Film Night: Jung’s Dramatic and Imaginative Writing

Facilitated by Jim Blalock
Friday, November 3 | Starts at 7 pm
Free for Members | Held Via Zoom | Zoom Link Here

In this talk titled, C G Jung’s Dramatic and Imaginative Writing, Dr. Rowland suggests that Jung’s Collected Works be read through a Jungian Perspective as opposed to reading Jung from an egoic perspective or from the author’s intention. Reading a text in depth psychologically calls for a “Hermeneutics of Suspicion”, thus letting in the “Otherness” that begs to be uncovered. By reading Jung “closely” Rowland artistically explores the unknown voices that emerge through Jung’s writings. Ultimately, her creative presentation will stir our imagination while urging us to revisit Jung’s Collected Works.

Dr Susan Rowland is Core Faculty, and Advisor in Research and the Humanities in MA Depth Psychology and Creativity, as well as teaching in the Doctoral Program in Jungian and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle and her MAs from the Universities of London and Oxford. In 2003 Susan became the first Chair of the International Association of Jungian Studies (IAJS). She is the author of many studies of Jung, literary theory, the arts, and gender including Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), Jung as a Writer (2005), C.G. Jung and the Humanities (2010), The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Complexity Evolution and Jung (2012), followed by Remembering Dionysus (2017) and Jungian Literary Criticism: The Essential Guide (2019). According to Professor Rowland, “I am a teacher and Scholar of Literature, arts, depth psychology, gender, and writing. My goals are to contribute to the understanding of the deep creativity of the psyche through teaching, research, writing, and dancing.”

Film Night: The Eleusinian Mysteries

Facilitated by Lois LeBlanc
Friday, December 1 | Starts at 7 pm
Free for Members | Held Via Zoom | Zoom Link Here

The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated every year around the fall equinox, from about 1500 BC until 392 AD when their festivities were outlawed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius. While the contents of this initiation into the cult of Demeter and Persephone were held strictly secret, Plato (who was initiated) described his experience vaguely with terms like the “blessed sight and vision” he witnessed in a “state of perfection”. Following a brief movie about this 10-day initiatory experience, we will reflect on its meaning, its power as a metaphor and symbol, and its relevance today.


Film Night: Reciprocity Project
Facilitated by Jeff Pinnette
Friday, October 20 | Starts at 7 pm
Free for Members | Held Via Zoom | Zoom Link Here

Season One of the Reciprocity Project is a collection of 7 short films. Storytellers and community partners created films in response to a question: What does ‘reciprocity’ mean to you and your community? In many Indigenous languages, there is no word for reciprocity; rather, it’s embedded in every aspect of existence, connecting all beings, seen and unseen. Reciprocity Project Season One showcases films created within Indigenous communities across Turtle Island in the U.S. and Colombia, with unique perspectives on reciprocity and each community’s unique relationship to the land and animals around them. The Reciprocity Project is a collaboration between Nia Tero and Upstander Project in association with REI Co-op Studios. Produced by Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Kavita Pillay, and Tracy Rector. For more information about the filmmakers and view discussion guides and more on the Reciprocity Project, please visit:

The Four Pillars: Transforming the Anxious Self
with Jonathan Teel

Sunday, November 5 | 2 – 4 pm
Held Online via Zoom
Members $25, Non-Members $35

In my book, “The Four Pillars: Transforming the Anxious Self,” (working title) I explore the root causes of anxiety by looking back on childhood experiences and events in adulthood. Through a self-reflective, intuitive, and analytical process, I offer up four pillars as antidotes for unearthing and coming to terms with childhood development (nature versus nurture), trauma, stressful situations, and genetic predispositions for anxiety conditions (or disorders). The pillars are Curiosity, Creativity, Compassion, and Consciousness and they are the tools that I used for healing my anxiety condition and illuminating a deeper underlying self that wants to arise.

