Happy New Year! With the joys and stresses of the holiday season now behind us, I hope we all can take a deep breath and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Those of you with youngsters in the family may have watched them return to school. In my case, it’s two of our grandchildren, who are living with us for several months along with their parents, who are on sabbatical doing research in Washington, DC. Helping send them off to their first day at a new preschool and elementary school was delightful. Having them in the house keeps us grounded. At the same time, I’m looking forward to a pair of lectures and workshops I’ll be doing in February and March. We’re also anticipating, some of us with deep trepidation, others with hope or excitement, Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month. I’ve written a series of blogs entitled “Making Lemonade: An Archetypal Plan for Recovering from the U.S. Presidential Election” that you may find helpful in this time of deep divisions in our society. In addition, I’ve hosted several guest blogs that I’m sure you will find fascinating. You can read about all of these and more below.
Chapel Hill Lecture and Workshop
On February 24-25, I’ll be traveling to Chapel Hill, NC, to deliver a Friday evening lecture and conduct a Saturday workshop on the subject of “Narrative Intelligence: The Power of Story to Transform Our Lives” for the C.G. Jung Society of the Triangle. The lecture, which will begin at 7:30 pm, will draw upon ideas concerning narrative intelligence that I elucidated in my most recent book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within. I will share how gaining deep and cognitively complex narrative intelligence can make all the difference between a life in shambles, one boringly routine—or one authentically well-lived. To illustrate, I will introduce a set of transformational mythological stories that significantly influenced not only ancient Greek culture, but also, through it, our own. The major archetypal characters embody energies present in each one of us today, and their mythic narratives provide guidance for expressing their positive potentials in the stories we think, tell, and live.
The workshop, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, will give participants an opportunity to apply to their own lives the archetypal framework I developed in Persephone Rising as well as two of my earlier books, The Hero Within and Awakening the Heroes Within. It will help participants build narrative intelligence capacities through storytelling, presentations on the archetypes, guided self-reflection, small and large group sharing, and an ongoing consideration of narrative intelligence as an important capacity for thriving in today’s world.
Both events will take place at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.
Back to Houston!
On March 10-11, I’ll be returning to the Houston Jung Center for a Friday evening lecture and Saturday workshop on “Tracking the Flow and Impact of Archetypes in Your Life.” The lecture, beginning at 7:00 pm, will explore how the shifting patterns seen in narratives about the four mythic characters I discuss in Persephone Rising—Demeter, Persephone, Zeus, and Dionysus—mirror the kinds of energetic flows that can occur in us as we grow to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing and disorienting times.
In the workshop, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, participants will discover how archetypes appear throughout our developmental process—a spiral movement in which we can see the timeless energy of the archetypes encounter the specific circumstances of our biology and history. Each stage of our lives, from childhood to maturity, will be seen as offering its own movie set. At these stages, certain archetypal characters emerge within each of us and respond to the challenge of playing parts that help us respond effectively to the plotline being lived around and through us. We will present and examine images of archetypal characters and descriptions of their stories, using a range of individual and group experiences. We will explore the abilities each of us has developed, or are in the process of developing, through living archetypal stories. And we will identify any area in our lives where a new narrative might be required to meet the challenges we currently are facing.
You can check the Events page of my website for further information on these and other events and for links to the registration sites of each organization.
In the Blogosphere
The U.S. presidential election has left Americans more divided than perhaps at any time since the Civil War. During the campaign, I gave expression to my concerns mainly through posts on Facebook and Twitter. After November 8th, and the surprising outcome, I decided to reflect more deeply on the meaning of it all. The result was a series of three blogs, under the title of “Making Lemonade: An Archetypal Plan for Recovering from the U.S. Presidential Election,” in which I offered an archetypal approach to understanding the forces at work both in the U.S. and around the world that produced this outcome and that threaten catastrophe, and a possible means to achieve greater unity and renew our faith in our democratic system of government. I would be very interested in hearing your ideas on this topic, which you can submit through the Comments section at the bottom of each blog.
