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Evolution of the Feminine: Historical Representations and Their Meanings Today



Evolution of the Feminine: Historical Representations and Their Meanings Today

with Dr. Leslye Noyes, PsyD, MDiv, LP, LMHC


One Sunday a month from January 2022 – June 2022 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET (online via Zoom)

January 23rd, February 20th, March 20th, April 24th, May 22nd, June 12th, 2022


In this timely course with Jungian analyst and educator Dr. Leslye Noyes, we will study the perception of “the feminine” throughout history and what that means for us today, as individuals and in the broader culture.


We will use Baring and Cashford’s classic book, The Myth of The Goddess: Evolution of An Image, which outlines 30,000 years of how the feminine is represented through mythology, religion, art, and fairy tales. Jungian-trained psychologist James Hillman calls the text “a book that does it all: justice to the great poetic stories; good scholarship that is not burdensome and academic…a sharp psychological intelligence; and a style that is a pleasure to read.”


Using the book as a framework and supplementing with readings from Jung, Ricoeur, Neumann, and Ellenberger, we will study these changing figures of the feminine and how they reflect and create culture. These collective representations are a powerful influence on the individual – their identity, sense of self, and their capacity to create meaningful lives.


Each week, we will link this history with the individual’s struggle for meaning-making today. We begin with tiny figurines found in ancient caves, travel through the Bronze Age and the Mother Goddess and Her Son-Lover, to Isis of Egypt, Tiamat of Babylon, the goddesses of Greece to the Iron Age, and the gods of the Old and New Testaments. Next, we will track the secret traditions of Europe where the feminine remained vital and explore the evolution of mainstream consciousness from understandings of balance to our current view, where one perspective seeks to dominate all others.


This course is open to anyone in the helping professions as well as others interested in deepening their understanding of themselves and others. Each class will include a lecture and discussion of the readings, along with opportunities to connect these historical representations with everyday clinical processes and contemplative life.



At the end of the course, students will:

  • Have a working knowledge of the Jungian concept of representation in the clinical setting.
  • Understand clinical material more symbolically.
  • Understand mythology and religion as narratives that represent human experience, including unconscious processes.
  • Have an overview of the representation of humans in myth, fairy tales, art, and the relationship between masculine and feminine energies.
  • Skillfully link symbolic masculine and feminine representations to the individual’s unconscious processes in the clinical setting.



CE’s are available for this program.


January 23, 2022
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