The Devouring Mother
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The Devouring Mother

The Collective Unconscious in the Time of Corona

Simon Sheridan

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The Devouring Mother

The Collective Unconscious in the Time of Corona

Simon Sheridan

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Those who fail to incorporate the shadow are doomed to project it. In the modern materialist West, we don't merely fail to incorporate our shadow, we deny its existence. In The Devouring Mother, author Simon Sheridan takes a journey into the other half of the psyche looking for an archetypal explanation for the social ructions in western society over the last several years beginning with the Trump and Brexit votesand reaching earthquake proportions with the corona event.

Drawing on the work of the great Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, Sheridan makes the case that the archetype that has been dominant in the west for several decades is The Devouring Mother, a shadow form whose primary qualities include gaslighting, emotional manipulation and guilt tripping all in the name of protecting her children. Sheridan switches between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic to show how The Devouring Mother permeates all levels of society from interpersonal relationships and employment through to large scale political and social movements including corona. A mother implies children and Sheridan identifies the two archetypal children of The Devouring Mother as the acquiescent and the rebellious. In so doing, he provides an explanation for the Trump and Brexit rebellions in politics as well as the broader psychological and cultural drivers inherent in the rise of both Jordan Peterson and Greta Thunberg. He shows that the corona event did not come out of nowhere but represents an escalation of the existing battle going on in the unconscious mind of the West; a battle that is increasingly moving into consciousness and therefore represents the process Jung described as individuation at the both the individual and the societal level. The time has come for the West to face its shadow: The Devouring Mother.

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Chapter 1: The Devouring Mother

Each Jungian archetype has a shadow side to go with its positive attributes. The Devouring Mother is a shadow form of The Mother archetype, although it will be useful for our purposes to use the more generic label of The Caregiver in order to highlight that the psychological pattern can be present at any time in life and in both men and women, although it is mostly a female pattern. Like all archetypes, The Caregiver has its virtues which are generosity, compassion and selflessness. As the name suggests, The Caregiver desires to help others. Nobody needs help and attention more than a young child, hence The Caregiver’s stereotypical role in child rearing, but The Caregiver will also do well in other domains where people genuinely need help such as social work, the medical industry or aged care. It is no coincidence that the corona event has been run primarily through the health bureaucracy and the medical industry. That is where we would expect to find The Caregiver. It is also where would expect to find The Devouring Mother because that is the shadow side of the archetype. An old fashioned way to think about this is having an angel sitting on one shoulder arguing with a devil sitting on the other shoulder. Each archetype has its own specific angel and its own specific devil, the virtues it strives for and the temptations it must overcome. The temptations of The Caregiver, which are the attributes of The Devouring Mother, are martyrdom, emotional manipulation and guilt tripping used to control others, enabling behaviours such as encouraging drug addiction and smothering the growth of others. It’s worth reviewing an extended quote from Jung here to see his description of The Devouring Mother:
First she gives birth to the children, and from then on she clings to them, for without them she has no existence whatsoever. Like Demeter, she compels the gods by her stubborn persistence to grant her the right of possession over her daughter. Her Eros develops exclusively as a maternal relationship while remaining unconscious as a personal one. An unconscious Eros always expresses itself as will to power. Women of this type, though continually "living for others," are, as a matter of fact, unable to make any real sacrifice. Driven by ruthless will to power and a fanatical insistence on their own maternal rights, they often succeed in annihilating not only their own personality but also the personal lives of their children.
We’ll expand on some of these attributes throughout the book but in this chapter our focus will be on the aspect of The Devouring Mother that is most relevant to the corona event, a specific manifestation of the psychology that is well known in our culture by the name Munchausen by Proxy.
Munchausen by Proxy comes out of modern clinical psychiatry and refers to the scenario where a mother either seeks unnecessary medical treatment for her children or actively harms the children in order to get treatment. The mother is responsible in 95% of cases of Munchausen by Proxy and therefore the syndrome fits within The Devouring Mother archetype. Because Munchausen by Proxy is often used in a court of law to either prosecute or defend a mother for the harm of the child, questions of intention arise because lawyers need to establish motive in order to win cases. However, in our archetypal analysis, motive is not necessary. An archetype is a possibility that can manifest at any time just like water can manifest as ice or steam given the right conditions. Jung emphasised the notion of transformation in his psychology. He believed it was our mission as humans to incorporate the archetypes into the self and ensure we are not overwhelmed by them but, of course, we don’t always succeed. For this reason, we can expect varying levels of self-awareness on the part of people manifesting an archetype. Some may be fighting a psychic battle, others may be completely unaware that they have been overwhelmed. Munchausen by Proxy is problematic in a legal context precisely because it does not establish motive and so even the legal system recognises the loss of autonomy that can happen in relation to archetypes.
The rapper, Eminem, was one of the most famous victims of Munchausen by Proxy. His mother would take him to hospital when he was young even though he was not sick. He once wrote a song on the subject which contains the lyric:
“My whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn’t/‘til I grew up and blew up…”
If ever there was a catchphrase for the rebellious child breaking free of The Devouring Mother it would be that. All you’ve gotta do is grow up. The Devouring Mother aims to inhibit her child from growing up and Munchausen by Proxy is one way to achieve that goal by gaslighting the child into thinking it is sick. In more extreme cases, the mother goes a step further and actively harms the child. Damage to the child comes in the physical form but perhaps more importantly in the psychological form of deep confusion and anxiety. Consider a simple case of cold or flu. As children, we came down with a fever and started to feel sick but our parents were there to re-assure us that it was “just a cold”. They would put us to bed with a lemon drink and tells us everything was going to be okay. Eventually, the fever would break and life would go on as normal. This seemingly banal occurrence hides a deeper wisdom that the corona event has thrown into great relief. Whether they knew it or not, our parents were teaching us to trust our bodies; our immune systems. The recognition was that the flu was just a part of life. There is no solution to a flu. It is not a problem to be solved by medical intervention, it is a predicament to be worked through (to use an incredibly useful distinction from John Michael Greer). Our parents had taught us how to recognise a cold or flu and how to deal with it. Once we have learned that, we no longer worry when a cold or flu comes along. As adults, we recognise the symptoms and simply go to bed when fever strikes and let nature take its course. Imagine your childhood if your parents didn’t do that but insisted on rushing you to hospital every time a fever struck. Imagine if they went one step further and would rush you hospital when you didn’t even have a fever. That would set you up for a life of anxiety around respiratory viral disease and, of course, this is exactly what has happened during corona. People with flu symptoms were told they didn’t have the flu, they had covid and were then treated like a biohazard. Anybody with a runny nose and a cough rushed to hospitals and testing centres to get tested. Many people with no symptoms whatsoever were given tests that came back positive. Rather than tell them they were fine and everything was going to be okay, The Devouring Mother told them they were carriers of deadly new disease; a disease whose symptoms were, in the vast majority of cases, indistinguishable from the common cold we all learned to cope with as children. In this way the corona event has been an extreme form of gaslighting; the undermining of the simple truths we all learned while growing up; the sowing of distrust in our own perceptions to be replaced with the knowledge of “the experts” using fancy medical tests. No longer can we trust our immune systems. We must blindly trust the experts. In doing so, we become dependent on The Devouring Mother in her Munchausen by Proxy form.
