Ecstatic ancient/archaic thought conference

The inquiry about analytical psychology  we undertook at the Ecstatic ancient/archaic thought conference revealed many avenues of further scholarly pursuit for Jungian studies  – intellectual historians, classicists, historians of psychotherapy and theatre (closely associated it was proposed), Jungian analysts and mythology scholars had much to say to each other.
First up Raya Jones pointed out in a discussion of particular kind of psychic energy that Jung spoke of – and that Jungian studies was amenable to cross-disciplinary work by virtue of its recognition that underlying ‘complexes’ (disciplinary boundaries might be just that, no?) could be explored to find what might drive a particular study, and so find common ground.
It seems to me that the most broad of all drives: the urge to know was driving us all.
Bringing Jung’s ideas to bear in the field of ancient studies (and vice versa) proved to be a valuable exercise. With Jungian studies’ inclination to begin an inquiry from origins – or in pre-archaic times – it’s a natural fit.
Perhaps going over in summary form various sessions which were important to me might be a way to start pointing out what that meant. Perhaps others who were there will contribute.
A session on Dionysus comes to mind: on ancient theatre and representation of the interior on stage by Emmanuela Bakola was set alongside a paper on Jungian processes of binary configurations in which Mark Saban referred to Dionysiac  stage practice and intentions, and a paper on models of interior and exterior (by a student of the refugee care MA at Essex, Martyna  is a good place to begin.
Mark: I hope you will correct me, but the trope of the actor who is apart from herself, and plays another character sustaining both postures in one – and the audience knows it too. They observe the split figure knowingly – winking at each other, but getting immersed in an ecstatic (standing outside oneself) Dionysiac action.
Richard Seaford insisted that this Dionysian representations are essentially acts of initiation, and toward social communal engagement. And there is more to be looked at here about individuation in this act.
Emmanuela’s paper proposed that the house servants and the Erinydes (the Furies) were sometimes one and the same and proposed loosely speaking that we saw flashes of the secret, hidden unknown drives of Agamemnon’s house from the backstage, hidden area where they emerged from: Agamemnon, out of his head – on his own admission (ecstatic) – does not know them, and yet they stand with him over Clytemnestra’s corpse. They functioned also as the chorus but had uncanny habit of transforming back and forth from house servants to furies.
Anyone attending, please correct me (and btw Emmanuela’s paper is on her page at Warwick), and soon Mark’s (if he’s agreeable) will be published. I’d love comment either from anyone there – did I get it wrong? Or right? – and from anyone reading this ..
Martyna in refugee care studies at Essex’s Centre Psychoanalytic Studies, talked about work she is doing to capture the idea of sacrifice – proposing models as basis for scientific study. She refers to ritual behaviour and again discussion of social/communal and individuation cropped up.
What I’d like to do if you are agreeable is to post summaries of other sessions – if you want to jump in you can simply look at the website with all the abstracts still up (
 I’d like to talk next about the session with a paper on ancient psychotherapeutic practice from a classicist at Ben Gurion Univerity: she has produced an excellent paper too on cognitive practice in ancient times on dealing with what we would call traumatised soldiers (interesting to compare with Freud’s work). And work David Henderson discussed the nature of an ecstatic presence in the work of the analyst with analysand.
BTW Catriona Miller has generously put up her prezi file on Sumerians that supported her presentation on the Sumerians on the website. Yours, Leslie Gardner
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