On Addiction

“We are human beings. And a human being has a divine creative intelligence. One way or another that creative intelligence is going to find an outlet. If it can’t find an outlet through the imagination, which is its natural route, it will find it in a concretized way. That becomes compulsive because there’s no way it can find what it’s looking for in a concrete way. You can’t find the Divine Mother in gobbling food….. If our creative energy is blocked, it will find an outlet in some kind of distorted religion, or addiction. An addiction to me is a distorted religion.

“Jung pointed out that it was no accident that alcohol is also called ‘spirits’ and said that the alcoholic’s thirst for alcohol is equivalent to the soul’s thirst for ‘the union with God.’

“Alcohol in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word the for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritus,’ he wrote … in 1961. It’s an alchemical formula. It takes spirit to counter spirit.

Looking at alcoholism and addiction as a longing for spirit might mean that something very different is going on in our society. One might say that we don’t have a crisis with alcohol and drugs as much as we have a spiritual crisis. Addiction is the perversion of spirit, our spiritual nature turned inside out, devouring itself. The epidemic of addiction can also be seen as spirit trying to reenter our society...

“A longing for alcohol does symbolise a longing for spirit. Think of the Greeks with Dionysus, the god of the vine. Intoxication and the transcendent experience with the god were intimately connected….. Alcoholics are longing for spirit because they are so mired in matter, but they make the mistake of concretizing that longing in alcohol. Maybe if they really understood what they were longing for and could go into the realm of the imaginal, the soul’s realm, then something very different could begin to happen.”

“Addicts are trying to run away from God as fast as they can. Paradoxically, they are running right into her arms. Consciousness makes them realise how the soul is trying to lead them into the presence of the divine if only they can understand the symbolism inherent in the addictive substance or behaviour.”

“All the running is away from the tragic fear that we are not loved. Unless we perform well, we are not lovable. That terror leads to self-destructive behaviour. It can also lead to global self-destruction. Addictions may be the Goddess’s way of opening our hearts to what love is – love of ourselves, love of others, love of the dear planet on which we live.”

“Lots of people are trying to find spirit through sexuality. Through orgasms they think they can be released from matter; for one brief moment they hope to experience this extraordinary union of spirit and matter. But if they can’t bring relationship into sexuality then it’s just a fly-by-night thing. Eventually it just becomes mechanical…. Sexuality without love is matter without spirit. People who are unable to love may be addicted to sexuality and be driven over and over again to try to find love. What they are projecting onto sexuality is the divine union they so desperately lack within themselves.”

“Jung said the opposite of love is not hate but power, and where there is love there is no will to power. I think this I a core issue in working with addictions. Sooner or later, the feminine face of God, Love, looks us straight in the eye, and though her love may manifest as rage at our self-destruction, she’s there. We can accept or reject – live or die.


From Conscious Femininity by MARION WOODMAN (1928-2018), Canadian mythopoetic author, poet, analytical psychologist and women’s movement figure, published 1993.

Published by shokti

i am shokti, lovestar of the eurofaeries, aka marco queer magician of london town. i explore the links between our sexual-physical nature and our spirits, running gatherings, rituals and Queer Spirit Festival. i woke up to my part in the accelerating awakening of light love and awareness on planet earth during a shamanic death-and-rebirth process lasting from January 1995 to the year 2000, and offer here my insights and observations on the ongoing transformation of human consciousness, how to navigate the waves of change, and especially focusing on the role of queer people at this time.

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