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Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche
Petros M. Nomikos Foundation
September 6,7,8, 2012
“Dawn in her saffron robe rose from the River of Ocean
To bring daylight to the immortals and to men”
Homer Iliad 19.9
We would like to invite you to participate in a second conference designed to illuminate the influence of ancient Greek thought--mythology, philosophy, art, culture--on our modern psyches. We are bringing together Jungian analysts, and other scholars, for our three-day event on the beautiful island of Santorini, ancient Thera, in Greece. Because of the volcanic eruption around 1627 bce which created the caldera, a huge crater that drops to the sea, the island has been fabled as Plato’s lost kingdom of Atlantis.
Known for its spectacular views at the edge of the caldera, the island’s Bronze Age site of Akrotiri was first excavated in 1967 by the archaeologist Spiro Marinatos. When Marinatos died in 1976, Professor Christos Doumas took over the direction of the ongoing work. The island offers a unique opportunity to concentrate our studies. The Petros M. Nomikos Conference Center, with its stunning location at the top of the hill above the main town of Fira and its up-to-date facilities, is a splendid site for participants and presenters to come together. The Nomikos Conference Center also houses the Thera Wallpainting Exhibition, an in situ full size photographic installation of the Bronze Age site frescoes uncovered and restored thus far.
A welcome reception, wine and mezes, will take place the evening of September 5 at the Nomikos Center.
We are limiting the program to provide ample time for discussion. We want to stimulate dialogue and create an intimacy that honors the depth and the breadth of our presentations, the modern Greek culture in which we will be hosted, and the fascinating history of the island. To that end, there will be a maximum of three presentations a day. Two lectures will be given in the morning, one in the early evening; question and answer session to follow each presentation. Presenters will be available throughout the days for further discussion.
In the long afternoons, participants may follow the Greek tradition of lunch and nap as well as find time to visit the local attractions, which include the following: the Bronze Age site of Akrotiri; the modern Museum of Prehistoric Thera which houses the artifacts from Akrotiri; the older Archaeological Museum; the Roman era town of ancient Thera, wineries (for example, Boutari winery), black sand beaches, and the hot springs of Nea Kamena.
Thomas Singer, MD
Thomas Singer, MD, a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist who narrated a mythological tale about his forty years of journeying in Greece at the first Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche conference, will moderate this second conference. After studying religion and European literature at Princeton University, he graduated from Yale Medical School and later trained at Dartmouth Medical Center and the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. His writing includes articles on Jungian theory, politics, and psychology, and his recent books include The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World (2000); The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society (2004), with Samuel L. Kimbles; Initiation: The Living Reality of An Archetype (2007); with Thomas Kirsch and Virginia Beane Rutter; Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis (2010), Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche (2011) with Virginia Beane Rutter. His newest book, Placing Psyche: Exploring the Cultural Complexes of Australia (2012) was created in collaboration with David Tacey, Amanda Dowd, and Craig San Roque, one of the conference presenters.
Virginia Beane Rutter, MA, MS
The Hero Who Would Not Die: Warrior and Goddess in Ancient Greek and Modern Men
Ancient Greek heroes were men, not gods, but mortals who had lived and died. After their deaths, however, these heroes were believed to exert power over the living, and as a consequence were worshipped alongside the gods. Shrines dedicated to heroes were everywhere in ancient Greece, and cults grew up around those shrines.
“Swift-footed, god-like” Achilles; “the great tactician, resourceful” Odysseus; and “the wrestler, lion-hearted” Herakles were three heroes whose stories shifted as ancient Greek culture evolved, and whose shrines live on today, drawing many captivated visitors. Skill, trickery, and strength were core qualities that enabled these warriors’ heroism. In Homer, all three men are influenced by goddesses. Both Achilles and Odysseus are patronized by the “clear-eyed goddess” Athena; while Herakles is persecuted by his stepmother, “golden-throned” Hera. The protector and initiator of warriors, the early Greek Mistress of Animals (of Near Eastern origin), a bloody, violent goddess, precursor to the later Artemis, underlies the Homeric goddesses who intervene in the heroes’ exploits.
