Marion Jean Woodman 1928 - 2018: In Memorium
Last month, February 2019, I paid tribute to Robert A Johnson.
Now we pause to consider the contribution of Canadian Jungian Analyst, Marion Woodman. Marion's special concern was the feminine, which she illuminated from her own female perspective.
In 2018, two very dear Jungians passed away.
Unfortunately, I didn't meet Marion personally - though I did miss her by a whisker in Toronto on one visit. However, I look at the Bibliography of my PhD thesis and there she is, informing my argument. I have a whole section of my library devoted to her and the list is long: Addiction to Perfection; Conscious Femininity; The Owl was a Baker's Daughter; (the intriguing title is taken from Ophelia in Shakespeares Hamlet); The Ravaged Bridegroom, and more. (all published by Inner City Books in Toronto). The recurring theme is eating disorders and her work with many women using Jungian psychology.
Her book, "Bone: Dying into Life" (Viking 2000) is a frank and open sharing of her passage with cancer. This intensely personal account shook me awake. I realized that someone as wise as Marion was not immune to this level of suffering and descent. And she went on to live another 20 productive years!
An acclaimed film was made about Marion in 2009: Marion Woodman: Dancing In The Flames. The link takes you to the Vimeo version. It is also available as a print book. I think we viewed this at the Jung group? Marion says she had "three marriages" - to the same man, her husband Ross, as she shed layers of her own impediments to intimacy. Famously, she said, "I saw my husband without projection for the first time...we had been married 25 years. I quote this in my Relationship Insight, "Projection: the Smoke and Mirrors of Relationship".
In 1998 she collaborated with the poet and writer Robert Bly to produce a DVD series, "The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine" which was also a published book.
My most vivid experience under the tutelage of Marion was with this Russian Fairy Tale, brought into the contemporary experience of men and women. We viewed this series at the Jung Study Group. Who could forget the loud drumming of Robert as he recited poetry! I enjoyed this dramatic background to Marion's insights. It is a thrilling tale complete with the BabaYaga!
Finally, this obituary covers the highlights of 90 years dedicated to an unflagging exploration of the psyche - her own and others.
Farewell, and gratitude, dear Marion.