Unit 5: Alchemical Processes, As Seen in Jungian Sandplay

Unit 5 / Seminar 1: Saturday, January 27, 2024; 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

The Great Work of Alchemy: A Journey of Transformation

Presented by Gita Morena, PhD, LMFT, CST-T 

This seminar introduces the concept of Alchemy, what it is, and how it relates to Jungian sandplay. The day includes an overview of how alchemical processes develop, an exploration of how the prima materia transforms, Jung’s insight into how alchemy relates to the individuation process and the collective unconscious, and the presence of alchemical imagery in sandplay case material.

Learning Objective:  

  • Describe the key concepts of alchemy;
  • Describe the nature of alchemical operations;
  • Identify the psychological aspects of alchemical processes;
  • Describe the personal and therapeutic components of an alchemical process;
  • Explain how alchemy relates to the individuation process;
  • Describe the meaning of alchemical images in sandplay case material.

Gita Morena, Ph.D., LMFT, CST-T, is a certified Jungian analyst, an STA/ISST sandplay therapist-teacher, and a research editor for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy. She has led trainings and seminars worldwide and published numerous articles about sandplay therapy. Her book, The Wisdom of Oz: Reflections of a Jungian Sandplay Psychotherapist, explores her great grandfather’s story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as a tale of psychological individuation and spiritual awak­ening. She is particularly inter­ested in the mind-body-spirit connection and incorporates a Buddhist perspective to address core psycho­logical and emotional healing issues. Dr. Morena works in Santa Monica, California, and offers in-person and remote sessions for Jungian analysis, sandplay process, and case consultation.

Unit 5 / Seminar 2: Saturday, February 24, 2024; 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Alchemical Symbolism and its Relevance to Sandplay

Presented by Dyane Sherwood, PhD, CST-T  

This class will explore how symbols emerge from experience, and can develop different meanings, depending on context. Like the alchemists who conducted experiments with matter, in sandplay we engage with matter: with sand and objects from which symbolic meanings emerge. These images sometimes express an attitude that is compensatory to consciously held beliefs. This was apparently true also for the alchemists. We will delve into the imagery of an illuminated alchemical manuscript, the Splendor Solis (1582), and describe how studying its symbolism can enrich our response to the sandplay trays created in our consulting rooms.

Learning Objectives:  

  • Explain the difference between a metaphor and a symbol;
  • Explain why an entry in a symbol dictionary may not apply to its meaning in a particular context;
  • Describe the alchemical sequence of colors that mark a series of transformations from a base to a valuable substance;
  • Explain the symbolism of the alchemical sequence of colors;
  • Explain how that alchemical sequence of colors applies to sandplay;
  • Describe what is meant by “Redemption of the Feminine Principle” and how it applies to sandplay.

Dyane Sherwood, PhD, is a Teaching member of STA/ISST, a psychologist, and a Jungian Psychoanalyst Certified in Adult and Child and Adolescent Analysis in private practice in Oberlin, Ohio. She has published articles on various topics, including the Native American vision quest, the neurobiology of affective and implicit experience, the art of Wassily Kandinsky, and the myth of Athena and Arachne. She co-authored with the late Joseph L. Henderson, Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis (Routledge, 2003). She was the Editor of the San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal for ten years, and, under her editorship, this journal was redesigned and renamed Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche. More recently, she founded Analytical Psychology Press (https://analyticalpsychologypress.com), which published a new English edition of Dora Kalff’s Sandplay, as well as other sandplay books, including Into the Heart of Sandplay, co-edited by Betty C. Jackson. She is currently serving as President of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. Website: https://dyanensherwood.com

Unit 5 / Seminar 3: Saturday, March 16, 2024; 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

“Lead Makes the Diamond Suffer”: An Exploration of Alchemical Elements in Jungian Sandplay

Presented by Shannon Yockey, LCSW, CST-T  

According to Jung, alchemy is a symbolic representation of the individuation process. It illustrates how the psyche transforms and/or develops through the ego’s relationship with the contents of the unconscious. Alchemical images are valuable as they give us an objective basis for interpreting unconscious material. This seminar will provide an overview of  the alchemical elements of  leadsulfursalt, and mercury and illustrate their clinical implications with dreams, nature encounters, and sandplay case material.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the positive and negative qualities of lead, sulfur, salt, and mercury alchemical elements;
  • Describe the psychological aspects of the four alchemical elements;
  • Explain the clinical application of these four alchemical elements and their potential to increase reflective consciousness.
  • Explain how to identify the alchemical elements in sandplay scenes;
  • Describe what is meant by alchemical active imagination experience;
  • Describe how the alchemical elements relate to the individuation process.

Shannon Yockey, LCSW, is a Jungian analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and a teaching member with ISST/STA. She has been in private practice for over twenty-five years working with children, teens, and adults. She specializes in early attachment, relational trauma, and anxiety. Her current area of exploration and writing is healing and transformation through relationship in nature through direct experiences, sandplay, dreams, and active imagination.

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