Archetypal Stories – 3/2/2017

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ARCHETYPAL STORIES: WATERS DEEP FROM THE WELL.  The stories we tell about ourselves, about who we are, help to determine what we see as possible. They tell us what to expect of ourselves and from others, and what we might imagine for our future. Our personal narrative is mostly determined by the experiences and relationships that we have in our life, particularly those from our early life and at critical times of growth and transition. Jung wrote of the importance of our dreams, fantasies, and stories for their capacity to bring new energy and to shine light toward new paths of understanding ourselves. In these stories and dreams, the archetypal images stir the psyche with libido, the energy of the psyche. Jung wrote, “Just as instincts compel man to a specifically human mode of existence, so the archetypes force his ways of perception and apprehension into specifically human patterns. The instincts and archetypes together form the ‘collective unconscious.’  I call it collective because unlike the personal unconscious, it is not made up of individual and more or less unique contents but of those which are universal and of regular occurrence. (CG Jung, Instincts and the Unconscious) He is saying that a function of the archetype is to awaken in us a larger sense of who we are. The archetypal brings to the sense of our personal narrative an awareness of something that is much greater than our individual self. Jung understood that the experience of the archetypal brings energy in ways that exert an influence in a way that can bring a fascination or numinous effect or can impel one to action. It has a quality and energy that gets our attention. When we engage these experiences consciously, reflect on them, work creatively with them, we have the opportunity to broaden our sense of who we know ourselves to be and open to new possibility and understanding.”
We have all had the experience of being moved, perhaps taken and held by a story, a dream, or movie. We are called to wonder about what it is that so touched something inside of us. Why has that story stirred me so? It is our soul’s response to these experiences that lets us know that something universal or archetypal is stirred. Story has the power to teach and to transform the world we live in through its ability to change the individual, to wake us from our limited understanding. The archetypal stories are those stories that speak to the universal and human struggles of which we are all a part. I want to invite you to think of the stories that inspired or stuck with you. How did that story or myth shape a sense of the world and your understanding? Did it bring light at a time of darkness and what did it point to for you? How have you changed because of it? You most likely already know that stories like that change over the course of our lives. Stories lose their energy and fascination and a new myth or story will be needed. This is what happens when we become restless and in need of renewal. In our time together we will explore, through lecture and discussion, several archetypal themes in selected myths and story. We will focus on three main archetypal themes: awakening, separation, and the experience of being lost, and of renewal. For those of you looking to do some reading, I would suggest the first three chapters of Joseph Campbell’s collection of Jung’s essays, The Portable Jung. You will find an introduction to his model of the psyche and a description of archetype and the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is the deep water of the well that I refer to in the title of this program. The purpose of working with the archetypal images and energies is summed up clearly by Erich Neumann in his book, The Great Mother. He writes, “When ego consciousness comes to understand parts of the archetypal contents and incorporates them into itself, the ego is strengthened and consciousness broadened.” This is what the waters deep from the well do, they nourish us, helps us to know ourselves more fully, and awaken us to greater understanding of the world in which we live. I look forward to drinking water from deep in the well with you.
Everett McLaren, Ed.D., LPC, is a graduate of the InterRegional Society of Jungian Analysts. Everett received his doctoral degree from the College of William and Mary in 1983. He is a member of the faculty of the New Orleans Jungian Seminar. Everett is a Licensed Professional Counselor and lives outside of Richmond, Virginia. Presently retired from clinical practice, he enjoys sharing the work of Jung through opportunities like these to speak and teach.
This program approved for 2 Clock Hours by NBCC (fee)**
What: Lecture 7 – 9 pm                           When:  Thursday, March 2, 2017
Where: Baton Rouge Contemporary Art Gallery – 1442 City Park Avenue
Price: $10 for Non-members of Jung Society / Jung Society Members Free
CEUs: $5
** The C. G. Jung Society of Baton Rouge is an NBCC–Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. Licensed Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and other Mental Health Professionals will receive a Certificate of Completion to give to their respective Licensing Boards. Call Patricia Hare Pizer, at 225-247-7737, or Oneal Isaac, at 225-763-1230 for more information.