“…to understand war we have to get at its myths, recognize that war is a mythical happening, that those in the midst of it are removed to a mythical state of being…and that no other account—political, historical, sociological, psychoanalytical—can penetrate…to the depths of inhuman cruelty, horror, and tragedy and to the heights of mystical transhuman sublimity.”
- James Hillman
“Our only chance for dissipating the archetypal force of war in our lives is to become conscious of how it works through us so that we do not remain possessed by it but rather can labor responsibility to direct its powers. Because of the ultimate nature of the effort, this labor is fundamentally a matter of soul.”
- Edward Tick
This country has been continuously at war for the longest period in its history, yet most of us remain removed from its acts and aftereffects. How do we account for this collective dissociation, and what can we do about it? How might an archetypal understanding of war and war-wounding promote greater social coherence, help us address political polarization around foreign policy, and draw us into appropriate engagement with returning warriors? Our readings view war and warriors through an archetypal lens, lending much-needed context for our understanding of the phenomenon of war and the experiences to which warriors are subjected on our behalf. Ancient and cross-cultural approaches will inform our discussion of ways we may participate in the process by which the returning warrior heals, passes into mature eldership, and takes up vital spiritual functions in the community.
Please read through Chapter 2 of Hillman’s book in preparation for the first meeting.
James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War, Penguin Books, 2004.
Edward Tick, Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War, 2014.
Michèle Colburn, The Trip Wire Project, 2013 - Present. Surplus Vietnam-era military trip wire and knitting needles. Dimensions variable. Copyright 2017. Photograph by Lee Stalsworth.
One stitch = one life. The artist knitted a stitch for each U.S. wounded and deceased soldier in the arenas of Iraq and Afghanistan and for each deceased non-combatant in those countries since U.S. involvement began.The work is not only made in the studio and at home but also in public locations associated with decision-makers and profiteers. Collection of the artist. www.michelecolburnart.artspan.com
Melanie Starr Costello, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, historian, and graduate of the C.G. Jung Institut-Zurich, holds a private practice off Dupont Circle 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, medieval spirituality, 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. Currently her work explores archetypal currents running through the collective psyche in our times—a topic she takes up in her workshops on the Stranger, Aging and Spirituality, and on Dream Cosmologies.