Jung in Ireland

The Wisdom of Uncertainty

A Program with the Monks of Glenstal Abbey

March 28—April 3, 2022

Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.

—Søren Kerkegaard

Program Overview

What can we be sure of in a world that is constantly changing? Do we need to be certain, or can uncertainty be both blessing and a necessary means to our knowing, understanding, and reaching clarity? Being uncertain does not mean an abdication of choice, a resignation to inaction, or an abandonment of Ego driven decisions that need to be made. To rephrase Ecclesiastes, there is a time for all seasons—a time to make decisions, a time to wait, and a time to know what we do not know.  

Tolerating uncertainty is difficult for some who need to have no “loose ends” in their lives, and for these people any action is better than no action. When someone is caught in such a syndrome, they forget it is important to leave room for the unknown to emerge, to hold on to the mystery of what may yet develop. It is important that we connect with, and trust, our Unconscious as well as our intuition. If we are patient, open, and attuned to what Jung describes as the Self, perhaps a solution will make its way into our consciousness and help us decide. Dreams can speak to us and provide an inner guide to show the way. Or a Synchronistic event may offer a sign to call our attention to the confluence of our inner and outer worlds. Other tools to help us with decision making can be the practice of Active Imagination; consulting the I-Ching or other methods of inquiry; partaking in the creative arts such as music, dance, and painting; or being inspired by nature.

In short, we must learn to read, and listen to, what the Psyche is spontaneously saying to us and what the Self is calling for. Uncertainty and doubt can open new paths of exploring the world around and within us. Having the wisdom to make room for uncertainty and mystery in our lives is a vital aspect of Individuation and often the path toward discovering what the soul really needs.

Program Details

March 28-April 3, 2022
County Limerick

Cost: $2,980* includes:

  • Six nights’ accommodations at the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick
  • Transportation by coach to and from Glenstal Abbey throughout the program
  • All presentations and discussions
  • Full breakfast daily; all breaks for coffee and tea; lunches on March 29, 30 and April 1; welcoming and farewell dinners at the Castletroy Park Hotel (March 28 and April 2) and dinner with some of the Monks of Glenstal Abbey on March 30

This program is currently fully subscribed. We invite you to join our waitlist.

Please note: If Covid restrictions cause us to postpone this trip, your deposit will be credited toward your choice of any 2022 or 2023 program.

If you have questions feel free to email us anytime or call the office between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday: 845-256-0191.

Continuing Education Credits available
CE credits are available for Psychologists, Social Workers, Licensed Psychoanalysts, LCSW, LPCC, LEP, LMFT, and Nurses for both programs. Find details here.

Certificates of attendance are available at a cost of $10 per certificate for those who do not require Continuing Education Credits. Find details here.

Learn more about the week with the Monks of Glenstal Abbey…

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The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.

The Setting: County Clare

On this week we will spend our days in picturesque Country Clare where our meetings will be held at the Glenstal Abbey, a short distance from our accommodations in Country Limerick, at the Castletroy Park Hotel in the City of Limerick

Glenstal Abbey Aerial View | nyjungcenter.org

Glenstal Abbey

Glenstal Abbey, home to a community of monks (many renowned scholars among them), is a Benedictine monastery on the southwest coast of Ireland. It sits on over 300 acres, with streams, lakes, woodland paths, and an enchanting walled garden. Surrounding a castle built in the romantic Norman style, the Abbey houses a world-famous collection of Russian icons and one of the most important private libraries in Ireland, with a substantial collection of antiquarian books (many dating back to the fifteenth century) on Irish history, Irish literature, biography, and art.

Limerick City

Contrasting with the sleepy country villages, Limerick City is a busy and well-developed city, straddling the banks of the River Shannon. The city has an interesting history, founded by the Vikings, but taken over by the Irish, Limerick was developed and fortified by the Anglo-Normans during the middle ages. King John’s Castle overlooking the river still stands as a reminder of this era. Limerick is remembered by many as the setting for Frank McCourt’s book Angela’s Ashes, though the city has been much modernised from the desperate times described in McCourt’s time and today Limerick is a vibrant multi-cultural city.

Accommodations: Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick

The Castletroy Park Hotel, situated within walking distance of the University of Limerick and a short drive to Limerick’s center, will be an ideal base for our program at Glenstal Abbey. A 20-minute drive from our hotel to the Abbey, the Castletroy is also within a short drive of Limerick’s major landmarks, including John’s Castle and the famed Hunt Museum. The hotel’s contemporary-style rooms were designed with comfort and relaxation in mind, with each of its rooms including free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, a tea & coffee station, and en-suite bathroom with walk-in showers. In addition, hotel guests have free access to its outstanding recreational facilities, which include a health club, large indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and steam room. 

