November 17-18, 1995: Allen Chinen and Karen Signell

Lecture: Gifts of the Night: Ways of Working with Dreams

The Psyche speaks through images and stories. The images are the “words” of the unconscious, and the stories-how the words are put together-are the “grammar”. Dreams, fairy tales, and visions represent different kinds of dramas, each rich with gifts from the deep waters of the unconscious. 

Dreams emerge from the unconscious, carrying archetypal symbols and the wisdom of the deep self. We will emphasize the importance of experiencing dreams, rather than just interpereting them, because when dreams are experienced in a deep way, they can be transformative, catalyzing changes in real life. We will explore the use of active imagination, fairy tales and storytelling as ways of working with dreams. We will discuss three levels of Jungian dream symbolism-personal, archetypal, and community, and we will touch upon some overlooked archetypes. A dream “tool kit” will be presented. These tools include amplification of specific dream images, translating dreams into fairy tales, and sharing dreams with another person. Please bring pen and paper, and if you wish, a recent puzzling or meaningful dream to work with, perhaps to share with others. 

Workshop: Dramas from the Deep: Active Imagination and Fairy Tale Work-a Playshop for Adults

This workshop will focus on active imagination, storytelling and story writing. We will emphasize experiential work dealing with intra-personal, interpersonal and community issues. Through lecture, discussion, exercises, and story writing, we will seek to awaken a spirit of play in dealing with the unconscious, to discover our creative potentials for becoming whole, and to explore our individual places within larger communities. The exercises aim to identify obstacles to the flow of the unconscious, to help each of us decide when to push forward into the depths and when to turn back, and to discover and work with personal legends and myths that shape our lives. Please bring something to write with and some paper, as well as a “big” dream or image-one that is meaningful or puzzling. If you wish you may also bring something that can serve as a talisman of safety for your inner journeys-a special stone, an amulet, a picture or reminder of a loved one, even something soft and furry. Hopefully, you’ll take home some specific, playful tools for continuing inner work. 


Karen Signell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, is on the faculty of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she teaches Active Imagination. She is the author of Wisdom of the Heart: Working with Women’s Dreams, which has been translated into Danish, French, German, and Japanese; she is co-author of Sandplay Studies: Origins, Theory, and Practice.

Allen Chinen, M.D., a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco, is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of: In the Ever After, Once Upon a Midlife, Beyond the Hero, a forthcoming book of women’s tales, Weaving New Worlds, and is co-editor of Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology

Gifts of the Night, Dramas from the Deep