Press Release

Deepening Your Approach to Work – how archetypal, mythic and cinematic perspectives offer meaning

with Drs Glen Slater and Safron Rossi from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara CA

23 – 24 September 2017, University College, Melbourne

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How can we learn to see the world to allow us to perceive its deeper forms and processes? Through engagement with imagination, metaphor and myth, this weekend seminar explores the language of the archetypal world. Glen Slater and Safron Rossi discuss different modes of archetypal and mythic perspectives on the world and apply these modes to the events and experiences that impact our lives, chosen and unchosen. This timely seminar focuses upon the way James Hillman extended Jung’s understandings of archetype into an ‘archetypal perspective’ for the C21st. Cultivating an awareness of where and how archetypal patterns appear in life and work provides a means by which we may join individual calling with the larger meanings of human existence. The goal of this work is what Hillman described as soul-making—a process by which life and work deepens into meaning—much needed to address the current cultural crisis of neo-liberalism.

On 23 September, Dr Glen Slater will set out the critical elements of an archetypal perspective.  On 24 September, Dr Safron Rossi will take up the role of mythic figures and mythic moments, showing the way gods and goddesses still shape our lives, if only we have the eyes to see and the ears to listen. Through use of film clips, discussion of contemporary events and writing exercises, we will learn to listen to the language of the psyche.

With breakouts through each day to examine these patterns in our lives, the confluence of archetypal and mythic ways of knowing will provide deeper ways of understanding and applying the larger forces at play in our world of work, family and community –  bookings: www.lifeartistry.com.au

Guest speakers are available for interview in Melbourne from 18 September 2017; contact james@lifeartistry.com.au m: 0414 591 914

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EXTRACTS from the speakers

How Psyche Speaks: Archetypal & Mythic Perspectives for Life & Work

University College, Melbourne, 23-24 September 2017

From the Pacifica Graduate Institute (Santa Barbara), Drs Slater and Rossi are internationally renowned for their expertise as teachers and scholars of depth psychology and mythology.  Both have worked closely with James Hillman, the founder of archetypal psychology. This new seminar focuses on how Hillman's work extends C G Jung’s understandings into an archetypal perspective - a way of seeing the world that allows us to perceive the influence of archetypal patterns.  These timeless, universal forms, expressed in culturally variant and continually renewed ways, both guide and shape our sense of deeper purpose. Through use of film clips, discussion of contemporary events and writing exercises, we will learn to listen to the language of the psyche, and to apply this mode of perception to the events and significances that impact our lives and work.

Held at The Heritage Room, University College Melbourne from 9 – 5 pm on 23 & 24 September 2017, this weekend seminar is fully catered, and includes a list of Recommended readings and three article PDFs. Pre-seminar readings will be provided from Dr Slater showing James Hillman’s role and interdisciplinary influence in depth psychology in the context of Jung’s original vision. Samples are below. Further readings include:

  • Jung, C. G. (1959). Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 9 pt. 1. R. F. C. Hull (Trans.). London: Routledge.
  • Hillman, J. (2005). Senex and Puer. Uniform Edition Vol. 3. G. Slater (Ed.). Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.
  • Hillman, J. (2007). Mythic Figures. Uniform Edition Vol. 6.1. Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.
  • Paris, G. (1986). Pagan Meditations. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications.
  • Paris, G. (1990). Pagan Grace. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications.
  • Campbell, J. (2013). Goddesses: Mysteries of the Divine Feminine. S. Rossi (Ed.). Novato, CA: New World Library.

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Glen Slater PhD - 23 September 2017 - extract

Archetypal Perspective on American Film *

Glen Slater ^

'Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to begin our descent into Los Angeles.' - The Graduate

Film is a thoroughly psychological medium. Despite the superficiality and fabricated emotion that often surrounds American film, filmmakers cannot ultimately avoid the medium's need to tap the deepest layers of the psyche. Sensationalism and spectacle carried by formularized narrative may provide light entertainment and distraction, but the experience is quickly forgotten. There's a slew of these 'movies' but it is a stretch to call them 'films.' We recognize their failure to fulfill an intrinsic requirement: Film demands that its visual presentation serves hidden depth—shaded, secreted, semi-conscious or unconscious elements, the presence of which is first felt or intuited but may enter our awareness more fully only upon reflection. Depth makes meaning and brings poignancy. It results from patterned complexity and backward gazes into cultural history, ancestry, and personal pasts. Depth also occurs in the basic movement of our mind from the simple t the nuanced and subtle. If the cinematic arts have any fundamental characteristic, it is the call to create depth. This call makes film and psyche natural kin.

