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Dissertation Title:

Changing Woman: Calling the Feminine Home

Candidate:

Odette J. Springer


Abstract

The Navajo deity, Changing Woman is not well known in the pantheon of goddesses, but she is everywhere. She is Earth, Feminine Creator, spirit, Feminine Spirit, Holy Spirit, breath, voice, the “Wisdom Feminine of the Old Testament, Ruach of Judaic thought, The Shekinah of the Cabbalists, Sophia of Gnosticism” (Moon, “Changing Woman” 164-165). She represents equanimity and balance. This dissertation approaches Changing Woman as an image through which my personal and archetypal transformation is explored. The theoretical analysis of this study is a heuristic exploration of my personal interaction with myth, depth psychology, and the creative process. Primarily, the work of C. G. Jung and James Hillman informs my point of view and depth psychological tools such as dreams, active imagination, and journaling are employed as a way to decipher and amplify what Jung calls unconscious psychological complexes. While the practice of amplification is “not primarily concerned with the meaning of images” (Boznak 109), the meaning of these forms, their complexities, and their contradictions remain fluid and are constantly changing. Under the tutelage and guidance of Changing Woman, this process of flux coalesces. The relevance of her myth, her meaning to my creative spirit, and how she drew me to her is at the core of this study.

This work further examines the difficulty of integrating opposite forces within the psyche. That dualism is seamlessly woven into the Navajo Emergence Myth, which ultimately metaphorizes our quest as Westerners to acknowledge our own dualities when they are not being defined by the culture. Considering that this myth provides those new-old images, the dissertation concludes that we especially need these paradoxical images to move us beyond the duality of masculine and feminine.

The production component of this work is a bricolage that consists of a collage, a musical composition, drawings, and elements from the demolition/reconstruction of my house. The piece reflects my struggle to know Changing Woman, an epiphany of experience, who helps me to understand that inspiration comes out of myth; that they are mutually arising.

Note

This defense will be rescheduled soon.  

Details
  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, Track G, 2010
  • Chair: Dr. Paul Zolbrod
  • Reader: Dr. Jacqueline Feather
  • External Reader: Dr. Jerome Bernstein
  • Keywords: Changing Woman, Navajo Emergence Myth, Creative Process, Duality, Archetypal Psychology