With particular attention to these three glorified ancient heroes, Beane Rutter will discuss how the heroic archetype manifests in the psyches, actions, and traumas of three modern men, all war veterans. She will also discuss how the dynamics of the hero archetype, and the way in which it is affected by the feminine principle, may shed light on the treatment of PTSD. Ancient Greek hero myths and hero worship can help us understand the psyches of our modern heroes, as well as the effect of their suffering on the families who survive them.
Virginia Beane Rutter, MA, MS is a Jungian analyst who trained at the C.G. Jung Institutes of Zurich and San Francisco. Her first Master’s degree in Art History, taken at the University of California, Berkeley, together with an early sustaining love of Greece developed into a passion for studying ancient myths and rites of passage through art, archaeology, and psychology. These studies grew out of her intense clinical practice and coalesced around archetypal themes of initiation as they manifest in the unconscious material of women and men today. She is in private practice in Mill Valley, California. She is also the author of three books including Woman Changing Woman: Restoring the Mother Daughter Relationship (Spring Journal Books 2009). Her articles include, “The Archetypal Paradox of Feminine Initiation in Analytic Work,” in Initiation: The Living Reality of An Archetype (Routledge London 2007) which she also co-edited with Thomas Kirsch and Thomas Singer and “Saffron Offering and Blood Sacrifice: Transformation Mysteries in Jungian Analysis” in Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche: Archetypes in the Making (Spring Journal Books, 2011)
Donald E. Kalsched, PhD
Beauty and the Psychoanalytic Enterprise: Reflections in Light of Plato’s Phaedrus and the Terrifying Intimacies of Inter-Subjective Experience in Analysis
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure…
Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies
For Plato, all knowledge is recollection, and the experience of beauty is no exception. When we glimpse the beautiful, we are “seeing through” the manifest content of our time-and space-bound vision to eternal or heavenly Beauty with which the soul once communed--in that early blessed time when the soul lived with the gods and had wings. According to Plato, a conscious experience of beauty here and now, gives us a chance to re-grow these wings, and restore wholeness to the soul. However, few individuals can tolerate this experience because of the “shuddering” and the “measure of awe” that comes over them and the fear that they are no longer masters of themselves, but are “possessed by a deity” (Phaedrus, par. 249d).
In psychoanalysis this fear sometimes manifests as resistance in both patients and analysts. We rarely speak about the beauties of psychoanalytic work, its exquisite intimacy, its evocation of the beauty of psychic reality itself, or the access it gives us to those experiences of beauty in childhood (ours and our patients) that often rescue us from the otherwise impossible suffering that may befall us. We defend ourselves against these vulnerabilities.
In this lecture, Kalsched will provide vignettes of the experience of beauty in the psychoanalytic situation and illustrate the problem we may have with it. Most of them cannot be understood without reference to the early Greek understanding of beauty’s daimonic nature, and its intimate relationship to the human soul—something Carl Jung, among the early analysts, uniquely understood--from his own personal experience of beauty.
Donald E. Kalsched, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Psychoanalyst in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a training analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and lectures widely on the subject of his first book The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (Routledge 1996). His subsequent thinking will be available in a second book Trauma and the Soul: Spiritual Aspects of Human Development and its Interruption (Routledge, In Press.)
He and his wife Robin migrate yearly between Albuquerque and their home in Newfoundland Canada, where they spend the warmer six months of the year, surrounded by the luminous beauties of the northern Atlantic coastline.
Jules Cashford, MA
The Homeric Hymn to Hermes: How Hermes and Apollo Came to Love Each Other
The Homeric Hymn to Hermes is one of the oldest hymns (c.700 BC) written down around the time of the Odyssey and the Iliad. At one level it tells the story of how Hermes drew Apollo to him by stealing his cattle and then beguiled him into giving gifts in return by playing on his lyre, the lyre he made himself when he was half a day old. It is also a fascinating debate about different modes of knowing and being -- the playful, spontaneous trickster who becomes the god of Imagination and the Guide of Souls, and the rigorous ‘far-working’ god of Intellect who alone knows the mind of Zeus. Through the drama of their relationship, the virtues and limits of both ways become visible, and the hymn ends with their loving reconciliation.
