Haunted : Interview with the Author
The disturbing experience of psychological infanticide reflects the darkest aspect of the wounding of the Sacred Feminine – the Death Mother archetype that annihilates rather than nurtures life.
Through myth, story, classic literature, biography, poems, art and dreams, Dr. Violet Sherwood weaves together symbolic aspects of psychological infanticide with psychoanalytic theory of traumatic attachment and the literal truth of a centuries-old history of infanticide.
She illuminates the Death Mother archetype in the dynamic between the unwilling (or unsupported) mother and the unwelcome child. Her personal and archetypal journey into, through, and beyond the underworld, offers hope and guidance for the restoration of the relationship between the Sacred Feminine and the Divine Child.
She draws on her professional experience as a psychotherapist and her lived experience of psychological infanticide as a result of closed stranger adoption to explore the intimate connection between life and death, revealing the life task of the infanticided psyche is to embrace death and discover the life that lies beyond the realm of the underworld.
“Haunted: the Death Mother Archetype is a wonder of a book. Dr. Sherwood’s impeccable scholarship undergirds a transformative dance between the imaginative capacity of soul, and the harsh realities embedded in her subject matter.” –Mary Harrell, PhD
Violet Sherwood is a Jungian-inspired psychotherapist, poet, author. She lives in the beautiful seaside community of Whaingaroa Raglan in New Zealand, where she practises psychotherapy, writes, and walks the wild west coast beaches. She completed her PhD at AUT University, New Zealand. Violet is passionate about holistic approaches in psychotherapy and trauma therapy. She integrates depth psychology with mindfulness, somatic, energy practices and ancient wisdom traditions. She advocates for the transformational power of writing as a healing practice.
Universal childhood experiences
“Throughout my underworld journey, I learned to listen to the mythic truth of infanticide represented throughout history, and in the many tales of children abandoned or killed by parents or archetypal wicked witches. Fears of abandonment, rejection and infanticide are universal childhood experiences that reveal the child’s awareness of its vulnerability and helpless dependency on the mercy of powerful adults. For many unfortunates, these innate fears become lived reality. The greater story of infanticide as a human truth occurring throughout time, place and culture has something essential to teach us about the way we kill off the most vulnerable and creative parts of ourselves and others. Guided by this mythic consciousness, which might equally be named ‘collective unconscious experience’ or ‘intergenerational trauma’, I felt that exploring the psychohistory of infanticide had much to reveal about this dark recess of our collective and individual psyches.”
“Historically, when murder or direct abandonment were no longer morally acceptable, desperate mothers found other ways to dispatch their children, getting rid of them psychologically whilst rationalising that they had not abandoned the child but provided it with other care. In the nineteenth century this handover was to baby farmers or foundling hospitals, both of which had notoriously high mortality rates. Yet the double bind remained tightly in place – what other choices could a woman make without support and social acceptance?”