Seeing a film of any significance is not a passive activity; it requires from the beginning a kind of descent. As a theater darkens so does our daylight consciousness. We enter a realm closer to the dream than to waking life; a place where the raw, subversive, and sublime can come to light, where the 'sympathy of all things' is manifest. The screen may capture images but those images release imagination, involving us in a series of interiorizing moves that submits on-screen events to timeless, universal stories running in the background of life. All depth experience ultimately points us in the direction of these universals. These factors make film-going a form of ritual. And when we cross over into this ritual psace we start salivating for archetypal food.  ... continues ...

To summarize: Film reflects soul's hunger for depth. A primary source of that depth is found in the layering effect of metaphor and subtext through which the story is conveyed, suggesting much of a film's archetypal quality stems from the multiple elements of its crafting. Acclaimed American films show a process of soul-making that moves from the light into the dark or locates small flames in forgotten places, reminding us of the necessary relationship between soul and pathos. These films ...continues...

References

* Source: Glen Slater (2005). 'Archetypal perspective and American film.' Spring: A journal of archetype and culture: Cinema and psyche, 73, 1-19.

^ Glen Slater is a core faculty member in the Mythological Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute where he teaches various courses that include Jungian and archetypal approaches to film. He was until recently the regular film reviewer for Zion's Herald, a national magazine.

Between Jung and Hillman *

Glen Slater ^

ABSTRACT:  James Hillman’s role in the history of Jungian psychology is considered in the context of Jung’s original vision for depth psychology and in terms of Hillman’s international interdisciplinary influence. The bridge between Jung’s ideas and those of Hillman is examined in light of Hillman’s perspectival approach to the psyche, his notion of “soul-making” and its relation to individuation, and his use of the term “archetypal.”

KEY WORDS:  Archetypal, soul-making, imaginal, anima mundi, mythos

Since C. G. Jung’s death in 1961 few if any Jungian theorists have approached the preeminence of James Hillman. For those who early on embraced Hillman’s work, this assessment may well have been made at any point during the past three to four decades. For others, Hillman’s approach has been considered too great a departure from Jung’s main thrust, making such an assessment debatable at best. In either case the recent death of this unquestionably innovative psychologist invites us to look again at his contribution to our field, particularly at how his key understandings relate to and diverge from those of Jung. In doing so we may find ourselves inclined to revision the psychology of the man who dedicated his life to revisioning psychology.

To Begin
There can be little question about James Hillman’s range. He authored works on analysis, religion, emotion, suicide, dreaming, war, aging, and character, power, fate and calling, to name but a few of the subjects he addressed. In dedicated essays he engaged a multitude of mythic figures and configurations: The Great Mother, the Earth Mother, the Bad Mother, the Child, senex and puer, Hermes, Hestia, Aphrodite, the Hero, Hades, Dionysus, Ananke among them. Along the way he overlapped the concerns of psychology with interests in architecture, ecology, literature, and art, often imbedding these interests in commentaries on contemporary events. His twenty plus books have been translated into just as many languages, and his ideas have had an even greater impact in far-flung nations like Italy, Japan, and Brazil than in the United States.

The scope of Hillman’s work mirrors the polytheistic emphasis that anchored his critique of classical Jungian thought and became the basis of his archetypal psychology, an outcome of conversations with a small circle of analysts in Zürich, particularly Patricia Berry and Rafael Lopez-Pedraza. It also reflects the roaming puer spirit he named within his calling and that stands in part behind his method. Yet beneath these more apparent proclivities lies a largely overlooked capacity that made such wide-ranging interests and dexterity of mind possible: James Hillman was able to forge many different intellectual and psychological alliances. He befriended many ideas, forming his psychology with input from other disciplines. Both his critical eye and his fluid imagination grew out of this more basic habit of intelligence.

