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By Jane R. Pretat

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Page 9 years left before death, our zest for life may vanish, desire and determination evaporate. The years to come may well be numerous, but in despair the end feels imminent. With no understanding, no way of knowing that the death we shiver against in the wee hours could be symbolic or even the first stage of a new beginning, sleep eludes us and waking dread take its place. No one tells us that it might be our old way of being in the world that must die to make way for the new. Left with only the feeling that creativity and juiciness are mysteriously lost, we feel bereft.

Dyed hair or careful makeup, the self-abnegation and self-inflicted sarcasms of some and the curt bossiness and rigidity of others are all learned behaviors, coping skills society has taught them to use to keep ego and their old self-image alive. We've all seen the ill effects of alcohol used as a buoy to keep some elders afloat. We've also seen others flounder, wondering why they felt ill and off balance, making the rounds of physicians to try to find some physical cause for their distress. Until the latter part of this century, it was the exceptional medical doctor who could see symbolic meaning or purpose in the array of symptoms their older patients presented, or understand that "somatizing," "nerves" or "hypochondria" might have deeper meanings and shouldn't be dismissed summarily as temporary neuroses common to those who are aging.

Witt. Printed and bound in Canada by University of Toronto Press Incorporated Page 5 Contents Acknowledgments 6 Introduction 7 1 Changes 12 2 Jung's Late-Life Transition 26 3 Transitional Passages 43 4 Other Voices 56 5 The Aging Body 77 6 Active Imagination: The Dragon Body 88 7 Becoming Crones 105 8 Demeter: Myth and Metanoia 113 The Myth 113 Demeter and Persephone in Our Lives Today 117 A Modern Demeter 124 Bibliography 133 Index 139 See final page for descriptions of other Inner City Books Page 6 Acknowledgments I would like to thank David Tresan, who delivered a paper at the 1990 Ghost Ranch Conference in which he mentioned the possibility of a late-life metanoia as it manifested in Jung's sixties.

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