1st Edition

The Descent of the Soul and the Archaic Katábasis and Depth Psychology

Edited By Paul Bishop, Terence Dawson, Leslie Gardner Copyright 2023
    248 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Descent of the Soul and the Archaic explores the motif of kátabasis (a "descent" into an imaginal underworld) and the importance it held for writers from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on its place in psychoanalytic theory.

    This collection of chapters builds on Jung’s insights into katabasis and nekyia as models for deep self-descent and the healing process which follows. The contributors explore ancient and modern notions of the self, as obtained through a "descent" to a deeper level of imaginal experience. With an awareness of the difficulties of applying contemporary psychological precepts to ancient times, the contributors explore various modes of self-formation as a process of discovery. Presented in three parts, the chapters assess contexts and texts, goddesses, and theoretical alternatives.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and analysts working in wide-ranging fields, including classical studies, all schools of psychoanalysis, especially Jung’s, and postmodern thought, especially the philosophy of Deleuze.

    Introduction: Is the only way up?

    Paul Bishop

    Part I: Katábasis in Greek and Latin Literature

    1. Psycho-cosmic descent in ancient Greece: from abyss to self-containment

    Richard Seaford

    2. Katabasis in reverse: Heraclitus, the archaic, and the abyss

    Paul Bishop

    3. Virgil, epicureanism, and unseemly behaviour

    Terence Dawson

    4. The Neoplatonic katabasis of the soul to the world of the senses: Language as a tool for regaining self-consciousness

    Maria Chriti

    5. Acting out, science fiction and Lucian's True History

    Leslie Gardner

    Part II: Katábasis, Goddesses, and Saints

    6. Inanna's descent to the netherworld and analytical psychology: What has the mistress of all the lands done?

    Catriona Miller

    7. Katabasis in an ancient Indian myth: Savitri Encounters Yama

    Sulagna Sengupta

    8. Katabasis in middle eastern female hagiography: a post-Jungian perspective

    Roula-Maria Dib

    Part III: Katábasis in Theory

    9. Raising hell: Freud's katabatic metaphors in The Interpretation of Dreams

    Jonathan Shann

    10. Orestes, Katabasis, and aggrieved masculine entitlement

    Kurt Lampe

    11. Regression, Nekyia, and involution in the thought of Jung and Deleuze

    Christian McMillan


    Salon Noir

    Ruth Padel


    Paul Bishop is William Jacks Chair of Modern Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow, UK.

    Terence Dawson is an independent scholar, following a career of teaching in the UK and Singapore. He has a special interest in the relation between literature, music, and the visual arts.

    Leslie Gardner is Director of the international literary agency Artellus Limited, based in London, UK. She is a founding member of the International Association of Jungian Studies and is currently a Fellow in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex.