The Grail, Arthur and his Knights: A Jungian Symbolic Reading

Author(s) : Maria Zelia de Alvarenga

The Grail, Arthur and his Knights: A Jungian Symbolic Reading

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This book presents a broad and deep symbolic reading of the characters involved in the mythical Holy Grail. The author makes several correlations between symbolic readings of the text and the subjective nature of the mythic psyche and personality development today. The Grail, Arthur and his Knights is a mythical-symbolic reading and Jungian analysis of the Grail, with its various forms, origins and manifestations. It is also about Arthur and his loyal and faithful knights of the Round Table and its dangerous chair. The Great Wounded Goddess, the Wasted Land, the Old Wise Merlin and his visions of the future are also re-examined. The book describes the archetyal themes of search, freedom, and the dreaming return of Golden Age. The symbolic reading of these themes according to the Analytical Psychology reveals a wealth of ancient wisdom, transforming the myth, in itself deeply fascinating, into a powerful metaphor for how the search of the individuation process works.

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‘Jung described the process of individuation as applied to the individual, and throughout his life he demonstrated how the evolution of his thought was recorded in his work. Later Jungians described the process of individuation as also applied to culture, an important development in our understanding of cultural phenomena. In The Grail, Arthur and his Knights: A Symbolic Jungian Reading, published here in English for the first time, Maria Zelia de Alvarenga reveals how the individuation of the work is accompanied and followed by the process of individuation of the author. Anyone who reads her work will see the richness of her thought and approach. She possesses a privileged intuition and an accurate and deep sensibility, and takes us on a memorable journey with the Grail, Arthur, and his knights. If, as the author says in her discussion of Parsifal, “not asking the question is to lose oneself and not fulfil one’s destiny”, then she herself in this work has asked the necessary questions to embark on this process. As Parsifal, the “pure, naive fool”, says to others, “go as far as we went and then you will know”: on that day we will stop telling stories and become a legend ourselves. In this sense, de Alvarenga has herself already become a legend, and in “individualizing” the story of the Grail her book transforms the reading itself into a new adventure. And to this adventure, I invite all readers.’
- Dr Iraci Galias, psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst, and founding member of Brazilian Society of Analytical Psychology (SBPA

About the Author(s)

Maria Zelia de Alvarenga is a medical psychiatrist who graduated from the School of Medicine School at São Paulo University (FMUSP), and a Jungian analyst in the Sociedade Brasileira de Psicologia Analítica (SBPA) and the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). She is the editor of the Jungian Magazine, where she has published many articles, and is the author of a number of works on mythology, including Oedipus, the Hero without Divine Protection, Symbolic Mythology, Structures of Psyche and Mythical Regencies, and Odysseus: the Hero of Cunning (with co-author Sylvia Baptista). She has participated and published in the Latin American Congress of Jungian Psychology and was the president of the SBPA from 1995 to 1997, and remains on the institution as a collaborative teacher.

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