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The Weeping Women

June 14, 2011

In Latin America there is the legend of a woman called La Llorona (the crying woman) who murders her children to live with the man she loves. For La Llorona everything goes wrong: her lover leaves her for another woman and she, distraught with grief and jealousy, commits suicide by drowning in the river

“How Do We Solve a Problem Like Medea: Medea and the Shadow of Feminism”

The following text found in the archives of Archetypal Talk at bravenet.com, which is a place for ” friends, professionals, interested transients, and invisibles connecting to Archetypal Psychology and James Hillman and related soulful talk, et cetera”

Found mention of this paper by a Jungian Cheryl Fuller, sounds interesting: “Yesterday, I received word that a proposal I submitted for a lecture and a day-long seminar has been accepted. Which means that sometime next spring I will present some of my thoughts about Medea to folks at the C.G. Jung Center in Brunswick. In a way this is my coming out event. Though I have offered this material locally in the Senior College this will be the first presentation to a Jungian group and the first time I will make such an appearance before a group of Jungians.And I realized this morning that I must now move one of my WIPS into active status and finish it so I can use it for the lecture. I am titling the paper, “How Do We Solve a Problem Like Medea: Medea and the Shadow of Feminism” —usually once I find a title, the paper takes shape. Of course this means I have titles still waiting for papers to take form but that is another story. Anyway, I have been quietly simmering this idea about feminism and aggression in women for some time.Eight years ago as I searched for a dissertation advisor, I ran into a wall with the feminist scholars on the faculty of my university. As soon as I explained that I wanted to write about Medea came the assumption: of course, they said, you will be looking at the patriarchy as the issue in her behavior. And when I replied that indeed I was not going to be looking in that direction, but rather at Medea herself and at the meaning intrinsic to her acts and her story, interest in my work evaporated and they declined to serve on my committee. Though long a feminist myself, I had been absent from developments in academic feminism. It had escaped my attention that there were “right” ways and “wrong” ways to study women, both real and mythological, and clearly considering Medea as anything other than a victim of the patriarchy was the “wrong” way.I persisted, found an advisor who could accept my apparently heretical viewpoint and happily explored the character of Medea and developed a description of a Medea complex. But the resistance to considering that Medea could be anything other than a hapless victim of the patriarchy continued to intrigue me and set me to wondering about the meaning of excluding this dark and troubling aspect of her, and by extension all of us, from our understanding of what it is to be human and more specifically a woman. It is this wondering which is the subject of my paper.”
About Cheryl Fuller Jung-at-Heart

The Ghost of La Llorona

Here is a traditional Mexican folktale about La Llorona, sung to children as a cautionary tale:

Don’t go down to the river, child,
Don’t go there alone;
For the sobbing woman, wet and wild,
Might claim you for her own.

She weeps when the sun is murky red;
She wails when the moon is old;
She cries for her babies, still and dead,
Who drowned in the water cold.

Abandoned by a faithless love,
Filled with fear and hate.
She flung them from a cliff above
And left them to their fate.

Day and night, she heard their screams,
Borne on the current’s crest;
Their tortured faces filled her dreams,
And gave her heart no rest.

Crazed by guilt and dazed by pain,
Weary from loss of sleep,
She leaped in the river, lashed by rain,
And drowned in the waters deep.

She seeks her children day and night,
Wandering, lost, and cold;
She weeps and moans in dark and light,
A tortured, restless soul.

Don’t go down to the river, child,
Don’t go there alone;
For the sobbing woman, wet and wild,
Might claim you for her own.

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One comment

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