December 3-4, 1993: James Hollis

Lecture: The Middle Passage: Misery and Meaning at Mid-life

Life requires three major transitions, or passages. The move from childhood dependency to provisional adulthood and the encounter with mortality frames this process. The Middle Passage occurs when one is forced to face the conflict between the formative experiences of childhood (internalized as provisional adulthood) and the instinctual urge of the Self towards individuation. This conflcit is oftern described as the “mid-life crisis”, though its occurence is not limited to the middle years. This presentation identifies the characteristics of the critical Middle Passage and the attitudes which lead toward a richer, more authentic second half of life. 

Workshop: Your Personal Myth

When Jung went through his personal crisis, he asked himself, “What is my personal myth?” When he could not answer his own question, he began his descent into the unconscious and the subsequent dialogue with the Self which we now call individuation, Jung’s myth for our time. In this workshop we will explore a number of questions which will help identify the conscious and unconscious values by which we are living. We will endeavor to explore patterns in our lives, especially those which derive from our families of origin. Please bring paper and pen, for we will be doing a lot of personal reflection and writing in response to the questions posed. 


James Hollis, Ph.D., is a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst in private practice in Philadelphia and Linwood, N.J. He is the author of The Middle Passage: Misery and Meaning at Mid-life, and is currently working on a book titled Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men. 

The Middle Passage: Misery and Meaning at Mid-life