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Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body/ Jungian Psychology and the Dark Feminine [Kindle Edition]

Sandra Lee Dennis , Thomas Moore
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Have you wrestled with uncanny, nightmarish imagery in dreams or waking? Life crises, trauma, deep meditation, prayer or inquiry can unleash surprisingly compelling yet scary, even revolting, imagery and related feelings. With few maps to help navigate this terrain, we are tempted to deny or repress our experience.

Precipitated by a descent into the dark recesses of her own psyche, Sandra Dennis explores the eruption of strange, wild, compelling characters from the unconscious that she calls ‘daimons.’

The Greeks understood the daimon as the intermediary between gods and humans, the guardian spirit assigned at birth that connects heaven and earth. These messengers come as agents of inner transformation. When we welcome them with understanding and compassion, they expand our consciousness and connect us with healing qualities of strength, compassion and vision.

This book leads us to this growing edge of the psyche and invites our curiosity and caring. It charts a course of radical acceptance of experience — no matter how painful or difficult — as absolutely necessary for our well-being and the well-being of the planet.

Sandra Dennis brings a spiritual context to what most disturbs us. She offers a simple method to navigate these alarming images and anxieties. Instead of treating them as perversions to banish, we are encouraged to embrace their primal power becoming more intelligent, loving and whole in the process.

"Embrace of the Daimon" can help:

• Calm your concerns by understanding the role of these daimonic images in the larger context of growth to wholeness, or individuation.

• Find the courage to explore these states of mind with more intimate, compassionate interest.

• Learn to navigate your way through the unusual sensations that often accompany breakthroughs of the daimonic.

• Expand your understanding of Jungian theory, with regard to the little explored mind/body connection role in personal development.

"Embrace of the Daimon" offers a rare look at this inner landscape and will help make your own trip, or that of those you are helping, less harrowing.

Reviewers have called 'Embrace of the Daimon' -- "a pioneering work, a courageous and important book," "a significant contribution to the study of altered states of consciousness," "original and profound," "a rare documentation of unconscious processes","a work that advances our understanding of a descending spirituality tremendously," "eloquently descriptive," "deeply moving," re-imagines the work of integrating shadow to find beauty and dignity," "bridges the worlds of the scholar and the visionary" and "takes us to the radical edge of Jungian psychology today."

One reader commented, "It is the only contemporary firsthand account of the day-to-day practice of mystical depth psychology that I have come across. I find it a very practical guide to my own inner and psychic realm journeys."

Another called it "the most honest work on the psychoid/imaginal realms since Corbin...the engagement with the archetypal invasions, more like Jung in the Red Book than the scholarly Corbin."

Editorial Reviews


"Sandra Dennis has written a courageous, important book… that forges a bridge between the worlds of the scholar and the visionary, and in so doing makes a significant contribution to the phenomenology of altered states of consciousness. Her prose is eloquently descriptive, precise, at times compactly poetic. Her first-person accounts are moving, often searing in realms that traditionally resist description. Our era needs to hear her call for a descent into the dark recesses of the psyche that can reunite body and soul."
-Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, Psyche and Cosmos

"This is a gorgeous book, beautifully conceived and written. Sandy Dennis re-imagines the work of integrating shadow, helping us find beauty and dignity in the Dionysian elements, elevating the direct experience of the body and its sensations, and trusting in the psyche's ability to ultimately render all that happens to us into something of meaning and value"
-Jeremiah Abrams, Meeting the Shadow and The Shadow in America

"This book is a rare documentation of a spontaneous eruption of wild stories and monstrous characters… who, over time, become benevolent carriers of an emotional reunion of soul with body. Dr. Dennis takes us to the edge of imaginal experience and traces an implicit road map for the millennial tasks of healing the harmful separation between body, soul, and spirit that now afflicts us."
-Betty Meador, Uncurse this Darkness

"I was deeply moved by the force and effort of these personal revelations that show that in spite of the alarming and painful character of the visions, they may represent something more than the bad effects of childhood, past lives, or defective genes. Dennis suggests that they may represent a cultural movement into the next era of great importance… This world indeed corresponds with the rise of 'the feminine' and its values. This book advances our understanding of this ongoing process tremendously."
-Don Sandner, The Sacred Heritage: The Influence of Shamanism on Analytic Psychology

