Archetypal Patterns in Ancient Art:
Dwarfs, Giants, and the Spirit of Nature

with Olena Provencher

Available Right Now


The course is dedicated to Jung's idea of human wholeness.

Participants are invited to dive deep into a study of several selected works of ancient art through the archetypal lens. The selected works belong to widely differing epochs and cultures.
The course avoids the common art historical practice to analyze art through a rational narrative and the reductionist approach of translating visual imagery into a verbal 'story.'
Each piece is considered a fractal reflection of the idea of wholeness (the Self archetype). The universal archetypal structure associated with wholeness, the quaternity, is located in each work of art to elicit the archetypal meaning of the unique imagery of each piece. Locating such a universal structure of wholeness in works of art helps to elicit their deeper overall meaning and restore the numinosity to our experience of them.
We will discuss artistic imagery in relation to such archetypes as the Great Mother, Divine Child, Puer and Senex, the dying and resurrecting god, and the World’s Tree, with the main emphasis on the archetype of the quaternity. We will look into the wholeness-making, healing, and meaning-producing qualities of art. The course also makes connections between early art and ancient astrological beliefs.

What you will learn

>> The course was created to give a deep intellectual, intuitive, creative, and imaginative understanding of art based on the archetypal perspective.
>> The course offers a universal, unified vision of ancient art of widely various cultures and epochs, zooming on the archetypal structure common to all ancient art, and human consciousness in general.
Jung directly connected this universal structure—the quaternity— with the idea of wholeness and healing, the idea of the Self. The course reflects this idea, considering every work of art as an imprint of wholeness.
>> In our postmodern Western materialistic, literalistic culture, ancient art pieces are often perceived as nothing but (Jung): a sex object, an idol, a fertility amulet, an unskilled attempt at realism. The course aims to restore numinosity to our vision of ancient art. The symbol as a window into the world of the numinous is emphasized.
>> The course is designed to hone the participants’ archetypal eye (James Hillman) in art analysis and expand their understanding of ancient art and mythological imagery.
Jung noted that seeing colorful and imaginative art awakens and invites the unconscious to actively participate in the dialogue. This course is designed to be a real journey to the heart of the numinous universe populated by living archetypes, magical colors, infinitely rich images, mystery, freedom, beauty, and meaning. The universe that is our true Self.
>> The auxiliary advantage of the material is its affinity with the language of dreams. The course can serve as a foundation for the study of the amplification method in Jungian dream interpretation.


Class 1. A short introduction to the quaternity as one of the central symbols of the Self. The Venus of Willendorf (Upper Paleolithic) as one of the earliest art pieces produced by humans through the archetypal lens of wholeness. The archetype of the Great Goddess.
Class 2. The transformation of Matriarchal culture. From the Burney Relief to the Cippus of Horus (Egypt, 18th Dynasty) through the archetypal lens of wholeness.
Class 3. The Central dynamic of the Cippus: the Senex-Puer transformation and rejuvenation of the Self in the imagery. The Solar symbolism of the process. Senex as the "Wild Man."
Class 4. The appearance of the Wild Man as a representation of the Self through the ancient world.
Olena Provencher

The most gripping thought that keeps me in thrall is: “We live in a disenchanted universe. Most things we discuss are ‘just nature’s laws,’ ‘just instincts,’ ‘just matter.’ The Great Mystery has left our scientific, thoroughly described and labeled (but still vulnerable and aching) world. Can we change that? How can we open up to the Unknown and invite it back into our lives as the Thou?”
Olena Provencher is a teacher, philosopher, depth psychologist, art history scholar, and artist. Born in Moscow, Russia, Olena studied at the Moscow State Pedagogical University with a double major in painting and art history. Her initial encounter with Jung’s thought at an international philosophical school New Acropolis in 1991 was life-changing.
She worked as a professor at the Moscow Academy of Teachers’ Training and Retraining while continuing her post-graduate studies in philosophy.
She received her Master’s in philosophy from the University of North Florida, and a doctorate in philosophy with a concentration in Jungian studies of the mandala from the California Institute of Integral Studies. In her academic research, she works at the cross-field of art history and Jungian psychology. Olena gives consultations as a Jungian Life coach.
Olena lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband and younger son.

Who Is It for

The course is for everybody interested in art and art history and doesn't require any specific knowledge in this area.
>> The course is offered for those who have at least an initial familiarity with and some interest in Jungian ideas, but it doesn't require deep knowledge of them.
The course is recommended for Jungian practitioners as it expands the understanding of ancient symbolic imagery and mythology, deepens the understanding of the Jungian idea of wholeness (the Self), and supports the amplification work in dream analysis.
>> The course is also for Art Therapy and counseling trainees.

What do people have to say


"... personalizing the experience..."

This course is marvelous, and really helps me connect with Jungian theory while personalizing the experience in a meaningful way. Thank you.


“Loved the diagrams.”

Your talks have been most enlightening. Gained so much clarity. Loved the diagrams. Really appreciate your efforts, the illuminating text & diagrams, references & extensions, your groundedness combined with patience & erudition.

What you will get

>> Video recording of the presentation. All videos include captions.
>> Audio file to download on your digital devices and listen at your convenience.
>> PowerPoint slides for each class.


I'm not a therapist. Can I join the course?
Yes. Both people in the healing professions and those interested in self-development can join the course.

Do you offer Continued Education Units?
At this point, we don't offer CEU.

When does the course start and finish?
Once you've enrolled, you have lifetime access to the course. Work at your own pace—there is no deadline to finish.
How long do we have access to the course?
You will have lifetime access to the course.
Will we get access to the full course all at once?
Yes. Additional bonus modules and handouts may be added over time, but all of the course lessons are available upon enrollment.
What equipment/tools will we need to complete the course?
Access to a computer, an email account, and an eager and open mind! Additionally, we ask you to be curious and willing to play.
What do we do if we need help?
If you need help with something related to the course, please contact [email protected].


“...of enormous significance...”

What you have created is very valuable. I am a member of the Jungian Society in Bulgaria and am preparing seminars on fairytale therapy. Your seminar is of enormous significance to me.


“ The Flaming Feminine & The Redemption of Animals”

Provencher, O. “The Flaming Feminine: Sophia in Russian Spirituality and Art,” in Debashish Banerji, Robert McDermott, editors, Philo-Sophia: Wisdom Goddess Tradition. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2021, 113-128.

Provencher, O. Book Review: Douglas Sloan, The Redemption of the Animals: Their Evolution, their Inner Life, and our Future Together. An Anthroposophic Perspective. Lindisfarne Books, 2015. IBSN: 978-1-58420-194-6, (as Olena Provencher). Being Human. A Quarterly Publication of the Anthroposophical Society in America. Winter-Spring 2017, 44-45.


Enrolling in this program also adds you to receiving the SoulAtPlay newsletter. It’s forever free, filled with exclusive content, and always optional. The material contained in this program is an expression of views and opinions and may be used for personal, educational purposes only. The program is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in the course.