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Record Type: Review   ID: 746

Mirrors of the Self: Archetypal Images That Shape Your Life

Downing, Christine (Ed.).

 In an anthology that explores many guiding images or archetypes of the inner world, essayists attempt to show how archetypes interact to form our subjective worlds and affect our life stories. Most of the authors are Jungian or archetypal psychologists, starting with Jung himself, but other therapies, religion, and literature are represented. Some authors contributed two or more pieces, and 43 of the chapters were originally published elsewhere. The editor, Christine Downing, who is Chair of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, contributed the Prologue and Epilogue and four chapters. Some of the archetypes discussed are shadow, anima, animus, the double, the self, grandmother, grandfather, siblings, orphan, spinster, child, puer, secret, virgin, crone, hero, monster, victim, trickster, shaman, healer, invalid, and friend. Connie Zweig posits a new archetype, the conscious feminine. A book like this is valuable to EHE experiencers who are trying to perceive the meaning of their experiences, because EHEs are often associated with archetypes. Second, archetypal themes, like myths, can provide the framework and guidelines for one's personal EHE autobiography. In fact, as Downing points out, "The encounter with a dimension of the unconscious, which is a living, creative, transpersonal source of inexhaustible energy and direction, is life-changing" (p. xi). It is possible that those EHEs that prove to be life-changing are those that connect the experiences with Jung's collective unconscious. Those which have no effect may be ones that the experiencer does not or cannot allow to awaken the admittedly dangerous depths, contact with which is likely to demand a disruptive and possibly cataclysmic change of self and life.
Publisher Information:Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1991. 284p. Chap. bibl: 267-276
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