Through The Prism of Desire: Loss, Discipline, and the Father

 by Tim Willison

A dissertation proposal
submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in Psychology
Institute of Imaginal Studies 2009
Copyright by
Tim Willison





Relationship to Topic

Theory in Practice

Research Problem and Hypothesis

Methodology and Research Design


Significance and Relevance of Topic


            Introduction and Overview

 The Psychology of Desire

 Desire and Human Development

 Religious Perspectives on Desire

 Imaginal Approaches to Desire


 Chapter 3.  METHODOLOGY 

      Introduction and Overview


         Four Phases of Imaginal Inquiry

  Chapter 4.  LEARNINGS  

      Introduction and Overview

      Learning One: Honoring the Shadow of Craving: “I Feel Free”

      Learning Two: Flooding: Water Flowing Without Limits

      Learning Three:  Clinging to Wholeness: Grief, Loss, and Addiction

             Learning Four: The Crucible: Finding Rhythm in the Release and                          Containment of Desire


      Significance of Data/Learnings


                Closing Reflections: Noticing the Homeless                   


Through the Prism of Desire: Loss, Discipline, and the Father

Tim Willison
      Desire and its movement are fundamental to Greek philosophy and Freudian psychology. In a psychology oriented towards soul, craving and yearning fuel the individuation process. This study suggested craving can transmute into yearning if all aspects, including disgust and shame, are engaged. The research problem was in what way does the expression of craving help yearning to emerge? The hypothesis was when craving is expressed in ways  that allow taboo, shame, and ugly aspects of experience, craving transmutes into yearning. Desire, in the multidisciplinary survey of the literature, was explored as force moving both within and through the individual. Unfortunately, etiological research on craving was not found. The image of a spring, a fire, and a cross emerge from the study as symbolic representations of emergence, expression, and convergence of desire. Utilizing Imaginal Inquiry, the lived experience of eight participants in relationship to desire through polyamory or Tantric practice was evoked, expressed, interpreted, and integrated through biography, ritual, and imagery. 
    The cumulative learning was craving is sourced in experiences of loss, and expressing craving with reflexive awareness serves to transmute craving into yearning. Four specific learnings emerged: first, ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive       nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification; second, uncontained desire, resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the Other; third, the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity; fourth, coming into relationship with the rhythm of desire is a nonlinear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration.
The mythic figures of Aphrodite, Dionysus, Shiva, and Shakti illuminate the rhythm of desire’s release and containment. The movement of light through a prism is compared to desire moving through the individual. Embodiment of desire’s paradoxical triune nature involving subject, object, and lack, is           suggested to allow the telos of desire to manifest. 


     My true education started on November 7th, 1985 when I entered treatment at Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Pasadena. I am grateful to many people there, some of whom are dead as a result of the disease that brought us together;  Bob S., Van H., Chris F., Alex J., Tim F., and John B., among others, gave much to me before they moved on and I remember them with love and gratitude. Jim Stillwell, who has been in charge of treatment there for over thirty years, also has my gratitude and my love.
At California State University NorthridgeI was lucky enough to be seen and cared about by Dorothy Doyle at a timed when I very much needed to be seen and cared about. Don Dorsey also has my gratitude for the gentle way in which he guided my process of exploding and coming back together one Saturday afternoon. Bob Doctor, the third D, was a solid, warm compassionate presence throughout my time there.
At Esalen Institute my life blossomed into beautiful extraordinary hues that still color my life. So many people from all over the world moved through my year there and gave to me. In particular, Kay Brownfield-Ivy, just to the north, has my ceaseless thanks for her wise and grounded support.
   In my class at the Institute of Imaginal Studies I was blessed wondrous suffering I will always be grateful for. I am thankful to all my teachers and fellow students. My gratitude goes out to Susan Gulbe-Walsh for her generosity, her empathic ear, and her considered feedback. The staff at the Institute has my deep thanks for the long nights and weekends and for their willingness to stand in endlessly for sins of the fathers and the mothers. In particular, I thank Aftab Omer for his permission, for his vision, and for his sacrifices. Tumbling in the abyss, I have found treasure because I was seen and because I was held. I also want to thank Karen Jaenke for the quality of attention she has given this work and the consistently penetrating feedback that has always challenged me to take the next step.
I sit in silent and still thanks to both Gangaji and Prem Rawat for the depth of soul and spirit they have both given me through their work. 
I offer thanks to both my fathers. To John, who is no longer alive, I am grateful for the example of accountability and commitment to integrity he lived into his 80s. To my other father Howard, and my mother, I give thanks for a gentleness of heart I feel gifted with from both of them. This gentleness, and my mother’s ceaseless devotion, I hold dearly. 
Without the support of my wife, Sharon, this endeavor simply would not have been possible. Her sacrifice has been enormous. This endeavor and this topic have presented unique challenges that have ultimately served to strengthen, solidify and sanctify our union. I feel grateful and I feel lucky. 
I apologize to my beautiful son, Luke, whose first big word was dissertation. All the things we did not do because I was working on this we will do now that it is done. 
To the ancestors who watch and hope, and to the Friend who has guided the process every step of the way, I bow and offer thanks for meaningful work and purposeful time.

To Sapphire:
For her beauty, her courage, and her magic.

Better murder an infant in its cradle than nurse an unacted desire.
William Blake
(The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)



This study examines desire and its movement. Desire is extraordinarily complex and multi-faceted. Countless theorists, across millennia and disciplines, have mused about its nature and function. In response to the demands of desire’s complexity, this exploration attempts to be broad and comprehensive. Following desire, initially defined here as the energy of attraction, leads through ancient and modern civilizations, old and new religions, a variety of academic disciplines, and directly into contemporary culture. Desire’s nature, and its role in individual development, is a primary focus. Desire’s addictive aspect, conceptualizedas craving, is explored relative to desire’s leadership function, conceptualized as yearning. 
The power of desire, to either destroy or fulfill, is a core concern of this study. How desire becomes destructive and whether or not it can be shifted, or transmuted, into constructive desire, are key questions under review. Factors influencing the possible transmutation of desire as craving into desire as yearning, like the effects of discipline and loss, are explored here in light of contemporary psychological theory as well as ancient religious canon.
Eros, in Greek mythology, is an essential component of existence. In Hesiod's telling of the primary Greek creation myth, Eros is one of the four original entities; it is the force that pulls all things together.1 Definitions of Eros since the time of Hesiod have varied from powerful god, to cherubic mischief maker, to a present day overs implication of Eros as a solely sexual entity or force.2 Sigmund Freud considered Eros equivalent to sexual desire.3 Later in life he used the term to connote what he called the life instinct.4
Desire is not defined in psychological dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as an emotion or a feeling directed to the obtainment of an object from which pleasure is expected.5 A definition of desire, consistent with Freudian theory, found in the British Journal of Medical Psychology, is attraction, or drive, toward a goal.6 These definitions describe aspects of desire but do not approach the deeper nature of desire reflected in Eros. Other theorists offer definitions of desire that move well beyond simple attraction. 
Donald Kalsched, interpreting the ideas of Carl Jung, expands the definition of desire to include not just sexual desire but also the higher functions of the psyche.7 Connie Zweig equates desire with the holy longing for union available in numinous experience.8 Raymond J. Corsini defines numinous as the over-whelming experience of awe felt, sensed or intuited when the individual reaches past the personal to the archetypal or symbolic realm of being.9 Andres Nygren suggests God is found through Eros.10 Greg Mogenson defines desire as a “demonic force or divine power.11 D. H. Lawrence called desire holy.12 Tomas Agosin states ultimately all desire, even erotic desire, is longing to return to the spirit.13 Ruth Stein writes of vertical desire that reaches up in search of the divine as the ultimate father.14 The Tibetian yogi Padmasambhava said “Look into the nature of desire and there is boundless light.” 15
Want, need, longing, and yearning are all defined in terms of desire. Want, in psychological terms, is defined in Corsini’s Dictionary of Psychology, as “a desire for something that if denied will not harm the person that desires it.” 16 Need, by contrast, is defined as an internal tension resulting from an unsatisfied desire that, if not satisfied, will harm the individual experiencing the need.17 Longing is defined as a “strong desire or craving, especially for something not likely to be attained.” 18 Craving, often used in discussion of thirst, hunger and addiction, has its roots in ‘to demand’.19 Yearning is defined as sad or wistful, persistent desiring or longing.20 It is distinguished from longing by its tender, urgent, and passionate aspects.21 In psychological literature, yearning is often found used in relation to sexual or spiritual desire.22
Freud introduced desire into psychological theory through the concept of libido. He defines libido as a force, arising from sexual excitation which underlies mental activity and can be seen to be a manifestation of Eros.23 According to Freud, libido can attach to, or become invested in, objects. This tendency, of libido to attach to objects, Freud calls cathexis.24
Libido, according to Freud, was strictly sexual while Jung thought of libidinous energy in wider psychical terms. Jung called it passionate desire stating “libido is…the energy which manifests itself in the life-process and is perceived subjectively as conation and desire.” 25 Conation is defined by Corsini as mental processes concerned with striving and purposive action.26 For both Freud and Jung, the movement of desire, through the mechanism of libido, was central to their psychologies. Their disagreement about the nature of libido contributed toward the severing of their relationship.27
The psychological importance of physical sexuality reached its apex with Wilhelm Reich, who literalized Freud’s emphasis on the sexual aspect of desire or libido by suggesting full-body orgasm as the key to mental and emotional health.28 Many contemporary theorists have turned away from physiology to focus on the more opaque or spiritual aspects of sexual desire. James Giles notes sexual desire is unique among human desires in part because its ultimate goal is obscure.29 Thomas Moore states sex is part temporal, part eternal, and calls it a “holy knowing.” 30 Jung addresses the confusion regarding sex and Eros stating “They think that Eros is sex but not at all. Eros is relatedness.” 31
Jung also writes of the ancient tradition of Tantric sexuality as an alternative way of working with the energy of sexual desire.32 Tantra, a spiritual path of enlightenment of the Indic tradition found in Buddhism and Hinduism, uses sexuality to move toward the divine using energy systems in the body.33 The goal, in the practice of Tantra, is not satisfaction or gratification but enlightenment.34 According to Tantric belief, the energy of desire finds different objects of focus as it moves through the body.
Freud defined how desire moves in human beings by postulating the pleasure principle; simply stated the pleasure principle is the tendency within each of us to move toward that which gives us pleasure and away from that which causes displeasure.35 Freud suggested this is a primary process and suggested, as a secondary process, the reality principle and its interaction with the pleasure principle.36 The reality principle asserts we cannot always get what we want. Freud suggests maturation involves the conquest of the pleasure principle by the reality principle with the result being the development of an individual’s capacity to delay gratification.37 Freudian secondary process could be characterized as the triumph of the cognitive over the instinctual or the adult over the infant. In this psychodynamic framework, delayed gratification is not in itself a process but is rather the result, or outcome, of a psychic process.
In contrast to the Freudian conquest of the reality principle over the pleasure principle, Jung, in his elaboration of the transcendent function, suggests a need to tolerate the tensions inherent in the experience of desire.38 Jung suggests where the conscious and unconscious interface is where the transcendent function occurs.39 In this space, between the poles of desire and gratification, lives yearning. Holding the natural tension in any given psychic polarity where the instinctual unconscious meets up with the directed ego, allows for a third aspect, a creative response, or a “living, third thing” to arise.40
The delay of gratification involved in holding the tension of the opposites differs from the Freudian concept. For Freud the ability to delay gratification is the result of a process of maturation involving the conquest of the reality principle over the pleasure principle. Delaying gratification is an essential aspect of Jung’s transcendent function but it is not the outcome; rather it is a part of the process leading to individuation.41 Jung defines individuation as the process through which the individual becomes whole through making the unconscious conscious.42 Jung further suggests an unbalanced immersion in each side of a polarity may be necessary before it is possible to find psychological integration.43 This idea calls to mind William Blake’s suggestion that “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” 44
The transcendent function, according to Jung, connects the individual to the collective unconscious and the archetypes through the toleration of desire. Jung believed the unconscious was layered and underneath the personal unconscious was a place of shared ancestral memory he called the collective unconscious.45 Jung states the collective unconscious is filled with archetypes which he defined as pre-existent forms that are part of the universal inherited structure of the psyche common to all people.46 Three primary archetypes identified by Jung were the shadow the animus, and the anima. The shadow consists of the disowned, avoided and unpleasant aspects of self.47 Jung suggests confrontation of the shadow is the first step in the journey of inner development.48 He calls the animus masculine, of the spirit, with a capacity for deliberation and reflection.49 The anima is defined by Jung as feminine, chthonic and erotic.50 He defined chthonic as of the underworld or the dark side of the God-Image.51 Jung states the love life of a man reveals the psychology of this archetype through either misogyny or “boundless fascination, overvaluation, and infatuation.” 52
Other psychological theorists further expand the role of desire in human development. Mark Epstein states it is through desire we define our individual selves.53 Thomas Moore states desire has its own intelligence. He suggests the soul is like a bubbling spring whose life-giving water is moved by desire.54 James Hillman suggests it was the soul’s movement and energy Freud was identifying through the use of the term libido.55 Hillman goes on to suggest, in his re-working of Aristotle’s metaphor of the acorn, that just as within the acorn is the blueprint or potential for the oak tree, within each individual exists a blueprint for who they could potentially become.56 Jean Houston names this call to wholeness the entelechy of the self and states it is closely related to the divine self.57 Joseph Campbell, concurring with Hillman and Houston in identifying an intelligence within desire, advised “Follow your bliss.” 58 Robert Sardello calls desire the will of the imagination.59 Several theorists suggest desire has its own telos.60 Telos is defined as aim, end or fulfillment.61 For these authors, Eros, or desire, is not just a force, or drive, to be felt and negotiated; it has intelligence and purpose.
Lawrence and Alain Danielou go so far as to suggest the future will be determined by the negotiation of desire in human relationship. Danielou suggests the salvation of human kind may depend upon the cultivation of ecstatic divine connection achieved through the meeting of the masculine and feminine.62 Carolyn Baker cites Lawrence's statement that "The future of the world will not be determined between nations but rather in the relationships between men and women." 63
Theorists oriented to the importance of early development and affect also argue for the importance of desire. Donald Cohen suggests desire is born in the space between mother and  infant.64 Want does not exist until there is something to want for, an absence or lack. Michael Balint addresses this lack, or deficit, through the concept of the basic fault.65 Balint  states when there are deficits in early experiences with the primary caregiver libido is withdrawn. The suggestion here is when a normal and healthy process of desire is interrupted a different process, resulting in craving, begins. How the space between mother and child
develops is also the concern of John Bowlby and attachment theory.66 
This echoes Jung’s statement
 that Eros is relatedness.67 According to these authors the formation, or deformation of desire
is intimately related to lack, or absence, and to relationship. Desire pulls the individual toward connection with an other while at the same time requiring a space between self and other.
Deficits in the primary attachment, of the type identified by Balint, represent one potential developmental deformation of desire. Another potential deformation of desire, illuminated by Aftab Omer through his elaboration of the Father Principle, results from lack of containment.68  The Father Principle, which Omer describes as "authority with love" represents the limits and discipline required in the development of desire.69 Omer emphasizes the absence of the Father Principle in early development creates imbalance.
The limitation, malformation, or inhibition of desire is also explored through Donald L. Nathanson's affect theory. Potential inhibitors, or mitigates, or desire, in addition to problems in the initial bond between infant and primary caregiver, include disgust and shame. The experience of shame, according to Nathanson building on the work of Silvan Tompkins, is part of the shame-humiliation affect.70 An affect is considered the biological component of feeling or emotion. Shame often involves sudden exposure, or the interruption of excitement, resulting in embarrassment, humiliation, guilt and feelings of worthlessness.71 Disgust is an affect related to both the physical and the interpersonal.72 Disgust can be an attenuator of other affects and can create intense internal conflict as something that was perceived as tasty or desirable becomes nasty or undesirable.73 Interpersonally, disgust involves significant alterations in self-esteem or the esteem we have for someone else.74
Omer suggests desire has a dual nature. He states desire can be seen as         craving or longing. He goes on to state the soul’s cravings “tie one to the past”     and the soul’s longings or yearnings “lead one into creative participation with       the future.” 75 Omer insists on the individual need to engage with desire and       experience ecstasy. 
Omer states, through the concept of the ecstatic imperative, there is a need   within every individual for ecstatic experience. Omer describes the ecstatic         imperative as “the soul’s creativity and symptomatic expression of its                 passionate and plural nature, despite the constrictions of personal identity and     requirements of conventional culture; the experience of ecstasy is a human           birthright.” 76 Ecstasy, according to Omer, is not optional but essential. Like       Freud, Omer acknowledges the primacy of the drive toward pleasure or ecstasy;   however unlike Freud, Omer insists on the necessity of its fulfillment as               opposed to the need for its containment. Accordingly to Omer, in the                   experience of ectasy, or intense desire, the containment of the Father Principle     is met by a powerful aspect of the Mother Principle, characterized by                   compassion and desire, that pushes against individual limits and demands             expression in a way that fosters perpetual individual redefinition.77 

One image that has arisen for this writer during the course of research           which depicts desire and its blockage, and is echoed in Moore’s metaphor of         the spring of the soul, is of a spring rising up from the earth to flow smoothly       and easily along a clear route. At one point, large stones are dropped into the       water nearly, but not quite, damming the river. The water seeks out alternative     routes, through the underbrush and around the rocks, that are twisted and             complex. Desire flows naturally and purely up and out of us until its path is         blocked.
Freud, Jung, Epstein, Sardello, Moore, Omer and many others all                 emphasize the centrality of desire in individual development. Desire’s                   importance for all these theorists, as an aspect of Eros, a drive, the force of         libido, the force of life, the voice of the soul, an intelligence moving through       us, or the ecstatic imperative, is clear. Desire’s nature, and how it operates in       individual development, is less clear.

Relationship to the Topic    

Struggling with desire and yearning has been a central theme in my life. I grew up ashamed of wanting. In the world of my childhood attempting to satisfy wants was perceived as taking from another and asking for anything meant walking through waves of shame.

Faced with the great need of my mother’s deep depression and the absence of my father, I tried to deal with my desires by ignoring or denying them. Without desire to guide me, I was both socially awkward and starving for intimacy. Acting on my own desires was difficult and terrifying. The deeper places within me were filled with pain. My male interpersonal connections were minimal. As a consequence, my considerable hunger for intimacy was channeled into my attraction toward the opposite sex. The more powerfully I desired intimate contact the more difficult it became. Sometimes, in conversation with a woman I was attracted to, I would begin to shake uncontrollably, as though I was very cold. Once, at a party as a teenager, I remember sitting, briefly, on a couch with an arm around a girl on either side of me. Almost immediately I was overwhelmed by a powerful sense of shame and ran from the room.
When women walked away from me, I fragmented under waves of self-doubt, self-condemnation and tremendous pain of loss. I discovered alcohol and drugs dulled the pain and I developed a powerful craving for them. Use of craving seems more appropriate here than yearning as craving suggests demand, as noted above, or strong desire.78 My cravings were primarily attached to a substance, rather than a person or entity. This desire plunged me into a destructive spiral. In this descent I felt strong feelings of disgust for myself and what I saw as my weakness or brokenness. Increasingly, as my addiction evolved into illegalities and complete loss of control, I was overwhelmed by feelings of shame at who I was becoming. At one point I developed a severe case of infantigo that covered about half my face with scabs and sores. I liked it. I felt relieved, and more honest, to be looking how I felt.
My relationship to intimacy was further complicated by excessive use of alcohol in the home in which I was raised. The pairing of inebriation and affection evoked strong feelings of disgust in me and negatively impacted my ability to receive intimate contact. It is still sometimes difficult for me to tolerate intimacy, especially touch, in intimate relationship. I have to remind myself repeatedly to trust and work through the emotional reactions that accompany tactile contact.
The relationship I developed to my own desire was characterized by paralysis; I felt unable to move toward the object of my desire. I wrestled with strong feelings of regret and questioned my masculinity. This tension was sustainable, for a time, through the use of drugs and alcohol. Eventually, my internal distress grew to the point that I was unable to ignore it.
In recovery, it was necessary to give up the immediate gratification available in substance abuse and claim my suffering. In addition, it was necessary for me to both face and confess the overwhelming shame I felt in relation to how I had treated those around me. I tried to ignore yearning for intimate connection by focusing on duty to others but yearning still spoke powerfully to me. I was abstinent from mind and mood altering substances. I stayed out of committed intimate relationships for eight years. Yet yearning refused to be ignored; the harder I tried to ignore its pull, the stronger it grew. I lived in the space between fear of loss and yearning for connection. Over time, I stopped denying or moralizing my yearning and began to accept it. I found I needed yearning to define myself physically, emotionally, interpersonally, and spiritually. In recovery I was faced with the new dilemma of trying to trust the voice of desire despite the fact it was addictive desire that nearly destroyed me.
This exploration of yearning led me back to the world of spirit. C.G. Jung considered severe alcoholism a symptom of spiritual lack reparable only through a spiritual experience.79 As a young child I experienced powerful feelings of reverence and yearning in the Episcopal church of my father. In twelve step recovery, out of necessity, I surrendered myself to whatever spirit surrounded me and felt, for the first time in my life, taken care of. Later, in the study of Tantra, I found a place where sensual, sexual, and divine yearning could live together. Here, I felt the profound three-fold power of desire to fulfill the individual, to fully meet another, and to connect with the numinous.  
Looking back now, from a vantage point of relative stability, I wonder how my initial experiences of depravation have affected my relationship to my own desire. Also, I wonder how this deformation of my relationship to my own desire, affected, and affects, my relationship to myself, those around me, and the divine. Further, turning the focus outward, I wonder what relevance my experience has for the world around me. After experiencing the deep fulfillment of desire available through the simple and direct loving connection to others I found in Tantric practice, I have come to see the culture around me as unnecessarily desolate and deprived. I recall, before getting sober, looking into the eyes of the men at a strip club and thinking they looked like hungry wolves circling a fire. What I didn’t realize then was that they, and I, looked liked starving animals because we were. Starved for intimate contact, we gave offerings at the dark modern perversion of the temple of Aphrodite. In the Greek pantheon Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty.80 I am reminded of a morality tale in which St. Peter describes the difference between heaven and hell. In hell everyone sits at a banquet table loaded with food but their arms are four-foot long spoons with no joints so they are unable to reach their own mouths and feed themselves. They are angry, starving and violent. In heaven, their arms are the same long spoons, but they are all peacefully feeding each other.81 In our culture, despite being surrounded by the potential interpersonal abundance that each individual  represents to every other individual, many starve.


The study of desire is difficult and complex. Bertrand Russell remarked finding truth on the subject of desire was only possible through an almost complete reversal of ordinary opinion.82 A substantive psychological exploration of desire requires a theoretical approach that can hold and expand upon the depth and breadth of meanings in the individual and interpersonal experience of desire.
Jung suggested the development of a psychology organized around desire.83 He felt he had not adequately developedhis thoughts around Eros and suggested, toward the end of his life, that a new approach to psychology, based on the irrational pathways of Eros, might offer a superior way of reflecting on soul. Joel Kovel, echoing Jung’s emphasis of the importance of desire, called psychoanalysis, the traditional form of Freudian psychotherapy, a “discourse of desire.” 84
Psychology, defined through its roots, is the study of the logos, the meaning or reason, of the psyche, or soul.85 Soul is defined by Omer as, “The mysterious stillness, aliveness, and otherness at the center of being.” 86 The language of the soul is image and affect. Omer states to live a soulful life is to allow oneself to be affected and to cultivate deeply experienced subjective states of being.87 Psychology, strictly defined, is concerned with the profound experience at the center of the individual.
Imaginal Psychology offers a way of studying desire that is capable of both exploring the logos of soul as defined by Omer and of following the pathways of Eros as suggested by Jung. The phrase imaginal comes from Henry Corbin’s concept of the mundis imaginalis, or imaginal world, which Moore defines as a realm which is neither literal nor abstract yet is “utterly real with its own laws and purposes.” 88 The emphasis on the soul, psychological multiplicity, the expansion of experience, and approach of taboo, in Imaginal Psychology, makes it uniquely suited for the exploration of desire.
Psychological multiplicity is defined by Omer as “the existence of many distinct and often encapsulated centers of subjectivity within the experience of the same individual.89 Taboo is defined as an object or act that is sacred, dangerous, and surrounded by social or religious prohibition. Taboos often have an unseen quality and sometimes, though not always, operate outside the awareness of individuals or groups.90 Deep engagement with desire or Eros,according to Georges Bataille, also always involves transgression of taboo.91
Omer’s concept of the Mother Principle and the Father Principle are essentially related to the nature and movement of desire. The Father Principle, representing discipline, offers structure and limit for the Mother Principle, representing compassion and desire.92 The key factor effecting the operation of these functions is balance; domination by the Father Principle can result in the repression of desire and lack of aliveness. Absence of the Father function and domination of the Mother Principle can result in loss of selfhood and violation. Omer stresses the Mother and Father Principles may or may not be embodied by the actual mother or father.93
Within the paradigm of Imaginal Psychology, the theory-in-practice is Omer’s Imaginal Transformation Praxis (ITP). Omer states ITP “consists of concepts, principles, and practices that constitute an integrative approach to personal and cultural transformation.” 94 ITP suggests ways of developing relationships with the various aspects of self that constellate at thresholds of change in order to expand the experienced sense of self.95 Thresholds of change are where desire finds its limits in fear. Here, desire for wholeness, gratification, the divine, or an other, meet fear of pain, rejection, and loss. Some of the aspects of self that guard the thresholds of change are known as gatekeepers; the psychic attempt to close the door on transformation is called gatekeeping. Gatekeeping is defined by Omer as “the individual and collective dynamics that resist and restrict experience.” 96 The emphasis, in ITP, is on the cultivation of capacities that allow fuller expression and experience of self. A capacity, in Imaginal Psychology, is a distinct dimension of human development and human evolution that delineates a specific potential for responding to a domain of life experience.97
At its core, Imaginal Psychology is focused on exploring and expanding the inherent possibilities of the individual. It attempts, through the use of image and imagination, to facilitate the individual development of multiple aspects of self.98 This emphasis on possibility in Imaginal Psychology allows for a meaningful and complex exploration of how desire moves through individuals, how desire connects individuals to each other, and how desire connects the individual to other forces or energies. Study of the boundless nature of desire necessitates a robust approach of this kind that fosters expansion and possibility.
ITP emphasizes the need for the approach and exploration of areas of shadow or taboo in psychologically oriented endeavor. Approach of the shadow is by definition difficult. In the investigation of shadow it is helpful to note images that arise in consciousness.99 ITP emphasizes the need for the approach and exploration of areas of shadow or taboo in psychologically oriented endeavor. Approach of the shadow is by definition difficult. In the investigation of shadow it is helpful to note images that arise in consciousness.
What is outlined here in ITP and Imaginal Psychology, is a dynamic internal environment in which desire can be explored in its various aspects. Its emphasis on possibility, image and imagination, along with its focus on approach of taboo, provides an appropriate and compelling theoretical framework for approaching the topic of desire.
                           Research Problem and Hypothesis

In the opinion of most of the theorists previously referenced here, desire plays a key role in the formation of the individual and in relationships between individuals. Balint, Cohen and Bowlby all point to the influence of early experience on the formation and deformation of desire and the individual. Jung, Omer, Epstein, Reich, Hillman, Lawrence and others all emphasize the importance of desire in the unfolding of the adult individual and the adult relationship. Desire can function to
directthe individual toward fulfillment and desire can pull the individual toward self-destruction. Further clarification is required of what is in the nature or the development of desire that distinguishes between these two outcomes.
At this point in this inquiry three points seem clear beyond dispute. First, the formation and experience of desire profoundly effect individual development. Second, one important function of desire is to direct the psychic, interpersonal and spiritual development of the individual. Thirdly, as in addiction, desire can be destructive. Distinguishing constructive desire from destructive desire could help to mitigate the negative effects of desire and enhance its positive potentials. Omer’s theory regarding desire is helpful in working with this distinction.
As previously stated, Omer suggests desire has a dual nature reflected in the soul.100 He states “the soul’s cravings are desires that tie the individual to the past. The soul’s yearnings,” according to Omer, “draw the individual into creative participation in the future.” 101 Applying Omer’s theory, the destructive desire present in addictions can be considered craving. The kind of desire that moves the individual toward wholeness or completion can be considered yearning.
Campbell suggests using the experience of bliss as a way of finding direction.102 But Campbell’s directive to follow bliss does little for the drug addict who finds pleasure only in a substance and follows it obsessively. The addict is overwhelmed with craving. Desire in the addict is out of balance. State of the art addiction treatment focuses on stopping the behavior through treatment and attempting to mitigate the cravings through pharmacological intervention.103 Relief from craving and obsession in twelve step programs is considered a miracle and attributed to spiritual surrender.104 Short of pharmacology or the miraculous, there is little or no discussion of changing or working through cravings.
Craving, as described above, is traditionally seen as a destructive pathological manifestation; a psychological cancer on the emotional body. However, if craving is engaged from the perspective of Imaginal Psychology, which emphasizes expansion of the sense of self and inclusion of all aspects, a dialogue is suggested rather than an excision. If craving is engaged, explored, even honored, it may be possible to begin to discern what necessity or purpose is being served through the manifestation of craving. If craving is invited rather than resisted its wisdom can be known and integrated rather than exiled. From the perspective of ITP this could be considered dialogue with a gatekeeper.105 In Jungian terms, engaging with craving while resisting both gratification and defensive avoidance bridges the conscious and the unconscious and activates the transcendent function.106 Whether it is considered a product of the transcendent function, a result of dialogue with gatekeepers, or a natural consequence of honoring exiled aspects of self, listening to craving holds the possibility of new learning and raises new questions.
When craving is met, explored and expressed in this manner what happens to it? Can destructive desire, or craving, evolve or transmute? This leads to the Research Problem for this study: In what way does the expression of craving enable yearning to emerge?
If the expression of craving can facilitate the emergence of yearning, what is the process by which it does so? Imaginal Psychology and ITP, as mentioned above, emphasize the approach of taboo and the expansion of self. Approach of taboo in regard to desire suggests study of the shame and disgust related to craving mentioned above. Expansion of self could be encouraged through disidentification. Disidentification, a concept developed by Omer within the discipline of ITP, is defined as movement away from a frozen or static sense of self toward a more open and expansive sense of self.107 Loosening of a frozen or static sense of self can be encouraged through creative expression of affect and image. If craving is expressed in a manner that encourages expansion of self and engages shame, than individual psychic structures around craving may loosen enough to allow a shift. The hypothesis of this study aims at exploring these concerns about desire’s development as both craving and yearning and the factors that influence it. The hypothesis is: when craving is expressed in ways that allow taboo, shame, and ugly aspects of experience, craving transmutes into yearning.
                           Methodology and Research Design

This research took place within a participatory research paradigm. Participatory research recognizes the interconnectedness of the observer and the observed. It suggests everyone involved, and their reactions, are part of what is under study.108 Because the powerful affective states of yearning, craving, shame, and disgust were all under scrutiny, careful structuring was required in order to capture the desired experience while still tending to the integrity of the participants, the process, and the data. Desire was approached in a way that allowed for its depth and multifaceted richness. 
Desire is inherently relational; all of the ways in which desire connects required examination. Early formative experiences of desire and the mother and father dyad were necessary areas of inquiry. Assessing the individual relationship to desire in adult romantic and committed relationships was important. Bearing in mind the archetypes and the collective unconscious it was also essential to stay open to the possibility that the individual experience of desire may go beyond the individual; Jung states powerful and ecstatic states occur when archetypal energies move through the individual.109
Imaginal Inquiry, the research methodology of ITP developed by Omer, took place in its four stages of evoking experience, expressing experience, interpreting experiencing, and integrating experience.110 Imaginal Inquiry seeks to explore lived experience using image and affect through approach of taboo.111
Evocation of experience utilized sacred and archetypal images in a ritual format that included altar building. The objects deepened engagement with the subject and expanded opportunity for interpretation and meaning-making. Objects and imagination were used in guided imagery exercises that encouraged participants to embody different aspects of their desire.
Experience was expressed through verbal question response, written question response, image creation, and group discussion. The methods in which experience was gathered included, individual biography, individual meetings, and a group meeting. Experience was interpreted by both participants and the primary researcher using mythic and archetypal figures as lenses through which to view the data. Interpretation involved identifying and responding to key moments as well as the discovery and illumination of patterns in the data. Integration of experience occurred through group discussion, follow up mailing to participants of a summary of learnings, and ritual.
Ritual was an important part of the research both in terms of containment and in terms of deepening participation. Malidoma Some speaks to the power and the holding qualities of ritual space.112 Opening and closing rituals bracketed the data collection. The meetings themselves were significantly ritualized. Participants were screened for experience in and openness to ritual. The ritualized aspects of the research, including openings, closings, and altars, provided a container for expressed experience.
In order to deeply explore the possible transmutation of craving to yearning it was necessary to find a relatively sophisticated population of individuals living in significant relationship to desire. Because deep affective states were a possible part of the experience, participants needed to be relatively stable and have either a high degree of emotional insight or psychological experience. As a way of approaching the taboos that surround desire in the culture, and in order to find individuals with experience and insight into desire, participants were recruited from polyamorous and Tantric communities. Polyamory is the belief in, and practice of, maintaining more than one committed sexual relationship at a time.113
Of the eight participants selected for the study, six were women and two were men. The ages of participants varied from 30 to 71. Three of the participating women were Tantric practitioners. All participants were interested in, or engaged in, multiple relationships, polyamorous community, or Tantric community. Collection of data occurred in individual and group formats in order to gather both deeply sensitive data more likely to be collected in a private setting and interpersonal data that required group interaction.

The first learning is ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification. The shift the majority of participants reported in their relationship to desire subsequent to the research experience is the basis for the first learning. Six of eight participants reported change in their relationship to craving ranging from better understanding to transmutation. Transmutation is defined as change of condition, or mutation, which sometimes implies alteration or exchange.114 Participants were encouraged to explore the shadow of craving through guided imagery in hopes of approaching taboo and finding new knowledge. Although the shadow of craving was only approached through metaphor a number of participants had powerful affective experiences. 
The propositional statement of the second learning is uncontained desire resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the other. This learning explores the relative effects of the containment of desire and expression of desire in relationship. Two participants with powerful uncontained experiences of desire are highlighted in relation to their effect on those around them. Intrusive craving, tied to early developmental deficits, presents as the shadow side of their professed dedication to the power of love and sensuality. 
The main claim of learning three is the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity. This learning explores the potential meaning of the grief experienced by seven out of eight participants in the individual meeting. The two primary identified types of loss were a) loss of something previously possessed and b) sense of loss for potential unrealized. The stories of participants suggested the attempt to control desire is an attempt to avoid loss which contributes to craving. In this context craving, and the addiction it fuels, is a defensive adaptation indicative of a loss of self. Clinging is the desperate action of the individual trying to hold on to that which offers the illusion of wholeness.The fourth learning is coming into a relationship with the rhythm of desire is a non-linear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving  through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration. This learning examines individual participants through their experience of desire; some struggled to release desire and others struggled to contain it.
These struggles are informed by the archetypes of Dionysus, Aphrodite, Shiva and Shakti, an
d Psyche and Eros. Desire’s tripartite nature as subject, object, and lack or obstacle, is explored through the story of Tristan and Isolde and the romantic myth of Western culture. The functional importance of the third, and the symbolic importance of the triangle are emphasized. Craving is identified as young desire and yearning is suggested as older mature desire. 
Distillation of these four learnings results in an overarching cumulative learning: craving is sourced in experiences of loss, and expressing craving with reflexive awareness serves to transmute craving into yearning.
Results of the study suggest release and containment as two primary tasks related to desire. Strong correlations arise between desire and loss. The consequences and effects of desire’s triune nature are developed in the data through the lens of the mythic couples like the Hindu deities Shiva and Shakti. Suggested re-conceptualizations of craving that arise from interpretation of the data are, the voice of early wounds, an inability to tolerate loss, and impairment of the ability to sacrifice. 

                          Significance and Relevance of Topic

The experience of desire represents a challenge for both the individual and for society. Hillman, in describing the difficulty involved in negotiating the desire for intimate connection states “the torture of the soul seems unavoidable in every close involvement.” 115 
Moore notes our society suffers from a deep masochistic wound that suppresses desire.116 Omer suggests additional inhibitors of desire are the cultural gatekeepers that limit the expression of desire.117 Gatekeepers are aspects of self that guard the thresholds of transformation.. Cultural gatekeepers internalize the taboos and moral constraints of the surrounding culture.118 
These aspects of self are committed to the status quo and are threatened by the prospect of change. 
Suppressing the voice of desire is, in the Jungian sense, suppressing the voice of the gods in our life. Jung stated when the gods are denied they return as  diseases.119 Cultivating a relationship withhh the voice of desire allows for the unfolding
of our deepest selves. Blanket suppression of desire obfuscates the telos of desire and cripples the process of becoming. Dividing desire into craving and yearning creates new possibilities. Yearning, as the voice of desire leading us to wholeness, can be pursued and aspired to. Craving, as the voice of self-destruction, becomes the necessary focus of attention.
The effects of craving and the deformation of desire are ubiquitous in our culture. Estimates are 22.3 million individuals in the United States suffer from chemical dependency, which Helen Keane calls a disorder of desire, and 14.8 million suffer from depression, often characterized by anhedonia, which is the absence of desire.120 One in 10 therapists, by some estimates one in five, succumbs to their desire to have sex with their patients.121 News programs and newspapers are filled with stories of destructive desire in the form of sexual violence.
The effects of depression and the ravages of addiction as consequences of destructive desire are relatively easy to identify and name. Less easily identified are those individuals who are successful in suppressing their desire without visible consequence
yet suffer from the lack of vitality and deadness associated with a life disconnected from soul. These consequences of deformation of desire are more subtle but potentially equally as devastating. Examples range from the therapist who denies clients intimate connection out of fear of inappropriate contact to the middle age man who looks up at the age of fifty and finds he is not very interested in his own life. 
The addict can be thought of as trapped or stuck in his or her experience of craving or destructive desire. In a sense, their own desire has turned against them. The telos, or innate intelligence of desire, has been subverted. Instead of leading the individual through the process of unfolding or becoming, desire as craving pulls them toward self and other destruction. Loss of soul is often rapidly followed by more tangible, physical, and sometimes dire consequences. 
Transmutation of craving into yearning holds the possibility of restoring the telos of desire and reorienting the individual process of becoming. The suggestion under consideration in this study is that a full, deep examination and expression of craving can create the individual internal space for the energy of craving to shift into the energy of yearning. If movement of this kind is possible it suggests an avenue of healing and change for addicts and others suffering from destructive craving. A helpful metaphor for the kind of individual relationship to desire being suggested is that of a surfer to a wave. A surfer does not try to stop a wave or get out of the water; the surfer tries to negotiate the power and force of the wave to create a beautiful and exciting dance. But the importance of negotiating desire goes beyond that of the individual dance. If Danielou and Lawrence are right about the profound effect of relationships on the future of human kind, it is vital to find ways of encouraging the responsible flow of the spring of desire within the individual so the energy of desire, as both creator and progeny of relationships, can pull the individual, the couple, and the culture toward wholeness.


                Chapter One

            1.  Ovid, 
Metamorphoses (London: Penguin Books, 1955), 41. and

Thomas Moore, The Soul of Sex (New York: Harper-Collins, 1998), 11.
            2.  Hesiod, Hesiod and Theognis (London: Penguin Books, 1973), 27.
    3.  Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1959), 620.
    4.  ———, Civilization and Its Discontents (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1961), 82.  

5.  in The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1971), s.v. desire.

6.  Ian Owen, "On Desire: Its Development and Some Clinical Examples," British Journal of Medical Psychology 66 (1993): 229-38.
    7.  Donald E. Kalsched, "The Limits of Desire and the Desire for Limits in Psychoanalytic Theory," in The Fires of Desire, ed. Fredrica R. Halligan and John J. Shea (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 71.  

8.  Connie Zweig, The Holy Longing (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 2003), 12.

9.  Raymond J. Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, (New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2002), 653.

10.  Anders Nygren, Agape and Eros (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982), 178.

11.  Greg Mogenson, "The Erotics of Blame," The Journal of Analytical Psychology 37 (1992): 156-58.  quoted in  Susan Gulbe Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women" (Institute of Imaginal Studies, 2005), 5.

12.  James Fenton, The Strength of Poetry (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2001), 169.

13.  Tomas Agosin, "Psychosis, Dreams, and Mysticism in the Clinical Domain " in Fires of Desire, ed. F. R. Halligan and J. Shea (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1992), 45.

14.  Ruth Stein, "Fundamentalism, Father and Son, and Vertical Desire," Psychoanalytic Review 93, no. 2 (2006): 211.

15.  Mark Epstein, Open to Desire (New York: Gotham Books, 2005), 14.

16.  Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, 1064.
    17.  Ibid., 631.

18.  Zweig, The Holy Longing, 15.

19.  Ibid.

20.  Ibid.
            21.  Webster, "Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language,"  (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 2001), 2201.

22.  Two representative examples are Jean Houston’s discussion of the “deep yearning” for the Beloved in Search for the BelovedYearning and Loss,” Clinical Social Work Journal 31, no. 1 (2004).  
            23.  Freud, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," in The Freud Reader, 285, and “Civilization and Its Discontents,” in The Freud Reader, 755.  (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1987), 122; and a study by Suzanne Weil “The Extramarital Affair: A Language of 

24.  Ibid., 286.
    25.  Fredrica R. Halligan and John J. Shea, “ Beginning the Divine Quest: Whither the Divine Fire?” in The Fires of Desire, ed. Fredrica R. Halligan and John J. Shea (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 13. And  Tomas Agosin, "Psychosis, Dreams, and Mysticism in the Clinical Domain, " 44.