The hymn has much to say to the modern psyche, not least because it reminds us of distinct spaces in the psyche which we have lost. The figures of Hermes and Apollo are given character and depth: they make us laugh and claim our sympathy. We can feel how each of them think, and, as mythic reflections of ourselves, they can illuminate our own inner uncertainties as to how to judge what is true. The hymn also offers a perspective on our modern bias towards the rational mind, expressed in Jung’s concern that ‘Hemmed in by rationalist walls we have lost the eternity of Nature.’
Jules Cashford, MA is a Jungian Analyst from the Association of Jungian Analysts in London. She studied Philosophy at St. Andrews University and Post-graduate Literature at Cambridge, where she was a Supervisor in Tragedy for some years. She has translated The Homeric Hymns from the Greek for Penguin Classics, and is the author of Gaia: From Goddess to Symbol (The Gaia Foundation, 2011), The Mysteries of Osiris (Atalanta, 2010), The Moon: Myth and Image (Cassell Illustrated, 2003), and co-author of The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (Penguin, 1993). She has made two films on the paintings of the Early Northern Renaissance Painter, Jan van Eyck. Originally a student of Ancient Greek, she has a great love of Greece, and of the wisdom of Greek mythopoeic thought.
Craig San Roque PhD
'Siblings under the Skin?' Reflections on indigenous Australian mythological narratives and the formative Greek myths of civilisation.
Craig San Roque, an Australian Jungian Analyst and community psychologist has been investigating the mentality and mythology of central Australian Aboriginal culture for 25 years - matching and balancing this exposure with selected psychic narratives of Geek mythology.
San Roque will describe the meetings between these two venerable traditions that reveal similarities between the Western and the Aboriginal Australian mythologies. He will also illuminate the differences in mentality - like oil and water - differences that may explain why, in Australia, contemporary indigenous relations are so fraught with misunderstanding and failure.
At a different time during the conference, Craig San Roque will also give a poetic performance of sections of his bicultural story-telling script of the Dionysian epic, Sugerman, which he composed for the 1996-1999 performances in Alice Springs.
Craig San Roque, PhD trained as an analyst in London with the SAP and has, since 1986, worked in Sydney and then in Central Australia as a psychologist for Health Services and for diverse Aboriginal organizations. His current focus is on projects specializing in European and Indigenous interface and consulting and supervising professionals involved in mental health, drug, and alcohol dependence, indigenous governance, intercultural communications and Aboriginal land development projects. He lives in Alice Springs, Australia.
His publications and inter-cultural communication projects include Brain Story, The Sugarman/Dionysos -Alcohol Intoxication Project; Trouble Story -Diagnosis and Treatment of young people; Thinking about Young People projects with Andrew Spence Japaljarri; Arresting Orestes on bi-cultural law issues in Central Australia; “Coming to Terms with the Country” in The Geography of Meanings, (2007) and “On Tjukurrpa and Building Thought” in Explorations in Psychoanalysis and Ethnography (2007). He has contributed to four books edited by Tom Singer, et al, on complex psycho-cultural themes, The Vision Thing, The Cultural Complex, Psyche and the City, and Placing Psyche.
Robin van Loben Sels, PhD
Dreaming in Place: Dream Gathering and Tending
Several years ago my long-standing interests in Analytical Psychology and unconscious imagery led me to begin a small, on-going research project that I call Dreaming in Place. The project consists of a process of dream gathering from conference participants, my “tending” the dreams, and a brief return to the participants of what I’ve gathered, along with my comments. I’ve carried out this project in Ireland for several years, in India, in Switzerland at last summer’s Jungian Odyssey, and in Truchas, New Mexico.
I am offering this experience to the participants of the Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche Conference on Santorini. At 9:30 on the mornings of September 6 and 7 we will meet in a quiet place to “gather” dreams from those who want to contribute in this way, a half hour before the conference talks begin at the Nomikos Center. Alternatively, participants can give me a handwritten dream sometime before lunch. I will work with the dreams offered, “tend” them during those days, and on the last day of the conference, September 8, I will present my “tendings” in a reading along with a brief exploration of unconscious imagery illustrated by what I call The Pillar of Isis. I will also discuss Dreaming in Place.
