5 Alternate Mondays, Beginning September 21
(9/21, 10/5, 10/26, 11/9, 11/23)
Melanie Starr Costello
Reading works authored by three spiritually gifted writers of the twentieth century, we will investigate diverse mystical spiritualities in their relations with the non-human world. We begin with a work of fiction: Platonist theologian and novelist Charles William's The Place of the Lion, a mystery featuring a sudden melding of spiritual and natural realms. The work will facilitate a discussion of the influence of Platonic philosophy upon the Western psyche as we compare Jung's concept of the archetype to Plato's theory of Forms.
Then moving to a nature-based perspective, we will read the stunningly beautiful "mystical nature diary" of Opal Whiteley, a spiritually gifted child raised in a logging community in early 20th century Oregon. We finish with essays by eco-theologian Thomas Berry, calling us to re-envision humanity's place in evolution -- the process through which the Divine reveals itself. Relevant passages from Jung will be assigned as our inquiry unfolds. For questions regarding course content you may contact Dr. Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readings: Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion, Regent College Publishing, 2003. Opal Whiteley and Benjamin Hoff, The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley, Penguin Books, 1986. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community, Orbis Books, 2014
Melanie Starr Costello, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, historian, and Zurich-trained Jungian analyst in private practice in Washington, D.C. She earned her doctorate in the History and Literature of Religions from Northwestern University. A former Assistant Professor of History at St. Mary's College of Maryland, Dr. Costello has taught and published on the topics of psychology and religion, mystical spirituality, aging, and clinical practice. Her study of the link between illness and insight, entitled Imagination, Illness and Injury: Jungian Psychology and the Somatic Dimensions of Perception, is published by Routledge press.