Fall 2003 Season Program

Speaker: Neil Russack

Encountering Our Animal Guides

The animal image is a frequent one in dreams, in which a particular animal takes on a symbolic meaning that is not immediately apparent from the way the same animal behaves in life.This lecture presents animals that have played important roles in world art, explore the symbolic status that each of these animal types has assumed in the creative unconscious, and compare the image of the animal to the ways in which the actual animal is encountered in the natural world.

Animals speak to us in dreams and at crucial moments in our lives.Their roles seem to guide us in the task of becoming human and thus more true to our own animal natures. In this workshop, the animals in our lives and dreams will be p resented as embodiments of energy, as prototypes of spontaneity, as models of natural integrity, and as guardians and healers. Dr. Russack will share stories of how differe n t animals have helped individuals to discover how to live their human lives more fully and authentically. Therapists will learn new perspectives for incorporating animal symbolism in their practice. Participants are invited to bring material for discussion.

Neil Russack, M.D. is a Jungian Analyst and Psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco. A frequent lecturer on animals and nature in the psyche, he is the author of Animal Guides in Life, Myth and Dreams.

Speaker: Virginia Beane Rutter

The Mask of Dionysus: Possession and Healing

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.

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.

Speaker: Tess Castleman

Threads, Knots, and Tapestries: Our Dream Stories and the Collective Unconscious

We are connected and dream in more objective ways than has previously been acknowledged by traditional psychology. Objective dreams compensate or give one factual data about waking reality – relationships, health, life choices, etc. Some dreams are meant for more than the dreamer – a bigger audience – the family, the community, the tribe. Often these experiences of unconscious connection happen at the cross roads of our existence, e. g., death or critical opportunity. Then, the psyche speaks in a rare way – and one is healed by listening. Humans are pack animals and the dream make r k n ows well this ancient rule of our tribal nature. Within one’s own dream theat re, our stories unfold using the characters from our lives to weave a pattern – each connected to the other in fascinating complexity. The “communal unconscious” which is the territory that resides between the personal and collective unconscious, will be introduced using examples from synchronicities and dreams.

Dream Group

The Lakota People inspired the dream group model used in this workshop where dreams are seen as possible inform at i o n for the entire community, not just for the individual. Some dreams are collective visions. Some “ordinary” dreams are inspiring/enlightening/healing even for others to hear. In this workshop, participants will be invited to share dreams on an individual level as well as to explore a dream’s potential for the group process. “Why did I need to hear this dream? ” is a salient question for those listening to another’s dream . This workshop is experiential . Care will be taken to insure confidentiality, set boundaries , and operate from compassion. All who volunteer to experience this unique process for dream work will be respected and honored for what it brings to all of us collectively.

Tess Castleman, M.A., is a Zurich graduate and Jungian analyst since 1989, and faculty and a newly elected member of the Curatorium of the Jung Institute of Zurich. She is author of Threads, Knots, Tapestries: How a Tribal Connection is Revealed through Dreams and Synchronicities and the soon to be published: Sacred Circles: Creating Dreaming Community. She has also completed a novel. She lives in Dallas, Texas, and Zurich, Switzerland, where she practices as an analyst. She leads dream retreats throughout the world.

Speaker: James Hollis

On the Psychology of Comedy

What is comedy? Why is it so often paired with its dark twin tragedy? Why do we laugh? Is comedy healthy, or is it pathological? (Freud, who was rather dour, wrote a book on the subject, and Jung, known for his earthy humor and voluminous laugh, did not.) Bring a joke or bring a funny story to share!

Psyche and Story

Beneath the visible plane of existence, a story is always at work . It may be the tribal story, or the mythos of the family of origin, or the personal complexes at work . The story may be conscious or unconscious, but it is always present. What are the archetypal stories which have moved human history and where are their traces today?

James Hollis, Ph. D. is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Washington, D. C. where he is also Executive Director of the Jung Society of Washington.   He is also the author of fourteen books including his most recent book,  Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey.