Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy

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Ivy is said to be the only thing on earth that is impervious to the splendor of god. Zeus was furious. Quickly, he plucked the fetus from the womb, cut an incision in his own thigh, and tucked the child into it. The baby continued to grow in Zeus's thigh. When gestation was complete Zeus gave birth to the infant god Dionysus. This child of fire was a brand new force to be reckoned with. Even the Titans--the powerful first gods of earth, who represented the instinctive masculine qualities--were quaking in their boots.

Brutally, they tore the baby to pieces and boiled him for good measure. They weren't going to have anything like this coming into the world! But Dionysus would not stay dead. A pomegranate tree, symbol of fertility, sprouted from the earth where a drop of his blood had fallen; and Zeus's mother, Rhea, made Dionysus whole once again. In this way the young god was born three times: once from his mortal mother's womb; once from his immortal father's thigh; and once from the wisdom of the earth, represented by his grandmother.

With a start like this, one wonders what kind of a god we have on hand! Semele's sister Ino and her husband, Athamas, raised the baby Dionysus as a girl so that Hera would not recognize him.


Zeus acted quickly. He ordered Hermes, the divine messenger, to transform Dionysus temporarily into a young goat and bring him to the beautiful Mount Nysa. There he would be raised secretly by nymphs, the joyous female spirits of the forests and mountains.

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The nymphs loved their young charge. They housed him in a cave and fed him on honey.

Culture vs Ecstasy, Jules Evans

Dionysus spent his childhood gamboling freely over the mountainside, surrounded by the glories of nature and learning the sensuous pleasures of the earth. His teachers were many and varied: The Muses inspired him with poetry and music. The satyrs, half-man, half-goat, taught him the wonders of dance and exuberant sexuality.

The sileni, part-horse, part-man, spirits of the springs and rivers, taught him wisdom. Silenus, the intoxicated old man who was Dionysus's predecessor, taught the young god virtue. Dionysus passed the years happily, learning many things. Like the grapevine, which can only grow in the sun's intense heat and the moisture of the spring rain, Dionysus had been born of fire and nourished by the rains of the mountain.

He understood the power of the vine perfectly, and marked his passage from childhood to young godhood by inventing the art of winemaking some say he learned it from Silenus , which would bring humanity so much potential joy and desperation.

Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy

At last Dionysus stood revealed as a god. This was just what the ever-vengeful Hera had been waiting for. Recognizing Dionysus at last, she cursed him with madness. The raving Dionysus left his home on Mount Nysa and began to travel the world. But anything better also goes into the shadow! Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to the shadow because it can find no place in that great leveling process that is culture,," writes Johnson.

Curiously, people resist the noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than they hide the dark sides. Johnson sees the "owning" of one's shadow a means by which wholeness is restored to the personality.

Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy Reading Group @ The Manse - May 27 , PM

This is accomplished by coming to terms with the shadow and incorporating it into the conscious self. In Transformation, Robert Johnson offers a new model to understand the stages of personal growth to achieve maturity and wholeness.

Using three quintessential figures from classical literature-Don Quixote, Hamlet, and Faust-he shows us three levels development that are to be completed to experience the self-realized state of completion and harmony. We are all Don Quixote, Hamlet, and Faust at various stages of our lives.

Ecstasy: Understanding the Psychology of Joy

They represent levels of consciousness that live inside us, vying for dominance, one winning one moment, another the next. Don Quixote is the innocent child in us all, unaware of life's pain. Shakespeare's Hamlet represents conscious imperfection, a man divided between the opposing forces within himself and full of despair in the face of the tragic nature of life.

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This is the state of the modern Western person-aware of one's shortcoming, anxious over what to do, neurotic and incomplete. As a result, modern Western culture has historically dismantled the more natural societies it has encountered, leaving entire populations stranded in the purgatory of this second level of consciousness. The third state, conscious perfection-the state of the fully integrated person-is represented by Goethe's Faust. His is an awareness that has been gained by struggling with and working through the second level of consciousness-a journey that is both painful and dangerous and of particular pertinence to our contemporary culture.

It is Faust who, through his own inner work, restores to wholeness the life he had torn apart to achieve the ecstatic, visionary, enlightened consciousness of which we are all capable. HE A Jungian psychological interpretation of the Grail Legend; the journey of individuation as experienced by the archetypal figure Parsifal. This book is an excellent introduction to masculine psychology through a classic European tale. SHE A Jungian psychological interpretation of an archetypal myth for women challenged with developing and living out a genuine and powerful connection with the feminine in a patriarchal structure, with predominantly masculine values and constraints.

Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Robert A. Johnson has taken tens of thousands of readers on spiritual and psychological journeys. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join.

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