Log in

a container for the psyche in an uncertain world

Log in

Exploring the Nature Archetype Through Story and Image, A Workshop with Stephen Foster

  • Saturday, May 04, 2024
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Zoom, Eastern Time


  • Members who are either seniors over 65 or full time students

Registration is closed


This program WILL NOT BE recorded.

Registration closes at NOON on the day before the program begins. 

Zoom Links will be in your confirmation email.

The collective unconscious…appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious. 

- C.G. Jung, CW8, para 325                                                                                                                                   

And the essential thing, psychologically, is that in dreams, fantasies, and other exceptional states of mind the most far-fetched mythological motifs and symbols can appear autochthonously at any time, often, apparently, as the result of particular influences, traditions, and excitations working on the individual, but more often without any sign of them. These “primordial images,” or “archetypes,” as I have called them, belong to the basic stock of the unconscious psyche and cannot be explained as personal acquisitions. Together they make up that psychic stratum which I have called the collective unconscious.

- C.G. Jung, CW8, para 229 

In The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien tells a story called the Lay of Lúthien, where the love between a human (Beren) and an Earth Spirit (Lúthien) may be seen as the metaphorical setting for a relationship between humans and nature. The Lay of Lúthien is a modern fairy tale.  In this workshop, we will analyze this tale, using classical Jungian methods, including alchemical interpretation, to uncover its archetypal themes and images.

The Silmarillion tells the story of the Silmarils, three gems that contain the light of the Trees of Valinor, that is, the Light of Nature (lumen naturae). The jewels are stolen and rest in the crown of Morgoth, who represents the evil of their time.  To marry Lúthien, Beren must retrieve a jewel from Morgoth’s crown and deliver it to Lúthien’s father.  It is a compelling love story with a seemingly insoluble relational paradox. The Lay of Lúthien may also be seen as a metaphorical fairy tale about rescuing the lumen naturae in our time. Symbolically, in our immediate future, we will need the power from lumen naturae (nature’s light—sunlight) to replace fossil fuels and restore global temperatures to pre-industrial levels. 

Preparation for nature activities:

Please have a notebook or paper available, along with pens and art-making materials of your choice.  Throughout the process, we will pause to reflect on various questions and feelings related to the story. 

This workshop will assume that individuals attended the previous evening’s lecture.

Stephen Foster, Ph.D., LPC, NCPsyA, is Senior Training Analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analyst (IRSJA), teaching with their Memphis-Atlanta Seminar. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, with a private practice in Boulder, Colorado.

Stephen has taught a wide range of subjects, including nature and the environment, alchemy, Norse mythology, fairy tales, and the Tarot.  Before becoming a Jungian analyst, Stephen worked as an environmental scientist, studying the risks and impacts associated with hazardous chemicals in the environment. The combination of these experiences resulted in his book, Risky Business: A Jungian View of Environmental Disasters and the Nature Archetype. His most recent publication is “Our Climate Crisis: The Need for an Active Analyst When Working with the Nature Archetype in Jungian Analysis,” chapter 1 in Jungian Analysis in a World on Fire: At the Nexus of Individual and Collective Trauma, Routledge Mental Health, Taylor & Francis Group. (For more information, visit

FOR ALL REGISTRANTS:  For your convenience, we have provided a link to a time converter below so that you can find out when this event will start in the city where you will be located on the date of the event.  Our location, Washington, DC, is listed for your convenience.  You may enter your home city and change the date and time to obtain accurate information for any of our events.

ZOOM LINK: The Zoom link can be found in your registration confirmation email. They will also be shared about 24 hours before the program start time and one hour before the event starts. Registration closes before Zoom links are shared. If you do not receive your link 24 hours in advance, please reach out asap directly to

CANCELLATION: You may cancel your registration up to 1 week prior to the program.

By agreeing to enroll in an online program offered by the Jung Society of Washington, you are also agreeing to comply with our terms. This means that you cannot record (through internal or external devices) the audio, visuals (photos), or  any videos of the program. The intellectual property belongs to the presenter, and we ask you not to violate this policy. Also, we highly value the anonymity of the content of the program, of the presenters, and of individuals present in the program, and hope that everyone can contribute to a respectful and trust-building online environment. Thank you!


5200 Cathedral Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016


Our staff is part time and we are currently working from home. 

You can reach us with any questions at


The library is open by appointment only.

Please contact us through and we will assist you.




The Jung Society of Washington is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, a nonprofit educational institution. Our IRS form 990 is available upon request. Although many of the Jung Society's programs involve analytical psychology and allied subjects, these offerings are intended, and should be viewed, as a source of information and education, and not as therapy. The Jung Society does not offer psychoanalytical or other mental health services.
Images of mandalas throughout this site were created by Carl Jung's patients between the years 1926 and 1945.
Privacy Policy
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software