This program will NOT be recorded.
The creative urge lives and grows in him like a tree in the earth from which it draws its nourishment. We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche. In the language of analytical psychology, this living thing is an autonomous complex.
- C.G. Jung, “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry,” C.W. 15, par. 115.
Each of us has a yearning, a hunger, to make something of ourselves. This statement implies a making and a shaping of a life into some coherent form. Such making is the original sense of the word poiesis. A formative principle in the soul is awakened when we create analogies of ourselves in whatever form they may take and, perhaps, in different formats as we age. In creating we become witnesses to our own power, our inner authority that allows us to live each day more deeply and more mindfully.
Jungian analyst Linda Schierse Leonard discovered that “creativity is a response to a call of nature and psyche to the wilderness within and without” and that such a response is also related to our spiritual growth (The Call to Create: Celebrating Acts of Imagination). Her insight reveals how mythically inflected is our yearning to leave a trace, to be part of a larger community, and to live a life of mindfulness, which is to be intimate with and guided by our own incarnational reality.
In our four classes together, we will integrate stories, theory (not a lot!), and experiential writing with the intention of gaining a fuller awareness of our creative self, which may have gone into hiding or perhaps is clamoring at the door of our heart and soul, insisting on being heard, if not submitted to. Our topic is both broad and deep; here are four ways we can enter this landscape:
Class One: Fifteen Essential Principles of Creativity: Working with the Autonomous Psyche, taught by Jennifer Leigh Selig
The focus here will be the 15 principles outlined in Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit by Deborah Anne Quibell, Ph.D., Jennifer Leigh Selig, Ph.D., and Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. Published in 2019, it was awarded a gold medal in the Nautilus Book Award in the category of “Creativity and Innovation.” In particular, we’ll focus on the participatory nature of creativity, how we can work with the autonomous psyche—the same psyche that produces our nighttime creative dreams—to muse our daytime creative lives.
Class Two: The place of Embodied Suffering and Creative Healing, taught by Jennifer Leigh Selig
Creativity can be healing. From our wounds, we can create works that offer a measure of healing to ourselves during the creative process, and by extension, to those with whom we share our creative products. I will share some examples of creative works that have helped heal my wounds, or at least have offered a measure of succor and solace, as well as some examples of creative work I’ve done that have been healing for me, often unconsciously at first. Participants will be inspired to mine their wounds more deeply and to offer the medicine they’ve discovered in their healing processes through their creative processes and products
Class Three: Creating a Life of Coherence: Moses and the Burning Bush of Poetic Inspiration, taught by Dennis Patrick Slattery
I find in the rich story of Moses a moment of creative insight. While tending his flocks, he comes upon a burning bush just off his routine path in life; it serves as a delicious metaphor for discovering our life purpose while we might have been busy tending to a flock of incoherence. The poet Rumi tells us in verse, “Moses, the inner light of revelation/lit up the top of Sinai, but the mountain/could not hold that light” (Delicious Laughter, 1990, p. 44). We will explore Moses’ fear, his imperfect speech, and his reticence to step off the familiar path; within these human responses, he discovers, with God’s guidance, his true calling.
Class Four: Creative Aging: Recognizing the Wisdom of Becoming Older, taught by Dennis Patrick Slattery
Aging is a time for deepening, and our mortality a time for musing, for remembering, and for recognizing the large patterns that have guided us to the moment in which we are now in our life. It is also a time to reflect on what we do to nourish this precious, tender place in us where we open ourselves and risk our vulnerability in order to gain access to dimensions of life that we may have previously ignored but now want to return to in order to reevaluate our past in light of the present. Being grateful can open us to presences that insist on some attention and to seeing where freedoms that we had not noticed are budding in the garden of our lives. We will explore the direct and intimate connection between mindfulness, gratefulness, and createfulness.
Preparation: Be sure to have a journal or a notebook close by; each class is both conversational and experiential as we call up parts of our own unique narrative and note where creative impulses, attitudes, and desires have nourished us, given the four areas outlined above. We will use 10- to 15-minute writings that will allow us to create and express meaning from our plotline. My hope is that we can share some of these insights with others to assist them on their unique pilgrimage.
Dennis Patrick Slattery, PhD., has been teaching for 53 years in grades ranging from elementary through high school, undergraduates and graduate students. He is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where he has taught for the past 27 years. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 30 volumes including 7 volumes of poetry and one novel co-authored with Jungian analyst, Charles Asher. The Way of Myth is his 30th book (see attached) and will be on sale in two weeks. He also paints in acrylics and water colors and has painted many of Jung's paintings from The Red Book. He enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with his two sons in Hill Country of Texas.
Jennifer Leigh Selig is a lifelong educator with 33 years of classroom experience, teaching in the fields of literature, psychology, creativity studies, and the humanities. She taught at Pacifica Graduate Institute for many of those years and is the founding chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies doctoral program and the Engaged Humanities and Creative Life masters-degree program. She’s a prolific writer, authoring dozens of newspaper articles, book reviews, journal articles, three screenplays, and is either the author, editor, contributor, or publisher of over forty books, including Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit, which won the gold medal in the category of Creativity and Innovation in the 2019 Nautilus Awards.
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