Susan Rowland lecture and workshop open for registration
The Sacred Well Murders, a lecture with Susan Rowland
Jung portrays individuation as beginning with the death of the hero. Not for the first time, his insight is prescient for our troubled twenty-first century in which notions of the heroic masculine warrior have been tested to destruction, even on occasion becoming vehicles for the shadow. By contrast, Jung provides a feminine that is marginalized, often forced into the shadow, pluralized, and hospitable to other cultures and/or forms of consciousness. Taking inspiration from Jung’s feminine, it is possible to discover less ego-centric, less dogmatic, less euro-centric, and more collective modes of individuation. Arguably, these are better fitted to intervene in the crises of our times.
To explore new kinds of heroism, Rowland’s Jungian arts-based research has transitioned into writing murder mysteries because the genre is a link to pre-patriarchal individuation myths, such as those of the Holy Grail and the Well Maidens of Logres. In particular, she will demonstrate her argument using her novel of Jungian active imagination and amplification, The Sacred Well Murders, which arose from Jungian divination during the pandemic. If possible, she encourages people to read the novel ahead of the lecture to facilitate discussion of how its feminine heroism both arises from, and responds to, pandemic conditions and climate anxiety.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Eastern Time
General – $75
Members – $50
Sen/Stud – $40 (Members who are either seniors over 65 or full time students)
A simple job turns deadly when Mary Wandwalker, novice detective, is hired to chaperone a young American, Rhiannon, to the Oxford University Summer School on the ancient Celts. Worried by a rhetoric of blood sacrifice, Mary and her operatives, Caroline, and Anna, attend a sacrifice at a sacred well. They discover that those who fail to individuate their gods become possessed by them.
For the so-called Reborn Celts, who run the summer school, have been infiltrated by white supremacists. Could their immersion in myth be less a symbol for psychic wholeness and more a clue of their intent to engage in terrorist violence? Who better to penetrate their secret rites than an apparently harmless woman of a certain age?
Mary agrees to spy on the Reborn Celts, then learns, to her horror, of Anna’s passionate affair with the chief suspect, Joe Griffith. With Griffith also the object of Rhiannon’s obsession, Mary realizes too late that that these 21st century Celts mean murder.
The Reborn Celts draw Mary and her friends into three rites to summon their gods: at an Oxford sacred well, by the Thames on the way to London, and in Celtic London, where bloodshed will restore one of the Thames’ “lost rivers.”
Before the fatal night of the summer solstice, Caroline and Anna race to London seeking Mary, who has been kidnapped. Will she end as the crone sacrifice? Or will the three women re-make their detecting family, so re-constituting a pattern of archetypal feminine compassion?