Cover image for The fashioning of angels : partnership as spiritual practice
The fashioning of angels : partnership as spiritual practice
Larsen, Stephen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
West Chester, Pa. : Chrysalis Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 373 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
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Material Type
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Item Holds
BL626.33 .L37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Stephen and Robin Larsen, authors of A Fire in the Mind, the authorized biography of their friend Joseph Campbell, explore man-woman relationships, questing for the answer to the timeless question, "What do couples really want?"

The Larsens look to ancient wisdom -- the realm of mythology -- to solve the relationship riddle. Storytelling artists, they underline the powerful messages in the myths, folktales, and fairytales described in the book, stories that help heal wounds of gender wars. Experiential exercises the Larsens have developed deepen couples' spiritual bonds.

Readers "eavesdrop" on issues in the Larsens' own marriage; their dialogs about their own relating process bring passion and intimacy to the book.

Author Notes

Stephen and Robin Larsen have been lecturing and giving workshops together worldwide since the 1970s. Co-directors of the Center for Symbolic Studies in New Paltz, New York, they focus on personal mythology, shamanism, and the creative imagination through their own male-female dialog. Stephen is the author of The Mythic Imagination and The Shaman's Doorway .

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The Larsens combine Jungian analysis and Swedenborgian mysticism and apply them to the problems of relationships. The fascinating results aren't abstract, however, for the Larsens draw on their own 35-year marriage to demonstrate how the various principles they discuss function in real life. Using mythology as a bridge between psychological and metaphysical realms, they delve into such topics as spiritual androgyny, soul mates, the effect of childhood abuse on adult relationships, the differences between biological gender and social stereotypes, marital fidelity, and the gender wars. They include a wide range of exercises for couples wishing to apply their understanding of the material to their own relationships. The Larsens combine mythology with their real-life anecdotes and transcriptions of dialogues between them to ensure that their densely written book doesn't become pedantic or difficult to read. Entertaining and enlightening as well as thought provoking, the book argues that the partners in relationships become mirrors for each other and demonstrates how men and women can come to understand each other and themselves much more deeply. Bonnie Johnston

Publisher's Weekly Review

The title of this fine book comes from the work of the 18th-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, who speculated that the spirits of two persons who have loved one another unite to become an angel. Drawing on Swedenborg's philosophy, Carl Jung's archetype theory and the work of Joseph Campbell, the Larsens use myths as vehicles for examining the dynamics of love and relationships. Their combined expertise renders them well qualified for this creative collaboration: they also co-wrote a biography of Joseph Campbell; Robin Larsen has edited a Swedenborg anthology, and Stephen Larsen is the author of The Shaman's Doorway and The Mythic Imagination. Here, they retell stories from the world's myths, discussing legendary figures and explicating their psychological symbolism, in a similar fashion to the volumes of Robert A. Johnson (He, She, and We). The Larsens' treatment is lengthier and broader than Johnson's, however, with the added element of transcribed discussions of their own and other couples' conversations about mythical themes. Such interpretations must by nature be subjective, so the book lacks the authority of laboratory proofs or case studies. But the stories make the book more interesting to read than abstract psychological theories, and readers with a bent toward communicating through story or with an interest in Jungian thought will find this approach fascinating. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved