ARTICLES OF FAITH
Thomas Rochford, Chair CJC
Welcome to the fifth edition of The Chronicle and the first opportunity I have had to share my views and aspirations with you all.
Writing this more or less midway between the Celtic festivals of Mabon (Autumn Equinox) and Samhain (Halloween), I am reminded of my own religious heritage which falls between two traditions.
I was brought up as a Catholic and educated by the Benedictines but then met my wife and converted to Islam as a pre-requisite to marriage. I do not practice either as a religion but have grown to realise the importance of one God, whether it is that of the Nicene Creed or the Shahada or, as Yogis and Jungians understand it, the Divine Essence which is our Self. Jung's motto 'Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit' (Whether invoked or not, God will be present) resonates strongly within me; particularly as I review the first three Plenaries of my period as Chair, which examine this from three viewpoints.
I am married, to an Iranian, and we have two children; a son and a daughter. My wife has lived in Cambridge for some forty years and I have been umbilically attached to the city since I matriculated at Trinity Hall in 1965 although I have only lived here physically for the last 30 years. I have an unmanageable range of interests from Alchemy, Botany and Cooking all the way to Xanadu, Yoga and the Zayandehrud.
I bought my first book on Alchemy (by E.J. Holmyard) in the School Bookshop, where I also bought my first copies of the Qura'n, the Sutras and the Tripitaka. I studied Classics; Physics and Chemistry were an even deeper mystery to me than any quest for the Philosopher's Stone. However the early interest in Alchemy was there through my adolescence and early adulthood and when the time came for me to enter analysis at the time of my Saturn Return, I chose to work with a Jungian Analyst: the late great Molly Tuby. I learnt from her to learn from my own imperfections. I recently heard that if the purpose of our life is to perfect ourselves, our imperfections are the source of the energy which keeps us alive. If we are perfect, we might as well be dead!
The interval between Mabon and Samhain is also a traditional time to harvest what we have achieved and store it to nourish the strengths we need for the future. CJC has achieved 25 years of solid growth. 216 people are subscribed to our mailing list and of these over 150 are either paid-up members or occasional visitors. This is no small achievement. The times are changing of course and we need to be more open to new ways of reaching out to those who are interested in the teachings of Jung. Cambridge, lying close to the Meridian, is probably well placed to host this process and the Internet is a factor in so many people's lives that we cannot afford to ignore it. We need to look at the opportunities this offers for growth and change, not just for the sake of these but for the sake of what they can add by way of enhancement. An example is putting the DVD Library online. This makes our plenaries available to those who cannot easily come to Cambridge whether because of distance or infirmity. It makes them audible to those who are blind and those who are deaf may be able to lip-read them. Placing The Chronicle online is also part of this endeavour because the text readers, which are embedded within your web browser can read it to those who cannot read it for themselves.
I feel we need to reach out to a new and younger membership which will bring with it different baggage from the collective unconscious and different expectations. Before joining CJC I worked for over 20 years as IT Director at Anglia Ruskin University after a previous career in Horticulture and a degree in Law. The job of University IT Director did not exist when I was a student and the focus of my department's activities was on what we could do to enhance the teaching and learning experience using IT. I would like to bring the experience I gained from this to the work of promoting our own ideas; well beyond "the people in the area centered on Cambridge" envisaged by our Founders. I am very fortunate in having a Committee to support me in this undertaking which enthusiastically represents all the different facets of our membership and without which I would not be able to try to harmonise our vision, resources and expectations.
The Chronicle is one way in which we hope to do this and I welcome the opportunity given me by the Coordinator to share my own Articles of Faith with you in this brief message. Whether you live in the immediate area centered on Cambridge or within 180 degrees of the meridian, I want to hear from you, to listen to you, to share with you and to enjoy life with you.