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Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology)

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Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Symbolism is the most powerful and ancient means of communication available to humankind. For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, more recently, anthropologists and psychologists. In Ariadne's Clue, distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the nature of symbols and explains how and why we create the symbols we do.

The book is divided into two parts: an interpretive section that concerns symbols in general and a "dictionary" that lists hundreds of symbols and explains their origins, their resemblances to other symbols, and the belief systems behind them. In the first section, Stevens takes the ideas of C. G. Jung a stage further, asserting not only that we possess an innate symbol-forming propensity that exists as a creative and integral part of our psychic make-up, but also that the human mind evolved this capacity as a result of selection pressures encountered by our species in the course of its evolutionary history. Stevens argues that symbol formation has an adaptive function: it promotes our grasp on reality and in dreams often corrects deficient modes of psychological functioning. In the second section, Stevens examines symbols under four headings: "The Physical Environment," "Culture and Psyche," "People, Animals, and Plants," and "The Body." Many of the symbols are illustrated in the book's rich variety of woodcuts. From the ancient symbol of the serpent to the archetypal masculine and feminine, from the earth to the stars, from the primordial landscape of the savannah to the mysterious depths of the sea, Stevens traces a host of common symbols back through time to reveal their psychodynamic functioning and looks at their deep-rooted effects on the lives of modern men, women, and children.

Synopsis:

"Stevens has a unique capacity for relating myths and symbols to the way our psyches function today, thus bringing symbols alive rather than dismissing them as historical curiosities. He is also a stylish writer, and is able to link his conclusions from a variety of fields into a consistent, readable whole."--Anthony Storr, University of Oxford

Synopsis:

Symbolism is the most powerful and ancient means of communication available to humankind. For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, more recently, anthropologists and psychologists. In Ariadne's Clue, distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the nature of symbols and explains how and why we create the symbols we do.

The book is divided into two parts: an interpretive section that concerns symbols in general and a "dictionary" that lists hundreds of symbols and explains their origins, their resemblances to other symbols, and the belief systems behind them. In the first section, Stevens takes the ideas of C. G. Jung a stage further, asserting not only that we possess an innate symbol-forming propensity that exists as a creative and integral part of our psychic make-up, but also that the human mind evolved this capacity as a result of selection pressures encountered by our species in the course of its evolutionary history. Stevens argues that symbol formation has an adaptive function: it promotes our grasp on reality and in dreams often corrects deficient modes of psychological functioning. In the second section, Stevens examines symbols under four headings: "The Physical Environment," "Culture and Psyche," "People, Animals, and Plants," and "The Body." Many of the symbols are illustrated in the book's rich variety of woodcuts. From the ancient symbol of the serpent to the archetypal masculine and feminine, from the earth to the stars, from the primordial landscape of the savannah to the mysterious depths of the sea, Stevens traces a host of common symbols back through time to reveal their psychodynamic functioning and looks at their deep-rooted effects on the lives of modern men, women, and children.

About the Author

Anthony Stevens has worked as a Jungian analyst and psychiatrist for the past thirty years. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford and, in addition to his medical degree, he has two degrees in psychology. His previous books include Archetype: A Natural History of the Self, The Roots of War, On Jung, The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, Jung, Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming, and, with John Price, Evolutionary Psychiatry: A New Beginning.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements vii

About This Book ix

PART I SYMBOLISM, EVOLUTION, AND PSYCHOLOGY

1 Ariadne's Clue 3

2 What is a Symbol? 12

3 The Evolution of Meaning 22

4 How Do SymbolsWork? 36

5 Basic Symbolic Themes 45

6 The Conjunction of Heaven and Earth 62

7 Living the Symbolic Life 77

PART II

THE EXPLANATORY THESAURUS

1 The Physical Environment 97

i Landscape 99

ii The psychic Compass 116

iii The Four Elements 123

iv alchemy 132

v Celestial Bodies 134

vi Colours 146

vii Buildings 150

viii Migration 1154

2 Culture and Psyche 161

i Religion and the Sacred 1170

ii Gods, Goddesses, and Demons 173

iii Creation Myths 195

iv Paradise and the Fall 200

v Heroes and Heroines 208

vi Initiation, Male and Female 2. 16

vii Eros and Psyche 220

viii Individuation and Transcendence 235

ix Death and Rebirth 256

x Morality 262

xi Sickness and Healing Z74

xii Tools, Weapons, Utensils, and Musical Instruments 280

xiii Transport 2911

xiv Performance and Ritual 298

3 People, Animals, and Plants 305

i Sex, Gender, Bonding, and Childrearing 306

ii Power: Dominance and Submission 323

iii Animals 332-

iv Monsters and Fabulous Beasts 367

v Plants, Fruits, and Trees 379

4 The Body 395

i Adornment, Clothes, and Nudity 396

ii Parts of the Body 401

iii Physical Activities 415

Bibliography 423

Glossary 433

General Index 439

Symbol Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691086613
Author:
Stevens, Anthony
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
General
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Folklore & Mythology - Mythology
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Dream interpretation
Subject:
Imagery (psychology)
Subject:
History
Subject:
Mind, Body & Spirit
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
Reference Works and Anthologies
Subject:
Symbolism (Psychology)
Subject:
Psychology-Cognitive Science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology
Publication Date:
April 2001
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 24 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » History
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Jung and Jungians
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling
Humanities » Mythology » Reference and Symbology

Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology) Used Trade Paper
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$17.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691086613 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Stevens has a unique capacity for relating myths and symbols to the way our psyches function today, thus bringing symbols alive rather than dismissing them as historical curiosities. He is also a stylish writer, and is able to link his conclusions from a variety of fields into a consistent, readable whole."--Anthony Storr, University of Oxford
"Synopsis" by , Symbolism is the most powerful and ancient means of communication available to humankind. For centuries people have expressed their preoccupations and concerns through symbolism in the form of myths, stories, religions, and dreams. The meaning of symbols has long been debated among philosophers, antiquarians, theologians, and, more recently, anthropologists and psychologists. In Ariadne's Clue, distinguished analyst and psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explores the nature of symbols and explains how and why we create the symbols we do.

The book is divided into two parts: an interpretive section that concerns symbols in general and a "dictionary" that lists hundreds of symbols and explains their origins, their resemblances to other symbols, and the belief systems behind them. In the first section, Stevens takes the ideas of C. G. Jung a stage further, asserting not only that we possess an innate symbol-forming propensity that exists as a creative and integral part of our psychic make-up, but also that the human mind evolved this capacity as a result of selection pressures encountered by our species in the course of its evolutionary history. Stevens argues that symbol formation has an adaptive function: it promotes our grasp on reality and in dreams often corrects deficient modes of psychological functioning. In the second section, Stevens examines symbols under four headings: "The Physical Environment," "Culture and Psyche," "People, Animals, and Plants," and "The Body." Many of the symbols are illustrated in the book's rich variety of woodcuts. From the ancient symbol of the serpent to the archetypal masculine and feminine, from the earth to the stars, from the primordial landscape of the savannah to the mysterious depths of the sea, Stevens traces a host of common symbols back through time to reveal their psychodynamic functioning and looks at their deep-rooted effects on the lives of modern men, women, and children.

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