"In Search of Sophia..."
- An imaginal exploration of C.G. Jung's myth for our apocalyptic time
- facilitated by Nikolaj Knub
It’s with pleasure and excitement that we send out this invitation to join us for another imaginal expedition. This time our exploration will center around what we might call “Jung’s myth for our time”, which we will try to uncover and creatively engage with throughout the spring - theoretically (online) as well as practically by meeting (physically) at Virkelig.
In a time with so much upheaval in the world the motivation behind this expedition springs from a desire to understand and respond to the current (meta)crisis from an archetypal and mythic perspective.
We often think of myths as something “primitive” or “supernatural”; a curious remnant from the past, that we have outgrown in our "enlightened civilization". But what if myth is something else and more than that? What if myth is something that grounds and situates us in the world? Which makes us feel "at home", and which ties us together - with ourselves, each other, and the more-than-human world?
Myths might not be "real" in the eyes of objectifying science. Myths have to do with reality of the imagination, which is not concrete but which nonetheless can be “more real than the real”. The loss of connection with the mytho-poetic imagination, was according to Jung, the real tragedy of modernity, because as soon as we lose connection to a living myth, we no longer have a means of containing and transforming the archaic and archetypal and energies of the unconscious - which, as Jung so often stressed, are both light and dark, creative and destructive, personal and collective. Consequently these “raw” energies are acted out blindly with catastrophic effects on our culture, our climate, our politics, in warfare ect.
But in a world where the imagination seems to be increasingly denigrated and endangered, how might we discover/create new ways of understanding and entering the mythic?... New ways of seeing and being, through which we can engage creatively with the unconscious? How might we be participating in the world, so that the unconscious becomes a source of renewal and guidance - individually as well as collectively?
In circumambulating these questions, we will be exploring Jung’s own myth of, and for, our time; not necessarily to follow dogmatically in his footsteps, but as a point of departure for further explorations and creative elaborations.
At the center of Jung’s myth stands an enigmatic figure; a woman who can never be fully uncovered, let alone possessed or appropriated. She has been called a great many things throughout the ages, but is commonly referred to as Sophia and described as “the feminine wisdom of God”.
Despite neglect and suppression she is in a way “alfa and omega”; she appears right at the beginning of the Bible; at the creation of the world as a cosmopoetic force, and she is present as well at the very end of the Bible, as the “woman clothed in the sun” from the Book of Revelation. In the middle of the tremendous chaos and destruction of the apocalypse, she appears with a crown (corona) of 12 stars, giving birth to a “divine child”...
Who is this woman? Where is she to be found? Why has she been exiled? How might we call upon her? And what does she have to show us at this critical moment in time?
During our expedition our hope is to "get a sense of Sophia ", by exploring, not only what the connection is between our crisis and the loss of myth, but significantly also between our crisis and the exiling of Sophia.
In order to unfold the feminine principle of Sophia, we’ll be looking beyond Jung as well and in particular into essays from Ursula K. Le Guin, who has shown beautifully and creatively how a feminist/sophianic re-imagining of the mythic might look like today.
To do this we will be exploring - first of all - what a living “myth” is - or could be - and how the loss of myth affects our present. We will then follow this thread into chapter 5 of Aion to look at Jung’s historical, archetypal and astrological analysis of this loss.
Aion is not an attempt to write “objective history”, it is a way of writing the history of the western soul, so as to re-connect us (mythically and archetypically) with our collective past. As such the work already points toward a new myth for our time; one that finds its crystallization in Answer to Job.
In this forceful and fascinating text Jung imaginatively re-interprets key biblical texts and themes - mainly the Book of Job and the Book of Revelation. Here several key ideas of Jung find a powerful and provocative expression. To name just a few of the most central, that we will be grappling with:
That God is also “unconscious”, i.e; that the Self has a light as well as a dark aspect, and that it can be the cause of destruction as well as creation.
That God (the Self) needs us in order to become conscious of its own darkness. Individuation is therefore - essentially - not only our individuation, but that of the Godhead’s incarnation through us.
Christianity has not only suppressed the dark side of God, but also - and inextricably - that of the feminine side; Sophia. New and more whole-some myths for the future, must therefore include, address and honor, the feminine side of being.
If we read and relate to our “apocalyptic situation” imaginatively and symbolically, it might reveal seeds of a new myth and new possibilities. Symbols make it possible to transform destructive energy into creative power.
As the Bible ends with the apocalypse, so the Christian myth and era ends with a terrible destruction. In Aion and Answer to Job, Jung shows how this myth is now becoming materialized and actualized in our time. We live, accrording to Jung in the end of the Christian era; in what Nietzsche called “the shadow of the death of God”.
But Jung’s myth for our time does not end in a fatalistic doomsday “prophecy”. There is neither fatalism nor prophecy, but a recognition of potentially fatal patterns that might prove devastating, if they are not (alchemically) tended to. There is hope; a hope that the apocalyptic and destructive forces of our time, might lead to a transformation of our ideas and ideals, so that they might bring us back into a creative connection with the unconscious.