Hillman pushed hard against some aspects of Jungian thought while passionately embracing others and eventually described Jung as archetypal psychology’s “first immediate father” (2004, p. 14). However, quite unlike other innovative renderings of the field—Fordham’s concern with early development and détente with psychoanalysis, Neumann’s psychological phylogeny or von Franz’s extended understanding of fairytales, alchemy and physics—Hillman sought to put his understanding of the psyche on other footings, especially those with ties to the humanities. Further, he omitted appeals to science and empiricism. In this manner he established several points of orientation beyond the immediate Freud-Jung tradition. For example, archetypal psychology leaned into the Neoplatonic tradition of Renaissance writers like Vico and Ficino and mostly dodged the Germanic influence of Kant, Schopenhauer, and Goethe. It also cultivated a primarily imaginal rather than analytical or even symbolical orientation, drawing heavily upon the writings of Henri Corbin, subsequently named the “second father” of the approach (ibid., p. 15). Even more foundational to Hillman’s enterprise was the ancient Greek tradition—not only its mythology but also its reflections on self-knowledge, which he would trace back to Heraclitus. Thus, one foot may have landed in Zürich, but the other foot moved around—from Dublin to Paris, Florence to Athens. Beyond being an American who spent a quarter century in Europe, his mind managed to cross the Swiss border in multiple directions.

Although Hillman’s weight would shift from time to time, his inside foot remained planted on Jungian soil; the conversation with Jung’s ideas and with analytical psychology went on until the end. However, this insider-outsider position combined with the mixed theoretical orientation and mercurial style has confounded observers and made assessments of Hillman’s contribution difficult. To cut through this unsettling and contentious role in the history of Jungian thought we need to draw out two pervasive lines of thought, which form something akin to the latitude and longitude of Hillman’s world: ... continues ...

Extract:

Rotten politics and ruined estuaries can depress us right alongside a midlife crisis. Town centers can be manic, buildings paranoid or schizoid, and institutions may display a range of character disorders. Corporations can dissociate and landscapes can be raped and traumatized. We don’t need to take “inner” literally; we can also look outside with an interiorizing vision. Psyche appears in these places too. . . .

By describing soul as that which lives “between us and events, between the doer and the deed” (p. xvi), Hillman (1975) didn’t leave behind instincts, emotions and complexes; he just underscored how these dimensions inhabit the psychic field in which all things stand in relation to one another. Cultivating this middle realm left a swinging door between conscious and unconscious, so that known and unknown, upper and lower, light and shadow remained in constant contact. Applying a therapeutic eye to the pathologized world also alleviated or at least nursed the acute psychic pain of the personal realm. . . .

The idea of an inner landscape can either be translated into abstract terrain like ego, persona and shadow or it can invite further images—fathomless oceans, dry deserts, enchanted forests. One of Hillman’s (2005) pivotal essays approached the difference between spirit and soul in terms of “peaks and vales” (pp. 71ff .), allowing images of bright mountaintops and shadowy ravines to convey the psychological contrast. The pure, rarified air of spiritual practice, he argued, was a vastly different pursuit compared to trekking through the lowlands of soul. In such a manner, whether psychological life was approached spiritually or soulfully made a great deal of difference. . . .

Soul-making picks up the thread of Jung’s more expansive perceptions of psychic reality. It occurs with the appearance of metaphoric possibility, which deepens and opens to meaning. This can certainly be in art or journaling or active imagination, just as Jung described. However, it might just as well take place in cooking, making a garden, in a heartfelt conversation, or working on a tennis stroke. Rituals of all types invite it, and it may be as embodied and gestural as it is mindful. While opportunities for it are pervasive, it is not indiscriminate. We are drawn into soul-making when the imagination glimpses something knocking at the door. Then the door must be opened and the visitor greeted with curiosity and regard. So it implies a certain level of engagement, musing, and nursing the moment along. It is not mere daydreaming or idle fantasy, but a crafting. If in individuation the method is to attend to what comes to us from the unconscious, in soul-making the method is extended beyond the special circumstances of self-reflection, dreaming and active imagination into all aspects of life that generate imaginative sparks of a certain magnitude. . . .

We position ourselves in the soul-making process by becoming artisans of the imagination, refining the craft of psychically hosting the circumstances and events that come our way. The masterwork lies within the crafting itself, not the overall outcome. By attending to moments when soul appears—“care of the soul” as Thomas Moore (1992) suggested—each detail gains significance and offers more fecundity and depth. A sense of continuity or cohesion is a by-product of the moment-to-moment faith in the psyche, without need of a psychological blueprint or image of the whole

... continues ...

In the End

There are many Jungians, including analysts, writers and academics, who have little trouble strolling across the bridge connecting Jung and Hillman. Others have either deliberately dismissed Hillman’s work or simply put it aside, thinking it too intellectual or, as discussed here, lacking in overt clinical application. In a few cases, following some encounter with his fierce and critical style, a more personal barrier has been erected. Many simply can’t fathom the deconstruction of the ego, the disregard for the Self, or the assault on dream interpretation, all of which may seem central to Jung’s view. However, Hillman’s work need not be assessed on these grounds. It can be approached in terms of its own aim to make soul and open up imaginative possibilities. Most specifically it might be considered in terms of the most basic goal of Jung’s thought—expanding an awareness of psychic reality and one’s particular place in that reality.

