November 14-15, 2008: Bryan Wittine


Some say Sufism is Islamic mysticism; others say it is the primordial mystical tradition, much older than Islam, but absorbed into Islam. Perhaps Sufism is best defined as a universal path to union with God through love. One theme of this path, expressed in the poetry of Rumi and others, is the mystical relationship between lover and Beloved, soul and Absolute, human and God. In Jungian psychology there are many concepts that illumine this relationship: the ego as the center of consciousness and the Self as intelligence greater than the ego; the individuation process whereby the ego increasingly realizes its source and dependence upon the Self; the alchemical conjunction of ego and Self. Tonight, we will use Jungian concepts, Sufi poetry, and teaching tales to explore the ecstatic relationship of lover and Beloved and the stages of the Sufi path whereby the soul gradually awakens to what eternally IS, the Oneness it never really lost. We will conclude by discussing methods of inner transformation of this path.


Workshop: The Inner Guide: Wisdom from the Archetypal Self

There is an inherent knowingness – an aspect of the divine mind, which the Greeks called nous – that functions in human beings. Pictured in dreams as a guide and teacher, a wise old man or woman, an angel, a heavenly twin, or a voice that speaks with authority, this knowingness arises from the archetypal Self to reveal deeper truths. Jung conversed with a guide called Philemon, who seemed a “living personality” representing “superior insight.” The Sufi sage Ibn ‘Arabi received teachings from Khidr, the enigmatic figure who guided Moses in the Qur’an. In this workshop we will invite our own inner guide to have a greater presence in our lives. We will contemplate Jung’s experience of Philemon, study images of the guide from various sacred traditions, listen to the wisdom and humor of Sufi tales and poems, and practice meditation and active imagination to make deeper contact with our own inner guide.


Bryan Wittine, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he completed his training at the San Francisco C. G. Jung Institute. He lectures internationally, has published several professional papers, and is particularly interested in what the great mystics teach us about the nature of the psyche and the individuation process. He is a co-founder and former chair of the Graduate Program in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, and former Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Holistic Studies, at John F. Kennedy University (in the San Francisco Bay Area).

The Mystical Relationship of Lover and Beloved: Sufi and Jungian Perspectives