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"Sacred Words taught me to stop viewing midlife with dread and denial and to approach it as a richly spiritual time.  The class offered well-researched, quality lectures, materials that I keep re-reading, and carefully selected movies on midlife.  A highly original course that integrated the healing power of oral storytelling, film, and the written word."

Beth Milwid, Ph.D.

Psychologist/management consultant


"Sacred Words was like a graduate course in life transitions.   Valerie gave us the space to be truthful with ourselves and made room for our unspoken words.   You will be graciously received and enriched in these classes.  A priceless investment in your future and your emerging self."

Rose Sachs, entrepreneur


"The films allowed me to relieve my own experiences and dive deep in a short amount of time. Plus I gained new confidence in my ability to use the written word.  An opportunity not to be missed."

Margaret Wilkinson, Ph.D.



"I was amazed by the way Sacred Words blended so many disciplines, combining a philosophical perspective with psychology.   The course is so full it will exceed your expectations."

Michelle Wolpe, Corporate Communications Director


"At Sacred Words we focused on the universal human struggles.  It was like seeing the Greek dramas: We arrived expecting to deal with major life issues and initiations, watched these potent themes on film, then considered how they show up in our daily lives."

Molly Schardt, Museum Educator


About Valerie Andrews

All classes are taught by Sacred Words founder and director, Valerie Andrews. Valerie is a creativity coach and magazine journalist with a background in dream work and depth psychology. She has studied film history, creative writing and Jungian psychology and is a member of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance. She is also the author of A Passion for this Earth and two forthcoming books, The Secret Lives of Your Possessions, with illustrator Ann Arnold, and a memoir, Losing Mr. Darcy about the evolution of romance after midlife. She has contributed to Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche, The Intelligent Optimist, New York magazine, Parabola, Vogue, and Common Boundary.


Sacred Words: A Center for Healing Stories was founded in 1993 with a grant from Laurance S. Rockefeller to help women explore their creativity and navigate major life transitions. Courses draw on film, literature and mythology and the insights of Jungian psychology. The following workshops will be offered in the Bay Area in 2016.



Creativity after Midlife

Many boomers are taking gap years to cultivate new interests or forms of creativity. This period of reflection may inspire a return to work with a different focus, the desire to write or paint, explore other cultures or find innovative ways of giving back.

Late Blooming offers a condensed gap year. With intriguing exercises, you’ll learn how to keep on blooming by tapping into hidden longings or unused talents. In a supportive setting, you'll learn how to chart your core values, honor your Aha! moments, identify your creative questions, seed new experiences of awe and wonder, and have faith in your evolving dreams and intuition. With insights from Jungian typology, you'll also explore new ways of engaging the world.

Location: Mill Valley      Cost: $480 ($120 per month)


Writing Memoir and First Person Essays

In this genre, knowing your own character is the key to telling a good story. This workshop for women will consider: Who is the private I doing the recording and reporting? How do you establish a bond with your reader? How much do you reveal of your innermost feelings and desires? What is the difference between confessing and confiding?

Writing memoir is a form of archaeology. “Loosening the soil” exercises will be given in class to help you excavate the different layers of your experience. We will also explore a new style of memoir inspired by literary “mentors” and other public figures: Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch, referencing George Eliot and Kate Bolick’s Spinster, telling the stories of five activists and writers.

You’ll receive a reading list of memoirs, blogs and first person essays that can serve as models or inspiration for your work. Lectures and in-class writing exercises will be followed by presentations of your writing, questions and group discussion. Also included is an introduction to Jungian typology and an exploration of how this affects your writing style.

Location: Mill Valley      Cost: $480 ($120 per month).


Give your organization or women’s circle the gift of a film workshop focusing on soul and creativity. Host these in your media room on an afternoon or evening of your choice. Classes consist of introductory lectures, film clips, interactive writing exercises, and group discussion.

Film classes consist of two meetings lasting 3 hours each. Cost: $120


The Art of Saying Yes to Life

This film and writing class for women considers how to welcome the unknown at important turning points. In I Know Where I’m Going, a young woman’s plans to marry a powerful man and advance her career go awry. In All Passion Spent, a recent widow escapes her controlling sons and creates an unexpectedly rich and rewarding life. After each film clip, guided writing exercises will help you consider:

  • What aspect of your life could use a little pruning?

  • Which aspect is ready to put forth new shoots?

  • What are the potential rewards for entering new territory?

  • How can you cultivate an ongoing sense of curiosity and adventure?


This film and writing class for women considers some of big, open-ended questions. Why do some people and places feel instantly familiar, as if you’d encountered them in a previous life? And on the other end, what do you think happens in the afterlife? What is your definition of heaven? How do our beliefs about such things affect our ability to be happy in the here and now?

No matter what your views of pre- and post-existence, this class is an opportunity to sense, savor and celebrate the most luminous moments in your life. We’ll draw on two films to begin our exploration of extraordinary relationships and life-changing events that somehow feel pre-destined.

In Eliseo Subiela’s Don’t Die Without Telling Me Where You’re Going, a man creates a device to record his dreams, and is visited by a mysterious dark-haired woman who turns out to have been his lover in another life. Hirokazu Koreeda's After Life is set in a way station where the souls of the recently deceased are processed before entering heaven.


A Literary Women's Circle

Constant Reader is an interactive book club for women focusing on a psychological and spiritual response to contemporary literary works. Though guided writing exercises, you’ll relate the book to your own life story then join a group discussion. This class consists of 6 sessions, meeting once a month.


  • The Aviator’s Wife (Ann Morrow Lindbergh) by Melanie Benjamin

  • Lucy  (Lucy Mercer, FDR’s lover) by Ellen Feldman

  • The Book of Ages:  The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

  • The Journal of Mrs. Pepys by Sarah George

  • Other Sorrows, Other Joys: Catherine Sophia Boucher and William Blake by Janet Warner

  • Girl in the Blue Dress (based on Charles Dickens’ wife) by Gaynor Arnold

Email or call 415 326-5128


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