Alchemy: Body & Soul in Transition

August 30, 2016

1:30pm – 2:15pm

‘When there has been a radical split, a somatic container must be prepared to receive the psychic labor. There must be a greeting of the spirit, a chalice to receive the wine.’

                                                                                   ~ Marion Woodman

PennyTreasure_28Alchemy is most often understood as a primitive scientific attempt to create elemental gold, yet alchemy also sought the ‘inner gold’ through engaging the elemental makeup of matter – the wisdom of Nature- in order to reveal her secrets and evoke spiritual experience. So too, modern psychotherapy has the capacity to transform prima materia, the unwanted, uncomfortable material of everyday life, into something meaningful, thus helping us find the ‘gold’ in the shadow

Today’s industrialized cultures emphasize speed, logic, efficiency, acquisitiveness and competition at the expense of feeling and genuine relationship—with oneself, with others, with the community and with nature. ‘Doing’ is valued over ‘being’. The body suffers in such a climate, leaving the spirit ‘homeless.’ To become ‘embodied’ in this context is to swim upstream against a current of societal images, messages and rewards that, once internalized, can wreak havoc on our natural sense of wholeness.

Jung’s work reflected how alchemy can be relevant to contemporary therapeutic practice, engaging the animating spirit in matter in the process of healing and transformation. Alchemy’s emphasis on the harmonious marriage of opposites makes it a potent lens through which to view the contemporary problems of the mind/body/spirit split.

Authentic Movement, or embodied active imagination, is a simple yet powerful meditative and therapeutic approach that bridges body and psyche through expressive movement, contacting a deeper instinctual wisdom which can guide us from within. While alchemy provides a framework for understanding the formative process of transformation, Authentic Movement creates a pathway through this process.

Jung warned, ‘The fate of the world hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man.’ Embodied consciousness is essential not only to self-development and the evolution of therapeutic practice, but to the health and well-being of the anima mundi, the spirit of our trembling, beautiful planet.

In this brief didactic and experiential seminar, images will be shown from a painter’s journey in becoming her true self, the treasure we all seek. Though deeply personal, her story reflects universal themes, such as the death of the protective adaptive self, the reawakening of the soul spark buried deep within, and the birth of the authentic self. Her images take us from life’s earliest beginnings, depicted as an embryo that lodges itself in an ordinary stone, through the stages of growth, death, dismemberment, despair and new life reshaped by the transformative elements of fire, water, wind, and earth. Here we see the alchemical process at work, with commentary by Dr. Joseph Henderson.

Participants will have an opportunity to witness the process as a whole, and to engage the alchemical metaphor in relation to bodily experience through movement and discussion.

For registration information:

*This workshop is included in the general registration fee for the Congress. NOTE: Registration fees for the Congress increase in mid-June and July; and again in August.

This International IAAP Congress is open to Jungian Analysts;
Candidates in training & members of IAAP Allied Associations, which are:

  • International Association for Jungian Studies
  • Philemon Foundation
  • International Society for Sandplay Therapy
  • Marion Woodman Foundation