Pre-conference workshop. Wednesday, 12:30pm – 5:30pm
Alchemy—a forerunner of modern chemistry and medicine—is an ancient cross-cultural practice that integrated both material and spiritual elements and was rediscovered by C.G. Jung as he sought to understand the images in dreams. Jung noted that reappearing images heralded changes in the embodied psyche, reflecting a deeper transformative process at work; a journey he was astonished to find depicted in series of ancient alchemical paintings.
Alchemy’s basic elements can deepen our understanding of embodied transformative processes, experienced spontaneously through Authentic Movement, a somatic and creative, meditative practice with roots in C.G. Jung’s active imagination approach. Both practices bring awareness to what we least value—the somatic unconscious, known as ‘prima materia’ by the alchemists and as unconscious ‘shadow’ qualities by Jung.
The body—with its implicit processes, unmetabolized affects and unknown interior landscapes—can be an expression of the unconscious. Alchemical practice uses the ‘dross’ of unwanted material to generate new life, and provides an ancient map of the stages in the transformative process. Such a map can help orient people in their therapeutic work, particularly when they are immersed in unconscious material that may cause feelings of anxiety, impatience, dissolution, or disembodiment.
Authentic Movement can help people re-inhabit themselves, bringing them back into contact with their instinctual wisdom, sense of self, and well-being in relationship. Alchemy, too, is a practice that balances the material/embodied dimension with the spiritual dimension: its practitioners underwent profound development, accessing mystical states that enlarged their worldviews and assisted them in maintaining closeness with the origins of natural life.
In this workshop participants will have an opportunity to engage the Alchemical metaphor in relation to the embodied individuation process in healing and development through moving and witnessing practice, integrating theory, neuroscience, embodied experience, drawing and writing.
*5 CEUs are available through APA, NYSW, NBCC, ASWB.
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