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NATURAL CYCLES, NATURAL SYMBOLS: Individuation as Ecology, a lecture by Melanie Starr Costello

  • Friday, December 07, 2018
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • The Sanctuary of the Palisades Community Church, 5200 Cathedral Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016


  • Bring a guest for free, if they haven't come to one of our lectures before!

Registration is closed


By aligning psycho-spiritual maturation with the natural process, our program envisages individuation as a path that embraces the inextricable relationship between life and death principles and assents to Creation as mystery. We will confront dominant cultural constructs that alienate us from the body and obstruct psyche’s connection with the non-human world. In hopes of redress, we construct an alternative model of consciousness, envisaging a nature-based-symbolic attitude that reconnects us with our roots in nature, conjoining mind, soul, and cosmos.

In Friday’s lecture, Dr. Costello demonstrates how our environmental crisis and our collective fear of death stem from the same ideological root. She discusses our fear of change and our fear of loss—anxieties that stymie the spirit and inhibit growth.  She explores how changes in our bodies and in our life-circumstances may be harnessed as a motive-force for reconnecting us to our roots in nature, opening us to mystery, and honing our intentions in regard to self, others, and our work in the world.  

Images, stories, and dream analysis will throw light on the archetypal forces--both fierce and generative—that promote psycho-spiritual maturation.  Special attention will be given to the recurrence of cosmological and elemental themes in dreams of individuals undergoing life-transition. 

To promote awareness of the link between maturation of consciousness and our acceptance of natural cycles, Dr. Costello will lead a life-review meditation during Saturday’s workshop. We then discuss the varied archetypal energies that have informed our identities and chosen place in the world.  We consider: what is the purpose of longevity? What is wisdom?  We conclude by reconstructing our portrait of the individuated person, elucidating the nature-based dimensions of social, family and spiritual life. 

Melanie Starr Costello, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, historian, and senior Jungian analyst in private practice in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute-Zurich and earned her doctorate in the History and Literature of Religions from Northwestern University. She formerly served as Assistant Professor of History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was a Trustee for the Consortium for Psychoanalytic Research in Washington, D.C. and is currently Director of Education for the Jungian Analysts of Washington, a member of the Board of the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York and a training analyst for the C.G. Jung Institute-Zurich.  Dr. Costello has taught and published on the topics of psychology and religion, medieval 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.


5200 Cathedral Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016


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The Jung Society of Washington is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, a nonprofit educational institution. Our IRS form 990 is available upon request. Although many of the Jung Society's programs involve analytical psychology and allied subjects, these offerings are intended, and should be viewed, as a source of information and education, and not as therapy. The Jung Society does not offer psychoanalytical or other mental health services.
Images of mandalas throughout this site were created by Carl Jung's patients between the years 1926 and 1945.
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