Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Treasures of Depth Psychology

I'm reading Persephone Returns by Tanya Wilkinson Ph.d. It's so wonderful. It's like eating all the candy and cake and ice cream that I want without ever getting fat or full. So really, it's not junk, it's completely nourishing, soul-filling, and oh, so delicious.

It's been a long time since I've indulged in any Jungian inspired/depth psychology books. I used to read them all the time, even though some of the concepts were hard for me to grasp. Archetypal defense systems. The negatively constellated numinosum. The omnipotent apocalyptic God subpersonality. Yep. As a lay person, with zero psychological training, some of it was just beyond my ability to truly comprehend. Also—often—I'd love the first few chapters and then the books would devolve into  an analysis of an analysis of an analysis. Although very Jungian, very abstract stuff and, for me,  not very fulfilling.

I like my depth psychology connected to the body. Affect. When it becomes too much of the mind—logos—it just loses me. Wilkinson has not only kept everything connected to the body in Persephone Returns, she's made it about being connected to the body. Her main theme is the Victim Psyche. By contrasting the Hero Mythology with that of the Goddess Persophone, she illustrates the stranglehold the Hero has on the modern-day psyche—to our detriment.
Descent is necessary for us all. Jung would say that, more eloquently, with an entire book. Well, probably about twenty-nine entire books. A lot to slog through.

Wilkinson makes her case in a single nice neat one, about eight chapters. Why we must descend and claim our crowns in the Underworld. (If you've read any of the books in the Daughter of Light trilogy, you're probably starting to click to Melia's journey, it's very much a journey of trying to be the hero and failing miserably because she's not connected to the power of her chthonic—love that word—: archetypal  underworld energy.) After discussing the Hero and Persephone, Wilkinson continues on to illustrate her points with fairytales, (oh, be still my beating heart!) "The Beauty and the Beast" and other lesser known ones.

Persephone Returns is an accessible window into the treasures of depth psychology and I highly recommend it if you're ready to make your own descent… and discover the liminal within you.