Symbolism in Religion and Literature

Symbolism in Religion and Literature

Symbolism in Religion and Literature

Symbolism in Religion and Literature

Excerpt

On undertaking to write this introductory chapter, I found myself in something of a dilemma: for obviously the distinguished essays in this book need no introduction. It then seemed, however, that the rich, concrete data that comes to the hand of the practicing psychoanalyst might make a contribution to the problems set by the book. Those of us in that profession have the privilege in our daily work of an especially advantageous position to observe the function and significance of symbols in the immediate existence of actual persons.

In this essay, therefore, I wish to deal with symbols as they come to us in psychoanalysis and psychology. After noting the present interest in symbols and myths in these fields, I shall give an example of a symbol in a dream. I wish, then, to present some general observations about symbols and the symbolizing process in psychoanalysis, and to discuss the Oedipus myth in the light of these observations. Finally, I propose to offer some implications about the healing power and function of symbols.

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