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WFCRP Interest Groups 2024

February 16-18, 2024

1. Parsing the Plenary

    Riley Robinson

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung

So amidst the chaos and sorrow, where do we start? The plenary sessions will give us ideas to reflect upon and to discuss together. Each of us may recall learning and growing from suffering, even though at the time we felt loss, anxiety, or just numbness. Do you have a story to tell? Centering, healing energies are present and are at work even now. How do we align with those? What is to be our role? How do we bring integrity to both ourselves and to the world? What are some experiences, gifts, discoveries, and abilities that you have to offer, or that you have witnessed? 

Riley Robinson has attended FCRP events for decades and has been involved in a number of Quaker organizations. He still has many questions about pretty much everything.

2. Using Jung’s Active Imagination

   Jane Byerley

Have you ever wondered about active imagination?  It seems pretty precious, if you have never tried it. But it is a very manageable process, available under nearly all circumstances, and a way to check in with yourself, your soul, or even the collective unconscious.

This is the process Jung used in developing the Black Books and the Red Book, but it goes back to the Renaissance.  Then it was seen as an “organ of the soul…a cognitive and visionary relationship with an intermediate world" (Boehm). The Romantic poet Coleridge considered the imagination to be a state of mind, a “condition for cognitive (conscious?) participation in a sacramental universe.”

Jung used the term “active imagination” to express a way for a person to drop into the collective unconscious.  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he described the process of his first experience: “It was during Advent of the year 1913 – December 12, to be exact – I resolved upon the decisive step. I was sitting at my desk once more, thinking over my fears. Then I let myself drop. Suddenly it was as though the ground liiterally gave way beneath my feet, and I plunged into the dark depths.”  Jung passed through the unconscious to the collective unconscious. 

Do we have to be “special” to do active imagination?  No. Jung recommended it widely among the people who contacted him.  And so we will try it.  What space do we need?  So long as you are comfortable, any space will do.  Even if there is activity in the room it is possible to do active imagination.  What will we do in our sessions?  We will center ourselves, empty our minds and see what comes to us.  Nothing is, of course, an acceptable answer, as is a sketch, a piece of music, a movement.  But we will see what we get when we, as Jung says, “drop down.”

Please bring paper—a notebook or just paper—and a pen or pencil that you find easy to manipulate.  And your personal unconscious, of course.  Nothing else is required!


Jane Byerley, MBA, MSW, the Director of the Jung Society of Washington, has had a career in management consulting and now has a therapy practice focusing on individual counseling.  She is an Analytic Candidate through the Inter-regional Society of Jungian Analysts (IRSJA).

3. Lyric Poems As Journaling Prompts

    Stephen McDonnell

We’ll spend some time with lyric poems as models for observing the outer world in detail and then write journal entries, expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings, perhaps lapsing into metaphors or flights of imagination. The poems hopefully will shake us loose from our ordinary journal writing and take us below our ordinary consciousness. 

Have no fear regarding poetry. Bring a notebook and pen.  A packet of poems will be provided.

Stephen McDonnell is a Quaker (Morningside Monthly Meeting) and has worked as a social work psychotherapist for the last thirty years, mostly in private practice and New York City. Steve is now in his mid-sixties, in what he calls “Act IV” of his life, living among the farms of Eastern Long Island and writing poetry. He has been a member of FCRP for over twenty years and has served on its Planning Committees.


4.Quakerism and Jung

   Walter Brown

This is a chance to look at how Quakerism compares with Jungian theory.  We will look, in particular, at mysticism. prayer, boundaries of the self, archteypes, the Inner Light, the Self, unity, the collective unconscious and, of great import, the shadow.  As Jeffery Kiehl and various Quakers including Rufus Jones and John Woolman have said, we need to attend to both the inner world and the outer world.  Jungism has given a framework to better understand how prayer and God might work. We can discuss the work of John Yungblut and Elined Prys Kotschnig, notable Jungian Quakers, and how many Friends might disagree or agree with Jung and the Friends' Testimonies.

Walter Brown is a life-long Friend coming from a long line of Friends.  Walter and his wife, Carole, are active at Langley Hill Friends Meeting where they were married in 1975.  Walter grew up in Baltimore Yearly Meeting and studied psychology at Earlham College and social work at Catholic Univ.  He did psychotherapy and psychological assessments for 45 years until he completely retired 3 years ago. Walter has led workshops at Langley Hill, BYM, WFCRP and FCRP as well as professionally.  ​

5. Creating and Using Mandalas for Now and Moving Forward  

    Susan Brown

There's a new field out there in brain science called neuroaesthetics.  It has to do with what happens to the brain when people engage in artistic activity.  The authors (neuroscientist, Susan Magsamen, and VP of design for hardware products at Google, Ivy Ross) of “Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us”, conjecture that human beings need artistic activity in their lives as much as they need exercise. Artistic activity includes all the arts, visual, auditory, and all the senses, and can also lower cortisol, help to re-map painful experience, and even in some cases reduce pain. 


We will create our own mandalas and use them to record our WFCRP experiences.  We also will begin a visual diary that can extend beyond the Conference for as long as the artist chooses to use it.  We'll use collage, markers, watercolor and any other media you wish to use.

Susan Fitch Brown is an artist, writer, curator and Archivist. She has been a member of WFCRP for over ten years and is on the Planning Committee. She started painting in a Jungian Painting Room led by Beth Goering in the 80s and has been painting ever since. She has previously led art workshops and briefly taught art history classes at a local university. She has been interested in Jungian thought since receiving a copy of “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” as a present when she graduated from high school.


6. If It Were My Dream

    Gary Soulsman

This easy-to-grasp way of exploring dreams creates a safe space by inviting each of us to imagine how we might think and feel if the dream of another were our own. This nonjudgmental process—pioneered by Jeremy Taylor and Montague Ullman—evokes serious, touching, and lighthearted emotion. Bring your empathy and your dreams for a rewarding experience.

Gary Soulsman is a writer who worked as a Delaware journalist for close to 40 years, often writing about religion and spirituality. He has been involved in dream work for three decades and is a teacher of a death education class, called “The Mysteries of Living & Dying,” at the University of Delaware’s Osher Institute. He also serves as co-clerk of the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology held on Memorial Day weekend at the Pendle Hill retreat center in suburban Philadelphia.

7. On Your Own

No leader. Spend your time as you wish!

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