26.  Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, 199.            

27.  Kalsched, "The Limits of Desire and the Desire for Limits in Psychoanalytic Theory," 67.

28.  Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm (New York: The Noonday Press, 1973), 112.
            29.  James Giles, 
The Nature of Sexual Desire (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2004), 1.
            30.  Thomas Moore, The Soul of Sex (New York: Harper-Collins, 1998), 7, 13.  

31.  C. G. Jung, Aspects of the Masculine (New York: Routledge, 1989), 47.
            32.  C. G. Jung, 
The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes on a Seminar Given in 1932 by C. G. Jung, ed. Sonu Shamdasani ( Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series XCIX, 1996), 3.
    33.  Georg Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy (Boston: Shambhala, 1998), 102.
    34.  Ibid., xiv.
    35.  Sigmund Freud, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning," in The Freud Reader, ed. Peter Gay (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1989), 301.
    36.  Ibid., 302.
    37.  Ibid., 304.
    38.  C. G. Jung, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8 (New York: Bollingen Foundation: Princeton University Press, 1979), 131.
    39.  C. G. Jung, The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell (New York: Penguin Books, 1971), 273.
    40.  Ibid., 298.
    41.  C. G. Jung, The Essential Jung, ed. Anthony Storr (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1983), 212.
    42.  Ibid., 225.
    43.  Jung, The Portable Jung, 295.
    44.  William Blake, Collected Poems (New York: Routledge, 2002), 93.
    45.  C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Bollingen Series (New York: Princeton University Press, 1959), 3. 
    46.  Michael Rice and Sally MacDonald, Consuming Ancient Egypt
 (London: Routledge Cavendish, 2003), 4.
 47.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 20.
    48.  Ibid., 21.
    49.  Jung, The Essential Jung, 113.
   50.  Ibid., 23, 59.

51.  Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma (London: Routledge, 1996), 87.
    52.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
, 69.
    53.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 9.
    54.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 274.
    55.  James Hillman, A Blue Fire (New York: HarperPerennial, 1989), 288.
    56.  James Hillman, The Soul's Code (New York Warner Books, 1986), 3.
    57.  Jean Houston, Search for the Beloved (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1987), 31.
    58.  Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 118.
    59.  Robert Sardello “Psyche and Eros”, Lecture, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, September 17th, 1979, quoted in Joanne Stroud, The Bonding of Will and Desire (New York: Continuum, 1994), 38.
    60.  Judith Butler uses the phrase telos of desire in her discussion of gender and Lacanian psychodynamics in Women, Knowledge and Reality: Explorations in Feminist Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 1996), 387.  Elizabeth Stuart, like Butler a feminist theorist but also a theologian, writes of the telos of desire relative to celibacy in Gay and Lesbian Theology(Burlington VT, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2003), 106.  Eugene Goodheart, also in discussion of Lacan in Desire and Its Discontents (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 144, states “The telos of desire is not pleasure but its transgression.” Gayati Spivak, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (New York: Routledge, 1987), 126, while discussing Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection, suggests the possibility of an “undifferentiated telos of desire before the beginning of difference.”  Robert M. Durling and Ronald L. Martinez, in exposition of Dante’s poem Rime Petrose in their book Time and the Crystal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 195, note that in Dante’s poem a lady’s refusal of a lover’s  advances is seen as unnatural and represents a “retrograde motion blocking the natural telos of desire.”
    61.  Hillman, The Soul's Code, 196.   
    62.  Alain Danielou, The Gods of Love and Ecstasy (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1979), 9.
    63.  Carolyn Baker, Reclaiming the Dark Feminine: The Price of Desire (Tempe, Arizona: New Falcon Publications, 1996), 15.    
    64.  Donald Cohen, Life Is with Others: Selected Writings on Child Psychiatry, ed. Robert King Andres Martin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 57.  
    65.  Michael Balint, The Basic Fault (Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press, 1968), 22.
    66.  John Bowlby, A Secure Base (London: Basic Books, 1988), 6.
    67.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 13.
    68.  Aftab Omer, written communication from staff (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, October 25th, 2008).
    69.  Gulbe-Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival,” 12.
    70.  Donald Nathanson, Shame and Pride (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1992), 134.

71.  Ibid., 155.
    72.  Ibid., 127.

73.  Ibid., 128.
    74.  Ibid.
    75.  Gulbe-Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women", 37.
            76.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, May, 1999).
    77.  Ibid.
    78.  Lynn T. Kozlowski and D. Adrian Wilkinson, "Comments on Kozlowski and Wilkinson's 'Use and Misuse of the Concept of Craving by Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Researchers': A Reply from the Authors.," British Journal of Addiction 82 (1987): 489.
    79.  Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1939), 27.
    80.  Aktar Ahsen, Aphrodite (New York: Brandon House, 1988), 20.
    81.  Ann Landers, "Heaven and Hell--the Real Difference," in A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, ed. Mark Victor Hansen Jack Canfield (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communicatons, Inc, 1994), 55.
    82.  Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind (New York: Routledge, 1998), 44.
    83.  Stroud, The Bonding of Will and Desire, 28. 
    84.  Joel Kovel, The Age of Desire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981), 69.
    85.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November 1998.
    86.  Aftab Omer, written communication from staff  (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, October 18th, 2007)
    87.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, December, 1998.
    88.  Thomas Moore, prologue to A Blue Fire by James Hillman, 6.
    89.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, December, 1998.
    90.  Ibid.
    91.  Georges Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1962), 38.
    92.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2003.
    93.  Ibid.
    94.  Aftab Omer, written communication from staff (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, October 25th, 2008).
    95.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2001.
    96.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.
    97.  Ibid.
    98.  Ibid.
 99.  C. G. Jung, "Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious," in The Portable Jung, 108.
    100.  Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women", 37.
    101.  Ibid.
    102.  Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (New York: Doubleday, 1988), 118.
    103.  Peter M. Monti and James MacKillop, "Advances in the Treatment of Craving for Alcohol and Tobacco. ," inTranslation of Addictions: Science into Practice., ed. Peter M. Miller (New York: Elsevier Science, 2007), 211.
    104.  Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous , 43.
    105.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.
    106.  Jung, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8, 131.
    107.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 2002

108.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    109.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 47.
    110.  Institute of Imaginal Studies Graduate School and Research Center, "Dissertation Handbook, 3rd Edition," (Petaluma. CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, 2006), 63.
    111.  Ibid. 
    112.  Malidoma Patrice Some, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community (Portland. OR: Swan/Raven and Company, 1993), 90.
    113.  Marcia Munson and Judith P. Stelboum, The Lesbian Polyamory Reader: Open Relationships, Non-Monogomy, and Casual Sex (Binghamton, New York: Haworth Press, 1999), 1.
    114.  in The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. transmutation. 
    115.  James Hillman, The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1998), 93. 
    116.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 16. 
    117.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.
    118.  Ibid.
    119.  C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 13:  Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollinger Series (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1967), 37.

120.  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000), and National Institute of Mental Health,  (2002),

121.  Kenneth S. Pope, "Prior Therapist-Patient Sexual Involvement among Patients Seen by Psychologists,"Psychotherapy 22 (1991): 429-38. and Jean Ciardello, "Therapist-Patient Sexual Contact," Psychoanalytic Review 83, no. No. 5 (1996). 761-775, in S.L. Zelen, “Sexualization of Therapeutic Relationships: The Dual Vulnerability of Patient and Therapist” Psychotherapy 22, 178-185.


                                              CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW                          

                           Introduction and Overview

This review of the literature of desire focuses in four areas or clusters; the Psychology of Desire, Desire and Human Development, Religious Perspectives on Desire, and Imaginal Approaches to Desire.
Desire is complex and difficult to define. As a result, significant time is devoted in this review to various definitions of desire, drawn from a variety of disciplines. Definitions, theories, and examples are drawn from the fields of psychology, philosophy, literary criticism, aesthetics, and contemporary culture. Specifically, the idea of desire as an initiating or primary force, posited by many including Freud, begins the exploration. Discussion of the idea that desire is a process, explicated by G.W.F. Hegel, C.G. Jung, and Mark Epstein follows. Desire as lack, expounded by Plato and many after him, is also part of this conversation, as is the relational nature of desire, enumerated distinctly by Rene Girard and Jacques Lacan. Exploration of desire’s relationship to emotion or affect touches on Rene Descartes’ definition of desire as a primary emotion, as well as desire as the theories of M. Guy Thompson and Robert Solomon regarding desire as the initiator of emotion. Review of the wide body of studies and theories related to craving examine it relative to both addiction and personality type. Discussion of Paul Ricouer's hermeneutic exposition of a semantics of desire follows the movement of desire in the construction of meaning and purpose.
The balance of the literature review of the Psychology of Desire examines typologies of desire, functions of desire, and mitigates of desire. Typological models of desire explored include hierarchical models of desire like Plato’s heavenly and vulgar desire, triadic models of desire suggested by the poetry of Sappho and contemporary theorists, and a straightforward division of positive and negative theories of desire.
The survey of the literature related to functions of desire starts broadly with Aristotle’s assertion that desire begins all motion, Schiller’s formulation of the sensuous drive, and Hegel’sdialectic of desire as the creator of history. Carol Gilligan's work examines desire frozen through idealization and its role in patriarchy and the romantic myth. The focus then shifts to how desire functions within the individual. Epstein’s work concerning self-definition through desire, Hillman’s parallel acorn theory, the role of focused desire in the creation of individual reality espoused in the presently popular film, The Secret, and cognitive neurological theories regarding the reward system, are all explored. Jung’s concept of the transcendent function takes a central place in the review of the literature of the functions of desire. Also important is the relationship between desire and imagination as discussed by Gaston Bachelard and others.      
Factors that limit or mitigate the influence of desire are also reviewed. These include shame, disgust, cognitive strategies suggested by the Skeptics and the Stoics, compassion as suggested by Daisaku Ikeda and morality as discussed by David Hume and more contemporary theorists like Harry G. Frankfurt.
The second cluster is Desire and Human Development. This section is divided into early and late development. The preconditions for the early development of desire in the infant are reviewed through the theories of John Bowlby, Donald Winnicott, and Ronald Fairbairn who discuss early attachment, good-enough mothering, and the object-seeking nature of libido respectively. TheMother and Father Principles, as suggested by Omer, are also reviewed and address current research on the parental dyad. Here the emphasis is on the role of desire in the formation of the self. The loss represented by the absence of the father, and its influence on the formation of desire in the individual is examined through the work of Robert Bly, Guy Corneau, Shere Hite, and others. Also explored is the effect of temperament and character on the individual ability to hold and have desire.  In reviewing later development, the individual manifestations of developmental struggles related to desire are discussed. Phillip Flores’ work related to addiction as an attachment disorder is addressed as are the precepts of Alcoholics Anonymous.  
The third cluster reviews the literature related to Religious Perspectives on Desire. This review examines psychological perspectives on religion including Freud’s concept of the oceanic feeling, Ernest Becker’s suggestions on the purpose of religion, Rudolf Otto’s exploration of numinuousity, and Jacob Needleman’s comparison of eastern and western religions. Desire is examined relative to various belief systems such as the Judeo-Christian, Islamic, and Buddhist perspectives on desire offer very different views of the phenomena. Given its unique emphasis on the importance of desire, the Tantric system of belief will be reviewed independently.  
The fourth cluster, Imaginal Approaches to Desire, begins broadly with a review of depth psychology, narrows focus to Imaginal Psychology, turns to Imaginal Transformation Praxis, and concludes with mythological and archetypal lenses on desire. Omer's foundational concepts, as well as his orientation to both psychology and research, are referenced throughout this section. Also referenced are Corbin's concept of the mundis imaginalis and the importance of image. The exploration of the autonomy of image is deepened through the work of Hillman and Mary Watkins.
 Explication of images associated with desire such as the water of a spring, fire, and the cross broaden the dialogue and suggests direction for further study. Comparisons are made and parallels are drawn between mythological and literary figures that inform desire, including Aphrodite, Dionysus, Shiva, and Lucian of the The Golden Ass. The review is completed by exploring mythic and philosophical pairs or couples. Specifically, the alchemical king and queen, Amor and Psyche, Shiva and Shakti, and Dionysus and Ariadne are compared and contrasted given that these figures represent embodiments of  the process of desire. 
Prior to proceeding, a clarification is required regarding capitalizations In the tradition of the poet Rumi, Jung, and others, nouns and pronouns, like
Friend, Self, and Other are capitalized when they reference a concept, aspect of being, or an entity that touches individual experience but goes beyond the strictly personal. When these same terms are used in the lower case they refer to individual subjective experience.

 The Psychology of Desire

Psychological definitions and theories regarding desire often involve the concepts of motion or direction. Desire is also often personified as though it is an independent entity. A cross-disciplinary review of the literature finds desire referred to variously as a drive, a force, an awareness, a lack, a primary emotion, and an imitation.
As discussed earlier, in Freud’s early thinking desire, or libido, was a strong physiological drive in the individual seeking discharge. He saw it as the root source of anxiety. Freud stated unconscious repression of libido resulted in repetition compulsion, the unconscious and repetitive recreation of the circumstances surrounding the repression.1 Later in life, Freud expanded his concept of desire, or Eros, to a life energy standing in opposition to Thanatos, the energy of death.In Freudian theory, the roots of desire are in the unconscious. Likewise, G.W.F. Hegel, before Freud, suggested desire was psychic energy moving out of the Abyss toward consciousness. The Abyss is a Hegelian concept that in some ways prefigures Freud’s unconscious. Jon Mills notes Hegel describes it as a “nightlike” place from which individual consciousness is formed through the movement of desire.3 Melvin Woody and Edward S. Casey suggest Hegel goes on to say desire is the way in which energy is transformed into meaning.4 In a similar vein, Arnold Toynbee, defined desire as the psychic energy that generates and sustains life.5 James Giles defines desire simply as ‘awareness in motion.’ 6 In the words of T.S.Eliot, “Desire itself is movement.” 7
Desire is often identified as being synonymous with, or rising from, lack or absence. Eros, in Greek, denotes “want, lack, desire for that which is missing.” 8 Plato suggests, through the character of Aristophanes, that man was broken in half by the gods and is left with the yearning for his missing half.9 Jonathan Dollimore notes Schopenhauer writes that all desire springs from lack and suffering.10 Girard identifies two types of lack which moves the focus from the intrapsychic to the interpersonal. First is a sensed lack of being within the individual which creates intense desire for wholeness. Wholeness is imagined to be in an object. Competition for that object of imagined wholeness creates a perception of scarcity which is the second lack Girard calls this type of desire for the object of the other mimetic desire.11
Freud’s pairing of Eros and Thanatos equates desire with absolute lack, or death.
 Bataille suggests sexuality, with its potential for mystical dissolution, as the meeting place of death and desire. Jonathan Dollimore points to mutability as the connection between desire and death.12 He suggests that mutability both animates and thwarts desire creating ‘destructive’ insatiability.13 
Shakespeare writes Desire is death." 14 This relationship between desire and loss will be revisited and expanded in the review of the literature on human development and attachment.
Typologies of desire, as well as functional descriptions of desire tend to be either qualitative or phenomenological. Qualitative typologies divide desire by its perceived characteristics. Phenomenological typologies are more concerned with the subjective experience of desire. Phenomenological distinctions are difficult because throughout life, and particularly in the very beginning of the individual life, development of the self and development of desire are profoundly interrelated. Because desire is so intimately involved in the construction of the self, it is challenging to view it as an entity or structure entirely separate from the self.

Typologies of Desire

Desire’s Latin root suggests it is ‘de,’ down from the stars or ‘sidus.’ 15 This echoes Plato’s distinction between the vulgar Eros of man and the heavenly Eros of the gods.16 Seneca writes of natural and unnatural desires. He suggests that natural desires, like thirst or hunger, are limited and that unnatural desires, like desire for wealth, are never satisfied. Similar to Buddhist belief, Seneca suggests that problems with desire are related to clinging.17 Ikeda distinguishes between basic and diabolical desire. Basic desire, in his formulation, moves individuals toward creativity while diabolical desire is selfish in nature and seeks to subjugate and destroy. The nature of basic desire is loving while diabolical desire seeks to control.18 These theorists all suggest qualitative divisions of desire separated into categories of higher and lower, or good and bad.
Hillman reaches back to classical Greek culture to differentiate three different types of Eros. Himeros is physical desire for what is immediately present; it is the heat of the moment. Anteros is answering, or responding love and desire.  Pothos is longing for the unattainable. He describes pothos as “…the motive force that drives desire ever onward…” and is never satisfied.19
Desire is also often portrayed as triadic. As implied in the discussion of desire and lack, desire requires a subject and object and a void or obstacle.20 Adam Phillips notes desire’s need for resistance.21 Paul Verhaeghe states in triangular love there is room for creation.22 Hillman argues for the necessity of considering triangular patterns in the exploration of Eros.23 Anne Carson states that without a space between subject and object, desire ends; she notes the triangular nature of desire evident in the poetry of Sappho.24 Carson suggests that Sappho sees desire as a three part structure and offers Sappho’s Fragment 13, a portion of which is quoted, as evidence:

He seems to me equal to the Gods that man
who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking.25

Fragment 13, according to Carson, demonstrates the three-pointed circuit of desire that lived within the mind of Sappho.  
In another typology, William Irvine distinguishes between  instrumental  desires, those desires that are desired to fulfill another desire, and terminal desires, those desires desired for their own sake. For example, an instrumental desire for a spoon could serve a terminal desire to consume soup.26 He further suggests that th
ere are hedonic desires,
which are desires that make you feel good, and nonhedonic desires, which are desires unrelated to affect. He goes on to offer a model in which chains of desire are formed by the interaction of hedonic and nonhedonic desires which he describes as the cooperation of affect and intellect.27
In discussing the source of desire, Irvine suggests the image of a wellspring.
Desire has also been examined and assessed in terms of its relationship to affect. Descartes designated desire as one of six basic emotions. He called it an emotion of the soul.28 Freud, working with the split between mind and body, suggested that affect and idea, or mind and body, meet in the drive.29 He believed the drive. i.e. libido, is the border area between the body and the psyche.30 Robert Solomon states that emotions always involve desire.31 Similarly, M. Guy Thompson states that desire precedes emotion.  He suggests “…emotion is a structure of desire.”  It is “…a way of coping with a desire we are unable to fulfill.” 32
Wilhelm Reich emphasized orgasm as the key to mental and emotional health.33 A number of somatic, or body-focused, schools of psychology have been derived from Reich. 
One of these is Alexander Lowen’s Bioenergetics, which suggests character type effects an individual’s ability to feel desire.34
The cognitive-behavioral school of psychology has made a study of emotions but, as illustrated in the textbook, Understanding Emotions, by Kewith Oatley and Jennifer M. Jenkins, desire falls outside their realm of inquiry.35 Their exploration of emotional causation focuses on physiological and behavioral determinants. The terms eros and libido are not found in the book and desire, as either a cause or consequence of emotion, is not explored.36 The chapter on the development of emotion focuses on observable behavior and cognitive understanding.37 Nico Frijda identifies desire as a factor in an individual’s action readiness but his focus is strictly behavioral.38
Likewise, in developmental psychology several studies have explored the relationship
 between desire and belief in child development but emotion and affect are not explored.39 The focus in developmental psychology is on the cognitive formation of the understanding of desire in the young mind with a particular interest in the interactive development of desire and belief. The emphasis here is on how the mind comes to understand desire, not how the individual is formed through moving with desire.
The concept of craving is one aspect, or type, of desire that has attracted considerable research. From a cognitive perspective craving is considered strong desire and is often discussed in reference to physiology or appetites. Buddhists identify craving, or tanha, as the primary cause of human suffering.40 From the Buddhist perspective, craving could be seen as a dysfunction of desire. A significant body of research into craving exists regarding alcohol, drugs and food. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a number of drugs intended to reduce craving. One example is Campral or acamprosate, prescribed for reducing alcohol craving.41 Research in craving is moving rapidly as brain imaging offers large amounts of detailed information about what areas of the brain are involved in the experience of craving.42
Some studies suggest a relationship between intensity of craving and affect or between personality and craving. Raymond Niaura notes an association between affect, especially negative affect, and urges to drink.43 Ingmar Franken, surveying subjects in inpatient alcoholism treatment along with subjects in the general population, found a relationship between extraversion and craving.4
4 Paul Florsheim, studying adolescents, found selected personality traits were associated with distinct components of craving; substance users with high sensation-seeking scores tended to crave the excitement associated with drug use while substance users with high anxious-neuroticism scores tende ged to crave the relief of distress associated with drug use.45 
Gordon Parker found correlations between chocolate craving, depression and neuroticism.46 All data, in terms of both craving and personality, was obtained by self-report questionnaires.
Saul Shiffman suggests value in developing the analogy between craving and hunger and notes their similarities. He also suggests the need to distinguish between background or tonic craving, which is experienced as a steady state, and phasic craving that is intense and pulsatile.47
Craving has also been researched in regard to a number of other relevant variables including loss. T.E. Robinson and K.C. Berridge, in studying alcoholism, posit what they call neuroadaptation.48 They suggest the brain adapts to the presence of alcohol and that the removal, or loss, of alcohol results in changes in brain-cell function that results in craving. David Kavanaugh notes the importance of images in the experience of craving.49 Monica Zilberman, studying ninety-five women seeking alcohol treatment, suggests a correlation between impulsiveness, the inability to control desire, and craving.50 
Existing research on craving establishes it as a primary feature of substance dependency and links it to both personality type and physiological loss.51 Flores,defining addiction as an attachment disorder, establishes strong causal links between addiction and early deficits.52 He plants the roots of addiction firmly in early development but does not directly address craving. Flores raises the issue of  cross-addiction, the pattern of substituting one addiction for another, and uses it as evidence that addiction is an attachment disorder.53 Craig Lambert states many experts in the field of addiction are beginning to move away from thinking of addiction in terms of a substance or personality type. He states they are beginning to think of addiction as a form of relationship.54     
               Despite these correlations between craving, addiction, and early development there is very little research exploring the development of craving in early life. The substantial body of research in regard to craving is focused on cognition and  physiology. One exception to this gap in the research is Susan Gulbe-Walsh’s dissertation on desire which explores craving, yearning and formative relationships in the experience of bulimic women.55
Another way of examining desire, other then outlining its various aspects, is 
to look at desire in relationship to the self. Desire’s relationship to the concept of the self is addressed, quite differently, by both Jacques Lacan and Mark Epstein. Lacan suggests there is no real stable self.56 Self exists only in relation to other.Lacan draws from Hegel’s conception of desire as the individual desire for recognition.57 Lacan states “Man desires the Other’s desire for him.” 58 Verhaeghe interprets this to mean that one person’s desire always goes through the desire of another thereby creating a “field of desire.” 59 Lacan theorizes that desire has no object but rather only a cause and as such can never really be satisfied.60 He calls this object that causes desire object (a). Bruce Fink notes Lacan’s definitions varied over time but object (a) is most easily understood as a fantasy of wholeness representing the last remnants of the hypothetical mother-child unity.61
In contrast, Epstein argues that it is through desire that we define who we   are; he suggests our sense of self is created through negotiating desire.62 Cohen also emphasizes the role of desire in self-definition which will be further addressed in the section on human development.63                                                 Ricoeur, writing from a hermeneutic orientation, draws on both Lacan and    Freud in proposing his semantics of desire.64 Hermeneutics, in this context, is   defined as the art and theory of interpreting human behavior speech and writing.65 In a traditional sense hermeneutics concerns the interpretation of texts, especially Biblical texts, and in an existential sense involves discussion of the meaning of life.66 According to Richard Kearney, Ricoeur posits three unconscious and sometimes conflicting drives for meaning and understanding that lie beneath reflective consciousness: first is an archaeological hermeneutic disclosing the origin of meaning prior to the conscious ego; second is a teleological hermeneutic pointing to meaning beyond the conscious ego; and third is an eschatological hermeneutic testifying to a sacred and transcendent dimension of meaning that comes before and after the conscious ego.67 Eschatology is defined as a branch of theology or philosophy concerned with final events, endings, and the destiny of humankind.68 Ricoeur suggests desire in its deepest sense is manifested in these three hermeneutics that arise in the individual search for meaning and purpose. Ricoeur also argues powerfully for the importance of the symbolic imagination, the dream imagination, and the poetic imagination in finding meaning and staying connected  to the sacred.69
Various psychological, cultural, and religious interpretations of desire can     also be examined by simply dividing them into desire-positive and desire-negative perspectives. Eugene Webb suggests Freud held a largely negative view of desire  while Jung’s was more positive. Webb notes Freud’s tragic perspective and relates it to a pervasive cultural view of desire as negative, which he traces back to St. Augustine’s doctrine of Original Sin.70 Webb goes on to compare Jung to Baruch Spinoza. He notes Spinoza called desire the “essence of man” and identifiesfalling into false desires through lack of clarity as the central human problem.71 True life true desire, Spinoza states, is active.72 This resonates with the ancient Greek view of Eros as the originator of motion, as well as with Michel Foucault’s determination that passivity, or lack of motion, in the ancient adult Greek male, was judged to be detrimental and dishonorable.73 
Echoing a desire-negative perspective, Thomas Aquinas defines desire, espe- cially sexual desire, as a disorder of the body.74 He believes the sin it represents is the cause of death. Epicurus suggests desire is empty striving that goes on infinitely.” 75 His disciple, Lucretius, refers to desire as “this deplorable lust for life.” 76
In contrast, Joseph Campbell argues for the individual need to be in relation-ship with desire. He suggests we “follow our bliss” to discover ourselves.77 Bliss is defined as a stated of ecstasy or extreme ecstasy.78 He writes that it is through connection to bliss that an individual finds depth and purpose. Robert Johnson, commenting on the desire-negative bias in much of western culture, notes that Christians turned Dionysus, the god of ecstasy, into the face of the devil.79 He further states: 

When Western society chose to follow the erratic footsteps of the degraded Bacchus [Roman god of drunkenness] instead of the joyful dance of Dionysus, it began to confuse materialism with sensation.80

Speaking culturally, an example of antipathy toward the sexual face of desire is found in the common correlation of death and promiscuity in horror or slasher films. Carol Clover notes that death after sex is a standard of the genre.81 Other theorists suggest that the primarily female deaths at the hands of primarily male killers, watched by a primarily male audience, are representative of fear of female sexuality and castration anxiety.82 Negative perspectives on desire abound in both culture and theory.
Noteworthy is the vast range of differences in theory and opinion with regard to typologies of desire. To some, desire is the essence of evil in man and the reason for mortality; to others it is the essential factor in individual growth and connection to the divine. 

Functions of Desire

The review of the literature related to the functions of desire begins with broader concepts about how desire functions in the world then moves to how desire functions within the individual and between individuals. 
Anders Nygren, exploring Platonic systems of belief, suggests a vital spiritual function of desire or Eros. He states “Eros is man’s conversion from the sensible to the super-sensible; it is the upward tendency of the human soul.” 83 Aristotle suggested that desire, in concert with reason, begins all motion. Even the planets, he suggested, move due to love or attraction.84 Ken Wilbur, further linking desire with physical laws of motion, calls gravity “spiritual Eros.” 85 Brian Swimme identifies gravity as the primordial bond.86 He suggests this energy of attraction, that holds all things together, be thought of as the universe acting. He posits that gravity is part of the unified force of the universe acting on all its elements, including every particle of its human elements. Nygren, drawing on Plato, emphasizes Eros’ pull toward the divine. Aristotle, Wilbur and Swimme equate Eros and gravity as the energies that pull elements together. 
Hegel posits a dialectic of desire that creates history.87 He states that each of us, out of self-consciousness, seeks to have our desire recognized. Inevitably, desires collide, struggle ensues, and transformation is possible. According to Hegel when desire meets desire history is born. Alexandre Kojeve, interpreting Hegel, states it is desire that creates and reveals the individual through interaction with others.88 When desire meets an object, as in an animal's consumption of food, only satisfaction or frustration of satisfaction results. When desire meets non-being or the desire of another, it results in humanizing self-consciousness.89
Bruno Snell, in his interpretation of the Greek llyric poetry of Sappho, Archilochus, and Anacreon describes a different but related dialectic of desire.90 In exploring the rise of individualism, Snell suggests it is when love or desire is blocked that the individual soul is formed.91 He notes Sappho's assumption love is not individually generated but is a gift from Aphrodite.92 The distress of desire that is blocked "is claimed as man's private property." 93 Snell interprets the Greek lyricists as suggesting the point at which the force of desire meets an obstacle that cannot be overcome is the place at which the individual soul is born through suffering: "For the death-likeness of love is, particularly in Sappho's view, the greatest tension of which the soul is capable." 94 
Schiller addresses how the interplay of desire within the individual affects how he or she meets the world. Schiller suggests that when the sensuous drive, associated with desire and affect, works in concert with the 
formal drive, associated with cognition, the play drive becomes functional.95 According to Schiller, an individual's ability to perceive beauty in its different forms is intimately connected to the functioning of these drives.96 To clarify, according to Schiller, when form and content, as well as affect and idea are harmonized within the individual then the individual is able to meet the world playfully and perceive beauty.  
Jung elaborates a complex telos in libido that is vertical in nature. He suggests we all come into the world with a unique destiny that fragments when it meets reality.97 This split, according to Jung, accounts for the ambivalent nature of desire and the transcendent longing pulling us toward our greater selves.98
Jung's concept of the transcendent function suggests a transformative aspect of desire. He states in a polarity, an internal struggle of competing desires that creates distress, individuation and transformation are possible if the individual is able to tolerate the tension and resist both dissociation and premature resolution.99 Jung’s treatment of desire is phenomenological; his emphasis is on the individual experience, the subjective struggle, with desire. Similarly, in the Imaginal Approach to psychology, an orientation that emphasizes soul as its primary concern, the practice of pathologizing is used as a means of exploring a psychological polarity. Omer's concept of pathologizing is a process in which a group or individual make a conscious choice to allow reactions to be expressed, with a minimum of censoring, as a way of exploring and expanding an identified polarity.100
The cross is suggested by Jung as a symbol of self and the crucifixion as a symbolization of the individuation process.101 Jung describes this tension between horizontal and vertical desires as a tension between ego and the greater Self characterized by a moral suffering which he states is equivalent to being crucified.” 102 Epstein states, “Desire is the crucible in which the self is formed.” 103 The cross formed by the axes of desire, with the crucible of self at the center, suggests a symbol for the process of desire or yearning.
This contrasts with the role desire plays in the romantic myth as postulated by Carol Gilligan. Gilligan suggests the possibility that the romantic myth, the tragic love story, is a sign of patriarchy.104 She states “Perhaps patriarchy, by establishing hierarchy in the heart of intimacy, is inherently tragic…” 105 Gilligan argues the power inequity that defines patriarchy, and is illustrated in the romantic myth, is not compatible with the demands of intimacy. Placing one partner over, or above, the other creates ownership rather than mutuality.
Young women, according to Gilligan, go through a process of self-sacrifice and dissociation in order to be in relationship in a patriarchal culture.  As a consequence, both individuals in the relationship are, in a sense, in love with an image of the other rather then the actual other.106 The tendency, she writes, in these relationships characterized by dissociation, is toward idealization and denigration which she characterizes as the hallmarks of loss.107 Sensation, or pleasure, found through following the voice of desire, moves toward genuine relationship and away from dissociative relationship. The desire, pleasure, and love involved in genuine relationship erodes patriarchy by using pleasure as a guide to authentic connection.108 Gilligan posits desire for intimate connection, within the construct of patriarchy, often leads to a sacrifice of self while following the voice of pleasure erodes the construct of patriarchy thereby allowing for authentic relationship.
Johnson adds his voice to Gilligan's in the equation of patriarchy and the romantic myth. He names romantic love as the greatest energy system in the Western psyche. He states a patriarchal mentality has driven the feminine out of Western culture and created a cultural imbalance between masculine and feminine properties.109
Several theorists argue desire functions as an essential part of the individual growth process. As previously mentioned, Epstein suggests the experience of desire is the primary way in which we define who we are. Drawing from Aristotle, Hillman uses the example of the acorn aching to be an oak tree to illustrate destiny and the potential telos in desire.110 Tomas Agosin further states mystical and erotic libido represent the psyche's search for meaning and fulfillment.111 
A number of other theorists speculate about the function of desire.
 Gilles Deleuze denies the relationship between desire and lack stating instead that desire produces reality and that individuals are desiring machines.112 
Timothy Schroder suggests that desire is best understood as neurochemical reward.113 David Kavanagh divides the experience of desire into intrusive thoughts and cognitive elaborations of those thoughts.114 He also argues for the importance of sensory images in this process. Here, desire is also pleasure or reward seeking.  
Shifting the focus away from cognition, Bachelard, as noted by Stroud, links intense desiring with abundant imagining and argues for the foundational nature of images.115 This supports Sardello's previously mentioned contention that desire or Eros is the will of the imagination.116 Phillips also emphasizes the relationship between desire and imagination stating appetite is synonymous with imagination.117 Donald Cohen links imaginative capacity to the child’s desiring of the absent other.118 
Finally, a film and book called The Secret has presently captured the popular imagination and suggests a function of desire. It suggests desire, coupled with thought, has the power to create what is imagined.119 It is derided by some as magical thinking and championed by others as a powerful way of manifesting in the world.

Mitigates of Desire  

Desire has often been seen as a potentially dangerous force in need of control. As a result, attention has been paid to what mitigates, eliminates, or transforms desire. Seneca suggests daily meditation on right action as a way of ridding ourselves of unwanted desires.120 Epicurus offers a man should live without being known in order to escape the desires of fame.121 Through a passion for philosophy, Lucretius stated, “…every disturbing and burdensomeesire is undone.” 122 Sextus Empiricus, prefiguring Girard’s use of mimesis, noted the human tendency to want what others want and instead suggested that one choose what one has and let go of opinions about what is desirable.123 Daisaku Ikeda writes that compassion leads to the conquest of desire.124
Writing from the perspective of affect theory, Nathanson names shame as a powerful attenuator of desire. Nathanson theorizes the physiological basis of shame is to attenuate affect in the same way disgust serves to limit hunger.125 He quotes Silvan Tompkins, who developed affect theory, as saying shame will occur whenever desire outruns fulfillment.126 In other words, when an individual continues to want someone or something beyond the point when that person or thing is available to them, that individual will experience shame. According to Nathanson, the more desire or excitement an individual feels, the greater degree of shame he or she will experience when access to the object of excitement is impeded or blocked.127 He also suggests the experience of shame usually follows a moment of exposure of a sensitive and vulnerable aspect of self.128 
Nathanson describes what he calls the compass of shame
 which he suggests as a way of understanding how individuals react to an experience of shame.129 He suggests that an individual who experiences shame will react with one of four strategies: withdrawal, avoidance, attack self, or attack other.130 According to Nathanson the strategy of withdrawal abbreviates desire while the strategy of attack self manifests as submission or masochism.131 He goes on to state that one way of dealing with the pain and tension of chronic states of shame is finding relief in an addictive or sedative fashion through the use of orgiastic behaviors. 
One suggested antidote to shame is touch. Alexis Johnson's theory of healing shame posits somatic awareness, touch, and imagery work as therapeutic factors.132 Cheryl Glickauf-Hughes and Susan Chance, writing from an object relations perspective, suggest the cautious use of touch, with clients who request it and have adequate ego-strength, as a way of dealing with shame about needs.133 The object relations branch of psychology places emphasis on the relationship between the interior of the individual and meaningful external objects or others.134 A survey, by Judith Anne Horton, asked 231 psychotherapy patients about their experience of touch in the therapy office. Sexually abused respondents were more likely then non-sexually abused respondents to attribute a positive and corrective role to touch from their therapist.135 This study suggests the importance of addressing touch
with those who have been violated and carry shame related to touch. Others, like Susan Smith-Lawry, suggest use of touch with sexual abuse survivors is contraindicated at all times.136
Disgust and morality, two other powerful mitigates of desire, are discussed here as both separate and interrelated phenomenon. Morality will be discussed further on in the cluster on religion and psychology. Buddhism prescribes disgust as a way of escaping from troubling or unwanted desire. According to William Irvine, a Buddhist bedeviled by lust for a woman is advised to imagine repulsive excretions of the body or imagine the body in various states of decomposition.137 In like fashion, affect theory, developed by Silvan Tompkins, notes that disgust functions to abbreviate drives, desires and appetites.138
There is little existing research studying the interaction of desire and disgust. Julie Anne Eichstedt’s study of gender stereotypes explores how expressions of disgust affect a child’s desire for an object.139 Her focus on gender differences utilizes disgust but does not explore it. S. Rousset studied whether or not expression of different emotions, including disgust, would affect the participant’s desire to eat meat. Again, the expression of disgust is utilized to examine a different phenomena but is not itself explored.140 In a study that may offer some insight into the relationship between desire and disgust, Nienke Vulink found high levels of sexual disgust along with low levels of sexual pleasure in women with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.141
Aurel Kolnai suggests two primary causes of physical disgust are putrefaction and excessive fecundity without structure.142 He states moral disgust results from excessive vitality, dishonesty and weakness of character.143 Barry Smith and Carolyn Korsmeyer, interpreting Kolnai, offer that disgust is a visceral sensitivity to corruption.144 Freud posits a struggle between the sexual instinct and disgust.145 He states a feeling of disgust arises as a result of perversions and uses as an example contact of the mouth with a genital organ.146 Freud notes children do not initially feel disgust but acquire disgust through education.147 Winfried Menninghaus notes, for Freud, disgust and libido are quasi-independent. They reside within the individual but are discussed as forces to some degree independent from the individual.148 He goes on to define perversion as the absence of disgust and repression in a context where reactions of disgust and repression would normally be expected.149 Menninghaus suggests disgust can be seen as saying no to life itself.150
Friedrich Nietzsche’s theories in regard to disgust also include a life-negating aspect. He suggests the essence of Christianity is disgust for life and that Christian morality represents a dangerous denial of life. He proposes, as an antidote to Christian morality, the anti-Christian or
Dionysian.151 Although Nietzsche argued the need to overcome disgust, he also argued its utility in the development of cognition.152 He suggests the overcoming of disgust needs to happen twice. After overcoming moral disgust it is necessary to overcome what he calls the great disgust which is “weariness by life for life.” 153
William Ian Miller points out the goal of civilizing manners is to repress the disgusting.154 He also notes Adam Smith’s conclusion that disgust occurs when sympathy fails.155 He observes it is through the experience of disgust that individuals and societies define morality and that disgust motivates class, racial, and ethnic divisions.156
The concepts of jouissance and abjection both relate to the experiences of desire and disgust. Lacan states the initial separation of
mother and child, which he refers to as the creation of the stance of the subject, results in the feeling of jouissance, or excessive pleasure.157 Jouissance leads to a feeling of overwhelm or disgust along with a simultaneous fascination.158 Bruce Fink calls jouissance pleasure without satisfaction.159 He suggests individuals seek psychotherapy when there is a breakdown in their system for obtaining and managing jouissance.
The term abjection was coined by Julia Kristeva to refer to the human reaction, marked by feelings of both fascination and disgust, evoked by the potential loss of meaning caused by a breakdown in the distinction between self and other.160 Abjection occurs when an individual is faced with his or her materiality in a way that cannot be avoided, such as in the viewing of a corpse. 
Kolnai, Nietzsche and Miller call attention to the close relationship between disgust and the construction of morality. Phillips suggests avoiding the potential for humiliation is at the root of morality.161 Phillips defines morality as “setting limits to wanting.” 162 Freud posited the concept of the super-ego as the moral voice within the individual. 163 Freud suggested the super-ego develops through affiliation with the father and serves to restrain the instincts. Freud characterizes the super-ego as harsh and potentially cruel. Some contemporary theorists, like James Q. Wilson, refute Freud and suggest morality, or a moral sense, develops through empathic connection to others.164 Others, like
Jonathan Haidt, emphasize the role of disgust in moral judgment and suggest a role for the “wisdom of repugnance.” 165 
Haidt offers a new emotion, the emotion of elevation characterized by gratitude, generosity, and a feeling of openness, in opposition to disgust.166 He posits a vertical continuum, with elevation above and disgust below. In this context, disgust is a reaction to others moving down the continuum into their lower, baser, less divine nature.167 Haidt’s formulation strongly resembles the Platonic typology of desire with heavenly and vulgar versions and echoes Stein’s model of vertical desire. Both these contemporary schools of thought, Wilson’s and Haidt’s, largely reject rationalistic theories such as Lawrence Kolhberg’s six stages of moral development.168 Haidt notes traditional rationalist reliance on Kantian ethical theory and suggests instead adoption of Hume’s argument that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions…” 169
Frankfurt, exploring free will and moral responsibility, suggests a division of desire into first order and second order desires.170 First order desire, according to Frankfurt, involves simply wanting and moving toward that which is wanted. Both humans and animals experience this type of desire. Only humans experience second order desire, or second order volitions, as it requires reflective self-assessment. 171 Second
order desires require that the subject wants to have the desire or wants the desire to be his will.172 As examples of both types of desire Frankfurt posits two addicts, one of whom fights against the desire to use a substance and one of whom simply uses without reflection or struggle.173 Both addicts use drugs but their volitional experience is very different. Frankfurt calls the addict who struggles with the desire to use a person. He calls the addict who uses without reflection a wanton. A wanton has only first order desires and does not care about his or her own will.174
Finally, Debra Nussbaum writes of the importance of considering issues of power  in the discussion of desire. Nussbaum writes that desire is limited by the subject’s perception of what is possible.175 She argues the need for informed desire. This is desire that requires equality of capability and equality of choice.
In summary, it is clear that desire has been widely discussed in a broad array of scholarly fields. Desire is often conceptualized as having movement, direction, and shape. It is frequently seen as the initiator of action, affect and movement. It is characterized as having an in between quality as well as the ability to connect or pull together. Desire has been divided up according to a number of different formulas, many of which attempt to distinguish between a high and low, or good and bad desire. Clinging, control, passivity, and lack of control, are associated negatively with desire. The cross is suggested as a symbol of the self and a process of yearning. A wellspring is suggested as an image of, or s
ymbol for, the movement of yearning within the individual.
In terms of existing research, the cognitive-behavioral school of psychology has made a study of emotion but has not included desire. In developmental psychology desire is explored but only as a cognitive structure. Despite strong established theoretical ties between desire and disgust, very little existing research examines their relationship. Considerable research exists in regard to craving but most of it is focused on physiological factors. Niaura's study regarding affect and urges to drink, Franken's survey exploring extraversion and craving, Florsheim's study linking personality traits with craving, Parker's found correlations between chocolate craving, depression and neuroticism, and Zilberman's study of impulsiveness and craving, represent the beginnings of an exploration of personality factors and deisre as craving. But studies of correlations between present day pathology and craving have not yet led to studies exploring the developmental etiology of craving. Flores' work categorizing addiction as an attachment disorder offers a theoretical bridge for researchers of craving to cross but, to date, none have chosen to do so. No research, with the exception of Gulbe-Walsh's study, which will be discussed further on, addresses the deeper nature of desire. 
Desire is not easily measured and has not received much attention from traditionally based research. One possibility is the desire-negative bias of Western culture Johnson posits has served to limit the way in which desire is conceptualized and studied. As noted above, a rich and
substantial theoretical field of knowledge exists relative to desire but very little research investigating the nature of desire has been initiated to build upon that knowledge. 


         Desire and Human Development

The literature related to desire and human development is reviewed in two sections, early and late development. Early development focuses on how desire and the self form relative to each other in the first few years of life. The later development section explores how desire manifests in the self that is largely formed.

Early Development

Freud defined libido as pleasure-seeking.176 Ronald Fairbairn breaks from Freud in suggesting that libido is primarily object-seeking rather than pleasure-seeking; he states that libido moves toward relations with another rather then simply toward satisfaction.177 He suggests that the ability to establish and maintain intimate relationships depends upon adequate introjects, or integrated inner images, of primary caretakers who are bridges from the interiority of the individual to the exterior of the other. In Fairbairn’s redefinition of libido, the primary human motivation is not for pleasure, but for connection to others. 
Along the same lines, Victor Bonfilio states that the preconditions for the development of desire in infancy and childhood are safety, containment, bodily integrity, and good internal and external objects.178 He also notes the paucity of literature and research around what desire is and how it is formed. 
Desire formation and desire satisfaction are phrases used by a contemporary group of philosophers, including Chris Heathwood  and Richard Arneson.179 
However, their exploration is focused on moral and ethical considerations of the adult experience of desire rather then developmental concerns. Arneson uses the image of a raging and powerful river as a metaphor for the movement of passionate desire.180                                                                    One way of framing what these different theorists are saying regarding desire is that fear inhibits the formation of desire while safety encourages the formation of desire. In regard to safety as a precondition for the development of desire, it is interesting to note studies of facial beauty. Studies of facial beauty identify averageness as the primary characteristic of the face that is most commonly considered to be beautiful.181 Average is not used in the sense of mid-range on a continuum of beauty, but rather as prototypical. The more images of faces are combined, or merged, the more beautiful they are considered to be.  Further, facial recognition occurs through the limbic system of the brain rather than the neocortex, hence, it is, at least initially, more related to affect than to cognition.  Benoit Monin explores the relationship between liking and familiarity but never directly addresses the obvious association between liking, familiarity, and safety or its obverse; dislike, difference, and danger.182 This area of study suggests that individual perception of beauty and the desire it evokes, is affected by perceptions of safety and familiarity.
 upon the importance of relationship, John Bowlby emphasizes the need for a secure base, or stable internal space within the individual, which is created through adequate physical and emotional contact with the primary caregiver to create secure attachment.183 Rather than a need for an internalized object, he emphasizes the need for a feeling of security. Using an experiment called the Strange Situation, Mary Ainsworth gauged the reaction of a young child to the departure and arrival of the mother in the presence of a stranger.184 In her research, Ainsworth identified four primary attachment styles: securely attachedinsecurely attached/dismissiveinsecurely attached avoidant, and insecurely attached/disorganized. Longitudinal studies indicate that attachment patterns persist over time; however, studies also indicate that attachment styles can change and some styles endure more reliably then others.185
 large and growing body of research is expanding the application of attachment styles. For example, C. Hazan and P. Shafer identified three adult attachment styles related to romantic attachment: secure, anxious and avoidant.186 Numerous studies explore the relationship of attachment style to parenting patterns.187 Other studies examine attachment style relative to addictions and to countertransference.188 Countertransference is defined as the reactions a therapist has toward a client or patient.189
llan Schore, writing on affect regulation or how emotions or affects move through the individual, suggests important links between neurochemistry and attachment.190 He points to a growing body of research which indicates that the right prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that deals with emotion processing, plays a much greater role in the first three years of life than the left prefrontal cortex. He states “early misattuned interactional environments” result in insecure attachment and a right brain regulatory system that is limited in its ability to cope with stress.191
innicott posits the idea of the ‘good-enough mother’ who is able to support the infant’s initial illusion of omnipotence and gradual disillusionment, thereby allowing for the creation of a third transitional space where creativity, culture, and to a large extent, relationships, happen.192 Winnicott notes that in the beginning there is not an infant, but rather a mother-infant matrix. The inevitable delays or absences of the mother fractures the matrix which results in the frustration of unmet needs. Cohen believes that it is in this frustration, this perceived lack, that desire is born. He states “…the differentiation of desire and of self are parallel, interdependent processes.” 193
rik Erikson also emphasizes the importance of the primary dyad. He states that hope, which he defines as expectant desire, results from resolution of the first developmental stage of basic trust versus basic mistrust.194 He suggests inadequate resolution of this stage, due to disruption of the relationship between infant and primary caregiver, results in the infant’s withdrawal.
his emphasis on relationship is reinforced by numerous authors, like Anthony Synott and Nina Jablonski, who write infants who are not touched enough fail to thrive and often die.195 Anecdotally, this is illustrated by the often told, but unconfirmed, story of 13th century King Frederick II Hohenstaufen of Sicily who is reported to have isolated fifty infants for a language experiment during which he forbid contact of any kind other then nursing. All fifty infants reportedly died.196
n exploring what goes wrong in early development, Michael Balint introduces the concept of the basic fault. Balint speaks in terms of libido rather then desire but, as previously discussed, they have substantially similarities.  He defines the basic fault as a pre-Oedipal or very early developmental rupture in the relationship between child and primary caregiver caused by a mismatch between parent and child that creates a “state of deficiency” in the child.197 According to Balint, when the fit between primary caregiver and infant is inadequate, libido is withdrawn and the ego makes adaptations. One potential adaptation of the ego is clinging to objects.
aternal contact has been a traditional focus of both attachment and psychoanalytic theory, while the father has been theorized as a distant figure.  In The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm states the father “…has little connection with the child in its first years of life…” and characterizes fatherly love as conditional and subject to withdrawal.198 More recently, James Herzog suggests that children who are inadequately fathered experience father hunger and are defined by that lack in ways that are not yet clear.199 In a study of fatherhood, Dana Matta and Carment Knudsen-Martin, note the lack of attention paid to the processes through which fathers engage children.200 After interviewing 40 couples they identified father responsivity as the key aspect of effective fathering and discuss the factors that promote it. Paul Barrows recognizes the importance of the father in the life of the infant but suggests what is more critical for the infant is the couple.201 He gives primacy to the relationship between the father and mother and the emotional climate into which the infant is born.
 number of authors point to a general failure of fathering in contemporary culture with devastating developmental effects on generations of children. Luigi Zoja states is the last two decades perception of the father has shifted from head of the family to co-parent but the average father's level of involvement with his children remains low and virtually unchanged.202 Hite, interviewing over 7,000 men, indicated almost none of them described close relationships with their fathers.203 Bronislaw Malinowski called this phenomena "the ignorance of paternity." 204 Loren Pedersen writes of generations of men who grew up sacrificing their individuality in order to please their fathers, who then grew up to emotionally abandoned their own offspring.205 
The adverse effects of paternal absence, or a negative paternal presence, on the development of a child are wide-ranging and well-documented. Bly states when a son does not have enough contact with the father, and the father's activities, that a hole forms in the psyche of the son and that hole is filled with demons.206 Corneau writes the sons of absent fathers have a fragile masculine identity that interferes with their ability to feel vulnerable. As a result, Corneau states, they attempt to ignore their craving for love and their desire to be touched; they try to ignore desire and avoid feeling of all kind because it is inherently threatening.207 
Additional adverse effects of paternal absence are both psychological and physical. A study by Jacqueline Tither found a correlation between paternal disruption and early onset of menarche.208 David Schwebel found that children without a father in the household experienced an increased rate of unintentional injury.209 Wesley Becker found in the families of children with conduct disorder the fathers tended not to set limits and enforce rules.210 Corneau states sons with inadequate fathering experience aggression, learning problems, substance abuse problems, and sexual identity confusion.211 Walter Miller notes that boys without male role models develop an exaggerated concern with toughness and an obsession with masculinity.212 Beatrice Whiting, in a study reaching across six cultures, found the two most violent cultures had the least involved fathers.213 Available research strongly makes the case that inadequate fathering puts children at risk of physical changes and injuries, aggression, conduct problems, limited affective range, decreased emotional vulnerability, and an adversarial relationship with their own desire.
Shifting emphasis back to the couple, as opposed to the individual father or the individual mother, Omer discusses the Father Principle, the Mother Principle, and the interaction of the two in the psychological, emotional, and relational deve-lopment of the individual.214 The Mother Principle and Father are related to, but not synonymous with, the mother and the father; they include personal, cultural, and archetypal meanings. The principle, or essence, of what it is to be, or holdthe mother or father, according to Omer, is independent of gender and the individual. A father can provide mothering, an institution can play the role of father, and both roles can be embodied spiritually and archetypally by entities or figures that populate our belief systems, our unconscious, and our imaginations.             Omer’s emphasis on the Mother and Father Principles moves the focus out of the primary dyad and into the field in which the infant/child exists. This theoreti--cal shift is supported by a growing body of research in child development. For example, one study notes the relationship between chronic marital stress and in- secure attachment.215 Other studies gather data related to trilogue play between mother, father, and child or utilize three-way games to explore affective relating.216 Studies of trilogue play, from a group of researches in Switzerland, suggest the traditional dyadic focus is limited and examine functions, behaviors and pro- cesses of triadic interactions. France Frascarolo identifies four functions in triadic interactions; participation
(inclusion), organization (keeping to roles), common focus, and affective contact (in tu
ne).217 Through observation of mother-father-infant interaction, E. Fivaz-Depeursinge suggests triadic interactions expand the infant’s possibilities of self/other differentiation.218 This parent-child field emphasis bears resemblance and relevance to the triadic models of desire previously men- tioned.
Omer also 
suggests an answer to questions raised earlier regarding desire formation through his concepts of the Mother and Father Principle. In Omer’s formulation, operation of the Mother Principle is responsible for the arising of desire in the individual while the operation of the Father Principle provides discipline, or containment, for the rising desire.219 In the metaphor of the wellspring referenced earlier, the waters of the spring can be seen as desire rising through the operation of the Mother Principle while the earthen banks of the spring, or the resulting creek, can be seen as the containment of the Father Principle. These concepts of Omer’s also find a parallel in the figures of Shiva and Shakti.  Kundalini is defined as the feminine energy of shakti that sits coiled at the base of the spine. Shiva is seen as the holder, or container of kundalini.220           In considering the development of individual ability, as well as the fit between child and parents, it is also necessary to consider temperament, or the inherent nature of the individual. Jung suggests inherent differences in people such that some people are introverts, or those who regenerate through being alone, and others are extraverts, or those who regenerate through contact with others.221 His distinctions form the basis for the Myers Briggs Type Indicator; a well known psychological instrument that identifies 16 different categories of personality types. Karen Horney suggested a three way division of personalities: those who moved toward others, those who move against others, and those who move away from others.222 The enneagram, a controversial typological system of disputed origins with nine types, suggests challenges and strengths for each of its character or personality types.223

Late Development

Freud believed that delayed gratification is a sign of emotional maturity.  He suggested that it represents a successful resolution of libidinal urges. As discussed above, Freud viewed libido as pleasure-seeking rather than object-seeking so this resolution is intrapsychic rather than interpersonal. Freud states this represents the victory of the reality principle over the pleasure principle.224 He advises it is a primary function of the doctor to convince the patient to trade the pleasure of the moment for a more substantial postponed pleasure. Freud suggests when a patient has difficulty doing so it is a result of early childhood suffering.225
One potentially pathological manifestation of desire is addiction. Helen Keane calls addiction a disorder of desire.226 Flores suggests addiction be viewed as an attachment disorder.227 He characterizes addictive use of a substance or behavior as a failed attempt at repair of insecure attachment. A number of studies point to strong correlations between substance abuse and insecure disorganized or fearful attachment styles.228 In light of these studies it is interesting to note that Alcoholics Anonymous, widely considered the most effective means of treating alcoholism, puts a strong emphasis on relationship and fellowship with other alcoholics. This kind of relationship prescription echoes the attachment theory perspective that healing occurs in relationship. Further, the central AA tenet of surrendering control brings to mind Daisaku Ikeda’s description of diabolical desire as characterized by control. In Ikeda’s formulation, letting go of control would be moving away from diabolical desire and toward basic desire. 
In a alternative way of viewing desire and addiction, George Graham posits a principle of responsible innerness that he equates with psychological health.229 Graham suggests an individual with responsible innerness is able to acknowledge the desire within themselves without identifying with it. Addictive desire, in the context Graham describes, can be owned but does not have to be a central and controlling aspect of the individual.230 Here the individual is the vessel in which desire is held and the vessel is strong enough to hold it.Graham suggests, as have others, that to some extent individuals are defined by how they experience desire.231
Finally, in what could be called adult development, the focus shifts to how desire effects the way the individual reacts to the world. Rene Girard states that the perception of lack, created by mimetic desire, results in conflict and violence.232 The Course in Miracles, a contemporary Christian text, restates this by noting that it is the illusion of scarcity and denial of the reality of abundance which creates fear.233 Herbert Marcuse, speaking from a sociological perspective, names scarcity as a primary factor behind the functioning of the reality principle. He suggests scarcity is imposed on individuals through control of the means of distribution for the purpose of domination.234 According to these theorists, the effects of desire depend upon its context. As such, in a culture of scarcity, desire creates fear, conflict, and potentially violence. 
The literature and research relative to attachment raises questions of how yearning is experienced differently by children developing in various parent-child fields, how individuals are different in their inherent ability to process desire, and how desire variously shapes the development of these individuals. Here, again, clinging and control are associated negatively with desire.
No existing research directly addresses the formation or malformation of desire in early development. Some of the theories mentioned above suggest a structure for the development of desire but no research exists to test them. Ainsworth’s Strange Situation explores and categorizes the effects of desire’s development or malformation through either secure or insecure attachment but there is no research exploring the development of desire within the attachment. The question of how an infant or toddler needs to experience desire in order to have a healthy relationship with desire that guides development is unexplored. Likewise, the question of what happens in the early experience of desire to lead an individual to have a relationship with desire that is characterized by addiction has not been researched. Cohen names the differentiation of desire as a process separate from, and parallel to, the differentiation of the self, but there is no body of research exploring and defining desire’s process of differentiation. 

 Religious Perspectives on Desire

Religion and psychology are both concerned with organizing desire.235 Ernest Becker suggests that psychology and religion share the same missionof opening up perception and overcoming the fear of self-knowledge.236 Freud discusses the ‘oceanic’ feeling which he describes as a sensation of eternity or limitlessness.237 He posited it as the source of religion and suggested it springs from the infant’s helplessness and longing for the father.238 Nygren, writing from a much different perspective then Freud, states “Eros is the way by which man mounts up to the divine.” 239  This equation of desire and divinity, also found in Tantric practice, suggests deep and potentially transformative uses for the experience of yearning.  
Historically, most religious traditions view desire, especially sexual desire, as a problem requiring containment.240 Traditional Christianity, according to Richard Tarnas, as well as Catholicism, is grounded in Augustine’s renunciation of bodily desire.241 Nancy Quail-Corbett notes St. Paul frequently spoke on the evils of sex and urged men not to touch women.242 Wendy Farley writes that Christianity speaks about the movements of desire in denigrating terms.243 Marcuse states Christian morality creates guilt through the perversion of natural instincts.244 Bataille notes Christianity turned away from eroticism and equated pleasure with evil.245 Clifford Bishop writes shame and guilt, as sin, are necessary inventions of religion.246
In a chapter of his book, Sacred Sexuality, titled, "The Eclipse of Eros in the Christian Tradition," Georg Feuerstein points out Christ changed the definition of sin. He notes when Jesus preached that the act of looking on a woman with lust constituted adultery, Christians became charged with trying to control not just their actions but their thoughts.247 Feuerstein accuses Christian patriarchs of confusing holiness with asceticism and points to misogyny in their writings.248 Feuerstein also makes note of sex positive movement in modern day Christianity.249 Indications of this include a book by Tim Alan Gardner addressing sacred sex within Christian union and a study by Chuck M. Macknee of profound spiritual sexual encounters among practicing Christians.250 

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi writes of the differences between the Christian and the Islamic approaches to sexual desire. He notes both St. Augustine and St. Paul suggest celibacy is morally superior to sexual contact within marriage and points to St. Augustine’s equation of sex with guilt and shame as a result of the original sin of Adam and Eve.251 Rizvi contrasts the Christian view of sex as inherently sinful against Islamic belief that sex is a gift that needs to be practiced responsibly.252
The Islamic faith, with strong regional variations, makes a a firm distinction between private and public desire.253 The hijab, traditional Islamic female attire that conceals the form of the woman, offers a powerful image of the perceived need to conceal the male object of desire and contain temptation.254 Geraldine Brooks describes how the Prophet Muhammad’s love of women gradually translated into first protection of his wives and eventually segregation of all women. She states one word for woman in arabic, hormah, derives from the same root as the words for holy, sacrosanct, sinful and forbidden.255
As illustrated by the hijab, the repression of desire has often translated into the subordination of women. Corbett notes the ascendancy of Christianity, in similar fashion, resulted in the systematic destruction of goddess worship.256 Corbett points back to ancient cultures in which the sacred prostitute, as an embodiment of the goddess, was an accepted and honored part of the social order.257 Brooks quotes Ali, the husband of Muhammad’s daughter and founder of Shiite Islam as saying God created sexual desire in ten parts and gave nine parts to the woman.258 In Islam, Brooks goes on to say, women also carry the burden of male honor.259 
One way in which honor has been protected, she notes, is through female genital mutilation which consists of the removal of the clitoris of young girls and sometimes infibulation; the removal of the labia and the partial sealing of the vaginal opening.260 Brooks points out female genital mutilation also occurs outside of Islamic culture.261 Juxtaposition of the denial of desire to women through female genital mutilation with the woman as holder of nine parts of desire creates a complex and unsettling portrait of the feminine within fundamentalist Islam.
Christianity has also been contrasted with eastern religions. Needleman points out a primary difference between Eastern religions and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Eastern religion, according to Needleman, is interested in the transformation of desire. The Judeo-Christian tradition concerns itself with the suppression or satisfaction of desire.262 From a Western perspective, desire, like fire, is often seen as being potentially dangerous and in need of containment.
This potential dangerousness of desire has been a primary concern of religious and moral systems of thought. Religious belief is intimately related to moral sensibility and determinations of what is right and wrong.263 The previous discussion of morality in the cluster on the psychology of desire explored theories related to the relative contributions of empathy, disgust, and the super-ego in the development of moral judgment. Thomas Moore argues for a deeper morality distinguishing between morality and moralism.264 Moore defines moralism as morality without soul and states it involves demonizing that which we need to limit.265 Moore states true morality requires personal struggle rather than simple reliance on an external code or exiling troublesome aspects of self.266 Deep morality, according to Moore, is a function of the imagination and gives life meaning, sacredness, and verticality.267 Arguing for the morality of pleasure in the provocatively titled The Ethical Slut, Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt state in our culture of self-denial pursuit of pleasure is seen as disgusting and sinful.268 They argue the simple proposition, that pleasure is good for you, is often received with hostility. Their suggestion is ethical appreciation and pursuit of sexual pleasure requires a willingness to be honest, to self-examine, and to remain in empathic connection with others.269
Addressing the relationship between spirituality and destructive desire, Johnson states addiction is the negative side of spiritual seeking.270 Offering a similar opinion, M. Scott Peck calls addiction a sacred disease. He goes on to state, in regard to sexuality, that for many people orgasm is a mystical experience.271 Patrick Carnes warns of the dangers of sexual addiction. He states some of the characteristics that distinguish addictive sexual expression from healthy sexual expression are exploitation of others, non-mutuality in relationship with others that does not promote intimacy, objectification, dissatisfaction, intense shame, and fear-based behaviors.272 He suggests, as a solution to sexual addiction, treatment including spiritually-oriented twelve step programs such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).273 Interestingly, Carnes also notes research that indicates, under some circumstances, fear escalates desire and attraction.274 This research stands in apparent contradiction to correlations previously drawn in this review between safety and attraction in the perception of beauty and facial averageness. This disparity suggests a need for further examination of the relationship between fear and desire. 
In terms of subjective internal experience, a primary way in which religion and desire meet within the individual is through the numinous. Jung described the pursuit of the numinous as the primary purpose of his psychotherapy.275 Numinousity is partially defined by Rudolph Otto as a feeling of awe felt to be originating from outside oneself.276 Otto suggests there are three elelments to the numinous; 
awfulness, majesty, and urgency or energy.277 He relates and compares this energy to the “consuming fire” of love experienced by mystics.278 The metaphor of fire, or burning, is frequently found in relation to numinous, or vertical, desire.  Teresa of Avila writes about the fire of God that pierces her soul.279 In Tantric belief, kundalini is the energy of the divine feminine coiled at the base of every individual; it is also called the Serpent Fire that burns away impurity as it rises through individual levels of consciousness.280 Aquinas writes the affections of man are "fired by God's divine love." 281 
Buddhism identifies desire, and more specifically attachment to desire or craving, as the root problem of human kind. The first of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths is: “All life is suffering.” 282 The second is: “The cause of suffering is desire.” 283 Epstein notes that the Buddha’s use of the word tanha, commonly translated as desire, is more accurately translated as thirst or craving.284 His suggestion is that the Buddha was identifying craving as the cause of suffering, as opposed to desire. He further suggests that identifying suffering with desire, rather than craving, is “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” 285
In Tibetian Buddhism, the concept of the Wheel of Life bears relevance to the movement of desire.286 The Wheel of Life is a model of existence or state of mind. The third realm is the realm of the
hungry ghosts. Hungry ghosts are creatures with large stomachs and very thin necks that can never get enough. It is the realm of neurotic desire or addiction. The Buddha comes to this realm offering objectivity or truth so that what is being desired can be seen for what it is.287 
Gerald May echoes this idea in emphasizing that the “dangerousness” is in the attachment rather than the desire.288 Similarly Seneca advised that problems with desire are related to clinging. Balint, as previously mentioned, suggests that clinging is a potential adaptation of the ego to libidinal deficiency.289
In a spiritual but non-religious approach to desire, Prem Rawat, or Marahaji, emphasizes the importance of being in touch with desire.290 He speaks of the importance of knowing and feeling thirst
. In Marahaji’s terms, thirst, can be roughly translated as desire for wholeness. Both the thirst, and that which quenches the thirst, are found within. Most relevant to this discussion is Maharaji’s insistence that desire must lead the way toward wholeness or completion.
A place where desire, the divine, and sexuality intersect is in the role of the sacred prostitute. Corbett explores the historical figure of the sacred prostitute in Mesopotamian culture and suggests it is an archetype.291 She notes an archetype has a strong feeling tone.292 She suggests in this culture, and others, desire and sexual response were seen as having regenerative power and were recognized as a gift from the divine. The act of sex, with the sacred prostitute and her supplicant, was an offering to the goddess.293
Two other places in which sexuality and the divine meet are in the traditions of Taoism and Tantra. The Taoist tradition, an ancient Chinese school of thought emphasizing authentic living through connection with the Tao, or The Way, includes ritualized sexual practices focused on gathering energy and extending life but not on divine connection.294 Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, suggested the wise person think of his or her body as an instrument and flow with the current of life.295 Taoist practitioners sought harmony between feminine yin and masculine yang energy. Sexual intercourse was seen as a way of absorbing the energy of the sexual partner.296


The Tantric tradition is primarily concerned with transcendence.297 Because Tantrtic tradition is privileges divine connection through transcendence, it will be explored her in greater detail.
Tantric tradition suggests desire is a path toward healing and a path to enlightenment. Tantra, translated from sanskrit, means web, woof or to expand.298 Historically, Tantra denotes a style of spiritual teaching starting in India fifteen hundred years ago that affirms the continuity of spirit and matter.299 It also signifies a body of scriptures, or Tantras, in which this system of belief is taught. Tantra is represented as a teaching for the kali-yuga, or dark age, which Hindu scripture describes as a time of vice.300 The roots of Tantra run back through both Buddhism and Hinduism. Robert L. Brown suggests the study of Tantra is complex because Tantrism as a discipline is essentially a Western notion drawing from various Eastern sources.301 Mircea Eliade also notes the difficulty in defining Tantrism.302

  Eliade traces Tantrism to the Vajrayana school of Buddhism and discusses thecomplex interaction of influences involved in the formation of Tantra within  Hinduism.303 Eliade discusses Tantrism in terms of yoga which he defines as any ascetic technique or meditation intended to aid the individual in transcending the human condition.304 He suggests Tantric yoga as a way of uniting sacred spirit with profane matter or body.305 Eliade notes Tantrism involves an honoring of   the goddess and finds within it a “religious rediscovery of the mystery of woman.” 306 The practice of Tantra, or Tantric yoga, takes many forms generally divided into what is called the right-handed path, or dakshinachara, and the left-handed path, or vamachara.307

   The right-handed path, according to David Frawley, is for individuals of a devotional nature and includes meditation and spiritual disciplines.308 The left- handed path is for warriors and includes involvement with five things forbidden on the right-handed path; sexual union, wine as intoxicant, meat, fish, and parched grains.309 Frawley goes on to say the right-handed path is the way of peace while the left-handed path is the way of ecstasy.310 Within the left-handed path Frawley identifies the symbolic and the literal traditions.311 In the symbolic tradition the forbidden items are engaged in a symbolic way; intercourse is the union of the cosmic male and female aspects of self within the psyche and intoxication is the bliss of pure consciousness.312 In the literal tradition the five forbidden things are used in a ritual context as a way of breaking attachments and transcending body-consciousness.313 In this tradition there are three principle gunas,or attachments that bind the soul: tamas, darkness and dullness including sex and intoxicants; rajas, activity and turbulence including willful spiritual practices and self-expression like art and music; and sattva, purity and attachment to the idea of  being holy.314 Frawley emphasizes the potential dangers in the literal tradition  of the left-handed path and always speaks of practicing through the direction of a teacher or guru.315 He also writes of a third Tantric path which he calls the highest path. He states the highest Tantric path is a path of atma-vichara, or self-inquiry, that requires letting go of practices and techniques to focus on self- inquiry through tracing the origin of the “I” thought.316
Feuerstein describes the Tantric belief that the body is a temple of the divine in which Shiva (male) and Shakti (female) energies unite.317 He states it is     through the balancing of the male and the female that potential is engaged. Feuer- stein suggests the meeting of Shiva and Shakti in the individual has the potential   to liberate the individual from horizontal reality to the enlightenment possible with vertical movement.318 He goes on to note Tantra, as it is being promulgated in western culture, has been reduced to a practice of sacred sex and calls this Neo-Tantrism.319 Interpreting the sacred texts of Tantric tradition, Alain Danielou states in the modern age it is only through Tantric practice the divine can be approached.320 David Deida, also writing in regard to sacred sexuality, states when an individual is able to remain open and recognize desire for what it is, it becomes the force of love; “love loving love in the form of an other.” 321

According to Tantric tradition the vertical movement of desire known as the rising of kundalini occurs through energy centers in the body along the spine       known as chakras or cakras.322 Different schools of Tantra identify a different number of chakras but the most common chakra model includes seven energy centers.323 The first is the Sahasrara-cakra, or crown chakra at the top of the head where consciousness is said to leave the body to merge with the absolute. The Ajna-cakra, in the middle of the forehead is the second chakra that is said to govern telepathic communication. The third chakra, the Vishuddha-cakra or throat chakra, is concerned with balance, speech and breath. The fourth chakra, the Anahata-cakraor heart chakra, is considered the bridge between consciousness and the body. The Manipura-cakra, located at the solar plexus, is the fifth chakra. It has been called the second brain in that it represents the nervous system and also digestive processes. Svadhishthana-cakra, the sixth chakra located at the genitals, governs the sexual impulse and cravings in general. The final chakra, the Muladhara-cakra, is located at the base of the spine. It is connected with the earth element and is said to be the resting place of kundalini, the divine energy in the human body.324

Mieke and Stephen Wik note much of the recent expansion of Tantric practice in the West is the result of the teachings of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or  Osho.325 They state the vast majority of authors and teachers of Tantra in the West were in some way connected with Osho, who had communities in both India and the United States.326 Osho’s community in Oregon came to a difficult end due, in part, according to John McCleary and others, to Bhagwan’s drug addiction.327 He was also known for having the world’s largest collection of Rolls Royce automobiles.328

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s experience as both charismatic Tantric teacher     and materially focused addict, calls to mind the warnings of Feuerstein and others  about the potential dangers in following the Tantric path.329 They suggest the rising of kundalini in an individual without training or a teacher could result in serious mental and physical harm.330 Jung warned against western practice of yoga because it was too alien to westerners.331 Here again the relationship between spirituality and addiction is noted. Many of those who write about Tantra, like Frawley above, emphasize the need for a guru or spiritual guide.332 While  Osho was said to admire and respect Gurdjieff, he answered to no one and was his own final authority.333

Tantra suggests a solution to the potential clinging, craving, or violence,        noted earlier when desire is accompanied with the perception of lack. It points to   the absolute interpersonal abundance possible when the individual becomes a channel for kundalini and the divine.334 Tantric practices focus on clearing away interpersonal obstacles to the experience of divine abundance that accompanies the rising of kundalini.335 The honoring of both desire and the feminine espoused in Tantric practice offer a stark contrast to the denial of desire outlined in fundamental Christian doctrine and the containment of the feminine in Islamic culture. 

Despite the anecdotally reported power of Tantric experience and practice,     and a substantial body of referential literature, relatively little substantive research on Tantra exists. Hugh Urbane, writing about Tantra in Magia Sexualis, expressed  the fear that by writing the book he could be ruining his reputation.336 This absence of research, and Urbane’s expressed concern, suggest an operative taboo in regard to Tantric research. The majority of existing studies are dissertations. A number of them are from the California Institute of Integral Studies. The following is a fairly thorough but not comprehensive review of the existing research on Tantra. All found studies involving data collection were included. 

Participants in Tantric community, Numa Ray and Konstanza, speak not onlyof transcendence through the practice of Tantra but of an expanded ability to love those around them.337 They both speak of jealousy as fear of loss and talk about working through their jealousy with the support of their community and       teacher. In this context, jealousy is closely correlated with the perception of scar- city. Konstanza stresses Tantra is primarily about living a virtuous life and only   secondarily about sex.338 

Several studies explore Tantric practice in a psychological context. Sudhir Kakar examines two Asian Tantric figures and their maternal relationships.339 Stuart Sovatsky examines the nature of Eros for Tantric practitioners.340 Cheryl Krause interviewed couples engaged in Tantric practice exploring the relational and communal effects of Tantric practice.341 Michael Thalbourne studied the correlation between kundalini and panic attacks.342 Yoganand Sinha compares Freudian and Tantric systems of thought suggesting Tantra is at the same time both ancient and postmodern.343 Harrison Voigt, drawing on Tantric tradition and practices, suggests five exercises for couples in counseling for sexual difficulties: the creation of a ritual, synchronized breathing, sustained eye contact, motionless intercourse, and sexual exchange without orgasm.344 Lisa Lewis interviewed sexual trauma survivors who practice Tantra to explore healing potential.345 Barnaby B. Barratt and Marsha A. Rand wrote an exploration of the relevance of Tantric practices in the treatment of sexual difficulties.346

A recent study, by Datri Jadu Kory on spirituality, intimacy and ecstasy de-   serves further comment. Using a participatory paradigm in which all involved par-ties are part of the research, Kory gathered the stories of six couples’ relationships exploring the effect of sacred sexuality on the quality of relationship.347 The identified themes from the collected data included healing, trust, growth and gratitude. As part of her research design, Kory co-created an altar with the couples she interviewed.348

Religious perspectives on desire reflect the ambiguity found in earlier discus- sion of desire. Desire is considered both transformative and destructive. As pre-   viously noted, in many spiritual traditions a quality of verticality is ascribed to     desire that moves one toward the divine.349 It has also been noted the symbol of fire is frequently used in reference to vertical desire. Bachelard states sexualized fire is the connecting link for all symbols.350 James Joyce famously suggested itwas in the “smithy” of his soul that the conscience of his race was created.351 Fire, as a symbol of transformation, appears to bear relevance to a process of desire. Distinctions are made between desire characterized by craving, clinging, or attachment, and desire that is not. Here, as previously noted, the suggestion is madethat problems with past conceptualizations of desire have less to do with the nature of desire and more to do with how desire is experienced.    

The reviewed research related to religious perspectives on desire inadequately addresses yearning, the correlation between addiction and spiritual seeking, and Tantra. As noted in the cluster on the Psychology of Desire, many theorists divide desire into good and bad or high and low. Bad or low desire is most frequently associated with bodily urges and craving, while good or high desire is often equated with the divine and yearning. Craving, as a cognitive or neurochemical construct, is widely studied but yearning, as an aspect of desire, is not. Despite numerous well-known theoretical constructs of divided desire like Augustine’s, Plato’s, Hegel’s and Nygren’s, very little research addresses these distinctions. A great deal of research on addiction is focused on craving but very little research explores addiction as the shadow or negative side of the spiritual call. Studies identifying fear as an inhibitor of desire along with studies that suggest fear as an amplifier of desire suggest a need for further study of the relationship between fear and desire to determine what variables are involved in these distinctly different experiences of fear and desire. Finally, as illustrated above, studies on Tantra exist but few involve data collection or explore in adequate depth and breathe the potential of Tantra in regard to sexual, spiritual and relational healing and growth.


 Imaginal Approaches to Desire 

Exploration of imaginal approaches to desire begins broadly with depth psychologies. The focus then narrows first to Imaginal Psychology and then to Imaginal Transformation Praxis (ITP), the integrative approach to transformation and research utilized within Imaginal Psychology. Finally, desire is examined in relation to relevant figures and images in Mythic and Archetypal Lenses on Desire.

Depth Psychology

In depth psychologies in general, and Jungian, Archetypal and Imaginal psychologies in particular, the discussion of desire moves into the experiences of yearning, longing and ecstasy. Archetypal psychology emphasizes archetypes, universal images, and ancient wisdom.352
 In Jungian theory, desire as Eros and libido bridges the conscious and the unconscious through the operation of the transcendent function.353 Hillman, the primary voice of Archetypal psychology, emphasizes the necessity of listening to the voice of desire in order for an individual to discover their calling.354
Robert Sardello states the essence of the soul is love and desire is one aspect of the love that animates the soul.355 He characterizes addiction as a symptom of boredom of a soul in need of new experience.356 John Haule, who is also concerned with romantic love, suggests love of God underlies all human love.357 In trying to determine the difference between destructive love and the love that pulls us toward our higher functions, Haule suggests "The demon lover results from failure to differentiate our anima or animus from out shadow." 358
In an attempt to further delineate these different types of love or desire, Haule writes of the Sufi mystic Ibn al-Arabi and his relationship with a beautiful Iranian girl named Nizam.359 Ibn al Arabi writes of finding joy, delight, and a divine wisdom through his contact with the girl.360 Corbin, commenting on Ibn al Arabi’s experience, suggests “We perceive how a being apprehended directly by the Imagination is transfigured into a symbol thanks to a theophanic light.” 361Haule states Ibn al Arabi finds numinous experience in his contact with Nizam because his affective seeing does not stop at the image; he sees into or through the image to the truth. Haule cites this as example of the anima being used as a lens rather than a mask. 
Stephen A. Hoeller notes Jung offers two other images of desire different from those previously discussed. 
In The Seven Sermons, Jung suggests spiritually oriented desire is like a white bird descending into the soul.362 It is a chaste and solitary messenger of the mother. Sexuality-oriented desire he compares to a serpent, related to the spirits of the dead, that kindles both fear and desire in the hearts of humans. In the same document Jung argues for the importance of differentiation. He states lack of differentiation is “the very death of the created being. We die to the extent that we fail to discriminate.” 363
Jung, Hillman, Moore and Johnson, all eventually turn to myth and to the archetypes to illuminate the nature of desire. Archetypal psychology, like Imaginal Psychology, is concerned with individual soul while emphasizing archetypes. Archetypes, within Imaginal Psychology, are potent images or symbols connecting the individual to deeper meanings and alternative aspects of self. Symbols, according to Jung, are words or images infused with unconscious meanings that defy, or exceed, rational explanation.364 He suggests use of symbols as a primary way of exploring the unconscious.
Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette suggest the Lover and the Shadow Lover as archetypes related to the movement of desire. Within the Shadow Lover is the Addicted Lover who is unable or unwilling to put limits on sensual and sexual experience.365 The young version of the Addicted Lover is called the Mama’s Boy who gets caught in chasing the beautiful and is “yearning for union with Mother.” 336

                            Imaginal Psychology

Imaginal Psychology focuses on the soul emphasizing the power of image
and the potential of the present moment.367
Omer, the principle voice of Imaginal Psychology, states “in any true psychological endeavor exploration precedes explanation.” 368 Imaginal Psychology encourages the individual and collective attempt to push past the edges of what is known, with a minimum of preconceptions, in the hopes of finding new knowledge. From this perspective, the unearthing of new knowledge or insight requires the exploration of marginalized experience and the approach of taboo. Wendell Berry’s words illuminate this approach to psychological growth and research:

      To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
    To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
    and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, 
    and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.369

In inquiry of this kind, that privileges uncertainty, desire plays an essential role. Moving in the dark requires an awareness of, and reliance upon, internal intuitions and yearnings. Imaginal Psychology suggests the identification and amplification of the disparate voices of desire within the individual as a means of finding a way in the dark.
Omer argues the vitality of the soul requires the individual to desire deeply and move consciously through the sufferings and satisfactions that result.370 Acknowledging the telos of desire while at the same time pointing to the need for developed awareness, he states the conscious pursuit of desire can be trusted.371 In addition, Omer's assertion that the need for ecstasy will manifest whether or not it is acknowledged, suggests desire will insist upon being known.372
For Omer desire is not simply a manifestation of individual want or need. Individual consciousness, in Omer’s theoretical construct, is an opening to a larger conversation or exploration.373 Building on Jung's concept of the collective unconscious, Omer suggests the subjective experience of desire can be seen as the voice of the individual or as a voice that is more than individual. His emphasis is on openness to the possibility that the voice of desire may be a chorus of voices emanating from different sources such as the archetypal, the divine or the numinous.374
Omer’s previously defined concept of the dual nature of desire is relevant here. The soul’s cravings, that tie the individual to the past, can be seen as desire that lacks consciousness. The soul’s yearnings, that pull the individual toward the future, are desires that are more consciously experienced.375 By following the pull of yearning the ecstatic imperative can be realized.
This powerful movement of desire, to the degree that the boundaries of the self are affected, has been described in various ways, one of which is vertical desire. Hillman speaks of the vertical axis that connects man to God and heals the spirit.376 Stein calls vertical desire the mystical longing for merger.377 The literal translation of ecstasy as “outside one’s self” underlines the non-egoic nature of vertical desire.378 Given, as Omer states, that the experience of ecstasy is necessary for everyone, and that to experience ecstasy, by definition, is to step outside oneself, it follows everyone, to one degree or another, must wrestle with moving beyond the strictly personal to the transpersonal. 

Imaginal Transformation Praxis

ITP consists of concepts, principles, and practices that constitute an integrative approach to personal and cultural transformation.379 Imaginal Inquiry is one component of ITP. ITP is the Theory-in-Practice for this study.
Two aspects of self identified in ITP as key in personal development are the adaptive identity and the experiencing “I.” Omer defines adaptive identity and the experiencing “I” as follows;

In the course of coping with environmental impingement, as well as overwhelming events, the developing soul constellates self images associated with adaptive patterns of reactivity. These self images persist as an adaptive identity into subsequent contexts where they are maladaptive and barriers to the unfolding of Being.380

In the course of individual development, an experiencing I emerges into consciousness. This experiencing I is embodied and personal to the degree that dissociative adaptations to trauma and stress are not impinging consciousness. The potency of the experiencing I is contingent on both embodying and personalizing experience.381

A concept related to, but distinct from, archetypes is that of
imaginal structures. Imaginal structures, are defined by Omer as 

assemblies of sensory, affective, and cognitive aspects of experience constellated into images; they both mediate and constitute experience. The specifics of an imaginal structure are determined by an interaction of personal, cultural, and archetypal influences. These influences may be teased apart by attending to the stories that form personal character and the myths that shape cultural life. During the individuation process, imaginal structures are transmuted into emergent and enhanced capacities as well as a transformed identity. Any enduring and substantive change in individual or group behavior requires a transmuting of imaginal structures. This transmutation depends upon an affirmative turn toward the passionate nature of the soul.382

The interrelated concepts of archetypes and imaginal structures suggest a way of viewing individual experience that is inclusive of transformative or divine experience. Both concepts emphasize the use of image. 
Image and imagination are at the center of the mundis imaginalis that forms the foundation for both Archetypal and Imaginal psychologies. In Corbin’s elaboration, the mundis imaginalis it is not imaginary but actual.  Omer’s definition of imaginal differs from Corbin. Omer states “every experience is imaginal. Creating a privileged or marginalized category of experience by using the adjective of imaginal misses the imaginal core of all experience.” 383 Corbin suggests a tripartite cosmology in which the world of the imagination lies in between and connects the world of the senses and the world of the intellect. He states, in Western consciousness, this in between place of active imagination has
been left to the poets.384 Corbin uses the phrase active imagination in a way that is similiar to but distinct from Jung's conceptualization. Corbin names it as being the dynamic part of the imagination that connects individual consciousness
to the mundis imaginalis.385 Jung describes active imagination as a psychoanalytic technique used to help the individual patient discover and explore hidden aspects of self.386
Interpreting Corbin, Tom Cheetham calls this world of imagination a “kind of limitless fourth dimension into which unfold the mysteries of the soul.” 387 Hillman, referencing both Corbin and Jung in formulating his approach to psychology, suggests pairing Jung’s technique with Corbin’s vision.388 Hillman, who like Watkins stresses the autonomy of images, suggests those who work with active imagination are working in service of the image rather than in the service of themselves.389
Watkins argues for the importance of image in the process of growth and self-discovery.390 She states important images that arise need to be known on their own terms.391 She describes a process of staying in relationship with images so they can disclose themselves and evolve in the way they need to. The agency in the images Watkins outlines is consonant with the nature of the collective unconscious Jung described as wanting to be known.392 OmerCorbin, Hillman, Cheetham and Watkins all argue for the reality of images and the need to engage creatively with them in order to allow them to evolve.
One way in which ITP puts image into practice is through the use of ritual. Tom Driver states ritualizing is a way of making a pathway through unknown territory.393 Space for ritual is often created through the use of an altar.394 Stephen Levine talks about the usefulness of altars in working with difficult issues.395 Bernd Jager states, for the Greeks, the altar was a threshold between the realm of the gods and that of mortal man.396 He called it the "archetype of all thresholds." 397
Two other important ideas of Omer’s in the ITP framework, disidentification and the Mother and Father principle, have been defined previously. Both will be explored in more detail further on in relation to mythical and archetypal figures.
The emphasis, in ITP, on cultivation of different aspects of self and away from a rigid self-image, is reinforced by both historical and recent research with hallucinogenic substances. Hallucinogens alter individual perception of reality. Their effect is often compared with the psychosis associated with schizophrenia.398 Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, took lysergic acid diethylamine, or LSD, when it was being suggested as a cure for alcoholism and other mental illnesses.399 He compared the experience to the spiritual experience he had in the hospital that laid the foundation for his sobriety and the birth of AA.400
In more recent research at John Hopkins University, Roland Griffins gave psilocybin, the hallucinogenic substance in mushrooms, to 36 volunteers. 22 of the 36 reported having a mystical experience and 14 months later 58% of  the participants rated the experience of the psilocybin session as among the five most personally meaningful experiences of their lives.401 67% rated it among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives. Other recent studies explored the potential use of psilocybin in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety.402 Research into the therapeutic use of hallucinogens reflects the importance of multiplicity and disidentification in individual growth and potentially informs addiction treatment. 
Eros and desire, as representative of profound connectedness, are central to both Archetypal psychology and Imaginal Psychology. Hillman emphasizes development of the soul requires intimate connection and that it is only through the movement of Eros in profound relationships that self-revelation is possible.403 Houston states “Eros connects the personal to something beyond and brings the beyond into personal experience.” 404  It is the energy of desire that connects in individual, interpersonal, and transpersonal realms. A primary medium through which desire is expressed and elaborated is image. 

Mythic and Archetypal Lenses on Desire

Thus far three images of desire have arisen in this discussion: the water of a spring as a metaphor for the movement of desire; fire as a metaphor for the nature and agency of desire; and the cross as a symbol of the individual, where vertical and horizontal desire meet to form a crucible for individuation. Both the image of the spring and the image of fire relate to the emergence of desire. The spring image provides a metaphor for desire that rises up and flows out naturally. The image of fire is more explosive and suggests a process of desire. The image of the cross speaks to the convergence of desire. 
These images will be explored through both a psychological lens and through the exposition of divine and mythic figures that share essential qualities with the named images; the image of the spring will be examined in relation to Aphrodite; the image of fire in relation to Dionysus; the image of the cross in relation to divine and mythic couples. 
Akhtar Ahsen equates Aphrodite with an everlasting spring and suggests she arouses the desire to reconcile rather than the desire to possess.405 Aphrodite can be understood as an embodiment of the metaphor of a spring representing the movement of desire. Ahsen suggests to follow Aphrodite is to listen to “the song of the spring” rising from the deepest part of our natures.406 He also notes to follow Aphrodite is to develop the abililty to allow the spontaneous emergence of consciousness.407 In the Greek pantheon Aphrodite embodies desire. She offers a “vision of primeval love.” 408
Moore describes Aphrodite as a link between the mortal and the divine through desire and sexuality. He notes the individual need for the richness of depth in addition to the higher vision of spirit and suggests sex takes the individual deep into the body to find soul through connection.409 As previously mentioned, Moore compares the soul to a spring bubbling with vitality and suggests Aphrodite as a means of accessing soulful vitality.410 Hillman notes the complexity in the figure of Aphrodite and suggests she is one of the gods alive in the practice of psychotherapy.411 Ginette Paris states Aphrodite represents dualism and revitalizes the tension of the opposites.412
In Apuleuis’ tale, Amor and Psyche, Aphrodite is the third figure in a drama involving her son Amor, or Eros, and her daughter-in-law to be, Psyche.413 Here, it is jealous Aphrodite we see. It is Psyche that suffers in order to be joined with Eros so that their child, Pleasure, can be born.414 Erich Neumann, commenting on the same story, notes Eros is transformed into a redeeming god and Psyche awakened to a state of supreme being.415 He further notes Lucian, the primary figure in the novel The Golden Ass, of which Amor and Psyche is a chapter, is redeemed by worship of the goddess Isis.416 In both cases it is the feminine that guides.
In her dissertation on desire and bulimia, Gulbe-Walsh uses the figure ofAphrodite as way of finding meaning in the experience of women.417 Researching from within Imaginal Psychology, she explores the transmutation of craving for bulimic behavior to yearning for intimacy. Her hypothesis, that exploration of the Mother and Father principles would evoke grief which would assist in the transmutation of craving to yearning, is supported in her learning that embracing the soul’s cravings helped participants to embody their soul’s yearnings.418 Creation of mother and father images and evocation of affect in relation to them are a primary part of the research design.419
Gulbe-Walsh notes the women she studied had difficulty differentiating between maternal images and the image of Aphrodite.420 She relates the suppression of hunger in the bulimic experience to the suppression of the darker and more voracious aspects of Aphrodite.421 She suggests bulimic behavior stems, in part, from individual internalization of a pervasive cultural illusion that the female pursuit of deep desire is inherently shameful.422 Gulbe-Walsh labels bulimia a disorder of desire and suggests deep exploration of affect and image as a way of breaking the cultural trance around desire.423
In exploration of the goddess it should be noted beauty is a defining characteristic of Aphrodite. It is through jealousy in regard to beauty that Psyche draws her ire.424 Albert Smith suggests the elements of love, beauty and desire need to be present in order for the archetype of Aphrodite to be catalyzed.425 Joanne Stroud calls Aphrodite the goddess of desire and states she offers “an image of the irresistible lure of sensual beauty.” 426
Moore writes that draw to beauty is at the heart of sexuality and that beauty is of primary importance to the soul.427 Hillman states Aphrodite gets her deeper beauty only through Psyche after her trip to the underworld.428 He argues for an aesthetic beauty of the soul that informs physical beauty and warns of a superficial beauty overly related to feeling and the anima.429
Dionysus, Greek god of ecstasy, was said to be born of fire.430 As Aphrodite can be seen as an embodiment of the image of the spring, Dionysus can be seen as an embodiment of the image of fire or as the agency of desire. Nietzsche writes of “suffering Dionysus” experiencing “the agonies of individuation.” 431 Nietzsche’s use of the term individuation is different from, yet similar to, Jung’s use of the phrase. Nietzsche suggests there is a necessary tension between oneness, represented by Dionysus, and individuation or selfhood, represented by Apollo, out of which tragedy is born.432 In a Dionysian sense, desire is potentially dangerous; the maenads stirring desire into ecstatic madness rip living creatures to pieces.433 Nietzsche posits a dialectic in which mystical Dionysian ecstasy and Apollonian individualism balance each other.434
Johnson believes in the modern world we have lost Dionysus; he states, “We can refuse to recognize an archetype but it will not disappear.” 435 He suggests Dionysus has been cleansed from our individual and collective consciousness, leaving a void that is filled with a pull toward danger, excitement, and addictions.436 He argues for the necessity of the excess, terror, and ecstasy of the Dionysian experience in order to experience joy. Like Omer, Johnson emphasizes the value of ecstatic experience and calls the denial of Dionysus in Western society a tragedy. He suggests the exclusion of Dionysus fosters a material focus which results in craving.437 
Johnson’s call for a reawakening of the Dionysian aspects of self points to the value of Omer’s concept of psychological multiplicity emphasized in ITP. In ITP it is suggested engagement with dynamic figures like Aphrodite and Dionysus creates movement toward multiplicity and away from a static or frozen image of self.438 This process is called disindentification which Omer defines: “Disindentification is defined as a key dimension in the transformation of identity associated with the emergence of a spacious awareness free from frozen images of self." 439 In contrast, the frozen, or embedded, self is rigid and fragile. This fragile and frozen self requires a great deal of control as change of any sort is experienced as threatening and is protected against. 
The various myths of Dionysus involve birth, death, rebirth and madness.440 Reforming of self, breaking taboos, and following desire in the darkness are suggestive of a Dionysian process. Omer has characterized the soul as an “inexhaustible mystery whose language is image and affect.” 441 He argues, as did Jung, that to individuate we must move into our own darkness and stumble against the unseen taboos that live in our unconscious informing our conscious selves.442 In these places of not knowing, Omer states, “it is desire that leads.” 443
Dionysian sufferings and unions suggest a process of ecstasy or yearning. They also involve an attempt to reconcile masculine and feminine aspects of the individual. Carl Kerenyi suggests Dionysus is representative of zoe, the energy of life and his mate, Ariadne, is the archetypal reality of bestowal of soul.444 Kerenyi states it is through their union that the energy of life finds its way into living creatures.445 Likewise, Shiva and Shakti, in ecstatic union, bring the blessing of the divine into the world. When Shakti kundalini rises and meets Shiva deep yearning, deep desire, explodes into ecstasy; this experience has the potential to bring enlightenment.446 Tantric practitioners seek to transform desire. The myth of Dionysus and Ariadne suggests a similar intent for those who joined in the mysteries of the Dionysian cults.   
Danielou compares Shiva to Dionysus, suggesting both are representative of love and ecstasy.447 Like Dionysus and Ariadne, the figures of Shiva and Shakti, inextricably bound together, are uniquely useful. They represent the union of the masculine and feminine in such a way that transformation becomes possible. This union is suggestive of the alchemical process of conjunction, or coniunctio, Jung describes in The Psychology of the Transference.448 Coniunctio results in a process of putrefaction. The union of Shiva and Shakti results in enlightenment. Both fall on the vertical axis. Coniunctio moves down into the realm of soul while Tantric union moves up toward the realm of spirit.  
These sufferings and unions, seen as a process, suggest a third image of the cross as both a symbol of self and as a symbol of a process of desire. The emergent function of desire is represented through flowing Aphrodite and explosive Dionysus, while the cross stands as a symbol of confluence or coming together. The cross, as both image and symbol, is widely known through many cultures.449 Jung notes in Christianity the cross is representative of multiple meanings, ideas, and emotions.450 Aniela Jaffe writes of the evolution of the symbol of the cross within Christianity. She notes over time the horizontal axis of the cross moved up on the vertical axis symbolizing an increasing emphasis on the spiritual over the earthly.451 She suggests Gothic cathedrals, laid out in the form of a cross and soaring into the sky, as a dramatic example of this movement.452 Titus Burchhardt suggests the cross as a symbol of the self as the cosmos. He sees in the cross a representation of the transmutation of the soul; a place where the opposition of two poles is overcome to become pure Being.453
Some descriptors Jung uses for the cross as symbol are tension, wholeness, suffering, and passion.454 He notes the fourfold nature of the cross, in Jung’s terms a quaternity, and suggests the arms represent four warring elements.455 Jung notes medieval pictures of Christ nailed to the cross by his own virtues and states, “Nobody who finds himself on the road to wholeness can escape that characteristic suspension which is the meaning of crucifixion.” 456 Edward Edinger suggests the image of crucifixion as a psychological symbol of the transcendent function, with the ego suspended between the opposites making room for the higher self within the individual to be realized.457 Richard Tarnas writes the crucifixion is meaningful in religious terms as a symbol of the reunion of the human and the divine and significant on a philosophical level as a dialectical evolution from an initial archetypal unity.458 
The cross, and the image of crucifixion so closely tied to it, can also be seen as representing sacrifice. Neumann suggests the image of the crucifixion as a symbol for the individual sacrifices required for growth and change.459 Jung writes that Christ exemplifies the archetype of the Self.460 Sam Keen states one definition of the word sacrifice is to make sacred.461 Otto notes the cross was made sacred through Christ’s sacrifice upon it and suggests that in the process the symbol of the cross became a mirror of God.462 Otto also writes the overpowering element of the numinous experience creates within the individual an initial sense of nothingness, or sacrifice of self, and an eventual sense of transcendence.463 Raimundo Panikkar notes the relationship between sacrifice and the numinous and states in the presence of numinousity nothing else seems important.464 Girard remarks upon the universality of sacrifice throughout different cultures and suggests cumulative sacrifices create a sense of a god.465 Campbell states, “From sacrifice—bliss.” 466
The elements of confluence, numinousity and sacrifice found in the symbol of the cross are also present in the alchemical process described by Jung, the practice of Tantric ritual, and in stories of mythic and divine couples. Alchemical coniunctio and ecstatic Tantric union both require the sacrifice of individual identity and the merging of different elements in the creation of numinous experience.467
In The Psychology of the Transference, Jung outlines the stages of alchemical transformation. He illustrates conjunction, or coniunctio, with an image of the king and queen engaged in sexual intercourse and states their union restores the vanished “man of light.” 468 This conjunction results in both death and birth. Feuerstein, in Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, describes Tantric union as the transmutation of desire through ritualized sexuality.469 The ecstatic union of Tantric ritual, as described, can be seen as  both a sacrifice of individual identity to divine oneness, and an as an affirmation of the deepest self in that the partners of the union are considered the human embodiment of the divine Shiva and Shakti.470 Divine and mythic couples, like Shiva and Shakti, Eros and Psyche, Dionysus and Ariadne, and can be seen as representing an interaction of forces, or a process, within both individual and shared experience. In another well-known myth, the story of Tristan and Iseult, it is Tristan’s failure to sacrifice that results in tragedy.471
The mythological images, along with images like the cross arising organically from this discussion, all inform the idea of desire as a process. The interaction of masculine and feminine principles in the tale of Eros and Psyche, and in the relationship between Shiva and Shakti, suggests a process of transformation for both the individual and the wider culture.472 William Irwin Thompson predicts, in the epoch about to begin, “lovers of eternity give birth to the world on the physical plane [through] physical sexuality.” 473 He quotes George William Russell as saying the avatars of the new age will not be solitary males, but the male and the female together.474 Thompson, Russell, and Lawrence state emphatically the future of the human race rests in relationship. 
Finally, an essential aspect desire of from the perspective of Imaginal Psychology is the archetype of the Friend. The eleventh century Sufi poet, Jelaluddin, or Rumi, writes of the Friend in reference to his extraordinary friend Shams, who disappeared.475 But it is clear in Rumi’s poetry that the Friend of which he speaks is much more than Shams. Jamil Malik states the Friend was a reference to God.476 Mark Unno suggests when Rumi referenced the Friend he was pointing toward the primordial yearning to have one’s deepest nature known and expressed.477 Omer defines the Friend as “the deep potentials of the soul which guide us to act with passionate objectivity and encourage us to align with the creative will of the cosmos.” 478 Omer also states it is only through a sacrifice of some kind that a meeting with the Friend, and the numinous experience that accompanies it, is possible.479
In summary, Imaginal approaches to desire emphasize the importance of image and imagination, privilege the need for risk and uncertainty in the approach of new knowledge, and recognize the necessity of sacrifice in the pursuit of profound connection. Archetypes and imaginal structures find importance both in terms of the exposition of individual process and in and of themselves. Imaginal Psychology is interested in soul and an expanded sense of self through the development of capacity, multiplicity, and disidentification.
The image of the spring calls to mind the creative feminine property of water rising. Aphrodite, in her beauty, is the initiator of process; she creates. Dionysian madness and the primordial image of fire, frequently found in prose and poetry of the sexual and the divine, embodies the process of changing form or transformation. The cross as a symbol holds multiple meanings including transcendence through the union of opposites. The cross as symbol reinforces the importance and potential of relationships, of meeting, and of the necessity of sacrifice. The archetype of the Friend, holding both passionate objectivity and yearning to be deeply known, is an essential element in the exploration of desire. Desire is conceptualized as both an emergent and convergent force operating within the individual and within relationships of all kinds.
Research on desire within Archetypal and Imaginal psychologies is extremely limited. Gulbe-Walsh’s study on bulimia and desire begins to establish connections between the soul’s cravings and the soul’s yearnings. It also draws some tentative conclusions about the transmutation of craving into yearning. However, it is only the beginning of a conversation and no other studies, as of yet, have joined the dialogue.

The preceding review clearly illustrates the phenomena of desire has received attention in a broad array of disciplines and has been subject to wildly disparate interpretations. Gaps in existing research on desire are readily apparent and possible directions for future research are indicated.


Review of the literature related to the psychology of desire reveals desire is frequently identified as an initiating force. Loss or lack is seen by many as intrinsic to the creation and the experience of desire. Desire is variously conceptualized as the craving of the alcoholic for alcohol, the yearning of the aspirant for divine completion, the force of gravity itself, the movement of awareness, and a building block of the self. Qualitative examinations of desire weigh whether it is good or bad, high or low, human or divine, or triadic. Further qualitative examinations of desire attempt to ascertain the essential qualities of desire in relation to how they affect the individuals or objects around them.
In phenomenological examinations of desire, the focus is on the subject or the container in which desire is held. Jung’s concept of the transcendent function is a good example of a phenomenological interpretation of desire in which the outcome of the process depends upon how a subject experiences, or holds, desire, rather than the nature of the desire the subject experiences. Both schools of thought suggest ways in which desire can be seen as a process or part of a process.  
Current research on desire is focused on the area of craving. Craving is seen as a problematic aspect of desire, a deformation of desire. Present research on craving is quantitative in nature and most focuses on substance abuse. Craving formation is addressed in terms of physiology and neurochemistry but not in terms of individual development. Shame, morality and disgust are also explored as ways in which the formation of desire in the individual is shaped and limited. Other important reviewed aspects of desire are the conceptualization of a field of desire, a wellspring as a metaphor for desire, the cross or crucifixion as a symbol for the process of desire in the individual, and negative associations of control and clinging with desire.
In the examination of the literature of desire and human development, the emphasis that develops is relational rather than intrapsychic. It is suggested that desire and the self develop in tandem and inadequate initial attachment results in disorders of desire like addiction. A large body of research related to attachment theory establishes the importance of initial attachment bonds but attachment research does not explore, either theoretically or experientially, desire formation in the infant. The Strange Situation is an effective diagnostic tool but does not speak to the etiology of craving or clinging. 
Research in romantic attachment style suggests directions in response to the question of how formative experiences of desire affect the individual’s ability, in later life, to avoid clinging and craving relative to desire. One possible response to this question of the etiology of desire formation or deformation is Balint’s hypothesis that a basic fault in the individual psyche, as a result of inadequacies in the infant’s relationships, causes the withdrawal of libido. Consequently, further focus could be placed as follows: 1) the field of desire in which the individual is formed, and 2) the formed individual’s ability, or inability, to experience desire. In this cluster, as in the previous one, control and clinging are negatively associated with desire and water is suggested as a metaphor for the movement of desire.
The spiritual and religious disciplines reviewed in the section on religious perspectives on desire note the importance of desire, or yearning, as an approach to wholeness and the divine. Yearning moving toward wholeness, is associated with numinuousity and the image of fire. At the same time, these reviewed disciplines caution against attachment to desire which can be characterized as clinging or craving. In Tantric belief, sexuality is suggested as a means to access the divine through the meeting of the masculine and the feminine and the rising of kundalini. Several of the available studies on Tantra note an expanded ability to love through Tantric practice and define interpersonal jealousy as fear of loss. The phenomena of jealousy is similar to the perception of scarcity that leads to fear and violence noted in the previous section. The relationship between fear and desire is also identified as an area in which further investigation is needed. However, although Tantra is suggested as a healing discipline, there are no studies examining the relative effects of Tantric practice on desire deformation or different attachment styles. Desire as yearning is often ascribed the quality, or direction, of verticality. Desire as craving is generally described in more material, or horizontal, terms. Again, in this section, problems related to the experience of desire are more phenomenological than qualitative; it is the subject’s attachment or clinging to desire that creates difficulty. 
Exploration of desire, from the perspective of Imaginal Psychology, requires the use of image as a way of expanding the exploration of the process of desire. Archetypal images and imaginal structures move the dialogue out of a strictly personal or subjective stance. Images with archetypal resonance arising organically out of this exploration, fire, a spring, and the cross, are examined in relation to Aphrodite, Dionysus, and the couples of Eros/Psyche, Shiva/Shakti and Dionysus/Ariadne. The fire, spring, Aphrodite, and Dionysus all suggest dynamic movement. The cross and the couples are representative of meeting, conscious suffering, and sacrifice. It is suggested the transformation available through the kind of meeting described in Tantric practice is vital from interpersonal, cultural, and archetypal perspectives. The vital function of the archetype of the Friend, representing both the desire of the individual to be known in his or her deepest places and the passionate objectivity of the Other, is acknowledged and emphasized.

Directions for Research

Desire is explored here as entity, qualitative phenomena, phenomenological experience, and dynamic process. Exploration of individual development raises questions around desire formation and deformation. Religious perspectives and Imaginal Psychology amplify these questions about how we form from desire and how desire forms us. All these perspectives suggest clinging, craving and control are negatively associated with desire.
They also suggest directions for exploration. However, a wide gap exists between theoretical formulations of desire and research to support or refute those theories. 
A number of psychologists, philosophers, and theologians cited here have suggested different divisions of desire that attempt to elucidate its complex nature. Most researchers, however, failing to follow the lead of theorists, have insisted on treating desire as a unitary phenomena. This failure of research may in part be attributable to the nature of traditional forms of research that emphasize measurement and are not well-suited to the exploration of a qualitative subjective phenomena like desire. 
Due to the prevalence of addictive problems, craving, generally defined as a negative manifestation of desire and the driving force of addiction, is widely studied.480 Craving research is focused on physiological, neurochemical, and behavioral determinants. Despite several theoretical constructs, like Balint’s basic fault and Flores’ conceptualization of addiction as an attachment disorder, that point to early formative influences on the development of both craving and desire, almost no research addresses developmental determinants of craving and desire.481
No found research, other than Gulbe-Walsh’s, examines craving in light of Omer’s theory of the dual nature of desire. Yearning, as a positive construct balancing the potentially destructive nature of craving, has not been researched. This narrow research perspective, focused on craving as a pathological manifestation of desire, promotes a myopic view of craving. From this viewpoint questions regarding etiology and function of craving find little relevance. The underlying premise of most of the research stemming from this narrowly defined pathological model is that craving is a disease in need of elimination. 
If craving, desire, and yearning are observed in light of Omer’s theory regarding the dual nature of desire, the questions change. If craving is not simply a pathological aberration, but is instead an inherent part of the structure of desire, then it requires attention rather than elimination. Looking at craving from Omer’s perspective invites questions about why and how craving is formed in individual experience. Just as food cravings can be indicative of vitamin deficiencies or thirst signals the need for hydration, craving can be seen as a symptom of a psychic need.482
The inclusive perspective of Imaginal Psychology honors craving as a necessity rather than exiling it as an aberration. This perspective invites inquiry into the conditions that contribute to the formation of craving and the function that it serves. 
When an infant is born, entering the world and leaving the body of the mother, it experiences physical independence for the first time. Psychic independence, according to Winnicott who posits the mother-infant matrix, comes later. Cohen states that when this matrix is fractured through the inevitability of unmet needs, desire is born in the space in between mother and child. At this point, according to Cohen, both desire and the self, begin to define themselves.483 To date, no one has found a way to gather data on this birth of desire and the self that follows closely after the birth of the child.
At some point after it is born, desire begins to differentiate. To a newborn child, everything is need, not want. The infant needs food, warmth, touch and stimulation.484 Eventually, in the process of individual growth, want begins to be distinguished from need. Also, at some point, in a way not yet clearly defined, craving and yearning emerge as distinct aspects of desire. Although each would state it a little differently, Bowlby, Ainsworth, Winnicott, Erikson, Balint, Schore and Cohen all point to fit, attunement, or attachment between the infant and primary caregiver as the crucial variable in infant development and the parallel development of desire.485 Again, while a large body of research exists attesting to the importance of initial attachment, no existing research explores the development of desire within the attachment. 
The Strange Situation could be characterized as a progress report on desire development in the toddler.486 Eighteen month old toddlers are observed reacting to the departure and return of that which they desire most, their mother. Securely attached toddlers show distress at mother’s departure and happiness at her return. Insecurely attached toddlers show a variety of responses all of which indicate difficulty dealing with their desire for mother. Insecure attachment styles, dismissive, avoidant, and disorganized, could be characterized as defensive adaptations to painful or inadequate experiences of desire in regard to the primary attachment object. Flores, labeling addiction as an attachment disorder, suggests substance use represents a failed attempt at repair of insecure attachment.487 A number of studies link addiction and insecure attachment styles.488 This theory and research strongly suggests a relationship between the insecure attachment that results from deficiencies in the primary bond and the craving that characterizes addictive process. 
There is no research exploring the possibility that the etiology of craving is rooted in initial attachment deficiencies. Cross-addiction, the tendency of individuals addicted to one substance, behavior or object to develop an addiction for something else, is widely acknowledged in the field of addiction but also poorly researched from an etiological standpoint.489 There are no studies exploring the mechanism behind the transfer of craving from one object to another. As a consequence, there is no research data to test the idea that the infant’s unmet desire for the primary attachment object becomes craving for an alternative substance, behavior or object.
The genesis of yearning in the development of desire is less studied than craving.  Yearning is referenced in a number of studies but it is not explored substantively. No studies, other than Gulbe-Walsh’s, examine it functionally or in reference to craving. Numerous theorists comment on the importance of yearning in individual and spiritual development but there is no research on the topic. Hillman states “Tell me what you yearn for and I will tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.” 490 The essence of yearning as it is defined here, as the energy of desire that pulls toward completion, wholeness and the divine, is identified by some as Eros or desire. These references to Eros, desire and yearning are usually made in terms indicating verticality and involve ascension, the divine, destiny, or individual fulfillment. Nygren, Lawrence, Otto, Hillman, Houston, Maharaji, and Feuerstein all name this aspect of desire, defined here as yearning, as essential in individual development. Given the evident importance of yearning, the absence of research on its nature and etiology represents a meaningful gap in the study of desire.
As Omer has clearly stated, everyone has to wrestle with desire.491 There are strong indications that early formative experiences dictate how that wrestling occurs. If the experience of desire is characterized by craving, addictive tendencies may manifest. If the experience of desire is characterized by yearning, individual destiny may be allowed to unfold. While desire as yearning clearly moves toward wholeness, verticality and the numinous, desire as craving, in a more round about way, targets the same destination through addictive process.
The movement of desire toward addiction is deeply subjective yet also reaches past or through the strictly individual. Addiction has been previously characterized as a sacred disease and the shadow side of spiritual seeking.492 Jung states when the gods are forgotten they return as diseases.494 It has been suggested the exile of Dionysus and the purification of Aphrodite have contributed to problems of addiction and other disorders of desire. The exile of Dionysus and the purification of Aphrodite reflect widespread forgetting, avoidance, and fear of shadow. The addictive movement of desire could be characterized, in spiritual terms, as going through the shadow to reach the light.
Because desire must be dealt with, and because how the individual struggle with desire is resolved determines whether craving or yearning predominates, it is of crucial importance to explore first, how craving and yearning derive from desire and, second,  how they relate to each other. The first question, and the lack of research available in reference to it, has been explored in the preceding discussion. Discussion of the second question, regarding the relationship between craving and yearning, can be informed by referencing the chakra system elaborated in Tantra. The chakra system of Tantra offers a model for exploring the relationship between craving and yearning.
In the
 Tantric system of belief, between the physical body of the individual and ultimate or divine reality is the subtle, or energetic, body.495 The chakra system is part of this energetic body. The base chakra, or Muladhara-cakra, at the base of the spine is where kundalini, the original energy of the universe, is said to reside.496 The next chakra, the Svadhishthana-cakra, is located at the genitals. According to this system of belief, it is from here that affects and feelings related to the sense of ego, like the sexual urge, greed, and craving, originate. Some Tantric texts speak of tens of thousands of energetic pathways moving through the energetic body in much the same way blood is carried in the physical body through veins and arteries.497 The goal of Tantric practice is self-purification on the physical, mental and energetic level.498 Through disciplined practice the physical and energetic bodies learn to contain and to move the powerful energy of kundalini. Blockages in the flow of kundalini up the pathway of the chakras are removed in a variety of ways including breathing exercises, mental imagery, and ritualized sexuality.499 The energy of the Muladhara-cakra, or kundalini, moves up first into the Svadhishthana-cakra, or genitals, where lust and craving are activated. From there it moves up through the chakras until it reaches the Sahasrara-cakra, or the crown of the head, where the individual meets the universal. 
This movement of energy along the chakras suggests a pathway by which the energy of craving, which tends toward addiction, can move into or become, the energy of yearning, which pulls the individual toward completion. The movement of kundalini up through the chakras could be described as the transmutation of craving into yearning. Blockages in this movement are largely addressed through practices intended to promote further purification.500 Tantric texts suggest the wisdom of the teacher as the answer to the difficulties of the initiate.501 Individual psychodynamic or imaginal structures that interfere with the experience of desire and the subsequent movement of kundalini are not addressed in Tantra texts or practices except, perhaps, anecdotally by a perceptive instructor. What is missing from the Tantric model of the transmutation of craving into yearning is psychological perspective or insight into blockages that prevent the movement of craving into yearning. 
Imaginal Psychology suggests a methodology of studying craving, and blockages of craving, that explores its necessity. Blockages to the rising of kundalini, characterized from within Imaginal Psychology, could be described as gatekeepers. Imaginal Psychology suggests gatekeepers be acknowledged and engaged. One way of characterizing the interaction of Tantra and Imaginal Psychology is that Imaginal Psychology adds a dimension of depth to the two-dimensional Tantric model of rising kundalini. Blockages, from a three-dimensional vantage point, need to be looked at and felt into. Craving, in this model, is the product of the interface between the rising of kundalini and the subjective nature of the container, the individual, in which kundalini arises. Blockages of kundalini, or craving, represent or reflect problematic attributes or traumas of the individual that interfere with the ability to hold and move desire. From this perspective, craving can be conceptualized as the voice of early wounds crying out.
Imaginal Psychology suggests a core aspect of craving, or blockages in kundalini, is a lack of multiplicity. The concept of multiplicity outlines the benefit of the individual development of a variety of aspects of self. This construct suggests that within every individual is infinite possibility.502 The problem of craving, within Imaginal Psychology, is related to individual over-identification with one aspect of self. This rigid over-identification of one aspect of self, often related to early developmental wounding or deficits, limits the developmental possibilities of the individual. It helps to create craving by focusing on exaggerated relationship to one aspect of self to the exclusion of others. Disidentification, or the loosening of this over-identification with one exaggerated aspect of self, is achieved through a full and complete experience of the over-identified aspect of self including the suffering involved in its formation.503
The three dimensional kundalini model suggests a full understanding and experience of craving can help overcome blockages. Significant blockages, or mitigates, of craving and desire identified earlier in this review of the literature, that touch on both shadow and taboo, are shame and disgust. Nathanson states the physiological function of shame is to attenuate affect and says shame occurs when excitement is interrupted.504 Nietzsche notes the life-negating quality of disgust.505 These aspects of shame and disgust appear central to the blockages that serve to negate and interrupt the vitality and life-giving flow of desire. It seems likely deep examination of craving and its blockages will require an exploration of shame and disgust. 
The Research Problem under review here is in what way does the expression of craving enable yearning to emerge. Partial answers arising from this discussion are that craving needs to be fully expressed and that exploration of the transmutation of craving into yearning will likely involve the experiences of shame and disgust. When the need for allowing difficult affective experience is seen in light of the Research Problem the hypothesis of this study emerges: when craving is expressed in ways that allow taboo, shame, and ugly aspects of experience, craving transmutes into yearning. The suggestion here is that when the individual turns to meet craving, and expresses it fully including whatever shame and ugliness is attached to it, identity loosens and craving transmutes into yearning.
This study now turns toward the method by which this problem was approached. In order to attempt to study and capture the experiences of craving and yearning in their depth it was necessary to find a population in significant relationship to desire. The selected population was of adult individuals who practiced Tantric sexuality or polyamory. Data collection was structured in a ritual format and the acknowledgment and elaboration of images was a primary aspect of the research. In hopes of capturing deep lived experience, participants were asked to embody and express different aspects of self. The experience and process of the primary researcher was considered part of the data. A detailed explanation of the methodology for this study now follows.




Chapter Two

1.  Freud, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," in The Freud Reader, 602.
    2.  ———, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," in The Freud Reader, 285. and Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 80
    3.  Jon Mills, "Hegel on the Unconscious Abyss: Implications for Psychoanalysis," The Owl of Minerva 28, no. 1 (1996): 59.
    4.  Melvin Woody Edward S. Casey, "Hegel and Lacan: The Dialectic of Desire," in Hegel's Dialectic of Desire and Recognition, ed. John O'Neil (New York: State University of New York, 1996), 227.
    5.  Arnold Toynbee and Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Life, ed. Richard L. Gage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 332.
    6.  Giles, The Nature of Sexual Desire, 9.
    7.  Martin Scofield, T.S. Eliot:The Poems (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 212.
    8.  Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986), 10.
    9.  Plato, Symposium, trans. Alexander Nehamas (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1989), 25. 
    10.  Jonathan Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture (London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1998), 173.
    11.  Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred (Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 1972), 146.
    12.  Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, 233.
    13.  Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, xvii
    14.  William Shakespeare, Sonnet 147 in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, ed. Stephen Booth (New Haven, Conneticut: Yale University Press, 1977), 517 quoted by Jonathan Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, xvii.

