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International Journal of Jungian Studies


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Unlocking the Titans: unravelling a psychological Olympianism?


Ann Shearer
a a

Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, London, UK

Available online: 18 Mar 2009

To cite this article: Ann Shearer (2009): Unlocking the Titans: unravelling a psychological Olympianism?, International Journal of Jungian Studies, 1:1, 2-11 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19409050802681892

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International Journal of Jungian Studies Vol. 1, No. 1, March 2009, 211

Unlocking the Titans: unravelling a psychological Olympianism?


Ann Shearer*
Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, London, UK The Titans, the original pre-Olympian deities, have attracted little attention from Jungians and the received view of them is overwhelmingly negative. This paper traces the roots of this antipathy to the mythic war between Titans and Olympians. It follows the afterlife of the myth and shows how it is implicated in the elaborated oppositions of body and spirit, mind and matter, which have informed Western philosophy and are embedded in analytical psychology itself. It suggests that the current dis-ease of individuals and nature itself demands a truce between Olympians and Titans and offers a more positive reading of Titanic energy. Keywords: Titans; Olympians; bodyspirit opposition; myth of progress

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When Zeus established his Olympian kingdom, it was after a long struggle. First came all the years of growing up in Cretan exile, hidden since infancy from his father Kronoss destructive envy, then the careful plot to smuggle himself into his fathers court in the guise of cupbearer, alert for the moment when he would feed the old man the emetic that would make him vomit up Zeuss swallowed siblings. And then came the decade-long war against Kronos and his fellow Titans, raging cruelly with neither respite nor victory for either side. Finally, Zeus was enraged beyond bearing. He came crashing from Olympus in a rain of thunderbolts and lightening so powerful that the whole earth quaked and the oceans boiled. The three gigantic HundredHanded Ones hurled their three hundred giant rocks, and the Titans were defeated at last. Zeus had them cast into deepest Tartarus, in a mouldering place as far below the earth as the earth is from the heavens, enclosed by a wall of bronze and a triple layer of darkest night. There they would remain (Graves, 1985; Hesiod, 1989). And there, for most Jungian psychologists, they may as well be still. Freud famously prefaced his Interpretation of dreams by evoking the terrible cry of Juno as she summoned the snake-haired Allecto, lover of wrath, treachery and wars, from Virgils underworld to bring grief to the heroic Aeneas: If I cannot change the will of Heaven, I shall release Hell! (Freud, 1900/1976, p. 31). Yet the Jungian mythological gaze is drawn up to Olympuss snowy peaks rather than down into those terrifying depths. When James Hillman, who has surely done more than anyone to direct and educate that gaze, insists that psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress, it is above all the richly multi-faceted world of the Olympians which he is inhabiting (Hillman, 1988/2007, p. 156). And what psychological interest, after all, can the Titans hold? Martin Nilsson, the historian of
*Email: ann.shearer@zen.co.uk
ISSN 1940-9052 print/ISSN 1940-9060 online # 2009 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/19409050802681892 http://www.informaworld.com

International Journal of Jungian Studies

Greek religion, gave a defining answer 60 years ago: Except for Kronos, the Titans are abstractions or empty names of whose significance we cannot judge, and even the significance of Kronos in religion and cult has faded (Nilsson, 1949, p. 23). The mythographer Karl Kerenyi has added his own judgement: he characterizes the Titans as savage and subject to no laws, with only one mythological function to be defeated and so emphasize the superiority of their successors (Kerenyi, 1979, p. 20). Such interest as the Titans have attracted from Jungian psychologists is generally scarcely more positive. Hillman himself has identified them with the huge devastation or devastating hugeness of our times, the terrifying destructions of scale and the scale of destruction, and the psychic numbing which has resulted from these continual assaults on human sensibilities (Hillman, 1988/2007).
Whether presented in the image of multi-national corporations, polluted oceans, or vast climatic changes, hugeness is the signature of the absent god. Or, let us say that the divine attributes of Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence alone remain. Without the benevolent governance of qualifying divinities, Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence become gods. In other words, without the gods, the Titans return. (p. 146)

