The Myth of Athena and Arachne: Confronting Male Entitlement, Rediscovering the Negated Feminine

Product Code: CLASS-Intersection-2-Sherwood
Availability: Sold Out

Available Options

This class is full. Please call 312-701-0400 to check if there are any cancellations.

2019-2020 Public Program Series
Intersection: Spirit of the Times with the Spirit of the Depths

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.

The Myth of Athena and Arachne: Confronting Male Entitlement, Rediscovering the Negated Feminine

Dyane Sherwood, PhD

Friday, November 1, 2019 | 1:00-4:00pm

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.

This program has cultural significance to all groups who have been negated in their worth by a more powerful group that identifies them as " other." Crises at this time in human history are in part a consequence of the dominance of a heroic warrior ideal and the need for power, paralleled by the loss of feminine values, eros, and connection to the natural world. 

Recording: This class will be recorded and available for purchase at a later date.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants will be able to:

1) Describe they way unconscious attitudes, revealed in myth, have been conveyed culturally through personal and cultural experience.

2) Apply the knowledge that patriarchal myths are embedded in the modern psyche: if conscious that our culture continues to convey attitudes negating the feminine, an individual can recognize that a lack of a solid sense of worth is not based on a strictly personal neurosis or conflict. If the emotional distress can be understood not to be a shameful personal failure, the individual can become more open to problem solving in creative ways.

Suggested Reading

Henderson, "Ancient Myths and Modern Man" (1964) in: Man and His Symbols (Ed. C.G. Jung) London: Aldus Books, Limited.

Henderson, J. L. (1967/2015) Thresholds of Initiation. London and New York: Chiron.

Henderson, J. L. and Sherwood, D.N. (2003) Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis. Hove and New York: Routledge.

C G Jung Institute of Chicago
53 W Jackson Blvd, Suite 438
Chicago, IL 60604

$45 | Members $36 | Students $30 | 3 CEs $15


Dyane N. Sherwood, PhD is an analyst member of the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago. She did her analytic training at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she was certified as both an Adult and as a Child and Adolescent Analyst. While in San Francisco, she was a frequent public speaker and teacher in the Analytical Training Program. She also served on the Board of Directors and edited Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche for ten years. She worked with Dr. Joseph Henderson as her primary Control Analyst, consulted with him after becoming an analyst, and co-authored with him, Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis. This book is based on three series of illuminated alchemical paintings showing a process of inner transformation, which is found in a Renaissance manuscript that is one of the Treasures of the British Library. 

Prior to training as a therapist, she was a research neurobiologist, and she continues to read the literature and teach on the clinical relevance of contemporary neurobiology research. Her other interests include early childhood trauma and Native American wisdom and spirituality. Dr. Sherwood is also a Teaching Member of the International Society of Sandplay Therapy, and she includes sandplay therapy in her practice. 

In 2010, Dr. Sherwood, moved to Oberlin, Ohio, where she has a private practice ( In addition to her practice and teaching, Dr. Sherwood has recently started a small publishing company dedicated to publishing works in Analytical Psychology, with the additional imprints: Sandplay Editions and Dancing Raven Press, which specializes in shamanic and visionary works,memoir, and poetry (website: