Tagdepth

The longed-for source of the soul’s knowing

The journey to the underworld is a metaphor for an individual’s turn inwards, and their corresponding withdrawal from the external world with its social and interpersonal relationships; the point of making that journey is to learn something spiritual: for spirit can appear personified in the realm of pure soul (i.e., in Hades) as Wise Old Man — so that the individual can learn from him. But what...

The “why” of the journey

I have written that talk about the underworld (and underworld journeys) in authors such as Jung and Hillman is metaphorical and refers, in its figurative meaning, to something we might as well describe psychologically — keeping in mind, however, that such “translation” between mythical metaphor and psychological description itself depends on more specific theoretical views, which can vary from...

Campbell on the return from the underwold

Joseph Campbell dedicates a whole chapter of The Hero with a Thousand Faces to “The Return” — so he has to say quite a bit about the return leg of the journey there.  1. In Campbell’s universe, living beings undergo transformation all the time, and all transformation follows the same general pattern. That pattern, universal as it is, has traditionally been expressed in countless variations:...

Hillman on the return from the underworld (contd.)

Having tracked how Jung amalgamates the nekyia and the Nachtmeerfahrt, we are now in a better position to continue and understand the distinctions Hillman wants to make. The descent to the underworld can be distinguished from the night sea-journey of the hero in many ways. […] the main distinction: the hero returns from the night sea-journey in better shape for the tasks of life, whereas the...

Are the descent to the underworld and the night sea journey the same thing?

I’m looking at a variety of possible answers to the guiding question (whether a descent to the underworld requires a compensating return trip — and if so, why) in the Jungian tradition. There is a particular difficulty with this question, however, and we might as well face it head-on. The difficulty is that in the older strata of the tradition the style of exploring the question seems to be...

Hillman on the return from the underworld

I have asked whether a descent to the underworld would necessarily require a compensating return trip. The occidental tradition frequently sets it up this way (just think of Plato’s cave in the Politeia or Dante’s Inferno/Paradiso layout; although there is also at least one major mythical form, namely that of Orpheus, which presents the return trip it as desired, but failing). In contrast, the...

Does the underworld journey necessitate a return trip?

During times when one moves into the depths of the inner world, one disengages proportionally from the external world. Or, expressed in the stark mythical imagery that Hillman has proposed, when one descends into the underworld, one leaves the world of the living (and one’s own life in that upper world) behind. The nekyia is always a journey away from something — social reality, envisioned...

Depth: where is it hidden?

Suppose the following: You are sitting at a table outside a street café on a busy afternoon. For a little while you have noticed a couple, standing a few steps away in the middle of the crowd, talking to each other. Suddenly one of the two raises their voice. They start arguing, and gradually get louder. People around them stop and start looking, some laugh, some shake their heads with a frown;...

Leif Frenzel is a writer and independent researcher. He has a background in philosophy, literature, music, and information technology. His recent interest is Jungian psychology, especially synchronicities and the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious.

absurdity alchemy allegorical style archetypes causality dark side death depth dreams eros erotetic arch film frame analysis ghost-story style ghosts intertextuality Jung philology liminality literature magic methodology mirrors mystery mysticism myth adaptation style narrative analysis nekyia pathologizing persona personal note personification prefiguration projection psychoid romantic love self-knowledge shadow soul spirit subjectivity symbolistic style symbols synchronicities technology time