Tagliminality

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...

Changes for the better, changes for the worse

Hillman is one of the most original and interesting writers in the tradition following Jung, and I have spent quite a few pages on this blog discussing his work already. Naturally, this means I have to combine several of his ideas and theories, which are distributed over multiple books, in order to gain a consolidated understanding. But there is a danger in this, too: Hillman’s work, as...

Some notes on the underworld experience

Is there a purely psychic form of existence? According to Hillman, there is at least a metaphorical image of such a form of existence: the underworld (Hades). We can read mythical narratives to refer to a form of being rather than a literal place: thus Hades is not a location somewhere (“under” the world), and it is not literal death of a person which brings their shadow (image) there — rather...

The dead backwaters of life

There is a particular kind of life situation, in which a person may find themselves, and which fits the pattern I have discussed in my earlier post: it is one of those situations where archetypes are triggered. Let's call it the "dead backwater" type of life situations.

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.

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