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The Mask of Dionysus: Possession and Healing

October 17, 2003 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Friday Talk:

Twice-born Dionysus is the Greek god who suddenly appears out of absence. Dismembered and reconstituted, surrounded by women, Dionysus is the giver of wine, healer who causes madness, and ecstatic lover. His strangely masked appearance called listeners to join his orgiastic celebrations. For both those who answered the call, and for those who refused, there were intense consequences. Jung described the Dionysian psychological quality as “a flood of overpowering universal feeling which bursts forth irresistibly, intoxicating the senses like the strongest wine…something instinctive and blindly compelling finds its expression in an affection of the bodily sphere, the breaking loose of the unbridled dynamism of animal and divine nature.”

In analysis, when the archetype of Dionysus erupts in the psyche, the individual’s fate is deeply impacted by the encounter. This lecture examines epiphanic moments such as possession by love or attraction and addiction to drugs or alcohol. How do we struggle consciously with such energy, and let it express itself without destroying what is already built? Slides of Dionysian initiation in Greece and in Roman Pompeii will be shown to amplify the clinical material.

Related Workshop: The Mask of Dionysus: Possession and Healing

Virginia Beane Rutter, M.S. is a Jungian Analyst practicing in Mill Valley, California. She received her analytic training in both Zurich and San Francisco and holds M.A. degrees in Art History and Counseling Psychology. Her study of ancient myths and rites of passage through art history and archaeology is mirrored in her clinical work with men and women. She is the author of Woman Changing Woman: Feminine Psychology Re-Conceived Through Myth and Experience; and two books on parenting girls, Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters, and Embracing Persephone: How To Be the Mother You Want for the Daughter You Cherish. She is currently writing about Dionysian mystery initiation.

Purchase Workshops


October 17, 2003
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
We offer Continuing Education Credit through NASW. The fee for CEU credit is $5 for the lecture, $10 for the workshop, or $10 for both the lecture and workshop. To obtain credits, please sign up before each lecture or workshop at the CEU table in the lobby.


First United Methodist Church, Collins Hall
1838 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR 97201 United States
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