Mantis Weekend 2021

Date: Friday 1 October to Sunday 3 October 2021

Venue: Online via Zoom

Mantis 2021 is here! This year we offer an exciting program of 5 lectures , ranging from conspiracy theories to the question of consciousness.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2021 Mantis weekend presentations, offered again on the Zoom platform. We endeavour to create a virtual meeting place for those interested in Analytical Psychology and the value of Jungian ideas in modern life. During the pandemic, when the old way of life collapsed, old structures and routines crumbled, many of us felt lost without the reassuring familiarity and predictability of our every day lives and instinctively turned to access our inner resources for guidance to navigate safely through the trecherous waters of the pandemic.

Why “Mantis”?

The Mantis symbol holds a special meaning for SAAJA (@jungsouthernafrica). Our founder members were deeply connected to the spirit of the San culture and their shape-shifting creator-trickster deity, Kaggen, who manifests as a praying mantis and other animal forms (hare, eland, snake, vulture). The SAAJA logo consists of four Mantis heads arranged in a circle and the SAAJA journal is called Mantis.

Our programme is presented by Jungian Analysts and Jungian oriented practitioners and researchers, who share their special insight from experiences in practice, research or field of special interests. SAAJA is a professional society of internationally accredited Jungian Analysts with its main focus training and accreditation of future Jungian Analysts.

View our exciting weekend programme below and simply click on a title to book your virtual seat.

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FRIDAY –  1st  October 2021


19h00 to 20h30

What my Power Figures tell me. A Journey through the Darkness of the Heart to the Mirror of the Belly Dr. Peter Ammann

SATURDAY – 2nd  October 2021


09h00 to 10h30

The Mystery Of Consciousness; a Jungian Perspective Dr. Peter Hodson

11h00 to 12h30

How fake news goes viral: The ancient dynamic of conspiracy theories Johann Graaff

13h30 to 15h00

Dreams and Dreaming – Recent Studies, Including Pandemic Dreams Dr. Deon van Zyl

 SUNDAY  – 3rd October 2021


09h00 to 10h30

The Emerald Tablet: The worldview of Alchemy and Jung’s psychology Renee Ramsden


PRESENTER: Dr. Peter Ammann is a founding member of the International School for Analytical Psychology, where he is a lecturer, training analyst and supervisor. After training as a cellist he entered Jungian studies, encouraged by Jung himself as well as by his analysts, Jolande Jacobi and Marie-Louise von Franz, and graduated from the C. G. Jung Institute Zurich in 1965. Concurrently, he gained his doctorate at the University of Zürich in the fields of musicology, history of religion and ethnology. He maintains a practice in Zürich and lectures regularly in many countries.

Pursuing his dream of becoming a filmmaker, he apprenticed with Federico Fellini for the making of Satyricon. His enduring interest in Africa, the Bushpeople, their rock paintings, and in African Traditional Healing originated from a 1984 encounter with Laurens van der Post. He made several documentary films in Southern Africa. His documentaries include: Hlonipa Journey into Wilderness; Spirits of the Rocks; Mabi’s Feast – Sangomas Celebrating San; Laurens van der Post – The Bushmen and their Stories.

ABSTRACT: What my Power Figures tell me. A Journey through the Darkness of the Heart to the Mirror of the Belly

Peter Ammann’s search for the secret story hidden behind his African power figures, a story of appalling shadows, yet also of treasure troves that recalls the famous saying of the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder: “There is always something new out of Africa”.


PRESENTER: Dr. Peter Hodson is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst and has been in private practice in Cape Town for the last twenty five years. In the last few years, he also practices from his home in Wilderness.

He is past president of The Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) and a training analyst within the association. He has a particular interest in psychological transformation and how this happens in psychotherapy and has written and lectured on this subject. He has been actively involved in teaching on SAAJA’s training program for many years.

ABSTRACT: The Mystery Of Consciousness; a Jungian Perspective

The field of consciousness studies has emerged as a new discipline over the last three decades. It has attracted input from various fields including philosophy, neuroscience, computer science and even physics and mathematics. The input from psychology has been less prominent.

Two major, as yet unanswered questions, form the basis for these enquiries:

Firstly, what is consciousness and how is it related to physical processes, or brain states and secondly, why is it necessary at all?

In this talk I will explore the background to these questions and look at the contribution a Jungian perspective might make in unravelling the mystery surrounding them.


PRESENTER: Johann Graaff is a retired sociologist from UCT, but is now interested in the cross over between Jungian psychology and sociology. He graduated from the CG Jung Institute in Zurich, and has a practice as a Jungian analyst.  He is member of SAAJA, currently serving on Curriculum Committee.

ABSTRACT:  How fake news goes viral: The ancient dynamic of conspiracy theories

We tend to think these days that social media has the special power to not just spread fake news, but to make up the most fantastic stories from nothing. The QAnon group in the US famously believed that the Democratic Party under Joe Biden was running a child sex slave ring. In 2016 the the Gupta’s hired the British Bell Pottinger company, to divert attention from their own misdeeds. Bell Pottinger coined the conspiracy theory phrase, ‘white monopoly capital’, which was devastatingly effective.

But this strange process of confabulation has been going on for a very long time. In 1959 CG Jung wrote a book on flying saucers, after belief in the phenomenon had suddenly spread worldwide in 1947. A book entitled, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, proposing that this Zionist organisation was planning to take over the world, has been circulating since the 1890’s and is still in print today. Jay Smith wrote a book  in 2011 on ‘The “beast of the Gévaudan,” a wolf-like “monster” that haunted imaginations everywhere in Europe and spread apocalyptic fear throughout the population of the Gévaudan, a remote, mountainous region in southern France in 1764 and 1765.’ (See the image below.) Victoria Pagan describes the conspiracy theories doing the rounds in ancient Rome about secret organisations of women.

So what is it that takes hold of reasonable minds? Roger Cohen (2010) notes, “Captive minds … resort to conspiracy theory because it is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world”. But is it that simple?


PRESENTER: Dr Deon van Zyl has been in private practice for the last 30 years as a clinical psychologist, management consultant, mediator and group facilitator. He is a former Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pretoria, where he worked for 13 years. He is past chairperson of the South African Institute for Clinical Psychology, and the current African Representative for the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). He has received two academic awards and a research award from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), as well as an award for post-doctoral research from the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust for study in the U.S.A. He has published 20 academic papers including a recent book on Amazon’s Kindle, 5 book chapters, over 30 published conference proceedings, book prefaces and popular articles. He has delivered numerous papers at conferences in South Africa, the U.S.A., Europe and Japan.

ABSTRACT: Dreams and Dreaming – Recent Studies, Including Pandemic Dream

This lecture will look at the neural substrates of dreams and dreaming, including the more recently coined term “default mode network” in the brain and how this fits into a Depth Psychological approach to dreams. In addition, some studies on Threat-Simulation will be considered, and applied to the latest research on pandemic Covid-19 dreams. Taken together, the talk will hint at an answer to a larger question: What are dreams in essence, and what is the purpose of dreaming, if any?


PRESENTER: Renee Ramsden has been working in private practice in Cape Town for 37years. She is a founder member of the Southern African Association for Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) and a training analyst. She specialises in dream-analysis and has been teaching alchemy and psychology as presented by C.G. Jung to SAAJA candidates, the wider professional group and interested members of the public for 25 years. She has a longstanding interest in ancient goddess cultures and their relevance for the feminine in our current world. She is currently serving on SAAJA’s Executive Committee as Vice-President. She is also co-facilitator of SAAJA’s Jung and Film events.

 ABSTRACT  The Emerald Tablet: The worldview of Alchemy and Jung’s psychology

Jungian psychology contains a worldview which offers a healing balance to our one-sided culture. The image of the Emerald Tablet, one of the most influential texts in alchemy, is a symbolic representation of the main concepts of Hermeticism, which mirrors Jung’s understanding of the structure and dynamics of the psyche. This seminar will be an in-depth exploration of the symbolic representation of The Emerald Tablet by Matthäus Merian, a Swiss-born artist and engraver (22 September 1593 – 19 June 1650), which incorporates all the truths contained in the Emerald tablet. I will describe how this vision corresponds to the main concepts of Jung’s psychology, and how this knowledge assists with dream interpretation.