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Finding Your Way Back Home

A six-hour course with Jonathan Young and Anne Bach

Course Description

From the realms of magic and dream come tales of wonder. This seminar enters the mythic imagination to explore the journey toward wholeness. Surprising guidance can be drawn from stories about finding ourselves in unfamiliar experiences.

In a spirit of play, we will follow these enchanting tales to learn more about the lessons of the forest journeys. Mythic stories can teach us about the riches of the inner life. Characters from folklore and mythology can reveal the patterns in our own lives and connect us with dimensions beyond ordinary experience. The key is in the psychological symbolism of the tales. For example, we will take a close look at the many meanings of a visit to the wise old woman of the woods.

This course was previously titled Through the Dark Forest.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize how stories can help in the search for fulfillment.

  • Detect psychological patterns reflected in forest adventures.

  • Discuss methods of engaging the imagination to claim emotional resources.

This seminar is taught at the introductory level and requires no advance preparation. However, participants are provided with a recommended reading list as part of their class materials.

CE Credit information

The material is presented at an introductory level, requiring no background in mythic studies, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology.

The following CE credits are available:

  • Psychology, MFT, LCSW, NBCC : 6 CE hours

  • Nursing : 7 hours

How to Register

  1. Select a seminar from the Current Course Dates and Locations

  2. Register online or call the Center at 805-687-7171

Instructor

Instructor: Jonathan Young, PhD is a psychologist (PSY10231) who consults with organizational leaders and creative artists, especially filmmakers. As a professor, he created and chaired the doctoral level department of mythological studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. His background includes assisting mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and serving as founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library.

Other presentations on Mythic Stories

Dr. Young also gives frequent media interviews, public talks, workshops, and in-service trainings throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Maxfield Parrish Mill Pond

When you enter the woods of a fairy tale, it is night and trees tower on either side of the path. They loom large because everything in the world of fairy tales is blown out of proportion. If the owl shouts, the otherwise deathly silence magnifies its call. The tasks you are given to do (by the witch, by the stepmother, by the wise old woman) are insurmountable -- pull a single hair from the crescent moon bear's throat; separate a bowl's worth of poppy seeds from a pile of dirt. The forest seems endless. But when you do reach the daylight, triumphantly carrying the particular hair or having outwitted the wolf; when the owl is once again a shy bird and the trees only a lush canopy filtering the sun, the world is forever changed for your having seen it otherwise.

From now on, when you come upon darkness, you'll know it has dimension. You'll know how closely poppy seeds and dirt resemble each other. The forest will be just another story that has absorbed you, taken you through its paces, then cast you out and sent you back home again. (~Elizabeth J. Andrew, On the Threshold)

Maxfield Parrish, New Moon

Day Schedule

Checking-in begins at 9:30 a.m. - Seminar 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

9:30 - Check-in begins.

10:00 - The folktale as window to the world within

11:15 - Break (approximate time)

11:30 - Adult development reflected in forest tales

12:30 - Lunch Break

- On your own, please return on time

1:30 - Plot and role in lived narratives

2:30 - Break (approximate time)

2:40 - Unconscious dynamics in the mythic imagination

3:50 - Break (approximate time)

4:00 - Stories and inner work

5:00 - Course concludes - Be sure to sign out

Selections from the Reading List

Aron, Elaine N. (1996) The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. New York: Broadway Books

Campbell, Joseph (2013) Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) (Safron Elsabeth Rossi, Editor) Novato, CA: New World Library

Campbell, Joseph (1995) Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion. New York: Harper Collins

Estés, Clarissa Pinkola (1993) The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is EnoughThe Gift of Story, (audiotape), Boulder, CO: Sounds True Recordings

Estés, Clarissa Pinkola (2013) Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild SoulLouisville, CO: Sounds True Books

Feinstein, David and Krippner, Stanley (2009) Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story. (Revised 3rd Edition) Santa Rosa, CA: Energy Psychology Press

Hillman, James (1998) Healing Fiction. Spring Publications

Hollis, James (1996) Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places. Toronto: Inner City Books

Johnson, Robert A. (1986) Inner Work. New York: HarperCollins

Keen, Sam and Valley-Fox, Anne (1989) YoYour Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling (Inner Work Book). New York: Inner Work Book

Larsen, Stephen (1990) The Mythic Imagination: The Quest for Meaning through Personal Mythology. Manchester, VT: Inner Traditions International

Le Grice, Keiron. (2013) The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation (Muswell Hill Press). Muswell Hill Press

Pearson, Carol S. (1991) Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. New York: Harper San Fransisco

Whyte, David (2001) Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity New York: Doubleday

Whyte, David (2010) The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship. New York: Riverhead

Whyte, David (2002) The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. New York: Doubleday

Young, Jonathan (1996) Saga - Best New Writings on Mythology Vol. 1. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press

Young, Jonathan (2000) Saga - Best New Writings on Mythology Vol. 2. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press