Shortly after you receive this newsletter, David and I will be heading to Colorado to spend several weeks at our condo in Estes Park. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, hiking in the mountains, and witnessing the changing of the aspens, which lends a golden glow to portions of the landscape. Unfortunately, we’ll also see the latest depredations of climate change, which has led to the death of a significant percentage of the fir trees in Rocky Mountain National Park and massive forest fires in Colorado and other parts of the western United States.
As I write, the Carolinas are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. The storm did not hit Maryland directly, but our good fortune doesn’t compensate for the tragic loss of life and property inflicted by this and other severe storms that are products of changing weather patterns. At the same time, our President is denying climate change and the huge number of deaths in Puerto Rico that followed last year’s hurricanes, and is still keeping in captivity large numbers of children who were abducted from their parents or crossed the border alone.
Oh! It seems that we are in a scene from the myth of Demeter and Persephone, as described in my most recent book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within. In response to Zeus’s refusal to take responsibility for the rising famine and death toll and Persephone remaining in unwanted captivity, Demeter has moved from feeling anxious and powerless to remembering her power, showing her full goddess self and demanding that a temple be built in her honor (i.e., that the feminine be honored).
Our current scenario could be called “The Redemption of the Masculine.” Many men have rejected the idea that masculinity means conquering the earth, doing whatever they want to women and to anyone they wield power over, but some predator bullies are still holding out, and others still support and cover for them. The outcome is, as yet, unclear. The resistance of the Earth, and of caring people, of victims who are speaking out, and of our international neighbors and allies has begun.
In the myth, Zeus respects power and lacks empathy, so he gives in, but only when he has to. Then Persephone is freed, the famine abates, and community is restored. Zeus is an archetype, but our fate is yet to be determined. It is in our collective hands. The archetypes of Demeter, Persephone, and Dionysus are rooting for us and in our corner.
As indicated below, the best news I have to share at this time is that HarperOne has issued a paperback edition of Persephone Rising, with a new preface in which I explore the relevance of the book for the current political and cultural moment. If you haven’t yet read the book (or even if you have), I urge you to get a copy of the paperback and read the preface. I’d love to hear your response, which you can send me by email or on Facebook or Twitter.
The paperback version of my most recent book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, is now available. I’m thrilled that I was able to write a new preface that reveals how events in the world today mirror those in the story that provides the archetypal framework for the book. Donald Trump and this generation of Republicans are very much like Zeus. Demeter resembles the Democrats, Hillary, and Bernie. Persephone reflects the Women’s Marches, the #MeToo movement, and the emerging attitudes of the young today, as well as our country’s strength in innovation. Dionysus reveals the fun-loving side of Americans who like to get news from comedians and support candidates who shake things up—in some sectors, the more outlandish the better.
Beyond that, Persephone Rising is a manual that offers a path to successful living that includes integrating the hero and heroine within any of us. Recognizing archetypal patterns in the larger society is helpful in understanding that these same archetypes can easily be activated in your own life. The congruence of these outer and inner potentialities gives you an edge in succeeding in the here and now, if you just make them conscious. Living them more consciously than those whose example troubles you, breeds anxiety, and undermines hope can also make you part of our cultural solution. Persephone Rising can help you with this task.
Thanks to Hugh Marr and our colleagues at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), we are moving ever closer to the release of a new version of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®(PMAI®) instrument. Over the past month, a select group of individuals, likely including a number of subscribers to this newsletter, has taken the updated instrument and, through an online survey, offered feedback about it and the report they received. We also have made substantial progress on revising the publications that support the instrument. The goal now is to have all of these ready for release early next year. In the meantime, the current version of the PMAI® remains available through CAPT, so there is no reason to hold off if you want to make use of it for personal or professional reasons.
Next month, my colleague Kathleen Allen and I will lead a half-day preconference workshop at the 20thAnniversary Global Conference of the International Leadership Association, which I helped nurture while at the University of Maryland and on whose board of directors I served for several years. The workshop, entitled “Don’t Fight Mother Nature—Or Your Own,” will take place the morning ofWednesday, October 24th, 2018.
My section of the workshop will focus on narrative intelligence as an essential leadership capacity, and will make use of the new prototype Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®(PMAI®) as an essential leadership tool for those who want to be happy as well as successful. Participants will have taken the instrument and received individual in-depth reports. Kathleen’s section will explore how living systems intelligence can help leaders develop strategies aligned with the dynamics of their organizations.
