Dissertation Title:

Winds on the Wine-Dark Sea: An Exploration of the Daimon in the Lives of Second-Generation Former Cult Members


Linda Quennec

Date, Time & Place:

November 15, 2021 at 11:00 am


This qualitative study examined the effects of being raised in a cult or closed, high-demand community on an individual’s innate sense of purpose, character, and calling. The exploration was guided metaphorically by the ancient Greek concept of the daimon—referred to by James Hillman (1996) as a “soul-companion” or “carrier of [one’s] destiny.” Second-generation former cult members are individuals who are raised from birth or childhood within restrictive and dogmatic, often religious, communities. These individuals are the children of parents or caregivers who chose to join a high-demand group and to raise their families within the constraints of its philosophies and practices. Using phenomenological hermeneutics, this dissertation engaged the perspectives of depth and, in particular, archetypal psychology to investigate and compare narratives, images, myths, affects, dreams, patterns, and other phenomenal forms interpreted to have had a “daimonic” role in these individuals’ decisions to leave their communities. The study investigated ways in which the daimon was seen to respond to a person’s cultural conditioning in oppressive situations, as well as how it operated within the realm of extreme psychological and social pressures. The final chapter extended the research findings to oppressive or “cultic” behaviors found in the wider contexts of our modern Western culture.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psych Jungian Archetypal Studies, N, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Glen Slater
  • Reader: Dr. Honor Griffith
  • External Reader: Dr. Tom Cheetham
  • Keywords: Cults, Closed, High-demand Groups, New Religious, Movements, Daimon, Memoir, Depth Psychology, Archetypal Psychology, Imagination, C.G. Jung, James Hillman