This winter, our Friends of Jung Book Club read Jung's Memories, Dream and Reflections. This lecture and workshop by analyst Peggy Voth is open to five additional members who have also read this book.
Note: This event includes a Friday night talk and a full-day Sunday workshop.
In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung speaks of a personal myth. Several times in his life, he identified myths that he was not living (his father’s, for instance, who joined a long line of clergymen, nor his mother’s, who was interested in occult sources of wisdom). Eventually, he asked, “What is my myth?”
This is a question that many of us ponder at midlife, at midnight, at midday. We ask, Who am I, really? What am I really about? What is the meaning of my life? These things puzzle us, and are not easy to answer. They defy a concrete, set-in-stone answer. Stories and poetry often move us closer to a “felt” purpose, the hint of an answer.
A conception-story out of Africa invites us to go back to when time began for us as a soul coming to earth inside a physical body. The story will lead us into an exercise intended to turn our attention toward the essence of who we are –– who each of us is personally, and always has been.
Friday night’s short talk sets the stage for Sunday’s experiential workshop. Come with curiosity about your soul-self. Bring writing materials. The closing exercise aims to provoke thought throughout Saturday and contribute to a different exploration of your life on Sunday. Specific materials that you need to bring to Sunday’s event will be described.
Jung’s near-death experience in his late sixties turned his myth-question on its head. In a dream, he saw a yogi sitting in contemplation. Upon closer examination, he realized that the figure had his face and that Jung himself was the manifestation of the yogi’s dream. His query then became What myth is living me? We will entertain this question in a day-long workshop.
Part of what makes the question “why am I here?” so difficult is that we cannot stand outside the myth that we are living. We are in the myth. It surrounds us, breathes us, lives us. Looking back on Jung’s life, we can perhaps perceive the essence of his life easier than he was able to do. He poured his heart, soul, and life force into his work. Yet he sometimes asked what the use of it all was, for resistance, judgment and misunderstanding plagued his attempts to articulate his fascination with the psyche. Today we experience the value of his efforts, and are grateful for his work.
Sunday’s hands-on workshop will open with a diagrammatic sketch of Jung’s life. This will introduce the day’s work. Through guiding questions designed to help you gather and group your experiences, you will create an intersecting timeline of your life so far. This exercise can act as a visual aid for recognizing patterns that have been playing themselves out. Musing on what these patterns might signify, and how you feel about them, will hopefully move you toward a more textured grasp of what your life is about. Combining these reflections with those of Friday evening are intended to produce a deeper awareness of the you that is being dreamed into being.