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Gordon, R. (1984). Whitmont, Edward C. Return of the Goddess. New York, Crossroad, 1982. Pp. 272. Hardback $17.50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 29(1):85-87.
(1984). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 29(1):85-87
Whitmont, Edward C. Return of the Goddess. New York, Crossroad, 1982. Pp. 272. Hardback $17.50.
Review by: Rosemary Gordon
In this book, Return of the Goddess, Edward Whitmont reveals himself to be a searcher rather than just a follower, a man who is willing to question and think and explore. A practising analyst, he is also deeply concerned with events, movements and threats that mark and mar the world outside, as well as inside, the consulting room.
He is thus very aware of the violence and aggression, often seemingly gratuitous, that endanger man's survival on this earth. He does not think that the destructive forces in man have recently increased, but rather that they are no longer contained within socially sanctioned channels, that no religio-cultural system is nowadays available to defuse them, and that individual ‘self-authentication’ (p. 20) has so far found no effective collective support.
In an attempt to understand the present crisis situation Whitmont advances the thesis that we have been living for the last few thousand years in—or, better, under—a patriarchal system in which femininity (or femaleness) has been devalued and repressed; that this stage is now nearing its end and we are witnessing its death-throes; and that with luck, and helped by an increase in our consciousness, we will be born into a new era. In this new era the feminine will once more become effective, but this time it will not reign or dominate, but mix, match and marry itself with and to the masculine.
Whitmont draws a great deal on dreams, myths and the mythological figures of the male gods and the female goddesses in order to arrive at, and substantiate, his thesis; he does, however, also give some interesting case material, even though we in London would probably interpret some of it rather differently, using transference, at least to start with, e. g., the first dream of the first patient he describes (pp. 4-5).
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