Thomas Elsner Santa Barbara Jungian Psychoanalyst

Recent Events

Oregon Friends of C.G. Jung
September 21-22, 2018

Active Imagination and the Romantic Poets

Through the contemplation of his inward nature, the art of writing poetry became, for Wordsworth as for many of the Romantics, a “dark” and “inscrutable workmanship”, in which the “discordant elements” operative between the “two consciousness” within himself might “cling together / In one society” and realize “a soul in the process of making itself.” Wordsworth’s experience of poetic composition will be familiar to those in the field of Jungian psychology as active imagination. When Wordsworth imagines his poetry as “spousal verse” announcing a marriage of the human mind “to this goodly universe / In love and holy passion” (Prospectus to the Recluse, 53-5), Romantic active imagination aims at healing the split between psyche and nature.

For those interested in a unified vision of mind and nature, the psychology of creativity, and the emergence of a new image of God beyond both fundamentalism and materialistic atheism, there is much to be learned from the Romantic poets and philosophers. This lecture will explore the practice of active imagination in Romantic poetry and Jungian psychology, and apply insights gleaned from both to contemporary debates on the nature of religion, politics, physics, and neuroscience.

The Center For Alchemical Studies

At the Doorway between Worlds: Jung, Yeats, and the Celtic Alchemical Imagination


The “Doorway Between the Worlds” series consist of two alchemical weekend workshops (inspired by the work of Jung, Blake and Yeats,) courting the subtle body through contemplation of Celtic myths, poetry, fairy tales, active imagination, dream work, and writing.

Jan. 27-29 (session 1), Emphasis on Celtic Folklore and Myth, led by Thomas Elsner.

May 5-7 (session 2), Emphasis on Yeats and Influences of the East such as Kabir and others, led by Monika Wikman.

C.G. Jung Society Seattle

What Does the Soul Want?: Listening to Animals in Folklore and Dream

Lecture, Friday April 7, 2017 

In Jung’s terminology, the soul, that part of the psyche that is directed inwardly and is in touch with the unconscious is contrasted with the persona, which is the outer attitude or outer character. In 1918 Jung wrote a paper entitled “On the Unconscious” where he noted that all of us stand between two worlds: the world of external perception and the world of perception of the unconscious. In folkore and dream non-human animals can symbolize mediators between these two worlds. Marie-Louise von Franz, Jung’s closest collaborator and famous for her work with fairytales, once remarked that in all of the thousands of fairytales she had studied from around the world there was only one dogma that was universally true. If the hero or heroine listens to the helpful animal, they always come out right. If they fundamentally disregard or kill the helpful animal, they always go down the tubes. With this in mind, we will explore fairytales and dreams from around the world that involve the theme of animals and wonder about the symbolic meaning of this imagery from the perspective of Jungian psychology.

Workshop, Saturday April 8, 2017 

In light of our contemporary reliance on technology, turning towards the inner voice of the non-human animal along with outer relationships with animals can be healing and compensatory to the ways in which many of us live day-to-day in the contemporary world. Building on the material in the above lecture, the workshop day will explore the ways in which we personally experience non-human animals – in dreams, synchronistic experiences, and inner and outer relationships. There will be ample time for sharing, discussion and active imagination/journal experiences.

The Jung Conference on Psychology and Spirituality

June 9-16 2017 — Santa Fe, New Mexico



Certified Jungian Analyst, I.A.A.P.
Certified Psychoanalyst, California Medical Board

5290 Overpass Road
Suite 126
Santa Barbara, CA 93111