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Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul.
-C.G. Jung, The Symbolic Life, C.W. Vol. 18
From the very beginning of life, we are involved in traditions and rituals, each of which is replete with their own unique meaning: from being welcomed into the world to rites of passage into adulthood; we fall in love, we marry, we bring new life into the world. Far a secular repast, our ancestors understood the spiritual and archetypal significance of these rituals.
In contemporary life we are consumed and intoxicated by the "Spirit of the Times," neglecting the spiritual significance of such events. Does the bride or groom ask, “With what and with whom have I fallen in love? With what and with whom am I about to commit for the rest of my life? In good times and in bad, for whom will I care?” As we indulge in the secular and the literal, we miss the truly grand repast — and herein lies the conflict.
Perhaps, as we age, the need to understand the deeper meaning of these rituals becomes more insistent. While it seems only yesterday that we cried with the springtime joy of childbirth, we now turn and it is suddenly autumn, time to ask what it is that the Self most wants of us. Then, as the darker days of winter approach in characteristic chiaroscuro, we are offered a necessary time to reflect on what we have done with our life, followed by ultimate preparations. To embrace the “Spirit of the Depths” means to consciously engage with each archetypal threshold, addressing the living spirit and the mandates inherent therein.
These issues will be explored by examining humanity’s innate need to find inner representation for what we experience within the inner and outer worlds, including our dreams, relationships, fantasies, and more. Of special importance in this lecture is an understanding of what we love, what it is that draws us.
Dr. Michael Conforti is a Jungian analyst and the Founder and Director of the Assisi Institute. He is a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute - Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master's Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England. A pioneer in the field of matter-psyche studies, Dr. Conforti is actively investigating the workings of archetypal fields and the relationship between Jungian psychology and the New Sciences. He has presented his work to a wide range of national and international audiences, including the C.G. Jung Institute - Zurich and Jungian organizations in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, and Venezuela. He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings (2007) and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche (2002). His articles have appeared in Psychological Perspectives, San Francisco Jung Library Journal, Roundtable Press, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and Spring Journal, and his books has been translated into Italian, Russian and a soon to be released Spanish edition of his work.
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