David stepped in at short notice tonight which was much appreciated. He began the evening by sharing a little of his background as a teacher, counsellor, trainer and author which is informed by being a Quaker, his interest in Jung and the archetypes and his own work with the elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether). His Diploma in psychospiritual psychotherapy included elements of Jungian approaches as well as Psychosynthesis.

An archetype is a ‘primitive mental image inherited from man’s earliest ancestors and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious’. (Jung C: ‘Seminar on Dream Analysis’) Our archetypal companion for the evening was Hermes (the Adventurer, messenger of the Gods. Son of Zeus and Maya,) David reminded us also of the “opposite” archetype of Hestia (the sister of Zeus. Goddess of Home, Hearth and Fire) which we were introduced to in an HACP Day Workshop in March in by the Jungian Psychotherapist, Cecile Bückenmeyer, Hermes is the archetype of transition or transformation between one state of being and another. David’s reflections on the qualities of such an adventurer led him particularly to the element of fire. We were invited to explore the element of fire and were asked: what fire offers us – what happens if we have too much of it or indeed too little?

Fire’s strengths were summarised as: assertive; dynamic; goal orientated; daring; risk taking; competitive; decisive; brave; direct; creative; visionary and confident. Its challenges: reckless, lack of drive; negative; self-absorbed; unapproachable; controlling; poor listener, opinionated and egotistical.          (www.thevibrantcoach.com)

Our discussions led us to understand that a good dose of fire encourages us to take a risk and to welcome change and challenge to meet adversity or success with confidence and inner resilience. A lack of fire may cause depression, low self esteem and fear and too much unhelpful introspection. A dynamic and crazy walk around the room followed which certainly woke us up and filled us with the fire and desire to learn more. So, what of the other elements?  These two are needed for the successful adventurer.

Water brings flow and flexibility in our thoughts and relationships. It is good to be in the flow of our lives. Air brings freedom of thought, movement and openness. We see the bigger picture and work with higher energy. We are open to others, to diversity. We can fly high. Earth brings the feeling of competence. We are open to common sense and practical, realistic solutions. Earth offers strength and inner resilience and grounded-ness. There is a fifth element – Ether which David showed as being at the centre of his favourite model of the psyche – it is the spiritual or transcendental element.

Jung’s Functions can be overlaid onto the elements: Air/Thinking; Fire/Intuition; Water/Feeling and Earth/Sensation and are at the heart of the Myers Briggs Type Indicators (www.myersbriggs.org).

During the evening we meditated on adventurousness, and then chose pictures depicting adventurousness and reflected on them in pairs.  We also listened to others’ achievements in pairs and reflected on the qualities involved, and finally we explored in pairs a project we were interested in with the support of our counselling partner.

Thank you, David for an enticing evening of Living Adventurously.

Jacqueline Holloway.