Transformations: Nearing the End of Life: Dreams and Visions

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Transformations, by Phyllis Stowell, is a story of five years of analysis told from the point of view of the woman dreaming. There are many voices. She is in dialogue with an analyst, an imaged analyst, an unknown other, and herself. The dreams and visions are also voices. This is not an autobiography, although it is a life focused, confused and clarified. Not ill but knowing her years are numbered and death is nearby, she experiences an urgency both unexpected and unavoidable. Part of the pressure involves dealing with what has been left behind. She has to live through much that is unwelcome but the trade off is compelling, extraordinary illuminations that go far beyond personal issues. One dream named this work: Hello, Sacred Way.

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Transformations, by Phyllis Stowell, is a story of five years of analysis told from the point of view of the woman dreaming. There are many voices. She is in dialogue with an analyst, an imaged analyst, an unknown other, and herself. The dreams and visions are also voices. This is not an autobiography, although it is a life focused, confused and clarified. Not ill but knowing her years are numbered and death is nearby, she experiences an urgency both unexpected and unavoidable. Part of the pressure involves dealing with what has been left behind. She has to live through much that is unwelcome but the trade off is compelling, extraordinary illuminations that go far beyond personal issues. One dream named this work: Hello, Sacred Way.

“Approaching the end of her eighth decade, Phyllis Stowell makes unexpected use of the loose threads left over from incomplete initiations of her past. Bringing the reader into the contained space of a late-life Jungian analysis, she shapes a moving prose narrative and a new poem-cycle out of scraps of dreams and the associations they stir in her and in the analyst. We are with her on a deeper journey of attitude-change that begins by setting aside a premature intuition that she may have spent a lifetime getting nowhere. The light that returns to Stowell on this bend in her life’s road flames like a brilliant fall tree, illuminating the ambiguities of individuation for all of us.”
-John Beebe, author of Integrity in Depth


Transformations gives a virtual check list of what those of us in the process of aging secretly worry through. Phyllis Stowell documents the phenomena of aging by way of her personal process, including relevant details of her childhood and life. It comes alive like fiction—characters, voice, falling apart, the losses, frustrations, symptoms and pain, expressed also in poetic moments and poetry. That’s why we understand and gain so much from this book. It is her gift to us.”
-Patricia Berry, author of Echo’s Subtle Body: Contributions to an Archetypal Psychology

Table of Contents

IMMERSE YOURSELF
Blue Pearls 13
The Serpent 14
Scraps of This and That 15
A Box of Pins 16
Molting 17
Coming to the High Sierras 19
Before You Die 21
Unpacking 23
The Feminine 24
Immerse Yourself 25
FATAL DISEASE
Neptune’s Daughter 31
Yearning 32
Soulfulness 33
Compelled 34
Stick of Fire 35
Black and White 37
Azul and the Derelict 38
Dipped in Acid 40
Borders 41
The Orange Suitcase 44
The Edifice 45
At Risk 48
Once Upon a Time 49
DIES 50
Black Onyx 51
Blood Everywhere 52
Apples 53
Large Red Signs 54
Candlesticks 56
Psyche Is Timeless 57
The Performer 58
Fatal Disease 59
FLOATING CHILD
Derivation 63
What the Body Knows 64
The Red Cloak 65
Paper Bag 67
Tears 69
Floating Child 70
Suicidal Woman 71
Loss of Soul 72
The Wand 73
White Horse 74
Behind the Façade 75
The Blind Seer 77
Demeter 78
Body and Psyche, Underground 79
On Sin 81
Sun Glasses 82
What the Snake Knew 83
Dark Place 84
The Fisherman 85
Stuck 86
All You Need 87
The Bolero Suit 88
The Hose 89
Icon 90
Coming Down 91
The Waterfall 92
The Office 93
The Obsidian Mirror 94
The Heart 95
GNOSIS
Oneiric Vision 99
Intruders 100
Grand Old Chestnut Grove 101
Somber Offering 102
Conundrum 103
Numinous Head 105
Silver Lions 106
Special Wine 107
Turtle 108
Three 109
The Vase and the Rose 110
Poison Drifting Down 111
Plumbing 112
Above / Below 113
The Musician 114
The Sacred Way 115
ORGAN SYMPHONY
The Charm 119
If You Do Not Heed the Dream 120
ALPHA 121
Victor 122
Transforming Fire 123
Cooking Together 124
Twelve 125
Mud Flood 126
Orange Zinnias 127
Pink Tree 128
Yellow Tents 129
Panic 130
Tantric Red 131
The Woman from the Sea 133
The Tree of Life 134
The Question 135
Cancer 137
Empyrean 138
The Silk Gown 139
One Drama in Three Acts 140
Two-Sided Mirror 142
Power Washed 143
High Fidelity 144
The Ambiguity of Dreams 145
Isadora’s Scarf 146
Milk Glass Compote 147
Ship Rock 148
Gold Medallions 149
Heading East 150
Tsunami 151
Urgency 152
The Dark Powers 153
Through the Window 154
Four Kings 155
Organ Symphony 156
A Black Blacker Than Black 157
The Cat and the Lily 158
The Gift 159
AS I HAVE DONE
Now That I Am Done 163
This Is a Grassland 164
The Home I Sought 165
Even Wine Can’t Heal This Dizziness 166
Rushing Back Frantic 167
It’s Easy to Fall 168
One Day You Slept Till Noon 169
This Is How I’m Answered 170
Too Soon What’s Done 171
Why No Tears? 172
Her Dream 173
When the Finch Trapped Inside 174
About Some Compensating 175
This Is That Time You Are Told to Relax 176
This Is That Time of Barely-There Fog 177
This Is That Seldom Found Time 178
The Warp White Wool Carded 179

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