November 13-14, 1998: Craig San Roque

Lecture: Australian Aboriginal Dreaming: What it is. How it works. What it has to teach us.
You may be familiar with the concept of the Australian Aboriginal Dreaming or creation stories through Bruce Chatwin’s novel The Song Lines, or through Australian Aboriginal art works or popular films and novels which convey something of the mystery and exoticism of Aboriginal Culture. This illustrated lecture will help introduce people who live on the American continent to the way the Australian continent has been imagined and constructed (made) by the Aboriginal Creation ancestors. The Dreaming is a very pragmatic way of telling stories, encoding cultural and ecological knowledge and ensuring the physical and spiritual survival of the groups of nomadic peoples who inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years. Craig San Roque will explain how the dreaming works and what the aboriginal creation stories have to teach contemporary peoples (of any culture). Drawing upon extensive on-the-ground experience in central Australia, upon friendships with Aboriginal people, and upon a Jungian psychological background, he will attempt to give as straightforward account as possible of what the dreaming is and what it is not. This will involve some demystification and also some stories on intercultural ethics.

Workshop: "Dead Drunk, Good God!" Cultural sharing. Cultural Crossfire.
This workshop will continue from the basis of an understanding of how ancient aboriginal creation stories work, but take it into the European domain by introducing participants to the way ancient European creation stories operate in ways similar to the aboriginal. This will include showing a video performance and documentary video of The Sugarman Project, a retelling in Central Australia of the ancient Greek Dionysos epic in terms of contemporary cultural dismemberment and alcohol and drug intoxication and recovery. Craig will show how the European story is helping Aboriginal people to come to grips mentally with the impact of alcohol, but carry the paradigm further to show how Dionysos as a "dreaming story" has potential especially for use as a participatory initiation drama for young people of Australia or even America. He wishes to invite you to consider that we may have available to us a tool which can help handle both the creative and destructive sides of intoxication, by a radical new interpretation of our own cultural source material, in much the same way as the aboriginal people rely upon their creation stories for survival. The workshop will include a showing of the video, a display of paintings made for the project, and some rehearsal workshop performance of selected parts of the Dionysos/Sugarman script.


Craig San Roque, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst trained in London who currently lives and works in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. In addition to his psychoanalytic practice he works in alcohol and substance abuse treatments with the indigenous people of his native land. He is currently serving as president of the Australian/New Zealand Society of Jungian Analysts.

Australian Aboriginal Dreaming