"Confrontation with the Unconscious– the wonders and perils of its transformative power"
by Emilija Kiehl (IAAP, BJAA, London)


“No fountain and no water has my like”

According to Jung, to become ourselves, we have to get to know our inner world, to confront our unconscious in what can feel as combat or dance of the soul . A work of art can be a key to the realm where this drama takes place, at the spring of human creativity. There the individual self merges into the transcendental realm of the collective, where ego can draw from the endless pool of shared humanity carrying back a tiny drop of the precious stuff with the unique creative imprint of one-self, yet reflecting all others.
It seems that Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita has served as such a key for many of its readers and many have been inspired to transform it into an array of different media: film, theatre, opera, radio, television, animation, graphic novel, scholarly works, a 1970’s rock music hit , a fashion label, numerous websites and blogs. Its timeless appeal has, quite literally, even reached to the stars.
In this workshop I will explore the numinous relationship between narrative and image in Vladimir Bortko’s adaptation of the novel into a highly acclaimed Russian TV series. Initially, the series encountered sharp criticism as television was considered an unsuitable medium for the multileveled narrative and the complexity of socio-political and metaphysical themes in the novel. However, from Bortko’s own profound and multileveled relationship with the story emerged what became the most successful series ever shown on Russian television.
In a personal communication, I discovered that since he first read The Master & Margarita as a teenager, Bortko wanted to make it into a film, but it took many years until the technical possibilities of the film image resonated with his inner images of its characters and settings. This resonance rippled through the shared creative space to a significant number of readers who found that Bortko’s visual depiction of the novel’s rich imagery corresponds with their own inner vision of its figures and events in a profoundly moving way.

Emilija Kiehl MSc., is a Jungian Analyst in practice in London. She is a senior member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation (BPF), Training Analyst, and former Chair of the British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA) and Vice President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). She is the journal review editor for the Journal for Analytical Psychology (JAP, UK) and book review editor for the Spring Journal (USA).