January 21-22, 2011: Charlotte Mathes

Lecture:  Archetypal Aspects of the Mourning Process

In Jungʼs last active imagination in The Red Book, Christ offers Jung “the beauty of suffering.” These paradoxical lines are not popular in todayʼs Western culture, nor are they very comforting to one who is deep in grief. More than likely after great loss, we lose our commonsense and faith in lifeʼs predictability. Sometimes all we believed in comes into question and we feel as if we have no standpoint. Mourning takes place in a period of liminality, a marginal phase when we cannot go back in time and we do not know what lies ahead. This time of life is mostly painful and chaotic. Yet countless ordinary people who have worked through grief testify that they wouldnʼt return to how they were, psychologically or spiritually, before their ordeal. In this presentation, we will explore the deep emotions and the wisdom of the heart that can come after great losses, including bodily injury, health, home, and community, separation, and death. We will observe how the work of grief may enhance the individuation process, and, using New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as example, we will ponder how individuation may evolve in a city.

Workshop: Creativity as Repair and Transformation.

In this workshop participants will explore aids to the mourning process by awakening the imaginal realm with various exercises in active imagination. We will attempt to identify our personal myth and look for ways to connect our inner and outer worlds through symbols. In addition, we will see various practical ways we can use to open ourselves to healing and transformative experiences. Although there will be times for discussion and sharing our stories, silence will always by honored. Please wear comfortable clothing; bring journals and any personal art supplies you may have.

Charlotte M. Mathes, LCSW, Ph.D., is a certified Jungian analyst, a graduate of the C.G. Jung institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She received her doctoral degree in psychoanalysis from the Union Graduate School in Cincinnati. She is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. She has been in private practice in New Orleans for twenty years. She has recently opened an office in Baton Rouge. She lectures and conducts seminars in Jungian psychology, family therapy, and bereavement. Her book And A Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: Moving from Despair to Meaning after the Death of a Child was published by Chiron in 2006. Her article “The Soul of New Orleans: Archetypal Density and the Unconscious” has recently been published in Tom Singerʼs Psyche and the City: A Soulʼs Guide to the Modern Metropolis.

Archetypal Aspects of the Mourning Process