Personal Myth and the Quest for Meaning
Four class course by Dennis P. Slattery
“Thus it is that I have now undertaken, in my eighty-third year, to tell my personal myth. I can only make direct statements, only ‘tell stories.’ Whether or not the stores are ‘true’ is not the problem. The only question is whether what I tell is my fable, my truth.”
C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams Reflections, pp. 3-4.
Course Overview: In this series of webinars, we will explore several angles on the complexity of personal mythology. Jung himself saw it as “the task of tasks” for anyone of us. Not knowing some of the contours of our personal mythology leaves us open to all forms of propaganda, abuse and misdirection, especially when we unknowingly or knowingly, begin to live out another’s personal myth, leaving our own gasping at the side of road, unacknowledged and unlived. We will engage the four arenas outlined below to come to a greater understanding of what myth is wanting to live us.
Class I. Personal Mythology. I will use sections from my own book, Riting Myth, Mythic Writing: Plotting Your Personal Story (2012) to engage some of the terms of a personal myth as I understand it. I will also invite you, between each session, to engage one or two “riting meditations” and ask that you write them out in cursive rather than use your lap top. In our next session I will invite some of you to read what you have written.
Class II. Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Call to/Refusal of The Adventure. We will select several key passages from The Hero With a Thousand Faces to deepen our understanding of being called and, if one so chooses, refusing the call.
Class III. Living Myth and Mimesis. The ancient Greeks discovered what Aristotle was to call mimesis, which is a process by which we discover something in the outer world that has a connection to our inner world. Our creation of a personal myth is generated in part from such a connection. Mimesis also rests at the heart of stories, narratives that have particular resonance in our lives.
Class IV. Psyche, Poetics and Mythic Analogies. Jung himself wrote that “analogy formation” is a law which to a large extent governs the psyche. We will ask how the power of analogy is operative in the creation of our personal mythology.
Presenter: Dr. Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. is Core Faculty, Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor. See www.pacifica.edu He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 25 volumes, including six volumes of poetry and one novel. His recent books include: Bridge-Work: Essays on Mythology, Literature, and Psychology (2015), Creases in Culture: Essays Toward a Poetics of Depth (2015) and Our Daily Breach: Exploring Your Personal Myth Through Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (2016). He offers Riting Personal Myth Retreats throughout the United States, in Canada, Europe and Ireland.
Number of classes: 4
Length of each class: 90 min