Burren Region County Clare | nyjungcenter.org

Visit the Sacred Landscape of the Burren

On Thursday the 31st, there will be an optional outing to the Burren region of North Clare — one of the most striking landscapes in all of Ireland. Over countless centuries, the interplay of geology, climate, and human activity have combined to produce a paradoxical experience of nature at its starkest and most fertile. This daylong outing will be led by Conor Ellard who will share the secrets and treasures of the Burren and en-route, enchant us with Irish stories and song. 

The Monks of Glenstal Abbey taking tea.


Thomas Elsner, JD, MA, is a certified Jungian analyst practicing in Santa Barbara, California, and a graduate of the Jung–Von Franz Center for Depth Psychology in Zurich. A core faculty member and highly respected lecturer at Pacifica Graduate Institute for many years where he taught courses on depth psychology and alchemy, Thomas has lectured and presented and led workshops on the theme of Jungian psychology and alchemy nationally and internationally. A recipient of the distinguished annual Fay Lecture series in analytical psychology, he is the author of a soon to be published book on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Mark Patrick Hederman, former abbot of Glenstal Abbey, has been a monk of Glenstal Abbey for over 40 years. Founding editor of The Crane Bag Journal of Irish Studies, he spent the first years of the new century wandering in search of the Holy Spirit, allowing inspiration and coincidence to lead him. Among his many publications are Walkabout: Life as Holy Spirit; Kissing the Dark: Connecting with the Unconscious; Underground Cathedrals; Dancing with Dinosaurs; The Opal and the Pearl, and his most recent book, Crimson and Gold: Life as a Limerick.  

John Hill, MA, earned a diploma in analytical psychology from the Jung Institute of Zurich, where he served for many years as training analyst. Additionally, he has earned degrees in philosophy from the University of Dublin and Catholic University in Washington, DC. He has a private practice in Zurich and is a training analyst at ISAP Zurich. Born and raised in Ireland and a graduate of the Glenstal Abbey School, he has published, among others works, “Celtic Myth”; “Dreams”; “Christian Mysticism”; and At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging.

Anthony Keane, OSB, who joined the Abbey of Glenstal in 1965 to teach in the Abbey School, studied archaeology and the Irish language in Dublin, and theology in Rome. Following his studies, Father Keane embarked on pilgrimage for a year in India before returning home to tend the forest in Glenstal and serve as the monastery’s forester. Situated on several hundred acres, Glenstal’s forest contains some of the oldest and most magnificent trees in Ireland.


Nóirín Ní Riain, PhD, an acclaimed spiritual singer, has introduced the Dalai Lama at official occasions in Ireland and elsewhere. A theologian, musicologist, and recording artist who was awarded the first doctorate in theology from the University of Limerick, she has written several books, including Listen with the Ear of the Heart: An Autobiography and Theosony: Towards a Theology of Listening. Dr. Ní Riain was ordained as a minister in 2017 with One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in London.

Sylvia Brinton Perera, MA, Jungian analyst, practices, writes and teaches in New York and Vermont. On the faculty and former board member of the Jung Institute of New York, she lectures and leads workshops internationally. Ms. Perera’s many publications include Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women; The Scapegoat Complex: Toward a Mythology of Shadow and Guilt; Dreams, A Portal to the Source; Celtic Queen Maeve and Addiction: An Archetypal Perspective; and The Irish Bull God: Image of Multiform and Integral Masculinity.

Father Simon Sleeman, MA, earned a BA in psychology and philosophy at University College, Dublin, and MAs in theology and organizational development. Ordained in 1991, Father Simon was born in Berlin and educated at the Glenstal Abbey School. Headmaster of Glenstal’s Secondary School from 1991 to 1998 and for many years bursar of Glenstal Abbey, he notes that “providential encounters with psychotherapy, poetry, and alternative philosophies have helped me to forge another understanding of life.”

Monika Wikman, PhD, is a Jungian analyst and astrologer. Author of Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness, she has contributed chapters, articles and poems to numerous journals, and lectures and leads workshops internationally on mythology, active imagination, dreams, wellness, alchemy, and creativity. Dr. Wikman, with a degree in Clinical Psychology, and a graduate of the Jung–Von Franz Center for Depth Psychology in Zurich, has taught in the graduate department at California State University, Los Angeles, lives and has a private practice in Tesuque, New Mexico and Gaviota, California. Along with her partner, Tom Elsner, she hosts a non-profit project, The Center for Alchemical Studies.

