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APHRODITE’S SHADOW: Drowning in Beauty

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 02/09/2023

EMBRACING THE OUTCAST: Understanding Homelessness show art EMBRACING THE OUTCAST: Understanding Homelessness

This Jungian Life

Homelessness, as a stark and multifaceted symbol of disconnection, extends beyond the mere absence of physical shelter, embodying a complex interlacing of unconscious conflict, socio-political forces, and rapidly shifting societal values. The shift from small interdependent nomadic communities to the social stratification of nation-states like Ancient Rome fractured the expectation of mutual care. Over centuries alienation was normalized alongside urban development, socio-economic upheavals, and now the empathic failings of our contemporary society amidst unprecedented wealth. On a...

UGLY DUCKLING COMPLEX: the painful path of transformation show art UGLY DUCKLING COMPLEX: the painful path of transformation

This Jungian Life

We all understand the Ugly Duckling complex because we lived it at one time or another. Hans Christian Anderson’s famous tale paints a poignant picture of a child’s experience of rejection only because he’s born in the wrong nest. People who seem different or have not yet matured into their natural beauty endure a kind of scorn that can bring them to despair. The ugly duckling’s capacity to endure and find refuge once he is recognized by fellow swans can hearten us during the long winters of our lives.   As an individuation metaphor, the tale dramatizes how many of us feel...

SHADOWS & HIGH STAKES: understanding gambling show art SHADOWS & HIGH STAKES: understanding gambling

This Jungian Life

Understanding gambling illuminates the amalgam of desire, risk, and reward that defines our interactions with a capricious world. The lure of gambling, entwined within the fabric of human history, irresistibly draws us to its mesmerizing dance of fortune and chance. Exploring the gambler's psyche, we'll discover the psychospiritual elements that pull us towards Lady Luck. Gambling's allure is steeped in mythology. The concept of chance, the Moirai of Greek lore, the Roman Goddess Fortuna, and the I Ching from ancient China evoke the numinous aspect of luck, symbolically guiding us through its...

WHISKERS of WISDOM: A Jungian Analysis of ‘Puss in Boots’ show art WHISKERS of WISDOM: A Jungian Analysis of ‘Puss in Boots’

This Jungian Life

Something about a cat wearing clothes has captured our imagination for over 500 years, so it’s about time we tackle a Jungian analysis of Puss in Boots. Anthropomorphized felines have enthralled us for half a millennium, making Puss in Boots perfect for our discussion. From enchanting fairytales of yore to modern viral videos, our fascination with pets in human attire and mannerisms persists. Whether a parrot blurting expletives or a dog groaning human words, we’re captivated. Through Puss in Boots, we might better comprehend this instinct to imbue our pets with our psychological traits....

ARCHETYPAL IMAGES: the soul's language show art ARCHETYPAL IMAGES: the soul's language

This Jungian Life

Thomas Singer, M.D., Jungian Analyst and president of  joins us to decipher Archetypal Images and explain the essential role of A.R.A.S. in collecting and curating them.  Archetypes, as cosmic blueprints, dictate universal patterns of the collective unconscious, transcending personal experiences and cultural variations. They mold our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Archetypal images are their visible expressions, emerging in dreams, myths, and cultural narratives, providing a visual language linking psyche to self. They adapt and evolve across cultural contexts.  Archetypal...

MEDUSA’S MANY FACES: The Evolution of a Myth show art MEDUSA’S MANY FACES: The Evolution of a Myth

This Jungian Life

The symbolism of Medusa, one of three Gorgon sisters in Greek mythology, has fascinated artists, writers, and philosophers for centuries. Initially a monstrous creature with snake-writhing hair and a petrifying gaze, Medusa has undergone numerous transformations. The earliest known account of Medusa appears in Hesiod’s Theogony (c. 700 BCE), where she is portrayed as a mortal Gorgon sister with a deadly gaze. Ovid’s Metamorphoses (c. 8 CE) ascribes Medusa’s monstrous appearance to a curse from Athena, punishing her for desecrating the temple with Poseidon. Medusa’s terrifying image...

The DARK TRIAD: tracking wolves in our midst show art The DARK TRIAD: tracking wolves in our midst

This Jungian Life

Understanding the Dark Triad can help us navigate mysteriously troubled relationships in all spheres of life. Psychologists coined the term to describe a trifecta of malevolent personality traits: narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Although less sinister than any one full-blown personality disorder, it still affects the soul plagued by it and those in reach of its host. Narcissism has become a widely-discussed topic, often misused to describe anyone who is frustrating or displeasing. At its core, narcissism is a soul-sickness, with individuals exhibiting entitlement, devaluation of...

SYMBOLIC MEANING of HAIR: what's your look saying? show art SYMBOLIC MEANING of HAIR: what's your look saying?

