The relationship between Self and Other carries always the imprint of first relationships. In any present relationship we are inevitably inmeshed in the psychological mechanisms of projection and transference of the primal, intrapsychic imago of relationship. This lecture will explore the mechanisms of the projection/transference dynamics, “the Eden project”, which our hidden agenda embodies, and the search for the Magical Other.
We will seek to discern, through a series of questions and exercises, the sense of “self,” the percepts about the Other, and the transactions which have been generated by our history. What creates our attractions, our patterns, our yearnings, our repetitions? These are the open-ended questions we shall examine together.
How is it that relationships, which bring us the greatest joy in life, also confront us with the greatest difficulties? Why do so many of us simply give up in the face of the humiliating hurts that relationships engender? Well, acording to Jung, it’s all in the service of our individuation. The more conscious we are of the dynamics at work in relationships, the less turbulent will be their effects on us. In a little-known section of Volume VII of the Collected Works [para 374-406], Jung speaks of the “mana personality.” This archetypal element holds the key to understanding why relationships can become problematic. This weekend we shall look at the dynamics of relationship. We shall focus particularly on the anima and animus, those bridge dynamics that connect the ego with the Self.
Friday night we’ll review Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, which can either be read in book form or seen in the movie (currently in release). What can we learn from a man’s encounter with the Self, as facilitated by his anima, which is fixated on a woman with whom he is having an affair?
Saturday will begin with a viewing of Nicholas Roeg’s groundbreaking movie Walkabout. We shall then discuss the way in which the animus attempts to open a young woman to world she has never known, how she responds, and how it ends up. We shall then look at the cultures the film brings together, and how they fare in coming to terms with each other. Finally, we shall question why the film was severely cut in its original release, how the director’s cut restores the original intent of the film, and what it means to us today.
Women often agonize over a single question – am I too selfish? – struggling with the belief that focusing on ourselves is selfish when it comes to spiritual or religious concerns.
All religions instruct us to pay close attention to our intentions and actions in order to become responsible for our ethical and spiritual development. And yet, women have been uniformly discouraged in acquiring a knowledge of self-determination in their major life roles.
This workshop will examine the basic assumption that the mother is the single most important influence on her child’s development (exclusive of father, peers, and the cultural surroundings), and show how and why it is wrong and misleading. Drawing especially on Jung’s theory of the Divine Child archetype and the history of motherhood, the workshop will offer a new interpretation of the traditional fairy tale, Rumpelstilskin to show how and why the idealization of mothers and children serves us so badly. There will be ample time for discussion and a variety of film clips to illustrate the psychological consequences of “hothouse mothering”.
Stories inspire and shape our lives, from the archetypal dramas we unconsciously enact, to the jokes we make about the boss at work. Yet stories also plague us, and this weekend’s lecture and workshop will focus on four such problematic situations.
The Friday evening lecture addresses the problem of being stuck in a story, endlessly repeating the same script — a plight dramatize by Dracula, who was compelled by the vampire curse to feed on the living. Fortunately Scheherazade from “The Thousand and One Arabian Nights” shows a way out of stuck stories, by using the psychology of five fundamental genres of narrative — myth, fact, fairy tale, legend, and the favorite tale: transformation results from experiencing each genre in that specific order — a sequence characteristic of initiation rituals.
The Saturday workshop grapples with the remaining three narrative crises. First is wandering among stories — after we escape a stuck plot, we must find another to live by, but often do not know how to choose, and so end up drifting indecisively among different tales. The biblical story of Babel and the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty dramatize the relativism and fragmentation of the situation, especially painful at midlife and in our postmodern time. The nine Muses from ancient Greece help here by revealing the logic of stories, which gives us criteria by which we can judge among tales, separating better from worse, true from false. The next narrative quandary is failing a story, and is exemplified by Sisyphus and King Arthur, who both follow specific scripts, but fail to reach their chosen ending. How to transform such failed dramas is the subject of the Buddhist tale, “The Brave Parrot”, and the Jewish story, “The Golden Tree,” which dwell on what might be called the practice and spirit of story. The fourth and perhaps most difficult narrative dilemma is being wounded by a story. The Flying Dutchman, Tristan and Isolde, and the Fisher King illustrate such wounding tales, where a desire or quest can never be attained. Goethe’s “Faust” and a Tibetan story, “The Old Meditator,” reveal an unexpected resolution to this painful plight in what can be turned “attunement” to the “soul of story,” which closely resembles spiritual illumination. Throughout the lecture and workshop various exercises will help us explore the myths, fairy tales, legends and favorite stories we live by, and how we can use them deal with our stuck, lost, failed and wounding life tales.
The Friday lecture, entitled “The Hundredth Dreamer”, will outline the historical and cultural factors and attitudes that, in effect, have eclipsed dreamwork in Western society, in spite of the work of Freudians and Jungians. These factors have typological characteristics that have produced resistances to the type of consciousness needed for dreamwork, namely introverted, intuitive, and feeling traits. We will see this in Jung’s early life, as described by him in his 1925 seminar. It will be shown how these resistances have dampened dreamwork in our society and how they often appear within a dream consciousness and content.
The Saturday workshop will consider the many ways in which dreams, as provided by participants, capture both the crucial moments of a life process representing both hurdles and possibilities. Giannini divides Jung’s two stages of life into four quadrants based on typology’s Compass of the Soul as a framework for exploring how our dreams play into and through our critical life transitions. Participants are urged to prepare by reading the chapter entitled “Confrontation with the Unconscious” in Jung’s Memories, Dreams, and Reflectionsand “Stages of Life” in the Collected Works, and also by bringing their own dreams to share.