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In the 20 years since Hillman gave his apocalyptic warning of the multi-layered dangers of Titanic unboundedness, the unimaged unlimited greed locked inside human nature, these dangers can surely only seem greater, the original war between the Titans and the Olympians re-enacted with ever-increasing urgency. For Hillman, only a reawakening of the sense of soul in the world can save us, a re-awakening that rests on a trust in the emotions of desire, outrage, fear and shame as the felt immediacy of the gods in our bodily lives, and their concern that this world, our planet, their neighbour, does not become the late, great planet earth (p. 154). In the great war for the worlds soul and our own, he is emphatically Zeuss man not because of the sky-gods thunderbolting power or his omnipotent law and order, but for the huge breadth of his sky-covering imagination, the only weapon equal to the hugeness of Titanism.
When we look at his dozen or more matings and his progeny Apollo, Hermes, Dionysus, Hercules, Perseus, Artemis, Athene and many others he clearly could imagine these existential possibilities, these styles of consciousness. His range of fantasy was comprehensive, large, generous and differentiated. . . . Moreover, Zeus was born in daylight as they say, out in the open, his mother bore him on the wide earth. Zeusian consciousness is active, on the earth, there, in the open. He fathers activism, which tells us something about how to meet titanism. (p. 148)

Without the power of the imagination, what is left? For Raphael Lopez-Pedraza, nothing but a psychological vacuum out of which comes excess and the madness of power (Lopez-Pedraza, 1990, p. 7). In the first of his essays in Cultural anxiety (originally published before Hillmans own), he identifies this irreconcilable war between imagination and power as central to the human condition, and like Hillman he puts Zeus and the Titans at the centre of the battlefield. For him, Titanic times were a sort of transitional period between primitive man and cultured, civilised man; they are characterized still by emptiness and excess and a repetitive boredom, that daily nauseating boredom of the existential level of life (ibid., pp. 9, 15, 18). It is to this that Zeuss new world brought and brings a differentiation of images, and so the possibility of soul-making.

A. Shearer

In this battlefield of the human psyche, there would seem to be no question about where Jungian thinking and practice must line up. Yet for both Hillman and LopezPedraza, depth psychology is also part of the problem, one more facet of the collective Titanism that threatens to engulf the soul. Hillman sees depth psychology spreading and penetrating all over and throughout civilization like a parasitic kudzu vine, to stifle us into a privatized self-absorption and individuality that in its retreat from the world is destroying both the world and soul itself. For Lopez-Pedraza, the Titanic states that bring so many into the consulting room the lack of psychological connection, the inability to hold an image that could move psyche, the combination of emptiness and excess meet their own reflection in a psychology which in its abstractions and empty jargon, its daily blah-blah-blah, has lost connection with image and so with soul. In a further elaboration of this theme (Lopez-Pedraza, 2000), this time through the Orphic legend of the Titans cannibalistic dismemberment of the young Dionysus, he delineates the Titanic psychology whose preconceived theories, proselytizing and excess of technique bring nothing but repression of this psychologically essential deity, the one who carries both madness and its cure, initiates into psychic movement and connects to the emotional body which is psychotherapys treasure hard to attain (ibid., p. 31). The Titanic kudzu vines tenacious tendrils spread far. Most recently, Don Fredericksen (2008) has detected them in the meeting of the Jungian hermeneutic of amplification and film studies, where psychological interpreters are prone to a kind of ikonophilia, under the unreflected banner of psyche is image(p. 3): so, he says, they honour mysteries in commercially and/or ideologically-based popular film and television where none exist. The crucial first step when approaching such material, as he cogently argues, is to recognize the pre-digested quality of what it offers and the relative ease of consumption which is its primary rhetorical function. Instead of falling into the seduction of its archetypal imagery and situations, Jungian interpreters need to recognize that such consciously pre-digested archetypal material will produce at best a form of Jungian allegory, with none of the potentially transformative power of the living symbol. This sort of film is what Fredericksen, drawing on Lopez-Pedrazas characterization of the Titanic as both emptiness and excess, now proposes to call Titanic cinema, and it demands, he says, a Jungian hermeneutic of suspicion rather than the pre-digested (could we even say Titanic?) Jungian analysis that it too often gets. Once we start looking for them, outcrops of the kudzu vine can be detected all over the place. Is that one, for instance, creeping through institutional psychotherapys current pre-occupations with the normative practices that will fit it to government regulatory standards? Is that another tugging Jungian studies into a form acceptable to the academy? But there is a danger in such delineations of battlefields. To prolong this OlympianTitan war demands that we take sides, find weapons, think in terms of winners and losers forget, in short, the psychological perspective that keeps us working with the tensions of what is. On the characterization of the Titans so far, it may be hard to hold to this perspective. The destructions wrought by the global market, by humankinds gigantic greed, by the scale of its wars, seem so terribly clear, so demanding of an opposition. There is deep-seated prejudice here too. The weight of legend and history have fed psychologys interpretations of the Titans as representing all that is gross, clumsy and uncivilised. For nearly a century, the very word Titanic has been synonymous with the overweening human arrogance that thinks it can pit technology against nature itself.

