The events of September 11 and the war on terrorism have focused our attention on America’s future in a renewed and pressing way. Given our extroverted orientation, much of our focus is on the “other,” on the enemy outside of us. However, our domestic and internal spiritual condition is also in need of serious attention, and is inextricably linked with our foreign policy. The same psychological attitudes influence both domestic and international (inner and outer) spheres. As Jung concluded in 1930, the central, archetypal force shaping American attitudes is a powerful “Heroic Ideal” or aspiration toward greatness. Today, this heroic ideal is in a state of upheaval. We are suffering, albeit unconsciously, from a heroic-identity crisis: What does it mean to be a heroic or great people? It is imperative to our future as a nation and civilization that we begin to examine this and to understand ourselves. This talk will focus on the archetypal underpinnings of our national character and their relevance to the events of our day and the future of America.
Borrowing a notion from the Elgonyi natives of central Africa, Jung designated “big” dreams as those transcending individual concerns. Such dreams comment on the human condition, history and the evolution of consciousness, or social problems of great magnitude. Now, big dreams in response to September 11 offer seminal insights on our current plight. This workshop will be an exploration of big dreams and how to work with them so as to extract their wisdom and integrate their value into our individual, everyday lives. Participants are encouraged to bring dreams of this kind to the workshop.
This presentation features a lesser-known side of Jung – practical, down-to-earth, and deeply concerned over the loss of connection with Nature. Jung emphasizes that Nature includes spirit as well as matter. Efforts to “conquer Nature” have left matter without its nature spirits and humans without a natural spiritual life. A pioneer in exploring the psyche’s evolution, Jung discovered its primordial foundation, which he named “natural man.”
Interwoven with dreams and stories from Jung’s travels and his life at Bollingen, this program showcases his challenging observations and prophetic predictions about technology and modern life. Following the tradition of the Taoist rainmaker whom he admired, Jung speaks as a culture shaman who shares our malaise and knows that restoring our own living connection with Nature contributes to healing the whole.
Saturday, participants will hear about the specific environmental consultations Jung gave: how the natural self is left behind when technology develops too rapidly; how our primateness needs to be considered in city planning and education; how cultivating a plot of ground and enjoying dreams help ancient instincts come back to life; and where banished nature spirits now abide. Using active imagination, art materials, spontaneous writing, and handouts of selected passages, we will explore how Jung’s ideas impact us and might guide us toward aligning our lives with Nature’s sacred laws.
Our task is not to return to Nature a la Rousseau but to find the natural man again. C. G. Jung
Drawing on literature from the Song of Songs and The Gospel of Mary to contemporary works, on images from Isis to the present, and on music from Hildegard of Bingen to contemporary composers such as Francis Poulenc and Arvo Pärt, we will explore the figure of this long-repressed but powerful archetype of transformation. For this lecture and workshop, the dark, hidden, but positive feminine will be accessed through the figure of Mary Magdalene, long associated with the Black Madonna. We will trace her origins through her predecessors, and her characteristics through examining image, music, and literature.
In this participatory workshop, we will continue to explore the archetype of the dark feminine through image, music, and literature. This is an image of the feminine that is other than “the mother.” What can we understand about her characteristics through examining our own individual responses to literature, music, and image? And what might she mean to men as well as to women? Participants will enjoy the introverted time to explore the personal meaning of each image and each piece of music. Then discussion will allow the group to come to some assessment of the characteristics of the transformational dark feminine archetype, and an understanding of why in our time she is so important to each of us, and to all of us collectively.
In his memoir Jung writes, “The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me…or conversely, I myself am a question.” The depth of meaning which we find along the way is in large measure a matter of which questions we are living, consciously or unconsciously. In this presentation we will consider the character of those questions which, more consciously engaged, add to the richness of the journey and enlarge the individual. Among the questions addressed this weekend, the one we focus on this evening is, “By what spiritual points of reference do I live my life?”
We will address other questions in the workshop, including “What is my Shadow, and how do I bring it to consciousness?” Please bring pad and pen and be prepared for personal reflection.