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May 10-11, 1996: James Hollis

Lecture: Psyche and Soul

Jung once observed that of all of the so-called “social sciences” psychology was the last to develop, in part, because the insights of pschology were once carried by the great myths and myth-sustaing institutions. In particular, Jungian practice arose in response to the erosion of those myths which once held society together and which linked individual to the four precincts of mystery: cosmos, nature, society and self. 

This lecture will review the salient features of “modernism” and the subsequent task of the individual in seeking out the old linkages of psyche and soul. It has been said that Jung’s concept of “individuation” is a myth for the modern without myth. If this is so, then Jungian psychology is not a set of beliefs but rather a cluster of attitudes and methods for accessing those manifestations of mystery which were once mediated by myth. What do we mean by the words psyche and soul, and what is the contribution whicha Jungian perspective may make to the individual upon whom the full task of finding meaning has fallen?

Workshop: The Enactment of Soul Through Myth

Our ancestors transmitted their values from place to place, and from person to person through the power of word and image. Those images which rose from the unconscious, or which overwhelmed consciousness in historic event, became the personal and tribal carriers of the deepest encounters with the mysteries of cosmos, nature, society and self. This workshop will study some of the great myths of the Eastern and Western tradition, analyze their mythopoeic statements, and consider their presence in our daily lives. Among such recurrent motifs are: “creation,” “the fall” (or primal loss), and “encounter with the Shadow.” Also, we will explore the two greatest of mythic patterns, the quest for identity and the “eternal return,” the linear and cyclic patterns, which animate history and our personal lives. Such mythic drama haunts history and, often unconsciously, directs the currents of the modern soul. We will, perhaps, re-experience the linkage of our modern, often isolated, lives with the timeless drama of which we are all, already and always, part. 


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: From Misery to Meaning at Mid-Life; Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men and Tracking the Gods, The Place of Myth in Modern Life, and numerous articles. For 26 years he has been a tenured Professor at various colleges and universities, and is currently Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical School in Philadelphia. He is also the Director of Education for the Philadelphia Jung Institute. 

Psyche and Soul
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