Elemental Movement™ is a movement-centered practice based on the five Elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Ether – primary symbols in many alchemical traditions. Using the Elements as a framework and as a set of symbolic tools, Elemental Movement™ employs movement as the primary vehicle for a wide range of personal and relational explorations.
On a physical level, the Elements provide a map for exploring different body systems and movement qualities. They are also used as instruments in the development of a high resolution body image and an expanded movement repertoire.
On a psychological level, the Elements represent different aspects of the self that can be accessed and expressed through movement. Working with the Elements as archetypes (or primal symbolic patterns of human experience), Elemental Movement™ echoes the psychological process of individuation through active imagination expressed as movement. The improvisational movement structures also provide an outlet for creative and emotional expression.
On a spiritual level, Elemental Movement™ serves as a form of moving meditation, drawing on the capacity of certain types of ritualized movement to transform ordinary states of consciousness into transcendent experience. Because the Elements have been sacred icons in many religious and spiritual systems, the contemplation of them through movement can also serve a meditative or liturgical function.
This introductory course provides an opportunity to embody the qualities inherent in the Elements through a variety of methods, including somatic meditation, embodied artwork forms, individual and interactive movement improvisations, and guided discussion. Emerging from our experiences and conversations, links to somatic practice, alchemy, depth psychology, and the expressive arts will be made.
Participants without prior experience in movement practices are welcome. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing in layers.
Rae Johnson, Ph.D., RSW, RSMT, is the chair of the Somatic Studies specialization in the Depth Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is the developer of Elemental Movement™ and the author of a book by the same name. Working at the intersection of somatic studies and social justice, her scholarship focuses on the embodied experience of oppression, somatic approaches to research, and arts-based cross-cultural somatic literacy.
Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus
801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Overnight housing is available at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus. Reservations can be made online at the time of registration, or by contacting email@example.com
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