Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype

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Relationships can serve as the alchemical vessels of a woman’s psychological transformation. Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype finds that the paradoxes and impossibilities of love serve to create a more profound woman who is more conscious of the manifold world of unconscious archetypes. It tracks the process of individuation and alchemical transformation through the study of texts, the author’s lived experience, and imaginal ways of knowing, such as dreams, synchronicities, and active imaginations.

 

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Description

By midlife, a woman may have become aware of her own wild, instinctual animal nature. The wild woman archetype within a woman’s psyche is an expression of her innate, soulful essence. By midlife, a woman may become aware of this wild, instinctual animal nature and begin to recognize how socialization, almost from birth, can lead to being overly “civilized.”

That domestication affects how they express their sexuality and conduct relationships. When a woman becomes conscious of the wild woman archetype, she then becomes free to explore sexuality and relationships on her own terms. Paradoxically, the struggles experienced in relationships and with sexuality are often the catalysts that bring her into deeper engagement with psyche and into the realm of the wild woman archetype. This is explored as a process of psychological development that occurs at midlife in relation to Carl Jung’s notion of individuation. The psyche has an impetus towards unification and wholeness—towards becoming an in-divisible whole.

The structure of Tracking the Wild Woman is designed to present a redefinition of the wild woman archetype that focuses on articulating a synthesis of psychological and sexual development. Relationships can serve as the alchemical vessels of a woman’s psychological transformation. Tracking the Wild Woman finds that the paradoxes and impossibilities of love serve to create a more profound woman who is more conscious of the manifold world of unconscious archetypes. It tracks the process of individuation and alchemical transformation through the study of texts, the author’s lived experience, and imaginal ways of knowing, such as dreams, synchronicities, and active imaginations.

Listen to Author Stacey Shelby on Shrink Rap Radio

“Stacey Shelby’s book on the archetype of the wild woman is a brave and deeply thoughtful and honest exploration of the complex, mysterious and often troubling interconnections between love, sexuality, and our search for inner wholeness.”

-Christine Downing, author of THE GODDESS

“A soulful work of depth and beauty connecting us to the wildness within.”

-Jan Clanton Collins, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst

“Drawing on an impressive range of sources and moving deftly from one subject area to another, Stacey Shelby writes with courage and insight from her own personal experience, illuminating the challenges facing contemporary women as they seek to recover the lost connection to their inner depths of wildness and integrate this into their lives. Supported by scholarly research, Tracking the Wild Woman Archetype is a deep and thoughtful book about relationships, sexuality, psychology, and growth. Yet its language is engaging and fluid, rendering the mysteries of the psyche more accessible to us all.”

-Keiron Le Grice, Professor of Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Author of Several Books, including The Archetypal Cosmos and The Rebirth of the Hero

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Base Metal 9

Coexist with Bears 10

The Wild Virgin to The Wild Woman 12

The Goddesses 17

Alchemy 22

Bear 29

Chapter 2 The Wild Woman Archetype 31

Initial View 33

Lions and Tigers and Bears, and a Surfng Yogini 42

Peaks and Vales 50

A New Paradigm 52

Artemis 57

Re-View 64

Chapter 3 Women’s Psychological Development 65

Initial View 70

Individuation 79

Sacred Experience and Suffering 83

Psyche and Eros 87

A Human Ending as a New Beginning 91

Feminine 101

Open to Life 108

Re-View 110

Chapter 4 Relationship 111

Initial View 113

Wild Motherhood, Feminine Feminists, and the Old Paradigm 117

Love as the Alchemical Vessel 120

Personifying and Projections 131

A Circle of Love 139

Re-View 147

Chapter 5 Sexuality 149

Initial View 152

Claiming the Body After Separating 156

Claiming Sexuality 161

Female Phallus 165

Pleasure, Play, Paradox, and Longing 175

Sacred Sexuality 180

Re-View 184

Chapter 6 The Gold 187

The Wild Woman 190

Perfection versus Wholeness 198

Show Up and Surrender 201

Projection 203

Relationship and Sexuality 207

Afterword 211

References 215

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