I am not sure if Winnie the Pooh would have had to go through individuation, or whether he ever left knowing his Self, requiring the return through individuation. In any case, this poem by A. A. Milne, the author and creator of Winnie the Pooh, writes of the individuation process for me.

Spring Morning

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

And I don’t know either.

I am editing this post because a week after I posted it, I synchronistically ran across this from Jung.

“The dreamer goes for a long walk, and finds a blue flower on the way.

To go for a walk is to wander along paths that lead nowhere in particular; it is both a search and a succession of changes.”

Carl Jung – Collected Works Volume 12, 101-102

Individuation indeed.

The poem comes from  A. A. Milne’s first book of poetry for children, When We Were Very Young, published in 1924. The book includes the poem “Teddy Bear”. This bear became Winnie the Pooh.

Another wonderful poem in the book further expresses the individuation process for me.

Halfway Down

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
it.
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!

In-between is a strange place to be. but one that I have occupied for much of my life I think. Milne is speaking of this “in-between” or liminal space I believe. I think more and more of us are finding ourselves in this place more often – at least some of the time. It is a place of possibility, but often not easy. Winnie the Pooh expressed Jungian thoughts – at least for me.

I still have the dog-eared copy of The World of Pooh from my childhood. That’s a good metaphor for the process of individuation as well.