This Jungian Life

The symbolic meaning of hair is both personal and cultural. It serves as an expressive medium through which we silently communicate. Sporting bed-head might convey a carefree attitude, while a polished prom-night hairstyle expresses maturity. Hair carries various announcements to our community. Its historical significance reveals ancient values that continue to influence our self-presentation. It is a malleable medium. Unlike body parts such as fingers or feet, it constantly grows, allowing for continuous transformation, and it resists decay. These universal attributes make hair an archetype....

THE WHALE: a film about trauma, obesity, and the undying hope to connect. show art THE WHALE: a film about trauma, obesity, and the undying hope to connect.

This Jungian Life

We are born with a drive to connect meaningfully with our caregivers. When that is thwarted by fate, deprivation, or hostility, our psyche rallies, it redirects our instincts to the imaginal world where archetypal forces can care for us, and our intolerable feelings can be hidden in a cast of inner characters. We still long for compassionate connection, but the inner figures of our caregivers are intolerable, so sometimes the archetypal mother hides in food—and we follow.  In the recent film “The Whale” starring Brendon Frasier, we meet his character Charlie, an English teacher...

PAN: archetypal source of panic disorder show art PAN: archetypal source of panic disorder

This Jungian Life

Piping through mountains and glens, the great god carries the relentless procreative power of nature. He symbolizes the archaic level of psyche from which all wild instinct rises; feared during war as his panic could undo even the Titans and attacked in the Common Era as the image of the devil.  Half man and half goat, Pan’s untamed sexuality evoked rapture and impulsivity. As the god of shepherds, he ushered young men into puberty, introducing them to the spring rut in their flocks and their own bodies. In the first 30 years of the Christian era, Plutarch wrote that a sailor heard a...

More Episodes

When the goddess Aphrodite claims us too fully, over time, our bodies become abandoned temples of physical perfection, sexual allure, and romantic passion. 

 Her seductive archetypal power has captivated us for eons, but in today’s world, the enhancements of fashion, beauty, and physical appearance have intensified veneration of this goddess. However, her enchantments can have profound consequences, particularly when it comes to aging and the pressures of perfection.

 In this episode, we delve into the mysterious realm of the archetype with guest Arlene Landau, Ph.D. - a Jungian analyst, mythologist, lecturer, and author of Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite and the Loss and Regeneration of Soul.

 An intricate and complicated relationship exists between women and the goddess of love. Arlene fills a gap in Jungian literature from the female gaze, providing a reflective 21st-century examination of the Aphrodite archetype’s dark shadow. When pressured to concretize Aphrodite symbols -- pursuing beauty can be a treacherous path, especially for women in the entertainment industry who must always be young, beautiful, sexy, and attractive. In addition, body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia are common challenges among the daughters of Aphrodite.

 Arlene shares her Hollywood experiences, including a declined opportunity to date Elvis Presley. In addition, she sheds light on the tragic fate of “dead blondes” like Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith, who over-identified with Aphrodite goddess of love.

 Fairytales warn us the aging Aphrodite type may feel bitter and dangerous as her beauty fades. She prompts us to engage in extreme beautification measures leaving us vulnerable to disfigurement or grotesque approximations of her qualities. She can poison our hearts against seeming rivals, leaving us hollow and alienated from love. Men are not immune to her demands for perfection either.

 To balance the psyche, we explore embracing the goddesses sisters Athena, Hestia, and Artemis and developing a relationship with them to counteract the hold of Aphrodite. Finally, we explore an alternative to her excesses - to nurture character and embrace the beauty of selfhood and laughter as we age.

 Seeking wisdom offers a crucial balance in our appearance-driven, youth-oriented culture. Arlene writes: “I have had to carry powerful Aphrodite energies, along with a numinous yearning to learn—holding both. It is my task to understand Sophia not just from my mind and animus but from my imagination and soul”.

 Join us as we embark on a journey of exploration, navigating the perils and pleasures of Aphrodite and discovering the hopeful path toward the regeneration of soul.

 Here’s the dream we analyze:

 “I’m looking down from the terrace of a house, which could be the house I grew up in as a child. Down in the front garden, I see two men cooking something in a bucket. The two men are chit-chatting and mingling with a certain ease. I have this packet of beans with me that I want to cook, and I’m tempted to try to toss the beans down into their bucket without them noticing but abandon that idea as impractical. In any event, when I finally tear the package of beans open, I realize they are dry beans, not soaked. I’m a bit daunted now. So I decided to microwave them for ten minutes to soften them up and try to eat them.”


Arlene Landau. Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite and the Loss and Regeneration of Soul. 

 Arlene Diane Landau. Professional Website.

 Douglas Stuart. Shuggie Bain: A Novel.

 Jean Shinoda Bolen. Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives.

 Walt Whitman. Eidolons: a poem.


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