Analysis as mourning

In: International Journal of Jungian Studies

In an essay on Freud's notions of mourning and the transformations of libido, Jean Laplanche discusses the image of Persephone from Homer's Odyssey, nocturnally ‘unweaving’ at her loom in order to stave off the suitors, as an aspect of the translations and detranslations of ‘the other’, the unconscious, that give rise to temporality. In himself translating the ancient Greek word analuein, ‘unweaving,’ as ‘ana-lysing’, he suggestively re-casts Freud's project of psycho-analysis as the ‘disentangling, dissolution or resolution of souls’. Restoring the Greek words lysis and lysios back to their originary context as epithets and ritualized descriptors of the god Dionysos, Lysios, the ‘loosener’, ‘releaser’, ‘liberator’, untier of knots and bonds, this paper re-visions both the analytical process, as well as the intrinsic nature and function of the dream and dreaming, as performative enactments, which – like tragic drama – attempt to work through and mourn trauma, absence, separation, loss and our basic human finitude, the terms of our mortality and our no longer being in the world itself.

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