The Lakota Vision Quest: Initiation and Individuation Presented by Dyane N. Sherwood, Ph.D.

Friday, March 13,  7 – 9:30 p.m.
Location: First Congregational Church UCC
6501 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, MO, 63105 Map it!

CEs: 2

Pre-registration prices:    Friends- $24; Others- $30; Full time students- $3.00
At the door prices:              Friends- $28; Others- $35; Full time students- $3.50

$35.00 $30.00


Student Rate

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Dyane Neilson Sherwood’s interest in Native American life began following an important dream in 1988. Not long after, she had the opportunity to consult to members of the Hopi Tribe and to visit the Navajo Reservation. In the early 1990’s, she studied with analyst Donald Sandner, the author of Navajo Symbols of Healing, who in turn introduced her to Lakota elder Pansy Hawkwing. Dyane studied with Pansy for years, traveling to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to undergo vision quests and dance in the Sun Dance. She hosted Pansy in her home in northern California, where they built and maintained a sweat lodge.

Dyane Sherwood’s lecture will transport you to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, to a site near the Battle of Wounded Knee. You will learn about the Lakota way of life and their sacred rituals, including the vision quest. You will listen to the excerpts from the songs that are traditionally sung by the initiate during and after the quest.

In her discussion of the vision quest as an initiatory experience within a path of individuation, Dr. Sherwood will refer to the work of analyst Joseph L. Henderson, Thresholds of Initiation, which was a formative influence on her development as a clinician.

The vision quest, as practiced by the Lakota Sioux, is a sacred ceremony that can be undertaken at any time of life when the individual feels a powerful need to seek guidance from the spirit world. The first step is to approach a wicasa wakan, a holy man or woman/shaman, and request their guidance. The preparations, which can last as long as a year, incorporate tasks that require patience, care, skill, and reflection upon one’s life up to that point. During the quest itself, the initiate remains in isolation on sacred land, such as a hill or mountain. Going without food or water presents physical and emotional challenges. The world of mysterious energies, the spirit world, may reward the initiate with a vision or a deeply meaningful, non-ordinary experience.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Name two ways the decision to go on a vision quest is similar to the decision to enter depth psychotherapy.
  2. Describe a ritual of orientation.

Dyane Sherwood, Ph.D., received her B.A. with High Honors from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She did her analytic training at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, where she was certified both as an adult and as a child and adolescent analyst. She is also is a Teaching Member of the Sandplay Therapists of America/International Society for Sandplay Therapy.

Dr. Sherwood is the author of journal articles and book chapters, as well as one book, co-authored with Joseph Henderson: Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy of the Splendor Solis (Routledge, 2003). For 10 years she was the Editor of The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, which under her editorship was transformed into Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche.

In 2010, Dyane moved from the San Francisco area to Oberlin, Ohio, where she has a private practice.  Following her move, she became a member of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, where she has served on the Board and is currently Chair of the Candidacy Committee. She has recently started a small press, Analytical Psychology Press, with two additional imprints, Sandplay Editions and Dancing Raven Press.