Sculpture: The Children of Lir, Ennis< Ireland

Daily Schedule

Monday, March 28
Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick

4:00 p.m.
Aryeh Maidenbaum, Opening Remarks; John Hill, Chaos and Containment: Anchoring Soul in a World of Uncertainties

5:30 p.m.
Break for tea and cookies

6:00 p.m.
Orientation and an opportunity to get to know one another

7:15 p.m.
Welcoming dinner at the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick (included)

Tuesday, March 29
at Glenstal Abbey, today and for the balance of the week

7:00- 8:15 a.m.
Full Irish breakfast served daily

8:20 a.m.
Depart Limerick for Glenstal Abbey

9:30 a.m.
Abbot Brendan Coffey, Welcome; Sylvia Brinton Perera, Birthing New Light

11:00 a.m.
Break for coffee and tea

11:30 a.m.
Sylvia Brinton Perera, …continued discussion and dialogue

12:00 p.m.
Participate in/or observe Mass with the monks of Glenstal Abbey, (optional)

12:45 p.m.
Lunch at Glenstal (included)

2:30 p.m.
Mark Patrick Hederman, Compasses Not Creeds in the Fight for Our Future

4:00 p.m.
Break for tea and cookies
Viewing the Icons, guided by one of the monks of Glenstal Abbey

5:00 p.m.
Depart Glenstal for Limerick

Wednesday, March 30

8:20 a.m.
Depart Limerick for Glenstal Abbey

9:30 a.m.
Tom Elsner, Psychotherapy, Life and the Wisdom of Not Knowing

11:00 a.m.
Break for coffee and tea

11:30 a.m.
Tom Elsner, continued discussion and dialogue

12:00 p.m.
Participate in or observe Mass with the monks of  Glenstal Abbey (optional)  

1:00 p.m.
Lunch at Glenstal (included)

2:15 p.m.
Tour of Glenstal’s grounds, led by Anthony Keane

4:00 p.m.
Break for coffee and tea

4:30 p.m.
Nóirín Ní Riain, The Answer is Maybe—and That’s Final!

6:00 p.m.
Participate in or observe Mass with the monks of Glenstal Abbey (optional)  

7:00 p.m.
Festive reception and dinner (included) celebrating 10 years with the Monks of Glenstal Abbey and 20 years of Jung in Ireland. 

8:35 p.m.
Compline (night prayer/optional) followed by return to Limerick.

Thursday, March 31
Free day to rest, relax, and/or explore Limerick on our own OR outing to The Burren, led by Conor Ellard (optional, for those who have signed up) 

Friday, April 1

8:20 a.m.
Depart Limerick for Glenstal Abbey

9:30 a.m.
Monika Wikman, The World Upside Down: Hanging in Unprecedented Uncertainty

11:00 a.m.
Break for coffee and tea 

11:30 a.m.
Monika Wikman, continued (Dialogue and Discussion)

12:00 p.m.
Participate in or observe Mass with the monks of Glenstal Abbey (optional)  

1:00 p.m.
Lunch at Glenstal (included)

2:30 p.m.
Meet the Monks of Glenstal Abbey (dividing into smaller groups, an opportunity for dialogue and learning about the daily life and activities of the Monks at the Abbey)

4:15 p.m.
Break for tea and cookies

5:00 p.m.
Depart Glenstal for our hotel in Limerick

Saturday, April 2

8:00 a.m.
Early departure from Ennis for Glenstal Abbey

9:15 a.m.
Father Simon Sleeman, If Uncertain, Wisdom Says Stay Put 

10:30 a.m.
Break for coffee and tea

11:00 a.m.
Faculty and Participant Discussion: Reflecting on the experience  of our week at Glenstal

12:00 p.m.
Walk to Carraig an Aifrinn (Rock of the Mass) led by Nóirín Ní Riain  OR…Participate in or observe Mass with the monks of  Glenstal Abbey (optional)  

1:00 p.m.
Depart Glenstal for Limerick; afternoon free to rest, relax, and/or explore Ennis on our own

7:45 p.m.
Festive closing dinner and music (included) at the Castletroy Park Hotel

Sunday, April 3
Departures for airports OR for those participating in the April 4-11 Seminar, Awakening Our Undiscovered Self: New Possibilities, complimentary overnight accommodations at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick on April 3 and transportation to the Park Hotel in Killarney on April 4 will be provided. 

*Please note: Daily schedule subject to change

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