Dissertation Title:

Myth and Mother Earth: Exploring the Landscape of Individuation Through the Eyes of Gaia


Mary Murphy

Date, Time & Place:

December 3, 2021 at 9:00 am


Mother Earth and humans’ relationship to her have been revered and widely recognized throughout time and across cultures. However, she and our relationship with her gradually became shrouded by reductionistic thinking and narrow mechanistic mindsets. C. G. Jung esteemed the natural world—deeply convinced of the psyche–nature kinship and its essentiality to individuation—yet he withheld asserting this because he could not prove it empirically. In an era when the planet and her people are imperiled, this qualitative study aims to inform Jung’s idea of individuation by examining it through the framework of depth psychology and feminist theory, incorporating concepts from science, ecology, geology, psychological astrology, alchemy, and religion. A hermeneutic approach and methodology are employed as is the myth of Gaia to illuminate the archetypal nature of the unconscious and its implicit interconnectedness with the natural world. Alongside the theoretical analysis, the researcher steeped herself in the natural world, recorded spontaneous insights, and used the method of amplification to demonstrate the reciprocal relationship between psyche and nature and the critical need to cultivate it. The research illustrates how the treatment of the feminine is tied to the exploitation of the planet and establishes Gaia as a powerful partner for the process of individuation. This research helps to expand the path of individuation; deepen our psychological and ecological sensibility; liberate the feminine from the confines of masculine defined roles, inferior social status, and sexual discrimination; and highlight our biased social structures.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psych Jungian Archetypal Studies, N, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Kesstan Blandin
  • Reader: Dr. Craig Chalquist
  • External Reader: Dr. Stephan Harding
  • Keywords: Individuation, Gaia, Mother Earth, Feminine, Psyche–Nature