Intimations in the Night: An Archetypal Perspective on Psyche and Spirit in the Aging Process

Event Details

Intimations in the Night: An Archetypal Perspective on Psyche and Spirit in the Aging Process
Michael Conforti, Ph.D.

Friday, March 23, 2018: 7 pm – 9 pm
$30  2 CEUs

“Normal development involves to a large extent the surrender of creativity in favor of a recognition of generally accepted cultural values and the sacrifice of individuality to an adjustment to the requirements of the collective…yet the survival and the creative endurance ofthis sacrifice provides the indispensable  basis for the individuation process of the second half of life, which is world embracing in the true sense of the world…” (Erich Neumann,  in Creative Man p. 212) *

When entering the autumn and winter of life, we often experience a profound lack of orientation.   So many of our meaningful accomplishmens from the first of life, now begin to lose their luster, and those aspirations and dreams which set our hearts on fire, are now eclipsed by these new and strange emotions, and desires suddenly emerging from the shadows.

The needs and emotions of this autumn and winter of life speaks to us in a foreign tongue.  The fires and passions of youth and the middle years are now reduced to smouldering embers, and with these, the hunger for so much of what we wanted in life quickly fades into the domain of memory. These embers no longer warm our heart and soul.  Now theonly truly accurate rendering and intimations of this life now calling us, is found in our dreams, our frustrations, symptoms, and those cravings for what Rabbi Heschel calls the “ineffable”.

And then there is the role of psyche and soul in this aging process, whereby the voice and needs of The Self now speak louder than the youthful chorus still clamouring for  an outdated way of life. In Hemmingways last major work of fiction, The Old Man and the Sea, we find this dialogue between ego and Self, and those yearnings of our younger self confronting the reality of who we are now as an older person. Through the old mans journey and relucatant recognition that he now must view his life aganst the backdrop of a life vastly different from what it once was, he now has to make a number crucial and life threathening decisions. And it is this old man’s refusal to respond to the calling of the innefable and the consequences of his actions, that actually teaches us a profound lesson about the aging process.

Standing face to to face with the reality that we have aged, and now face certain limitations, we are challenged to hear those painful lamentations of ego and youth as we move into this later and eventually final stage of life.  Now it is imperative to know what it is that we so deeply love and chersish, need to perserve, and then recognize those aspects of life we need to relinqush, as they no longer sastfy the mandates of the Self.  Perhaps here we will see how those roaring fires of our earlier years are transformed by the richly grained oak and and maple woods whose warmth provides us with a sustantined heat.   Perhaps now with this new perspective of lifes journey and where we are on this road allows us to finally take that winter house rental overlooking the Aeolian sea.

* I want to thank Loralee Conforti for this Neumann reference


Dr. Michael Conforti, Ph.D., IAAP* is a Jungian analyst and the Founder and Director of The Assisi Institute.  He has been a faculty member at the C.G. Jung Institute – Boston, the C.G Jung Foundation of New York, and for many years served as a Senior Associate faculty member in the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology at Antioch New England. He is the author of Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of Beginnings (2007) and Field, Form and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche (2002). His articles have appeared in Psychological Perspectives, San Francisco Jung Library Journal, Roundtable Press, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and Spring Journal.  For more information visit:

IAAP* (International Association for Analytical Psychology)

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