Our Mission

What is the mission of CSS?

At the Center for Symbolic Studies our mission is to participate on our regional level in the urgent task of building a world community of individuals who will act with respect for the environment, responsibility to others, and awareness of the rich world within us. No less today than from the beginnings of human culture, the symbolic imagination invites interconnectedness. It is this need which informs all our programs at the Center.

To this end we explore dreams, creative art, and the mythic imagery of all peoples; in our Drumhorse programs for young people we place an emphasis on multi-ethnic experiences; and we present workshops in healing, interpersonal and interspecies sensitivity and environmental awareness. Our belief is that a psyche grounded in its own deep mystery will be in a fundamental accord with the surrounding world.

Since the late 1960’s, Stephen and Robin Larsen have been actively involved in national and worldwide efforts, both of private groups and professional organizations such as Council Grove East, Vision Humaniste, and the International Transpersonal Association, whose purposes include addressing the interface between psychological, spiritual, and environmental areas of concern. But it is not enough to meet annually at international gatherings. We must bring these insights and programs of action to our local communities: For this purpose, we founded CSS.


Since opening its doors in 1990, the Center for Symbolic Studies has become a creative nexus for healers, scholars, writers and artists, both mature professionals and youthful creators and performers. Our programs include workshops, lectures, and performances for the general public, organized in the following programs:

Our Core Seminars in Symbolic Studies include: The Joseph Campbell RoundTable series; summer visionary film program, Movies Under the Stars; and the Mythic Imagination Workshops with a focus on the experience of myth alive in dream, art, and shamanic enactment.

Community Seasonal Festivals, OutdoorStage & Concert Series brings together our own Hudson/Catskill neighborhood of many ethnicities and all generations to celebrate the wheel of the year with our wealth of local performing artists. The Stone Mountain Masquers are an open group of volunteers who create giant puppets and masks for performing at festivals and parades.

The Traditional Wisdom Program invites respected Elders from traditional societies to our region to share their teachings with both adults and children, and to present performances of their arts or to lead ceremonies. Our Archive for Traditional Wisdom assists with the translation, editing and publication of books by these teachers, healers, and lore-masters.

Drumhorse Programs for Youth & OutDoor Adventure include among other courses SummerDance, OutDoor Adventure for Youth-at-Risk, Fantasy Adventure Roleplay (such as WayfinderExperience). Some CSS programs crossover, such as Judith Havrilla’s Wildwood Project, which enriches our OutDoor Adventure with wildlife experiences, whose staff provide special classes for Youth-At-Risk.

Meditative & Martial Arts is comprised of on-going courses in Aikido, Judo, Karate, Kyu-Do,Tai-Chi, Yoga, and special seminars by noted teachers. (All courses are not offered at any one time.) See our calendar for a schedule of classes.

Our EarthHome Environmental Program seeks to cultivate awareness of bio-regional environmental issues; sponsors projects in earth-friendly technology; and cooperates with MidHudson region organizations seeking a sustainable future. The Wildwood Project is an EarthHome program which interacts with our DrumHorse programs for Youth.

Professional Training Seminars are directed primarily toward the psychotherapeutic and human services professions. Go to Stone Mountain Counseling Center for more information about Open Houses and ongoing events.

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