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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Radiant Crone-Maiden: Individuation of the Puella Senilis
by Lang, Anna, Psy.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 354; 28023671
Abstract (Summary)

Though once repressed into the shadow of world consciousness, the archetypal Crone is re-emerging from the depths. Instead of the stereotyped Crone, who is present in our culture as the debased image of the wicked witch, the archetypal Crone is the multi-faceted Regeneratrix who ushers in the death necessary for new life. While women at midlife have begun to reclaim the Crone for their lives, this dissertation posits that the Crone can also be a powerful guide for adolescent girls as they transition toward womanhood.

The initial challenge for girls is to individuate by discovering their unique identities in the world. However, many girls receive soul-wounds that may inhibit growth if internalized into complexes. Jungian analysts have addressed individuation for girls with parental complexes through the Puella Aeterna, or eternal girl, archetype. However, what theory exemplifies psychological growth for girls whose parents have not wounded them? What stories represent girls who are called by the Crone during this liminal stage of life?

To answer these questions, this dissertation proposes the Puella Senilis, or Old Girl, theory as a pattern of development and source of archetypal energy. By first examining the Puella Aeterna as an inspiration and a foil, this study then explores the psychological progression of the Puella Senilis whose complex originates from a significant peer. In this pattern, the Crone leads the Puella Senilis girl forward on a transformative heroine’s journey in which she heals her wounds and embraces her authentic self.

This dissertation utilizes Jungian concepts to provide a depth psychological understanding of girls’ growth toward womanhood. It also interprets mythology, fairy tales, and movies to illustrate fundamental aspects of Puella Aeterna and Puella Senilis girls’ development. While certain tales portray girls who succumb to their complexes, other narratives reveal the individuation process in which girls embrace their true identities. Lastly, by using the heuristic method, significant examples of the author’s life are interwoven to provide insight into the healing process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slattery, Dennis Patrick
Commitee: Parker, Nancy Ann, Forester, DaLene
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Womens studies, Folklore
Keywords: Adolescent girls, Crone, Heroine's journey, Individuation, Mythological studies, Puella Senilis
Publication Number: 28023671
ISBN: 9798662411487
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