15.  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary,
    16.  Plato, Symposium, 13.
    17.  William B. Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 242.
    18.  Toynbee and  Ikeda, Choose Life, 332.
    19.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 286.
    20.  Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, 38.
    21.  Adam Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998), xvii.
    22.  Paul Verhaeghe, Love in a Time of Loneliness (New York: Other Press, 1999), 69.
    23.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 271.
    24.  Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, 26.
    25.  Ibid., 12.
    26.  Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, 57.
    27.  Ibid., 60.
    28.  Mary Henle, ed., Documents of Gestalt Psychology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961), 340.
    29.  Ruth Stein, Psychoanalytic Theories of Affect (New York Praeger, 1991), 6.
    30.  Verhaeghe, Love in a Time of Loneliness, 26.
    31.  Robert C. Solomon, Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions (The Teaching Company, 2006). Audiotape #13: How Emotios Are Intelligent.
    32.  M. Guy Thompson, The Death of Desire (New York: New York University Press, 1985 ), 67.
    33.  Reich, The Function of the Orgasm, 112.
    34.  Alexander Lowen, Bioenergetics (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), 35.
    35.  Keith Oatley and Jennifer M. Jenkins, Understanding Emotions (Oxford Blackwell Publishing, 1996), 162. 
    36.  Ibid.
    37.  Ibid., 161.
    38.  Ibid., 105.
    39.  Jennifer A. Coon, "Young Children's Understanding of Desire Formation," Developmental Psychology 36, no. 1 (2000). And Douglas Frye and Margalit Ziv, "The Relation between Desire and False Belief in Children's Theory of Mind: No Satisfaction?," Developmental Psychology 39, no. 5 (2003 ). And Adam Putko, "Developmental Differences in the Understanding of Beliefs and Desires," Polish Psychological Bulletin 36, no. 2 (2005).
    40.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 10.
    41.  National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "Alcohol Alert: Craving Research: Implications for Treatment,"  (2001),
    42.  Monell Chemical Senses Center, "Brain Regions Activated by Food Craving Overlap with Areas Implicated in Drug Craving,"
    43.  Raymond Niaura, "Cognitive Social Learning and Related Perspectives on Drug Craving," Addiction 95 no. Supplement 2 (2000): S155-S63.
    44.  Ingmar H. A. Franken, "Behavioral Approach System (Bas) Sensitivity Predicts Alcohol Craving," Personality and Individual Difference 32, no. 2 (2000 ): 349-55.
    45.  Teisha Shiozaki Paul Florsheim, Regina Hiraoka, Stephen T. Tiffany, Sarah Heavin, Teske Spencer, and Carl Clegg, "Craving among Polysubstance-Using Adolescents," Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 17, no. (2) (2007): 101.
    46.  Gordon Parker and Joanna Crawford, "Chocolate Craving When Depressed: A Personality Marker," British Journal of Psychiatry Oct 191, no. (2) (2007): 351.
    47.  Saul Shiffman, "Comments on Craving," Addiction 95, no. Supplement 2 (2000): S171-S75.
    48.  Terry E. Robinson and Kent C. Berridge, "The Psychology and Neurobiology of Addiction: An Incentive-Sensitization View," Addiction 95, no. Supplement 2 (2000): S91-S117.
    49.  Jon May David Kavanaugh, Jackie Andrade, Nathalie Panabokke, "Images of Desire: Cognitive Models of Craving," Memory 12, no. 4 (2004): 447-61.
    50.  Hermano Tavares Monica L. Zilberman, Nady el-Guebaly, "Relationship between Craving and Personality in Treatment-Seeking Women with Substance-Related Disorders," BMC Psychiatry 3:1 (2003). Article available at
    51.  Ibid.
    52.  Philip J. Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder (Lanham, Maryland: Jason Aronson, 2004), 6.
    53. Ibid., 5.
    54.  Craig Lambert, "Deep Cravings: New Research on the Brain and Behavior Clarifies the Mysteries of Addiction," Havard Magazine March-April (2000),
    55.  Gulbe Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women."
    56.  Bruce Fink, The Lacanian Subject (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995), 36.
    57.  Edward S. Casey, "Hegel and Lacan: The Dialectic of Desire," 223.
    58.  Fink, The Lacanian Subject, 59.
    59.  Verhaeghe, Love in a Time of Loneliness, 155.
    60. Fink, The Lacanian Subject, 91.
    61.  Ibid., 84.
    62.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 9.
    63.  Donald Cohen, Life Is with Others: Selected Writings on Child Psychiatry, ed. Robert King Andres Martin (New Haven: Yale Universiy Press, 2006), 60.
    64.  Richard Kearney, On Paul Ricoeur: The Owl of Minerva (Burlington, VA: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2004), 3. 
    65.  Andrew M. Coleman, "Oxford Dictionary of Psychology,"  (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2001), 329.
    66.  Ibid.
    67.  Kearney, On Paul Ricoeur: The Owl of Minerva, 3.
    68.  "Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegate Dictionary,"  (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., 1983), 424.
    69.  ———, On Paul Ricoeur: The Owl of Minerva, 42.
    70.  Eugene Webb, "Eros and the Psychology of World Views," Anthropoetics 12, no. no. 1 (2006): 8, 29.
    71.  Ibid., 4. 
    72.  Ibid., 4.
    73.  Michel Foucault, Care of the Self: History of Sexuality Volume 3 (New York: Vintage Books, 1988), 54.
    74.  Thomas Aquinas, An Aquinas Reader, ed. Mary T. Clark (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1974), 452.
    75.  Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, 20.
    76.  Ibid., 21.
    77.  Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, 118.
    78.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 183.
    79.  Robert Johnson, Ecstasy (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1987), 16.
    80.  Ibid., 23.
    81.  Carol J. Clover, Men Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993), 34. and James B. Weaver III and Ron Tamborini, Horror Films: Current Research on Audience Preferences and Reactions (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1996). Chapter 3, Barry S. Sapolsky and Fred Molitor, Content Trends in Contemporary Horror Films.  The authors surveyed film critics and social scientists drawing the conclusions that slasher films: a) portray extreme violence, b) the violence is often directed at women, and c) the violence often occurs during or immediately after a sexual or erotic image. 
    82.  Barbara Creed, The Monstrous Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychanalysis (London: Routledge, 1993), 7.
    83.  Anders Nygren, Agape and Eros (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982), 170.
    84.  Aristotle, De Anima (London: Penguin Classics, 1986), 214. and Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind (New York: Harmon Books, 1991), 63.
    85.  Ken Wilbur, "On the Nature of a Post-Metaphysical Spirituality Response to Habermas and Weis. Appendix 2: The Nature of Involution," Shambala Publications,
    86.  Thomas Berry Brian Swimme, The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992), 24.
    87.  Alexandre Kojeve, "Desire and Work in the Master and Slave," in Hegel's Dialectic of Desire and Recognition ed. John O'Neill (New York: State University of New York Press, 1996), 51.
    88.  Ibid., 49. 
    89.  Ibid., 50.
    90.  Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind: In Greek Philosophy and Literature (New York: Dover Publications, 1982), 65.
    91.  Ibid., 53.
    92.  Ibid., 65. 
    93.  Ibid., 70.
    94.  Ibid., 60.
    95.  Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 97.
    96.  Ibid., 111.
    97.  Kalsched. “The Limits of Desire and the Desire for Limits in Psychoanalytic Theory,” Fredrica R. Halligan and John J. Shea, "Beginning the Quest: Whither the Divine Fire?," in The Fires of Desire (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 66.
    98.  Ibid., 72.
    99.  Jung, The Portable Jung, 298.
    100.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    101.  C. G. Jung, The Psychology of the Transference (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1954), 100, 43.
    102.  ———, Psychology and Alchemy: Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 12 (New York: Princeton University Press, 1980), para 24.
    103.  Epstein, Open to Desire. 9.
    104.  Carol Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), 167.
    105.  Ibid., 7.
    106.  Ibid., 151.
    107.  Ibid., 176.
    108.  Ibid., 73, 159.
    109.  Robert A. Johnson, We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985), xi, 17.
    110.  Hillman, The Soul's Code, 3.
    111.  Tomas Agosin, "Psychosis, Dreams, and Mysticism in the Clinical Domain," in The Fires of Desire: Erotic Energies and the Spiritual Quest, ed. John J. Shea Fredrica R. Halligan (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 64.
    112.  John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (London: Pluto Press, 1998), 49.
    113.  Timothy Schroeder, Three Faces of Desire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 35.
    114.  Jackie Andrade David Kavanaugh, Jon May, "Imaginary Relish and Exquisite Torture: The Elaborated Intrusion Theory of Desire," Psychological Review 112, no. 2 (2005): 447.
    115.  Stroud, The Bonding of Will and Desire, 83, 2.
    116.  Ibid., 38.
    117.  Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites, xvii.
    118.  Cohen, Life Is with Others: Selected Writings on Child Psychiatry, 50.
    119.  Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (Hillsboro, Oregon: Beyond Words Publishing, 2006), 27.
    120.  Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, 246.
    121.  Ibid., 251.
    122.  Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, 20.
    123.  Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, 255.
    124.  Toynbee and Ikeda, Choose Life, 336.
    125.  Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 134.
    126.  Ibid., 138.
    127.  Ibid., 139.
    128.  Ibid., 144.
    129.   Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 312.
    130.  Ibid.
    131.  Ibid., 426.
    132.  Alexis Johnson, "Healing Shame," The Humanistic Psychologist 34, no. 3 (2006): 223.
    133.  Cheryl Glickauf-Hughes and Susan Chance, "An Individualized and Interactive Object Relations Perspective on the Use of Touch in Psychotherapy," in Touch in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, ed. Pauline Rose Clance Edward W. L. Smith, and Suzanne Imes (New York: Guilford Press, 1998), 159.
    134.  American Psychological Association, "Volume 5 Learni-Opposi," in Encyclopedia of Psychology, ed. Alan E. Kazdin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 488.
    135.  Pauline Rose Clance Judith Anne Horton, Claire Sterk-Elifson, and James Emshoff, "Touch in Psychotherapy: A Survey of Experiences," Psychotherapy 32, no. Fall (3) (1995): 452.
    136.  Susan Smith-Lawry, "Touch and Clients Who Have Been Sexually Abused," in Touch in Psychotherapy, ed. Pauline Rose Clance Edward W. L. Smith, and Suzanne Imes (New York: Guilford Press, 1998), 202.
    137.  Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, 187.
    138.  Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 120.
    139.  Julie Anne Eichstedt, "Toddlers' Inference of People's Desires for Objects: The Effect of Gender-Stereotype Knowledge" (Concordia University, April, 2003).
    140.  P. Schlich S. Rousset, A. Chatonnier, L. Barthomeuf, and S. Droit-Volet, "Is the Desire to Eat Familiar and Unfamiliar Meat Products Influenced by the Emotions Expressed on Eater's Faces.," Appetite 50, no. 1 (2008): 110.
    141.  Damiaan Denys Nienke C. C. Vulink, Leonie Bus, and Herman G. M. Westenberg, "Sexual Pleasure in Women with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," Journal of Affective Disorders 91, no. 1 (May, 2006): 19.
    142.  Aurel Kolnai, "On Disgust," ed. Barry Smith and Carolyn Korsmeyer (Peru, Illinois: Carus Publishing Company, 2004), 52.
    143.  Ibid., 62.
    144.  Ibid., 22.
    145.  Freud, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," 254.
    146.  Ibid., 249.
    147.  Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1989), 375.
    148.  Winfried Menninghaus, Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2003), 195.
    149.  Ibid., 194.
    150.  Ibid., 148.
    151.  Ibid., 150.
    152.  Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Fairfield, Iowa: First World Publishing, 2004), Line 26.
    153.   ———, On the Genealogy of Morals (1887). Quoted in Menninghaus, Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Sensation, 158.
    154.  William Ian Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust (Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press, 1997), 182.
    155.  Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976). Quoted in Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust, 188.
    156.  Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust, 205.
    157.  Fink, The Lacanian Subject, xii. 
    158.  Ibid.
    159.  Bruce Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique, vol. Cambridge, MA (Havard University Press, 1997), 8.
    160.  Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 18.
    161.  Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites, 122.
    162.  Ibid., xv.
    163.  Freud, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning," in The Freud Reader, 654.
    164.  James Q. Wilson, The Moral Sense (New York: The Free Press, 1993), 105. and Martin L. Hoffman, Empathy and Moral Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 30.
    165.  Simone Schnall, Jonathan Haidt, Gerald L. Clore, “Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment” in an unpublished paper found on the Rutgers University website at www., 30.
    166.  Jonathan Haidt, "The Positive Emotion of Elevation," Prevention and Treatment 3, no. Article 3 (2000). Posted March 7, 2000 at, 1.
    167.  Ibid., 2.
    168.  Martin L. Hoffman, Empathy and Moral Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 131.  Jonathan Haidt, "The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Approach  to Moral Judgment," Psychological Review 108, no. 4 (2001): 816.
    169.  Ibid.
    170.  Harry G. Frankfurt, The Importance of What We Care About (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 12.
    171.  Ibid.
    172.  Ibid., 16.
    173.  Ibid., 17.
    174.  Ibid., 16.
    175.  Debra Nussbaum, Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 165.
    176.  Freud, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," 285.
    177.  Marion Solomon, Narcissism and Intimacy (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1989), 71.
    178.   Mariam Jafari, "Growing up and Growing Old: Continuity and Change in Wishes and Desires over the Course of Life.," Psychoanalytic Psychology Vol. 20, no. No. 1 (2003): 1.
    179.  Chris Heathwood, "The Reduction of Sensory Pleasure to Desire," Philosophical Studies 133, no. 1 (2007): 1. and Richard Arneson, "Desire Formation and Human Good," in Preferences and Well-Being, ed. Serena Olsaretti (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 21.
    180.  Ibid., 22.
    181.  Benoit Monin, "The Warm Glow Heuristic: When Liking Leads to Familiarity," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85 no. 6 (2003): 1046. and Gillian Rhodes, "The Evolutionary Psychology of Facial Beauty," Annual Review of Psychology 57 (2006). And J. Halberstadt and G. Rhodes, "The Attractiveness of Nonface Averages: Implications for an Evolutionary Explanation of the Attractiveness of Average Faces," Psychological Science 11, no. 4 (July, 2000). And Jamin Halberstadt Piotr Winkielman, Tedra Fazendeiro, Steve Catty, "Prototypes Are Attractive Because They Are Easy on the Mind," Psychological Science 17, no. 9 (2006).
    182.  Benoit Monin, "The Warm Glow Heuristic: When Liking Leads to Familiarity," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85 no. 6 (2003): 1036.
    183.  Bowlby, A Secure Base, 11.
    184.  Robert Karen, Becoming Attached (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 143.
    185.  Peter Fonagy, Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis (New York: Other Press, 2001), 30.
    186.  P Shaver C. Hazen, "Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52, no. 3 (1987): 511.
    187.  Brenda L. Volling Paul C. Notaro, "Parental Responsiveness and Infant-Parent Attachment: A Replication Study with Fathers and Mothers.," Infant Behavior and Development 22, no. 3 (1999). And Jeffry A. Simpson W. Steven Rholes, Mike Friedman, "Avoidant Attachment and the Experience of Parenting," PSPB 32, no. 3 (March, 2006). And France Frascarolo; Nicolas Favez; Claudio Carneiro; Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge, "Hierarchy of Interactive Functions in Father-Mother-Baby Three-Way Games.," Infant and Child Development 13, no. 4 (November, 2004).
    188.  Mario Mikulincer, "Attachment, Group-Related Processes and Psychotherapy," International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 57, no. 2 (2007). And Anna Buchheim Anneret Martin, Uwe Berger, Bernhard Strass, "The Impact of Attachment Organization on Potential Countertransference Reactions," Psychotherapy Research 17, no. 1 (2007). And Fred A. Thorberg and Michael Lyvers, "Attachment, Fear of Intimacy and Differentiation of Self among Clients in Substance Disorder Treatment Facilities," in Humanities and Social Sciences Papers (Bond University, 2005). And Kenneth J. Sher Martha Vungkhanching, Kristina M. Jackson, Gilbert R. Parra, "Relation of Attachment Style to Family History of Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorders in Early Adulthood," Drug and Alcohol Dependence 75 (2004).
    189.  Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, 231.
    190.  Allan N. Schore, "Parent-Infant Communication and the Neurobiology of Emotional Development," in Head Start National Research Conference (Washington D.C.: 2000), 9.
    191.  Ibid. 
    192.  D. W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality (New York: Routledge, 1982), 10.  
    193.  Cohen, Life Is with Others: Selected Writings on Child Psychiatry, 59.
    194.  Erik Erikson, The Life Cycle Completed (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1997), 59.
    195.  Anthony Synott, The Body Social: Symbolism, Self, and Society (New York: Routledge, 1993), 74; and Nina G. Jablonski, Skin: A Natural History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006), 106.
    196.  The story is said to be chronicled by a Franciscan friar named Brother Salimbene but has not been verified definitively. David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 290.  
    197.  Balint, The Basic Fault, 22, 67. 
    198.  Eric Fromm, The Art of Loving (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishing, 1956 ), 42.
    199.  James Herzog, Father Hunger (Hillsdale, N. J. : The Analytic Press, 2001), 51.
    200.  Dana Shawn Matta and Carmen Knudsen-Martin, "Father Responsivity: Couple Processes and the Coconstruction of Fatherhood," Family Process 45, no. 1 (2006): 19.
    201.  Paul Barrows, "Fathers and Families: Locating the Ghost in the Nursery," Infant Mental Health Journal 25, no. 5 (2004): 412.
    202.  Luis Zoja, The Father: Historical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives ( Hove, England: Brunner-Routledge, 2001), 9.
    203.  Shere Hite, The Hite Report on Male Sexuality ( New York: Ballantine Books, 1982), 14. 
    204. Bronislaw Malinowski, The Father in Primitive Psychology (New York: W. W. Norton, 1927), 14.
    205.  Loren E. Pedersen, Dark Hearts: The Unconscious Forces that Shape Men’s Lives (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1991), 155.
    206.  Robert Bly, Iron John: A Book About Men (Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press, 2004), 21.
    207.  Guy Corneau, Absent Fathers, Lost Sons: The Search for Masculine Identity, trans. Larry Shouldice (Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1991), 38.
    208. Jacqueline M. Tither and Bruce J. Ellis, “Impact of Fathers on Daughter’s Age at Menarche. A Genetically and Environmentally Controlled Sibling Study,” Developmental Psychology Vol. 44(5), (Sept. 2008), 1409.  
    209.  David C. Schwebel and Carl M. Brezausek, “Father Transitions in the Household and Young Children’s Injury Risk,” Psychology of Men and Masculinity Vol 8(3) (July, 2007), 173.
    210.  Wesley C. Becker, Donald R. Peterson, Leo A. Hellmer, Donald J. Shoemaker, and Herbert C. Quay, “Factors in Parental Behavior and Personality as Related to Problem Behavior in Children,” Journal of Consulting Psychology Vol. 23(2), (April, 1959), 107.
    211.  Corneau, Absent Fathers, Lost Sons, 20.
    212.  Walter B. Miller, Lower Class Culture as a Generating Milieu of Gang Delinquency,” in The Sociology of Crime and Delinquency, eds.. Marvin E. Wolfgang, Leonard Savitz, and Norman Johnson (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1962), 270.
    213.  Beatrice B. Whiting and John W. Whiting, Children of Six Cultures: A Psycho-Cultural Analysis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975), 9. 
    214.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2003.
    215.   Margaret Tresch: Martha J. Cox, "Marital Conflict and the Development of Infant-Parent Attachment Relationships," Journal of Family Psychology 11, no. 2 (Jun 1997).
    216.  Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge; Nicolas Favez, "Exploring Triangulation in Infancy: Two Contrasted Cases," Family Process 45, no. 1 (Mar, 2006), France Frascarolo: Nicolas Favez: Claudio Carneiro: Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge, "Hierarchy of Interactive Functions in Father-Mother-Baby Three-Way Games," Infant and Child Development 13, no. 4 (Nov, 2004). 
    217.  France Frascarolo: Nicolas Favez: Claudio Carneiro: Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge, "Hierarchy of Interactive Functions in Father-Mother-Baby Three-Way Games," Infant and Child Development 13, no. 4 (Nov, 2004), 304.
    218.  Ibid., 319.
    219.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 2002.
    220.  Arthur Avalon, The Serpent Power (New York: Dover Publications, 1974), 23.
    221.  Jung, The Essential Jung, 133.
    222.  Karen Horney, Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1992), 34.
    223.  Helen Palmer, The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationships (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996), 9.
    224.  Sigmund Freud, "Some Character-Types Met with in Psycho-Analytic Work: The Exceptions," in The Freud Reader, ed. Peter Gay (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1989), 590.
    225.  Ibid.
    226.  Helen Keane, "Disorders of Desire: Addiction and Problems of Intimacy," Journal of Medical Humanities 25, no. 3 (2004).
    227.  Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder, 1.
    228.  Ronald Potter-Efron, "Attachment, Trauma, and Addiction," Journal of Chemical Dependency Treatment 8, no. 2 (2006): 78. and Rebecca Yucuis Kristin M. Caspers, Beth Troutman, Ruth Spinks, "Attachment as an Organizer of Behavior: Implications for Substance Abuse Problems and Willingness to Seek Treatment," Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy 1, no. 32 (2006): 3. At Lyvers, "Attachment, Fear of Intimacy and Differentiation of Self among Clients in Substance Disorder Treatment Facilities," 7. Unpublished paper at  Martha Vungkhanching, "Relation of Attachment Style to Family History of Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorders in Early Adulthood," 48.
    229.  George Graham, "In and out of Me," Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 11, no. 4 (2004): 323. 
    230.  Ibid.
    231.  Ibid.: 325.
    232.  Girard, Violence and the Sacred, 148.
    233.   The Course in Miracles,  (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), 58.
    234.  Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), 36.
    235.  Ibid., 14, 19.
    236.  Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil (New York: The Free Press, 1975), 125.
    237.  Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 11.
    238.  Ibid., 21.
    239.  Nygren, Agape and Eros, 178.
    240.  Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 36.
    241.  Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, 124.
    242.  Nancy Qualls-Corbett, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Toronto, Canada: Inner City Books, 1988), 43. 
    243.  Wendy Farley, The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2005), 10. 
    244.  Marcuse, Eros and Civilization, 120.
    245.  Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, 32, 127.
    246.  Clifford Bishop, Ecstasy, Ritual and  Taboo (London: HarperCollins, 1996), 114.
    247.  Georg Feuerstein, Sacred Sexuality (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1992), 101.
    248.  Ibid., 104.
    249.  Ibid., 111.
    250.  Tim Alan Gardner, Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage (Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2002). And Chuck M. Macknee, "Profound Sexual and Spiritual Encounters among Practicing Christians: A Phenomenological Analysis," Journal of Psychology and Theology 30, no. 3 (Fall, 2002).
    251.  Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Marriage and Morals in Islam (Qom, Iran: Ansariyan Publications, 2001), 3.
    252.  Ibid.
    253.  Geraldine Brooks, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women (New York: Anchor Books, 1995), 39.
    254.  Ibid., 8.
    255.  Ibid., 11.
    256.  Quals-Corbett, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, 43.
    257.  Ibid., 34. Quals cites examples in Sumerian, Greek, Babylonian, and Egyptian cultures of the sacred prostitute. She also notes the simultaneous existence of profane prostitution. She states that sacred prostitutes were accorded social privilege while profane prostitutes were looked down upon in much the manner that they are today (38).
    258.  Brooks, Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, 39.
    259.  Ibid., 32.
    260.  Ibid., 34.
    261.  Ibid., 36.
    262.  Jacob Needleman, The New Religions (New York: Doubleday, 1970), 13.
    263.  Farley, The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth, 149.
    264.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 165.
    265.  Ibid., 168.
    266.  Ibid., 177.
    267.   ———, Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism (Woodstock, CN: Spring Publications, 1990), 12.
    268.  Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, The Ethical Slut (San Francisco: Greenery Press, 1997), 19.
    269.  Ibid., 19, 24.  
    270.  Johnson, Ecstasy, vii.
    271.  M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), 135, 221.
    272.  Patrick Carnes, Don't Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction (New York: Bantam Books, 1991), 67.
    273.  Ibid., 179.
    274.  Ibid., 31.
    275.  Robin Van Loben Sels, A Dream in the World: Poetics of Soul in Two Women, Modern and Medieval (New York: Routledge, 2003), 45
276.  Rudolph Otto, The Idea of the Holy (London: Oxford University Press, 1923), 11.
    277.  Ibid., 13.
    278.  Ibid., 24.
    279.  Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle (New York: Doubleday, 1961), 149.
    280.  Avalon, The Serpent Power, 11.
    281.  Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas's Shorter Summa (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 1993), 362.
    282.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 4.
    283.  Ibid.
    284.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 10.
    285.  Ibid., 6.
    286.  Bikshu Sangharashita, A Guide to the Buddhist Path (Cambridge, England: Windhorse Publications, 1996), 76.
    287.  Ibid.
    288.  Gerald May, Will and Spirit (San Francisco HarperSanFrancisco, 1982). 222.
    289.  Balint, The Basic Fault, 69.
    290.  Prem Rawat, "Peace Within," The Prem Rawat Foundation, 
    291.  Qualls-Corbett, The Sacred Prostitute, 14.
    292.  Ibid.
    293.  Ibid., 30.
    294.  Feurstein, Sacred Sexuality, 164.
    295.  Ibid., 156. 
    296.  Ibid., 165. 
    297.  Ibid.
    298.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 1.
    299.  Ibid., 2.
    300.  Ibid., 4. 
    301.  Katherine Anne Harper and Robert L. Brown, The Roots of Tantra (Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 2002), 1. 
    302.  Mircea Eliade, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969), 200.
    303.  Ibid., 201.
    304.  Ibid., 4.
    305.  Ibid., 10.
    306.  Ibid., 202.
    307.  David Frawley, Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses: Spiritual Secrets of Ayurveda (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2001), 38. 
    308.  Ibid.
    309.  Ibid., 39.
    310.  Ibid.
    311.  Ibid., 40. 
    312.  Ibid.
    313.  Ibid.
    314.  Ibid., 41.
    315.  Ibid., 42.
    316.  Ibid., 43.
    317.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 63.
    318.  Ibid., 46.
    319.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, xiii.
    320.  Alain Danielou, The Gods of Love and Ecstasy (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1979), 233.
    321.  David Deida, Finding God through Sex: Awakening the One of Spirit through the Two of Flesh (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2005), 160
    322.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 148.
    323.  Ibid.
    324.  Ibid.
    325.  Mieke Wik and Stephan Wik, Beyond Tantra: Healing through Taoist Sacred Sex (Findhorn, Scotland: Findhorn Press, 2005), 23. 
    326.  Ibid.
    327.  S. Rinivas and A. Ravamudan, Guru English: South Asian Religion in a Cosmopolitian Language (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2006), 249. and  John Bassett McCleary, The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia (and Phraseicon) of the 1960's. (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2004), 425. Rinivas notes Osho’s use of nitrous.  McCleary states more definitively that Rajneesh’s addiction to both valium and nitrous oxide brought about his downfall.
    328.  James A. Lewis, Controversial New Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 119.
    329.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, xv.
    330.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, xvi. and, Avalon, The Serpent Power, 12.
    331.  Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes on a Seminar Given in 1932 by C. G. Jung, xxx.
    332.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, xv.
    333.  Harry Aveling, Osho Rajneesh and His Disciples: Some Western Perceptions (New Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1999), 183.
    334.   Avalon, The Serpent Power, 15.
    335.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 166.
    336.  Hugh Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006), ix.
    337.   Numa Ray, "Love Is Born from the Pulse of God's Heart: An Insight into the Polyamorous Circle Kamala.," Journal of Bisexuality 4, no. 3-4 (2004): 133-39. and Annina Sartorius, "Three and More in Love: Group Marriage or Integrating Commitment and Sexual Freedom.," Journal of Bisexuality 4, no. 3-4 (2004): 79-98.
    338.  Konstanza, "Part Two: Testimonials and Reports from the Field: In the Forecourt of Paradise: A Report on the Possible Love-Erotic Future of Humankind," Haworth Press Online  (2004).
    339.  Sudhir Kakar, "Seduction and the Saint," Annual of Psychoanalysis 31 (2003): 197-209.  
    340.  Stuart Sovatsky, "Eros as Mystery: Toward a Transpersonal Sexology and Procreativity," Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 17, no. 1 (1985): 1-32.  
    341.  Cheryl Krause, "Couple's Experience of Sacred Sex/Tantra Practices" (California Institute of Integral Studies, 2002).
    342.  Michael A. Thalbourne, "Paranormal and Mystical Experience: The Role of Panic Attacks and Kundalini," Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 93, no. 1 (1999).
    343.  Yoganand Sinha, "Tantra, an Ancient Postmodernist's Lure: Overcoming the Dichotomy of Self and Others.," Psychology and Developing Societies 6, no. 2 (1994).
    344.  Harrison Viogt, "Enriching the Sexual Experience of Couples: The Asian Traditions and Sexual Counseling," Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 17, no. 3 (1991).
    345.  Lisa Lewis, "Tantric Transformations, a Non-Dual Journey from Sexual Trauma to Wholeness: A Phenomenological Hermeneutics" (University of Lethbridge, 2007).
    346.  Barnaby B. Barratt and Marsha A. Rand, "On the Relevance of  Tantric Practice for Clinical and Educational Sexology.," Contemporary Sexuality 41, no. 2 (2007). 
    347.  Datri Jadu Kory, "The Ecstasy of Intimacy: Cultivating Relationship as a Spiritual Path. " (California Institute of Integral Studies, 2007).
    348.  Ibid., 82.
    349.  This is a central tenet of Tantric belief.  Energy in the form of desire moves up through the subtle energy centers of the body and out through the top of the head for ecstatic meeting with the divine: Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 149.  Nygren, writing from a Christian perspective, emphasizes repeatedly that Eros is love “directed upward”: Nygren, Agape and Eros, 177.
    350.  Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), 55.
    351.  James Joyce, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (New York: Viking Press, 1916), 253.
    352.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 11.
    353.  Jung, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8, 131.
    354.  Hillman, The Soul's Code, 7.
    355.  Robert Sardello, Love and the Soul (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), xv.
    356.  Ibid., 105. 
    357.  John R. Haule, Pilgrimage of the Heart: the Path of Romantic Love ( Boston MA: Shambhala Publications, 1990), 8.
    358.  Ibid., 107. 
    359.  Ibid., 19.
    360.  Ibid. 
    361.  Henry Corbin, Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn’ Arabi. Trans. R. Manhiem (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969), 139.  
    362.  Stephan A. Hoeller, The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1982),  47.
    363.  Ibid., 56.
    364.  Carl G. Jung, "Part One: Approaching the Unconscious," in Man and His Symbols (New York: Dell Publishing, 1968), 4.
    365.  Douglas Gillette and Robert Moore, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine (San Francisco: Harper Collins), 131.
    366.  Ibid., 36.
    367.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1998.
    368.  Ibid.
    369.  Wendell Berry, "To Know the Dark," in The Made Things: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, ed. Leon Stokesbury (Fayetteville, AK: University of Arkansas Press, 1999), 33.
    370.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.
    371.  Ibid.
    372.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    373.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 2001.
    374.   Ibid.
    375.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 2004.
    376.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 221.
    377.  Ruth Stein, "Fundamentalism, Father and Son, and Vertical Desire, 211.
    378.  Johnson, Ecstasy, 13.
    379.  Aftab Omer, written communication from staff  (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, October 25th, 2008).
    380.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, March 1999. 
    381.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, Nov. 2001.
    382.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, Feb, 2001.
    383.  Aftab Omer, written communication from staff  (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Imaginal Studies, October 25th, 2008).
    384.  Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), viii.
    385.  Ibid.
    386.  Jung, The Essential Jung, 21.
    387.  Tom Cheetham, The World Turned inside Out (Woodstock, CN: Spring Journal Books, 2003), 66.
    388.  James Hillman, "On the Necessity of Abnormal Psychology," in Facing the Gods (Dallas, TX: Spring, 1992), 33.
    389.  Ibid.
    390.  Mary Watkins, Waking Dreams (Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, 1976), viii.
    391.  Ibid., 99.
    392.  Carl G. Jung, "The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious," in The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell (New York: Penguin Books, 1971), 134.
    393.  Tom F. Driver, Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), 16. 
    394.  Ibid., 213.
    395.  Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last (New York: Harmony/Bell Tower, 1998), 102.
    396.  Bernd Jager, Phenomenlogical Inquiry in Psychology (New York: Springer, 1998), 101.
    397.  Ibid., 103.
    398.  Winifred Rosen Andrew Weil, From Chocolate to Morphine (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), 93.
    399.  Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcholics Anonymous (New York: Simon and Schuster 2004), 241.
    400.  Ibid.
    401.  William A. Richards Roland R. Griffiths, Una D. McCann, Robert Jesse, "Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance. ," in Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, ed. Thomas B. Roberts Michael J. Winkelman (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers/Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), 227.
    402.  Christopher B. Wiegand Francisco A. Moreno, Keolani E. Taitano, Pedro L. Delgado, "Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Psilocybin in 9 Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 67, no. 11 (2006). And Stephen Ornes, "Medicine: Power of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Revealed.," Discover 28, no. 1 (2007).
    403.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 284.
    404.  Houston, Search for the Beloved, 157.
    405.  Ahsen, Aphrodite, 36.
    406.  Ibid., 13.
    407.  Ibid., 37.
    408.  Ibid., 20.
    409.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 9, 264.
    410.  Ibid., 274.
    411.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 286.
    412.  Ginette Paris, Pagan Meditations: The Worlds of Aprodite, Hestia, and Artemis (Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, 1986), 14.
    413.  Apulius, The Golden Ass (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951), 96.
    414.  Ibid., 143.
    415.  Erich Neumann, Amor and Psyche (New York: Princeton University Press, 1956), 150.
    416.  Ibid.
    417.  Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women", vi.
    418.  Ibid., 20.
    419.  Ibid., 101.
    420.  Ibid., 207.
    421.  Ibid., 210.
    422.  Ibid., 212.
    423.  Ibid., 213.
    424.  Neumann, Amor and Psyche, 4.
    425.  Albert Leopold Smith, "Mythopoesis: Aphrodite's Trinity of Love, Beauty, and Desire" (Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2002), iii.
    426.  Stroud, The Bonding of Will and Desire, 15.
    427.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 15.
    428.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 292.
    429.  Ibid., 292, 98.
    430.  Edith Hamilton, Mythology (Boston: Mentor Book, 1940), 55.
    431.  Frederick Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (New York: Dover Publications, 1927), 34.
    432.  Willam Storm, After Dionysus: A Theory of the Tragic (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), 22.
    433.  Kerenyi, Dionysus, 202.
    434.  Storm, After Dionysus: A Theory of the Tragic, 22.
    435.  Johnson, Ecstasy, 18.
    436.  Ibid., 21.
    437.  Ibid., 22.
    438.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 2002.
    439.  Ibid.
    440.  Kerenyi, Dionysus, 200.
    441.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    442.  Ibid.
    443.  Ibid.
    444.  Kerenyi, Dionysus, 124.
    445.  Ibid.
    446.  Avalon, The Serpent Power, 313.
    447.  Danielou, The Gods of Love and Ecstasy, 16.
    448.  Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, 85.  
    449.  Jung, "Part One: Approaching the Unconscious," 3.
    450.  Ibid., 81.
    451.  Aniela Jaffe, "Symbolism in the Visual Arts," in Man and His Symbols, ed. Carl G. Jung (New York: Dell Publishing, 1964), 273.
    452.  Ibid., 274.
    453.  Titus Burckhardt, Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Louisville, Kentucky: Fons Vitae, 1960), 110.
    454.  Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, 100, 143.
    455.  Ibid.
    456.  Ibid., 100.
    457.  Edward Edinger, Ego and Archetype (Baltimore MD: Penguin Books, 1973), 152.
    458.  Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, 430.
    459.  Erich Neumann, The Origins and History of Consciousness, Bollingen Series Xlii (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954), 378.
    460.  Agosin, "Psychosis, Dreams, and Mysticism in the Clinical Domain," 58.
    461.  Bert H. Hoff, "Sam Keen on Men, Women, Sex and Spirituality," M.E.N. 1993.
    462.  Otto, The Idea of the Holy, 172.
    463.  Ibid., 21.
    464.  Raimundo Panikkar, The Silence of God: The Answer of the Buddha, trans. Robert R. Barr (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1898), 82.
    465.  Girard, Violence and the Sacred, 98.
    466.  Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, xvii.
    467.  Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, 86.  
    468.  Ibid. 
    469.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 224.
    470.  Ibid., 245.
    471.  Johnson, We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, 114.
    472.  Neumann, Amor and Psyche, 159. and Avalon, The Serpent Power, 313.
    473.  William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981), 254.
    474.  Ibid.
    475.  Rumi, The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks with John Moyne (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), xii.
    476.  Jamal Malik and John R. Hinnells, Sufism in the West (New York: Routledge, 2006), 102.
    477.  Mark Unno, Buddhism and Psychotherapy across Cultures: Essays on Theories and Practices (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2006), 190.
    478.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    479.  Ibid.
    480.  See Craving section in Literature Review in Psychology of Desire cluster.
    481.  Balint, The Basic Fault. And Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder.
    482.  Thomas L. Thombs, Introduction to Addictive Behaviors (New York: Guilford Press, 2006), 123.
    483.  See cluster on Desire and Human Development for discussion of Winnicott’s and Cohen’s concepts and theories.
    484.  Louise J. Kaplan, Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual, Touchstone Books (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 89.
    485.  See cluster on Desire and Human Development.
    486.  Karen, Becoming Attached, 143.
    487.  Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder, 68.
    488.  Potter-Efron, "Attachment, Trauma, and Addiction." And  Kristin M. Caspers, "Attachment as an Organizer of Behavior: Implications for Substance Abuse Problems and Willingness to Seek Treatment." And Lyvers, "Attachment, Fear of Intimacy and Differentiation of Self among Clients in Substance Disorder Treatment Facilities." And Martha Vungkhanching, "Relation of Attachment Style to Family History of Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorders in Early Adulthood."
    489.  Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder, 5.
    490.  Zweig, The Holy Longing, 44.
    491.  Omer’s concept of the ecstatic imperative (Chapter One) states unequivocally that powerful experience of desire is an absolute need for every individual.
    492.  Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, 135. And  Johnson, Ecstasy, vii.
    493.   Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 13:  Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower, 37.
    494.  Johnson, Ecstasy, 25. And Paris, Pagan Meditations: The Worlds of Aprodite, Hestia, and Artemis, 102.
    495.  Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 139.
    496.  Ibid., 159. 
    497.  Ibid., 160.
    498.  Ibid., 144.
    499.  Ibid.
    500.  Ibid., 169.
    501.  Ibid., 271.
    502.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.
    503.  Ibid. 
    504.  Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 134, 39.
    505.  Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Line 26.





Introduction and Overview

The Research Problem under review here was in what way does the expression of craving help yearning to emerge? The hypothesis stated the transmutation of craving into yearning becomes possible when craving is fully expressed, leading to disidentification, and when the underlying shame associated with unmet desires is engaged.

     In my research, I was operating from a participatory paradigm in which all parties involved are part of the research design.1 In this paradigm, all parties, myself, participants and co-researchers, are both affected by, and affect the process, the data collected, the interpretation of the data, and the meaning ascribed to both the data and its interpretations. Within the participatory paradigm, I utilized Imaginal Inquiry, a research methodology which emphasizes exploration before explanation, moves toward marginalized experience through approach of taboo, and attempts to mine the possibilities of the moment as fully as possible.2 The four phases of Imaginal Inquiry are evoking experience, expressing experience, interpreting experience, and integrating experience.3

This outline of methodology will begin with a general description of the research design including the rationale for the selected exercises. It will then address limitations of this study before moving on to the specifics of participant selection and detail of the different phases of Imaginal Inquiry.
The three primary opportunities for data collection were a biography, an individual meeting, and a group meeting. In a biography completed prior to either research meeting, participants answered questions related to history, secure and insecure attachment styles, and romantic attachment styles (Appendix 8). In the individual meeting, participants were asked to build altars to craving and yearning and to bring personal objects related to both altars (Appendix 12).
In addition to building altars, participants were asked to create their own images of craving and yearning, journal, embody the voices of craving and yearning, engage in a dialogue between different aspects of self, and participate in guided imagery intended to deepen affect and engagement. Guided imagery is defined in Corsini as a psychotherapeutic exercise involving the excitation of emotional fantasies or waking dreams.4
In the group meeting participants were asked to journal, imagine, tell stories about themselves, and join in a polarity exercise creating a continuum of craving and yearning (Appendix 13).

Biographical Interview

The biographical interview consisted of eighteen questions related to craving, yearning, desire, disgust, regret, and relationships. The intention of the biography was to gather data about how these phenomena interact within the individual and to explore participant relationship style. The initial question asked them about their relationship to their own desire and the second asked about how they decide between right and wrong in relation to their desire. The next five questions inquired about their experience of craving, yearning, disgust, shame, and regret. The next six questions were focused on the participant’s parents and their parent’s experience of craving and yearning. The last five questions requested data in regard to participant relationship history and patterns. This historical, affective, and relational data was gathered to be examined in conjunction with the lived experience to be evoked in the individual and group meetings.

Individual Meeting 

In the individual meeting participants were asked to first build an altar to craving then build an altar to yearning. While in front of the altar of craving they were asked to create an image of craving and then dialogue with that image. They were then asked to embody and speak from the voice of craving. 
Next they were asked to imagine being the container for craving and describe that experience. At this point participants were asked to imagine deeply into the shadow of craving and describe what they experienced there. The final craving exercise involved imagined amplification and frustration of craving with eventual satisfaction. 
Participants were then asked to move with awareness into a place of transition at which point the chakra system was mentioned as a possible way of moving energy. Participants were then asked to do the same exercises in front of the altar of yearning with one exception. In front of the altar of yearning, instead of being asked to imagine into the shadow, they were asked to have a dialogue between craving and yearning. 
Participants were asked to journal at four points. After embodying the voice of craving they were asked to write any unexpressed thoughts or feelings. After imagining into the shadow of craving they were asked the same question. After embodying the voice of yearning they were again asked to write any unexpressed thoughts or feelings. Finally, during closing they were asked to complete the sentences: “The craving within me is—” and “The yearning within me is—."
A core element of the individual interviews was altar building. Participants were asked to build an altar to craving and an altar to yearning. Open altar spaces with flowers and unlit candles were provided along with a number of objects to be described in detail further on. Participants were asked to bring three objects related to craving and three objects related to yearning. 
The altars enriched the research in a variety of ways. First, they provided a strong ritual context for the research that both contained and deepened participation. The participants, who were screened for openness and interest in ritual, readily dropped into deeper affective connection when sitting in front of the altars. 
Another way in which the altars were helpful was as an external representation of the participants’ internal processes. When placed together on the altar with explanation and honoring, the meaningful objects related to craving and yearning that participants provided coalesced into a physical representation of that aspect of themselves. In a way that was real and substantive, participants were able to observe and dialogue with the external representations of these parts.
The altars also provided a rich exposition of image. The altars in their totality were complex images consisting of a variety of individual images or objects. Most of the images carried significant meaning for participants and tended not just to amplify affective expression but to allow for deeper authentic participation. Deepened participation, primacy of images, and use of imagination created the context of possibility that is emphasized in Imaginal Inquiry. In this research, altars were intended to serve both as a stage for the exposition of individual issues related to craving and yearning and as a threshold between the individual realm and the collective realm. 
For the purposes of this research the collective refers to the various deeper aspects of the individual psyche, the collective unconscious, the divine, or any other energy or force larger than individual consciousness. In Jungian terms, the altars were an opening or invitation to the archetypes of the collective unconscious. 
Finally, the altars also were a means of exploring self that encouraged honoring and respect. Because the topic of desire touched on areas of personal and cultural taboo, it was essential to examine them in a way that avoided self-condemnation and rebuke. Honoring craving, rather than defending against it, allowed for a much fuller investigation of its nature.
Participants were asked to bring three personal objects related to craving and three objects related to yearning to the individual meeting. In addition, I provided a number of images related to craving and yearning for participants to utilize if they wished. The following images were provided: a statue of Shiva and Shakti embracing, a statue of Green Tara, a Shiva or lingam stone, a statue of a nude woman kneeling, a reproduction of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of a man and woman embracing titled Ashore, a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David, a cross, a can of beer, a bong used for smoking marijuana, a pack of cigarettes, a small bag of coffee, and a chocolate bar.
All provided items were intended to enrich the field of images and provide participants with a wider range of choices. Specific items were chosen for various reasons. Chocolate, coffee, the beer can, and the bong are all substances, or items related to substances, that often create or promote craving. The nude male and female figures were attractive idealized representations of both genders which potentially could represent either craving or yearning. The female figure was on her knees in a devotional posture. 
Rodin’s sculpture, the Shiva and Shakti sculpture, the Green Tara, and the Shiva stone, all represented relational and or divine aspects of self and suggest yearning. In Rodin’s sculpture, the man was on his knees before the woman in a devotional pose. Shiva and Shakti were in what is called the Yab-Yum position. Yab-Yum translates as father-mother.5 In this position Shiva and Shakti are facing each other with Shakti sitting on Shiva’s lap and her legs wrapped around his waist. Green Tara is a goddess of the tantric Buddhist and Tibetan traditions known for the compassion and protection she shows to her devotees.6 The lingam stone, in Hindu tradition, is not just a phallic symbol but also represents spiritual uprightness.7
The cross was included due to its importance as a complex symbol for the self. Because this symbol arose organically out of the review of the literature it felt important to include it among the provided images, although no participant utilized or commented upon it.
All these images were offered to deepen inquiry into craving and yearning. One participant used the coffee and the bong. Another participant, who forgot to bring her objects, used the coffee, chocolate, the Shiva and Shakti figure, and the kneeling female nude. I pointed out the objects to participants and invited them to use them in altar building but did not offer participants much time to consider whether or not the provided objects would make good additions to their altars.
In the individual meetings, participants were asked several times to shift their perspective while exploring their cravings and yearnings. Shifting in and out of the voices of yearning and craving and imagining yearning and craving as both within and outside the individual was intended to help promote the loosening of personal identity, or disidentification, discussed earlier in the introduction. Imagining into the various perspectives helped most participants see themselves as holding multiple voices in relation to craving, yearning and desire rather than over-identifying with one rigid point of view.  
Further, one of the primary distinctions arising out of the literature review was between qualitative desire and phenomenological or subjective desire. By moving focused awareness from various objects, and in and out of the participants, I aimed at gathering comparative data related to desire as a personal aspect of being and desire as an entity or force moving through them. Finally, shifting awareness into different perspectives on craving and yearning helped participants to deepen their experience of each phenomena and allowed powerful exploration of these aspects.
The deepest affective segment of the individual meeting for many of the participants was exploration of the shadow of craving. In an attempt to fully express craving and to touch on any shame and guilt associated with it, participants were asked to imagine turning over a craving stone and explore what they found underneath it. The intent of this exercise was guided by Jung’s premise that exploration of the shadow is the beginning of the process in any deep exploration of self.8
I had anticipated this imagining would elicit confession of some specific acts or behaviors related to craving to which shame attached. This did not occur. No participant offered any specific events or behaviors. All participants spoke in either generalizations or metaphors despite being encouraged to offer specifics. Despite the lack of specificity, the metaphors and images spoken by participants were powerful. Several participants indicated this part of the research was the most profound and meaningful for them. 
Both the craving and the yearning segments of the individual meeting ended with amplification, frustration, and then satisfaction of the craving or yearning. As noted in the literature review by Phillips and others, the experience of desire requires resistance. Without an obstacle, desire disappears.9 In order to facilitate as full an experience of craving and yearning as possible, participants were asked to evoke strong feelings of craving and yearning which were then blocked in their imaginings prior to being satisfied. 
Two other important aspects of the individual meeting require mention. In the yearning segment of the meeting, participants were asked to imagine, and to speak, a dialogue between craving and yearning. The intention of this dialogue was to further enrich the data by polarizing craving and yearning and developing their perceived differences. Sequentially, this dialogue took place in front of the altar of yearning at the same point the exploration of shadow took place in front of the altar of craving. Because yearning, especially as defined in this study, does not carry the same negative connotation as craving, no exploration of the shadow of yearning was included. 
Shifting from the altar of craving to the altar of yearning involved physically moving to a transitional space between the altars. The individual interview space was set up in a triangular form with the altars forming either end of the base of the triangle and the rug and cushion demarcating the transitional space at the apex of the triangle. The literature suggests that the triangle is a meaningful form in relation to desire. The form of the triangle also emerged in the collected data several times.
 During transition I mentioned the chakra system to participants as a potential way of moving the energy of craving. The chakra system, compared by Jung to the alchemical process of growth and transformation, suggests a parallel process for the transmutation of craving into yearning.10 In the chakra system the powerful sexual energies of the base chakra move up the energy centers along the spine until they pour out the top of the head and out into the universe.11
Chakras were not discussed at length with participants in order to avoid being overly directive and skewing the data. They were suggested briefly as an image participants might want to visualize as a way of moving any leftover energy of craving. 

