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  • Alchemical Apocalypse: The Myth of Our Time

M.A./Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology

Alchemical Apocalypse: The Myth of Our Time

with Evans Lansing Smith, Ph.D., Chair of the Mythological Studies program

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 | 3:00 pm PST

Alchemy involves the reduction of molecules to their elements, which can then be recombined to produce new compounds. The metaphor can be applied to the disintegration of any structure—social, political, psychological, economic—that collapses, dissolves, and is reduced to its primary elements, which can then be recombined to generate new forms. Jung used the metaphor as an analogy of the individuation process: the collapse of the ego opens us to the archetypal elements of the deep psyche, so that a new identity can be forged. The myth of the Apocalypse shares this metaphor: after all the structures of the world are destroyed—social, political, psychological, economic—there comes a revelation of those archetypal images from which new life emerges: a new heaven, a new earth, and a new city can then be created. This is the myth of our time—the Alchemical Apocalypse—the myth that we are living, and dying by. This presentation therefore explores the archetypal imagery of the Book of Revelation, as seen through the lens of D.H. Lawrence’s last book, Apocalypse, in a quest to understand the significance of the apparent anarchy and futility of contemporary history.

M.A./Ph.D. in Mythological Studies:

As the only doctoral program in the country dedicated to the exploration of human experience through the interdisciplinary and multicultural study of myth, ritual, religion, literature, depth psychology, and art, the Mythological Studies Program cultivates scholarship, self-inquiry, and imagination in those who seek to understand and express the depths of the psyche. The program is richly informed by the pioneering works of Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, James Hillman, and mythologist Joseph Campbell, who taught that myth has the power to touch our deepest creative energies, and to generate symbolic images that confer significance upon the complexity of modern life and history. It thrives on paradox, ambiguity, and the shape-shifting ways that metaphor informs and transforms our lives. Cultivating the mythic imagination leads to self-revelation and a profound and dynamic understanding of cultures—both of our own and others. The curriculum as a whole is animated by two basic questions: How is this material meaningful to me in my life and work, and how is it meaningful to the world within which I live? The sequence of course work provides a sustained inquiry into the diverse mythologies of the world, situating them in the global context of the postmodern world. Throughout the program, students engage in the close reading of classic works of world literature, including Homer’s Odyssey, the Greek tragedies, the Hebrew Bible, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the medieval grail legends, and fairy tales. The rituals and contemplative practices of religious traditions are investigated along with mythic and archetypal aspects of modern literature, contemporary events, and popular culture. Several methods of scholarly interpretation are taught with a special emphasis on the hermeneutical approaches of depth psychology.

Learn more at: https://www.pacifica.edu/degree-program/mythological-studies/

EvansLansingSmith-thumbEvans has degrees from Williams College, Antioch International, and The Claremont Graduate School. He is the author of ten books and numerous articles on comparative literature and mythology, and has taught at colleges in Switzerland, Maryland, Texas, and California, and at the C.G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht. In the late 1970s, he traveled with Joseph Campbell on study tours of Northern France, Egypt, and Kenya, with a focus on the Arthurian Romances of the Middle Ages and the Mythologies of the Ancient World. His areas of emphasis include: Myth in Literature from Antiquity to Postmodernism; Arthurian Romances, and The Hermetic Tradition. He currently teaches: Myth and the Underworld; Alchemy and Hermeticism; Arthurian Romances and the Grail; Folklore and Fairytales; Theoretical Approaches to Mythological Studies; Cultural Mythologies; and Native Mythologies of the Americas.

Website: https://www.coniunctioblog.com




"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." —Carl Jung