While our life is truly a unique and very personal experience, it is also shaped by universal, archetypal influences. Each life transition — from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, and onto to our later years — carries the etching of humanity’s collective, archetypal history, which influences the way we respond to each.
Finding a form that captures something of its essence, the archetype is expressed through patterns. Here we find a living and vital experience of the archetypal as it creates a relationship to our emotional and sensorial world, allowing us to see, to feel, and most importantly, to know something of its message for our life. Our inner and outer worlds are replete with these patterns, each telling the story of the life of the soul and the life that the Self wants us to live. However, learning to discern these messages remains a challenge.
Adolph Portmann, zoologist and long-time collaborator with Jung, speaks of the beauty of these natural patterns that tell the story of a life and one's place in this journey: “The plumage is not the only outward manifestation that changes with the inner state; in birds the song, the call . . . gives eloquent expression not only to momentary changes of mood but also to the great rhythms of life. We have all noticed how the sound of the woods changes with the seasons, even though no birds may be in sight: how lively the forest is in May, in the spring, when even the invisible inhabitants bear witness to their life in songs and calls, and how different in late summer, how strange this silence reflecting the metamorphosis of the hidden songbirds."
Our songs are heard and seen in the way we live our life, in whom and to what we are drawn, and in those patterns that just won’t let us go. In tonight’s lecture, we will look at the presence of psyche and archetypes in the patterns of our unique life, the ways in which we might sense an intimation of their meaning, of their calling, and what they entrust to us.
Michael Conforti, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst and founder of the Assisi Institute. He has been a faculty member at the C. G. Jung Institute in Boston, the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years 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 is the author of two books, Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings and Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature, and Psyche. He is currently working on a new book, Hidden Presence: Archetypes, Spells, Possessions, and the Complex. Dr. Conforti maintains a private practice in Mystic, Connecticut, and consults with individuals and corporations around the world.