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Marion Woodman Comments on Addiction

22 Jun 2021 4:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

CELLULAR RESONANCE AND THE SACRED FEMININE: MARION WOODMAN’S STORY by TINA STROMSTED, PH.D.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Stromsted's full article entitled above.

Body work is soul work.
Imagination is the bridge between body and soul.

~ Marion Woodman

Pull Quote from Excerpt below...

“I always try to grasp the metaphor at the root of an addiction. That varies. With food, it can be mother; with alcohol, spirit; with cocaine, light; with sex, union. Mother, spirit, light, union—these can be archetypal images of the soul’s search for what it needs..."

~ Marion Woodman


Excerpt on Addictions

Integrating shadow elements and working through addictions play a large role in Marion’s work.

“The trouble is that we lack basic respect for our bodies. There’s a complete denial of the sacredness of matter. And that is very much connected to any addiction. That’s certainly true of eating in our culture. It’s true of workaholics, too, because they don’t pay any attention to what they’re doing to their bodies so long as they can keep working eighteen, nineteen, twenty hours a day. … I think many of us cannot face the pain of our lives. So work is an escape, or compulsive relationship is an escape, or eating is an escape, until we weep when we look in a mirror (page 20).”

In working with addictions, Marion attends to the metaphor in the behaviors, holding a larger frame of reference in helping the addict understand the meaning of the patterns that accompany the illness.

“I always try to grasp the metaphor at the root of an addiction. That varies. With food, it can be mother; with alcohol, spirit; with cocaine, light; with sex, union. Mother, spirit, light, union—these can be archetypal images of the soul’s search for what it needs. If we fail to understand the soul’s yearning, then we concretize and become compulsively driven toward an object that cannot satisfy the soul’s longing (page 21).”

Marion feels that it is through contacting this deep soul longing and bringing it to consciousness, rather than simply treating the external symptoms, that our culture may be healed of the addictions that exist on such a massive scale. Her style in working with people is honest, direct, forceful, respectful, humorous, sometimes confrontational, and deeply supportive. Though Marion’s mother “had no sense of loving being a woman,” and Marion feels sad because she herself had no child, the mother archetype has been generously expressed through her work with thousands of students, workshop participants, and analysands—“un-mothered women” and father’s daughters who have benefited a great deal from the healing her work has provided them. Her own struggle with the death wish in anorexia is a testament to the work, which she models for women who wish to recognize and value their feminine being. Marion also models a feminine mode of leadership, working collaboratively with Mary Hamilton and Ann Skinner.

Their styles weave together naturally, as each takes turns leading elements of the work as well as supporting one another in the process, seeming like mother and daughters in one moment, while at other times like sister muses as they integrate their gifts.

Read Dr. Stromsted's full article entitled above. 

See more publications by Tina Stromsted here.

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