|Lecture: Twice-born Dionysus is the Greek god who suddenly appears out of absence. Dismembered and reconstituted, surrounded by women, Dionysus is the giver of wine, healer who causes madness, and ecstatic lover. His strangely masked appearance called listeners to join his orgiastic celebrations. For both those who answered the call, and for those who refused, there were intense consequences. Jung described the Dionysian psychological quality as "a flood of overpowering universal feeling which bursts forth irresistibly, intoxicating the senses like the strongest wine…something instinctive and blindly compelling finds its expression in an affection of the bodily sphere, the breaking loose of the unbridled dynamism of animal and divine nature."
In analysis, when the archetype of Dionysus erupts in the psyche, the individual’s fate is deeply impacted by the encounter. This lecture examines epiphanic moments such as possession by love or attraction and addiction to drugs or alcohol. How do we struggle consciously with such energy, and let it express itself without destroying what is already built? Slides of Dionysian initiation in Greece and in Roman Pompeii will be shown to amplify the clinical material.
Workshop: How do we draw from this indestructible life stream to vitalize our lives instead of our egos being obliterated by Dionysian energy? The Romans gave the god his due in the form of a ceremony, depicted in the intense, colorful frescoes from the Villa of Mysteries at Pompeii.The images reveal Dionysus’ psychological impact on both men and women. In this seminar, after a showing of slides of the ceremony, we will create an altar evoking mystery initiation, share a Roman feast, and explore personal dreams in small groups for meaning in the larger scope of Dionysian myth. Please bring an altar object and a dream or poem that speaks of initiation for you.We will investigate what it means to honor this god of paradox.
VIRGINIA BEANE RUTTER, M.S. is a Jungian Analyst practicing in Mill Valley, California. She received her analytic training in both Zurich and San Francisco and holds M.A. degrees in Art History and Counseling Psychology. Her study of ancient myths and rites of passage through art history and archaeology is mirrored in her clinical work with men and women. She is the author of Woman Changing Woman: Feminine Psychology Re-Conceived Through Myth and Experience; and two books on parenting girls, Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters, and Embracing Persephone: How To Be the Mother You Want for the Daughter You Cherish. She is currently writing about Dionysian mystery initiation.
The Mask of Dionysus: Possession and Healing