The question in this regard is whether - deeply embedded in the crisis of our time - a new creation myth lies hidden. New myths that could contain and incorporate what modernity in its hybris has denied; the mythopoetic imagination, the body, the feminine, the sacred, the more-than-human world, eros, communitas...
In that case the Book of Revelation, both as text and prism for our time, could be seen, not as the end of all ends, but as a Sophianic source of "cosmo-poetic" symbols; a “metaforce” that symbolically points the way toward fresh visions of the world; new world-views which we astrologically and mythically could call “Aquarian”.
The last part of our exploration will therefore be dedicated to a close look at the central symbolic motifs from the Book of Revelation, which we will be (dream)reading and re-imagining as potent metaphors for our own time and our current crisis.
Such is the rough contour of our imaginal expedition and exploration this spring.
We hope that you would like to join us on the journey!
Below you can read more about the practicalities...
As previously the course will unfold as a hybrid thing...
Beginning from March 7th, we will be meeting physically each second Thursday from 19.00 to 22.00 at Virkelig. These sessions will be community gatherings; a sanctuary where we will meditate together, share, and experiment with different ways of unfolding the topics and actively entering the realm of the imaginal.
Our online session will begin the following week on the 14th of March at 19.30-21.30. These sessions will be a mixture of theoretical presentations and group discussion. If you can't make it for the online session, the presentations will be recorded each time, so you can watch or re-watch it in your own time
Although we would love for you to be present as much as possbile, we also acknowledge that it is a comprehensive "itinerary" and that it might not fit in to everyone's lives.
The online space will therefore be open, so that you can drop in and out as you like. However, with the physical meetings there will be a maximum amount of 8 participants. So if you know that you would like to attend fully, then let us know in advance.
It will also be possible only to attend the online part, if you prefer.
Here are some of the visions for the expedition that what we hope to unfold:
First of all we hope to co-create what we could call “an imaginal sanctuary”; a place for us to continually resist the hamster wheel of modernity, which also means resisting to turn imaginal practice into a strategic instrument of self improvement.
A community around imaginal practice, in which we feel safe, seen and supported and in which we can explore, and discover, or individuality as well that which connects us at a deeper level.
Online presentations and discussions, in which we’ll get a deeper in-sight into Jung, not only as a "psychology among others", but as a world view and philo-sophy for life.
A place of permission to explore and play with different expressions for the unconscious.
A space in which we can play with the magic of sound and soundscapes, and explore the profound connections between sound, body and imagination.
A dream laboratory, where we can take dream images and characters with us into the sanctuary and our imaginal practice, so as to keep building and exploring our relationship with the unconscious. Perhaps, this could also be a way of continually discovering a sense of “mythical living”
Finally, and essentially, our hope is to keep building a living, dynamic, non-dogmatic community in which we can support each other in caring for the soul, however that might look.
Throughout our expedition we will be hosting different events, a cacao ceremony on the 25th of February, a pilgrimage/retreat during pentecost in May, and a summer solstice ritual. More info on this will come. These events are not included in the course, but could be seen as a way to deepen into it.
Info, Price and Registration:
Time: Every second thursday from 19-21.30
Place: ‘Virkelig’ yoga studio at Tagensvej 85C. 2200. København N
Price: Full price: 1800 Kr. Reduced Price: 1400 kr. (for the students, unemployed or otherwise financially challenged)
Online sessions: Suggested donation 50 kr. pr session.
Physical sessions at Virkelig: 175 kr.
If price is an obstacle for your participation, then get in touch and we'll figure something out.
Language: The course will be taught in Danish or English depending on the participants
Max number of participants for the physical sessions: 8 persons
Registration: Contact Nikolaj at firstname.lastname@example.org or 26705189.
If you have any questions, concerns or doubts about the course you are always welcome to get in touch
I’m a philosopher and jungian psychotherapist based in Copenhagen. Besides offering individual therapy I facilitate workshops and offer rituals with ceremonial cacao, sound-journeys and the use of active imagination. For more info visit my webiste: www.nikolajknub.dk
- 7/3 At Virkelig
Launching the ship
What's missing? Exploring the meta-crisis of modernity?
Ego-psychology as "part of the problem"
2: Jung's myth for our time
- 14/3 online and 21/3 at Virkelig
What is a myth?
The difference between sign and symbol, archetype and stereotype
De-colonial ways off moving beyond the myth of the hero
3: The history of the Western Soul
28/3 (online) and 4/4 at Virkelig
Aion as historical narrative
What is "archetypal history"?
How do our connection with history, or lack thereof, play out today?
4. Jung's "Answer to Job"
11/4 (online) - 18/4 at Virkelig
Job and the individuation of the unconscious God
The coming of the Holy Spirit