Recovering the Eco-Unconscious

by Robin Gates

Western culture has a history of union and subsequent separation from nature. This split between spirit and nature, psyche and soma, intellect and emotion, science, philosophy, and religion, manifests in our individual and collective consciousness creating crises that span the spectrum of human experience, from the psychological to the environmental. Since we have within our unconscious memories of our being in union with nature, it is a matter of recovering them through what Carl Jung called the individuation process; whereby, a person develops one’s unique individuality from that which has been imposed on him or her from the environment. An expansion of consciousness and recovery of the eco-unconscious is achieved by the confrontation with and integration of unconscious material culminating in coniunctio, or union of the opposites. To read the whole essay, download the pdf.


Robin M. Gates  is a student in the Psychology Department at Pacifica Graduate Institute, CA, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology. He holds an M.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Philosophy and has been teaching at the college level for over 10 years.  This article came as a response to a personal healing journey from an illness which lasted over seven years.