“Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.” Teilhard de Chardin
Dreams, Complexes and the Self:
Illusions and Redemption
a Weekend Residency with Dr. Michael Conforti
January 20th – 22nd, 2017
Westward Look Spa & Resort
The dream is a telling of the life we are meant to live, of a destiny awaiting our arrival, and of a union with something far greater than we could have ever imagined. So too, the dream tells us when we arrive at some dead end roads, and of those fits and starts that silence the call of Self, temporarily confining us to an outdated and undeveloped approach to life.
The dream is iconographic, speaking in a language replete with symbols, images and metaphors. In the dream, there are images of the ascent, the journey to some new place, and of a high price to be paid for something of value. So too, we have images of the descent, the need to end a particular relationship and way of life, and of paying far too high a price for something of little value. Jung understood the power of symbols and that we are captivated by the image and it’s power to bring us into relationship with the archetypal. As the earlier generations sat around the fire and the kitchen table listening with rapt attention to the elder’s stories about life, love, and destiny, we too, are called to a relationship to these archetypal journeys through a relationship to our dreams.
And then there is the beauty and at times, tortured nature of the human condition. While we strive to soar with angels, and listen to the wisdom of the archaic soul, there is also the presence and influence of our personal complexes and demons. These often persuade us to contort the eternal and archetypal dream images and messages to fit the contours of our personal biases, intentions and the familiar. In viewing the dream through the lens of our personal complex, we often miss the innate and inherent archetypal story contained within it. Unfortunately, the non-generative aspects of the complex work to keep us circumambulating the familiar, thus missing what is truly unique, and novel. The sacred, mysterious and healing experiences do not occur through the lens of the personal. Instead, they ask us to temporarily put aside our biases and subjective reactions so as to be receptive to the contents of the Self, which is striving to bring something new and of profound value into our life.
It was the brilliance of Jung, M.L. von Franz, Barbara Hannah and the early Jungians, and the work of Hillman, and Marion Woodman who sought ways to welcome the Psyche into their life They found in the dream image, an expression of the Self and a telling of those inherent and profoundly spiritual values of life which have shaped humanity since the beginning of time. They realized that to discover the innate meaning of these archetypal images, they had to get into the skin of the image itself. It was now clear that while we inevitably have our personal reactions to dream images, and create our own meaning of them, that the origin of each image is eternal, trans-personal and not personal. In an effort to learn the language and contents of this objective and collective psyche, Jung and his colleagues studied the expression of Psyche in fairy tales, spiritual stories, alchemy and religion.
Following in the tradition of these pioneers who saw in Psyche and the dream an expression of those deeply held spiritual values of life, this weekend seminar will take an in-depth look at the archetypal nature of dreams* and ways to translate these messages into our daily life. So too, we will discuss the importance and ways of working with the presence of the personal complex in relationship to the dream.
* Because of the deeply meaningful nature of our dreams we will not be working with participants dreams during this weekend, as this is not the temenos within which to engage in that work.
Dr. Michael Conforti is a Jungian analyst and the Founder and Director of The Assisi Institute. He has been a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute – Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England.
A pioneer in the field of matter-psyche studies, Dr. Conforti is actively investigating the workings of archetypal fields and the relationship between Jungian psychology and the New Sciences. He has presented his work to a wide range of national and international audiences, including the C.G. Jung Institute – Zurich and Jungian organizations in Venezuela, Denmark, Italy, Colombia, Russia and Canada.
He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings (2007) and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche (2002). His articles have appeared in Psychological Perspectives, San Francisco Jung Library Journal, Roundtable Press, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and Spring Journal.
Dr. Conforti maintains a private practice in Mystic, CT and consults with individuals and corporations around the world. He provides his insights as a sought-after consultant to businesses, government institutions, and the film industry. He has served as script consultant on the films Pride and Glory and Elvis Anabelle. He was selected by The Club of Budapest and the University of Potsdam to be part of a 20 member international team of physicists, biologists, and dynamical systems theorists to examine the role and influence of informational fields. He is a recipient of the Vision Award presented by the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.
Dr. Conforti is a Senior Fellow of the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland.