Artist Talk: Art as Alchemical Portal to Nature

This Artist Talk was on Sunday, Sept 23rd 3 pm – 4 pm

Wilding's "Nature Imagined" and “Nature Regenerated” in Re-connecting to Our Natural Roots.

Through art we embrace and even become nature; we connect to natural roots of being that make us remember that we are part of nature as well as part of culture. Susan Rowland’s talk used depth psychology and alchemy to show what modern western life has forgotten, ignored or repressed, that the imagination is the most important natural resource, one that connects us to non-human nature as an essential part of our being. Indeed the ancient art of alchemy was a spiritual transformation of psyche into the nature of the cosmos. Alchemy was a dimension of magic, a rite of participation in nature, that has been lost as modernity withdrew, treating nature as without spirit. By contrast modern ideas of archetypes, synchronicity and complexity reveal what alchemists and artists knew, that art is a magical reciprocal dialogue with the nonhuman. Susan presented these ideas from her book, The Ecocritical Psyche, showing art as portal to animated and inspirited nature.


About Susan Rowland

Susan Rowland (Ph.D.) is co-Chair of MA Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California and formerly Professor of English and Jungian Studies at the University of Greenwich, UK. She is author of The Ecocritical Psyche, From Agatha Christie to Ruth Rendell (2001) and, The Sleuth and the Goddess in Women’s Detective Fiction (2015). She is author of a number of books on Jung, gender and literary theory. Her new book on transdisciplinary Jung, Remembering Dionysus, was published in 2017. She is now working on a mystery novel with a triple woman hero as another way of entering the wild.

See her website: