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The Alchemy of Adolescence


Presented by Beth Anne Boardman, RN, MA, PhD

link to audio file

Sunday,  4:00 PM - 6:00 PM,  September 23rd,  2018 

Exploring images, music, science, and the wisdom of depth psychology, this presentation discusses adolescence as a phase we all transit on our way to adulthood.  Our adolescent bodies initiate the prima materia.  Neurologically, hormonally, musculoskeletally, one's body begins a transformation into physical maturity, bidden or not. Wrapped in uncomfortable, even painful bodies, possessed by a mélange of hormones, confused by rapidly morphing neurons, we feel a need at some point to mourn the loss of childhood or the dreams of innocence.  With or without the permission of adults, we feel compelled to delve into the sad, dangerous, and even horrible aspects of life.  The nigredo rules adolescence. Through art, music, movies, gaming, as well as fashion, body markings, and adventure, we learn at adolescence to express our experience of grief, disillusionment, and exhilaration.  Adults can provide understanding and guidance through modeling, mentoring moments, and practicing the art (and terror) of letting go.

  • Course objectives:

  • Identify at least three cultural, hormonal, or neurological factors affecting the behavior of adolescents in the United States.

  • Become familiar with Jung's concept of nigredo, the "darkening" phase of an alchemical transition.

  • Recognize the potential patterns of alchemical transitions throughout the course of life.


Beth Anne Boardman, RN, MA, PhD, lives in California and New Hampshire.  She travels and lectures on the Mythology of Sport; Women and Myth; and the Alchemy of Adolescence (her dissertation topic), in addition to consulting as a writer to websites.  Recently, she has served on the board of the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association and as Regional Coordinator for local alumni.  Her career spans work as a registered nurse, grant-writer, the study of world dance and music, and the profound joy of raising two children.  Her writings may be found at and

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