The ILA conference will be held October 24thto 27th, 2018, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, FL. Information on the conference can be found here. For further information on the workshop, and a link to conference registration, you can go to my website.
Beginning November 15th, I will be offering an online course through the Houston Jung Center entitled “What Stories are Living You? Archetypal Awareness, Growth, and Fulfillment.” The course will be offered on successive Thursdays (except for Thanksgiving), until December 20th, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm Central Standard Time. Because it is an online course, people anywhere in the world can participate. Information on how to sign up is available on the Upcoming Events page of my website and the Houston Jung Center website. On the Jung Center website, search for my name in the instructor tab to register.
A brief description: The flow of archetypes through a life influences the stories we live, which in turn determine what we notice and assume we should do. The narratives we live can energize and focus us and, over time, help us develop skills and abilities that make for success in our work and private lives, but leave us feeling as if we are living on autopilot. Other archetypes may be active in the unconscious, emerging when needed to be helpful, or trip us up in various ways in their shadow forms. Participants will take the new prototype version of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®(PMAI®) before it is available for general purchase and will receive a report with data relevant to these issues, which will then be utilized in the workshop to facilitate personal reflection, informed by my input and group discussion.
In the Blogosphere
To coincide with the release of the paperback edition of Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, I have just posted a blog that explores the relevance of the Demeter/Persephone myth to current events and how Persephone embodies an archetypal spirit of liberation in the culture and for you and me that is sorely needed at the present moment. Entitled “Persephone Rising: A Transformational Feminine Energy Now Emerging in Women and Men,” the blog offers examples of how this energy has been expressed by contemporary figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elizabeth Warren, and Nikki Haley, but also makes clear that the Persephone spirit is not just for women. It is the inner calling in any of us that promotes the courage to speak our truths, even when we know that we live in a society that expects us to keep quiet about them. I also discuss how this spirit can be found in today’s social movements and in popular film.
In another blog, posted earlier this month, I teamed up with Margaret Mark, my co-author of The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, to examine how the lessons gleaned from the ways companies and brands respond to crisis can be useful to any of us confronting a crucible or severe test. In “Learning from Brands in Crisis: How to Remain Our Best Selves in Challenging Times,” Margaret and I discuss how companies like Starbucks, Disney, and Uber that have a particular archetypal identity managed crises with varying degrees of success, depending on whether their response was in keeping with the way the public understood their brand. We note that in the current environment, where information spreads with remarkable speed over the Internet, “Reacting to a PR crisis without attention to brand congruence can undercut a company’s reputation and the loyalty of its customers rather quickly.” And we ask that readers reflect on how they have dealt with crises in their own lives, and how consistent their behaviors were with those of their best selves. The blog made the front page of the Psychology Today website.
Two recent guest blogs I have hosted took a more intimate approach to how individuals dealing with enormously difficult issues in their personal lives can overcome immense challenges. In “Caregivers Experience Compassion Fatigue Because They Care,” Edward M. Smink, who has worked across the continuum of healthcare for over 40 years, notes that, “While most would agree that compassion is a value to be lived, its practice is often difficult in a culture that values competition and individualism.” He suggests several ways that caregivers can alleviate the exhaustion that arises from bearing the burden of their roles and relays three skills that can effective in resolving current symptoms of compassion fatigue and preventing future problems.
In “War, Loss, and a Self-Directed Life: An Archetypal Study,” Katherine Culpepper, who has worked as a school counselor with a wide range of students in the Providence School Department since 1995, follows up on an earlier guest blog in which she introduced a method of combining Projective Drawing with the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®(PMAI®) to help autistic students gain greater self-knowledge. In this blog, she offers a case study of a student from a traditional high school, a refugee from a war-torn country who experienced the trauma of leaving her beloved mother and grandmother behind to come to the United States. Through Projective Drawing and the PMAI®, she works with the student to help her deal with the social, emotional, and academic challenges she faces.
Several of these blogs have inspired a rich exchange of ideas. I welcome and encourage your comments on these and other blogs posted on my blogsite. 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.
In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on those of Psychology Today and the Depth Psychology Alliance, and you are invited to make comments on the former and on the latter if you are a member. The easiest way to learn 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 inform you of the topic and how to access it. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at carolspearsonphd. Just click on one of the buttons on the right to connect, and let me know what is going on with you.
As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.
Carol S. Pearson