Earlier, in the midst of the campaign, with so many people feeling unmoored and disoriented, I offered my ideas about “The Secret to Being Real, Successful, and Happy.” The blog tracks the individuation process through different stages of life and suggests ways to overcome the challenge of being true to your deeper, essential self in a shallow culture.
In a guest blog, my friend and colleague Cindy Atlee also shared her response to the campaign, and particularly the cathartic impact Saturday Night Live’s last pre-election sketch of the season had on her. Cindy uses my 12 archetype system as a branding consultant and leadership development coach “to help individuals and organizations define what story most brings their identity, purpose, and promise to life.” Her blog, entitled “How Saturday Night Live (Briefly) Restored the Innocent Archetype,” examines the different levels of the Innocent story type and offers several useful suggestions for leaders who want to move their organizations from a narrow, individualistic, often counterproductive focus to one that builds engagement by making greater room for diversity of thought and feeling.
Carol K. Walsh, an artist, writer, therapist, and personal coach, contributed a blog on “Healing Trauma With Creativity,” in which she recalls how she developed an understanding of the creative process that she used to survive and then thrive following a devastating personal tragedy. She divided her process into five elements of creative energy: Curiosity, Courage, Consistency, Commitment, and Conclusion, each of which creates more energy for the following one. “These steps can apply to anyone in any area of life, i.e. discovering your life’s path, beginning a spiritual search, developing a new business, co-creating a relationship, etc.,” she says.
Also on the subject of creativity, Pat Adson, in her latest guest blog, draws on her experience as a psychotherapist to underscore the importance of putting the imagination into action. In “The Creator: Make Something of Yourself,” she suggests ways to call upon that archetype to help you create your own life.
In “Re-Visioning Demeter, and Myself, as Sexual Mother,” Rebekah Lovejoy examines the aspect of the goddess that is often underemphasized in considerations of the myth of Demeter and Persephone: a sexual goddess who “reigns over the welfare of seeds, plants, and flowering” and who represents “fecundity, that which manifests ripeness, flowering sexual expression, and the juicy fruits of generativity.” In this respect, Demeter offers lessons for contemporary women who often lose touch with their sexuality while dealing with the challenges of motherhood.
Finally, in a guest blog posted just this week, Jody Gentian Bower posits an alternative to the classic “descent” story through which a woman—either goddess or mortal— gains an understanding of human relationships and of mortality, and that I explored in Persephone Rising. In “The Other Story,” Bower recounts narratives that tell of the wandering heroine, who has had a difficult childhood and who, “instead of descending to meet the dark goddess . . . goes out into the world,” following a path that leads her to discover her true identity.
Your comments on these and other blogs are welcomed and encouraged. Also, if you have an idea for a blog that you might like to submit, please send me an email with a brief summary and I will let you know whether it is suitable for my website and, if so, what guidelines you should follow in preparing it.
The easiest way to know when a new blog goes up on my website or any of the others on which I post is to follow me on Facebook at Carol S. Pearson, PhD and Twitter @carolspearson. Posts and tweets will let you know the topic and how to access it.
The best interviewers I’ve experienced are with New Dimensions Radio. The most recent interview, hosted by Justine Willis Toms, focused on “The Narrative Intelligence of the Greek Myths.” It aired this past August. If you want to have or give an interview that provides the essence of Persephone Rising, this one is the best overall. It also would be extremely useful if you teach my material in courses or workshops or employ it with coaching clients.
Over the years, I’ve done a number of interviews with New Dimensions Radio. Links to each of them can be found on the Media page of my website.
As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested. In addition, I invite you to follow me on Facebook at Carol S. Pearson, PhD, on Twitter @carolspearson, and on Instagram at carolspearsonphd, and let me know what is going on with you. Just click on one of the buttons on the right to connect.
Carol S. Pearson