Group Meeting 

The group meeting took place 29 days after the first individual meeting and 11 days after the last individual meeting. Participants were asked to bring one object related to craving and one object related to yearning. After the reading of a Rumi poem participants were asked to place their objects on the altar and speak to their importance.12
Participants were then asked to identify, in writing, three to five key moments from the individual meeting. Next they were asked to use their imaginations in an evocation of craving and yearning and then write their answers to eight questions related to their experience of craving and yearning over time. At this point participants were asked to physically take a position on a continuum of craving and yearning and to speak from their position. They were then asked to answer six questions regarding their experience of craving and yearning since the beginning of the research. This was followed by a group discussion and a break. After the break I invited participants to share personal stories related to craving and yearning. I then shared some preliminary findings from the individual meetings and initiated a group discussion relative to the findings. Finally, prior to closing, I asked participants to write anything else they thought I should know or consider in relation to desire, craving or yearning.
The purpose of the group meeting was three-fold. First, meeting with participants roughly two to four weeks after the individual meeting experience was an opportunity to gather comprehensive data about the effect, over time, of the individual meeting on participant’s craving and yearning. The questions posed to participants sought to determine what parts of the individual meeting had been most important to them and had greatest effect. Second, it offered participants an opportunity to integrate the potentially profound affective experience in the individual meeting. Group discussion with other individuals who had shared the same experience held the possibility of new knowledge and new ways of understanding.
Thirdly, it was an opportunity to gather new data related to the interpersonal experience of craving and yearning that could not be explored in individual meetings. In line with this intent, participants were asked to share stories, participate in a group dialogue between craving and yearning, and join in discussion. The new data gathered in the group meeting was limited. Despite ritual containment and encouragement of self disclosure, the group did not cohere and at least one participant reported not feeling safe enough in group to come forward affectively. While the experiential failure of the group meeting limited data collection of one kind it did result in valuable data of a different kind, to be explored in detail in the Learnings chapter of this study. 
All the images present at the individual meetings were brought to the group meeting and placed on a large, single altar in the center of the room. All the images of yearning and craving created by participants during the individual meetings were set around the room.
The journaling and discussion were straightforward attempts to mine more data from the participants. The group dialogue between craving and yearning was a largely unsuccessful attempt to explore the different poles of craving and yearning through creation of a continuum and engagement in dialogue from the different points of the continuum. Although participants did place themselves on different points of the continuum they did not volunteer any information from their positions and responded only to direct questions. I was not able to get participants to enter into dialogue with each other. All dialogue was directed at me as facilitator and was in response to direct questions.
The clear failure to establish a sense of safety in the group may have resulted from one or more of these factors; inadequate amount of time together as a group to expect disclosure of vulnerable feelings related to desire; inadequate ritual containment; an insufficient amount of time spend with introductions; lack of containment of difficult personalities in the group; or the nervousness of the primary researcher. In the individual meetings, safety was established, vulnerability resulted in affective expression, experience was shared, and there was a felt sense of value or importance. In the group meeting safety was not established and participants indicated it felt less valuable.

Personal Subjectivity

I was researching a deeply personal aspect of my own experience. I am acutely aware of suffering I have experienced as a result of impairment in the telos of my desire. From a research perspective this represents an opportunity in terms of my passion for the subject matter, and a danger in terms of possible loss of perspective and openness. 
Further, I am a heterosexual male Caucasian in Western culture raised in the Episcopal church. My gender, race, and sexual orientation place me in a relatively privileged position in terms of experiencing desire; as a man it is less likely I would be labeled pejoratively in sexual terms. As a heterosexual I am free from the tremendous pressures of condemnation brought to bear in our culture on gay and lesbian men and women. On the other hand, my upbringing in the Episcopal church, with its roots in the desire-negative traditions of Catholicism, exacerbates my tendency to experience guilt and self-doubt relative to my own desires. 
As a researcher operating in the participatory paradigm, I attempted to acknowledge my subjective stance and, utilizing reflexivity, to make it part of the inquiry. While I recognized the impossibility of absolute objectivity, I endeavored to remain open to all the ways in which I was affected by the data and to all possible interpretations of the data and its effects. 


There were several limitations to this research design.  The small sample size limited the generalizability of the data; however, it was well-suited to the content of the study. Craving, yearning, shame and disgust were most effectively explored in a one-on-one context and less effectively in small groups. Safety and solid containment were required to approach the sensitivities associated with desire. In the small group experience the difficulty of approaching this topic was clear.
No co-researchers participated in this study. Two colleagues and fellow students, both experienced in the dissertation process at the Institute of Imaginal Studies, had expressed interest in this research and had made a commitment to participate. Unfortunately, both of them experienced serious medical problems prior to the group meeting and were unable to attend. In one case, a disabling injury occurred two days prior to the scheduled group meeting. Additional perspectives are extremely helpful in determining validity of the data and the absence of co-researchers was a significant loss.
The gender imbalance in participants, two men and six women, potentially limits the generalizability of data. More than twice as many women as men responded to the posting for participants. The majority of men who responded were either not interested in, or adverse to, ritual. Almost all of the female respondents were involved in Tantric community. The majority of the male respondents were involved in polyamorous communities and did not care for the ritual aspects of Tantric practice. 
The dissertation hypothesized a process of the transmutation of craving into yearning which is a longitudinal process. A short study made up of two meetings constituted a small cross section, or snapshot, of the phenomena. In interpreting the experience evoked, it was necessary to remember the participants were involved in a long term dynamic process only one small piece of which was captured. Also, subjective states related to the transmutation of craving into yearning that occur within a few hours, days, or weeks of an event may or may not bear relevance to the long-term individual functioning of desire. Deep experience or change is metabolized slowly. The experience that was evoked and interpreted here could well evolve into something entirely different. 
Another potential limitation of this research involves the use of attachment styles in interpretation of data. Participants were asked questions in the biographical interview relative to attachment style. However, because Imaginal Inquiry emphasizes multiplicity, determinations in regard to attachment style cannot be considered fixed categories but rather points of reference potentially helpful in enriching the data collected.  
The primary delimitation of the research involves safety.  Because exploration of craving and yearning had the potential to touch very deep places in articipants, I needed to be careful to moderate the degree of affect and reactivity evoked. Affect had to be present for the research to be valid, but excessive evocation of affect would have exceeded the parameters of the research container and required a more therapeutic response. This was a delicate balance as deep work holds the potential for profound data. Through screening I choose individuals with a demonstrated capacity for affective expression and employed clinical judgment throughout the research to gauge individual safety.  


Eight participants were selected for this study. I was looking for as much diversity as possible in terms of age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and gender. In order to find individuals who were in significant relationship to desire, and had challenged cultural taboos around the experience of desire, I decided to focus on finding participants who had practiced Tantric sexuality or had experience with polyamory. Because the methodology relied heavily on ritual, participants were also screened for comfort and familiarity with ritual practices.
Advertisements were posted on Craig’s List and in a local coffee shop (Appendices 5, 6). With the assistance of Francesca Gentile, a well-known Bay Area Tantric teacher, my advertisement was also posted on the email lists of several local Tantric and polyamorous communities (Appendix 6).  All selected participants contacted me as a result of the postings on these community email lists. I received no calls from my posting in the local coffee shop and only one call from my posting on Craig’s List. The same advertisement, slightly modified, was posted on the email lists of the polyamorous and Tantric communities. 
Within a week to ten days I was contacted by approximately twenty five individuals. Most of them were women. As stated, the majority of the men that contacted me were involved in polyamorous community and expressed a dislike of ritual. I made a second request, specifically for men, to Francesca Gentile, who re-posted my request. This resulted in contact by two men who were eventually chosen to participate.
Respondents were initially screened over the telephone (Appendix 7). In the initial telephone screening I assessed for a minimum level of emotional and psychological awareness. Potential participants were asked about experience with depression, addiction, psychotherapy, ritual, and personal growth. They were also asked about support networks, religious affiliation, and any experience with polyamory or Tantric practice. If respondents had struggled with depression or addiction they were asked about how long they had been in recovery. I was interested in finding individuals that had wrestled with desire but were presently stable. If the respondent sounded appropriate by virtue of experience and stability, I gave them a brief description of the study, characterizing it as about desire, gave them a chance to ask any questions they might have, checked out availability for potential dates for the group meeting, and advised I would be back in touch with them within a week to let them know if they had been chosen for the study. 
Once I had chosen the most appropriate participants, I called them back to advise they had been chosen for the study and to set a time and place to meet them in order to sign the informed consent and give them a Biography of Desire to complete (Appendix 8). Respondents not chosen for the study were contacted and diplomatically advised of this decision (Appendix 9). The informed consent was mailed to participants prior to the meeting in order to give them an opportunity to review the document prior to signing (Appendix 4). Three participants were met at coffee shops, two were met at their residence, one was met at her place of employment, one met me at my office in Davis, California, and one met me at my office in San Francisco. Initial meetings ranged from fifteen to forty-five minutes in length (Appendix 11). 
In discussion, I was careful to limit any disclosure about the research. I described it as being about the movement of desire within the individual. Participants were advised they might experience some benefit from the release of memory and feeling and they might find some of the exercises pleasurable and satisfying. I told them their participation was completely confidential and it was my commitment to maintain that confidentiality. Likewise, they were advised of the importance of keeping the identities of other participants confidential. I also let them know they were free to discuss anything I said or did. At that time I scheduled a time for the individual meeting and advised them of the time and place of the group meeting. 
Inclusion variables, as previously noted, were psychological experience, significant engagement with desire, stability, and comfort with ritual. There were also several exclusion variables. Given that the area of inquiry was desire, I needed to be alert to those who saw this research as a thinly veiled excuse for a sexual opportunity. One or two of the respondents to my advertisements gave me the impression they were primarily interested in a sexual liaison. They were not included in the study. Also, as indicated in my advertisement, I was not interested in working with individuals who choose an alternative life-style strictly out of a sense of sexual adventure. My intention was to work with participants who felt drawn to Tantra or polyamory from a deeper call involving personal meaning, individual philosophy, or spiritual connection. This intention was largely realized.
Also, because ritual was used, and images associated with polytheistic belief systems were employed, individuals with a strong belief in mainstream religious traditions were excluded unless they demonstrated a clear and convincing openness to alternative systems of belief.  
Active addiction was also an exclusion variable as participants needed to be stable. However, two chosen participants, during the course of the research, acknowledged regular marijuana use and one sought counseling for marijuana dependency in between the individual and group meetings. In one case I misunderstood the information I was given in the initial telephone screening. In the other case, problematic marijuana use was not revealed and until the individual meeting was initiated. Both individuals, despite their struggle with marijuana, had extremely strong support networks and presented as stable. For those reasons I chose to continue the research with both of them. 
I also had some difficulty deciding whether or not one participant, with a neurological disorder, was appropriate for the research. Because of the variability of his medical condition I questioned whether or not he could commit to the research and whether or not it was in his best interest to do so. In the end, because of his strong desire to participate and reassurance he offered about his physical ability to do so, he was included.  
The first individual meeting took place on Friday, January 18 and the last was on Wednesday February 6. The group meeting was held on Sunday, February 17. Two of the individual meetings took place at my office in Davis and five at my office in San Francisco. In one instance the interview took place at the residence of the participant because she indicated that was the only way in which she could participate. I had also agreed to meet at the home of the one participant with a neurological disorder, in consideration of his disability, but he was not there at the scheduled time and the meeting was re-scheduled at the San Francisco office. The individual meetings were audio taped and I transcribed them myself. All completed Biographies of Desire were obtained prior to the individual meetings. 
The group meeting was held in one of the conference rooms in my office building in San Francisco. Snacks were provided. Reminder letters were mailed out ten days before the group meeting (Appendix 10). Reminder telephone calls were placed the day before the initial meeting, the individual meeting and the group meeting (Appendix 10). Several participants indicated they would have forgotten to come if they had not received the telephone call reminder. All eight participants were present at the group meeting. The group meeting was also audio taped and I transcribed it.

Four Phases of Imaginal Inquiry

As stated, the Research Problem under review was in what way does the expression of craving help yearning to emerge? The primary initial intent of this research was to evoke an experience of craving. After craving had been evoked the further intent of the research was to evoke the related experiences of yearning, shame, disgust, and the hypothesized transmutation of craving into yearning. 
Once craving and yearning were evoked, the intent was to amplify them by interposing obstacles between the desirer and what was desired, and then to allow them to be satisfied and or transmuted. The exposition of craving included exploration of the shadow, with an intent to approach experiences of shame and disgust. After the evocation of yearning a dialogue between craving and yearning was designed to evoke and illuminate the tension between craving and yearning. 
The evocation of craving and yearning began prior to the actual time of the individual meeting in two ways. The Biography of Desire served to place participant attention on desire and distinctions between craving and yearning in their lives. It was clear from statements made by participants at the time of the individual interviews that the process of completing the biography initiated introspection and reflection. Completing the biographies seemed to prepare the ground for the work to be done in the individual meetings. Secondly, the request made to participants that they locate and bring three objects related to craving and three objects related to yearning required further contemplation regarding craving and yearning. It also physicalized the inquiry with symbols of craving and yearning.
Experience was evoked in the individual interview through altar building, creating images of craving and yearning, imagining into the different aspects of craving and yearning, imagining into the shadow of craving, and blocking the fulfillment of craving and yearning. Experience in the group meeting was less successfully evoked through altar building, the reading of poetry, and imagining into a process of transmuting craving into yearning.
The presentation and explanation of objects, the lighting of candles, and the periods of quiet reflection involved in altar building, deepened participant presence and began the process of evoking the experiences the objects represented. Creating images of craving and yearning required participants to reach for and connect with those aspects of self. Asking participants to imagine first embodying these aspects of self and later being the container for these aspects of self, was powerfully evocative. Participants allowed themselves to drop deeply into these suggested aspects. The depth of presence, or lived experience, for a number of the participants, was reflected in a change of voice. Several participants began to speak in a quiet, almost inaudible, whisper, and I had to ask them to repeat themselves a number of times. 
Imagining into the shadow of craving was the most deeply evocative part of the research design for several of the participants. Although this imagining did not result in specific recollections, it did create an intense affective response for many participants. Regardless of whether participants found positive or negative imaginings under the craving stone, their imaginings were powerful and intense.   Blocking fulfillment or gratification of craving and yearning, through the use of obstacles in the amplification exercises, was significantly evocative for some but not all participants. Some participants didn’t buy into the idea that their craving or yearning could really be blocked and simply imagined their way around the suggested obstacle.
In the group experience, due to a failure to create a perceived sense of safety, the evocation of lived experience was limited. As mentioned, a Rumi poem was read at the beginning of the meeting in hopes of setting a feeling tone and opening participants into dropping into a deeper sense of self. Altar building and imagining, in the group setting, were less successful in evoking experience. The feeling tone of the group meeting was one of mistrust and tentativeness. Attempts to build group trust and cohesion were largely unsuccessful. 


The expressing experience phase of Imaginal Inquiry emphasizes the primacy of imagery and the importance of expression and dialogue. As mentioned previously, images have the potential to bridge from the mystery of the unconscious to knowable conscious process. Jung calls this process individuation.13 Gulbe-Walsh notes in an Imaginal Inquiry the psyche is considered dialogical in nature and “expressing experience by engaging internal dialogue is a powerful method for working with imaginal structures.” 14

Experience was expressed in the individual meeting through dialogue with the images of craving and yearning, speaking with the voice of craving and the voice of yearning, journaling, and in answer to questions I asked throughout the course of the individual interview. In the group meeting, experience was expressed in journaling, the group dialogue between craving and yearning, and the sharing of personal stories.
In the individual meeting, after participants had created an image of their craving or yearning, they were asked to imagine it as an embodiment of their craving separate from themselves. By separating off this aspect of self an opportunity was created for dialogue. They were then asked if that aspect of their self had anything to say to them and if they had anything to say in response. This dialogue was maintained as long the participant had further responses from either position. 
After this, the participant was asked to imagine into the voice of craving or yearning and was then interviewed as the voice of craving or yearning. Craving and yearning, as embodied aspects of self, were asked eight questions about their nature and about their relationship with the one they lived within. As previously noted, participants were asked to journal four times in the individual interview; after embodying the voices of craving and yearning, after exploring the shadow of craving, and in closing. Participants were also asked, later in the interview, to have a dialogue between their craving and their yearning. As with the previous dialogue with images, this dialogue was continued for as long as participants had anything to say from either position. 
Other important expressions of experience, throughout the individual interview, were participant responses to interviewer questions regarding their state of being and internal experience. Many of these questions were answered in rich and meaningful detail. In particular, participant responses after the amplification, frustration, and eventual satisfaction of craving and yearning, yielded powerful images and affective descriptions. 
In the group meeting participants were first asked to journal three to five key moments from the individual interview. After evoking more experience through imagining participants were then asked to answer seven questions related to their experience of craving and yearning during the individual meeting, the group meeting, and in between the two meetings. Participants were then asked to join in a group dialogue between craving and yearning by placing themselves on a continuum with craving on one end and yearning on the other. Then, after a break, participants were asked to share a personal story that related the power and meaning of craving, yearning, and desire in their lives. 


In the interpreting experience phase of Imaginal Inquiry I followed the four steps developed by Omer: 1. Identifying key moments; 2. Responding to key moments; 3. Exploring differences and parallels; and 4. Contextualizing with theory and myth.15
Key moments in the research were identified using a condensation approach.16 This approach, elaborated by Steinar Kvale, involves identifying moments, or units, of meaning, finding themes, challenging the data, and developing integrating statements.17 Points of focus were identified by the affective power of the moment, recurrence of affect, behavior, themes, or ideas, and a felt sense of importance or profundity. The core of the second learning concerned powerful affects I experienced in reaction to participants that evolved over time in ways that developed significance and meaning in terms of desire. The first learning arose out of parallel shifts in the craving experience of the majority of participants while the third learning was based on a recurrent affective response of almost all of the participants. The fourth learning developed out of patterns of desire that emerged in the process of working with the data. 
In the group meeting participants were included in the interpretive process. Each participant identified three to five key moments from the individual interview. Overall, participant involvement in the process of interpretation was disappointing. Although participants universally reported having a profound and meaningful experience in the individual meeting, they had a great deal of difficulty remembering specific moments or incidents. Many of the key moments recorded were cognitive events or realizations. Also, I had hoped to substantively engage the group in the second and third steps of the interpretive process but was not effectively able to do so. As mentioned before, failures in establishing group safety and containing participants seriously limited the group’s willingness or ability to participate in responding to key moments or exploring differences and parallels.  
My own reactions, as primary researcher, were an essential and integral part of the second stage of interpretation, responding to key moments. Utilizing reflexive capacity I spent time with my reactions to the data and took careful note of the evolution of my reactions. The unfortunate loss of co-researchers placed additional importance on scrupulous and patient monitoring of my internal responses to the participants and the data they provided. Doing my own transcription of both the individual and group meetings offered further opportunity for the development of my reactions to the data. The changes I experienced in my reactions to the data, and the interpretive importance I ascribed to those shifts, became a central part of the Learnings and Reflections of the study. 
Exploring differences and parallels led to clear identification of powerful affective patterns common to the majority of participants. Also worthy of note, were the experiences or expressions that were not present or were avoided by participants. One example of this absence, or avoidance, was the difficulty in realizing the expressed intent of evoking lived experience of shame and disgust. This intent, with a couple exceptions, was largely unrealized. The significant and surprising difference in the level of participation in the individual meetings as opposed to the group meeting also became part of the learning of the study.  
The theories and myths that rose to the foreground during the course of the interpretation of data were those involving the interaction of forces or definition through meeting. This seems consistent with the nature of desire as the force that connects or pulls together. The theory on which this study is grounded is Omer’s theory regarding the dual nature of desire in which the soul’s cravings pull toward the past and the soul’s yearnings pull toward the future. Other examples of theories that were important in the interpretive process are: Omer’s Mother and Father principle that suggests ways in which individual formation is affected by the attributes of the holding environment; Jung’s transcendent function that also explicates a process of growth through tensions and the meeting of forces; Freud’s theory of Eros and Thanatos; and Snell’s theory that blocked Eros becomes a self.
Likewise, the mythological structures that were of the most use in interpretation were those that were paired: Shiva and Shakti, Dionysus and Ariadne, and Eros and Psyche. The divine or mythic couple seemed best able to hold the polarities and tensions inherent in the study and explication of desire.


The integration phase of Imaginal Inquiry has two aspects. The first aspect is how participants are able to integrate the experience and learning of the research. The second aspect of the integration phase of Imaginal Inquiry is how the learnings from this study are integrated into the wider community.18
Evocation of craving, yearning, and to a lesser extent shame and disgust, resulted in powerful affective responses. Integration of the research experience by participants was encouraged and facilitated in a number of ways: opening and closing rituals, group discussions, journaling, artwork, a thank you letter, and a Summary of Learnings.
The individual and group meetings opened with ritual. Participants sat before an altar. After a few moments of silent reflection participants were asked to place their objects on the altar with explanation of their meaning and were invited to light a candle. Ritual is a powerful way of both holding and finding meaning in experience.19 In the closing ritual, for both meetings, participants were asked to retrieve their objects from the altars, blow out their candles, and offer a thought or image to close. In the opening and closing and throughout both meetings, chimes, which were used as way of moving through the various parts of the research, helped to maintain a sense of ritual containment.
In the individual meetings participants were also asked to create an image of their craving and their desire. A number of participants referenced their images at different points in the individual meetings in ways that indicated the images were being utilized to make meaning and integrate their experience. Journaling also served a dual function in the research. It constituted expression of experience and aided participants in working with, and through, what they were experiencing in a way that was clearly integrative. 
Discussion in the group meeting served an integrative function as well. Although, as previously noted, the interaction in the group meeting was limited, participants were able to share some of their experience in the individual meeting with each other and to compare similarities and differences in their experience. The depth and benefit of this discussion was limited by uncontained expression on the part of two participants. As a consequence much of the group was not actively engaged in the meaning making and some opportunity for integration was missed. 
In terms of moving this research into other relevant contexts, several of the participants urged me to develop workshops loosely based on the format of the individual meeting. Any workshop developed would have to be skillfully structured in order to work through the fear that was present in the group meeting for this study. On the basis of the experience of this research, it seems reasonable to say if conscious individuals are gathered together in the name of desire, substantial structural support, and a good deal of time, are required. 
Finally, in terms of participant integration of experience, there were two mailings. A week after the group meeting thank you letters were sent to participants expressing gratitude for the time and effort they had volunteered for this research (Appendix 20). Also, a sign up sheet requesting names and addresses of participants was circulated at the end of the group meeting so that participants could receive a written summary of the Learnings once the dissertation was defended. That summary was mailed upon approval of the dissertation (Appendix 15).
I am very interested in trying to integrate the Learnings of this study into my clinical work. The power of ritual, the distinctions between the soul’s cravings and the soul’s yearnings, and other Learnings, may have potentially powerful clinical applications. Finding the ways in which these Learnings can be used in clinical practice will be a part of my ongoing integration of this study.
Intellectually, interpersonally, and spiritually I continue to be deeply affected by conducting this research. My struggles with intimacy have been powerfully impacted by these Learnings in a way that feels ongoing. For me, the entelechy of self, or process of becoming, that Houston writes about, has been engaged. What is required for my integration of the Learnings is that I continue.  
It is also my hope this study will contribute to the field of addictions, which is so clearly related to desire, and may point toward future research or treatment approaches not yet being utilized. In a similar vein, it is my hope this research will emphasize that negotiating desire is a primary developmental task: I offer it as a contribution to a shift I believe is happening in some fields of psychology toward desire as an organizing principle in individual development.


Chapter Three

1.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.

2.  Ibid.

3.  Institute of Imaginal Studies Graduate School and Research Center, "Dissertation Handbook, 3rd Edition," 63.

4.  Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, 428.

5.  Padma Sambhava, The Tibetian Book of the Dead, trans. Robert Thurman (New York: Bantam Books, 1993), 113. 

6.  Marsha Smith, Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism 850-1850 (Honolulu, Hawaii: Unversity of Hawaii Press, 1994), 248.

7.  Van James, Spirit and Art: Pictures of the Transformation of Consciousness (New York: Steiner Books, 2002), 158.

8.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 20.

9.  Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery: On Curiosity and Other Appetites, xvii.

10.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 38.

11.  Fuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 160.

12.  Rumi, The Essential Rumi, 155.

Love Dogs

One night a man was crying,

Allah! Allah!

His lips grew sweet with the praising,

until a cynic said,

“So! I have heard you

calling out, but have you ever

gotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.

He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.

He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,

in a thick, green foliage.

“Why did you stop praising?”

“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”

“This longing

You express is the return message.”

The grief you cry out from

Draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness

that wants help

is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.

That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs 

no one knows the names of.

Give your life 

to be one of them.

13.  Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 40. 

14.  Gulbe Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women," 117.

15.   Institute of Imaginal Studies Graduate School and Research Center, "Dissertation Handbook, 3rd Edition," 67.

16.  Ibid.

17.  Steinar Kvale, Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing  (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1996), 193.

18.  Ibid., 69.

19.  Malidoma Patrice Some, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community (Portland. OR: Swan/Raven and Company, 1993), 34.




Introduction and Overview

The Research Problem is in what way does the expression of craving help yearning to emerge? The hypothesis is when craving is expressed in ways that allow taboo, shame, and ugly aspects of experience, craving transmutes into yearning.

Cumulative Learning: Craving and Loss

Craving is sourced in experiences of loss, and expressing craving with reflexive awareness serves to transmute craving into yearning. Craving is a product of loss. When craving is expressed with awareness of deep internal structures, craving can change, or evolve, into yearning. This cumulative learning of the study is supported by four related learnings developed from the collected data. 
The first learning, Honoring the Shadow of Craving: “I Feel Free,” examines the shift the majority of participants reported in their relationship to desire subsequent to the research experience. Six of eight participants reported change in their relationship to craving ranging from better understanding to transmutation. The propositional statement of this learning is ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification. The second learning, Flooding: Water Flowing without Limit, explores the relative effects of the containment of desire and expression of desire in relationship. Two participants with powerful uncontained experiences of desire are highlighted. The main claim of this learning is that uncontained desire resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the other.
Learning three, Clinging to Wholeness: Grief, Loss and Addiction, explores the potential meaning of the grief experienced by seven out of eight participants in the individual meeting. The main claim of this learning is the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity. 
The fourth learning, The Crucible: Finding Rhythm in the Release and Containment of Desire, suggests a process of desire. This learning explores how individual participants process desire along with an explication of desire’s triune nature: subject, object and obstacle or lack. The propositional statement of this learning is coming into a relationship with the rhythm of desire is a non-linear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving  through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration.

        Learning One—Honoring the Shadow of Craving: “I Feel Free”

This learning partially supports and addresses the hypothesis of this study; when craving is expressed in ways that allow taboo, shame, and ugly aspects of experience, craving transmutes into yearning. Data from this learning supports a change in craving as a result of the individual interview. The primary claim of this learning is that ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification.
Participants were asked to submit a biography of desire and participate in both an individual interview and a group meeting. The biography of desire asked questions related to their individual experience of desire throughout their lifespan. In the ritual format of the individual interviews, participants were asked to bring relevant objects, build altars to both craving and yearning, create images, and participate in guided imagery exercises. Participants were asked to imagine into different aspects of their desire and to speak from those aspects. They were also asked to imagine turning over a heavy stone, representing craving, and describe the shadow aspects of craving they found there. In the group meeting participants were asked to bring objects, share stories, evaluate data, and enact a dialogue between craving and yearning. 

1.  What Happened?

Six of the eight participants reported a change in their relationship to their craving as a result of participation in the individual interview. “Rita” (pseudonym) reported no shift and “Jose” (pseudonym) did not respond. Among participants who reported a change in their relationship to craving the changes ranged from subtle to dramatic. 
“Barbara” (pseudonym) characterized her craving as of the past and stated since the individual meeting she was more able to notice it and dismiss it. In front of the altar of craving she described shakiness in her solar plexus and a locked up tightness in the muscles of her face and back. Turning over the craving stone Barbara spoke of being afraid and light-headed. After a few minutes she said “I thought at first it was all creepy live stuff but it’s just sitting there. It’s not so bad.” During the amplification of craving she twitched physically in her shoulders and hands. After visualizing breaking through the barrier to her craving she sighed deeply, relaxed her shoulders, and reported tingling in her hands and warmth in her crotch. She said she cracked the bars that held her craving into a thousand pieces and she was proud of herself. In front of the altar of yearning she reported feelings of power and ripped in half a picture on the altar. 
“Danselle” (pseudonym) reported having a “healing experience” in regard to her craving for a particular man. She stated after turning over the craving stone she no longer felt controlled by her craving. In front of the altar of craving Danselle began swaying back and forth saying these movements were due to her inner dragon named Jewel “whose purpose is pleasure and power.” Almost immediately after turning over the craving stone she reported a difference:

Well during this process about craving there was a very big shift around this particular craving and so, now I don’t feel the craving…But it is totally different, even when I look at the altar of craving…I’m pretty tranced out right now still but I can’t really go back and tell you when it was…it may have been actually when we turned the stone over. You know like the soft belly of craving was exposed and it wasn’t mistreated so it started to trust.

Speaking for craving in the group polarity exercise she said “Appreciate and celebrate craving and it can transform into…yearning and desire.” 
“Tara” (pseudonym) reported being more comfortable with her cravings after the individual meeting. She described tightness in her throat and chest in front of the altar of craving. Turning over the craving stone she smiled and her face appeared peaceful. Her voice was slow and deep and carried a sense of wonder when she identified a diamond under the craving stone “shooting up bright” with “flecks of color” within it. Afterward she indicated the tightening she had felt before was still there “but it feels like there is a breath of fresh air, there is a path, a little channel of light, an opening, a tunnel.” Speaking the voice of yearning her voice became still slower, deeper and softer and she offered advice, from the position of yearning, with certainty and passion:

 Take no action until you have felt. Stop. Every time. Every time stop again. Even if you have to stop again. Because the answer is right here. All the answers are right here. You’ll feel, you will feel the way. When you learn to feel…(inaudible) you will feel your way. It can be only perfect.

The beauty she saw in her imaginings in front of the altar of yearning brought tears to her eyes and eventually she was left feeling “electric.” She stated “In my practicing I am becoming more and more comfortable with just being in desire.”
“Roseanne” (pseudonym) stated she understood her cravings and yearnings better after the individual interview. She reported feeling more distress from yearning than craving as she felt in control of her craving. Under the craving stone Roseanne found a sense of wanting to be loved and appreciated along with some sadness about what she didn’t get from her parents. The affect Roseanne described was not visible in her presentation.  During the amplification of frustration of craving she said it was hard for her to imagine not getting what she wanted.  In front of the altar of yearning she felt sadness and discomfort. 
“Diane” (pseudonym) reported being more able to resist her cravings after the individual meeting. She stated the meeting “significantly contributed to my efforts to understand what to do with my life.” Diane stated it was only after the individual interview she began to see that many of her issues stem from her childhood. Under the craving stone Diane found damage from overindulging craving and fear of being whole. In front of the altar of craving Diane was cognitively focused on trying to figure it out. In front of the altar of yearning Diane’s facial features and tone of voice softened and she expressed sadness in regard to a lost pregnancy. Speaking from yearning she said “It feels more heart-centered.” During the frustration of yearning Diane said “My body wants to hunch over…I feel incomplete… like I failed.” After the satisfaction of yearning Diane stated “I feel lighter. I feel rather ethereal. I feel kind of like a golden light. Like my aurora just grew. It’s shining. I feel complete. I feel relieved. I feel free. I feel excited.”
“Joseph” (pseudonym) reported being more aware of the dichotomy between craving and yearning. In the group meeting he reported he had started seeing an addictions counselor due to his marijuana use. Joseph’s perspective on craving and yearning had a strong moral overlay; craving was bad and yearning was good. His inability to resist craving was a moral failing—a weakness. Under the craving stone Joseph found “the stuff of life”; blood, semen and rich dark earth. Speaking with the voice of yearning he wept in regard to the shame he felt about acting on his desire. Settling into a meditative, cross-legged posture he stated in a slow, deep voice “I am the light…I come from the heart…I want to shine…I want to become.” When asked how he felt after the satisfaction of yearning he stated “I feel like I’m with God.”
For Barbara craving was associated with helplessness and the young child within her while yearning was associated with power. Tara indicated she saw craving and yearning as two sides of the same coin with blocked energy becoming craving and unblocked energy becoming yearning. Danselle characterized craving as the seeds from which yearning grows. When Diane spoke with the voice of yearning her voice was stronger and her statements were definitive and forceful. Jose equated craving with lust and yearning with love. For Joseph, the voice of craving was the voice of the temptress; “I am beautiful. Come dance with me.” Roseanne stated craving was the opposite of being in the moment and a signal for her there was something she needed to pay attention to. For Rita craving was associated with food and yearning was related to relationships. 
Descriptions of the experience of craving had a static, trapped, restrictive quality. Descriptors offered after craving was fully expressed emphasized freedom and openness. Barbara characterized her initial craving as a “stuck” triangle within her. After expression of craving she shared about opening up and feeling bigger. Tara called her craving “insecure” and “tight” but found a “channel of light” under the craving stone. Danselle’s craving frustrated her until she turned over the craving stone after which she felt tranquil.  
The three Tantrikas, women who practice Tantra as a discipline, reported less distress from craving than the other participants. Roseanne, who described herself as very disciplined, stated it was her yearning that created suffering for her rather than her craving. Rita stated certain foods were her biggest craving and those cravings were under control now that she was a “raw foodist.” Tara saw craving and yearning as two sides of the same coin. In front of the altar of craving Tara described feeling frustrated and characterized what she was feeling as a “sucking magnet,” “a vacuum that needs to be filled.” In front of the altar of yearning  she first described feeling “buzzy,” then experienced tears of joy, and then, after sitting in a deep trancelike state, described the energy in her body as “tantalizing” and “erotic.” 

2.  How I Was Affected.
I felt excited by the initial results of the individual meetings. When Danselle identified turning over the craving stone as a pivotal moment of change for her, I was a little stunned as it was so clearly in line with my hypothesis. 
In Tara’s individual meeting I felt deep and ecstatic connection. Tara, with twelve years of Tantric practice, had the most experience with Tantra of the participants. She was at ease with ritual and dropped deeply into the exercises of the individual meeting. In the dialogue between yearning and craving she was moved to tears by the beauty of what she was describing. I felt in a place of deep peace and beauty and only with difficulty proceeded with the script of the individual meeting. 
Also, I noticed a reduction in my own craving for the female form. I felt a new ability to limit my craving. I felt as though I had a choice to crave or not to crave. In a similar way, I felt much less subject to intrusive and painful regret about missed intimate opportunities. Memories which were previously often accompanied by sharp emotional pain were less frequent, less intense, and often absent. 
I was disappointed that turning over the craving stone did not elicit specific thoughts or feelings experienced as shameful. However, the images, metaphors and affects expressed in the turning over of the stone were profound.
Finally, I was surprised by how readily participants were willing to accept the offered definitions of craving and yearning as aspects of desire. Without much question they adopted and applied the suggested divisions of craving and yearning.

3.  Imaginal Structures.
One of my more powerful gatekeepers is the Imposter. This aspect of self struggles with competence. It tells me, in any area of endeavor, that I am incompetent and it is just a matter of time before I am discovered for the pretender that I am. The power and effectiveness of the individual meetings silenced this aspect of self.  In the face of powerful affective experience and substantive data, this aspect of self had nothing  to say; it sat quietly and watched. 
An aspect of self I carry as part of a family legacy is that of the Philanderer. My father struggled with fidelity in his marriages and it is my belief, from some circumstantial evidence, that my paternal grandfather did as well. Fidelity in relationship has also been difficult for me. I have felt the tension of the twin pulls of allegiance to my partner and devotion to Aphrodite. 
In exploring my desire for intimate contact with beautiful women, and trying to separate craving from yearning, I have a sense of working through a familial legacy. I notice that in the role of researcher, and in a ritual context, my attraction toward women moved cleanly through me without acting out and without residual regret. I believe this points to a loosening of personal identity on my part, as a result of being involved in the honoring of craving, use of ritual, and assumption of the role of the researcher. 
Shiva and Shakti, the Tantric divine couple, are alive for me as an example of the dynamic of desire moving; Shakti is the electric energy of kundalini, the elemental force of the universe and Shiva is the holder of the energy. At various times of struggle and challenge in my life I have called upon Shiva and felt answered. One way of framing my personal struggle to individuate has been to become a worthy container for the energies of Shiva/Shakti. Shiva, as the holder, demands integrity in the vessel. 
The Philanderer in me comes to the Shiva in me to find integrity; to find a way to move with desire in integrity. In coming toward Shiva the Philanderer moves away from craving and feels his yearning for wholeness.

4.  Theoretical Concepts.

Jung believed the exiled parts of self control us from the shadows.The process of growth and individuation involves making the unconscious conscious through exploration and exposition of shadow material. Freud pointed to the importance of the exploration of taboo in psychological endeavor.2 Bataille says Eros always involves transgression of taboo.3 Turning over the craving stone was an invitation to explore uncomfortable faces of desire living in the shadow of craving. Conscious exploration of shamed and taboo aspects of craving that resist exposition created an opportunity for insight and transmutation.
To transmute is to alter or change in nature, properties, appearance, or form.4 In Imaginal Transformative Praxis (ITP) the transmutation of the soul’s cravings into the soul’s yearnings represents a shift from the past to the future and a move toward individuation. ITP emphasizes the vital role of full expression with reflexive awareness in the process of growth.5 Reflexivity is defined by Omer as “the capacity to engage and be aware of the imaginal structures that shape and constitute our experience.”6 Reflexive awareness is a major transmuting agent in that it allows for a loosening of identity and facilitates access to the abundant resources of a variety of aspects of self.
Omer’s concepts of disidentification and multiplicity apply in this learning. Disindentification is a key dimension in the transformation of identity associated with the emergence of a spacious awareness free from frozen images of self.7
Multiplicity equates well-being with the individual ability to experience and express multiple aspects of being.8 Softening rigid self-concepts make multiplicity possible. Omer’s theoretical construct suggests every individual is made up of multiple subjectivities.9 Rigid adherence to one inflexible image of self is limiting whereas shared identification with multiple aspects of self allows for deeper self-exploration and more flexibility in meeting self and others. The related concept of gatekeepers, those aspects of self that resist change and congregate at thresholds of change, is also relevant here.10
The energy of kundalini and the chakra system are also meaningful in terms of this learning. As discussed previously, in several systems of belief, including Tantric practice, the chakras are the primary system by which the individual moves energy. The movement is from the deep instinctual energies of the body, including the sexual, up to the energy of the divine.11 It can also be seen as a model for transmuting craving, associated with bodily desire, into yearning, or the desire for wholeness, completeness, and the divine. The chakra system was referenced in both the individual and group meetings as a way of transitioning from craving to yearning. 

