The power of Eros can take us to ecstatic heights, but also to the depths of despair. We experience this power whenever we fall in love or whenever longing for another overtakes us. As long as we remain unaware that the ideal image of the beloved is a projection of our own psychic content, and the more our longing for wholeness is confused with the external satisfaction of erotic fantasies, the more we can get lost in compulsive longing, destructive relationships and sexual addictions. Understanding the archetype of Eros can help us develop a sense of how Eros can become destructively connected with addiction. We will seek to understand the nature of Eros and erotic longing in both its sensual and spiritual aspects.
During the workshop on Saturday, we will amplify our exploration of these symbolic and analytic themes with revealing episodes taken from myth, fairy tale, literature and film that will allow participants to identify these patterns in their own experience and to understand their archetypal dynamics more clearly through guided exercises and group discussion.
The “heartbeat” of DreamTending, Dr. Aizenstat’s orientation to dreams, is the recognition that dream images are alive. In his Friday night lecture, he will describe his unique approach to dream work and invite us to experience dream images as living, embodied beings — engaged in their activity, not ours alone. DreamTending will be introduced as a system of healing, useful in working with the afflictions of personal life as well as the conditions of the world soul, the anima mundi. Examples and elaborations will be offered.
In the Saturday workshop, Dr. Aizenstat will expand upon the concepts presented Friday night. He will further elaborate on the idea that images are alive and, at root, elemental – part of Nature’s Dreaming. Participants will learn methods of phenomenological dream animation and tools to work with the “indigenous image.” Attending to these potent “seed” images enhances psychological health and authentic being. This workshop combines DreamTending demonstrations by Dr. Aizenstat with experiential activities. Also, he will offer training in skills intended to help participants work with their own core images.
It is well known that self-disclosure in journals and autobiography in general promotes emotional and physical health. On Friday evening, Dr. Rosen will illustrate the healing value of writing a personal narrative in the form of autobiography with a single case-study: himself. He will demonstrate the process of writing a memoir as a “haibun”-a combination of prose and haiku about his life-long pilgrimage to the center of profound mystery. His own autobiography (presented as an inner and outer journey based on his life-review, an analysis of interviews with family and friends, as well as dreams and experiences recorded in journals since his eighteenth year) emerged as a painful yet healing experience. When such a review is carried out in an honest and thorough way, one’s lost soul can find its way home. As the Zen writer Matsuo Basho revealed: “Each day is a journey and the journey itself home,” an insight echoed by Soen Nakagawa Roshi: “If you cannot return home, your self is not your true self.”
The Saturday workshop will involve both active imagination and writing personal narrative. This autobiographical exercise will explore one’s purpose and meaning, that is, one’s personal myth. This work will be shared with the group by those who wish to, and serve as a form of creative exercise that by healing painful episodes from the past, we enable more fulfillment in future years. We are then freed to approach the present with Soren Kierkegaard’s incisive observation- “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”- to guide us to draw on the past to live within a more individuated consciousness.
The deeper layers of our psyches are constantly communicating with us via symbols. Amid the demands of everyday life we may notice this only in passing, usually first giving it our attention after a dream presents us with particularly enigmatic images and we wonder what it might mean. This program is offered as a small retreat where we will take the opportunity to look at symbolic process, the basis of Jung’s work.
The Friday lecture will start with a profound 28-minute film in which Yo-Yo Ma introduces his friend David Blum, also a professional musician. David explains how, when he left the security of his preferred language of expression, music, and dared to pick up some children’s pastels to draw scenes from his dreams, he unwittingly engaged in conversation with his inner self. We follow him as he shows us his pictures and talks movingly about his own skepticism, shyness, curiosity and wonder, and the unexpected reward of finding a layer of rich meaning in his colorful, naïvely-styled pictures. In our discussion of this moving account, we will review Jung’s ideas about symbolic images, and include some of the newer findings from brain scans, which unite cognition and emotion.
During the Saturday workshop, we will turn directly to the images themselves that arise when the unconscious psyche responds to the crises and concerns of everyday life, and using the amplification of archetypal images, engage in so-called conversational sketches. Conversational sketches are dream storyboards that offer us a dialogue with that part of ourselves that communicates in symbols. The psyche, being wiser than our artistically challenged selves, will respond with the wistful whisperings of dialogue, inviting us to pay attention to our depths. Participants in the workshop will be shown how to use the expressive arts to bring out imagery from their own internal process and experiment with learning to amplify these symbols with the resources available today with online Jungian archives.