This kind of work satisfies my urge to balance what promises to be stimulating conscious material presented by high-energy people with offerings from psyche Herself, making room for a kind of group homage to the unconscious psyche that under-weaves all our lives, all the time, no matter who or where we are. Revelations -- small or large -- that occur during this process will offer us glimpses into individual attentions of the modern psyche stimulated by the ancient land of Greece. Participants may take the opportunity to integrate their personal, cultural, and collective unconscious experiences of an immersion in modern Greek Santorini.
Robin van Loben Sels, PhD is a Jungian analyst who trained at the C. G. Jung Institutes of Zurich and New York. Her early degrees were in Literature and the Arts but she completed her doctoral work at Union Theological Seminary where she graduated with an MPhil and a PhD in Psychiatry and Religion. She is the author of A Dream in the World: Poetics of Soul in Two Women, Modern and Medieval (Brunner Routledge, 2003), Wanting A Country For This Weather and Other Poems (Mellen Press,2003), and Dreamwork(ing): A Primer (Trout & Mountain Press, 2010).
Richard Trousdell, DFA
Thanatos/Ananke: Death & Necessity at the Threshold of New Life.
Drawing upon the dramatic images of Thanatos and Ananke in the Alcestis of Euripides, this presentation will trace how Death and Necessity enter life to end one sense of being, and to open new ones. Whether in physical life or the life of the spirit, the death of a person or the death of an attitude, the necessity of death initiates a deepening of life experience that is central to tragic action and to psychological individuation. To open the liminal space between life and death proves to be a test of love in which the journey from one shore to the other transforms the eros of human relationship in all its forms. We will follow this physical and spiritual process as it is represented first in the context of marriage by one of Euripides most moving and provocative plays, and then as it comes to life in the dream sequence of a modern woman approaching her literal death and its symbolic promise of renewal.
Richard Trousdell, DFA is a Jungian Analyst in Northampton, Massachusetts and Professor Emeritus of Theater at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He holds the Doctor of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama where his dissertation was on the ethical role of women in Euripidean tragedy. He has lectured widely, including presentations at the 2009 Santorini Conference, and at the 2010 Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis in New York. His writings have appeared in Yale Theater, The Drama Review, the Massachusetts Review, and the Jung Journal, among others. His most recent work on hero and victim complexes appeared this past summer in a new book from Spring Publications: Ancient Greece/Modern Psyche edited by Virginia Beane Rutter and Tom Singer.
NOTE: The papers from the first Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche conference on Santorini (2009) were published June 2011 in Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche: Archetypes in the Making by Spring Journal Books. Copies can be purchased at www.springjournalandbooks.com
Conference Fee and Registration:
The registration fee for the three -day conference is $600. (This does not include cost of transportation, hotels and meals). In case of cancellation, if received before August 1, 2012, you will receive a full registration refund, less a $50 service fee. Cancellations received after August 1, 2012 will be accepted with one-half the registration fee ($300) refunded. There will be no refunds after August 25, 2012.
We selected Daisy to be the preferred travel agent for this conference because she is experienced with travel to Greece and has a deep knowledge and love for the Aegean area. Some further information that may be useful: The Nomikos Center is located at the top of the main town of Fira in Santorini. There is a pedestrian road along the wall at the rim of the caldera that goes to the Center. In the opposite direction from the Center, many hotels are perched on the rim. Built into the cliff side, they have spectacular views and wonderful ambience, but they also tend to have steep stone steps down to the rooms, breakfast terrace, or swimming pool. It would be wise, then, especially for people with health issues, to inquire about the location of the hotel. Beautiful quiet hotels on flat ground are also available. Everything in the town is within walking distance. If you choose to stay outside the town in a hotel or resort, you would need to rent a car or scooter.
Buses regularly go to and from the downtown bus station to the Akrotiri archaeological site. Most museums are in the town of Fira.
Organized by Virginia Beane Rutter and Thomas Singer Supported by the Petros M. Nomikos Foundation