In the final pages of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung (1965) talks about the inner certainties and uncertainties of his life, putting a surprising emphasis on the latter. He describes himself as a man who “once dipped a hatful of water from a stream” (p. 355) and goes on to express a multitude of mixed feelings. But he qualifies it all by saying, “the more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things” (ibid., p. 359). Earlier in the book, describing being “in the midst of my true life” at Bollingen, he wrote:

At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go, in the procession of the seasons. (ibid., pp. 225-226)

Putting aside the carefully explored corridors of interiority, Jung wanted to rest his retrospection on the vivid feeling of anima mundi—the soulful bonding with his surroundings. In that final chapter he also talks about the “daimon” at length, but leaves all conceptual ideas, especially the ultimate orientation point of his own psychology, the Self, aside. His preferred mode of discourse, in what he knew to be his final word on his own life, is poetic and metaphorical; it is archetypal rather than analytical.

Hillman believed psychology should appeal to the need for beauty just as much as the quest for understanding, arguing persuasively in the piece “Thought of the Heart” (1982) that psychological ideas must address aesthetic and sensual dimensions too. He was a son who didn’t just follow in the father’s footsteps. Rather, he entered the father’s vision then extended and reimagined it while staying close to his own Ares-fueled, puer-inspired daimon. He attacked whatever was pushed too far one way and then stood on the side of the dismissed with the same overcorrecting force as the returning repressed. For those lounging in the recliner of psychological thought, he came along and kicked the back of the chair. He refused to be cool-headed. His work honors Jung’s resistance to discipleship and Jungianism and embraces the imperative that each person follow his or her own way. Not everyone employing Jung’s ideas is called to rework the concepts or extend the perspective, but a critical approach to his thought and a capacity to place phenomenon before theory are fitting goals for all Jungians. Not everyone can follow Hillman head first into the underworld, a place where day world conceptions are constantly given back to the imagination, but every step of his dance is not necessary to appreciate the vitality of his movement and add flexibility to the psychological routine.

Hillman was iconoclastic, sensitive to mind grooves, intolerant of dogma and reactive to clichés—which he could smell a mile away. He understood the soul loves insight and loathes codification. Avoiding repeated recipes, he ... continues ...

References

* Source: Glen Slater (2012). 'Between Jung and Hillman.' Quadrant: Journal of the C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology. XXXXII: 2.

^ Glen Slater, PhD, teaches Jungian and archetypal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California and has contributed a number of articles to Jungian journals and essay collections. He edited and introduced the third volume of James Hillman’s Uniform Edition of writings, Senex and Puer, as well as Varieties of Mythic Experience: Essays on Religion, Psyche and Culture.

Hermetic Intoxication *

James Hillman ^

Extract (p. 274):

But the reality lies in the eyes that see, not in what they see. For precisely the eye of the Futurologist, informed by another archetypal more Saturnine vision, looks into the future and sees doom and gloom, destruction of habitat and species, civil insurrections, terrorism and plagues—a world described by the great saturnine pessimist Thomas Hobbes as a war of 'all against all,' and human life as 'nasty, brutish and short.'

We look back to gain information about the archetypal forms of our insights so that we may understand that all futurisms are fantasies—no matter the evidence [4]. Because present trends are multiple and contradictory, extrapolations from them into the future can lead only to multiple and contradictory projections. No single vision can prognosticate. Objective realities beyond here and now remain unknown and cannot be known, for that is the meaning of the word 'future': that which is not and cannot be stated in the present tense. There 'is' no future. Future is merely another name for unconsciousness in the mirror of which we see our own subjective proclivities.  ... continues ...

... millennial thinking about the future is an archetypal fantasy. This fantasy seduces us from confronting two fundamental facts of all human existence, of all cosmic existence. First, any actual moment occupies an actual place; and second, life depends on a deep faith in existential continuity. Futurism escapes from the first, always leaving here for somewhere; and futurism denies the second, by evacuating the certitude of the actual with speculations about a vague and vast unknown. ... continues ...

* Source: James Hillman (2007). 'Hermetic intoxication', in: Mythic Figures Uniform Edition, Vol. 6, pp. 259-275. Joanne H. Stroud (ed.) Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.

^ Under the title 'Millennial Psychology,' parts of this lecture were delivered to a general public , Banco Populare Commercio, Milan, May 1996, and expanded into 'Hermetic Intoxication,' at the Department of Psychology, University of Turin. A revised version was presented at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, October 1996, under the title of 'Intoxication by Hermes: The No Place of Cyberspace,' as a contribution to the series Human Place and Cyberspace.

--- Dr Glen Slater's seminar will be punctuated with participant breakouts. Questions will be invited from participants. ---

Safron Rossi PhD - 24 September 2017 - extract

From Attic to Basement and In Between *

Safron Rossi ^

In his essay “Senex and Puer: An Aspect of the Historical and Psychological Present” James Hillman reminds us that Saturn is a god of the harvest imaged through the festival of the Saturnalia, but he writes “the harvest is a hoard; the ripened end-product and in-gathering” (44)—the end-product of a life is what collects in an archive, and an in-gathering holds together, holds tight so to ensure that “things last through all time” (44). Lasting through all time is the fantasy that drives our work digitizing the collections, creating digital bodies of paper bodies that were created by living bodies. James goes on to say that Saturn’s “intellectual qualities include the inspired genius of brooding melancholic, creativity through contemplation” (44). This brooding melancholy and the contemplative creative spark is often what we see descend upon a research visitor when they behold the archives, open a box, and are swallowed up. And it isn’t a surprise for us to find our visitors at times feel overwhelmed and slightly depressed by the experience.

And we have to be honest, there is a sense of death in the archives, the kind that the Senex brings, and this James writes, “is the death that comes through perfection and order. It is the death of accomplishment and fulfillment, a death which grows in power within any complex or attitude as that psychological process matures through consciousness into order, becoming habitual and dominant—and therefore unconscious again. Paradoxically, we are least conscious where we are most conscious” (45). This is the awkward truth Jung had discerned and as the archives lie below the surface and require twilight vision we are confronted with this uneasy paradox. The perfection and order of the collections down in the archives is a death and the consciousness that created them has become unconscious in their orderliness —and here lies the danger – the hardening, the dryness, consciousness losing touch with life. And without the folly of life James writes, the Senex “ has no wisdom, only knowledge—serious depressing, hoarded in an academic vault or used as power” (48). This is a serious archetypal constellation and I must admit feeling a little fear at times in the face of the hoarding impulse that comes with this territory.

The cure is like to like James says, and so Senex needs Puer. Puer as “avatar of the psyche’s spiritual aspect” (50), aesthetic intuition, insight, and the blossoming of imagination. This Puer blossoming, in relationship to Senex rootedness, is the life that visits the archives, the ideas seeking ground, spirit seeking form and discipline. 

And that is what happens when you come into the archives – spinning fantasies of golden treasure and fantastic flights of imagination, you wander through the stacks, through the boxes and pages within, longing for a reflection of your own ideas, an authoritative buttressing of your notions, you are lost, you get lost, not sure where to go but have a glorious idea about where you are going for just around the next box is going to be that very passage that will have everything fall into place in your project, you can feel it … you are the spirit, the Puer impulse that the Senex archives need so to not harden, to not dry out, to stay in touch with life. As a union of the sames, Senex and Puer belong together, seek one another, and when they unite knowledge becomes wisdom, and spirit and insight finds reflection and form.

Archives exist in between this union of Senex and Puer. And really, if we look at what makes an archive, it is the ever constant cycling of these two figures—coming into the archives, becoming a part of the archives, only to return again and infuse the archives with questions and spirited life, which will then become yet another part of the archives.

... continues...

Reference

James Hillman (2005). Senex & puer: an aspect of the historical and psychological present. Uniform Edition Vol. 3. Glen Slater (ed.) Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.

* Source: Safron Rossi (2012). 'From Attic to Basement and In Between.' Quadrant: Journal of the C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology. XXXXII: 2.

^ Safron Rossi, PhD, is Executive Director if Opus Archives & Research Center, home of the James Hillman manuscript and archival collection. Safron is also Adjunct Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaching courses on mythology and depth psychology. She earned a PhD in Mythological studies in 2009 and her writing is and scholarly studies focus on archetypal psychology, the western astrological tradition, and feminist studies. Address: Optus Archives & Research Center, c/o Pacifica Graduate Institute, 249 Lambert Rd, Carpinteria, CA 93013.

--- Dr Safron Rossi's seminar will be punctuated with participant breakouts. Questions will be invited from participants. ---

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