In each stage of my life (childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and approaching middle age), I carried certain biological and psychological conditions for having and sustaining an anxiety condition and that was reinforced by experience. Through a process of self-inquiry in my late thirties and early forties, I encountered the four pillars as a framework to increase my self-awareness of the conscious, unconscious, and subconscious parts or influences in my experience growing up into adulthood. Through them, I unearthed past trauma and stressful situations, and observed how the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of others around me seeped into my understanding of my own self, personality, and identity. Unconscious fears and their repressed or suppressed imprints in others (alongside my own) left impressions on me that fed anxiety.

In the end result, each of the pillars provided me with the lens to understand my anxiety’s root causes and the complexity of the mind, and then offer solutions to it. What I found in the four pillars were natural allies that supported integrating that past, removing obstacles to personal growth through heightened self-awareness, and deepening my sense of self beyond any past judgments and inner conflict. I eventually reimagined anxiety to see its gifts and its messages for me. When I knew what it was telling me, the easier it was to mitigate its sometimes destabilizing elements. My exploration of the four pillars helped to transform the anxious self in me to become more at ease with life’s inherent uncertainty while enhancing my own sense of inner peace. In this particular case, the unconscious (and subconscious) rose to the surface to become more conscious, giving me an experience of integration and well-being.

In this program, I will share my past journey with anxiety and how the four pillars served as guides for me to bring conscious awareness and attention to the past that enhanced the integration of the mind and allowed me to experience my life with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.

Jonathan Teel is a teacher, writer, and award-winning photographer who lives in Mid-Coast, Maine. For the last seven years, he has also operated a private practice called The Heart Intuitive that supports youth and adults dealing with anxiety and seeking to make peace with the past to show up as the best version of themselves. His holistic approach includes Eastern healing techniques such as Reiki and adaptations to Western psychological models such as the “internal family systems.” His first book, “The Four Pillars: Transforming the Anxious Self” (working title) is due out in 2024.

Navigating our Relationship with Mobile Digital Technology
with Elizabeth Nelson

Saturday, October 28 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Held Online via Zoom
Members $35, Non-Members $45

What happens when busy, highly connected adults go without their tech? Saturday’s workshop begins with a presentation of key themes arising from a multi-year study of digital fasting. In a series of individual exercises and small group dialog, participants will respond to the five erosions we encounter in our pervasive mobile digital environment, including loss of thoughtfulness, place, creative focus, sleep, and dream. Then, to hold the tension of the opposites, participants will consider how extending the body in cyberspace may enhance our lives. By the end of the day, participants will have a more robust sense of how the mobile digital environment shapes our experience of ourselves, of others, and of the built and natural worlds we call home.

Elizabeth Nelson, PhD, core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaches research process, methodology, and dissertation development along with courses in technology, literature, and archetypal psychology. Her books include Psyche’s Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power (Chiron, 2012) and The Art of Inquiry: A Depth Psychological Perspective (Spring Publications, 2017), coauthored with Joseph Coppin. She teaches and speaks internationally and has published numerous scholarly papers and book chapters on subjects including feminism, film, dreams, and research. Dr. Nelson has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, coaching aspiring authors across a variety of genres and styles.

Mildred Harris 2023: The Extended Body in Cyberspace
with Elizabeth Nelson

Friday, October 27 | 7 – 9 pm
Held Online via Zoom 
Free and Open to the Public

Few people in the first world can live without their mobile digital technology, be it smartphones, tablets, or laptops, and the social media apps that keep them connected. Fully 80% of Americans go online several times a day; younger people are continually jacked in, to borrow William Gibson’s prescient phrase. In the twenty-first century, digital devices have become extensions of the body, creating a new techno-human environment.

This seminar adopts a somatic approach to our relationship with mobile digital technology, inquiring into the benefits and the costs—to body, mind, spirit, and soul—of techno-humanism. We will reflect on our digital lives and the unchallenged habits made possible by convenient, ubiquitous “smart” devices which have encroached on, and profoundly altered, the way we live, work, and love.