"Sandra Dennis explores the imaginal extremes, terrains of ecstasy and terror we are inclined to avoid. She guides us through human dream landscapes beyond the mundane to the numinous… she summons the fair witness in all of us, showing the way to deepen into embodied lucidity despite our fears or aversion. Her explorations encourage us at every turn to welcome the life-affirming potential of the full range of our humanity. Recommended reading for all students of the imaginal."
-Daniel Deslauriers, Ph.D., Integral Dreaming

From the Back Cover

This ground-breaking book, written over a nine-year period, is the result of the author's personal experience, and her research into the literature of the daimonic imaginal realm of the archetypes--the land of the daimons, the source of creativity, the soul. People who have been in the grip of imaginal reality--or who have known people or helped clients going through the process--will find this book an eye-opening experience.

Product Details

  • File Size: 587 KB
  • Print Length: 267 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1939812038
  • Publisher: LC; 2 edition (December 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,175 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Embrace of the Daimon December 5, 2001
By A Customer
This book was fantastic, complex and intriguing. It was difficult at first to understand the imagery and where the author was going with such a graphic description. Lately I have been aware that our society has been inundated with subtle imagery of sex and violence, but this book helped me embrace the true personal significance of that imagery, particularly if it is reoccurring. It is avery personal book that allows you to read it from the perspective that it is the author's story, yet still gain so many insights about yourself, even if you can only relate to glimpses of the account. I think the book is appropriate for anyone who is on a journey of self-awareness and discovery and looking for answers for some sexual or violent imagery. This book can help take those images and place them in the context of your own experience and enable you to open up to them in a very positive and useful way. They go from disturbing nightmares to acceptable thoughts. Highly recommeded for all those on a path to a higher self.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an important contribution January 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
As an active explorer of inner psychic realms, especially the darker and more painful ones, I am grateful for Embrace of the Daimon . This book is the only contemporary firsthand account of the day to day practice of mystical depth psychology that I have come across. As such I found it a very practical guide to some of my own inner and psychic journeys.

The author's own particular daimonic journey has unique sexual and intensely feminine aspects which could alarm some however readers able to avoid the pitfalls of overly literalizing her images described or applying them to themselves can find much wisdom, succor and good counsel in this courageous, profound and intellectually rigorous book.

Recognizing that this sort of inner work is not often shared, I appreciated the sense of actual instruction and companionship along the way. In particular I learned from the chapter on the subtle body, an idea which I believe the author develops into new territory. After studying James Hillman's work, this book came as the perfect next step in my studies and practices. I am particularly appreciative of the author's unique somatic sense of the work, as I myself face a lot of difficulty with mostly physically expressed material often without imagery, material that I find I am now, finally able to respect and no longer attempt to expunge or cure . Indeed through this book and some consequent practice I did experience these inner forces as daimonic, ie. having their origin in an identity , and a sacred one at that, rather than in my own history and egoic life. This was a breakthrough for me and as the author indicates, one can experience Jung's proposition that alchemy is a model of psychic work, as a true transmutation, where our own inner dark energies can, with our work, move into acceptance and love.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and beautifully written book January 13, 2013
Seeking the God of Ecstasy: A Spiritual Journey of Sexual Awakening

Two years ago I discovered this beautifully written book, Embrace of the Daimon by Sandra Dennis. I'm so glad to have read it, for it is one of a scant handful of books that addresses a complex and often misunderstood psychic process that frequently accompanies states of spiritual emergence: the dark urges of inner life. With candor and clarity, Dennis brings the reader into those enigmatic twilight states of the human psyche, where the dynamics of our conscious and unconscious selves meet, merge, die, and are reborn just below the thin membrane of our everyday ego-awareness. Dennis shows us how these inner psychic events often erupt in our daily lives in ways that are both perplexing and deeply challenging, appearing in our body symptoms, night dreams, dark erotic urges, intimate relationships, spiritual crises, midlife ennui, addictive behaviors, and depressive states. Such experiences, which often signal an individual's passage into the dark night of the soul, are considered in Jungian depth psychology to be an alchemical transformation impelled by the Self toward the union of opposites: the separation of psyche from body, matter from spirit, and spirit from soul.

