October 16-17 1998: Kathie Carlson

While picking flowers, a young woman is raped and abducted away from the familiar world of her mother to the ghostly world of Hades, Lord of the Underworld. This splitting of the Mother and Daughter archetype is the crux of an ancient myth that holds as much meaning and healing for us today as it did for people in ancient times. The abducted young woman was the Greek goddess Kore, later known as Persephone, Queen of the Dead, and her mother was Demeter, the grain goddess.

The story of how Kore becomes Persephone and is ransomed back from Death to Life by her Mother has many meanings. It depicts an experience all too familiar to us — ‘going under’ to the shadow side of patriarchal power, a ravaging that occurs not only between and within men and women today but even between nations. But it also offers hope in the face of these ‘goings to hell’; it shows us an archetypal Feminine force that is stronger than patriarchy and can transform and redeem it, a force that meets the forces of Death with an unabashed passion for Life as well as the power to gestate and transform the death experience.

Using slides of beautiful ancient Greek art, Kathie’s lecture will tell the story of the grain goddess Demeter and Her daughter Persephone as well as overview some of its myriad meanings for us today.

The workshop will explore applications of this myth for both men and women: for women, we will look at how today we live the myth ‘backwards’, beginning psychologically in Hades and having to find the wholeness and powers of the Mother/Daughter archetype before we can deal with the cultural shadow that Hades represents; we will also look at men’s experiences of this shadow side of the patriarchal Masculine and at the Hades-identified man and his transformation through the Eleusinian Mysteries. The format for the workshop will be both didactic and experiential, allowing ample time for exchange and discussion.


Kathie Carlson, M.A., studied extensively at the Jung Institute in New York City and has practiced psychotherapy for over 22 years, currently in New Haven, CT. She is the author of In Her Image: the Unhealed Daughter’s Search for Her Mother [Shambhala, 1989] and Life’s Daughter/Death’s Bride: Inner Transformations Through the Goddess Demeter/Persephone [Shambhala, 1997].

Life’s Daughter/Death’s Bride