The full implications of this prophetic statement unfold before us, day after day, in ever more terrifying proportions. What does analytical psychology offer to the imperilled earth and its inhabitants in such a time? From a Jungian perspective, ecopsychology explores the reality of the Unus Mundus, the interpenetration and ultimate unity of all realms of microcosm and macrocosm as reflected in the human experience of life on earth. This perspective considers each human consciousness as a coniunctio of personal and collective, human and non-human, self and other, known and unknown, and therefore as a pivotal point for the possibility of change.
This conference in celebration of Earth Day invites participants to explore mythic, experiential, and poetic approaches to facilitate a deeper and more conscious relationship with all of life within and without, with a view to becoming, individually and collectively, agents for healing the effects of centuries of violation of the facts of nature.
Dancing with Dionysos
Frances Hatfield, PhD, LMFT
Thousands of years before we could gaze at the earth from space, the ancient Greeks directly perceived the earth as a living divinity. In sacred rituals that included wild mountain dancing,oribasia, participants apprehended, in states of ecstasy, the unity of all being. Celebrated in the wild, with ritual gear inherited from the still more ancient Mountain Mother in Crete, votaries of the god Dionysos entered into a state of mystical union that transformed each into a Bakkhos or a Bakkha, that is, into the god himself. Not only were the human participants transformed, however: Euripides makes the startling assertion that “the whole mountain and its beasts were as god-possessed as they were, and with their motion all things moved.”
Such practices and faculties of perception and knowledge were outlawed or largely forgotten in the Age of Zeus, superseded by the power of his divine thunderbolt, which has rewired our brains, revisioned the world in abstract and literal terms, and dominated our planet to the brink of ruin. Have we lost the capacity to apprehend the Unus Mundus? Or is it now reawakening in the body of Metis, the great goddess of wisdom deep in our embodied psyches, whom Zeus swallowed to prevent her from giving birth to his successor?
Using ancient texts and images from Minoan Crete, Ancient Greece, and nearby cultures, we will attempt to see through and behind the archetypal lens of Zeus-Apollo into other ways of knowing, and re-member our way forward as Metis’ children inaugurating a new age.