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International Journal of Jungian Studies

Who remembers that the Titanics sister ship, the Olympic the first transatlantic liner with its own swimming pool! was launched only months earlier with no less a display of pride in hugeness and human ingenuity? (It, however, had the fortune to survive and killed only seven people when it crashed into the Nantucket lightship in 1934, shortly before it was retired). When we evoke the story of Prometheus, the most famous Titan of them all, as warning against the overreaching arrogance that would trespass on the prerogatives of the divine, we side with Zeus and the Olympians. But it is still to Prometheus that we owe the civilizing arts, from the constriction of ships and brick-built, sun-warmed houses to the measuring and recording of numbers, stars and words, to the ploughing of fields and the running of chariots (Aeschylus, 1975, p. 34). So at the least, this long-fought war between Titans and Olympians seems more complicated than it might at first appear, the Titanic legacy more mixed. Again, is there not something rather, well, Olympian, about the dismissive characterization of the Titans as the uncivilized aspects of the human creature and of contemporary affairs? At one level, and simply put, is this the way to treat the shadow? Shadow contents will redouble their negativity if they are dismissed, repressed or demonized as the enemy, rather than engaged with in an attempt at understanding. If this is a psychological truism, that is probably because experience reliably shows it to be true; it is certainly born out in the analyses of Titanic action in the world that we have met so far. At another level, this battle between the Olympians and the Titans touches on a central tension in Jungian thought around whether the psyche is developmental, simultaneous or both. The predilections of different schools of analytical psychology, as delineated over 20 years ago (Samuels, 1985), still seem relevant here. However, these in turn reflect a deeper tension, built into the theory itself. Clearly, just as the Olympians came after the Titans, just as childhood comes after infancy, there is a developmental story here. Depth psychology has its own myths of individual and collective progress egos mastery of the id, the growth of consciousness to attest both to its nineteenth-century origins and psyches nature. Yet the Jungian project is also more radical than that: the theory of archetypes insists on a simultaneity of psychic reality which encompasses all individual and collective experience, historical, mythical and personal; we are inescapably and for all time both Titan and Olympian. Jung knew the tension well enough. In 1949, for instance, he welcomed Neumanns monumental study of The origins and history of consciousness as putting the concepts of analytical psychology on a firm evolutionary basis (Neumann, 1973, p. xiv). Yet the clarity of Neumanns linear understanding could offer no final certainties. Right at the end of Jungs life, it was still only his anxious hope that meaning would win the battle against meaninglessness in this brutal and beautiful world (Jung, 1995, p. 393). Nor can it be obvious where meaning is to be found. For Wolfgang Giegerich (1997) to take a dramatic instance, it is precisely in the Titanic collective rather than in opposition to it that todays work of the soul is located:
The soul is no longer where it once was. And painful as it may be, our job is to follow suit in our thinking and acquire a new definition of what is soulful today by allowing ourselves to be taught by the real movement of the soul itself. It is our psychological job to finally own and acknowledge psychics and technology as inalienable parts of our soul work. (p. 9)

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A. Shearer

For Giegerich, the implications go far:


Not individuation but globalisation is the souls magnum opus of today. And globalisation means the elimination of personal identity as something in its own right and the logical subjugation of everything individual under the one great abstract goal of profit maximisation: profit must increase but I must decrease. (p. 14)

Here then are three reasons why the Titans seem to demand rather more than an Olympian hostility. Trying to understand more of their story seems part of the contemporary work with the shadow, both personally and collectively. This attempt seems to honour Jungs fundamental perception of psyche as simultaneous as well as developmental. It may open possibilities of other ways of seeing the work of soul in the world. And a fourth reason, already a given but worth reiterating, is perhaps the most compelling: we humans are inescapably part Titan. Titanic is built into our DNA. This story of our origins is soon told. One day the Titans escaped once more from the underworld, and with faces whitened like ghosts, enticed the child Dionysus with toys and cut him into seven pieces, which they first boiled and then roasted on seven spits. Some say they had eaten all but the heart by the time Zeus, drawn by the smell of roasting meat, arrived and thunderbolted them in his fury. From the ashes of the Titans, so it is said, humankind was born, and our nature has ever since been part earth-bound, part divine (Kerenyi, 1979, pp. 254255). So what might our Titanic inheritance mean? Titan, stripped of its later connotations of wild, rebellious, even wicked, means simply King or Lord (Otto, 1955, p. 33; Graves, 1985, p. 38). Far from being Kerenyis savage [beings], subject to no laws, these 14 children of Earth and Uranus were originally responsible for the very movement of the universe, in charge of the seven planets (Graves, 1985, p. 27). So their influence is encoded into the relationship between the heavens and us earthlings, and remains lively to this day in the understandings of astrology (for instance, Greene, 1985). It takes only a glimpse at, for instance, the rich lore of the Moon once Selene, a daughter of the original Titanic generation to see that her people have to do with the profoundest ordering of both the universe and human beings (Cashford, 2003), and of Olympus as well. Metis and Themis, far from being cast into Tartarus, became the first and second (or second and first) wives of Zeus. He needed what they could bring to his new kingdom: the attributes of both attest to a deep, perhaps instinctive, law. Metis was known as Wise Counsel, ruler of the planet Mercury and governor of all wisdom and knowledge. Her name is rooted in me-, which gives us metron, measure, rule, standard. Swallowed by Zeus when pregnant with Athene, Metis remained lodged in his belly for all time to counsel him for both good and ill (Shearer, 1998). Her sister Themis was Right Order, mother of Prometheus, for many centuries the oracle at Delphi; she is still the image of Justice who presides over civic buildings throughout the West and beyond. She was ruler of the planet Jupiter, which may be why she alone of Zeuss wives and darlings was neither swallowed nor abandoned, raped or dominated. The abiding image of this union is of Themis and Zeus sitting together, their heads inclined towards each other as they wisely converse. Themiss special role was to bring together both gods and humans, and her three beautiful daughters with Zeus, the Horai, bring their own ordering to the universe. Known as the Hours, or the Seasons, Eunomia (Good Order) Eirene (Peace) and Dike (Justice) are especially charged with rolling back the

