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Beres, D. (1967). The Candle of Vision: By AE (George William Russell). New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, Inc., 1965. 175 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 36:120-121.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:120-121

The Candle of Vision: By AE (George William Russell). New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, Inc., 1965. 175 pp.

Review by:
David Beres

The author of the introspective essays in this volume was a visionary and a mystic who described in distinguished poetry the imagery awakened in him. The title of the book expresses the author's idea that there is in every man 'a Lamp of the World', in his own case 'a mysterious life quickening within my life', that lights up the mysteries of nature and man. The author is unhesitating in his conviction that there is a 'divine imagination', an 'eternal memory' responsible for his visions and that he has the good fortune to share in this universal experience.

Mysticism is a cultural force, pervasive in the East and sporadic in the West, that cannot be dismissed because it lacks scientific validation. It is a phenomenon that demands study as an expression of psychic functioning. Psychoanalytic authors have directed their attention to the problem. I mention here only Freud's comments in Civilization and Its Discontents and the paper by Arlow, The Consecration of the Prophet. It may be noted that AE in describing the mystic union consistently uses the metaphor of the 'Mighty Mother'. He says, 'As the mother nourishes the body so the "Mighty Mother" nourishes the soul'. AE denies the psychoanalytic concept of unconscious mental activity but he speaks of 'a deeper being of ours that has wider vision than the waking consciousness'. For him the source of these visions lies in 'forms peculiar to the mid-world and heaven-world'.

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