Fall 2018 Season Program

Speaker: Thomas Elsner

Active Imagination and the Romantic Poets

Through the contemplation of his inward nature, the art of writing poetry became, for Wordsworth as for many of the Romantics, a “dark” and “inscrutable workmanship”, in which the “discordant elements” operative between the “two consciousness” within himself might “cling together / In one society” and realize “a soul in the process of making itself.” Wordsworth’s experience of poetic composition will be familiar to those in the field of Jungian psychology as active imagination. When Wordsworth imagines his poetry as “spousal verse” announcing a marriage of the human mind “to this goodly universe / In love and holy passion” (Prospectus to the Recluse, 53-5), Romantic active imagination aims at healing the split between psyche and nature.

For those interested in a unified vision of mind and nature, the psychology of creativity, and the emergence of a new image of God beyond both fundamentalism and materialistic atheism, there is much to be learned from the Romantic poets and philosophers. This lecture will explore the practice of active imagination in Romantic poetry and Jungian psychology, and apply insights gleaned from both to contemporary debates on the nature of religion, politics, physics, and neuroscience.

In this seminar following the lecture of the same topic, we will have a chance to explore the topic of active imagination in Romantic poetry, Jungian psychology, and other contemporary expressions in depth. The Jungian method of active imagination will be explained, and the opportunity given to practice it, if so desired. In addition, we will have time for questions and discussion concerning the implications of the insights and intuitions of the Romantic poets and philosophers to contemporary debates on religious faith vs. atheism, and a new relationship between mind and nature emerging today in depth psychology, physics, and neurobiology.

Thomas Elsner, J.D., M.A. is a Jungian Analyst, certified Psychoanalyst with the California Medical Board, the C.G. Jung Study Center of Southern California, the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has taught courses on Depth Psychology and Folklore for over 10 years at Pacifica as well as internationally. Trained as a Jungian Analyst in Zurich, Switzerland, Thomas has been in practice since 1998. Prior to that he worked as an attorney. His upcoming book to be published by Texas A&M in early 2019 is on Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  

Speaker: James Hollis

In‑Between Times:
Something Gone, Something Not Yet


Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born

-Matthew Arnold, 1885

As individuals, we often find ourselves in in-between times, somewhere between a world we knew, and a world that has not yet emerged.  These times are hours of crisis, disorientation, loss, and enormous anxiety.   Similarly cultures, eras, civilizations go through in-between times.   Ours is such a moment in history.    How can we recover our bearings, sustain dignity and integrity when things fall apart?   What abides amid such discontinuity?   Together we will reflect on what we may do to recover a sense of personal autonomy when our roadmap whirls from our grasp and leaves us confounded.

What is Depth Psychology, and Why It Matters

How does depth psychology differ from other modalities?  How are its premises and methods of use to all of us, whether in therapy or not?   During this workshop I will explain the three principles: its not about what it’s about; what you see is a compensation for what you don’t see; and, its all metaphor, and provide examples of all of these lenses for discovery and interpretation of our mythopoetic psyche.

James Hollis, Ph. D., is a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst in practice in Washington, D.C. He served as Executive Director of the Jung Educational Center in Houston, Texas, for many years and as an Executive Director of the Jung Society of Washington for five years. Dr. Hollis was first Director of Training of the Philadelphia Jung Institute, and is Vice-President Emeritus of the Philemon Foundation. Additionally, he is a Professor of Jungian Studies for Saybrook University. He has written a total of nineteen books and over fifty articles. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives with his wife Jill, an artist and retired therapist. Together they have three living children and eight grand-children.  

Speaker: Fanny Brewster

The Shadow of Creativity

When Jung experienced his Anima-Muse in The Red Book he declared himself to be a man of science rather than an artist.  How might we abandon our creative selves in shadow rather than allowing the light of consciousness to reach into the darkness and allow our creativity to emerge?  This emergence may be accompanied by suffering and periods of emotional growth that the ego is unwilling to experience. Yet, as Jung did, we see that we must continue our Psyche-led process if we are to have an authentic life.  In our discussion we will share the struggles and lessons of creativity through viewing the creative lives and works of authors as we explore and discuss avenues for developing our own creativity.

