History of Four Springs
Springs was purchased in 1955 by Elizabeth Boyden Howes for the
work of the Guild for Psychological Studies in San Francisco, a
group she founded with colleagues Sheila Moon and Luella Sibbald.
The first seminars at Four Springs began in 1956.
Working initially with psychologist Fritz Kunkel
and later with C. G. Jung, these three women combined
their interest in depth psychology with their individual interests
in the life and teachings of Jesus, religious studies, mythology
and experiential learning.
Dr. Howes also studied with Henry Burton Sharman,
a New Testament scholar who developed a method of group discussion
guided by study questions designed to empower individual discovery.
In place of the study of religious doctrine developed
by others about Jesus, Sharman emphasized thoughtful inquiry into
the gospels to discern as far as possible what might derive from
Jesus' own religious experience.
Sharman's method was designed to help people engage
freshly for themselves gospel texts related to the life and teachings
of Jesus. The goal of his method was individual insight, enriched
by the observations of others, rather than agreement with the leader
or among the group.
This method was developed further over the years
by Guild leaders and participants through the incorporation of myth,
wisdom from other traditions, personal expression in art and movement,
and the use of music and literature as well as silence and meditation.
Seminars at Four Springs have been offered on
a wide range of topics, yet the seminar method remains consistent,
utilizing questions and creative expression to facilitate a personal
encounter with a story or text.
Work with Sharman's edition of Matthew, Mark and
Luke, published as Records of the Life of Jesus, continues
to evolve at Four Springs.
Four Springs Today
After forty years of operation by the Guild for
Psychological Studies, the availability of Four Springs was extended
to others in 1996 through the creation of a new nonprofit organization.
Four Springs now offers programs, hosts many Guild
seminars, and makes Four Springs available to selected groups and
for individual study and retreat.
More information about the Guild
for Psychological Studies is available at their website, or