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International Journal of Jungian Studies

cloud that may obscure Mount Olympus, so they have a crucial role in the development of human consciousness (Donleavy & Shearer, 2008). These tales evoke the very reverse of the brutality that has become the Titans defining characteristic. Among the manifold meanings that can be drawn from the story of their destruction of Dionysus is a simple confirmation of this very attribute. Yet there is something ritualistic in the tale: the whitened faces, the seven pieces of flesh, the seven spits, corresponding perhaps to the seven planets over which the Titans once had rule, suggest an enactment that is more than simply rageful, gobbling greed. In our own exploration of the Titaness Themis, Pamela Donleavy and I have suggested that these ancient gods, born before Olympian consciousness, represent the deep instinctual, emotional and physical processes whose laws we ignore or repress to our individual and collective damage. These laws are now beginning to be recovered through neurophysiological and neuropsychological research, and Jungians are beginning to incorporate them into their own understandings (see, for instance, Donleavy & Shearer 2008; Griffith, 2008; Wilkinson, 2006). From this viewpoint, the psychic numbing, emptiness and lack of psychic connection for which Hillman and Lopez-Pedraza hold the Titans responsible may actually be the very reverse the result of an Olympian ignorance or repression of their deeply embodied nature. Hillman indicts analysis for cutting our essential link with the world by pathologizing the emotions of desire, outrage, fear and shame that are echoes of the worlds soul, presentations of qualities in the world informing our bodies and spirits how to be. When we hold a titanic view of emotions, he says, then we send them to Tartarus (Hillman, 1988/2007, pp. 151152). However, is it rather when analysis becomes Olympian, cut off from the body and its essential laws, and from the force of those Titanic emotions that govern the complexes, that the link with these deep roots of human nature is weakened? Dionysus, revered as deity of the irrational, moving in the instinctual, natural world, lord of the emotional body which is Lopez-Pedrazas treasure hard to attain, may not be so distant from the Titans after all. Can their ingestion of the sacrificed child be understood as an attempt to reclaim some of the honour he now inspired? There was a time when the Greeks felt no need to consign the Titans to Tartarus, and could revere them alongside the Olympians. Zeuss father Kronos was remembered as ruler of the Golden Age the time when humans lived like gods themselves, their hearts untroubled by work or sorrow or illness, when earth gave her fruits unasked and death came gentle as a sleep (Hesiod, 1989). Even if that Golden Age was long lost in the bitterness and conflict of the Age of Iron, Kronos was still known to rule the Isles of the Blessed, where the favourites of the gods live in everlasting bliss. As Walter Otto says: Despite their opposition to the Olympians, the existence and the sacredness of the primal forces continued to be recognized (Otto, 1955, p. 133). This was the time too when body and soul, which could be characterized as the realms of the Titans and the Olympians, knew a peaceful coexistence. Thumos, the life-soul, was lodged in the heart or belly, the seat of emotions and intuition, there to converse with and inform its owner. This soul was life and spirit of the body, not its prisoner (Dodds, 1951, pp. 138139). Edward Edingers elaboration of this ancient concept emphasizes the lasting psychological importance of this body-embedded soul. He calls thumos heart-soul, or bloodsoul, and contrasts it with pneuma, the spirit soul. It is when we take experience into the thumos, take it to heart, he says, that it is laid down permanently in the deep

