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Jung portrays individuation as beginning with the death of the hero. Not for the first time, his insight is prescient for our troubled twenty-first century in which notions of the heroic masculine warrior have been tested to destruction, even on occasion becoming vehicles for the shadow. By contrast, Jung provides a feminine that is marginalized, often forced into the shadow, pluralized, and hospitable to other cultures and/or forms of consciousness. Taking inspiration from Jung’s feminine, it is possible to discover less ego-centric, less dogmatic, less euro-centric, and more collective modes of individuation. Arguably, these are better fitted to intervene in the crises of our times.
To explore new kinds of heroism, my Jungian arts-based research has transitioned into writing murder mysteries because the genre is a link to pre-patriarchal individuation myths, such as those of the Holy Grail and the Well Maidens of Logres. In particular, I will demonstrate my argument using my novel of Jungian active imagination and amplification, The Sacred Well Murders, which arose from Jungian divination during the pandemic. If possible, I encourage people to read the novel ahead of the lecture to facilitate discussion of how its feminine heroism both arises from, and responds to, pandemic conditions and climate anxiety.
The Sacred Well Murders
Susan Rowland, Ph.D, is core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. She has published extensively on Jung, gender, literature, and detective fiction. Her books include Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002), The Ecocritical Psyche(2012), Jungian Literary Criticism: The Essential Guide (2019), Jungian Arts-based Research and the Nuclear Enchantment of New Mexico (2021). Her Jungian arts-based research is writing the Mary Wandwalker detective novels. Founding chair of the International Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS) in 2003, Susan lives in California with digital literary artist, Joel Weishaus.
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