13th Conference of Research in Jung and Analytical Psychology (JSSS) Edmonton 06. 2015

On Nature and the Feminine: Psychological and Cultural Reflections


Nature is not matter only, she is also spirit. ~ C. G. Jung, CW13, par. 229

Spirit seems to be the inside of things . . . the soul of objects. ~ C. G. Jung,

Vision Seminars, p. 459


Jung observed, “Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions. . . . The psychic influence of the earth and its laws is seen most clearly in these primordial images” (CW10, par. 53). With these words in mind the Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies and the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta invite you to participate in the 13th conference of JSSS entitled On Nature & the Feminine: Psychological & Cultural Reflections, held in Edmonton, Alberta, from June 11-13, 2015.


Edmonton is a place of extremes both physically and psychologically, from the exquisite beauty and wilderness of the Rocky Mountains: Jasper National Park, Columbia Ice Fields, Miette and Radium Hot Springs, Banff National Park and Lake Louise to the Athabasca oil sands near Fort MacMurray and Fort Chipewyan; from its international reputation in theatre, music and green space to the severity and demand of its harsh winters. Acknowledging the importance of holding extremes, we seek to burrow deep into questions and issues of place relevant to spaciality, time (present, past and future) and life’s web of interrelations, including the honouring and denigration of body, spirit and earth.


Drawing upon echoes of past conference themes (Psyche and Society 2013, Affect and Action 2012) and moved further by their dynamism, we call for imaginative kinds of address of current local and global concerns related to ‘Nature’ and the ‘Feminine,’ in their many and varied manifestations. Highlighting one aspect common to both – the relational – we ask in what ways might we meet the challenges of the effects of excessive reliance upon reason on culture, education, ecology, politics and economics, as they intersect psychologically with nature and the feminine? Too often reliance upon rationalization, and its privileging of specialization and perfection, has led to a loss of feeling, meaning and value; indeed, it has led to a loss of relations with self, place and the potentialities of being connected to something greater than the individual. We call upon creative and critical engagement with analytic psychology so to explore its power of connectivity and its nuanced ways of conjoining what might be seen as contradictory even unrelated elements and in so doing imagine new and sustainable configurations.


The exaggerated rationalization of consciousness . . . seeking to control nature, isolates itself from her and so robs man of his own natural history. He finds himself transplanted into a limited present . . . . The limitation creates a feeling that he is a haphazard creature without meaning, and it is this feeling that prevents him from living his life with the intensity it demands if it is to be enjoyed to the full. Life becomes stale and no longer the exponent of the complete man . . . . People live as though they were walking in shoes too small for them . . . . Hemmed round by rationalistic walls, we are cut off from the eternity of nature. Analytical psychology seeks to break through these walls by digging up again the fantasy images of the unconscious which our rationalism has rejected. The images lie beyond the walls; they are part of the nature in us, which apparently lies buried in our past and against which we have barricaded ourselves behind walls of reason. (Jung, CW8, par. 739)


JSSS invites proposals for presentations, performances and conversations. We particularly encourage responses that explore the individual and collective aspects of nature and the feminine and their various relationships: personally, in families, in analysis/therapy and education, within communities and nations, in relation to culture, to society and the arts, science and organizations. This conference offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary reflection, investigation and rumination as together we seek to clarify and understand the current state of our world and its affective influence upon us.


The Program Committee welcomes submissions for research papers (single, joint or multi-authored), round tables, panels (general theme with 3+ presenters), workshops (experiential only), poster sessions and creative practice which explore the conference theme. We invite you to submit a proposal (350 word maximum), complete with an abstract (50 words) and biographical note (25-50 words) by January 15, 2015 through the JSSS website: www.jungiansociety.org. We will review and notify you of your submission by February 15, 2015. Note the committee may exercise its prerogative to reallocate presentation formats other than those originally requested. Details of the host site and conference can be accessed through the JSSS website.