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An Evening With Susan Rowland: The Alchemy Fire Murder: A Mary Wandwalker Mystery, Jungian Arts-Based Research, Climate Change, and American Origin Stories

  • Friday, July 14, 2023
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom


  • Members who are Full-Time Students


This program WILL NOT BE recorded.

Registration closes at 12:00pm EST the day before the program begins. 

Zoom Links will be in your confirmation email.

With humor, image work, dialogue and the sharing of creative practice, we will explore how Jungian Arts-Based Research (JABR) does therapy with the collective, taking Jungian alchemy into the world. We’ll use, as an example, my new novel, The Alchemy Fire Murder: A Mary Wandwalker Mystery (2023). I will show how JABR is a way of doing alchemy that Jung would recognize and will invite responses to how the novel is also about alchemy, addressing the topic of America’s forgotten history with European alchemy in colonial times.

The Alchemy Fire Murder continues the exploration of the marginalized feminine begun in The Sacred Well Murders (2022). As a prequel, The Alchemy Fire Murder includes the backstory of the witch, Janet, and relates how Holywell came to be the secret guardian of a medieval alchemy manuscript at nearby Oxford University. 

In the seventeenth century, the real John Winthrop emigrated from London to colonial Massachusetts with a barrel full of alchemy manuscripts. He practiced as an alchemist, dispensed medicines, and became the colony’s governor. In my fiction, a famous alchemy scroll was stolen from Oxford in 1658 and taken to colonial Connecticut by alchemist and future governor, Francis Andrew Ransome. He fooled the college by leaving a near-perfect copy made by his friend, Robert Le More, who accompanied him to the New World. Only in the twenty-first century would it be revealed that Le More was an African woman, Roberta, the Moor. 

The Alchemy Fire Murder: A Mary Wandwalker Mystery uses the mystery genre to explore what was lost when colonial alchemy got swallowed up. It includes questions of race and gender in the seventeenth century and in the twenty-first. The story uses JABR to revision the climate emergency in relation to alchemy’s use of fire as a crucial ingredient of transformation.

Can these inexperienced detectives triumph over corrupt professors and racist attempts to rewrite history? Can they remake their fragile family? Will the extraordinary story of Robert Le More prove a source of hope for today?

Participants will be encouraged with their own JABR to work through such significant and challenging topics as colonialism, climate change, racism, different spiritualities, and the importance of origin stories as collective individuation. 


Susan Rowland, Ph.D, is core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. She has published extensively on Jung, gender, literature, and detective fiction. Her books include Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), The Ecocritical Psyche(2012), Jungian Literary Criticism: The Essential Guide (2019), Jungian Arts-based Research and the  Nuclear Enchantment of New Mexico (2021). Her Jungian arts-based research is writing the Mary Wandwalker detective novels. Founding chair of the International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS) in 2003, Susan lives in California with digital literary artist, Joel Weishaus. 

ZOOM LINKS: Zoom links can be found in your registration confirmation email. They will also be shared about 24 hours before the program start time. Registration closes before Zoom links are shared. If you do not receive your link 24 hours in advance, please reach out asap directly to

CANCELLATION: You may cancel your registration up to 1 week prior to the program.

By agreeing to enroll in an online program offered by the Jung Society of Washington, you are also agreeing to comply with our terms. This means that you cannot record (through internal or external devices) the audio, visuals (photos), or  any videos of the program. The intellectual property belongs to the presenter, and we ask you not to violate this policy. Also, we highly value the anonymity of the content of the program, of the presenters, and of individuals present in the program, and hope that everyone can contribute to a respectful and trust-building online environment. Thank you!


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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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