Quadrant: The Journal of the C.G. Jung Foundation
From the Editor — Kathryn Madden
The death of a loved one draws a silent divide between us and the beloved. The painful void left by their departure can be measured by how much we loved them, how much unresolved there was left between us, or both. But the death of a loved one is still someone else's death. We can observe it, grieve it, contemplate it, learn and grow from it. A different matter, our own death. When you really think about it, there is something so jarring about the thought of our own death that the mind may quickly rush to change the subject. If we are able to stay with the thought long enough, questions of meaning arise.
Dante's “Dis:” Archetypal Image and Clinical Reality with Early Trauma Patients
Keywords: Dis, daimonic agencies, Dante, descent, defenses of the Self,
Clinical work with patients who have suffered severe early trauma often uncovers a negative, tyrannical, and sometimes demonic inner object that menaces the inner world and causes the patient endless suffering and anxiety. This paper explores the archetypal background of this violent defensive structure as it appears in the form of “Dis,” the dark Lord of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, the first book in his 14th century Divine Comedy. Psychoanalytic and developmental approaches to this inner demon and his dissociative activity are reviewed, then compared and contrasted with the archetypal background, which supplies a “daimonic” and “Luciferian” element, otherwise missing in the purely clinical descriptions. Dreams from the clinical situation illustrate the violent splitting effect of “Dis” in the inner world of trauma's victims, but this splitting — while potentially catastrophic for the trauma survivor's psychological health — ultimately reveals itself, not as a “death instinct” but as the psyche's “effort” to preserve an imperishable core of selfhood by splitting it off and encapsulating it in an autistic enclave (Limbo) in the unconscious. Some of the “spiritual” implications of this analysis are explored in the paper's concluding section.
Naming the Unnameable, Part One of a Two-Part Article— Gary D. Astrachan, Ph.D.
Keywords: death of God, Hölderlin, jouissance, Kristeva, madness, maternal chora,
This paper proposes that in attempting to trace a path from speech and language, image and symbol, and action and behavior, to the unpresentable core of our being, that the way necessarily lies along the border between madness and ecstasy, with all of its attendant risks of Dionysiac dissolution, disintegration, and destruction. For those disciplines, particularly like art and psychoanalysis, committed to this project of effecting nothing less than the total transformation of our representational subjectivity, it is to the performative aspects of their practices to which we must now turn for signs as to how, or if, this is a possible telos towards which we are indeed proceeding. The proofs need to be present themselves in their processes. Rather than wrangling about what things mean, or what they are about, whether words, thoughts, deeds, poems, or paintings, creative and critical poiesis must instead focus on what things do, on what happens, and how that actual enactment may or may not lead to experiencing and re-membering the fertile ground of all names and naming. Examples of individuals who embraced this perilous vocation are provided both as inspiration and warning to those undertaking this descent to the nameless and formless realm of the abyssal unconscious.
A Very Easy Death — Sharn Waldron
Keywords: Death, splitting, body, soul, living
This paper explores a perceived split between body and soul, between romanticism and reality and between fantasy and the experience of life. The split is most vividly encountered in the experience of death. The vehicle for this exploration begins with Simone de Beauvoir's book, A Very Easy Death in which her existential theories are removed from their theoretical paradigm as she is confronted with a “Pandora's Box” of emotions and thoughts. The pivotal point of this paper is the notion of death, especially the dissonance experienced most clearly in the death of a loved person as it confronts one with the prospect of one's own death. The paper concludes with an account of a near death experience of the Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, her reflections on the impact of that experience and her struggle to understand and integrate it into her living.
Cancer and Active Imagination — Lorna Wood
Keywords: Active imagination, Dionysian energy, negative mother complex, cancer, Self
The terror that accompanied the diagnosis of breast cancer forced me to look for meaning in the cancer. Was there an unconscious part of my psyche that had manifested as physical cancer? The psychological work in my personal analysis and the practice of active imagination allowed me to contain the fear and delve deeper into it, discovering what I had been unable to allow into my life. Cancer's physiology and ways of behaving were like a willful, out-of-control side of the psyche that I had never experienced. Cancer's voice in active imagination was a torrent of violent, irrational Dionysian energy — initially terrifying in its intensity and then energizing and inspiring.
Book Reviews — Matthew J. Greco, Book Review Editor
A Dream in the World: Poetics of Soul in Two Women, Modern and Medieval — Robin van Löben Sels. Brunner-Routledge. Reviewed by Julie Bondanza, Ph.D.
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