Alchemy, the Red Book, and the New Myth of Our Time
A Four-Month Intensive  with Thomas Elsner




January 25–27, 2013
February 22–24, 2013
March 22–24, 2013
April 12–14, 2013

48 Continuing Education Credits
MFTs, LCSWs, and RNs

$1,800 General Admission

$1,600 Special Admission
(Full-Time Students, Pacifica Alumni, and Seniors)

$1,400 Active Pacifica Students
(Fees include Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Sunday breakfast and lunch)

Intensive to be held at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus
Accommodations are available at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus.

“I had very soon seen that analytical psychology coincided in a most curious way with alchemy. The experiences of the alchemists were, in a sense, my experiences, and their world was my world. This was, of course, a momentous discovery.”

C.G. Jung

“It is too cheap to say that the old alchemist, i.e. the medieval natural scientist of antiquity, projected unconscious images into matter and nowadays we are enlightened and know what the unconscious is, and what matter is, but those poor fellows just did not distinguish between the two, which explains why they were so backward and fantastic and unscientific! The psyche/matter problem has not yet been solved, which is why the basic riddle of alchemy is still not solved. The answer to the question they pursued we have also not discovered.”

Marie-Louise von Franz

In the early 20th century C.G. Jung experienced a crisis of meaning that had both personal and collective dimensions. He was plunged into an intensive encounter with the unconscious in which one question loomed large: What is my myth? What is the myth I live in today? Symbols emerged in Jung’s inner and outer life that pointed to still unknown tendencies in the collective unconscious and in his Red Book Jung painted and gave voice to those symbols. Yet he felt alone in this strange and often disorienting work until he discovered alchemy. To his great surprise in the texts and images of the alchemists Jung discovered what seemed to him to be “another Red Book.”

From the depth psychological perspective everyone is an alchemist who gives creative form to an experience of the unconscious. This intensive will provide a vessel for the unfolding of your own alchemical opus. We will have the opportunity to study some original texts of Islamic and European alchemy, to ponder and engage the mysterious, often bizarre and often beautiful imagery of alchemical symbolism, and to explore a new mythology that wants to be born in our times, a mythology that embraces the shadow, the Feminine, and the mysterious unity of psyche and matter, a mythology that dissolves rigid distinctions between art, science, politics, and psychology and coagulates a new vision and experience of ourselves and the world that the alchemists sometimes called the “unus mundus.”

ElsnerThomas Elsner, J.D., M.A., is a certified Jungian Analyst, Core Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and a member of the C.G. Jung Study Center of Southern California. Born and raised in Southern California and trained as a lawyer, he left these roots to travel to Switzerland and study at The Centre for Depth Psychology according to C.G. Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz. In his research and teaching of Egyptian, Islamic and European alchemy he continues in the direct lineage of Jung and Von Franz’s work. The author of numerous articles, Thomas has taught courses at Pacifica on alchemy for over seven years, as well as presenting this material in England, Ireland, Switzerland and throughout the United States. He is currently completing a book on alchemical symbolism in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

General Information

LOCATION: The program will be held at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus at 801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Located on 35 acres in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this residential retreat center provides a unique and peaceful environment for these events. This campus has lodging, dining facilities, and parking onsite.

ACCOMMODATIONS: A limited number of rooms are available at the Ladera Lane Campus.

Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus
$82.50 per night single occupancy (one twin or standard full size bed)
$115 per night couple occupancy (one standard full size bed; not a queen)
$125 per night double occupancy (two twin beds)
plus 10% occupancy tax

Accommodations are simple, dormitory-style rooms with shared bath and shower. Reservations for rooms must be made through Pacifica’s Public Programs Department.

MEALS: Meals are provided to encourage ongoing dialogue and community exchange throughout the programs. Pacifica’s caterers make every attempt to provide healthful meals for our guests. Please indicate on the registration form if you need a special vegan, gluten free, or vegetarian meal or if you have other medical dietary restrictions. No other meals will be available.

TRAVEL: Major airlines serve the Los Angeles International Airport 90 miles south of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, approximately 18 miles from the Campus. Information on ground transportation to and from Santa Barbara will be included with your confirmation letter.

REGISTRATION: Space is limited. Register early! To register, complete the form on this webpage or call the Public Programs Department at 805.969.3626, ext. 103. A deposit of half of the admission fee is due upon registration; the balance is due by January 4, 2013. Once the deposit is received, we will send an email containing detailed information on accommodations, meals, and Continuing Education Units for the intensive. All reservations for rooms at the Ladera Lane Campus can be made at this time.

CANCELLATION: To obtain a refund on your registration fee, send a written cancellation request postmarked no later than January 4, 2013. Tuition less a $100 processing fee will be refunded. Cancellations made from this date through the start of the program will receive a refund less a $200 processing fee. No refunds will be issued after the first two sessions. In the event of cancellation after instruction begins, a pro-rata refund on the tuition will be based on the portion of the instruction already completed.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT: 48 Continuing education credits are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177) and for MFTs and LCSWs (provider #PCE 2278) through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.    

DISABILITY SERVICES ON CAMPUS: It is the policy of Pacifica’s Public Programs Department to accommodate attendees with disabilities in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Please let us know in advance if you have special needs or require assistance due to a disabling condition while you are attending a public program. If you are accompanied by a service dog, please contact disability services directly at 805.679.6124. All animals visiting campus must have pre-approval. For additional information regarding Pacifica’s policies, visit