5.  Interpretations.

The propositional statement of this learning is ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification. Bringing craving out of exile and honoring it created powerful affective experience. Full expression of craving through image and affect, created movement for the majority of participants toward greater openness and insight.
Participants appeared glad to have a language and a conceptual framework for distinguishing between different forms of desire. At least some of the increased understanding of desire they described seemed to come from accepting these new definitions of craving and yearning. Participant’s adoption of a craving self and a yearning self, as opposed to a desiring whole, allowed for deeper exploration. 
Honoring craving, through ritual and guided imagery, appeared to be a successful way of engaging individual gatekeepers.12 The acknowledgment of craving bypassed the usual push-pull polarities involved in the evocation of craving. Instead of an experience of craving involving resistance to the object and persistence of the compulsion, participants were able to experience craving intensely and move through it. Gatekeeping voices, like Joseph’s voice of self-condemnation, were engaged with in a way that seemed to promote movement rather than deadlock.
Although individuals appeared to be powerfully engaged in the shadow of craving when they turned over the craving stone, they engaged through image and metaphor only. Despite the lack of confession or specifics, I had the felt sense that turning over the craving stone and looking into the shadow of craving was, for most participants, the deepest part of the individual interview. Powerful images like primordial hot lava, blood, fungus, worms, a vacuum, and a diamond were evoked in conjunction with profound affective expression. Barbara, Jose, and Joseph described an elemental environment. Diane saw insult and injury. Rita saw a vacuum and scarcity. 
Determining whether or not craving was transmuted into yearning was problematic. Danselle claimed to have moved her craving into yearning but it is difficult to ascertain the accuracy of her claim. Tara, aided by Tantric practice, did appear to transmute the energy of craving, which she called a “sucking magnet” into a deep energetic state in front of the altar of yearning which she called “electric.”
The observed shifts in the energy of craving could also be framed as movement of the energy of kundalini. Barbara noted a sense of tightness and stuckness at the solar plexus which equates with the Manipura-cakra of the chakra system.13 This chakra is said to be engaged with the nervous and digestive systems. She also described warmth in her crotch which is the Svadhishthana-cakra.14 Tara’s deepening presence and increased spiritual connection through the course of the interview could be described as the energy of kundalini moving up to the Sahasrara-cakra, or crown chakra at the top of the head where the individual connects to universal spirit.15 The images Tara used to describe how she was moving through the tightness of craving, “a tunnel…a channel of light”, correspond to the energetic pathway of the chakras moving up the center of the body.16

6.  Validity.
Significant energetic shifts occurred for participants between the altars of craving and the altars of yearning during the individual interview but it is difficult to know if those shifts represented transmutation of craving to yearning. Tara’s craving appeared to be transmuted into yearning but the shifts may have resulted from a simple change of focus. 
More compelling are the changes in the experience of craving reported by some participants at the group meeting. Changes in the experience of craving were established but transmutation into yearning was not. Questions attempting to correlate diminished craving to increased yearning would have been helpful.  Additionally, this study takes place within a relatively short period of time. Subjective shifts between craving and yearning may well require longer periods of time. The data suggests dramatic short-term effects in shifting the energy of craving are possible through guided imagery and chakra work, but long term transmutation of those shifts into yearning could well be a more protracted process. Nonetheless, from the data it seems likely that snapshots, or moments, of transmutation were collected.
Another validity concern is the possible over-reporting of positive benefit by participants. All participants in this study were passionate about the role of desire in their lives and many expressed how glad they were I was doing the work I was doing. I had the impression many of them wanted to help me find meaningful results. I think it is possible some participants were predisposed to being changed or finding significance in the exercises I was asking them to do and may have over-reported benefit.
There was some confusion in languaging between craving, yearning and desire. Though participants took quite easily to trying to distinguish between craving and yearning as types of desire, all these phrases carried the weight of prior definitions and participants struggled between craving and yearning as they had previously defined them, and craving and yearning as they were being defined in the study.
Finally, it should be noted Joseph, in the group meeting, indicated he had sought out counseling for chemical dependency treatment. Active addiction was a variable that was suppose to be screened for in the study. In my initial conversations with Joseph I had understood that he was in stable recovery. While I was not overly concerned for his safety as he seemed well-supported and psychologically grounded, I do note my error and wonder how his active addiction may have affected the data. Diane also identified potentially problematic marijuana use.

 Learning Two—Flooding: Water Flowing Without Limit

Two participants, Danselle and Jose, showed difficulty with boundaries in relationship and difficulty containing desire. In both participants the Father principle, offering discipline and structure, seemed out of balance with the Mother principle offering nurturance and comfort. In relationship to others this lack of containment created feelings of anger, fear and disgust. The learning is that uncontained desire resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the other

1.  What Happened?
Danselle presented as overweight and looked much younger than her stated age of seventy. She attributed her youthful appearance to maintaining a positive focus. She had long hair and several prominent, colorful tattoos. Danselle told me over the telephone she had two lovers roughly half her age. She had recently been fired from her job as a massage therapist and was paying the rent as a phone sex worker.
She was about two hours late arriving for her first interview. Due to her lateness and the length of the interview, a second interview had to be scheduled. She was about twenty minutes late for the second interview. Her total interview time was by far the longest; three hours and fifty nine minutes. 
The content of her individual interview was much more explicitly sexual than most of the other participants. She shared about her skill at fellatio and about which sexual activities she engaged in with which men. She admitted to being accused of sexual addiction but defined sexual experience as going to God and asked, in the group meeting, “if you’re addicted to God can that be a bad thing?” At one point she described a tattoo she had on her buttock and had to be diverted from showing it to me.
Danselle said “I’ve never had…somebody who has loved me as much as I have loved them…not in the depth and the width and the height that I allow.” She stated she was bisexual and indicated it was part of ‘wanting it all.’ In response to the written question in the Biography “It is easy for me to become emotionally close to others” Danselle chose ten for absolutely true. She was the only participant to do so. She was also the only participant to rate the next question “I am uncomfortable getting close to others” as one or absolutely false. 
All the descriptors Danselle offered in regard to her parents were positive. In her responses to Biography questions she said she felt no guilt, shame, or disgust in relationship to sexuality. Underneath the craving stone she found “life” and “good, strong, energy.” She could think of nothing in her life she regretted. The images she drew of craving and yearning appeared childlike. 
Danselle’s primary craving was for anal sex with one of her lovers. After turning over the craving stone, she stated the craving for anal sex shifted into yearning and no longer troubled her. She continued to desire anal sex with this lover but her desire caused her no distress. 
Danselle described herself as in a trance-like state for much of the interview. She was moved to tears several times while talking about her lovers and dreams for the future. She thanked me for the “treat” of participating in the study and several times mentioned her hope I might conduct further research with her. After the individual interview she wrote me a long email asking about the possibility of doing workshops together. 
In the later part of the first interview Danselle shared she had two dragon spirits that lived inside her. She further stated she is supposed to live to the age of 178. She stated, in her biography and in the group meeting “I have always been able to travel to all the levels of existence in this world and other worlds without the help of chemicals.”
Communication with Jose was difficult. I had to contact him two or three times before receiving a response. Because he suffered from a neurological disorder I initially agreed to meet with him at his house for the individual interview but he was not home at the appointed time and it was rescheduled at my office. Because Jose had difficultly writing he requested a laptop at the group meeting but when the group met he indicated he could not use the laptop. He asked me to email him the questions at home for him to answer. I did so but he did not return them.  
Jose described losing the attention of his mother at the age of two due to the birth of a sibling and an injury to his father. After his father asked him to give his mother a break, Jose stated he never again sat on her lap and started wetting the bed every night. He stated his parents were always fighting. In the two committed relationships Jose described, one of which was marriage, both women left him for someone else. 
He described his sexual desire as “slavery” and several times mentioned the St. Augustine quote “Please Lord give me chastity…but not right now.”17 Jose stated he was good at talking women into having sex with him and specialized in jumping from one bed to another. In describing his relationship with his father he noted a “longing for [his] affection.” Jose’s presentation was boyish. 
Jose indicated his neurological disorder made the pursuit of desire all that much more important for him as it helped to “pull me out of [the] cage” the disease represented to him. He shared at times in the past his use of pornography had been extreme or “exaggerated.” Speaking with the voice of craving he called himself a “little pervert” and a “dirty old man.” 
Most of the objects Jose offered at the altars were overtly sexual. The altars of craving and yearning were very similar in form and content.  On each altar he placed a dildo, images of nude women, and a pornographic video tape.
In front of the altar of craving Jose became agitated and “stirred up.” Describing the magma he found under the craving stone he spoke in a deep, agitated whisper with his eyes closed. He stated he felt like he was touching the secrets of the universe and appeared deeply moved. In front of the altar of yearning he was less agitated and described feeling calm. He talked about his fear of losing his mother when she died and hoped he would die before her. 
In the transcript of the group meeting, 199 lines of dialogue belonged to Danselle. Jose, the next most active participant, had 104 lines of dialogue. Together, Jose and Danselle had more lines of dialogue than the rest of the group combined. In his introduction to the group, Jose told a story intended to show his appreciation for homely women. At the end of the group meeting he suggested group members exchange cravings, joked that he liked to expand, offered someone a ride, and offered to pay for parking for another group member.
Danselle came to group with half a dozen bags. She lost her purse which occasioned substantial discussion and two departures from group. Jose’s attempts to help served to lengthen the distraction. 
Barbara, in her writing during the group, indicated she did not feel safe bringing forth feelings of sadness in group. In a follow-up email she indicated Jose in particular made her feel unsafe. Joseph in a follow up email expressed his disappointment in the group experience indicating he did not feel very connected to the other group members. He stated participants either seemed to “have their guard up or they indulged their eccentricities to the point of distraction.”

2.  How I Was Affected.
Initially, I was very glad to have Danselle in the study. Her eccentricities, unusual appearance, and somewhat bizarre beliefs were balanced by a moderately grounded presentation and a passionate belief in the importance of living a life of desire 
The more I was exposed to her the more I began to feel irritated, impatient and intruded upon. I felt a desire to limit her; to have a barrier between her and myself. I imagined her as a pool of water that would flow over me, or anywhere, unless contained. I felt repulsed by what I perceived as her uncontained desire. At times, like when I believed she was going to bare her buttocks to show me her tattoo, my repulsion moved into mild disgust. 
My initial reactions to Jose were also positive. I found him courageous, open-hearted and vulnerable. However, his poor communication frustrated me. I also worried, in group, that his initial story about making love to homely women would be offensive to some group members and make the group feel less safe. I respected the passion he showed for the importance of desire but I disliked what I came to see as his sexual opportunism, or indiscriminate sexual desire. I came to see him as a young boy coming into puberty who thinks only about sex and the next possible sexual opportunity.
During the group meeting I had a constellation of reactions to Jose and Danselle. I felt angry at the disproportionate amount of time focused on Danselle in the group and frustrated with Jose for supporting her in her digressions. Both Danselle and Jose resisted my attempts to move past the distraction of her misplaced purse until I said, with irritation, “I need to proceed.” I struggled with feelings of failure and incompetence in the group meeting for not better anticipating the need for containment and safety and blamed them for my failure. One measure of my frustration with Danselle was my decision, after the group, to review the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to see if I could find a diagnosis for her.18 Though review of the DSM IV-R is a valid and potentially useful action, my desire to pathologize and scapegoat Danselle after her disruption of the group is noteworthy. 
Also pivotal for me, in my shifting perception of Danselle, was the dual discovery that all five of her children struggled with substance abuse and that she failed to take any responsibility for their difficulties. In light of this information, offered after the first meeting, I found it surprising she would state she had no regrets in her life. 
After experiencing powerful individual interviews, my expectations for the group were high. Danselle’s and Jose’s negative impact on the group experience evoked feelings of anger, fear and disappointment in me. Jose and Danselle required structure I did not provide. The intrusion I felt represented a failure of containment.

3.  Imaginal Structures.
A structure I call the Hippy, who is guided by the idea that there is never any reason to withhold love, was affected when I realized this was a belief Danselle shared. In reaction to her uncontained desire, my emphasis shifted away from the release of desire and focused instead on the containment of desire. The image of the spring as the fountain of desire was joined by the image of the streambed as the holder of desire. 
A very young aspect of me that is sensitive to intrusion felt angry at Danselle. This part of me reacts to intrusive affection with anger and disgust. Danselle’s unboundedness echoed early experience for me and amplified my reactivity. This young part of myself is strongly related to another powerful aspect of self I call the Impotent One. The Impotent One feels incapable of action and cut off from power. It was the Impotent One that failed to adequately structure the group meeting or limit Danselle. My early experiences of intrusion affected my present ability to limit.
The figure of Dionysus arises for me in reference to desire and containment. The wildness within me, rampant in earlier years of active addiction, cries out with a lust for life. It is easy for me to access that desire to break free from constraint and “drown” in pleasure.19 The emphasis arising out of the data is that when Dionysus arises, he does so within a context. Dionysian ritual, in Greek culture, was a stepping away from, or out of, normative everyday life.20 Dionysus was able to manifest a cultural presence because he had a cultural context that held him; Dionysian festivals were finite scheduled events and the sacred rituals they practiced were shrouded in secrecy.21 Dionysus without a holding context is madness and destruction. Dionysus requires Apollo. Danselle did not honor Apollo. 
Finally, during the process of data collection, I felt within me, in an actual and an archetypal sense, the father. Internal calls for wildness were tempered by the responsibility that goes with holding. I felt better able to bear the weight of responsibility then I had in the past. I felt an actual internal sense of heaviness that was both new and somehow pleasant. What began to arise for me was a developing sense that what I chose to do, or chose not to do, mattered. I saw I have an effect on the world and that I am responsible for the effects I have and the effects I don’t have. The father within me grieves for what I perceive Danselle and Jose did not get in the way of holding when they needed it. The Dionysian within me is a rebel living out side social constraint. The father within me feels accountable for being a part of the world. 

4.  Theoretical Concepts.
Pathology is not a primary focus here but it should be noted, relative to theory, that Danselle meets the diagnostic criteria for Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD).22 Individuals with HPD are often too preoccupied with their own emotional experience to be fully engaged with others. They seek attention. Many come from homes characterized by conflict when they were very young.23 Strong established correlations between HPD and insecure attachment suggest a link between Danselle’s adult behavior and a deficit in early experience.24 However, despite this possible diagnosis and some of the fantastic statements of hers mentioned above, Danselle presented as relatively grounded and thoughtful. 
Schiller states that the formal drive and the sensuous drive of the individual need to be developed in order for the play drive to function.25 An oversimplified way of saying this would be that content requires form. Danselle and Jose embodied the sensuous drive but had not developed the formal drive. Their content lacked the limits that shape behavior.
This lack could also be conceptualized, in Omer’s theory, as an absence of the Father principle that offers structure and discipline.26 Desire, in both Danselle and Jose, was uncontained, undisciplined, and intrusive. The absence of a structure to hold desire, the Father principle, would naturally result in a sense of intrusion from the empathic presence of the Mother.27 Jose described a difficult relationship with his father characterized by distance and conflict. Corneau notes that sons without the internal strength that comes with consistent paternal presence are at risk of becoming seducers who fill their time with the sexual pursuit of women.28 Danselle did not acknowledge difficulty with her father but she fit the diagnostic profile for HPD. Joel Paris equates HPD with the physical absence of the father.29 Roger Mckinnon names the seductive father as a factor in the development of the HPD daughter.30 Herzog calls the father the organizer and modulator of intense affect.31 When the father is absent, inadequate, or inappropriate, the child develops the hunger for father that both Danselle and Jose demonstrate.
The necessary tension in the experience of desire argued for by Heraclitus, Snell, and Jung was not visible in Danselle or Jose. Heraclitus names tension as one of the three predicates of the soul.32 Jung names holding the tension as necessary for the operation of the transcendent function.33 Difficulty tolerating tension inhibits resolution of the transcendent function and development of the soul. 
Lacan’s interpretation of Hegel’s conception of desire as the individual desire for recognition also finds relevance here.34 Lacan states what the individual wants is to be desired by an other. The individual wants to be wanted; desires to be desired.35
Hegel writes when the desire of one meets the desire of another, conflict ensues and history is born.36 Snell writes that the personal soul is born when feelings of love are blocked; “The sparks of a vital desire burst into flame at the very moment when the desire is finally blocked in its path.” 37 Both Hegel and Snell characterize desire as something substantial. In Hegel’s description of the dialectic of desire it is easy to imagine warriors locked in battle. Snell’s image of sparks flying evokes an image of two rocks colliding. Nothing in Danselle’s or Jose’s descriptions of their desire feels substantial in this way. Instead, as previously mentioned, the image suggested by both Danselle’s and Jose’s desire is that of water; flowing where it can and simply changing direction when blocked. No sparks fly when water meets water or when water meets stone.
In Frankfurt’s terms Danselle and Jose are wantons experiencing first-order desires who move toward gratification without reflection.38 Danselle did work at distinguishing between her cravings and her yearnings but resolved this tension relatively quickly. Her ability to tolerate tension was minimal. She saw her path as riding the river of desire wherever it took her. Her claimed transmutation of craving and yearning, while perhaps genuine, was superficial. In a Buddhist context Danselle and Jose could be seen as embodiments of hungry ghosts; entities with huge stomachs and needle thin necks that are never able to get enough.39
In regard to desire that repulses, Kolnai states “Excess, redundancy, loss of proper structure…lie[s] at the root of the disgusting." 40 He further states disgust is a ‘sensitivity to corruption” that keeps us from drowning in pleasure.41 Kristeva states abjection is the feeling of fascination and disgust evoked by the potential loss of meaning caused by a breakdown in the distinction between self and other.42 Disgust is one of the nine biological affects in the affect system elaborated by Nathanson.43

5.  Interpretations.
This learning’s propositional statement is uncontained desire resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the other.
Initially, I saw Danselle as a warrior; a grandmother in her seventies committed to finding the divine through sex. She seemed to me a champion of desire. But as data collection proceeded I saw evidence of avoidance of shadow and magical, or delusional, cognition. Indicative of avoidance or delusion were the complete absence of any negative assessments of self or other, a stated commitment to a focus on the positive, her belief that she will live to the age of 178, and her statement about traveling all levels of existence. Danselle characterized herself as profoundly available, committed to living a life of desire, and capable of deep and absolute love. I experienced her as intrusive, uncontained and unboundaried. She privileged the Mother principle, which emphasizes desire and compassion, but turned away from the necessity of the Father principle which emphasizes discipline and structure.44
My developing sense was that Danselle refused to see or acknowledge those things that did not fit her picture of the world. Danselle did not report difficulty of any kind in her early development but, given her presentation, her abusive relationship history, and the chemical dependency of all her children, her self-report cannot be considered reliable. Given the evidence, it is reasonable to wonder about her relationships with primary caregivers and about the field of parenting in which she developed. 
Danselle’s clear need for recognition, or attention, could be interpreted as indicative as a lack of parental recognition. If, as Lacan, suggests, at the core of individual desire is the desire for recognition, Danselle’s behavior suggests a characterological  behavior developing around an early wound or deficit.
Examining Danselle’s data regarding interpersonal interaction in light of Kolnai’s theories suggests that a lack of psychological structure within Danselle, a corruption of selfhood, resulted in an experience of repulsion and disgust in the researcher. Danselle’s lack of limit could be seen as a breakdown of this kind, between self and other, resulting in the fascination and disgust of abjection. 
Similarly, with Jose, my initial positive assessment of him changed. At first, I was moved by his courageous pursuit of desire in the face of his illness. Eventually, I was frustrated by his unreliability, and came to see his strong sexual drive as compulsive. Early losses, along with the fear of loss inherent in his neurological disorder, appeared to focus Jose on a course of maximizing sexual contact. 
Danselle’s lack of containment showed up as lateness, digression, flirtation, need for attention, bringing more objects than she was asked to bring and desire for additional contact. Jose’s absence of structure, or lack of containment, was evidenced by missing his first meeting, requiring repeated reminders to complete the requested tasks, and flirtation. In group Jose’s and Danselle’s lack of a sense of what it was to be a group member resulted in over-sharing that made the group feel unsafe. Feeling their lack of limits, others chose to stay safely within theirs. Barbara described feeling sad but not feeling safe enough to share. Joseph noted the distracting eccentricities of group members that left him feeling disconnected. Uncontained desire felt unsafe.
Difficulty with the Father function was also reflected in the history and behavior of the rest of the group. Most participants reported difficult relationships with their fathers. Rita’s description of her father was credibly positive, Diane’s was mixed, and Danselle’s was positive but not credible. Barbara, Tara, Jose, Joseph, and Roseanne described problematic father relationships characterized by death or difficulty. Tara seemed, to some extent, disengaged with the Father function. She was adverse to the restriction of commitment and had difficulty making her way financially in the world.
Here again it needs to be remarked the failure of containment was a research flaw that reflects a primary challenge of the researcher in regard to the Father function. Inadequate structure in the group experience and lack of limiting Danselle in the individual meeting resulted in negative countertransference, perceived lack of safety, and less data. Blaming participants for my failure to provide structure is scapegoating. Co-researchers might have helped to provide structure that I did not provide. I believe that as a result of developmental deficits in regard to boundaries my ability to set limits tends to be rigid and absolute; I sometimes lack the flexibility that comes with surety and practice.

6.  Validity.
The personal father and the Father function are not synonymous. It is not clear, from the data collected regarding the early development of participants, whether the Father function in their early life was embodied by their father, their mother, or another significant individual or institution. It cannot be assumed that participant’s descriptions of their fathers and their relationships with their fathers serve as precise illustrations of the operation of the function of the Father principle in their early development.
Multiple countertransferential reactions may have compromised my reflexivity and given a negative lean to my interpretations of both Danselle’s and Jose’s data. My identified tendency to blame them for what I failed to provide raises the strong possibility that I may have been invested in finding negative interpretations of their behavior. Another possibility is that my reactivity in the moment to Danselle, who I believe was very perceptive, may have created a positive feedback loop that served to increase her attempts to be noticed.
Danselle was motivated by a desire to help and desire was very important to her. She may have seen this study as an opportunity to pass along wisdom she felt was important. Some of what I am interpreting as lack of boundary could be seen as a strong desire to pass along valuable information. While Jose did not seem as concerned about helping, he did seem invested in passing along whatever knowledge he had about desire.
It is difficult to know how Jose’s neurological illness affected his participation in the study. He at times appeared impatient and agitated. This might well have been a result of his illness, medication for his illness, or the effects of fatigue resulting from his illness.
Finally, Danselle’s age introduces a variable that could affect validity. Being born during the Great Depression and living through the Second World War means she was raised in a social and cultural context much different than now. Her radical or bizarre presentation could be seen as a response to a more repressive culture.
The process of developing meaning out of the collected data into this cohered learning occurred in several ways. The first point of focus was the dramatic affective shift in my reactivity or countertransference toward both Danselle and Jose. This relatively rapid shift from respect and admiration to resentment and disgust drew my interest and signaled significance. 
Added to this was the contrast between the deep level of engagement in the individual meetings and the relative affective failure of the group meeting. The polarity represented by either end of the continuum of my reactivity to Jose and Danselle was the first contrast I noticed. The polarity consisting of the distinct difference between the deep trust of the individual interviews and the fearful reluctance of the group meeting was the second contrast to emerge.
Next I sought out repeating patterns in the collected data. Here also, it was a disparity that drew my attention. Most participants described ambivalent relationships with one or both parents and offered descriptors of their parents including positive and negative traits. Only Danselle offered solely positive descriptors of both parents. This idealized picture of her early environment stood in stark contrast to her admission that all five of her children had suffered from chemical dependency and that she had been in physically abusive relationships. From a psychological perspective these facts seemed irreconcilable and cast serious doubt on Danselle’s historical accuracy. 
The process of constructing meaning was also intuitive. I allowed myself to be drawn toward the data that had a felt sense of meaning and importance. Given the unfortunate loss of co-researchers due to illness I was not able work through my impressions and reactions with another. Because this put increased emphasis on my intuitions I made a consistent effort to gauge my reactivity authentically with an eye toward the integrity of the data.

      Learning Three—Clinging to Wholeness: Grief, Loss and Addiction

The participant’s stories suggest the attempt to control desire is an attempt to avoid loss. The attempt to control, or avoid loss, creates, or contributes to, craving. It follows that craving would be more problematic for those who have difficulty expressing sadness and grief and those who have difficulty with vulnerability. The grasping and clinging that is negatively associated with desire in general, and craving in particular, could easily be imagined as a defensive adaptation of individuals affected by loss.
The universality of grief in this study suggests a need for further study of the effects of early experiences of loss, including a loss of sense of self through neglect, abuse, or intrusion, on the ability to hold desire. A deep approach to desire seems to require the expression of grief. The propositional statement of this learning is the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity.

1.  What Happened?
     In the individual interviews, seven out of eight participants wept or shared that they felt sadness and could have cried. Several participants characterized their experience in the individual meeting as being in trance. Most participants offered evidence of early losses that may have affected their relationship to desire.
     Sadness and tears were triggered for Barbara regarding a past relationship while placing her objects on the altar of craving. She expressed feeling “locked-up” and used the image of a balloon wedged inside a pointy metal cage to illustrate the feeling. She reported tension in her solar plexus from time to time that pulled her forward as she spoke. Tears were evoked again for her in connecting with the young girl within her when trying to speak with the voice of craving. In this place of grief Barbara used the words and tone of a young girl and she acknowledged feeling very young sexually. Barbara described distance in her relationship with her mother and tension in the household of her childhood that she did not understand.
     Speaking the voice of craving Tara said “When energy is blocked and not allowed to flow, it comes to me. When it is wide open it is yearning.” In front of the altar of yearning, sitting very still with her eyes closed and her head tilted forward, she experienced tears of joy: “It makes me cry it is so beautiful.” Tara sat in a cross-legged meditative posture most of the interview. She presented as relaxed and stretched her neck and shoulders from time to time. She spoke so softly it was difficult to hear her although I was only two or three feet away from her and the room was quiet. Tara described her mother as a kind martyr and her father as clueless and selfish. She reported being sexually molested as a child.
Danselle expressed sadness and wept in front of the altar of craving while talking about the man in her life she craved. She stated “craving is a manifestation of a person feeling like they are not enough, they are never enough.” Danselle also wept during the dialogue between craving and yearning and during the amplification of yearning while sharing a vision she had of riding a horse around the United States. She described often having the experience of feeling shaky and tearful without any clear idea of why. She said she thought it was the goddess speaking to her. The data Danselle offered in regard to her childhood is suspect for reasons described in the second learning.
Joseph began to weep as he completed his image of yearning. He wept with his chin on his chest and his arms at his sides. It appeared that he was close to sobbing but held back. He described his tears as “about the longing for goodness” and “regret about how I’ve fallen short.” A little later he again wept deeply when identifying his shame at not being the man he felt he should be. Joseph offered painful and eloquent descriptions of both parents as shaming and abusive. He wrote:

Corporal punishment had fallen out of fashion …by the 1950’s…however my parents still beat us regularly… My mother believed that shaming was a more enlightened approach. Her voice intoning ‘Joe, I’m ashamed of you” will be with me on my deathbed… Aside from his belt, my foremost experience of my father in those early years was simply thinly-                 veiled contempt.

He also noted that he has never handled rejection well.
    Diane wept recalling the loss of her second pregnancy while speaking the voice of yearning. She also came to tears speaking about her fear of abundance. Her tears came without warning and she moved through them quickly. Part of what made Diane’s tears a surprise was her well-contained, cognitively-focused, presentation. Sadness broke through her restraint with little warning, found expression, and was gone. Diane’s statement that she had OCD as a child, that her parents did not notice, raises the question of how well seen she was as a child.
While speaking from the voice of yearning Roseanne indicated she was sad. Although her affect was largely contained her voice dropped and she looked uneasy. Moving into the dialogue with yearning her sadness increased:

It’s a little discomfort…there is some sadness that I don’t have something I want…A feeling of loss that you can’t have it all…[Amplification of Yearning]...Oh I feel a great amount of sadness…not like I’m going to cry but I could make myself cry…A sense of giving up.  
Roseanne's father died when she was twelve and she describes an enmeshed relationship with her mother. She stated she grew up feeling a neediness that was a result of "holes" in her developmental process.
Rita wept while embodying the voice of yearning and said she was grieving the loss of her last relationship. She was apologetic about her tears. Because she was lying on the floor, spoke very quietly and wore a hooded sweatshirt, I almost did not notice her sadness. Rita offered this imaging of craving from the group meeting:

This morning [imagining craving] I saw an image of a mouth, esophagus, and stomach connecting to an umbilical cord and fetus. When I held it out in front of me it felt as if I gave myself an abortion. I didn’t know what to make of it when I re-inserted it back inside of me. Connecting to others was confusing because I saw everyone as if they were fetuses.

Only Jose did not cry or discuss the possibility of crying. Regarding loss, Jose did say that Eros and the pursuit of sexual contact were more important to him because of his neurological disease and the multiple losses that it represented. Jose presented as younger than his stated age, and described himself as “naughty.” He giggled a lot. He shared being deeply affected by losing his mother’s attention at the age of two due to her illness and the birth of a sibling. He described a longing for his father who was sensitive, melodramatic, irritable, and difficult to communicate with. He stated his parents were always fighting.
     Barbara experienced sadness in front of the altar of craving. Danselle experienced sadness in front of both altars. Tara, Diane, Joseph, Roseanne and Rita experienced tears, or the potential for tears, in front of the altar of yearning. No one wept or expressed sadness during the group experience. The group did not cohere and participation was minimal. One participant, Barbara, noted feeling sadness during the invocation of the voice of craving and observed she did not feel safe enough in the group to express her feeling. Self-disclosure during the group meeting was limited. During the group polarity exercise I moved vigorously around the room hoping to evoke valuable dialogue.

2.  How I Was Affected.
The depth of the individual interviews surprised me. Different participants’ sadness affected me in different ways. I did not feel empathy to the same degree I feel it clinically with clients; in the role of researcher I felt a step back energetically. Cognitive response preceded empathic response to participant affect.
     With Barbara, I was concerned the degree of affect and agitation she was experiencing exceeded safe parameters. My concern proved to be unwarranted as she proved adept at moving through affect. I imagined she had practice doing this kind of work. I felt a strong empathic connection to Tara and found myself savoring the sense of gratitude and appreciation of beauty that evoked her tears.
When Danselle initially cried, I felt touched by her grief. As her tears continued to flow, I became concerned about containment; I feared being overwhelmed by what seemed to be almost a free-floating, agitated, sadness. I did not understand the source of Diane’s grief until later review of the transcript; I then felt compassion toward her. Joseph’s process mirrored some of my own in regard to struggling with chemical dependency and I empathized with his grief, his sorrow, and his self-castigation.
Roseanne moved very quickly and I felt difficulty connecting with her. Because she was both a licensed psychologist and a Tantric practitioner I was anxious to include her but found myself feeling like I was imposing on her. Rita was not feeling well at the time of the interview and her grief was quiet. I felt badly about not noticing it sooner and apologized to her. Jose did not express sadness but I felt sad for him. I was moved by his struggle to live fully in the face of the inevitability of his neurological decline.
I felt by turns frustrated, saddened, disappointed and encouraged in the group meeting. My clear failure to establish a sense of safety among group members caused me to question my judgment about how much ritual structure was needed. As a researcher I realized that failure, in an experiential sense, was simply data. But as a student and a therapist I felt inadequate. The depth of the individual meetings had increased my expectation for, and subsequent disappointment in, the group meeting. I did feel encouraged by the active response I took to the lack of participation in the group polarity exercise.  Rather than simply abort or abbreviate the exercise due to limited participation, I became verbally and physically more active in an attempt to encourage participation. 

3.  Imaginal Structures.

Four of my imaginal structures are in use in regard to these interpretations; the Cross, the Impotent One, the Friend and Psyche and Eros.
Previously, I have suggested the image of the cross as a potent symbol of the individual struggle with desire. The horizontal axis is seen as representing the physical plane, the everyday world of craving. The vertical axis is seen, much like the chakra system as moving through the individual up to the divine. The continuum of desire elaborated above, with craving reaching toward the past, yearning reaching toward the future, and the individual in the center, is suggested as a third temporal axis of desire, a third dimension of desire. The center of the Cross, the crucible in which the self is formed, becomes the intersection of spirit, materiality, and time.
As discussed in the second learning, due to the experiential failure of the group meeting, I was faced with the aspect of self I call the Impotent One. I have referred to it before as the frozen tundra or the feeling of a fly impaled on a corkboard. In Imaginal Psychology this aspect of self would be called the experiencing “I” or emerging self. The failure of the group to cohere created a great deal of self-doubt and self-questioning for me. I was encouraged that I was able to get into action eliciting data from the group despite the whispers of the Impotent One who advised me of the inevitability of my abject failure. 
The third of the structures in use for me is that of the Friend. The Friend, according to Omer, refers to those deep potentials of the soul which guide us to act with passionate objectivity and encourage us to align with the creative will of the cosmos.45 For Rumi, the phrase The Friend encompassed a deeper level of himself, his dear lost friend, and the divine.46 The Friend can be viewed from a more traditional psychological perspective as an aspect of self, or from a more Jungian or Archetypal orientation as something greater than individual subjectivity. Omer, drawing on many cultural examples but primarily the Greeks, teaches that sacrifice is necessary if the Friend is to come.47
At times, in the cold, dark, desolate well of grief, it was the Friend I relied on. It is through the Friend that my grief led to the gold at the bottom of the well; that my sacrifice had meaning. The need for sacrifice, or the inevitability of suffering, is further elaborated in the tale of Psyche and Eros. Psyche endures tremendous physical and emotional suffering in her struggle to unite with Eros.48 Finding her way to Eros requires fighting through great sorrow, despair and self-doubt. Here again the emphasis is on the relationship between desire and loss in the context of relationship. 

4.  Theoretical Concepts.
Desire and loss are often equated in both theory and culture. The French call sexual orgasm the petite mort, the little death.49 In the romantic comedy Moonstruck the actress Olympia Dukakis wanders Manhattan in search of an answer to the question “Why do men cheat?” The answer she gets, and accepts, is “They fear death.” 50 Poets, psychologists, and theorists also weigh in relative to desire, loss and grief. 
Sappho’s labeling of Eros as “bittersweet” captures the sense of desire as both sweetness and loss.51 Dollimore states what connects desire and death is mutability; “a ceaseless process of change.” 52 What is suggested here is a rhythm or dance of desire with endless comings and goings. Struggling with loss, grasping and clinging, interferes with the movement of the dance; it stops the flow.  
Rumi writes, in his poem, Love Dogs, of a man crying out to God and despairing. He is spoken to by Khidr, guide of souls;

This longing
you express is the return message."
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.53

Rumi insists the expression of longing is our connection to the other or to the divine. Joseph Campbell adds “Follow your bliss.” 54 Desire, longing and bliss are markers on the trail. Omer adds a caveat; “The pursuit of desire, while awake, is trustworthy.” 55 Desire that is not awake cannot be trusted. The kind of pursuit of desire that moves from old unexplored wounds must be considered sleeping desire and therefore untrustworthy. Epstein states “Desire is a teacher.” 56 
Freud’s theory of Eros and Thanatos is relevant as a way of examining the twin pulls of desire and loss.57 Freud sees Thanatos as a death instinct or a drive toward oblivion or non-being. For Freud, Eros pulls toward life and Thanatos pulls toward death. Freud does not describe a dance but rather a constant irresolvable tension or tug-of-war. Desire and loss, as they are unfolding in this study, are interactive aspects of a shared process. The experience of loss is a reaction in a process of desire, not a drive with its own telos. 
The basic fault hypothesized by Balint is a pre-verbal place of wounding caused by early deficits resulting in the withdrawal of libido.58 In Omer’s terms this represents an impairment of the Mother principle or function representing compassionate connection.59 Flores’ work re-conceptualizing addiction as an attachment disorder supports the idea that early wounds, or insecure attachments, are expressed in cravings and addictions.60 Epstein suggests clinging, a core characteristic of addiction, interferes with an individual’s ability to process the past and move on; “Renunciation of clinging is the first step in grieving the pain of the past, the prerequisite for forgiveness and a more unfettered desire.”61 
Omer further states the soul’s craving’s tie us to the past and the soul’s yearnings pull us toward the future.62 It is through craving and yearning that both the past and the present are experienced within the individual. Epstein states: “When desire is not denied or suppressed, but instead allowed to grow in the light of there being no ultimately satisfying self or object, a tremendous development of inner life is possible.” 63 
Omer’s conception of desire differentiates it into craving, looking back, and yearning, looking forward. Craving, as it looks back, is characterized by regret and self-castigation. Yearning, looking forward, is filled with potential, possibility, and hope. Because both craving and yearning are felt in the present moment with the immediacy of sensation, and reach forward and back in time, they can be seen as creating a context for the individual. They create a continuum of desire with the individual at the center in the present moment, while craving and yearning sit at either end and overlap the center.
It also worthy of note that Susan Gulbe-Walsh, in her doctoral dissertation dealing with desire and bulimic women, noted the prevalence of grief especially in regard to the Mother principle.64

5.  Interpretations.
The main claim of this learning is the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity. 
My interpretations of what happened in regard to this learning can be divided into three categories: the relationship between desire and loss; the group experience; and the development of a self through the interaction with, and the frustration of, desire. 
Participant affective response suggested a powerful connection between desire and loss. A sense of loss was the primary reason for the evocation of grief. It was primarily, though not exclusively, experienced in front of the altar of yearning. The response of sadness did not seem to be exclusively related to either the altar of craving or the altar of yearning. Feelings of sadness were also related to power.
Barbara, Rita and Danselle expressed grief in regard to the loss of relationships. Diane wept in regard to the loss of a child and regret about a choice. Joseph mourned a loss of self while Roseanne’s sadness involved a lack of control in regard to yearning and the subsequent loss of potential. Only Tara’s tears of joy did not clearly relate to loss.
For two participants, Roseanne and Barbara, grief seemed tied to power, impotence or a lack of agency. Roseanne stated several times she was very disciplined and able to manage her cravings. Her inability to either satisfy or control her yearning caused her grief. Barbara shared about her inability to take advantage of a sexual opportunity because she didn’t have permission. 
The two broad categories of experienced loss were a sense of loss for something previously possessed and a sense of loss for potential unrealized. These categories lack correspondence to craving and yearning as divisions of desire. There was also no clear agreement in participant choices about what kind of issues represented craving and what kind represented yearning. For Rita a committed romantic relationship was her yearning. Tara, Roseanne, and Barbara, represented relationship on the altar of craving. Danselle considered one relationship representative of craving and a different relationship representative of yearning. 
The participant’s stories suggest the attempt to control desire is an attempt to avoid loss which creates, or contributes to, craving. The data suggests one manifestation of the loss represented by the basic fault is craving: libido is not withdrawn but rather displaced. Deep pre-verbal wounds would seem more likely to create craving as they resist cognitive processes and are extremely intense. The alternative to trying to avoid or control loss is experiencing and moving through sadness and grief. Asking how an individual deals with desire seems to require asking how they deal with loss. This suggests a potential diagnostic use of desire. 
Because of its nature, pre-verbal wounding is more difficult to identify in an adult population but there was substantial evidence of early deficits in the data with seven participants. Joseph and Tara describe early violation and abuse. Joseph noted his difficulty with rejection. Danselle’s data strongly suggests early developmental losses. The data for Barbara and Diane suggests emotional neglect and inadequate mirroring. Jose described feeling as though he lost his mother at the age of two but Jose was also the only participant who did not express sadness. Roseanne pointed out gaps in her early development. Rita did not offer evidence of early deficits. For Danselle, Barbara, Diane, Jose, and Joseph early losses seemed linked to maternal deficits and subsequent impairment of the Mother principle or function.
Early experience in the data is correlated with craving as opposed to yearning. Barbara, in front of the altar of craving spoke with the voice of a young girl. Jose, for whom craving was primary, was boyish. Frequent association of craving with different food items by a number of participants could be said to be related to basic early need. Rita’s powerful vision of the fetus while imagining into craving dramatically suggests an association between craving and earliest experience. 
Yearning was generally expressed relative to relationship, achievement or fulfillment: Barbara and Rita yearned for relationship; Joseph yearned to be more fulfilled; Diane yearned to be her true self; Roseanne yearned to achieve. This equation of craving with early experience, or the past, and yearning with later experience or the future, echoes Omer’s theory of the dual nature of desire and suggests craving is young desire and yearning is more evolved, or mature, desire. 
Two types of frustrated or problematic desire are illustrated in the data; desire lost and desire blocked. Desire lost involves clinging to that which is perceived as making us whole but is leaving or diminishing. Examples of this would be sadness over the loss of relationship expressed by Danselle and Rita. Desire blocked concerns the object not obtained or the potential unrealized. Examples of this would be Roseanne’s frustration over the life she was not living or Diane’s struggles with potential polyamory. Desire lost potentially leads to clinging and craving. Desire blocked, according to Snell, creates a self, or a soul through suffering and distress.65
Craving, in this context, can be seen as a defensive adaptation indicative of a sense of loss of self. Grasping and clinging are the desperate actions of the adaptive identity holding on to that which is perceived as creating wholeness. From this perspective, addiction could be re-defined as an inability to tolerate loss. When an object or substance creates the sensation of wholeness within an individual, that individual will fight desperately against the loss of that object or substance and the subsequent loss of the sensation of wholeness. 
Tara’s experience of desire offers an alternative to frustrated or problematic desire. She showed a developed ability to hold the tension of desire. This could be considered an example of Jung’s transcendent function in which the tension of the opposites is held in order to allow for the numinous.
In the group meeting I was faced with what I perceived to be failure. A lack of perceived safety limited participant disclosure; grief was not expressed and desire was not approached. It could be said Jose and Danselle were in relationship with their own need more than they were in relationship with an other. In the group meeting they were unable see past their needs to the needs of others or the needs of the group. One interpretation is early depravation creates a compelling need that makes it difficult to see an other. The starving see only food. 
Another way of framing the qualitative difference between group and the individual meetings relates to sacrifice and the Friend. There are various ways of interpreting the sacrifice, or loss, required for the Friend to come but certainly one is that some part of self, or ego, needs to be let go of in order to allow room for soul to manifest. I suggest the sacrifice made by the majority of participants in the individual meetings by the expression of sorrow, allowed the Friend to come. Stated differently, the participant’s willingness to enter into and express their pain, allowed for a deepening of the interaction, greater access to soul, and made room for new knowledge. In the group meeting, lack of perceived safety or fear, as expressed by Barbara, inhibited participants and prevented the sacrifice that could have opened the door to the numinous, to the Friend, and to deeper soulful interaction. 
It is important to note the sacrifice referred to above that brings the Friend is conscious voluntary sacrifice. Early developmental woundings are unconscious involuntary sacrifices. Following from this the development of craving through early deficits in primary attachment could be called a process of unconscious involuntary sacrifice. Given that craving is a primary component of addiction, and addiction is defined by an inability to give up, or sacrifice, an object or behavior, further exploration of the relationship between addiction and sacrifice is warranted. It is suggested here the unconscious involuntary sacrifice of the infant affects the adult ability to make conscious voluntary sacrifice.

