Psychoanalysis and the Occult

Please join us in New York next month for this unique event. It has been over 50 years since this material has been presented in public, and it has already generated much interest and controversy. Rather than a conference of papers this symposium will include inspired presentations and group intensives from a broad range of participants covering everything from IPA members and institute presidents to radical Lacanians, Reichians, and Jungians to occult and paranormal scholars and practitioners. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and first come first served. 


Psychoanalysis and the Occult: Case Material on Psychic Reality - Analytica

April 9, 9am-5pm - NPAP

The purpose of the “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project is to return to Freud’s work on the psychic domain - the work on “telepathy” originally left out of the Traumdeutung and his development of “psychic reality” emerging from his analysis of psychosis and the Schreber case - and to compare it with the work of Lacan, Jung, Reich, and others who sought to explore psychic causality and the occult from a logical perspective.

In the 1950s George Devereaux published a compilation of material on Psychoanalysis and the Occult. In this book he collates material from early psychoanalysts regarding occult, paranormal, and psychic phenomena surrounding the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. From the ample material included by Freud we can dispel the myth that Freud was not interested in the occult—rather he sought to approach it in a different way than Jung. Devereux’s book further points the question in the direction of anthropology, ethnography, and comparative psychiatry in general. 

The “Psychoanalysis and the Occult” Project was initiated at Analytica in 2014 which since that time has held a series of events internationally. In this installment we will explore the transpersonal case material of psychoanalysis in intension and extension - that is of practicing analytic (analysand-analyst) dyads as well as of institutional dynamics - in order to demonstrate the necessity of expanding the form of the psychoanalytic school, clinic, and association for the future of analysis. We are inviting those who have a particular interest in this domain to participate in this important topic.

Year 0


End of the paternal myth

Frenzy of the fathers

Black sun of melancholy

Dark continent of the feminine


god is dead, all is permitted

the abyss

oedipus is only one way

isis osiris horus maat


the son and the sinthome



1. Transcendental

2. Constructivist

3. Generic

4. Analytic


1. Master

2. Academic (University)

3. Analysand (Hysteric)

4. Analyst


1. Sage of Spirit

2. Science of Logic

3. Dialectic

4. Void


1. Superego

2. Anxiety

3. Courage

4. Justice


1. Idealist

2. Nihilist

3. Fatalist

4. Hero

Writing the Real

The signifier is a sign over a phantasm –
a (chain of) signifier(s) over a signified –
a symbol(ic) over an image(inary)





The whole S/I or S2/S1 complex is itself floating on nothing but the Real – made up of bits of the Real. “We” do not know this.






S1 the master signifier founds and props up “reality” in a given locale – screening out the Real – but it (necessarily) must have been repressed or forgotten. When the master signifier loosens, the real (R) erupts. When it dissolves madness might ensue as too much of the real. But navigate the real and write it directly from the Real to the Semiotic – this is another writing – writing the real – with letters, gestures, diagrams.

…to perform theory like Nietzche or Lacan – miming the real – signing the drive: “I am not a poet but a poem being written.” (Lacan)

Klossowski makes this clear in his elucidation of Nietzsche – the aphoristic style is to make a stab – little stabs at happiness – the gay science – another role of the dice – but a role of the dice will never abolish chance. The impulse wills, but in the human the impulse wills the phantasm which is then signified – one, two, three. What is the difference between this phantasm signified and signed. The master signifier emerges simultaneously with its representations – the signifying chain of the symbolic. Whose phantasm is the master signifier’s. This imaginary that stops up the hole of the real – necessarily repressed to set the game in motion. But once and for all? Of course not. Hence the symptom – which insists.

To honor the symptom by giving it a name is to count to four – or vice-versa. It is because the symptom IS, that we need to count to four. It will not be contained in any balanced account of three, two, or one dimension. Is counting to four enough to recognize the plus-one? Is counting to four enough to count 4, 5, 6 …. to the infinite multiple. Lacan thought so. Culturally and clinically counting to four puts the whole structure of 3-D civilization into question: “Why is everything swallowed up in the most mundane kinship? Why do the people who come to speak to us in psychoanalysis speak to us about that? Why does psychoanalysis orient the people it calms towards memories of childhood? Why isn’t it oriented towards an alliance with a poate….” (Lacan) If the analyst holds the place of uncertainty then he does not see the symptom as a failure of the symbolic order but something new – the emergence of a particular creation finding no outlet in the meaning of the Other – rather a meaningless signifier that cannot find its place in the collective agreement – seeking a minor language. If the symptom is the drive defined by the Other, then the sinthome is the drive signed, mimed, sung and danced.

“Language is first of all the simulacrum of the external resistance of others.” (Klossowski) In that case the symptom is a particular resistance to that resistance – perhaps the real knocking at the window – the drive unconvinced of the symbolic. So instead the simulacrum: poetics as “a concerted action by man which puts into effect the treatment of the real by the symbolic” (Lacan) – provided that this symbolic is the larger semiotic of the simulacrum and certainly not the symbolic of the Other – rather the hyper-symbolic – not a preverbal one or two but a hyperverbal four. How is it that we can count to four if not by poetics or mathematics – letters and diagrams – signed by a proper name – a meaningless signifier.

“I try to say that art is beyond the symbolic. Art is a kind of know how, the symbolic at the heart of creating. I believe that there’s more truth in the saying that is art than in any amount of blah-blah-blah. That doesn’t mean that it’s created in any old way. And it’s not pre-verbal. It’s verbal to the second power.” (Lacan)

Brion Gysin and William Burroughs found that there were certain techniques of making a cut in the image(inary) and symbol(ic) which would reveal the real – allow the new to emerge. They were aware that they had stumbled on to certain practices used by occultists of other cultures – not to mention the dadaists and surrealists who were their peers. Here are poet-artists elucidating their practic. Of course one does not have to elucidate a practice for it to work as Lacan said of the unnamed analyts…

Act: Rub out the word
Result: Exteriorization from the body
How: At first automatic excercise
Act: Cut up – the word, the image
Result: T(un)ravel … the real

“Mental automatism is normal! If one begins to say something to himself…why shouldn’t that slip towards mental automatism? All the same…nature isn’t as natural as all that. That’s even what the rotting that we generally call culture consists of. Culture in a Petri dish, as I already mentioned to you.” (Lacan)

Lacan reverses the stakes at the end. What’s mad is normal and what’s natural rots – along with culture – eventually it rots and the new feeds on the death of the old. The drive insists.

“The question is worth asking – at what point is one mad?” (Lacan)


Recent discussion of your style has alerted us to something we should pay more attention to: that form and substance are often inseparable in expression. If we insist that the child or the psychotic speak in our language is this helpful. Can we not be humble in the reception of the other’s message (the Judaic ethic of Levinas) or suspend anxiety while deciphering the incomprehensible (as an ethnographer). The lover, the poet, the patient often speak to break through our own resistance – in order to achieve what…

“Paradoxically, intimacy is violence, for it does not respect the isolated ego” (Georges Bataille)


But to relate this to surrealist, constructivist, abstract, expressionist poetics (art)
Psychotropic substances and practices

The practice of the letter in relation to the other
The invention of new signifiers – logoi – world creation
Ontological analysis

Psycho-logy is the application of one logos of the psyche to an other
The still imperfect practice of family, state, and institutions (medicine, education)
Ontological analysis and catalysis break down the logos – untie the knot – in relation to an other (logos)
Speed it up, expand it, collectivize it into a certain type of community
Analytic apparatus – drive machines – desiring production – (auto)poesis