The White Lion as Symbol of the Archetype of the Self and the Cannibalization of the Self in Canned Hunting
I am thrilled that my paper “The White Lion as Symbol of the Archetype of the Self and the Cannibalization of the Self in Canned Hunting” has been published in the 2020 Spring Issue of the Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche.
A beautiful numinous dream (involving a white lioness embracing me and then carrying me on her back) and subsequently two visits to the Timbavati, heartlands of the white lions, led me down this path of exploration. Through my journey I became aware of the real plight of the white lions as well as of lions in general. This paper is my lion’s roar in defense of their right to walk this earth and not to be turned into trophies. In my exploration of the significance and symbolism of the white lion, I equated it with Jung’s concept of the Self.
The first version of this paper was presented at the International Association of Jungian Studies’ conference titled “The Spectre of the Other’ Conference in Cape Town in 2017.
The author examines the Jungian concept of the archetype of the Self, equating the role of the white lion as an “ordering principle” in nature with the Self as the regulating center in the human psyche. The lions’ deep-rooted symbolic and mythological significance is considered, with specific emphasis on the importance of white animals in spiritual traditions. Her hypothesis is contextualized in an ecological perspective, which demands a fundamental interconnectedness—as is implicit in the South African concept of Ubuntu. The numinosity of the sacred hunt is juxtaposed with the great myth of “The Infernal Hunt” in which the accursed hunter perpetually chases transitory worldly objects driven by an insatiable urge. The author further explores the concept of Wetiko—a cannibalistic spirit driven by insatiable greed and selfish excessive consumption without regard for others, thereby cannibalizing the life-force. She arrives at the significant conclusion that “canned hunting,” a grotesque caricature of the sacred hunt where lions are killed for trophies in organized fenced-in circumstances, is a cannibalizing of the Self and a desecration of nature.
Should you be interested in a lecture based on this paper, you can access it here:
DENISE GROBBELAAR, MA, is a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst working in private practice in Cape Town, South Africa. She is affiliated with the South African Association of Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) and the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). Denise has a keen interest in dreams, mythology, shamanism, and the Enneagram. She has been a member of a fortnightly dream appreciation group since early 2013 and has been recording and tracking her own dreams for almost thirty years. She has a deep love and profound sense of reverence for nature. From May 2021, she will be leading annual White Lion Dream Appreciation retreats to the Timbavati.
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