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The Archetype of Initiation Paperback – April 18, 2001
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About the Author
Robert L. Moore, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Spirituality at Chicago Theological Seminary, and a Jungian analyst. He co-authored with mythologist Douglas Gillette a widely acclaimed five-volume series on masculine psychology and spirituality (1990-93).
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Robert Moore outlines the 3 stages of transformation - submission, containment and enactment, and is able to bring the concepts to life because he himself is clearly familiar with the process. The latter is key for a topic such as this as it is not a topic for academics who like to babble on about intellectual concepts but a real life experience that needs documenting in detail from real experiences so that others can make use of it.
I am 40 years old and for the last year have been undergoing tremendous upwellings as memories of 10 years of extreme childhood trauma have begun to surface. This book has been an outstanding help in providing me with a clear framework for my experiences and guidance on each step. It matches my own experiences and gives me a clarity of understanding that is literally life saving, and that is why I consider it second to none.
It is a truly excellent book but will probably only make sense to those who have had first hand experience with the mysteries within the unconscious.
Well written, informing and eyes opening - a must read for everyone!
Moore's prior works (read "King Warrior Magician Lover") explains the basics of the human personality. To better understand how you got there (growing out of childhood), read this. His "Facing The Dragon" talks about how the unpleasant side of the human personality, and the often-untapped power inside each of us.
Whew! It sounds like the archetype of initiation is a central archetype in our lives. This is why I say that this is Moore's boldest book to date.
As Moore explains all the different kinds of life transitions that involve this archetype, he works with Victor Turner's terminology about liminal space and time. Liminal space and time is a kind limbo, a kind of stepping out from ordinary space and time, as frequently happens in bereavement, for example. Turner sees this kind of limbo experience as a destructuring the structure of ordinary space and time.
But Moore works with a very different view from Turner's. Turner maintained that modern people did not have access to the destructuring experience of liminal time and space. For Turner, modernity provides modern people with cultural conditioning that closes down the possibility that they will experience liminal time and space, even though modern people appear to experience liminal time and space in bereavement. In any event, Moore takes the position that modern people can also experience liminal time and space in the context of psychotherapy, at least under the optimal conditions of psychotherapy. In addition, Moore argues that modern people need to have a social community in which they can work out some of their life transitions with the support and assistance of other people in those communities.
In connection with the liminality that people experience in bereavement, Moore also refers to chronic liminality. But he does not venture to explore and explain chronic liminality. He just notes in passing that this does occur. I wish that he had explored this further.