In Memoriam: Edward F. Edinger

 

In Memoriam: Edward F. Edinger, 1922-1998

A Personal Tribute by Daryl Sharp

photo of Edward EdingerThe writings of Edward Edinger have had a profound effect on my psychological attitude ever since I read his Ego and Archetype in 1976, while I was training in Zurich. I was at that time, and still am, hooked on Jung.

To my mind Edinger was as true to Jung as one could be, and remained so right to the end. Like Marie-Louise von Franz, he was a classic Jungian, pure and simple, by which I mean he took Jung’s message to heart and amplified it according to his own talents. In a review of von Franz’s biography of Jung, he described her as “a true spiritual daughter of Jung, a carrier of the pure Jungian elixir.” Well, Edward Edinger was a true spiritual son of Jung.

For those who find Jung himself tough going, Edinger has been the pre-eminent interpreter for more than forty years.

In lectures, books, tapes and videos, he masterfully presented the distilled essence of Jung’s work, illuminating its relevance to both collective and individual psychology.

Thus his Mysterium Lectures, for instance, is not only a brilliant scholarly study of Jung’s Mysterium Coniunctionis and arcane alchemical operations, it is also a practical guide to what is going on in the laboratory of the unconscious.

Since Inner City published his book The Creation of Consciousness in 1984, Ed and I had a warm working relationship.

I visited him a couple of times at his home in Los Angeles, where I met his decidedly more extraverted partner, Dianne Cordic, a perfect complement to Ed’s reserved nature.

I also sent him copies of each new Inner City title as it was published. He always responded quickly with a one-page, hand-written letter giving his candid opinion.

Of course, not everything we published was his cup of tea. But he respected my choice of manuscripts as deriving from my own process of individuation – where my energy, at that time, wanted to go.

He was also generous in his appreciation of the books I wrote myself. For instance, in response to Chicken Little: The Inside Story, he said: “I read it from cover to cover in a single sitting. You have a a delightfully quirky imagination with a hilarious wit. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope it does well.”

Every year or two over the past fifteen years, Ed offered Inner City a new manuscript. We took every one because it was always good meaty stuff.

The writing was crisp and clean, with no padding, no blather. He said what he meant, said it well, and that was it.

Never mind that his books would never appear on the New York Times list of bestsellers; they fit perfectly with our professed mandate “to promote the understanding and practical application” of Jung’s work.

More than that, I loved working on his rich material, and the content kept me psychologically alert.

Personally, I came to love the man as well as his work.

I feel privileged and fortunate indeed to be in a position to keep his work and spirit alive, to the benefit of everyone who strives to become psychologically conscious.

Edward F. Edinger Obituary

Edward F. Edinger, 75, Analyst And Writer on Jung’s Concepts

Dr. Edward F. Edinger, a leading Jungian analyst whose books on the interplay between symbols and psychology carried the concepts of Carl Jung to a new generation of American analysts, died on July 17 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

The cause was bladder cancer, family members said.

Colleagues said he was the most influential Jungian analyst in the United States from the 1950’s until his death.

Dr. Edinger believed that many neuroses were associated with the decline of religion and the dominance of science. He thought it was important for the afflicted to grasp elements of religion, philosophy, literature and even alchemy to heal and thrive.

”He taught that the goal in analysis was for the ego to establish contact with a greater personality within the psyche, to strengthen the ego-self axis,” said Dr. George R. Elder, a friend and therapist in Ocean Ridge, Fla.

Dr. Edinger taught that people with neuroses or psychoses could benefit from an awareness of their spiritual and creative dimensions and from thinking in terms of the archetypes that artists and sages use. For Jungians, the term archetype refers to categories within the collective unconscious that often appear as literary or religious images of, for example, the Great Mother or the Spiritual Father.

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Dr. Edinger looked ahead to an age when the ideas of Jung would heal a broken world, and once said, ”Jung’s psychology offers not only a method for the psychological healing of individuals but also a new world view for Western man which holds out the possibility for healing the split in the contemporary collective psyche.”

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In short, Dr. Edinger predicted that the world would one day turn to Jung for a hopeful view of things after an impending eruption of ”chaos in vast proportions.”

Dr. Edinger gave Jung’s writings — done ”in a German-Swiss flavor” — an American accent, using ”Moby Dick,” for example, to show the need for healing the split between the ego and the self.

His final work, to be published in 1999 by Open Court Publishing Company and edited by Dr. Elder, analyzes the Book of Revelation as a psychological text.

Among his other books were ”Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche” (1972), ”Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy” (1968) and ”Creation of Consciousness” (1995), all published by C. G. Jung Foundation Books.

Dr. Edinger was a supervising psychiatrist at Rockland State Hospital in Orangeburg, N.Y., and later was a founding member of the C. G. Jung Foundation, in Manhattan, and the C. G. Jung Institute of New York. He was the institute’s president from 1968 to 1979, when he moved to Los Angeles. There, he continued his practice for 19 years and became a senior analyst at the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles.

He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and received his B.A. in chemistry at Indiana University and his M.D. from Yale University in 1946. He was a medical officer in the United States Army in Panama. In 1951 in New York, he began analysis with M. Esther Harding, who had been an associate of Jung.

His marriage to Frances McCarthy ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Dianne D. Cordic; a brother, Robert F. Edinger of Bedford, Ind.; two children from his first marriage, Clara Jendrowski of Lockport, N.Y., and Dr. Bruce Edinger of Salem, W.Va., and two grandchildren.