Elizabeth Nelson, PhD, core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, teaches research process, methodology, and dissertation development along with courses in technology, literature, and archetypal psychology. Her books include Psyche’s Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power (Chiron, 2012) and The Art of Inquiry: A Depth Psychological Perspective (Spring Publications, 2017), coauthored with Joseph Coppin. She teaches and speaks internationally and has published numerous scholarly papers and book chapters on subjects including feminism, film, dreams, and research. Dr. Nelson has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, coaching aspiring authors across a variety of genres and styles.

Film Night: King of Masks
Facilitated by John Philson
Friday, September 15 | Starts at 7 pm
Free for Members | Held Via Zoom | Zoom Link Here

In 1930s China, Wang Bianlian is an aging street performer known as the King of Masks for his mastery of Sichuan Change Art. Wang yearns for a male heir to inherit the secrets of his renowned magical act, a rare and dying art. Wang illegally solicits and is sold an 8-year-old orphan named “Doggie” by a slave trader. “Grandpa” finds new joy in life as he plans to teach “Doggie” his art. Leading, of course, to a cascade of unintended consequences. One of the questions the film poses: Does art imitate Life or does Life imitate Art? Subtitles in English.

Family Photos: Portals to the Past
with Patricia Reis

Sunday, December 10 | 2 – 4 pm
Held Online via Zoom 
Members $30, Non-Members $40

This presentation will consider old family photographs as portals to the past. If we are lucky to possess them these relics convey layers of information about the people pictured. We can read into them a great deal, from their clothing, their physicality, their expressions. Not everyone has access to such documents.

“Refugees are divided into two categories: those who have photographs and those who have none.” This quote from a Bosnian refugee is cited by writer, Dubravka Ugrešić. She goes on to tell another vignette from the Bosnian war: When the war criminal Ratko Mladic was shelling Sarajevo from the surrounding hills, he saw through his rifle sights, the house of an acquaintance. He phoned this person and told him he was giving him five minutes to collect his “family albums” because he was going to blow the house up.

“The general,” Ugrešić writes, “who had been destroying the city for months, knew precisely how to annihilate memory. That is why he “generously” bestowed on his acquaintance life with the right to remembrance. Bare life and a few family photographs.”

A family portrait made in 1900 became the inspiration for my historical fiction, UNSETTLED (October 2023, Sybilline Press). I will describe the process of traveling from the photograph through a few obituaries and family stories to arrive at the characters and their secrets and stories.

I invite the participants to bring old family photographs for the discussion following the presentation.

Patricia Reis is a writer and published author and has worked for forty years as a psychotherapist.  She has a BA from the University of Wisconsin in English Literature and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Sculpture. In 1986, she earned an MA from the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology and has a private psychotherapy practice. Patricia Reis has held positions as faculty, lecturer, and dissertation advisor and has mentored and facilitated many artists and writers in bringing their work to fruition. long with numerous essays, articles, and reviews, she has published six books, including Unsettled, (2023, Sybilline Press). A work of historical fiction, Unsettled is based on Reis’ immigrant ancestors who pioneered a farm in Iowa in 1900. She divides her time between Portland, Maine, and Nova Scotia. 

(The Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne-Jones)

Past Life Therapy: A Powerful Healing Tool
with Dianne Seaman

Sunday, December 3 | 2 – 4 pm
Held Online via Zoom 
Members $30, Non-Members $40

Is there a past life level to a Complex? The ongoing debate on the subject tends to polarize opinions into two opposing camps. Most popular with traditional schools of psychology is the view that so-called past life memories are just some manifestation of subconscious processes where Freudian symbolism meets with Jungian archetypes. The often cliched excesses of reincarnationalism insist on the literal view of past life recall. I propose that neither is true and (in a paradoxical way) both are true simultaneously. It is not a matter of either one or the other theory being correct. For outside either of these two camps is the growing number of psychologists amassing considerable evidence that, in the way the deep subconscious is organized, both the archetypal level and the literal experience can and do co-exist.

