20th Century Archetypes


Sunday, Nov 22, 10am - 5:30pm

In the 20th century, the century that exploded, Western culture underwent a profound identity crisis, involving extensive and intensive critical self analysis including the deconstruction of its sense of identity as good, successful, knowledgeable, as well as its understanding of everyday reality.

These changes took Western culture by storm, undermining notions of normalcy at the everyday sociopolitical level, and in all areas of cultural functioning. The twentieth century, we may say, has been a century of the explosive, violent, erotic, material deconstruction of reality and identity (both personal and social) in Western culture, concomitant with the cosmogonic, messianic world savior theme of an exponentially emergent divine/human identity, all set in the context of an apocalyptic ‘end of the world as we know it' theme, ranging from fundamentalist religious literalism and the neo- conservative sociopolitical and military ‘war on evil' to the very real environmental threat of biosphere extinction.

This included an extensive and profound re-awakening of feminine consciousness and Goddess mythology in Western culture, with sociocultural manifestations including women's suffrage, birth control and abortion, women's liberation, sexual liberation, feminism, women in the workplace, child care sharing, and many non gender related themes in the arts, psychology and other areas. Mary is granted co-redemptrix status in the Catholic Church and widespread Marian visions continue to be a source of popular affirmation of the feminine in the divine, while creation and liberation theology so deeply challenge traditional power structures that the Pope begins to travel the world.

Identity and Reality - Questions in Cultural Evolution, 10am - 1pm

Jim McNamara

There has been a deep, complex, archetypal activation in Western culture in the 20th century, exerting an explosive impact on our sense of identity and reality and constellating an apocalyptic, existential crisis. This seminar will focus through the following themes: the decline of God based religion and the ascendancy of humanity based depth psychology; the evocation of the existential self emptying God and the humanistic dialogical God; the return of the Goddess archetype and the emergence of the Divine Child archetype as part of a polytheistic revival, including the masculine Dionysian, Hermetic, Orphic, Luciferian/Satanic and Trickster archetypes and the feminine Lilith, Innana/Erishkegal, Persephone, Artemis, Sophia and Marian archetypes; eco-spirituality and environmentalism, including the science based Gaia hypothesis of the earth as a self regulating organism; the return to popular consciousness of ancient theurgic mysticisms from East and West; the revolutionary divine child, fetal alien and the angelic, uterus like UFO; pre and perinatal psychology; the longing for a return to paradise interwoven with the apocalyptic, messianic shadows of the Enlightenment, absolutist totalitarianism and absolutist relativism; global interconnectedness alongside national fragmentation and ethnic cleansing; the threat of global nuclear war and biosphere destroying post-nuclear winter; a global environmental crisis; depth; psychology's humanistic, relational, mind/body focus, the valuing of direct personal experience, of process over outcome and of sexuality, and the ‘discovery' of the unconscious; psychoanalysis' revelation that we are creatures hidden to ourselves, with motivations that are darkly ambivalent; the existential-phenomenological tradition's highlighting of direct, emergent experience as the most valid basis for our sense of reality and identity destabilizes 2000 to 3000 years of a transcendental, psychopathic, masculine ego ideal; the indeterminacy of the Frankfurt School, critical theory, continental philosophy and postmodernism's valuing of multicultural, decentred ‘otherness' and the privileging of the character, reader, citizen, participant, subject as the site of knowledge creation; garbage, refuse, refugees, tourists, fragmentation, marginalization become global concerns; the apophatic divine/human union theme as enacted in new forms of spirituality and in the romantic irony/ nouveau roman literary traditions; the reactionary backlash of post-industrial capitalism, the consumerist junkie and the cult of celebrity; the practical and ideological ‘triumph' of the technological ‘solution' to life's problems; the scientific penetration into the nuclear heart of matter and the farther reaches of space reaching back to the origins of the universe, and into the biological basis of life; the scientific emergence of interconnectedness, relativity, uncertainty, holism and chaos as foundational elements of ‘reality'.

Click here for The Century That Exploded document, which gives a detailed overview of the widespread and profound changes in 20th century Western culture.

Goddess Mythology - Sex and Non-Violence, 2:30pm - 5:30pm

Caroline Mardon

Mythic traditions of the Goddess in her many forms go back thousands of years into the Palaeolithic era. This seminar will trace themes of creativity, eros, holism, relationality, systems, mind/body integration, through the Neolithic and Bronze ages up into modernity and, especially, postmodernity, with a focus on the current revival of Goddess mythology, including depth psychology and feminism. Aphrodite and Lilith will be a specific focus. The Goddess tradition will be contrasted throughout with the warrior tradition that began in the Bronze Age and has brought us to the brink of destruction in the 21st century.

In the 20th century this was associated with profound, pervasive effects in all areas of life, some of which derive directly from feminine consciousness activation and some of which are parallel developments in related areas.

Feminism: Women's suffrage, women's liberation, feminism, birth control, women's studies, herstory (as well as history), women in the workforce, women's shelters.

Theology: Marion theology, including Catholic recognition of Mary as co-redemptrix, ecopsychology and ecospirituality, native spirituality, polytheistic spirituality, east-west spirituality, non-religious or personal spirituality, dialogical theology (where relationship with the diving is imagined as a conversation, not hierarchical), co-creation theology (divine-human union mysticism), transpersonal movement.

Cultural: Depth psychology, modernist art, jazz blues rock and roll; the Harlem renaissance in early 20th (c), bohemian Paris in early 20th (c), Ascona which later became the site of the Eranos conferences with Jung, Corbin, Eliade, Campbell; the 1960's with all kinds of liberation, environmentalism, the re-enchantment of nature, post-Enlightenment academia (Frankfurt School, critical theory, continental philosophy, culture studies, postmodernism.), egalitarian multiculturalism, post-colonialism, sexual liberation, gay movement, peace studies, networking, growth centers, the integral vision, humanistic-existential psychology, somatic psychology, transpersonal psychology, imaginal psychology, transformative leadership, collaborative leadership, the servant-leader, archetypal activism, image replaces word, pluralistic epistemologies, phenomenology, critical psychology, children's rights, anti-abuse legislation, native studies.

Science: Quantum physics (non-locality, interconnectivity, indeterminacy, participant observer) systems theory, chaos theory, self-organizing systems theory, the evolutionary paradigm, the holistic paradigm, holistic health, naturopathy, homeopathy, energy medicine, self healing, psi phenomena.

Click here for In the Beginning Was the Goddess power point, which traces the history of the Goddess from Neolithic times up to the 20th century. 
File APA Goddess.ppt6.27 MB
File Seminar Flyer Nov 09.jpg121.57 KB
File Century That Exploded.pdf262.46 KB