Dennis combines her deeply human narrative with firsthand knowledge of Jungian depth psychology, both as a practicing counseling psychologist and as a teacher. Note, however, that Dennis' book is not another depth-psychology tome that distances itself from its subject matter with dry academic vernacular.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of us want to be good and hold ourselves in that light. However, disturbing images can arise in the minds of even the very best people. When this happens, it can feel overwhelming, shocking, even terrifying. Sandra Lee Dennis's 8 years of research into this phenomena reveals insights from the leading psychologists, philosophers, and religions known today, as well as from her own experiences and those of her clients. These insights transform concepts of good and bad into opportunities, advantageous tools and understanding. For the many who are experiencing their most deeply buried wounds and disturbing emotions arising to the surface and need to find the tools and understanding to work skillfully with them, this is a must read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for active imagination
Embrace of the Daimon is an intensely good read for Jungian fellow travelers. If you practice some form of active imagination you will find this book inspiring.
Published 6 months ago by M Farquhar
2.0 out of 5 stars Love the concepts, writing style dry
Not only did I find the concepts intriguing, I was able to relate to them. Unfortunately, the book reads so much like a dry textbook, that it felt like a chore to read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars On the integration of the body with soul and spirit.
In "Embrace of the Daimon" Sandra Lee Dennis joins scholarship with personal storytelling to examine the integration of Soul with the body/mind. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Ruth Henriquez Lyon
5.0 out of 5 stars For the artist in everyone
Visual artists and literary artists, and in fact the artist in everyone can benefit from this book as it looks into working from an internal place rather than the external. Read more
Published on April 15, 2013 by John W. Kulm
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Really must be in the field of Jungian Psychology to enjoy this book....what a gift that she gave it out for free thank-you so very much
Published on March 24, 2013 by JeanFlannigan
5.0 out of 5 stars Embrace of the daimon
Great piece of psychological work!i would recommend this to anyone wanting depth perspective on inner work. Read more
Published on March 20, 2013 by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars A pioneering, outstanding and deep-reaching book, beautifully written
Embrace of he Daimon is a remarkable book, written by a remarkable woman. It takes us to the edge by describing a journey, undertaken reluctantly at times, into the deep, dark... Read more
Published on March 9, 2013 by Christa Mackinnon
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and Instructive
I could not put Embrace of the Daimon down, and will read it again soon. Intelligent, accessible and wise, the book offers a fresh way to approach the strange contents that arise... Read more
Published on March 6, 2013 by Peggy Voth
5.0 out of 5 stars touches then soothes a raw nerve
This book has told me truths that I didn't want to hear, things I have suppressed but didn't realize so until I started reading, then the recognition started to come, and I held my... Read more
Published on January 15, 2013 by SkyRoquette
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing journey
It's hard to describe this book in normal terms. It takes the reader on an incredible journey to a place where the world we think of as real is penetrated by the world that we... Read more
Published on December 23, 2012 by Joel Friedlander
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More About the Author

SANDRA LEE DENNIS, PhD, is an author, teacher and explorer of the interplay of depth psychology and spirituality. She was a teacher in the Gurdjieff tradition for many years, an Ananda Yoga instructor, and a longtime student of the Diamond Heart work. Sandra obtained her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan, and her doctorate in Integral Studies/ Psychology and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has been on the faculty of six universities, as well as the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

She is the author of the award-winning, "Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body: Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine." Sandra's writings have emerged from inquiry into largely uncharted depths of interior life. Bridging the world of scholar and visionary, her special interest has been to bring light to the shadows--those subtle interior spheres that defy description and often appear frightening, painful, or unreal to the logical mind. Her deep-diving discoveries have served as a doorway from the personal psyche to collective truths about human nature and have helped many mine their own depths for the jewels hidden there.

Sandra currently lives and works in the Bay Area and can be reached through her website at

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