Myth, Poetics and Culture: Creative Encounters with Dr. Dennis Patrick Slattery. Overview of Five Classes.
I believe the red thread that runs through all five classes is an exploration of mytho-poetics, both personal and cultural. We each shape and are shaped by a particular mythos, a way of seeing, a corridor of awakening, as well as the discernment of what gives our life meaning and purpose. Several angles on the above thread comprise the substance of these presentations. The objective in all of them is to discover relevances of the subject matter to our own mattered lives. All lives matter, mythically, spiritually, physically and psychologically. My belief is that the more we individually and collectively engage the subject matter of each gathering, the richer will be the experience for all of us. A large part of this success is your willingness and courage to share with others what sense each class makes for you.
Wednesday, 1 July 2020 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time
Bridging Mythology and Art: The Goddess Hestia and Dante’s La Vita Nuova
In this first presentation I will begin with some notions of what qualifies as personal myth. Then I want to focus on the goddess Hestia as the ground of mythic thinking. She may also be the ground for artistic consciousness itself. From a discussion of her presence in entertaining ideas, images and ways of perceiving, the discussion will shift to several scenes from Dante’s La Vita Nuova, which reveals the origins of his greatest artistic achievement, his Commedia. By first exploring the mythic figure of Beatrice and then Dante’s Prologue to his epic journey into the heart of creativity, we can discuss where and what the bridges are that allow the mythic to merge with the poetic or artistic actions of the imagination in a blending of what might be called mytho-poetic expression.
Wednesday 15 July at 5 p.m. Pacific Time
Following on class #1 on the mythic figure of Hestia, the discussion will shift to several scenes from Dante’s La Vita Nuova, which reveals the origins of his greatest artistic achievement, his Commedia. By first exploring the mythic figure of Beatrice and then Dante’s Prologue to his epic journey into the heart of creativity, we can discuss where and what the bridges are that allow the mythic to merge with the poetic or artistic actions of the imagination in a blending of what might be called mytho-poetic expression.
Riting Myth: Bridging Mimesis, Neurology and Aesthetics.
Wednesday, 29 July at 5 p.m. Pacific Time
I begin with a premise: psyche is always meaning-directed, mimetic and metaphoric. Psychologically, the imagination’s fundamental impulse is to create analogies of experience in order to cultivate coherence in one’s life. “Psycho-poetics” may be a useful term to designate how the psyche makes meaning of an event by offering a narrative, an extended metaphor, to reveal the inner sleeve of an event through the transference of energy. I will use three of my own poems to illustrate the migration of a lived event to an aesthetically-formed experience in poetic form. Such a creative process of aesthetic expression can evoke feelings of compassion and an urge for social justice.
Reading, Individuation and the Making of Meaning
Wednesday, 12 August at 5 p.m. Pacific Time
All significant moments of the hero or heroine’s journey are embedded in the imaginative act of reading. I want to concentrate on reading classics of literature as a transformative journey into a symbolic order that is such a foundational element in C.G. Jung’s individuation process. To read contemplatively and imaginatively is to enter the realm of the archetypes and the energy they muster and dispense in the act of reading. In addition, reading is a journey through the energy fields of the work that cultivate transformation in the reader. Perhaps as well, the work that we are shaping and being shaped by, continues through us its own individuation process, for it too contains a consciousness, an unconscious and a collective unconscious. I will use a few passages from my new book, From War to Wonder: Retrieving Your Personal Myth Through Homer’s Odyssey.
Qualities of One’s Personal Myth: Riting Myth, Mythic Writing.
Wednesday 26 August at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
Consider the following insight: “A myth may make a cow sacred in one culture and hamburger meat in another” (Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox, qtd. in Riting Myth, Mythic Writing 90). The same objective reality can have wildly different realities imbedded within them given the myth we are viewing the world by and through. I will use this title to explore some of the fundamental tenets of personal myth, including my own. We will then engage 2-3 short writing meditations from the book to move into some terrain of our own personal myth. I will invite but not call on anyone to read what they have written in a short space of 12 minutes or thereabouts. The aim here is to uncover some aspect or angle of your own personal myth. Sharing what you wrote with others will be a boon beyond measure.
NB: Please have a journal or tablet handy for our last excursion into all realms mythic.