1st Edition

The Archetypal Artist Reimagining Creativity and the Call to Create

By Mary Antonia Wood Copyright 2022
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this thoughtful and revelatory book, Wood explores enduring and powerful theories on art, creativity, and what Jung called the "creative spirit" in order to illuminate how artists can truly understand what it means to be a creator.

    By bringing together insights on creativity from some of depth psychology’s most iconic thinkers, such as C.G. Jung, James Hillman, and Joseph Campbell, as well as featuring a selection of creators who have been influenced by these ideas, such as Martha Graham, Mary Oliver, Stanley Kunitz, and Ursula K. Le Guin, this book explores archetypal thought and the role of the artist in society. This unique approach emphasizes the foundational need to understand and work with the unconscious forces that underpin a creative calling, deepening our understanding of the transformational power of creativity, and the vital role of the artist in the modern world.

    Acting as a touchstone for inquiries into the nature of creativity, and of the soul, this enlightening book is perfect for artists and creators of all types, as well as Jungian analysts and therapists, and academics interested in the arts, humanities, and depth psychology.

    Introduction  1. An Archeology of Soul, Creativity, and Transformation  2. C.G. Jung: Reluctant Artist, Servant of The Creative Spirit  3. A Thousand Voices: Inflections and Interpretations of Jung’s Creative Vision  4. Archetypal Creativity: Image, Imagination, and Instinct  5. Image Making and Soul-making  6. Mythopoesis: The Archetypal Ancestors of the Modern Creator  7. The Soul, the Creative, and the Archetypal Artist  8. Epilogue as Testament and Talisman


    Mary Antonia Wood, PhD, is Chair and Professor for the Depth Psychology and Creativity program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA. She is a visual artist who works in a variety of media and is founder of Talisman Creative Mentoring.

    The Archetypal Artist is a long-awaited offering to the fields of creativity and depth psychology. Scholars, students, artists, ecologists, and activists will find revelation here – it’s an accessible yet intricately woven map of Jungian and archetypal concepts and their relationship to artistic expression. Dr. Mary Wood at once honors the great mystery within the soul of every artist, while leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of deeper understanding.

    Kim Krans, artist and NY Times bestselling author of The Wild Unknown Tarot

    Mary Wood's fine book, carefully researched and presented, draws on her talents as artist, depth psychologist, and scholar. With a keen historical sense and marshalling a wide range of sources, it leads us to recover and reconceptualize the high purpose and calling of the artist as a conduit for the creative depths of the psyche and the expression of soul.

    Dr. Keiron Le Grice, professor of depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California

    Dr. Mary Wood’s creative vision that inspires The Archetypal Artist is fiercely and delightfully expansive and deep, measured, but not without a tincture of wildness. Her calling to revision the creative spirit in each of us implies that creativity is a spiritual practice—a way of being enthused to sense the world’s sacredness anew. 

    Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Mythology at Pacifica Graduate Institute

    In an exciting and provocative transformation of Jungian and Archetypal Studies, The Archetypal Artist shifts the center of gravity of depth psychology to the artist, rather than the therapist. For surely those conducting images into being through art-making are individuating for the world as well as themselves? By bringing Jung, post-Jungians, Hillman, soul-making and myth into depth psychology’s re-connection of shaman to artist, Wood restores art to its ancestral homes in medicine, religion, divination and magic. Modernity split the psyche, so reducing art into soul-less artifacts. The Archetypal Artist restores the art of life. It shows artworks as a living medium for the soul. This book is soul-juice for anyone who wants to find authenticity in the urge to create. It is essential reading for all who seek for the art of living, as well as for those driven to fashion life into the in-spirited matter of art. 

    Susan Rowland, Ph.D., Depth Psychology, Creativity, and Humanities Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute

    Wood has created a magnificent homage to James Hillman; reminding us of his vibrant mind and presence and simultaneously she introduces new generations to a true genius whose creativity continues to evolve in ways that are timeless. Her superbly researched volume unfolds, in very readable ways a comparative study of the meaning of the soul in the world, an idea much needed in our time of loss and disorientation. She helps clinicians bring to the foreground the profound value of art, aesthetics, and creativity as the combined essence of healing. This book provides the backdrop for understanding the "depth" of "depth psychology."

    Linda Carter MSN, Jungian Analyst, CS, IAAP