From Ancient Myth to Modern Healing
Themis: Goddess of Heart-Soul, Justice and Reconciliation
Routledge – 2008 – 176 pages
This book is about the energy personified by the classical Greek goddess Themis, who brought her divine and natural 'right order' to gods and humans, and who still presides over law courts as the figure of Justice. In many Western countries today, the growing dis-ease in minds and bodies of individuals is often echoed in whole communities. Rather than coming together, they seem to split apart in anger and distress. But themis energy is equally powerful, and can work to bring together and to heal.
From the battle of the Titans and Olympians to the oracle at Delphi and the banquet of the gods, the stories of the goddess weave through these chapters to illuminate how themis energy is at work today. The authors explore psychological healing in individuals and relate this to new research in neurocardiology on the subtle interactions of body and mind. They show how the international movement for restorative justice is drawing on the same healing tools to benefit victims and offenders alike. And they evoke the extraordinary story of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which shows the world how themis energy can help transform a ravaged society.
This book deepens understanding of the psychological urge towards healing and wholeness which is as much a part of human beings as the urge to destroy. It offers exciting new insights into Jung's unique approach to the relationship between individual and collective psychology. It will appeal to psychologists who work with individuals and groups, to lawyers and others concerned with the failure of current criminal justice systems, and to people involved in religious, political and other groups that seek to build communities which can encompass and even celebrate diversity rather than rejecting it in fear.
"In a world riven with dissent and anger, we more than ever need to understand and encourage the restorative process that works for healing, harmony and reconciliation. So I welcome this fine and hopeful exploration of the many ways this process is at work in individuals and societies and the hope it offers for the future." - Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus
"Rarely has so scholarly an analysis of a mythic figure been brought to bear so closely and imaginatively on the particular challenges of individual lives, and in such a way that both ancient myth and modern psychology are mutually illuminated. This is a beautifully written book, which makes a real contribution to the life of the mind." - Jules Cashford, Jungian Analyst, co-author of The Myth of the Goddess, author of The Moon: Myth and Image
"Thank the gods and goddesses that Pamela Donleavy and Ann Shearer are reintroducing us to Themis, whose presence and wisdom we desperately need as we struggle to forge a 21st century global community. Among her many boons, Themis as goddess of the social order is paradoxically the mother of Dike, the natural order--which reinforces the most urgent modern message that what we do in the human community sustains or destroys the natural order." - Thomas Singer, Psychiatrist and Jungian Psychoanalyst, San Francisco, USA
"Jung observed that myths reveal, dramatize the elemental formative energies that move persons and civilizations. One of the most neglected "gods" is an ordering force field named Themis who seeks justice, reconciliation, balance, and whose neglect is manifest everywhere in our psychopathologies and sociopathies. Donleavy and Shearer effectively argue for her re-membrance." - James Hollis, Jungian analyst and author teaching and practicing in Houston, Texas, USA
"From Ancient Myth to Modern Healing is an important book. Although relatively short, it is a dense, insightful text whose ideas, if conscientiously and carefully built upon, could assist in the development of a more intelligent era in legal practice and theory… From Ancient Myth to Modern Healing and the Jungian (psycho-social) insights contained within therefore constitute a rich natural resource for continued interdisciplinary dialogue between Jungian studies and legal theory." - Maja Groff, International Journal of Jungian Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1, March 2009
Prologue. Birth of a Goddess. The Return from Tartarus. Themis Calls the Gods Together. The Language of the Blood-soul. The Voice of the Goddess. Yearning for Justice. Restoring Themis Energy. The Road to Reconciliation. Invitation to the Banquet. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
Pamela Donleavy, J.D. is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Arlington, MA. She is a former state and federal prosecutor in Philadelphia. Pamela is the past President of the New England Society of Jungian Analysts, is on the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, and is on the faculty of the C.G. Jung Institute–Boston, and the Assisi Institute in Vermont. She lectures widely, and is the author of several articles in Jungian journals.
Ann Shearer is a Jungian Analyst in London and former Convenor of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, for which she still teaches. She previously worked as a journalist and international consultant in social welfare. More recently, she was a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Imperial College, London. Her published articles have particularly focused on aspects of mythology and psychology, and her books include Disability: Whose Handicap? (1981), Building Community (1985), Woman: Her Changing Image ( 1987) and Athene: Image and Energy (1996).