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About Violet

Psychotherapist – Poet – Author

Book cover for Haunted: The Death Mother Archetype

Violet Sherwood is a Jungian-inspired psychotherapist, poet, author. She lives in the beautiful seaside community of Whaingaroa Raglan in New Zealand, where she practises psychotherapy, writes, and walks the wild west coast beaches. She completed her PhD at AUT University, New Zealand. Violet is passionate about holistic approaches in psychotherapy and trauma therapy. She integrates depth psychology with mindfulness, somatic, energy practices and ancient wisdom traditions. She advocates for the transformational power of writing as a healing practice.

Haunted: The Death Mother Archetype is a wonder of a book. Dr. Sherwood’s impeccable scholarship undergirds a transformative dance between the imaginative capacity of soul, and the harsh realities embedded in her subject matter.

From the Foreword by Dr. Mary Harrell

Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and licensed psychologist, Associate Professor Emerita in the School of Education, State University of New York (SUNY), Author of Imaginal Figures in Everyday Life; Stories from the world between matter and mind, and The Mythmaker, (both published by Chiron publications).

Haunted: The Death Mother Archetype

Released November 15 2021

The disturbing experience of psychological infanticide reflects the darkest aspect of the wounding of the Sacred Feminine – the Death Mother archetype that annihilates rather than nurtures life.

Through myth, story, classic literature, biography, poems, art and dreams, Dr. Violet Sherwood weaves together symbolic aspects of psychological infanticide with psychoanalytic theory of traumatic attachment and the literal truth of a centuries-old history of infanticide.

She illuminates the Death Mother archetype in the dynamic between the unwilling (or unsupported) mother and the unwelcome child. Her personal and archetypal journey into, through, and beyond the underworld, offers hope and guidance for the restoration of the relationship between the Sacred Feminine and the Divine Child.

She draws on her professional experience as a psychotherapist and her lived experience of psychological infanticide as a result of closed stranger adoption to explore the intimate connection between life and death, revealing the life task of the infanticided psyche is to embrace death and discover the life that lies beyond the realm of the underworld.

Photo of Violet Sherwood 2021

“I love your book. Like, freaking LOVE it”

– Barbara Sumner, author of Tree of Strangers, a memoir of closed stranger adoption.

“Profound”

Dr Helen Florence, psychotherapist, of TalkingWorks

“It is hard to find the words to adequately describe the profoundness of this book. Groundbreaking in its subject matter of psychological infanticide, I believe that it is a gift to the therapy world, for therapists, for those who have experienced closed stranger adoption or for anyone who received pre and postnatal messages about not being allowed to exist.”

See the full review HERE

Interview with Violet

Click HERE to see a video interview with Violet on the Resources page.

“As we read, we are transformed as much as we are informed”

Louise Embleton, tutor, psychotherapist

“Depth psychologists will appreciate the artist, the poet, the creative writer, and the craftswoman, and will feel at home diving into dreams, images, reveries, and journals. Imaginal psychologists will appreciate the scholarship and the sensitivity with which Sherwood approaches the archetypes on which she draws, and the understanding she demonstrates in relating them to herself and to society. Psychotherapists of all orientations will be inspired by this healing journey. Anyone who knows that their arrival was unwelcome; any mother who struggled to hold or to protect her baby; anyone stranger-adopted, or who loves or wants to help someone who is stranger-adopted, will be changed by this book, for as we read, we are transformed as much as we are informed. “

See the full review HERE

Resources

Imaginal/Archetypal Psychology

Click HERE for details.

 

 

Transformational Writing

Click HERE for details.

 

 

Violet’s Blog

Click HERE to read.
Opaque version of Book cover

Excerpts

Universal childhood experiences

“Throughout my underworld journey, I learned to listen to the mythic truth of infanticide represented throughout history, and in the many tales of children abandoned or killed by parents or archetypal wicked witches. Fears of abandonment, rejection and infanticide are universal childhood experiences that reveal the child’s awareness of its vulnerability and helpless dependency on the mercy of powerful adults. For many unfortunates, these innate fears become lived reality. The greater story of infanticide as a human truth occurring throughout time, place and culture has something essential to teach us about the way we kill off the most vulnerable and creative parts of ourselves and others. Guided by this mythic consciousness, which might equally be named ‘collective unconscious experience’ or ‘intergenerational trauma’, I felt that exploring the psychohistory of infanticide had much to reveal about this dark recess of our collective and individual psyches.”

Desperate mothers

“Historically, when murder or direct abandonment were no longer morally acceptable, desperate mothers found other ways to dispatch their children, getting rid of them psychologically whilst rationalising that they had not abandoned the child but provided it with other care. In the nineteenth century this handover was to baby farmers or foundling hospitals, both of which had notoriously high mortality rates. Yet the double bind remained tightly in place – what other choices could a woman make without support and social acceptance?”

Where to buy

Haunted: The Death Mother Archetype by Violet Sherwood, PhD is available from The Women’s Bookshop, in Auckland or online.
Copies are available direct from Violet. $46 (GST incl) plus postage and packaging (within NZ only).
Also available from

Photo of Haunted book by Violet Sherwood

Click below to see my latest Blog posts

Attributes of the Sacred Feminine

Attributes of the sacred feminine – and the wounds that correspond with them. I’m excited to announce here that my course Healing the wounded Sacred Feminine will soon be available for registration, inviting you on an archetypal journey towards experiencing a more...

The Tower and the Stone

Symbols of transformation and writing personal myth. Today I’m exploring the concept of personal myth and the power of personal and archetypal symbols to transform our lives. I was reading some material by Jungian writer Marie-Louise von Franz on the images of the...

The Tower

A woman lived in a tower. For many years it was a cold, dark, lonely tower. In her tower the woman grew claws and sharp yellow scales. Her teeth lengthened into fangs. Her hair grew green with mould. She was locked in this body of clanking scales. Each day she hunched...

What is the Sacred Feminine?

The Sacred Feminine is the archetypal feminine principle. She embraces the universal qualities of what it means to be feminine. She is partnered with the masculine principle - the Divine Masculine, which embodies the essence of masculinity. I want to be clear here:...

Place and a Centred Heart

I’ve been thinking about the importance of grounding and place. When the relationship with mother is severed, when we experience traumatic early attachment, or profound grief and loss, we lose our connection to where we are rooted, where we feel belonging. Mother,...

Wholeheartedness

Our journey towards more conscious living is to become wholehearted about ourselves and our circumstances, accepting our full range of humanity – both in ourselves and in our community. Part of the heroic life journey, as CG Jung outlined, is to face into our shadow...

The Universal Journey

We are all the heroes or heroines of our personal journey through life. Our purpose is to live that journey fully, learning and growing along the way, and fulfilling the life tasks that facilitate psychological growth, as we move through stages of life. Where trauma...

The Internal River

I like what Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh has to say about transforming emotional pain into a rich, fertile, and joyous life. Whether it’s everyday stress or deep-rooted trauma, he writes: “We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and...

In the Dark Forest

Dante Alighieri’s classic The Divine Comedy reveals to us a path towards our own healing. Myths and stories can help us reflect on our own life path. He begins: When I had journeyed half of our life’s wayI found myself within a shadowy forest, for I had lost the path...

Starting Out

Psychologist Donald Winnicott famously said: Home is where we start from. He was referring to the need for the child to feel a secure base from which they feel safe enough to explore their world and be curious, returning to home for resourcing before venturing forth...

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