Fall 2006 Season Program

Speaker: Jeffrey Raff

The Two Faces of Enlightenment

In almost every spiritual tradition there appear two aspects of the Divine: the immanent and the transcendent. Although some traditions favor one or the other of these faces of God, most try to find a means of uniting them. The immanent face of God looks to the world and seems involved in our daily lives, while the transcendent face looks away from the world and seems unconcerned with normal day to day life. Both aspects reflect truth about divine reality, but also about the needs of the human psyche. For the psyche to experience its own awakening and fulfillment, it needs to discover two forms of enlightenment: one that unites it with the immanent and one with the transcendent. Dr. Raff will address these two forms of enlightenment in this lecture from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

The Practice of Ally Work

One of C.G. Jung’s greatest contributions to contemporary spiritual practice was his reintroduction of active imagination, a method by which one can encounter the world of the unconscious normally accessible only in dreams. Building on Jung’s ideas, Dr. Raff has developed a series of exercises and practices by which one can not only encounter the inner world, but reach beyond the psyche to experience psychoidal entities – spiritual beings who have a life of their own and do not belong to the psyche. In particular, Dr. Raff has developed practices through which one can encounter and create a relationship with one’s ally. As the personal and unique expression of the divine, the ally is a combination of guide, divine lover, and psychopomp.

Jeffrey Raff, Ph.D. received his B.A. from Bates College, his M.A. in Psychology from the New School for Social Research, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Union Graduate Institute. He attended the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich from 1972-1976, graduating as a diplomate Jungian Analyst. He has written articles on shamanism, the Kabbalah, and alchemy, as well as four books, Jung and the Alchemical Imagination, Healing the Wounded God, The Wedding of Sophia, and his latest book, The Practice of Ally Work. He is currently in recovery from Guillain-Barré Syndrome and attempting to comprehend the mysteries it brought into his life.

Speaker: J. Marvin Spiegelman

Pathways to the Numinous

Christians honor God on their knees, Jews rock back and forth on their heels, Muslims prostrate themselves, and all thereby connect with what Jung called the numinous. There are similarities and differences among religious practices that awaken numinosity, mirrored in our images of their founders – Moses climbing a mountain, Jesus walking through crowds, Mohammed on his steed, and the Buddha seated in meditation. In this lecture Dr. Spiegelman will present brief examples of the ways followers of various spiritual paths experience the numinous: the Taoist from “within”, the Muslim “among” other Muslims during the Hajj, “between” in alchemy, while the Hindu finds it all “around” through nature, art, music, and synchronicity.

This workshop will explore the Divine Within via an extensive survey of spiritual paths, including Zen Buddhism through the Ox-Herding Pictures, Hinduism through Kundalini yoga, and Judaism through the Kabbalah. By examining various spiritual paths in depth, discovering their similarities and differences in spirit, we may be able to see our own path more clearly. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from and share with a learned and devoted investigator of world religions and psychology. Lively discussion is expected.

J. Marvin Spiegelman holds a Ph.D. in clinical and social psychology from UCLA and an Analyst’s Diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich. He has been in private practice as an analyst since 1959 and has taught at UCLA (recently as Visiting Professor), USC, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and briefly at Hebrew University. He has lectured widely, especially in the area of psychology and religion, as well as on clinical themes. He is the author or co-author of twenty books, including Jungian Analysts: Their Vision and Vulnerabilities, The Divine Waba (Within, Among, Between and Around): A Jungian Exploration of Spiritual Paths, and Sufism, Islam and Jungian Psychology.

Speaker: Virginia Apperson

Oh, Sister Where Art Thou?

We live in a remarkable time, a time in which our intellectual prowess is unsurpassed and seems to grow in leaps and bounds. We can soar to the moon, design life in a test tube and condense the entire encyclopedia into a tiny chip. Our brains are in overdrive and yet, something is sorely missing. Some characterize this element that is lacking as a HER – a more feminine way of being. Despite years of progress within the women’s movement, the breadth and depth of the feminine archetype has plenty of wilderness yet to be explored. By Her very nature, She is hard to describe – emotional, relational, closer to the instinctual and natural worlds. Rather than trying to get to know Her, we prefer to tame, control and manage Her. She complies as She adapts, adorns and abdicates Her own genuine authority. And everybody loses. What sets Her apart? Why is She so easily demonized? What are we afraid of? What is your relationship to the feminine? How do you respond to the feminine in others? How can we help Her thrive in this world?

An Unlikely Heroine

Together, we will watch Dangerous Beauty, the story of a sixteenth century Venetian courtesan who has been tutored in the fine art of lovemaking, poetry and conversation. Ironically, it is she who is uniquely positioned to stand on her own long enough to be valued for herself, providing a remarkable role model for those of us in search of feminine strength. In our discussion of the film, we will delve deeper to excavate the too easily idealized, then quickly maligned, but very precious archetypal feminine. This is not just a women’s issue! Men and women alike are suffering the severe consequences of a marginalized feminine. We all carry a form of the feminine within and are better off if we have a good relationship to Her. So, men, please feel welcome; you are sorely needed in this discussion.

Virginia Apperson, M.N. has been intrigued by the enormous potential within the archetypal domain for a long time. In her youth, she knew there was more available to her, but lacked the language or the tools to find it. Finally she stumbled upon the writings of Jung who helped her unlock the doors to the treasure trove. After completing her training at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich, Switzerland, she returned to Atlanta, Georgia, where she is in private practice. In addition to her analytic work, she sees couples and leads dream groups.

Speaker: Bryan Wittine

The Coming of Light at Times of Darkness

Tonight we celebrate the coming of the holiday season. The Winter Solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year, is a symbol of the coming of light when the powers of darkness are at their strongest. Darkness eventually gives way to light, just as dark nights of the soul soften our egos and lift our faces to the Self. Moreover, if we ponder them from the perspective of Sufi, esoteric Christian, and related paths, darkness and light also refer to states of consciousness that are healing if we access them. Darkness is the holding, containing Mother-Father consciousness, sometimes called the Absolute, which gives birth to Light, symbol of the Holy Child and the essential Self of every human being. Tonight, Dr. Wittine will describe these states of consciousness by drawing on Jungian theory, esoteric teachings, and experiences of people doing inner work. He will also discuss techniques of meditation to help us enter these states. The Crises and Conflicts of Spiritual Awakening.

The Crises and Conflicts of Spiritual Awakening

Jung wrote, “The experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Since spiritual awakening offers a direct challenge to the primacy of ego consciousness and the myth of separation, it is no surprise that such a challenge can produce a period of confusion and unbalance. Jung himself endured such a crisis. His ego was overwhelmed by an infusion of spiritual energies, which at first he was unable to integrate. We find warnings about perils on the path in most spiritual traditions. Becoming attached to various powers or siddhis, preoccupation with inner visions, splitting between “higher” and “lower” parts of the personality, ego-inflation and deflation are examples of how spiritual awakening can go awry. We will contemplate Jung’s own crisis of spiritual emergence and discuss how to recognize and work with psychospiritual conflicts in ourselves. Psychotherapists will find this workshop pertinent to their daily work.

Bryan Wittine, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he completed his training at the San Francisco C. G. Jung Institute. He lectures internationally, has published several professional papers, and is particularly interested in what the great mystics teach us about the nature of the psyche and the individuation process. He is a co-founder and former chair of the Graduate Program in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, and former Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Holistic Studies, at John F. Kennedy University (in the San Francisco Bay Area).