Persephone’s Heart/Persephone’s Wake

Craig San Roque & Miriam Pickard

Note time change to accommodate our Australian presenters!

In Persephone’s Wake Craig and Miriam open the day by recounting why Persephone resigns from her job and gives up her body. She is desperately unhappy about how humans fail to take care of the integrity of earth’s nature. The performance reveals Aidos’ grief for her death, and for their two children who also make their descent, following her tracks. Persephone’s Wake concludes with hopeful resolve from Persephone’s children to care for future cycles of generative life: a myth updated for our time.

This is a question for us all now. To answer requires listening not only to the spirit of the times and the spirit of the deep, but also to the spirit of place, bringing consciousness to our embeddedness within the living world as our home, a central awareness within Indigenous cultures. We need to evolve depth psychological community practices in response to the climate and ecological crisis, not only to bear witness to and engage with the destructions and the dark impulses that drive it, but also to commit to creative actions of care for all beings rooted in place. San Roque refers to the interwoven “simultaneous care of sentient souls and care of ecosystems” as “the Persephone Impulse”. It is for each of us to connect to and give form to this impulse, countering a collective psychosis of disconnection and blindness to who we are and where we dwell, by fostering earth care and challenging destructive practices and beliefs based upon cultural myths of entitlement, exceptionalism and endless growth.

Persephone’s Wake belongs within a trilogy of performance works, which also include Persephone’s Dog and Persephone’s Heart,  that are re-imagined from Central Australia and take place simultaneously in ancient and contemporary times. Persephone’s Dog & Persephone’s Heart is published in the Ancient Greece/Modern Psyche series  edited by Thomas Singer et al.  Persephone’s Wake is included in the Routledge, 2021 book Depth Psychology and Climate Change.

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Craig San Roque has practiced Jungian Analytic Psychology for 40 years in the UK and Australia. A former president and co-director of training for the Australian NZ Society of Jungian Analysts, he writes and speaks from an interweave of anthropology, social ecology, Jungian practice, cultural psychology and community performance.  He has many publications,  including in the  series  exploring Cultural Complexes edited by Tom Singer,  and Depth Psychology and Climate Change, both published by Routledge. He also authored a graphic story, A Long Weekend in Alice Springs, first published in ‘The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society’ 2004.

Miriam Pickard  is a performance artist, storyteller, teacher and theatre director, known for her work with the innovative,  prophetic,  Canberra Chorus of Women music and performances on Climate Change, international peace, and generative feminine  mythologies.  Miriam also performs with ArtsACT events –  notably her (wryly comic) solo pieces  on Isis and Inanna.  She developed the role of Persephone for the 2015 – 2017 Alice Springs and Santorini events, and recently directed   Persephone’s Dog for the Canberra College Drama  Student graduation performances, 2020. See her website: https://www.miriamjane.com