Fire as a feminine aspect is the central image of this workshop by Jungian analyst and author Jean Shinoda Bolen. Fire takes many forms in our imagination, dreams, metaphors, and in our life experiences. We think of hearth fire, campfire, creative fire, passionate fire, consuming fire, destructive fire, transforming fire, wildfire, Pentecostal fire, fire signs, fiery redheads, fire-breathing dragons and firewalks. We fight fire with fire and go through the fire; our fire is put out, rekindled, and dampened: we can be fired up, flare up, burnt up, and burned out. We tend the fire and keep the homefires burning. Fire as a feminine quality is about spirit, energy, and intensity, about warmth and illumination, about rage and outrage. Inner fire is reflected in our work, in our relationships, and in the activist and feminist stances we take in the world. Using poetry and a guided meditation, Dr. Bolen’s workshop helps the listener gain insights into herself and find her personal symbols.
This episode is part of an evening with Jean Shinoda Bolen when the Institute was going through a major change. The Institute was about to sell its building in Evanston and eventually split into two entities, the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago, which would continue the training of Jungian psychoanalysts, and the C. G. Jung Center in Evanston, which would continue the clinic and related programs. This is the context for a lecture by Jean Shinoda Bolen and this conversation with Jacquelyn Mattfeld. It was recorded on April 3rd, 2003. The lecture portion, “Meeting Hecate at the Crossroad: Making Soul-Shaping Decisions”, which came after this conversation, is available in our store.
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Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. She is the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, Close to the Bone, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don’t Whine, Urgent Message from Mother, and Like a Tree with over eighty foreign translations. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco, a past board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women and the International Transpersonal Association. She was a recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s “Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award”, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She was in two acclaimed documentaries, the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women—For America, For the World, and the Canadian Film Board’s Goddess Remembered. The Millionth Circle Initiative (millionthcircle.org) was inspired by her book and led to her involvement at the UN. She is the initiator and the leading advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women (5wcw.org), which was supported by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly on March 8, 2012.
Jacqueline A. Mattfeld, PhD has advanced degrees in humanistic gerontology, art history and music history. She has been a member of the faculties of Harvard University, M.I.T., Sarah Lawrence College, Brown University and Columbia University. She is Professor Emerita of Arizona State University and past President of Barnard College in New York City. For nearly twenty years she has taught, lectured and written about the theories and experiences of late life development. She was the co-developer of the MA in Gerontology program at Northeastern Illinois University and established the Program in Creative Aging at the Jung Institute of Chicago. From 2000 through 2006 she was the Executive Director and Director of Public Programs of The C. G. Jung Center in Evanston where she served on the Board of Trustees through 2014. She now serves as a Board Member Emeritus.
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Jungian analyst and author Jean Shinoda Bolen leads a workshop for women “who seek to nurture their own creative and spiritual yearnings and find ways of expressing, articulating, and valuing what grows out of their inner life and the life they have lived so far. In the company of other women who know that suffering and joy and life are linked, personas drop away and soul comes forth.” Bolen weaves stories of psyche and goddess that have the power to touch themes and sacred places in the soul, and she leads listeners through a guided meditation, allowing the opportunity for personal symbols and myths to emerge. This tape set is also intended to serve as a model for women interested in forming their own spiritual groups. It was recorded in 1994.
To be a crone is not a matter of age or appearance. Becoming a “crone” is a crowning inner achievement. “Crones Don’t Whine” is the first of thirteen defining qualities of the crone because whining blocks spiritual and psychological development. Crone qualities are those that can be taken to heart and cultivated throughout life; they support authenticity, integrity, soul growth and social activism. While physiology and socialization make it more difficult for most men to develop crone qualities, exceptional men can become crones. Crone development comes through connecting deeply with others and with soul qualities in ourselves. Maturity, wisdom, and compassion develop over time through love and reflection; they are the fruits of consciousness and choice.