Jules Cashford
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Widening the Circle of Compassion

NOA Community Centre (Ferry Centre)
Summertown, Oxford

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Jung writes that the idea of transformation, like the idea of life after death, is an archetypal image and so likely to be found in outer nature as a reflection of the inner nature of the psyche. In myth the earliest image of transformation was the continual death and rebirth of the Moon. This drama was enacted in the rituals of the Lunar Mysteries (of Isis and Osiris at Abydos and Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis) which promised participants transformation of consciousness in the present and, later, life after death. This illustrated talk will suggest that it was through imagining themselves into the roles of the goddesses and gods, and specifically through feeling compassion for the suffering of the divine figures of the story, that the participants achieved change in themselves. Similarly, Parzival in von Eschenbach's Parzival, and Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear, are transformed through coming to compassion. In our own time, when 'the other' is also a desacralized Earth, Einstein's phrase 'widening the circle of compassion' may then offer an essential way of reconnecting us to the cosmos and transforming ourselves.

Jules Cashford has a background in Philosophy and Literature and lectures on Mythology and Jungian Psychology. She is co-author, with Anne Baring, of The Myth of the Goddess (1991), and author of The Myth of Isis and Osiris (1994), and most recently The Moon: Myth and Image (2003).

6.00 (Friends 3.00)