Saturday, March 7, 2009

Psychology of Food

I have read in some Jungian Psychology tomes, that food, that is the image of food, the topic of food, is associated with the mother archetype. In symbolic terms, anorexic thinking is shaped by a rejection of the mother archetype, and, I suppose, to be addicted to food is to always be seeking, and never finding, the "Good Mother."
My belief in this is influenced by the brilliant Marion Woodman, and her work including The Owl was a Baker's Daughter, the Still Unravished Bride and Addiction to Perfection. These are not pop psychology books, but imaginative psychological ruminations on women, food and the longing for nurturing.

The other night I had a dream, I was in a second floor room of a large house. People have come to the house to inspect it, or look around, or something. A chicken is in the room, and startled by the people, it flies out the window. I go outside and pick up the chicken, or, rather, it is handed to me by someone who has picked it up. I am afraid to hold the chicken, a pretty, red and yellowish bird, but I decide to hold it close to my chest, like holding a baby. The chicken is still alive, but its neck is broken, and as I hold it, it dies.

I once sat with a dying chicken, a friend's pet, that a dog had gotten a hold of and snapped its neck. I felt very sad and afraid as it labored to breath, even though it was "just a chicken," one bird similar to the thousand I had bought in a supermarket and brought home to saute.

I had made a chicken stew this week, and ate it all week till I got absolutely sick of it. I ended up throwing it out on Friday, thinking it might no longer be safe to eat.

Food and mothering are inseparable themes in my mind. I hold the chicken to me, like a mother holding a baby. When I cook a chicken stew, I am attempting to feed myself, to take care of myself, as a mother sustains a child. The chicken, in the dream, has broken its neck in a fall from a window (chicken's don't fly too good.) It is passing from the state of being a living bird, to being food, although I wouldn't eat this chicken, as I wouldn't have eaten the bird I watched die after being injured by the dog.

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