This paper explores links between the theatrical aspect of the Dionysian archetype and Analytical Psychology. It looks at some of the Dionysian elements in Jung’s published work and follows up with a brief exploration into how some of the potentially generative aspects of the archetype continue to be suspect in current clinical practice. Plutarch’s historic anecdote about the first actor, Thespis, and his dialogue with the Athenian Magistrate, Solon, will provide a focus with which to explore Dionysian elements within the Individuation process. A final section includes a short case history illustrating Dionysian elements unfolding in the theater of Jungian analysis.
Understanding The Red Book as an improvisation and Jung as an improviser offers a new approach to understanding the active imagination and the analytic method that emerged from it. Such an approach uncovers the mētic spirit – the spirit of polytropic intelligence – that informs The Red Book and the archetypal figure of Hermes/Mercurius/Trickster that informs all improvisations and will come to dominate Jung’s career. The rhetoric of improvisation in The Red Book conveys that, uncontaminated by the directed consciousness or ego, personae and imagoes arise spontaneously from his unconscious and control him, not he them. Such gestures privilege non-rational ways of making art and knowing the self and world, part and parcel of the paradigm shift that characterizes the 20th century. Jung’s Red Book is on the leading edge of that effort to shift from objective rationality to a rationality that can embrace subjective elements: the unconscious and the irrational, not just the “broad highways” but also the “back alleys” of human experience.
Loki, one of the most mischievous of the Norse gods, is a classic Trickster figure. This mythological character is difficult to define but is an archetype that Jung himself explored. The Trickster can be understood not only as a part of the Jungian individuation process, but also, from an anthropological perspective, as a metaphor for change, embodying the dynamics between the personal and the systemic. Mythological narratives featuring Loki portray him as a figure that frequently challenges the civilising forces of society, a challenge that can lead to either destruction or renewal for the society in question. More recently, however, the character of Loki has been revived as part of a Hollywood film franchise featuring a number of the comic book giant Marvel’s characters. This highly profitable enterprise, includes contemporary versions of other members of the Norse pantheon including Thor, Odin and Frigg, but Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston, has proved a particularly popular character with the fans. This paper examines the history of Loki in the Icelandic Edda as well as the Hollywood commodification of the character in order to explore the psychological importance of the Trickster for the contemporary individual.
This paper aims to discuss a relation between the theme of sacrifice in Ancient Greece and in the Jungian understanding of the process of individuation and other similar models of personality/self-development. My argument claims that models such as the process of individuation, Post-Traumatic Growth or Positive Disintegration share features on a structural level with a specific model of sacrifice. A special focus will be on eniautos daimon, the Year-King or a spirit of the year, a concept popularized in anthropology at the beginning of the twentieth century which I claim had influence on developing Jung’s theory of individuation. In this paper, I will apply a philosophical analysis to models of psychotherapy, and especially Jungian psychology. The philosophical analysis of models allows to indicate structural similarities between them without claiming anything about their accuracy.