Spring finally is in full bloom in Maryland, and after a long winter marked by changeable weather and extensive travel, it’s truly a pleasure to be surrounded by greenery punctuated by flowering trees and bushes. While our national political environment remains extremely turbulent and in so many ways disturbing, I find it a great comfort to have the seasons making their annual turn, even with the knowledge that climate change poses both immediate and long-term threats. Over the winter, I enjoyed spending several weeks in Santa Barbara, gave lectures and workshops to wonderful and appreciative audiences in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas, and had an opportunity to work closely for several days with colleagues at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type in Gainesville, Florida, publishers of the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator Instrument® (PMAI)®, on many new ideas for supporting materials. In addition, I recently gave two presentations in the “Seeing Red” series of offerings of the Assisi Institute: The International Center for the Study of Archetypal Patterns. I’m looking forward to participating in the New York Center for Jungian Studies’ annual Jung on the Hudson seminar in July. In addition, over the past few months I’ve posted a new blog on my website and hosted a number of extraordinary guest blogs that I encourage you to check out if you haven’t done so already. You can read about all of these and more below.
My husband, David Merkowitz, and I will be presenting at the New York Center for Jungian Studies’ annual Jung on the Hudson seminar this summer, July 23-28, 2017, in Rhinebeck, NY. The seminar topic is “Brothers and Sisters: Myth and Reality.” My workshop will explore the archetypal resonance of the sibling relationship, focusing on (1) how the flow of archetypes throughout life, and in subsequent personal and professional relationships, can be affected by these early affiliations; and (2) the current political milieu as an example of sibling rivalry heated up, with its implications for the potential of our coming back together as Americans. Participants in David’s workshop will consider how such connections have been presented in poetry and other forms of creative writing, discuss several works that focus on brothers and sisters, and try their hands at their own written reflections on the topic. The entire seminar has a fascinating lineup of thinkers and speakers. David and I have done several events in the past with the New York Center for Jungian Studies, including presenting at Jung on the Hudson seminars, and always find them richly rewarding. The opportunity to spend several days in a bucolic setting with a relatively small group of participants exploring meaningful topics always produces lasting memories, personal growth, and new (or renewed) friendships. We hope you can join us.
As often happens with me, my dreams are beginning to generate ideas about the USA from the perspective of archetypal narratives, and the stories that might unify the American people and help us work together to face 21st century realities and meet contemporary challenges, without ignoring the diversity of opinion and experience in our nation. So, I’m beginning to write down thoughts, which could result in a book or, failing that, a blog series. Since David and I both are movie buffs, I’m drawing on popular and award winning movies along with historical and current events to flesh out my thinking. I’d appreciate your sharing any ideas that you have, either through my Facebook page or via email, both of which you can access by clicking on the appropriate buttons below.I know that a great way to not get thrown off course by everything that’s happening in the external environment is to do something that supports what we believe in, whatever that may be. For me, it may be a book, since writing books is what I do. For you, it may be something else. But whatever we choose, it all matters.
As this newsletter was being prepared, I gave two presentations for the Assisi Institute: The International Center for the Study of Archetypal Patterns in its “Seeing Red” series of offerings, which are designed to illuminate the psychological roots of feminine oppression by giving voice and image to the authentic identities of women. The first presentation was part of an on-line certificate course addressing the trauma of feminine oppression and working with psyche, the soul, and the creative unconscious to connect with the emerging feminine. The course is now closed to enrollment, but a second cohort will be launched in January 2018. My other presentation was the second in a nine-part webinar series, “Seeing Red at the Movies,” that explores classic and contemporary films through the lens of the archetypal identities of the feminine. In my session, I discussed Arrival, one of the most acclaimed movies of last year and an Academy Award nominee for best picture. You can register for individual webinars or the entire series by email at email@example.com or by phone at (860) 415-5004.
I've come across a title that you just have to read. My associate Dori Koehler has published a book on Disneyland, ritual, and temple making. This project, aptly titled The Mouse and The Myth: Sacred Art and Secular Ritual of Disneyland, grew out of her dissertation research at Pacifica Graduate Institute. It reflects her conviction that as before, so now -- the idea that ancient rituals do not go away, they merely change shape and reflect culture today. In her book, she explores the current crisis of imaginal thinking as she examines Walt Disney's creation of Disneyland as a sacred space for connection. She does this by examining the phenomena of temple cult in the ancient world and by arguing that Disneyland re-imagines what it is like to engage with sacred traditions such as pilgrimage, icon, spectacle, and renewal. It's a perfect gift, a primer for those new to depth psychology and archetypal theory. You'll never look at Disneyland the same way again.
As have so many other people, since January I have been obsessed with politics and the Trump administration’s attempts to upend so many policies and programs I have supported, as well as how various forces and group interests are serving to widen the gulf between Americans of different parties, classes, races, and ethnicities. Since much of my work focuses on the power of story, I’m especially interested in the way different narratives related to our national identity can either divide us as a people or bring us closer together. In a March blogpost entitled “Finding Yourself in the New Tribalism,” I discussed how the archetypes of the Seeker and the Lover can help us navigate the current divisive terrain as we try, at any point in our lives, to develop a sense of identity and learn to make choices that are right for us in areas like work, love, lifestyle, values, and beliefs.
In a fascinating guest blog posted just last week, “Maui the Heroic Monster,” Rebekah Lovejoy interrogates the role of the hero in the popular recent Disney film Moana. Lovejoy argues that the archetype of the shaman (which I often refer to as the Magician), embodied in the title character of the movie, serves to balance and heal the traditionally masculine and destructive aspects of the hero as that archetype has developed over thousands of years—“an archetypal energy that runs like threads through every human culture, replicated in film, novels, the revolutionary depiction of the communist collective spirit, and the capitalist call to ‘progress’ and ‘innovation.’”Beth Boardman, who lectures on the mythology of sport, women and myth, and the alchemy of adolescence, contributed a guest blog on “Persephone Rising, Artemis’s Indomitable Spirit, and the Power of Hidden Figures: Reflections on Cycles of Visibility,” in which she examines the archetypal backdrop of the award-winning film about the African-American women mathematicians who played key roles in the early years of the American space program.
In “Sailing the Caregiver Seas: How Archetypes Help Chart the Course,” guest blogger Lyndall Hare, who has worked in the field of aging for 30 years, relates how she has used the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator Instrument® (PMAI)® and the Spinning Wheel of Caregiving Roles in her consulting to match specific functions of caregiving to the caregiver’s archetypal make-up. When these tools are used together, she says, “the caregiver can determine which of the twelve archetypes in the PMAI are prominent in her life journey, and which ones may need to be developed to assist her in her new role.”
And in January, my associate Dori Koehler processed her sadness over President Obama’s departure from office by examining his orientation toward Eros—“the psycho-spiritual energy that seeks connection”—in his approach to governing. In a guest blog entitled “The Audacity of Love: Lessons I Learned from an Obama Presidency,” she draws on her deep background in mythology and the work of C.G. Jung and Walter Odajnyk on personality typologies to show how Obama projected the values of kindness and caring and “was motivated by the convictions of his heart.”
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.In addition to my blogsite, you can find many of my blogs on those of Psychology Today and the Depth Psychology Alliance. 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. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram at carolspearsonphd. Just click on one of the buttons below 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.
Blessings, Carol S. Pearson