The Center for Symbolic Studies
Founded by Drs. Robin and Stephen Larsen, inspired by the works of friend and mentor Joseph Campbell- The Center for Symbolic Studies has been offering a window into the Mythic Imagination for over 30 years through seasonal festivals, Dream Workshops, sacred teaching by Shamans from around the world, lectures, and celebrations of art and dance surrounded and inspired by nature.
The Center for Symbolic Studies holds annual festivals linked to the changing of the seasons. Check our calendar to find out when we're celebrating the turning of the wheel. Beltane, Midsummer, All Hallows Eve and Imbolc. Each gathering has its own flavor and everyone is invited to participate in their own way. Renaissance dress and personal flair encouraged.
Dr. Stephen Larsen
Stephen Larsen, Ph.D., LMHC (New York State) A.I.B.T., B.C.I.A.-eeg is a graduate of Columbia University, (B.A., M.A.), and The Union Graduate School (Ph.D.). He is Psychology Professor Emeritus at SUNY Ulster, where he ran a biofeedback laboratory that served students and staff for twenty-eight years. During this time he also trained in clinical depth psychotherapy with Edward Whitmont, M.D., Training Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York, and, in the 1970’s, with Stanislav Grof, M.D., then Staff Psychiatrist and researcher at Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. He also studied for over twenty years with Joseph Campbell, M.A. LL.D., in the interpretation of Myth and Dream Symbolism.
Dr. Stephen is certified at the level of Mentor by the AIBT (American Institute of Biofeedback Technicians), and in EEG by the BCIA (Biofeedback Certification Institute of America) where he is a Fellow. He is also licensed in HeartMath, and trained directly under Len Ochs for about 10 years, also serving as a teacher and trainer. A former yoga instructor, he also holds a second-degree black belt in Japanese Karate, and is a certified Qi Gong therapist.
Stephen is a co-founder, with his wife Robin, of the not-for-profit Center for Symbolic Studies, which sponsors seminars, seasonal festivals, programs for youth and the developmentally disabled. He is the author of The Shaman’s Doorway, The Mythic Imagination, and with Robin, A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell, as well as The Fashioning of Angels: Partnership as Spiritual Practice. More recently he authored The Healing Power of Neurofeedback, the Revolutionary LENS Method for Restoring Optimal Brain Function, The Fundamentalist Mind: How Polarized Thinking Imperils us All, and The Neurofeedback Solution (2012). In 2017 he published the The Transformational Power of Dreaming, Discovering the Wishes of the Soul with Tom Verner.
Dr. Robin Larsen
With love we remember Robin Larsen, who was the co-founder and director of the Center for Symbolic Studies.
Robin Larsen, Ph.D., (1941-2022) was an exhibiting artist and art historian. She was the editor-in-chief of the tricentennial biography and anthology Emanuel Swedenborg: A Continuing Vision. Robin also co-authored the books, A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell and The Fashioning of Angels: Partnership as Spiritual Practice with Stephen.
Ritual theater, mask making and creating larger than life puppets were Robin's passions. She drew on her vast knowledge of art history, world cultures and dreams to create this living artwork. Enlisting the efforts of many community members, Robin created the Stone Mountain Masquers, who traveled and cavorted in ritual performances, local parades and in theater.
Robin was a sculptor, working in various media, including bronzework, a drawer and painter. Her drawing abilities are astonishing, whether drawing human and animal anatomy from life, or mythological images born from dreams or imaginings.
A dedicated horsewoman, Robin stabled abused horses and worked with youth who took care of the horses.
To learn more about Dream Workshops, Shamanic offerings, and Artistic Events
"Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, the arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, all boil up from the basic magic ring of myth."
— Joseph Campbell