Dissertation Title:

Wooing The Spirit Bride: Men and Anima in Neo-shamanism, Alchemy, and Esoterica


Sean Patrick McPeak

Date, Time & Place:

November 5, 2022 at 1:30 am
in the Townhouse Classroom at the Lambert Campus


This hermeneutic study uncovers effective means of engagement between contemporary, straight, cisgender men and the anima, or inner feminine archetype. This focused demographic has been chosen due to its disproportionate privilege in modern society. The proposed need for this demographic to engage their archetypal feminine to address this disproportionate privilege within modern patriarchy is needed now more than ever. This dissertation produces a historically supported phenomenological description of themes and patterns within shamanic, alchemical, and esoteric traditions, which have aided men in developing a reciprocal, mutually enriching relationship with the anima. Each tradition supports the engagement between men and anima within various cultures and time periods. A hermeneutic approach is used to explore the concept of “mystical marriage” from its origin in ancient shamanic ritual to modern depth psychology. I define my approach to engaging the anima as “wooing,” i.e., actively creating a state of receptivity in order to form a sacred union with her. This research finds the underlying psychological mechanics of how to facilitate this interaction through ritual, poetry, and active imagination. These mechanics can be practiced today and applied to contemporary or future methods.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Psychotherapy, T, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. David Odorisio
  • External Reader: Dr. David Derezotes
  • Keywords: Anima, Depth Psychology, Shamanism, Alchemy, Esoterica, Spirit Bride