About The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences
The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences is a new kind of educational organization based around the implications of the philosophy and psychology of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. Its purpose is to support the individuation process of the members of its community, via a series of experiences that provide whole-person learning—learning that engages not only students’ minds but their hearts, souls and spirits. Toward that end, the Center has developed courses, workshops and training programs that depart from the schema typical in most Western educational systems in which departments are organized around disciplines. Instead, the Jungian Center recognizes that there are many paths “up the mountain” of the spiritual journey, and as humans we come to the journey as a unity of mind, body, soul and spirit. So the learning experience is arranged around paths (viae) that have been trod for thousands of years by adepts and seekers in both Eastern and Western traditions, paths that resonate with the totality of our being as humans.
How the Center Came About
The Jungian Center began with a series of dreams in July 2005. Over the course of a week Sue Mehrtens had multiple dreams that laid out the mission, vision, values and curriculum, with its 5 paths and several dozen of the original courses. Having a 25+ year history of directive dreams, Sue knew that she had to follow through, so she began the process of creating the organization: getting the name registered, getting incorporated and, over the course of 2006, getting the designation from the Internal Revenue Service as a 50lc3 non-profit, tax-exempt educational institution.
From the beginning Sue knew that she could not implement what the dreams laid out all by herself, so she set about finding faculty. As is the way when the Universe wants something to happen, all sorts of synchronicities put Sue in touch with various people whose interests and activities align with the work of the Center, and in this way the faculty has grown over time.
By 2009 it was clear that the Center had taken on a life of its own: Students were suggesting new courses, one course would spark the development of another, the Psychology Club arose by student request, various speakers, visiting faculty and presenters were contacting us, asking to be a part of our community. And so we have grown.
With the development of a new, more interactive and “user-friendly” Web site in 2011, we are hopeful that the global community will find the Center as close as their computers. We have over 35,560 readers of our monthly blog, and hope that, with the “comments” capability being improved in the new site, this number will grow. We also plan to expand our distance learning process, making it much easier for people to participate in our courses.
The Five Paths
Carl Jung hypothesized a set of orientations (extravert and introvert) and functions (intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling) that create a typology that is now widely used, in various forms, in both therapeutic and business settings. In Jung’s theory, we each have a “superior” function which we employ most readily in dealing with the situations of life. At the same time, we each have an “inferior” function, existing mostly in the unconscious, which can be a pathway to our individuation. At the Jungian Center we drew upon type theory to create the following paths: The Via Physica focuses on the world of matter (physica), especially the physical system within which each human lives: the human body. This way appeals to the sensation type, with his/her keen sensory orientation. The Via Contemplativa, by contrast, resonates with the intuitive, in its focus on the meditative, mystical and psychic realms in service to the spirit. Science, logic and things intellectual are the purview of the Via Investigativa, within which thinking types flourish. This is the arena of most college curricula, with their focus on mental development. Through the Via Creativa students have the opportunity for self-expression in a variety of verbal, visual, auditory and tactile venues which feed the soul. The fifth path, the Via Practica, grounds the other four in the world of daily living, through a combination of experiential short modules that equip students with some of the practical skills for living consciously. Since a central goal of the Jungian Center is to foster individuation, we strongly encourage participants to take courses and workshops that draw on their inferior function, as well as those that build on their strengths.
The Uniqueness of the Jungian Center
The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences is an unusual learning organization. Those familiar with mainstream academia will find many elements of our program different from the norm, e.g. our appreciation of ancient wisdom and technologies, like astrology and alchemy, and our recovery of the holistic, participatory methodologies of native traditions. We integrate the inclusive philosophical attitude of Carl Jung in all areas of our program, as we seek not merely to instruct or inform students but to provide multiple forums for participants in the Center to become aware of their talents and to develop them. In so doing, we work to grow and transform both learner and teacher. Our faculty are a group of people who recognize the most basic fact about teaching: One teaches not only what one knows (“head stuff”) but far more powerfully and eloquently, one teaches who one is. The teachers atJungian Center strive themselves to become more conscious, doing their own inner work, committed to spirit and life-long learning, in creative engagement with the world. In its commitment to holism, the Jungian Center affirms our interconnectedness with the web of life. Everyone in the Jungian Center community shares a commitment to social and economic justice, political concern and environmental awareness. So, in all our actions as an institution we strive to create a world that works for everyone.
