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The Possession of Thomas Darling: Adumbrations of a Jungian Psychohistory

Lu, K (2009) 'The Possession of Thomas Darling: Adumbrations of a Jungian Psychohistory.' Rebus: A Journal of Art History and Theory, 3. 1 - 32.


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Applying Jungian psychology to this microhistorical instance, I try to understand the potential, psychological significance of Darling?s possession experience. Using the frontispiece ? ?The Witch of Endor? ? to Glanvill?s 1682 text as a springboard, I attempt to locate the contribution of a Jungian approach by critically comparing it with historical perspectives on possession. I argue that Darling?s possession may be understood as a compensation to his devout Puritan upbringing and that recurring themes of symbolic rebirth ? evidenced by the constellation of the dual mother archetype ? suggest that the ordeal was a manifestation of a process of psychological maturation Jung called individuation. I argue that a Jungian interpretation of the individual, possession experience does not contradict certain historical assertions but, inn many ways, supports them. The witch symbol ? one representing transition and liminality ? elucidates the Puritan position during Elizabethan England, where possession was used as a political statement to assert religious identity in the face of persecution.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2012 10:56
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:13

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