Alchemy, Jung, and Remedios Varo: Cultural Complexes and the Redemptive Power of the Abjected Femini


AcknowledgmentsPrelude: Preparing the canvasI The death of Remedios Varo and the science of all thingsVaro’s alchemical practice of painting and the problem of patriarchyAlchemy and art as modes of deep inquiryMother, father, and the making of an alchemistThe nature of the alchemical first matterBlack and blue: Imagination and the importance of the nigredoAll art is propaganda: Patriarchy and Varo’s alchemical practice of paintingMirror of the marvelous: Art, psyche, and the experience of the numinousWonder, Surrealism, and Jungian psychologyPsychology, alchemy, and the mercurial nature of the prima materiaNoteReferencesThe fructifying bonfire of trauma and deathRemedios as remedy: The replacement child and a search for identityTension of opposites: Masculine and Feminine in the theater of warPrison: Varo in the underworldThe trauma complex, art, and the healing capacity of imaginationReferencesPutting the canvas on the easel: Surrealism, alchemy, and the unconsciousSurrealism and alchemy: Re-enchanting the worldThe heroine’s quest: Symbolic alchemy and the transformation of deep sufferingReferencesThe end as beginning: Varo’s dream of the executioner, last painting, and deathThe dream of the executioner and the renewing aspect of the dangerous secretStill Life Reviving: Varo’s last painting and preparation for deathThreads of change: Death, rebirth, and the dream of the executionerNoteReferencesEmbroidering the Earth’s Mantle: Psychology, alchemy, and weaving the garment of a new worldPremonition: Weaving a woman’s mysteryToward the Tower: Varo, the beehive, and the retelling of a traitorous truthWomen at work: Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle and the alchemical FeminineSelf-representation and the transformative concept of the doubleFeeding the caged moon: Patriarchy, the Feminine, and Jung’s theory of complexesRaveling: Varo and the transformation of cultural complexes powered by patriarchySecret recipes: Alchemy, creation, and the art of political weavingReferencesVoyage to the center of the inner world: The Feminine quest, the labyrinth, and the dangerous secretQuest of the Feminine: Art, psyche, and female initiationSpiral Transit: Spiritual gold and the journey of the soulDead Leaves: The labyrinth, Ariadne’s thread, and rewinding the myth of the male heroNotesReferencesCauldrons of color: Dead Leaves and the alchemical movement between death, life, and rebirthThe blackening: The human soul and its need for death to come aliveThe blue thread: Imagination and initiation into the labyrinth of one’s own beingThe two whitenings: The furnace of distress and the death of innocenceSilvered imagining: The hammered soul and the symbol as a living presenceThree ravens: Black, white, and the red that brings all things to an endNoteReferencesBirds and eggs: Symbol of the liberated soul and image of immortalityArt and the alchemical symbolism of the eggThe egg in the alchemical paintings of Leonora CarringtonThe egg, the liberated soul, and the dream of the executionerNotesReferencesThe dream of the executioner: A paradigm shiftThe archetypal Masculine and the man in the eggThe Juggler.The alchemical androgyne and the union of opposites in the worldStill Life Reviving: Image as soul foodFacing death without fear: Dream 9 and the menace withinThe Encounter: The egg, an owl, and an image of the dangerous secretThe artistic diary: Toward the culmination of the work, the coniunctioManifesting the sacredThe dream of the executioner and the dangerous secret: A paradigm shiftDreams of alchemy: Love, wonder, and the creative forces that animate the soulReferencesII Mystical sistersKindred spirits: Varo, Carrington, and the possibilities of woman’s creative powerCrookhey Hall: Carrington and the prima materia of childhoodDown Below: The onset of war and the female body as alchemical vesselFrom mayhem to madness: Carrington in the asylum of the patriarchyDestruction as the cause of coming into beingNotesReferencesBreaking out: Varo, Carrington, and blackening the patriarchal paradigmThe Terrible Mother and the voice of the eternal FeminineWoman Leaving the Psychoanalyst: Challenging the authority of the fatherA feminist SurrealismExposing the big con and the project of female empowermentReferencesIn the footsteps of Virginia Woolf: Humiliated Manhood and the re-visioning of the FeminineA woman’s war: Woolf, words, and the will to powerThe difference a friendship madeNoteReferencesAlchemy in exile: Varo and Carrington in Mexico CityStirring the cauldron: Varo and Carrington in the alchemical kitchenVaro’s death: Alchemy and the bath that kills and vivifiesNoteReferencesThe way they loved each other: The crucible of friendship and the unmaking of patriarchyReclaiming the place of the FeminineThe distorted and dislocated Feminine: The surrealism of Wifredo LamHorns of the goddess: The Minotaur in the work of Varo, Carrington, and LamFemale sexual objectification and other problems of patriarchyNoteReferencesIII Symbols of transformationImaginal dialogues: The alchemical treasure of the Feminine