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A. Shearer

psyche, whereas what comes out of the spirit-soul can just blow away (Edinger, 1999, p. 73). Is this old thumos Lopez-Pedrazas emotional body, psychotherapys treasure hard to attain? The Orphic myth of the devouring of Dionysus by the Titans and the creation of humankind from Titanic ashes marked a decisive destruction of the old bodysoul unity. This is where the vision of Titanic human nature as essentially evil, illumined only by a spark of the divine, began. The myth answered the Pythagorean question: Whence came humankind and whence so evil? It may have provided a notion of inherited guilt, an ancient doctrine of original sin; it fuelled a new idea of the gross earthly body as a prison of the divine soul. Plato wrote of people who show off the old Titan nature and of sacrilegious impulses which are neither of man nor of god but arise from old misdeeds unexpungeable by man. As the classicist E.R. Dodds has it: The Titan myth neatly explained to the Greek puritan why he felt to be at once a god and a criminal; the Apollinesentiment of remoteness from the divine and the Dionysiac sentiment of identification with it were both of them accounted for, both of them justified. That was something that went deeper than any logic (Dodds, 1951, pp. 155156). The bitter war between Olympians and Titans had begun. In many ways it has raged ever since, as time and again the Olympian forces have attempted to imprison the Titans once for all and time and again they have escaped. The stories of the conflict have permeated the development of Western culture, informing such often-bitter oppositions as those between body and soul, feminine and masculine, instinct and reason, unconscious and conscious. They inevitably play their part in the understandings of Jungian psychology as well, as the stories of Titanic afterlives weave through the imagination to lodge in its own texts. From early Christianity onwards, the Titans were often conflated with the Giants, their older siblings, or with the fallen angels; they were associated with human beings at their most brutish, even evil. How did humans get to be this way? For Justin the Philosopher, born just into the second century CE, as for many of his fellow Christians, it was not Adam and Eves story that was essential, but that of the fallen angels. Long ago, as Genesis told it, the giants the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown had been the offspring of the angels and the daughters of men (6: 24). Then, in Justins version of events, some of the angels chosen by God to administer the world betrayed that trust by seducing women and boys. When God threw them out of heaven, they sought a new power base by setting out with their half-human offspring, the demons, to enslave the human race. Their power was still so terrifying that the demons, taking as their ally the desire for evil in everyone indeed became worshipped as gods. Only the most exceptional people, like Socrates and Jesus, escaped (Pagels, 1988, pp. 4243). It was above all the old gods that Justin sought to demonize. However, the association between the giants and human grossness, and of the essential opposition between body and spirit, was confirmed The ancient, now demonic, gods were identified by their arrogance, brutality and licentiousness, and these became lasting hallmarks of the giants and the fallen element in humans too. The image of Briareus, one of the original giants, was engraved into the Terrace of Pride in Dantes Purgatory (Canto XXII: 2546). In the influential early fourteenth-century Ovide moralise, the giants were associated with the arrogant excesses of the Tower of Babel and Lucifer himself (Brumble, 1998, p. 138). In the early sixteenth century, the battle between these brutish forces and the

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International Journal of Jungian Studies

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higher aspects of the human creature was exemplified in one allegorical gloss by Odysseuss destruction of the Cyclops: youthful pride and vainglory was overcome by the fire of the Intellect (ibid., p. 88). The very nature and substance of the giants attested to their grossness. The Titans had long been characterized as earth-born, the significance of their fathering by Uranus, Heaven itself, obliterated by the dominance of the new Olympian sky-gods. So, the Titan-giants played their part in the developing theology of the opposition of body and spirit. In two of his only three references to the Titans, Jung links the story of their cannibalistic attack on Dionysus to the vision of Zosimos, the third-century CE alchemist and Gnostic (Jung, 1954a, 1954b). The central image of this vision is of the sacrificing priest who is also the sacrificed, and for Zosimos himself this had to do very directly with the opposition of body and spirit. And the priest stood there, and l heard a voice from above saying to me: . . . [H]e who renews me is the sacrificer, by casting away the grossness of the body; and by compelling necessity I am sanctified as a priest and now stand in perfection as a spirit(Jung, 1954b, para. 86). Some 900 years later, Bernardus Silvestris of Chartres, in his commentary on Virgils Aeneid, drew his own moral from the opposition of giants and gods.
They are called gigantes, giants, as if gegantes engendered from the earth. Their bodies are engendered naturally from the earth and nourished by its food. . . . We say that the Gods are knowledge and virtue. The Giants therefore declare war on the Gods when bodies oppress knowledge and virtue. The Giants are defeated when bodies are mortified. (Brumble, 1998, p. 138)

