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Thesuccubus today

In this chapter, we have focused on the image of the succubus as a deeply religious and cultural symbol that has betrayed women by making them containers for men’s shame. Eternal and compelling, the succubus exists today as she has in the past. The feminine, oppressed into non-existence as a carrier for shame, loses her own reality and power. When woman’s power is taken from her, it can no longer be direct and open. The feminine compensation for this shift in the natural balance of things is a shift in sexual emphasis from fertility, or reproductive power, to erotic power. This means power over the lover and maternal absence, not empowerment of the child. After all, Eve was told “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband” (Genesis 3:16). Female power is no longer connected to being the mother of sons, but the destroyer of men. The obese Great Mother is succeeded by the femme fatale. Gone is the Great Mother as symbol of fertility, with pendulous breasts and rotund buttocks; come is the voluptuous young maiden with round breasts and slender, long legs whose body is merchandised. In the male order of civilization we encounter sexiness, the erotic power of the beautiful woman to lure a powerful man to his own destruction. Today the succubus lives in the dresses of Versace, who selected the head of Medusa as the defining and abiding symbol of the House of Versace. He chose the image of Medusa for the purpose “of seduction . . . a sense of history, classicism. Medusa means seduction . . . a dangerous attraction” (Seal, 2003: 276).

The power of the masculine over the feminine is the power of absolute shame over humankind. Thompson describes “the archangel of evolution” inevitably created out of the deep collective repression of the feminine:

if the feminine is totally repressed and blood, nature, and the esoteric dimension of the heavens totally wiped out, then a terrible situation is created which will necessitate the appearance of another avatar of evolution, a Lilith of transformation through destruction.

(1981: 241)

But I am rushing ahead to the end of the book. In the next section, we’ll look at the succubus from a psychological point of view, as a powerful and pervasive symbol that has permeated the schools of thought that study the human psyche. The image of the succubus comes forth in the writings and lives of the Fathers of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These two men, who decisively influenced twentieth-century thought, were human - all too human - and very much a product of their time. They inadvertently inculcated the succubus into the very heart of depth psychology.

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