Cunningham, Joyce Camuyrano
EROS: THE WAY OF THE OCTOPUS
Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 7, Number 1, 1998
KEY WORDS: eros, relatedness, dark sun, animal, symbol, octopus, sandplay therapy, clinical example, physicality, animal-other, mutuality, contact, good-enough, therapist, depression, woman, death, life, descent, containment, transformation, emergence, Hokusai.
ABSTRACT: “Eros: The Way of the Octopus” is a symbol paper with a case study that goes beyond the usual interpretation of the octopus as the negative smothering mother. The author suggests that, in drawing us down to near drowning depths, the octopus can offer a fluid connection with the unconscious. She reprints old and new artistic images which illustrate the idea that behind some of the “evil” associated with the octopus may lie “. . .the ancient embrace of the erotic, the embrace of related ness.” She describes a case where the initial negative form of the octopus (a menacing “clawed hand” shape) becomes more positive and playful. She concludes with thoughts about the need to be in touch with our dark animal nature as well as the spirit for Eros to thrive.