Jungian analyst Roger Woolger developed a model that places the karmic or past life complex midway between an archetype, which has no personal memory trace, and a complex that derives from personal experience in this life. Woolger’s term, karmic complex, is simply a modern Western term for the ancient concept of samskara in Eastern psychology (referring to that which has been wrought, cultivated, brought to form or, in the case of an individual personality with its characteristic adornments, scars, and quirks, that which has been in the process of concoction for lifetimes). According to Woolger this karmic complex “offers the missing keystone in the overarching bridge between Eastern and Western psychologies.”

A complex can be viewed as a type of web or knot, with the various strands/threads being composed of biographical material, archetypal contents, somatic expressions, past life levels, and perinatal components along with the current life condition. Following any thread can lead to the complex. For example, it does not matter whether one starts with the biographical, archetypal, or past life level. Any one strand can reverberate across the web and bring to conscious awareness other components in the complex. Therefore the debate to determine whether such contents are either archetypal or literal past life memories misses the point. They are often both archetypal and literal memories at the same time. Or to follow the above image… two of the strands/threads create the web/knot in the same complex.

The above model also fits the emerging worldview that corresponds with quantum physics- that the psyche is arranged in a non-linear, more holographic way. The linear cause and effect models in Western psychotherapy, which echoed Newtonian physics, assumed causality for personality starting in childhood which was structured in a linear arrangement in the subconscious. (ie. the further back in linear time, the more difficult for the conscious mind to access) The Western bias toward materialism also accepted only physical, genetic inheritance of temperament. What research in past life therapy is revealing is that there may also be a type of non-physical soul, or psychic inheritance from our own past life history, which swirls together with archetypal material and a person’s current biography to blend into the unique personality of a given individual.

Throughout his lifetime Jung explored both Western and Eastern sources in his quest for understanding. He observed that there is a part of the psyche not subject to the laws of space and time, echoing what quantum physics is now revealing. Jung had the courage to experiment with many tools and to do so without prejudice. I think the time has arrived for those familiar with Jungian psychology to follow his example and suspend any preconceived biases long enough to explore the possibility that there may indeed be a past life component to any complex.

Dianne Seaman Poitier was one of the first to be certified in Regression Therapy by the International Board of Regression Therapists. (IBRT). She began her journey in this field as a result of spontaneous past life memories, which prompted her to delve into exploring this level of the psyche. Dianne has also been a professional astrologer for decades and presented talks linking Jungian psychology and astrology at the Atlanta Jung Society as well as a Jungian group in Indianapolis and the Round Table Jung group in the Philadelphia area. She also lectured on the subject at Columbia University’s Psychology Graduate Department.

(Anguish by August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck)

The Polarized Psyche: A Cry for Transformation
with Dick Sweeney

Saturday, November 18 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Held Online via Zoom 
Members $30, Non-Members $40

To say that we live in an increasingly polarized culture has become nearly a truism today. The clash between political liberalism and conservatism, between religious fundamentalism and progressivism, between free and restricted speech, and between nationalism and globalism appears to confront us at every turn in our lives. At the same time, years ago C.G. Jung reminded us that “a political situation is the manifestation of a parallel psychological problem in millions of individuals.” In other words, polarization of any kind often points to conflict within our own psyches. In this program, we will explore how the cry for transformation and integration comes from within the soul itself. To this end, we will examine how Jung’s theories of human development, neurosis, and the creative tension of opposites offer us a way to approach the polarities we find in ourselves and in our culture at large. This presentation will combine lectures with case examples, dream material, and some participant interaction.

Richard J. Sweeney, Ph.D. is a Jungian psychoanalyst and licensed professional clinical counselor who has practiced in Central Ohio and now Southern Maine. He holds a doctoral degree in psychology and religion from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley and a diploma in analytical psychology from the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich where he has also served as a member of its international faculty wing.

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