April News Release: Enter the dragon

Summer Course 2018    April News Release 16-4-18

Lindsey Harris writes:

Lately in the world news, we have witnessed displays of power from all quarters, as leaders of nations flex their muscles, issue ultimatums, and brandish dreadful weapons concocted for modern warfare. While leaders parade on the world stage, as if in a veritable cockpit, we look on appalled at the fateful dangers that loom for humankind. Naively we hope for some peaceful resolution to quell the escalating anxiety. What is lacking are proper rites and rituals for dissolving the ego’s lust for power.

Within each of us there lurks a grandiosity that must be faced and confronted.

One image embodying this lust for power is the dragon, the fire-breathing creature lurking deep beneath the surface, fuelling the roots of terrorism, greed and fanaticism. These grandiose dragon energies must be faced again and again, and cannot be avoided because, as Jung tells us, they are the energies of the archetypal self, part of the terrible reality of the psyche.

Our task is to increase our capacity to discern the presence and activities of the dragon. The dragon will never be destroyed. We must learn to acknowledge it with respect, while at the same time dis-identifying with it.

Space and time is needed, to allow our souls to breathe, and to hear the unconscious soul of the world – the anima mundi – speaking to us. This wisdom will come to us through myth and story, through image and imagination. The writer Lindsay Clarke tells us:

The mythic view of the imagination belongs to a different tradition which was widespread long before the scientific revolution. It sees the imagination not just as the enchanted province of the gifted, but as the usual means by which, with a greater or lesser degree of psychic energy, each of us perceives and construes our world, and can also transform it.

18th century alchemical illustration of 4 hermetic vases, 2 sealed and 2 unsealed, containing alchemical symbols of the dragon.

In the Summer Course this August, our theme is Images of Power and the Power of Images: exploring psychological, ethical, and spiritual aspects. In this course we hope to unwrap some of the imagery, realities and unconscious fantasies surrounding the idea of power.

Within the setting of creative workshops (art studio, drama, music, movement, writing and stories), and in talks and discussions led by experienced professionals, we will explore and play with the multitude of meanings and emotions encompassed there.

Through imaginal ways to view power, we may find a balanced way to deal with the shadow side of power, both within and outside ourselves.

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