The Creative Self: Dreams, Secrets and Wishes – A Depth Writing Workshop

Our weekend together allows us to go deeply into an experience of  Jungian Dreamwork through Active Imagination.   An important aspect of engaging in dreamwork is the ability and opportunity to express unconscious material that has emerged.  Our work will involve creative expression in the Depth Writing Workshop. This gives us an experience in finding not only a way to re-enter our dreams but to use them as an avenue for discovery and re-discovery of things we may have forgotten, lost or wish to bring into conscious awareness.  These possibilities include opening ourselves to creativity in a manner that we have only hoped for in the past.  Our ability to mirror Psyche in our dreams and creative process allows for a richness of Self-expression that can fulfill our deepest wishes.

We will share our dreams with one another, and participate in deepening our individual process, as well as participating in a group process. This will support not only our dreamwork and creativity personal growth but also provides the value of sharing and learning in a group.  This greatly supports the increase of consciousness between ego and the unconscious enhancing a more psychological and soul-filled recognition of a true Creative Self.

Fanny Brewster, Ph.D, M.F.A., is a Jungian Analyst, poet and the author of African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows. Dr. Brewster is a Core Faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute and with the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York.

Speaker: Penelope Tarasuk

Dreaming Animals: Individuation in a Jungian Analysis

… the animal is sublime and, in fact, represents the “divine” side of the human psyche. You remember that the purpose of the Dionysian mysteries was to bring people back to the animal…the animal within…which then forms a bridge between (her) self and the original primordial man concealed beneath the historical layers of the past…

Following a series of animal dreams from a profoundly creative woman artist; we move into and through the individuation process of her eight-year analysis through her dying and conscious death.   Here we find psyche’s deep instruction, beauty, and assistance in life’s completion. Epiphany–the direct experience of Deity–came via dreams and in a vision of an animal before her death. I use this series of dreams as I feel that dignity and depth of Jungian Psychoanalysis are illustrated and accessible.

This presentation grew out of my deep interest in nature and appearance of animals in dreams and in the lives of patients over the course of forty years of practice.

What is the meaning and function of animals visiting us in dreams or meeting them by chance? Which animals bring us education, wisdom, humor, terror, beauty, and joy? Can we relate to a creature with interest? Who are we afraid? Do we dream or imagine mythical or other beings? How do we treat animals in dreams and in waking life? What is the relationship between our body and instinctual life? What does this tell us about ourselves, about us as a society and culture?

By following a series of animal dreams from a profoundly creative woman artist, we move into and through the individuation process of her eight-year analysis through her dying and conscious death.   Here we find psyche’s deep instruction, beauty, and assistance in life’s completion. Epiphany–the direct experience of Deity–came via dreams and in a vision of an animal before her death. This series of dreams illustrates and makes accessible the dignity and depth of Jungian Psychoanalysis. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to work with their own animal dream images.  Please bring drawing materials and journals.

Penelope Tarasuk, PhD, the first Jungian Analyst in training at the Jung Institute of Boston, was born in Washington D.C. and has lived primarily in MA. She also lived in Panama, Seoul, South Korea, and Santa Fe, NM. Artist since childhood, she attended Philadelphia Museum College of Art, combining art with psychology in undergraduate and graduate school at UMD, including advanced study Family Systems Therapy. Working on the front lines of human services and community mental health, she began Jungian studies in 1975 receiving her Diploma in Jungian Analytic psychology 1988 and completing a Ph.D. in 2002. Her sons were born while she was in Jungian training; one is a physician at UWA Hospital, Seattle and the other a computer scientist in Silicon Valley. Penelope brings 40 years of experience in psychology to individuals, families, groups, and communities through her work: in-patient treatment, residential facilities, schools, and community mental health centers. Her workshops and lectures in the United States and abroad focus upon dreaming, active imagination, nature, art, and breath work. Deepest interests: accessing the heart of creativity through dreams, images and symbols, art & writing, and being in nature. She is devoted to supporting development of spiritual life and has a deep practice in Tibetan Buddhism since 1974. Former member of the Training Board of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston, she is currently a senior training analyst, supervisor, and faculty member. POLISHING THE BONES, London, Musewell Hill Press, 2017 is about a woman artist’s analysis & individuation through dreams, nature, love. Penelope was present throughout her dying & death.