The Myth of MuLan: A Jungian Perspective
Christine Chao, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst
February 22, 2013
The “Ballad of Hua MuLan” is a Chinese myth (5th-6th century CE) about a woman who disguises herself as a soldier to take her elderly father’s place in the Emperor’s army. While many people only know MuLan through the popular but less than accurate Disney movie, the original myth has powerfully captured the Chinese imagination for centuries up to the present time.
This lecture will explore an important archetypal myth that has emerged from a patriarchal culture with collective values of duty and achievement. The myth of MuLan is both quintessentially Chinese and timelessly universal. It is dated in antiquity but still speaks to us today.
The myth tells us what to take for the journey and how to find the courage and tenacity to fight for ones inner vision. Each line of MuLan has the power of a dream where the unconscious wastes nothing. I will seek to amplify the symbols and explore the richness these lines hold for both men and women.
MuLan also speaks with great specificity to the cultural complexes of Asian women and men who may, for example, struggle with whether to study science and technology, which would please their parents and insure security for their families, or go into nontechnical fields like art, dance or psychology, which are sometimes perceived in Chinese culture as nonproductive.
The MuLan journey is one both my clients and I take again and again.
Hers is a story of journey where the return is not to an inflated persona but to the fruits of an inner conjunctio. It is a journey of transformation. Neither the ego nor the collective can determine her essence. Categories of masculine and feminine no longer limit her. MuLan has truly become her-Self.
Christine M. Chao, Ph.D., currently in private practice, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a diplomate Jungian analyst. She has had a longstanding interest in Asian and Asian American psychology and has published several articles in this area. Other interests include the significance and function of ancestral altars, and how Jungian work can help open up “seats at the welcome table” for people from widely diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Plants as our Sacred Allies
Karen DeClerk, M.A., LPC
April 19, 2013
The relationship between humans and Plants has been in place from our very beginning as a species. In our modern scientific world, we know that the health of our physical bodies depend upon Plants, but the relationship to Plants has, is, and can be, one that also nourishes our souls and spirits at the deepest levels. When approached with respect and honoring, Plants become our Sacred Allies, joyfully offering us their archetypal and symbolic wisdom and guidance. We’ll explore their stories, traditional uses and how to create relationships with them that can turn mundane daily activities into profound intentional experiences. We can go on great extensive journeys to find the Divine, and we can eat the Dandelion growing out of the crack in the sidewalk we cross every day. Every Plant has direct access to the Divine Feminine. They want to share this with us.
Karen DeClerk, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Herbalist, who weaves together Jungian and Transpersonal Psychology, Internal Family Systems (IFS), and a hearty sprinkling of the Wise Woman Herbal Tradition. For over two decades, Karen has been in intimate relationship to the Plants, who have been her soul’s psychopomps to the Divine Feminine in Nature. Karen has a Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University, an MBA and Certificates in Herbalism from the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies and the Western Herbal Tradition. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Boulder.
Stirrings of Soul, Hope for Redemption
Michael Conforti, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst
Friday Lecture, May 31, 2013
As a ship is tossed and turned by the actions of the sea, one has to quickly realize our vulnerability and susceptibility to nature’s ways. While we train as seafaring captains and use the latest navigational technologies, we are in the end, at the mercy of the sea. In the face of such utter power, there is little room for hubris.
So too in life, we often find the winds of psyche blowing through us as easily as hail blowing through the shattered remains of a broken window. No buffer, no restraint, we are vulnerable to the whims of the archetypes. At times, we experience the grace and benevolence of psyche, offering us the experience of transcendence, of a profound love and a deep sense of satisfaction with our life and work. And too, we find the storms of terror, of aggression, of addictions, of betrayal and acts of unimaginable abuse pummeling our homes, and stand at such moments, helpless to make it all stop it. We often hurt the ones we love, and betray our children and spouse, and all others who have come to trust us. Here we live estranged from psyche and Self. Yet as demons scream out, angels sing, and we hope, and pray for redemption. Redemption from those forces which have taken over our life, redemption allowing us to create a life in relationship to Self and Soul.
Through the presentation of clinical illustrations, stories and the world’s wisdom traditions, we will discuss our relationship to Self, Psyche and Soul, and ways to move towards redemption. The theme and material draws heavily on Dr. Conforti’s new book, Hidden Presence: Complexes, Possession and Redemption.
Saturday Workshop, June 1, 2013
This workshop addresses our ongoing relationship with the archetypes of the collective unconscious, soul and redemption. Of special importance in this seminar will be an in-depth look at what C.G. Jung described as “Archetypal Possessions and Contagions”, which are all too common shapers of individual and collective behavior.
Michael Conforti, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst, author, and founder/director of the Assisi Institute. His work has resulted not only in a training institute based on his discoveries, but also in the development of a new discipline: Archetypal Pattern Analysis. He lectures nationally and internationally and applies his insights as a sought-after consultant to businesses, government institutions, and the film industry. Dr. Conforti maintains a private practice in Vermont, where he also serves as a state-appointed advisor to the Board of Psychoanalysts. He has been a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute – Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England. He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche.