Today the “Spirit of the Times” pushes us toward economic growth, self-absorption, and resulting conflict both national and international. Is it possible to call upon the “Spirit of the Depths” to energize and inform us for a more equitable, sustainable and integrated global society that embraces the Soul of the World, the Anima Mundi?
Carl Jung’s text and paintings from the The Red Book (2009) reveal that Jung recognized that he had been led astray by what he described as the Spirit of the Times. He called out to his soul and encountered the Spirit of the Depths. It was and is a difficult and painful time of intersecting, conflicting energies: the more conscious, everyday and linear journey of the Times submitting its will to relate to an unknown and timeless, not-yet-conscious creative presence of the Deep. This is a crucial choice that requires sacrifice, by Jung, by ourselves, that may promise transformation.
As we collectively feel the strain of the Times towards multiple tipping points, whether it be our ecology or political instability or social unrest, we too might seek to welcome new time and space for better understanding and appreciating the journey required of us by the Spirit of the Depths.
Man and His Symbols (Jung, 1964) offers a framework and roadmap for the subjects and titles of the individual Five Part Series Public Programs.
Jung initially rejected the invitation to write Man and His Symbols, whose intention was to make Jungian psychology understandable to a general audience, but a dream convinced him otherwise. In his dream, he speaks to a multitude of enthralled people who understand everything he says. In this presentation on Chapter 1 of Man and His Symbols, “Approaching the Unconscious,” we’ll explore how two years after Jung completed both his chapter and his life, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a multitude of enthralled people and translated many Jungian concepts into everyday language in his “I Have a Dream” speech. Jung’s chapter is concerned with four major areas—the unconscious, dreams, archetypes, and symbols—all four of which we find illustrated and translated to a general audience in King’s dream speech. We'll dream the dream forward into the 2020 election and see how leading presidential candidates are working with archetypes and symbols as well, on behalf of the psychological health of the body politic.
In Ovid's Metamorphoses, we are told of the encounter between the Greek Goddess Athena and an ordinary woman, Arachne, and we learn what fate awaits a woman who challenges patriarchal entitlement by daring to portray the transgressions of male gods against mortal women.
Are we still living within the myths of the heroic age of Greece, at that fateful time in western history when the Feminine, its sacred rites and values, were not just suppressed but destroyed? Was it then that the value and roles of living women were redefined in terms of their relationship to men?
This lecture is inspired by the work of my mentor, the late Joseph L. Henderson, MD, who was the only American invited by Jung to contribute to Man and His Symbols. Henderson's chapter was entitled "Ancient myths and modern man."
I will present original research pivoting on the myth of Athena and Arachne, weaving Ovid's tale with myths and insights from archeological and classical studies, as well as images from an alchemical manuscript studied by Dr. Henderson and myself. We shall ask, "How have modern men and women been affected by the negation of an independent basis for women's feminine values and identity, in their own right?"
The presentation will include a retelling of the Athena and Arachne myth from the point of view of Arachne. Participants will be invited to take the role of a mythological character and write from that character's point of view.
More information coming soon.
The Spirit of the Times shapes our heroic attitude toward disease and death. The Affordable Care Act's provision of reimbursing medical practitioners for having end of life discussions with patients with life-limiting illnesses constellated a collective fear it would create "Death Panels" that would take away one's autonomy around choosing medical interventions to prolong life. What was behind that cultural complex?