The tribal initiation of the shaman, the archetype of the serpent, exemplifies the death of the self and rebirth into transcendent, "unknowable" life. In their book "The Myths of Death, Rebirth and Resurrection," Henderson and Oakes trace the images and patterns of spiritual initiation in religious rituals and myths of resurrection, poems and epics, the cycles of nature, and universal human responses in art and dreaming. The authors dramatize the metamorphosis from a common experience of death's inevitability into a transcendent freedom beyond the individual's limitations.
About the Authors:
Joseph L. Henderson is an analytical psychologist and member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.
Maud Oakes was an anthropologist and artist, author of The Two Crosses of Todos Santos, and illustrator of Where the Two Came to Their Father and Beautyway.
"This is a classic work in analytical psychology that offers...crucial insights on the meaning of death symbolism (and its inevitably accompanying rebirth and resurrection symbolism) as part of...the great theme of initiation, of which [Henderson] is the world's foremost psychological interpreter...This material is really the next step after the hero myth that Joseph Campbell has made so popular, and provides an understanding of how not to use the hero myth in an inflated way as a psychology of mastery...but as an attainment progressively to be died beyond... [He] is helped by the presence of Maud Oakes, who is a trained anthropologist with exquisite taste in her choice of mythic materials and respect for their original contexts." - John Beebe