There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
I am baffled by the feminine side of my sexual theory—makes me doubt the whole thing.
— Sigmund Freud
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but mere preparation.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

 

In depth analysis, the fairytale of Psyche and Eros marks the individual transformation from narcissistic love to the capacity for genuine love. The four tasks that Psyche must complete to be reunited with Eros represent the inner work necessary to be initiated into the deeper mysteries of love—what is required for Soul (Psyche) and Eros (Love) to be joined.

The tasks include pulling back projections and freeing oneself from identification with others’ projections, facing violence and finding the hidden gold in these shadow lands, developing a psychic container/body that is capable of holding the highest and lowest aspects of self without inflating or collapsing, and confronting death and the underworld in a way that allows one to see the soul’s beauty in the self and the other.

During my personal engagement in each of these tasks, Oscar Wilde’s Salomé became one of the central images of the split-off feminine that was rising into consciousness—mine and the collective. Wilde’s Salomé is a complex feminine character who holds within her echoes of past pagan worldviews, surges of authentic sexual energy, and anger at the kingdom in which she finds herself—a kingdom that splits the feminine into lost or fallen, abandoned or desired. She is the rising feminine energy that must be reckoned with for the possibility of love to exist.

In a patriarchal world view and rape culture, the feminine remains possessed by masculine illusions of what love is and what it means to be a woman. This course breaks through traditional boundaries to forge a path that hints at what is necessary for both women and men to become unpossessed by these illusions and relate to the strong feminine as she rises from the depths of the unconscious.

Course / Learning Objectives

  1. Apply the depth psychological concepts of projection and projective identification through personal reflections on lived experience, and develop an understanding of the archetypal nuances present in the projective dynamics. 
  2. Explore the Jungian concept of shadow in relation to Eros.
  3. Explore and critique the Jungian concepts of anima and animus through readings, exercises, and an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé. 
  4. Consider how the archetypes of anima, animus, shadow, and self affect romantic attractions and relationships. Develop an understanding of the evolution of the theories of anima/animus in the field of depth psychology and connect this to your personal individuation journey and relationship history. 
  5. Develop an understanding of the complex symbolism of the four tasks that Oural/Psyche must perform before being reunited with Eros—the four psychological tasks necessary to unite soul (Psyche) and love (Eros).
  6. Reflect on and consider the importance of honouring diversity and the unique autonomy of all individuals in relation to sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual lifestyle choices, and be able to express why these diverse understandings are essential to developing a more compassionate and tolerant worldview—a worldview that honours anima mundi. 
  7. Deepen your understanding of the effects that living in a patriarchal society has on sexuality, relationships, and archetypal dimensions of the feminine.