The war between human grossness and the fire of human consciousness, body and spirit, raged on. Fight them as the fairy-tale heroes might, the giants remained part of the twilit world of ghosts, sleeping heroes, ancestral spirits and old gods which until well into the eighteenth century and beyond could be glimpsed round every dimly-lit corner and was revered in local lore (Thomas, 1982). But, by the time Titania became Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeares Midsummer nights dream, only her name recalled the once-great origins of her kingdom and her association with the Moon (Cashford, 2003). By now too, her husband King Oberon had lost the demonic power which wizards had evoked since the fourteenth century (Thomas, 1982, p. 727). Their fairy kingdom had been quite literally diminished: so tiny were Titanias subjects that they staggered under the weight of a bees honey-sack. Even so, the fairy forces still had the power on that enchanted night to open the lovers to passions deeper and more violent than their Athenian daylight world could ever admit. Yet in the end, it was daylight that prevailed, and rational King Theseus could dismiss the darker happenings of the night as merest fantasy, of the sort dreamed up only by lovers, poets and madmen (V.1). The giants blundered on in fairytale, huge but ever more stupid. Their function became once more precisely that assigned to the original Titans by Kerenyi: simply to be defeated by the young heroes of a new and wilier generation, and so emphasize their superiority. Jungian psychology has added its own gloss to confirm the essential opposition between our gigantism and our higher consciousness and bring it back to the individual psychological struggle. As Von Franz has it, giants generally represent stupid emotions: [a]s soon as you are gripped by an affect you become stupid (Von Franz, 1974, p. 21). They can personify too the heartlessness of cold evil, the brute, untamed forces of nature that stand for the overwhelming emotional impulses which overcome the humanity of man (ibid., p. 207). The task of human intelligence is

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clear: to subdue [sic] this sheer psychic emotional libido and harness it to higher ends Then this raw energy can even be integrated into a spiritual order, the body spirit opposition resolved by the spirits power. Von Franz cites the innumerable medieval legends in which a saint fools a giant into becoming his building-slave, constructor of chapels and churches (ibid., 209). The fairytales set out their combative programme; the battle lines between Olympians and Titans are set up once more. Yet is this what our world now demands? The toll of obesities and anorexias, dis-eases of immune system and heart, suggest that for all the technological triumphs of the Western scientific intellect, the Western bodymind connection is badly bruised. In the wake of the most destructive century yet known, the worlds body politic is as battered. The balances of nature itself may be ravaged beyond repair. The human project, in its age-old insistence on the oppositions of mind and matter, soul and body, in its striving for knowledge, virtue and progress, seems almost disasterously to have lost contact with the laws in which it must be embedded. The import of Jungs notion of the psychoid nature of the archetype can seem as ungraspable as ever.
Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions. They are inherited with the brain structure indeed, they are its psychic aspect. They are thus, essentially, the chthonic portion of the psyche, if we may use such an expression that portion through which the psyche is attached to nature, or in which its link with the earth and the world appears at its most tangible. (Jung, 1931, para. 53)

In this perspective, Jung was clear that the psychotherapeutic task was to preserve or restore a human totality which took full account of the instincts.
It cannot be the aim of education to turn out rationalists, materialists, specialists, technicians and others of the kind who, unconscious of their origins, are precipitated abruptly into the present and contribute to the disorientation and fragmentation of society. By the same token, no psychotherapy can lead to satisfactory results if it confines itself to single aspects only. The temptation to do this is so great, and the danger of loss of instinct so threatening in the breathless tempo of modern civilisation, that every expression of instinct must be watched very carefully, since it is part of the total picture and it is essential for mans psychic balance. (Jung, 1958, para. 661)

Fifty years on, new research into the minute subtleties of the human organism is showing quite how inextricably the body and its emotions interdepend, how the old separations of mind, brain and matter dissolve as the intelligence encoded in cells and organs is discovered. There is at the least an awareness of the consequences of flouting the laws on which the natural world must rest. In such attempts at a new sort of understanding, a new relationship between matter and mind, body and psyche, is it time at last to call a ceasefire in the war between the Olympians and the Titans, pending negotiations? Notes on contributor
Ann Shearer is a senior member and past Convenor of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists in London. She is particularly interested in psychological implications of mythology and her books include Athene: Image and energy and (with Pamela Donleavy) From ancient myth to modern healing. Themis: Goddess of heart-soul, justice and reconciliation.

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