6.  Validity.
The prevalence of tears during the individual interviews leaves little doubt a significant relationship of some kind exists between desire and sadness. The causes of the sadness, as well as its meaning, could be interpreted variously. 
My manner is soft-spoken and compassionate. It is possible who I am may have elicited more sadness and grief than a different researcher might have. However, a compassionate manner would not create grief where there was none so this does not seriously challenge my interpretations of the data. 
The focus I place on early developmental deficits as a cause of loss and subsequent craving, could be considered a typical assumption for a developmentally oriented therapist to make. In doing so I may well have overlooked information relative to trauma or personality variables that could have explained the data as well or better. 
There is a way in which the focus of this study, and the resulting data, closely track my life experience. I suffered early developmental deficits which created wounds, suffered from substance abuse, then got into recovery and began to address and feel through the old pain. Given my life path and the substantial work required to get me where I am, it would likely be difficult for me to entertain data interpretations that go contrary to the precepts upon which I have built my recovery and my life. Though I see no such contrary data at this moment the possibility of its existence should be noted.
Finally, there is no existing data examining grief reactions during the exploration of desire with which to compare this data. If, for instance, studies existed regarding grief reactions of securely attached individuals during the evocation of desire, it would be possible to compare the two populations.
         Learning Four—The Crucible: Finding Rhythm in the Release and                                                Containment of Desire

The first learning highlights the importance of expressing craving fully including uncomfortable or shadow aspects. The second learning points out the need for discipline in the experience of desire. The third learning emphasizes loss as central to the experience of desire. In the fourth learning these factors, expression with awareness, discipline, and the experience of loss, are explored, along with others, as influences on the development of an individual rhythm of desire. 
Two other identified factors that inhibit the establishment of an individual rhythm of desire are moralism as defined by Moore and what I have called binary illusion. Binary illusion is a state or condition of denial involving over-identification with the object of desire. Binary illusion is a defense against emotion associated with rigid identity, wounding, and fundamentalist black and white thinking. 
Data from the individual and group meetings suggests a two step interactive process of desire. The first step is to set desire free: to allow it to be. Once desire is released, containment is required. One possibility in a process of desire, suggested by the data, is that desire first released is craving and desire guided or aged is yearning. The propositional statement of this learning is coming into a relationship with the rhythm of desire is a non-linear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving  through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration.

1.  What Happened?
       Barbara seemed at once very fragile and yet very capable of moving with skill through strong affect. She described her desire as suppressed. Her affective response was the strongest of all the participants and her presentation was the most reserved of all the participants. She acknowledged a tendency to fantasize about the men she was interested in and to make much more out of small gestures than was warranted. She worked for a time with a sex surrogate. Sex surrogates engage in therapeutic sexual contact with clients to help them work through sexual difficulties.66 In regard to her difficulty with relationships she stated:

Pretending to myself that relationships were more than the reality…Drinking myself to sleep…Wandering around the park for hours and feeling totally devastated by seeing other people together and being angry with them…I             am still surprised [when] someone wants me, and never quite trust in that.

Barbara described her inability to act during an encounter with a physically aroused man she was attracted to at a Tantric gathering; “I was immobile…Like a little girl. Like I needed daddy or mommy or someone to write me a permission slip.” While speaking from the voice of craving Barbara described having a triangle, or pyramid stuck in her throat. In front of the altar of craving she described first, physical feelings of tightness, then warmth and release after she broke through the bars. In front of the altar of yearning she described feeling “big, strong, comfortable.”
Tara appeared to savor the desire she experienced. She described listening to her desires as a spiritual practice and stated “I consciously spend time trying to feel my way through my desires.” Tara indicated she did a lot of therapy in regard to her sexual molestation the most powerful of which was Tantric work. She described being promiscuous as a teenager due to a craving to be wanted. She indicated she had a “thing” about commitment and characterized her desire for relationship as a craving. She described a feeling of tightness in front of the altar of craving. In front of the altar of yearning she talked about feeling “wide-open” and in a place of beauty and light. 
Danselle had been accused of sexual addiction. Danselle stated her craving was teaching her she had no control in this world and she needed to let go and let God. She described yearning as neutral or “milquetoast” in comparison to the intensity of craving. Danselle shared shame, guilt, and disgust were not part of her experience. During the amplification of craving Danselle did not experience frustration; she imagined the object of her craving walking out from behind the bars and embracing her. During the amplification of yearning Danselle lost focus and drifted into a rambling, agitated sadness. In her drawing of yearning Danselle drew a triangle on top of a hill.
In contrast, Diane described powerful experiences of shame and disgust largely in relation to food. She stated her OCD was a secret her family never became aware of. In relation to desire she stated “I don’t trust my own callings enough because I depend on others too much for approval.” She craved food and marijuana and yearned for authenticity and to please God. Diane described her image of craving as a spiral of energy moving from the outside in. She described her image of yearning as an explosion of energy spiraling out from the inside. She described yearning as “scary.” During the amplification of yearning she felt a sense of failure but then felt free after its satisfaction. Diane stated after her first marriage ended in divorce she was glad, in a way, because it made her imperfect. When affect arose for Diane it came and went quickly. She stated participating in the research helped her to realize she needed to leave her second marriage.
Jose had a large sexual appetite but also expressed ambivalence about his sexual desire. He read two long and earnest love poems during the individual meeting yet he also characterized his desire as slavery and called himself a pervert and a dirty old man. After dialoguing with craving he described himself as stirred up and described “a pressure everywhere like I want to get out of my cage.” During the amplification of craving he indicated he did not feel much frustration but he felt very frustrated in front of the altar of yearning. He stated “cravings you can stop, yearnings are dangerous.” He admitted to feeling a little shame about his sexual desires 
Roseanne was licensed as a psychologist and a student of Tantra. She began the individual meeting by stating “I’m scared I’m going to fail. It’s so stupid.” She described herself as very disciplined several times and felt in control of her cravings. Her yearnings, over which she felt less control, caused her more discomfort. Roseanne indicated she seldom felt disgust and stated “I have never felt shame.” She described a long-standing love for an unavailable man who was committed to celibacy. Roseanne’s drawing of yearning included several geometric forms the largest of which was a triangle. Speaking the voice of craving she said “I want out—feels like energy being stuck.” During the amplification of yearning she felt sadness and a sense of giving up. During most of the group meeting Roseanne looked both sad and unfriendly; at one point she moved her chair back and away from the others. She was anxious for the group to end on time and said so twice. 
Joseph described growing up in a household filled with “guilt, shame, and corporal punishment.” He had done a lot of psychological work and attended two men’s groups weekly. He described strong feelings of regret for the things he had not done like not becoming an architect. Joseph described overwhelming desire for women and considered himself “a student of the art of love.” Conversely, he felt ashamed of having a lot of meaningless sex. In front of the altar of craving he spoke passionately about how he loved his addictions. In front of the altar of yearning he wept about the things he had not done. He described key moments of the individual meeting as the creation of the images of craving and yearning. 
Rita, the youngest participant, belonged to a group that traveled around performing and promoting Tantra. Rita had a grounded and unshielded quality yet seemed somehow naïve. All items on the altar of craving, flour, ranch dressing and honey, were related to food. All items on the altar of yearning, Aphrodite, Pan, and Shiva/Shakti, were related to the divine relationship she hoped to have with someone. Speaking from the voice of craving Rita said “isolation breeds addictions.” She described craving as being outside of herself. Rita acknowledged feeling shame in regard to food and about being perceived as being too needy. During the amplification of craving Rita felt tired and defeated. She was the only participant to ask me how I felt about how she had done at the end of the individual meeting.

2. How I Was Affected.
During initial contacts and the individual interviews, I felt attracted, at one time or another, to Tara, Rita, Roseanne, and Diane. With Rita and Roseanne I experienced attraction prior to but not during the individual interviews. I felt attracted to Tara and Diane prior to and during the individual interviews. With Roseanne it was a cognitive experience; I recognized she was an attractive woman and noted the difficulty I had in establishing authentic connection with her. With Rita I was drawn to her stillness and peace. Her good-bye hug was unshielded and satisfying. In the individual session with Tara, I felt a shared sense of ecstatic connection and I noticed her body as she moved through the exercises. I was able to savor the moment and let it go with no inappropriate acting out and no regret about a missed opportunity.
During Diane’s individual interview, while she was in front of the altar of yearning and after she had expressed sadness, I felt physically aroused. In talking with Diane after the individual interview I felt an internal shakiness I have not felt in some time but have noticed occasionally in the past when in conversation with women I was attracted to. In processing the arousal I felt shame and self-disgust.
Initially, I tried to ignore the arousal I experienced in the individual meeting with Diane. Eventually, I concluded it was an important part of the data and required exploration. I felt disgusted with myself for having arousal triggered by a grieving woman under those circumstances. I felt shame in realizing I had been dishonest in hiding the extent of my reactions to Diane. With trepidation I contacted her to follow up and she offered a generous response advising she had been unaware of my reaction to her and had not had a similar reaction. As a result of this process I felt more able to say no to the pull of compulsive attraction toward beauty.
While I felt attracted to some participants, other participants evoked neutral and negative feelings within me including frustration and disgust. In some cases positive initial impressions shifted into more problematic second impressions over time.
Working with Barbara, Joseph, and Diane felt satisfying and useful. I felt as though the three of them were engaged in a process of growth and participating in the research had genuine benefit for them. With the three women who practiced Tantra, Roseanne, Tara, and Rita, it did not feel like this research furthered their process of growth to the same degree. I had more of a sense of drawing on their experience and practice in working with desire. 

3. Imaginal Structures.
Various aspects of the Lover archetype are prominent for me in this learning. The Lover aspect I carry is different from, but mirrors aspects of, the Addict, Philanderer and the Hippy. This aspect of me believes passionately in the rightness of falling in love in all directions and longs for a world dedicated to exploring the various pathways of love. The Lover within me feels intuitively that my desire can lead me to wholeness. The Lover aspect privileges the explosive shattering of taboo Dionysus represents. It honors and answers the irresistible call of Aphrodite.
The point at which this aspect of the Lover eschews the necessity of boundaries is the point at which it enters its shadow. The dark side of the lover wants to drown in the waters of desire and can see no negative consequence of doing so. In the dark aspect of the lover the Addict’s surrender to sensation leads.
The mature, or wise Lover aspect within me acknowledges the figures of Dionysus and Aphrodite but turns its primary focus to the couples of Shiva and Shakti, Eros and Psyche, and Tristan and Isolde. The figures of the archetypal couples speak to both the necessity for release of desire that Dionysus and Aphrodite represent, but also to the need for containment and boundaries best represented by the figure of Shiva.
These evolving aspects of the Lover represent the emerging self or experiencing “I.” My adaptive self, through the Addict and Philanderer aspects, sought wholeness in sensation in a clumsy attempt to repair early woundings. My emerging self, by giving voice to craving, grieving losses, and engaging shame and disgust, is developing the discipline to set limits.
A figure that arose in my consciousness some years ago was one I call Stone Face. My image of Stone Face is a face only and sometimes only part of a face. In his face is strength, surety and knowing. When I am in touch with Stone Face, when I am living in my deeper places of knowing, craving has little hold over me. If I am having difficulty saying no to craving, it is a reminder to me that I am asleep. Omer states “The pursuit of desire, when awake, is trustworthy.” 67 Stone Face is for me an archetypal representation of the certainty and strength of the Father. The developmental deficits I experienced due to an absence of the father are addressed through personal myth in my Master’s Thesis.68
The Lover, Archetypal couples, and Stone Face find context for me in an arising image of water meeting stone. The meeting of the absolute limit of stone with the absolute fluidity of water suggests an esthetic of desire.

4. Theoretical Concepts.
Winnicott posits “an intermediate area of experiencing” between the inner world and external reality of the individual negotiated by the “good-enough mother.” 69 This transitional space is the stage on which desire plays out through both satisfaction and frustration. Kalsched notes if wounding or trauma occurs in this delicate transitional space, the ego is cut off from the resources of the unconscious.70 Attachment theory also emphasizes the bond between the infant and the primary caregiver and delineates the secure or insecure attachment that develops as a result.71 Omer stresses the need for both discipline and structure as well as empathy and compassion in individual development through the Mother and the Father Principle.72 Schiller suggests it is only when the drive for sensuality is met by the formal drive that the play drive can manifest.73
Moving from infant to adult desire, Johnson notes romantic love is the single strongest energy system, and the greatest wound, in the Western psyche.74  Campbell suggests the wound as a pathway to healing stating “Where you stumble, there your treasure is.” 75 Gilligan notes the link between the tragic love story and patriarchy.76
The emergence and manifestation of desire as libido, in the theories of Freud and Jung, is a primary building block of psychology.77 Difficulty containing desire is central to Freud’s theory of neurotic anxiety, Lacan’s theory of jouissance, and the body of theory related to addictive behaviors.78 Delayed gratification, for Freud, was a successful resolution of the pleasure principle through acceptance of the reality principle resulting in the mature ability to wait for pleasure.79 Fairbairn modified Freud’s drive theory of libido and suggested it was object seeking.80 Omer, through the ecstatic imperative, raises the intensity by noting the individual must approach ecstatic experience. The push of the necessity of ecstasy, in conjunction with the courage to face shame and shadow, creates a potential for change through engagement of the affect system.81 
The term ecstatic imperative, as defined by Omer, “refers to the soul’s creativity and symptomatic expression of its passionate and plural nature, despite the constrictions of personal identity and requirements of conventional culture. The experience of ecstasy is a human birthright particularly noted by the absence of those dynamics, called gatekeeping dynamics that restrict experience.” 82 
Jung’s transcendent function is also important in relation to this learning.83  Holding the tension of the opposites as a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious is strongly related to the experience of desiring. Given desire is often defined as the energy of movement it is inherently paradoxical to hold still while holding desire. Epstein also emphasizes the benefit of holding desire.84 
Hillman notes the relationship between desire, transcendent function and triangularity stating “The triangle presents eros as the transcendent function creating out of two a third.” 85 Carson and Phillips both make the same point by stressing the need for an obstacle, a lack, or resistance in the life of desire.86  A body of studies by Elizabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge, Nicolas Favez, and other Swiss researchers focused on trilogue play and triangulation in the parenting field reinforces the triune nature of desire.87 Moore and Gillette also suggest a tripartite structure to archetypes with the top of the triangle representing the archetype in its fullness and the base representing its bipolar shadow.88
Fixation on the object of desire, like an addict to a drug, is what I am calling binary illusion. Binary illusion often involves moral judgment and always involves resistance to suffering. Deeper emotional issues are buried under addictions and there is little or no ability to hold tension. The addict in active addiction is bound to the horizontal physical plane of sensation and caught in the painful polarity of either using and finding relief or not using and being in pain with no other perceived option.
Tantric practice emphasizes the experience of desire over the object of desire and suggests coming into relationship with desire as a way of moving closer to the divine.89 This requires the ability to tolerate the frustration of desire. The alternative to tolerating frustration is clinging to craving. The theories of Seneca, May, Balint, and both Buddhist and Tantric doctrines reference this grasping and clinging.90 Akhtar Ahsen, similiarly, equates Aphrodite with an “everlasting spring” and suggests she arouses the desire to reconcile rather than the desire to possess.91 Balint’s theory of the basic fault is again relevant as it locates the displacement of desire or libido in early development.92

5. Interpretations.
The propositional statement of this learning is coming into a relationship with the rhythm of desire is a non-linear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving  through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration. This interpretation first examines evidence of process, moralism, and binary illusion, then explores romantic, developmental, and archetypal influences. 
Each participant was uniquely placed in a process of desire and subject to different confounding variables. All participants were able to express craving with awareness although for some the process was painful or explosive. Tolerating frustration was more difficult for participants; one refused to attempt it. 
Desire flowing through Barbara was either blocked entirely or it exploded through her. The flow of desire was ragged and unpredictable rather than rhythmic. For Diane also, to a lesser degree, desire and affect had to break through internal restraint in order to find expression. Tara had a good rhythm of desire. She demonstrated an ability to hold and embody desire although she avoided committed relationship where the wounding of early violation could have complicated the flow of desire. Rita, like Tara, showed skill at embodying and expressing desire smoothly. Danselle’s desire flowed everywhere without restriction. Her affect, when expressed, was undifferentiated and unsourced. Jose, like Danselle, had no interest in holding back and made little effort to block or limit his desire. The rhythm of Roseanne’s desire seemed impaired by her difficulty trusting and her corresponding attempts to control. The process of desire flowing through Joseph felt like a storm characterized by powerful urges and equally powerful self-condemnation.
Frustration was difficult for Roseanne who stated she almost couldn’t conceive of not getting what she wanted and imagined her hands like claws when faced with the prospect. Jose did not experience frustration in front of the craving altar but did in front of the yearning altar. Danselle bypassed frustration entirely during the amplifications of craving and yearning and instead imagined into gratification.  
Diane, Barbara, Tara, Jose, and Roseanne described feelings of tightness, being trapped, or wanting out, in front of the altar of craving. In the satisfaction of craving and in front of the altar of yearning they described feeling “big,” “free,” and “wide-open.” This evidence of process and expansion in the movement from craving to yearning during the individual meeting is reinforced by the shifts in craving reported by participants in the first learning. In particular, Joseph’s decision to seek treatment for marijuana abuse is an example of movement away from craving and toward discipline.
Participants hampered the flow of desire through avoidant strategies and characterological challenges. Roseanne’s denial of shame was a problematic characterological aspect. Her choice to love a man who could not return it seemed a strategy to avoid the risks of real intimacy. In a similar way Tara, who showed skill at holding desire, avoided committed relationship in what appeared to be a strategy to avoid deeper intimacy that might touch the pain of early violation. Danselle, like Roseanne, denied any experience of shame despite evidence to the contrary. 
Moralism and binary illusion also impacted participant experience of desire. Moore suggests true morality requires both imagination and personal struggle while moralism relies on an external code.93 Joseph’s Christian fundamentalist upbringing pulled him one way and the voice of desire pull him another resulting in suffering. Jose spoke passionately of his belief in love and sex yet referred to himself as a pervert and a dirty old man. Danselle’s system of belief could be characterized as a non-traditional reactionary moralism that eschewed limit of any kind and followed the code of free love. 
Joseph’s and Diane’s marijuana use, Roseanne’s love of an unavailable man, Barbara’s longing for a partner, and Jose and Danselle’s sexual compulsivity were examples of binary illusion. In each case fixation on the object of desire served to avoid suffering. Binary illusion is a two dimensional way of looking at the three dimensional phenomena of desire. Diane’s rendering of craving which she described as a spiral of energy moving from outside in, and her drawing of yearning which she described as energy exploding out from within, illustrate a primary attribute of binary illusion: acquisition. The craving associated with binary illusion is acquisitive. It takes. 
In the romantic myth Johnson and Gilligan discuss, binary illusion finds its culmination. Self-described romantics, Joseph, Danselle, and Jose sought sexual contact in the same way a drug addict seeks out a substance. Barbara, Roseanne, and Rita sought the relationship that would complete them. Each of them reached for an external solution to an internal dilemma; completion through insertion. Under the spell of binary illusion nothing else matters; a drug addict in need will steal from his or her family; a desperate jilted lover will stalk his or her beloved. 
The third and fourth learnings of this study seem to indicate it is only through conscious voluntary sacrifice that the difficult movement from the binary oppositions of temptation and gratification to the transformational triangular possibilities of the transcendent function is possible.
This function of eros Hillman names, creating a third, is literalized in the act of procreation and reinforced by Carson, Phillips, and Swiss studies exploring triangulation in the field of parenting. It is also at the root of the romantic myth and visible throughout the data. The symbol of the triangle arose three times in the data collection. A third was present for most participants in regard to their desire as a lack, an obstacle, or a strategy to avoid pain: Barbara’s and Rita’s lack of a lover; Tara’s avoidance of commitment, Roseanne’s fixation on a celibate man, and Joseph’s and Diane’s marijuana use are examples.
One developmental possibility, suggested by the data, is the primary wounds many participants described created the space for, or gave traction to, later experiences of craving. Early experiences of loss may have created a sensitivity to loss that manifested as both an amplified desire for wholeness and increased sensitivity to hurt and rejection. Both Tara and Roseanne arraigned their relationships in a manner that allowed them pursuit of intimacy while at the same time minimizing their exposure to hurt and rejection. In addition, many participants seemed to layer multiple physiological and existential needs over the initial wounding; the desires for God, wholeness, meaning, and sex appeared to blanket and merge with the initial wounding. 
This preponderance of need, pressing upon wounding or impairment, could overwhelm the individual system of desire. In an object based system of craving, pressure builds for perpetual gratification. In an experientially based system of yearning, focus shifts from the object of desire to the subject. The suggestion here is that the object seeking libido defined by Fairbairn is younger desire or craving characterized by movement from out to in. Yearning is mature desire characterized by movement in to out. 
Evidence of the pressures and distortions that build up in the romantic context is found in the comparative expectations for a parent and a spouse. Winnicott posits the need for a “good-enough mother.” This compares to the belief, at the extreme of romanticism, that everyone has only one special partner they must find. The standard for a parent is good-enough; the standard for a romantic partner is one in 6.7 billion.94 The concept of a good-enough partner flies in the face of the treasured romantic ideal.
Archetypally, Joseph, Jose, and the primary researcher were caught in the archetypes Moore and Gillette would call the Shadow Lover or the Mama’s Boy characterized by an absence of the father.95 With the Mama’s Boy they note “He often gets caught up in chasing the beautiful…yearning for union with the Mother from one woman to another.” 96 The Shadow Lover is also the Addicted Lover who gets lost in a world of sensuality.97 Other ways in which this deficit in the Father principle was apparent in the movement of the primary researcher was in the range and degree of attraction to female participants and participant meetings in casual or personal venues. 
Aspects of the figures of both Aphrodite and Dionysus concern the emergence or release of desire. Aphrodite represents the beauty that awakens desire, “the song of the spring.” 98 Dionysus is the wild answer to the call of the spring that shatters taboo and touches on madness.99 Barbara suffered the pain of her loneliness and desire. She heard the call of Aphrodite but lacked the agency of Dionysus. Diane also strongly felt the call of desire but had not yet found the confidence to be “who I really am.” Once desire is released the challenge is to contain it. Danselle could be seen as Shakti, the energy of kundalini, without the holding of Shiva. Danselle, as Psyche in the myth of Eros and Psyche, could be said to still be in the darkness not yet having lit the lamp to see Eros or begin her labors. This is poignant in regard to Danselle because she described a great deal of effort in the service of Eros, but she worked in the dark. 
This final learning regarding a process of desire, brings together many of the images and figures explored in this study. It begins with a small spring bubbling up through the ground. If the water cannot find its way out Aphrodite’s call excites it to the surface or Dionysus burns away all that blocks its flow. There is then a risk of a rush of white water.100 Carnes states the active sexual addict is like a trapped swimmer being pulled through a torrent of white water.  Here Shiva appears as stone to contain the watery power of Shakti. Next is the cross and crucible. At this point, with courage, the individual speaks the shadow of craving, mourns the loss of all that was not, and waits. The third arises, binary illusion is shattered, the chakras breathe, and the energy of desire begins to move up and down the vertical axis of the cross. Soul is awakened and spirit is infused.

6. Validity.
There is not a clear linear progression in a process of desire involving first release and then containment of desire. Any implication that individuals working with containment of desire are further along, or more developed, than individuals working with the release of desire, is unintended and inaccurate. I suggest a probably endless process of release and containment better understood as a rhythm or dance of desire. 
The idea of a process of desire or a desire system is not presently developed in the literature so any conclusions drawn here must be considered tentative. While it seems clear there is a process of desire it is much less clear precisely what that process is. The influencing factors named do appear to affect a process of desire but it is likely many more, as yet unnamed factors, are also at work in the process of desire. Assessing individual structures through examination of how they process desire is also speculative. Traditional psychological approaches often treat desire as symptomatic rather than diagnostic. As a consequence there are no theoretical, conceptual, or clinical models for reference or comparison. 
I note my tendency to positively assess the desire of the women I was attracted to and speculate I may have been predisposed to find a positive frame for the data involving those women. In addition, my assessment of the boundary issues of participants must be considered in light of identified boundary issues on my part. It is likely a more boundaried researcher would have gathered somewhat different data.


To summarize I will briefly describe each learning as well as the primary  learning, then discuss these learnings in relation to the Research Problem and the hypothesis of this study.
The first learning, Honoring the Shadow of Craving: “I Feel Free” is a partial answer to the Research Problem: in what way does the expression of craving help yearning to emerge.  The propositional statement of this learning is ritualizing the expression of craving with reflexive awareness can shift the polarizing and compulsive nature of craving toward intensification of affect and disidentification. The data clearly shows a change in the individual experience of craving. Questions attempting to correlate diminished craving to increased yearning would have been helpful here and may have offered more conclusive data. 
The second learning, Flooding: Water Flowing Without Limit, highlights the need for limits in the field of desire. The learning is that uncontained desire resulting from an imbalance between desire and discipline, can evoke fear, anger and disgust in the other. Jose’s and Danselle’s lack of boundaries also point out a shortcoming of the study; data gathered relative to attachment style and the mother/father field was inadequate and limits the conclusions that can be drawn. It could be said their inability to limit their desire damaged their individual integrity. In the same way that the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells threatens the physiological integrity of the individual, unlimited desire seems to threaten the psychological integrity of the individual. 
The recurrence of grief in the third learning, Clinging to Wholeness: Grief, Loss and Addiction, offers insight into the nature of craving. The learning here is the attempt to avoid loss for something previously possessed and loss for potential unrealized, including early loss of self, contributes to the cravings of adaptive identity. This study appears to illuminate a process of releasing desire that involves the engagement of grief or loss. Exploration of craving as a symptom of loss seems especially promising and could point to new possibilities in the treatment of addictions.
The fourth learning, The Crucible: Finding Rhythm in the Release and Containment of Desire, explores the movement of desire through the individual and suggests a need for a rhythm between desire’s free expression and its containment. Desire is seen as tripartite in nature consisting of subject, object and obstacle or lack. Craving is characterized as new or young desire and yearning is characterized as older or mature desire. The learning is coming into a relationship with the rhythm of desire is a non-linear two-part process involving the release of desire as craving  through expression with awareness and the containment or guiding of desire through the tolerance of frustration.
The cumulative learning is craving is sourced in experiences of loss, and expressing craving with reflexive awareness serves to transmute craving into yearning.
Identifying transmutation, named in the hypothesis, was problematic in this study. Though it was clear shifts in craving occurred, it was difficult to ascertain, in the short term, whether or not a change in the energy of craving resulted in a corresponding change in yearning. 
The two primary identified problems with desire identified in the data are the stifling of desire and uncontrolled desire. In the second learning, Jose and Danselle’s unlimited desire evoked strong affect and limited group safety. Barbara and Diane, as discussed in the fourth learning, suffered from the restriction of their desire. The fourth learning suggests possibilities for a process of desire involving a rhythm in its expression and containment that require a balance in the Father and Mother principle. This process could be framed as Freud’s pleasure principle meeting the reality principle or Schiller’s formal drive meeting the sensuous drive.101 Freud would call it the id submitting to the superego. Schiller suggests the creation of the play drive once a balance is found between the formal drive and the sensuous drive. 
As suggested in the introduction, coming to terms with a process of desire can be compared to learning to surf. Trying to manage desire that is fully repressed is like trying to surf on the flat surface of a lake. The surfer requires the power of the waves. However, waves that are too big are dangerous. This again suggests a need for a dialogue, or a rhythm, in the release and the expression of desire. 
 Riding the waves of desire was a challenge for participants in the study. Winnicott suggests the transitional space between the mother and infant as the place where initial experiences of desire play out.102 Cohen states “the differentiation of desire and of self are parallel, interdependent processes” that occur in infancy.103 Omer emphasizes the need for both the holding of the Father Principle, and the compassion empathic connection of the Mother Principle in early development.104 For most of the participants these early processes were incomplete or interrupted. Their desire lacked the regulation that comes from a successful resolution of the processes described above.
Data from this study strongly suggests craving can be affected through exploration and honoring and that grief and loss are intimately related to the experience of desire. The data further offers evidence that transmutation of craving into yearning is possible through engagement with affect, imagination and shadow. The movement of desire is seen as being intimately related to the functioning of the Mother and the Father Principle. 


Chapter Four

1.  Jung, The Portable Jung, 144.

2.  Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: W. W. Norton, 1950). 3.

3.  Bataille, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality, 38.

4.  n The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. transmute.

5.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2001.

6.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.

7.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, May, 1999.

8.  Ibid.

9.   Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, Feb, 1999.

10.  Ibid.

11.  Ibid., 183

12.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998. 

13.  Fuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 156.

            14.  Ibid., 158.

    15.  Ibid., 151.

16.  Ibid.

17. The actual quote is “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.” Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1998), 145. 

18.  American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition ed. (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

19.  Kolnai, "On Disgust," 22.

20.  Kerenyi, Dionysus, 132.

21.  Ibid., 189.

22.  APA, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 655.

23.  Lois B. Morris John M. Oldham, The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do (New York: Bantam Books, 1995), 151.

24.  June Price Pangney and Mark R. Leary, Handbook of Self and Identity (New York: Guilford Press, 2003), 657.

25.  Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, 97.

26.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2003.

27.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 2004..  

28. Corneau, Absent Fathers, Lost Sons, 38.  

29.  Joel Paris, Working with Traits: Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders ( Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson Inc., 1998), 159.

30. Roger A. Mackinnon, Robert Michels, and Peter J. Buckley, The Psychiatric Interview: Clinical Practice, 2nd ed. (Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2006), 154. 

31. Herzog, Father Hunger, 51. 

32.  Snell, The Discovery of the Mind, 69.

33.  Jung, The Portable Jung, 298.

34.  Woody and Casey, "Hegel and Lacan," in Hegel's Dialectic of Desire, 223. 

35.  Fink, The Lacanian Subject, 59.

36.  Kojeve, "Desire and Work in the Master and Slave," in Hegel's Dialectic of

 Desire and Recognition, 51.

37.  Snell, The Discovery of the Mind, 53. 

38.  Frankfurt, The Importance of What We Care About, 16.

39.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 98.

40.  Kolnai, "On Disgust," 24.

41.   Ibid., 22

42.  Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, 18. 

43.  Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 47.

44.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, December, 2003

45.  Ibid., 12.

46.  Rumi, The Essential Rumi, xii.

47.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 1998.

48.  Neumann, Amor and Psyche, 93.

49.  Beth Ann Bassein, Women and Death: Linkages in Western Thought and Literature (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1984), 21.

50.  Norman Jewison, "Moonstruck,"  (MGM, 1987).

51.  Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, 9.

52..  Dollimore, Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, xiii.

53.  Rumi, The Essential Rumi, 155.

54.  Campbell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, 118.

55.  Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women,” 197.

56.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 8.

57.  Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 81.

58.  Balint, The Basic Fault, 22.

59.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 2004

60.  Flores, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder.

61.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 106.

62.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, November, 2004.

63.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 18.

64.  Walsh, "Aphrodite's Exile and Revival: Exploring the Soul's Desires in Bulimic Women", 151

65.  Snell, The Discovery of the Mind, 69

66.  Barbara Keesling, Sexual Healing: A Self-Help Program to Enhance Your Sensuality and Overcome Common Sexual Problems ( Claremont, CA: Hunter House, 1990), 257.

67.  Omer, Integrative Seminar, lecture, December, 2003.

68.  Tim Willison, "Applied Journaling: Creative Expansion in Response to Aggressive Contraction" (California State University at Northridge, 1993). In my master’s program, through therapeutic journaling and creative imaging, I tried to access and process the feelings associated with a lack of paternal presence during my childhood. It is included here because it presents, in way that is visceral and I believe powerful, what it means to grow up with a deficit of fathering and the subsequent need I experienced for powerful images like that of Stone Face. I offer three excerpts:

The Village

In the village the young man knocked on the first door he came to.

“I am looking for my father” he said to the man that opened the door. “I was told he lived here.”

“Someone jests with you boy. Only I live here and I am no ones father.”

Without comment he crossed the road and knocked on the door of that cottage. After a time on old man opened the door.

“I am looking for my father and I am told he lives here” said the young man again.

“Go away” spat the old man. “From long before your birth I have fathered nothing but aches and pains. Bother someone else” and as much             as he was able, he slammed the door.

The young man moved through the village knocking at each cottage. A man answered each time and each time denied him. The young                   man never questioned the response but only moved on.

At the last door there was only a male voice from behind the door asking him to leave.
            young man then threw off his cloak to reveal a strong well-muscled frame. Working quickly he gathered a number of strong staffs from the             forest, some smaller sticks, and a can of oil from behind the last cottage. He moved through the village jamming the staffs behind the door             handles and against the doorjambs. Once each door was blocked he tore his cloak into bits of cloth, tied them around the ends of the                       smaller sticks and dipped them in the oil. He carried his bundle to the center of the village and spoke loudly enough for all to hear.

“I am of this village yet you deny me. I am one of you and you spit on me. I than am nothing. I am killed. As you have killed me, so will             I kill you.”

Like a cat he raced through the village lighting his sticks and throwing them up on the thatched roofs. Men screamed as the flames reached             them. Those that were able to escape through windows he killed with his bare hands. When all were dead and the flames flickered, he ran to             the cliffs and threw himself into the sea.

The Crossing

There was a bridge. He searched for other ways to move ahead but there were none. He needed to cross the bridge. At the center of the                     bridge sat a man. He was a large man with pleasant features. He waved at the boy and shouted good morning.

“Good morning sir. I need to cross your bridge.”

“What a day it is” the man replied smiling broadly.

“Yes it is a beautiful day. Would you excuse me please as I have to be moving along?” and the boy took a step forward. 

The man stood up. His frame filled the walkway. “Days like this I’m grateful to be alive. Aren’t you boy?”

“Yes sir. Good morning sir” he replied and retreated off the bridge and back on to land. The moment his foot hit land he felt a cold chill                  pass over him and he saw with horror that he had no shadow. Looking back on the bridge he saw the man held an amorphous dark shape                in one hand. With the other hand he waved.

“Hey I’ve lost my shadow” the boy said running back onto the bridge and up to the man.

“You don’t want to go this way anyway son. A lot of dangerous stuff across this bridge. It’s probably better if you just played over on that              side.” The man patted the boy knowingly on the shoulder, turned him in the direction from which he had come, and gently started him                  walking.

“But—“ the boy began to protest.

“Trust me” the man said gently but firmly. “I know what is best for you.”

This time when his feet him the ground his clothes disappeared and he stood ashamed and confused in his nakedness. The man sat                         whistling on the bridge using the boy’s shirt to clean the bottom of his boots. 

Tentative and afraid the boy inched his way back on the bridge. He held his hands in front of him. He wanted to cry.

"Please" he said to the man. "I don't understand what to do if you could just help me I…" He choked back sobs but tears found their way               down his cheeks. "I don't want anything of yours. I just want my shadow and my clothes and I'll be on my way. Maybe I could do so work             for you or…" 

The man stood up and walked to the boy.

"It's all right sweetie. You go splash around in the water for a while and maybe later I'll tell you a story. Shadow doesn't do you any good               anyway. You'll feel all better after you play and maybe take a little nap." He pinched the boy's cheek and walked back to his chair where he             resumed cleaning his boots.

In his nakedness the boy felt unable to protest. He stood for a moment covering himself and thought "Maybe the water would help. Maybe             that will clear my head. If I just had a minute to think." And he stepped back off the bridge.

His head swam. The hair disappeared off his arms, his legs, and his head. He felt himself swaying awkwardly back and forth like a toddler               or infant. He felt muscle tone seeping out of his body. He thought for a moment he was urinating on himself but when he looked down his             genitals were gone. Looking up in disbelief he saw them hanging on a chain around the man's neck. The man on the bridge stood to his                 full height grinning broadly.

"God what a day!" he bellowed.

Rage infused the boy. Anger radiated from him in powerful waves.

"Fuck" he screamed and the man stopped smiling. Strength began to seep back into the boy's muscles.

"Fuck you!" he screamed in fury at the man. A sword appeared in the boy's hands.

Twirling the sword he advanced on the man who began to snarl. The man's fingers curled into claws, his face contorted, his skin blackened             and a lizard-like tongue flicked in and out of his mouth. He hissed at the boy and raised his claws to strike.

Expertly the boy brought the sword down with all his might on the head of the lizard man. He saw, as if in slow motion, the metal of his               sword cleave through the forehead and mouth of the creature.

At that moment the boy was restored. The lizard man and the chair disappeared but the sword remained in his hands. 

He crossed the bridge and continued on his way. 


I was laying on the beach staring at the sky when I noticed a cloud that looked like my father. 

"Look" I said to my friend. "It is my father."

"No" said my friend. "It is only a cloud."

He was right. Soon the sky was only blue. 

69.  Winnicot, Playing and Reality, 2.

70.  Donald Kalsched, The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (London: Routledge, 1996), 149.

71.  Bowlby, A Secure Base, 11.

72.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2003.

73.  Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, 97.

74.  Johnson, We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, xi.

75.  Joseph Campbell and Michael Toms, An Open Life, ed. John M. Maher and Dennie Briggs (New York: Harper Collins, 1990), 26.

76.  Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure, 167.

77.  Freud, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," in The Freud Reader, 755. and Halligan, "Beginning the Quest: Whither the Divine Fire?," in The Fires of Desire, 13.

78.  Fink, The Lacanian Subject, 12.

79.  Freud, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning," in The Freud Reader, 304. 

80.  Solomon, Narcissism and Intimacy, 71.

81.  Nathanson, Shame and Pride, 47.

82.  Aftab Omer, Integrative Seminar,  lecture, May, 1999.

83.  Jung, Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 8, 131.

84.  Epstein, Open to Desire, 18. 

85.  Hillman, A Blue Fire, 271.

86.  Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, 26; and Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery, xvii 

87.  Frascarolo, "Hierarchy of Interactive Functions in Father-Mother-Baby Three-Way Games,” Infant and Child Development 13, no. 4. 

88.  Ibid., 16.

89.  Feurstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, 63.

90.  Irvine, On Desire: Why We Want What We Want, 242. and May, Will and Spirit, 222. and Balint, The Basic Fault, 22. and Epstein, Open to Desire, 10. and Avalon, The Serpent Power, 15.

91.  Ahsen, Aphrodite, 11.

92.  Balint, The Basic Fault, 22.

93.  Moore, The Soul of Sex, 165.

94.  U. S. Census Bureau: World Population Clock,

95.  Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, 35.

96.  Ibid., 36.

97.  Ibid., 131.

98.  Ahsen, Aphrodite, 13.

99.  Kerenyi, Dionysus, 202.

100.  Patick Carnes, Facing the Shadow: Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery (Carefree, AZ: Gentle Path Press, 2005), x.

101.  Freud, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning," in The Freud Reader, 301, and Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, 97.        102.  Winnicot, Playing and Reality, 11.

103.  Cohen, Life Is with Others: Selected Writings on Child Psychiatry, 59.

104.  Omer Integrative Seminar, lecture, December. 2003.





Desire begins things. In a fundamental physiological sense we are each a product of the desire our parent’s had for each other and, or, the desire they had for progeny. In a larger sense, desire is suggested as the energy that pulls the planets.1 The Sufis suggest God, out of a desire to make love, created the world, the people on it, and the illusion of separateness.2 The experience of unity requires the experience of separateness.  
Jung suggested a superior form of psychology might be found through exploration of the movements of desire.3 The movement of desire, in the form of libido, was integral in psychology’s birth through the theories of Freud and Jung. However, as the field of psychology developed it moved away, rather than toward, the study of desire. Bending under the power of positivism, psychological theory and research emphasized that which could be measured and quantified.4 Positivism is a philosophy that emphasizes science over metaphysics and relies on measurement and reducibility.5 Auguste Comte, developer of positivist thought, acknowledged the importance of feelings but stated solutions lay with the intellect; “it is for the heart to suggest our problems, it is for the intellect to solve them.” 6 Desire and affect, though not entirely ignored, were of secondary importance; neither could be defined discretely as cognitions or quantified neatly as behavior.
As outlined in the Literature Review, feeling, affect and emotion, of late, have garnered more attention in the field.7 Desire, fundamental to the experience of affect, is privileged in Archetypal and Imaginal psychologies, but is still often ignored in other psychological approaches.  
For the participants in this study, struggling with desire was a primary, if not the primary, tension in their lives. In the snapshot captured of the lived experience of the participants, grief, remorse, ecstasy, and hopes and fears relative to fulfillment, meaning and purpose, were evoked in relationship to desire. Participants showed a willingness, almost anxiousness, to accept the division of desire into cravings that move toward the past and yearnings that move toward the future. Diane sought hard answers in regard to her marriage and her use of pot. Barbara’s hunger for intimate connection led her seeking. Joseph felt torn between craving and yearning and suffered greatly for his inability to control his desire. Danselle developed her own philosophy of desire. Jose was not interested in divisions of desire but described his craving as slavery. The women trained in Tantra, Tara, Rita, and Roseanne, already had a framework for desire.