The Serpent and the Cross – Spanning the Split through Active Imagination

In our time, the cultural split within the Western psyche has reached critical proportions—a perilous split in which Father Spirit and Mother Nature have been rent asunder. And we suffering individuals, as microcosms within the macrocosm, bear the task of consciously redeeming the chthonic feminine spirit that carries within it the wisdom of the serpent—the innate wisdom of the psyche that emerges from the unconscious to heal this split.

Tonight’s lecture will present a series of twenty-three archetypal images painted by the presenter out of a series of sixty-three paintings spanning the years 1959 to 1987, along with dialogues she entered into with their symbolic figures, portraying a life-saving inner journey to heal the maternal wound at the core of her psyche. Katherine Sanford will use these paintings and their accompanying text to reflect upon the transformative power of active imagination, demonstrating its use as one of the most profoundly effective tools for furthering the individuation process.

Our Inner Partners – The Anima and Animus

On Saturday, the workshop will focus upon two classical components of Jungian psychology, the anima and the animus, by exploring the crucial role the contra-sexual inner partner plays in both a man’s and a woman’s relationship to the archetypal feminine dimension of the human personality. We will focus on how the anima/animus functions as an unconscious “other” within the psyche and discuss how this dynamic energy might consciously be employed as a creative force within the individuation process. (Please note this workshop will have a shortened time-frame and a half-hour lunch-break. Participants are encouraged to bring brown-bag lunches.)

Context and Essence: Meaning and Transformation in Cultural and Analytic Process

This lecture and workshop will introduce participants to the particular method that Jung used to investigate the so-called “relatively fixed symbols,” or archetypes, that arise in unconscious material. Some of this has come to light in the newly published volume, Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940 (the first new volume from Jung’s archives in 40 years).

Illustrations will be drawn from sources ranging from modern events to Flemish mysticism, and will include a detailed  comparison between the series of the first ten images from the Rosarium Alchemicum (used by Jung in his Psychology of the Transference) and the Ten Oxherding pictures from the Zen Buddhist tradition.

The lecture will move quickly through Jung’s method of deriving and applying the meaningful content from the context of an image, while the workshop will give everyone a chance to both practice it and question it.  We will then look at a particular arc of images that runs through life and in small groups apply the process that has been learned. This should give everyone an individualized set of alchemical images to contrast with the collective ones or just ponder on his or her own.

The Mystical Relationship of Lover and Beloved

Some say Sufism is Islamic mysticism; others say it is the primordial mystical tradition, much older than Islam, but absorbed into Islam. Perhaps Sufism is best defined as a universal path to union with God through love. One theme of this path, expressed in the poetry of Rumi and others, is the mystical relationship between lover and Beloved, soul and Absolute, human and God. In Jungian psychology there are many concepts that illumine this relationship: the ego as the center of consciousness and the Self as intelligence greater than the ego; the individuation process whereby the ego increasingly realizes its source and dependence upon the Self; the alchemical conjunction of ego and Self. Tonight, we will use Jungian concepts, Sufi poetry, and teaching tales to explore the ecstatic relationship of lover and Beloved and the stages of the Sufi path whereby the soul gradually awakens to what eternally IS, the Oneness it never really lost. We will conclude by discussing methods of inner transformation of this path.

The Inner Guide: Wisdom from the Archetypal Self

There is an inherent knowingness – an aspect of the divine mind, which the Greeks called nous – that functions in human beings. Pictured in dreams as a guide and teacher, a wise old man or woman, an angel, a heavenly twin, or a voice that speaks with authority, this knowingness arises from the archetypal Self to reveal deeper truths. Jung conversed with a guide called Philemon, who seemed a “living personality” representing “superior insight.” The Sufi sage Ibn ‘Arabi received teachings from Khidr, the enigmatic figure who guided Moses in the Qur’an. In this workshop we will invite our own inner guide to have a greater presence in our lives. We will contemplate Jung’s experience of Philemon, study images of the guide from various sacred traditions, listen to the wisdom and humor of Sufi tales and poems, and practice meditation and active imagination to make deeper contact with our own inner guide.

The Unconscious In Historical Perspective

Based on C. G. Jung’s seminal essay, “On the Nature of the Psyche” (1954),  tonight’s lecture will examine one of the crucial concepts of 20th century thought, the unconscious psyche.  With precursors in the 18th and 19th centuries, psychoanalysts first formulated the unconscious from a variety of clinical and abnormal experiences, providing the basic concept of the unconscious as we use it today.

C. G. Jung further expanded the concept, deepening and clarifying it by drawing on religious experience, comparative symbolism, paranormal phenomena, and  the creative spirit that rises from within the personality.  The lecture, followed by questions and answers, will touch upon some of the core concepts and pivotal experiences that guided Jung’s path through this inner terrain, leading to the succinct formulation found in this mature essay.  Participants are encouraged to preview the essay if possible.

The Unconscious as Multiple Consciousness

The Saturday workshop will focus on high-lights throughout the essay, providing in-depth understanding of its remarkable summary of analytical psychology.  Topics will include the dissociability of the psyche and the nature of archetypes, with a special focus on The Unconscious as a Multiple Consciousness, a Jungian notion that will allow participants to apply his innovations to their own clinical experiences and  illuminate the variety of interior experiences that occur during the process of personal work with the unconscious psyche.  Presentations will be interspersed with informal group discussion and questions.

Workshop Participants are encouraged to read Jung’s essay, “On the Nature of the Psyche,”  CW Vol 8, before the workshop.  Copies will be available to participants at the workshop.  Participants are invited to bring questions from their reading or to raise items of interest from the essay for discussion during the workshop.

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