize and develop a dialogue or an ongoing conscious relationship with these complexes, these aspects of our humanity can be expressed and honored in a healthy and often creative manner.

 A complex becomes troublesome when it is denied and split off from our greater whole, as is the case with the Oedipal myth. In studying and deciphering the symbolic meaning of the Oedipal myth, Erel Shalit explains how a complex that has the potential to bring us into living a fuller, more conscious existence, is often denied and split off into an ‘autonomous’ complex. Denying a complex, an aspect of who we are, does not cause this entity to go away. Instead, the denied castaway becomes ‘autonomous’ energy and unconsciously continues to live a life of its own, often wreaking havoc that is acted out in a host of neurotic symptoms.

 In recognizing and welcoming home these prodigal complexes, vital pieces of our beings, we are able to reclaim lost aspects of our souls, and in turn unblock the stymied flow of psychological energy that often gets dammed up and diverted into neurotic symptoms and suffering.

 This publication addresses far more than just the Oedipal Complex. Dr. Shalit also delves into the Father Complex and the Mother Complex in both negative and positive forms. Clients' dreams and case studies are also discussed to bring theory into more concrete and practical terms.

 For those interested in psychology, myth, religion, and philosophy, but even more so to those who might be suffering from a host of neurotic symptoms, including addictions or obsessive compulsive tendencies, I highly recommend The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego (ISBN 978-0919123991) as well as Erel Shalit’s most recently published book Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path (ISBN 978-0977607679).


 “..very interesting and very stimulating..” Prof. Dr. Verena Kast

 “.. Shalit is the messenger of a concept so complex yet made so accessible to our understanding by his methodical yet poetic description of the very motifs which grip our total existence.” Amazon

 “Shalit uses myths, fairy tales and personal experiences to underline and accent the conceptual framework which he explores. His efforts to explain the Jungian perspective are easily understood. His descriptions are pithy and concise. The Complex is challenging in that it can lead us to examine our own complexes and thus provide for one aspect of personal growth.” Jason Piercy, Jung Society of Montreal Newsletter.

 “Erel Shalit has made an exciting journey through the inner world of complexes. With great knowledge and exciting clinical examples he illustrates aspects of the psychoanalytical battlefield… There are plenty of thought-provoking ideas…” Anders Löfström, MD.

 “In this book – to be read and read again – Erel Shalit sheds light on what complexes are, and how they are related to the archetypes and to the ego. He traces the history of the idea from Galton to Janet and Freud, and Jung’s development of the concept.

Shalit describes the structure and the dynamics of the complex by means of a novel reading of the Oedipus myth, so that Oedipus becomes the archetypal carrier of complexes.

The autonomous complex, which constitutes a Jungian approach to psychopathology, is extensively described by means of clinical and literary material. A close reading of Kafka’s A Letter to Father provides a chillingly perceptive view of a negative father-complex, and the son of a scarred Holocaust survivor illustrates a severe mother-complex. The examples are many, showing the suffering caused by complexes – but also the possibility of development.” Erik Nisser

© Dr. Erel Shalit
Friday, October 31, 2014