This week Joyce Tye will introduce a discussion of the myth of Demeter and Persephone, offering a Jungian interpretation.
The underworld holds the deepest secrets and is a prime concern of the soul. For Carl G. Jung, myths provided not only an explanation for the events of nature, but also a way of making sense of the inner world. From this perspective, the story of Persephone’s separation from her mother in the myth of Demeter and Persephone can be understood as the psychological development from adolescence to womanhood. Since, as Jung states, “every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother”, the myth can be said to highlight the ambiguity inherent in the mother-daughter relationship, offering an intriguing perspective on the cycle of life, death, and renewal.
Jung, C.G., “The Psychological Aspects of the Kore”, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, edited by Gerhard Adler & R. F.C. Hull, trans. by R. F. C. Hull, in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. 2nd ed. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1990) [set reading: pars. 306-316, pp. 182-188]
Keller, Mara Lynn, “The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone: Fertility, Sexuality, and Rebirth”, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, vol. 4 No. 1 (Spring 1988), pp. 27-54.
Myth Reading Group
Thursday 11 February
12.00-1.30pm Room 3.318
Poster and texts: