November 19-20, 1993: Richard Stein

Lecture: From Individualism to Spiritual Emergence

After his earlier explorations of gnosticism and the Eastern yogas, Jung found in alchemy a mythic system closely tied to the origins of modern consciousness. His observation that the individual psyche produces symbols which compensate for he conscious ego attitude could be applied to dominant myths in the collective unconscious as well. Seen in this light, the confusing and polymorphous imagery of alchemy represents a compensation to the rational culture in which we live. The central personificaiton of the alchemical drama was the trickster figure, Spirit Mercurius, who is the allegorical agent for dissolving old structures and changing lead into gold. In early childhood development, the appearance of the trickster archetype presages a lifelong struggle between one’s own sense of reality and collective norms. Weaving a symbolic picutre from the development of the trickster archetype, the dreams of a patient, and the near-death visions of Jung, Dr. Stein will discuss the tension between individualism and surrender in spiritual development and show how the evolution of the trickster can mediate conflicting tendencies in the unconscious. 

Workshop: Polarities of the Self

This workshop focuses on the myth-producing aspect of the collective unconscious, as seen in the form of an extended active imagination done by an artist in long-term analysis. Although trained as a performing artist, the patient’s native graphic ability developed considerably in the process fo creating sixty unconscious drawings which portray her inner journey and provide the impetus for her personal and professional development in life. Major themes include the Demeter/Kore myth from the Eleusinian mysteries, the transformation of Osiris, and the alchemical coniunctio oppositorum. The material demonstrates a life pattern in modern women who develop an assertive, heroic ego as a precursor to the emergence of a deeper sense of feminine self. There will be ample time for dialogue about the material, in addition to Dr. Stein’s amplification and discussion of the case. 


Richard H. Stein, M.D. is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst in private practice in San Francisco. He is actively involved in the analytic training program of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and coordinates the Seminars for Professionals Program for practicing psychotherapists in the Bay Area. he is on the editorial board of Harvest and has published articles and book reviews in a variety of journals. Dr. Stein has an abiding interest in the integration of Eastern Religion and Western depth psychology and an ongoing fascination with the evolution of symbolic understanding in the maturation process. 

The Spirit Mercurius