Some of the values that underpin the Jungian Center are common to educational organizations, e.g. freedom, diversity. Others are quite unusual and warrant comment. For example, we put great stress on consciousness, people becoming conscious of the unconsciousness and working to create more consciousness in the world. Toward this end, we encourage all participants in the Center to have an analysis with a certified Jungian analyst, so they can become aware of their psychic depths, and come to recognize the reality and wisdom of the psyche. Another important value we share with Carl Jung is that the psyche is real. Anyone engaging in his process of inner work comes to agree that the psyche is a living reality. More than just real, the psyche is wise. The community of learners that form the Jungian Center carries this into the operation of the Center: When making major decisions, we “sleep on it,” incubating dreams and looking to the wisdom of the psyche for guidance. In this, we hark back to the wisdom traditions of native peoples like the Naskapi and the Senoi. We also are set apart from mainstream values in our appreciation of smallness. “Small is beautiful,” as E.F. Schumacher noted in his environmental classic. Here at the Jungian Center we use this phrase to remind ourselves of our commitment to quality, rigor, inner wisdom, consciousness and psychic reality—all of which, in the context of contemporary Western culture, make the Jungian Center an oddity. Few indeed are interested in, or prepared to commit to the demands of their inner life. So practical realism echoes the words of an enlightened being who said: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences has no aspirations to bigness. Bigger is not better. We thrive, at the Jungian Center, not by growing numbers, but by growing people into the fullness of their being.
Mission and Objectives
The mission of The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences is to offer whole-person learning—learning that engages not only the mind, but also the heart, soul, and spirit—to support the individuation of adults of all ages and backgrounds. Toward the fulfillment of this mission, the Center has the following goals:
- to educate: to draw out (ex + ducere) the innate gifts and talents from students, and to support the development of these gifts and talents
- to train: to introduce students to a variety of spiritual, intellectual, psychological and physical disciplines, in person-centered experiential formats
- to transform: to foster deep change and growth in all members of our learning community, faculty, staff, students, and scholars-in-residence, by modeling a new form of learning and encouraging each person in his/her spiritual journey
- to meld the treasury of ancient wisdom and Jungian theory with discoveries in modern science to expand awareness, change perspectives and empower individuals
- to model the process of living and working under the direction of the psyche
- to support the individuation of all members of the Center’s community
- to encourage intellectual discovery, beyond the “sylvan grooves of academe,” via an interdisciplinary curriculum derived from a holistic philosophy of education
- to foster research in fields related to the core curriculum (e.g. in frontier science, archetypal theory, Jungiana, creativity, holistic health, esoterica, arcana, spirituality)
- to sponsor conferences, colloquia, seminars and other gatherings of like-minded people
- to support a community of life-long learners
- to provide a restorative environment for scholars, artists, scientists and other creative persons who are attuned to the goals and values of the Jungian Center
- to work for a world that works for everyone
About Our Logo
The logo of The Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences integrates several powerful symbols.The outer figure is a symbol found in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Arabic and medieval European sources: the Ouroboros, the snake biting its tail. Representing the guardian of the underworld, the ouroboric snake is the Western version of the Eastern Yin-Yang image, depicting the opposites as one. As the source of the flow of mystical water, where the opposites (head and tail) meet, the ouroboros reminds us of the alchemical nature of the work of the Jungian Center: cyclical, circular, self-contained, transformative, taking us ever deeper into the mysteries of the soul.
The open book represents the open nature of the Center, where knowledge is readily shared and open to all seekers looking for guidance on their spiritual journey. Nothing is closed, exclusive or unavailable, although certain advanced-level courses do have certain pre-requisites. The fact that the book is open is also a reminder that, in our day, as our Earth approaches the time of the Global Mind Change, those secrets that once were hidden are now being revealed.
The lighted candle symbolizes illumination, the “light of the world,” the Spirit which provides enlightenment for those who choose to draw near and attend to their inner life and soul’s needs. It also represents the inner light in each of us, which we are not meant to “hide under a bushel,” but to cherish, nurture and develop, to serve as lights to others in our shared journey to Spirit.