One of the best portrayals of the confusion and disorientation caused by The Devouring Mother that I have seen in popular culture is from the excellent Danish-Swedish television series Bron-Broen, known in English as The Bridge. In the story, Saga Norén is the lead detective for Malmö police in Sweden and throughout the various series of the show she is paired up with another detective from across the strait in Copenhagen. Norén is the cool, calm and rational Swede playing off against her more emotional and intuitive Danish counterpart. The difference is meant symbolically to reflect the differences between Danish and Swedish culture but, even by Swedish standards, Norén is unusual as she has Asperger’s Syndrome and is detached, unemotional and rational to a fault. This makes her very good at her job as detective but no so good at forming close personal relationships. In series three of the show, we meet Norén’s mother and find out she is a Devouring Mother who practiced Munchausen by Proxy on Norén’s sister when she was a child. Norén is plagued by guilt at her inability to save her sister who later committed suicide. Thus, in The Bridge we get to see the interaction of a gaslighting Devouring Mother against possibly the one psychological type that you would expect to be most immune to that gaslighting; a vehemently independent and accomplished adult with Asperger’s Syndrome. However, even Norén struggles to maintain her sanity and keep her rationality intact in the face of her mother who is an expert at manipulation. In this way, the story is true to real life where, in cases of Munchausen by Proxy, the child must be removed from the mother and must stay removed as it is very common for the syndrome to reappear when the two are reunited. The confrontation between Norén and her mother is characterised by confusion. Norén cannot believe what her mother says even though she wants to. She might want to trust her (who wouldn’t want to trust their mother) but she knows she can’t. This confusion has been evident in the public health measures throughout corona which changed constantly and often directly contradicted what was accepted truth just months earlier. It has now become a running joke that you just have to wait six months for a “conspiracy theory” to become the reality. This comes down to an issue of trust too, a trust in government that, especially in the USA, has been lacking for a long time. Trust comes from stability and from a concord between words and action. If you go to visit a doctor and they keep changing their diagnosis and the kinds of treatment they are giving you for a specific condition, you would probably start to wonder whether the doctor really knows what they are doing. Nevertheless, our public health bureaucrats and politicians did exactly that during corona culminating in perhaps the ultimate form of nonsense when Fauci in the US began recommending people wear two masks. This was less than a year after he was on record saying masks were counterproductive. That is, to be as polite as possible, confusing. Many people found reasons to explain it away. Some people even said it was an example of “science” to change your mind about things. But the fact that they felt the need to make up such explanations already shows that there was cognitive dissonance going on. That’s how it is when dealing with The Devouring Mother. The acquiescent child will find reasons to continue to believe in the mother. They will make excuses on her behalf. The rebellious child will not.
To reiterate, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy occurs when the mother either makes up a story about an illness that never happened or actively harms the child in order for it to appear as if the child is sick. Let’s take each of these in turn and see how it applies to corona.
On the subject of made up illness, corona is perhaps a world historical prime example. Whether you believe “covid” is actually a new disease (I still don’t understand why it is considered new when it seems to have no unique symptoms), it’s a statistical fact that in a great number of “cases”, the person shows no symptoms or only mild flu symptoms. This is because we have been mis-using the PCR technology to identify a “case”. Is it possible to have “covid”, supposedly a deadly new disease, if you have no symptoms? According to our public health bureaucrats, it is. Return a positive test and you will be labelled diseased by the state and you will not only have to endure the stress of wondering whether you will become sick, you will have several weeks of having your life turned upside down while the government tests all your family and friends and while you deal with all the attendant issues on your interpersonal relationships, work and finances. Meanwhile, you are most likely have no symptoms or only mild flu symptoms. Throughout corona, we have been telling people they have a deadly disease even though most barely have any symptoms. The media amplified the signal by talking endlessly about “cases” and never about illness. That is Munchausen by Proxy at the societal level. At best, it is deeply confusing and at worst a form of gaslighting designed to create unnecessary anxiety.
In the more extreme forms of Munchausen by Proxy, the mother will actively harm the child and there is plenty of evidence for this during the corona event, especially in the early days where, for whatever reason, the sedation-intubation protocol was circulated among medical professionals and recommended as the go-to option for treatment of covid. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that videos emerged of doctors claiming that the disease they were seeing was not the one they had heard about and that the intubation treatment was not the correct protocol. By then, the damage had been done. A harrowing video of a whistle-blower nurse from a New York City hospital showed that anybody suspected of having corona, even those who tested negative, were put under heavy sedation and intubated1. The survival rate from such an invasive procedure was extremely low. Around the same time, we started hearing about hydroxychloroquine which got caught up in the madness of US politics after Trump stated that he was using it as a preventative measure. The jury appears to be still out on whether hydroxychloroquine really is effective. Some doctors say it is. Some doctors believe that it also caused unnecessary illness and even death as it was being given in very high doses that compromised the immune system of already vulnerable people and made them less able to fight off the virus. It will probably take years or even decades for the truth to be known, if ever.
These are examples of direct harm from the medical treatment given to patients. How many of the deaths and serious disease attributed to corona were due to these kinds of treatments is a question we will never know the answer to. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that people were both injured and even died directly from treatments like invasive intubation. There were also certainly deaths caused indirectly by lack of proper care given to those in danger. In all western countries, most of the deaths from corona have come from nursing home patients. Conditions in nursing homes went to hell even before the lockdowns as employees either didn’t show up to work or, if they did, gave greatly reduced attention to the most needy. In a number of countries the army had to get sent in to ensure standards of care. Again, we will never know how many of the deaths were due to actual illness and how many were due to treatments and lack of care. On one end of the spectrum are people such as Denis Rancourt who believes almost all the deaths were caused by our response2. There are more moderate positions such as the Swiss Policy Research who have done a great job of providing objective data and analysis right from the start of corona. They estimate about 30% of the excess death was caused by the response3. To that, we can add the even harder to determine side effects caused by the lockdowns such as suicide, depression, increased drug and alcohol abuse and the economic ramifications which will lead to less money being available for health expenditure in the future. In any case, the response itself caused unnecessary pain and suffering and thereby fits the pattern of Munchausen by Proxy.
It is on the question of the vaccine, however, that the Devouring Mother in her Munchausen by Proxy form shows herself mostly clearly. One could forgive medical practitioners in the early days of corona for over-reacting given the stress of the situation. Doctors are only human and when everybody around you is losing their mind it is no doubt hard to keep yours especially when you are at the coalface. With the vaccine we have no such excuse. At time of writing, we are almost a year and a half into this business and, despite continuing hysterics around every new “variant” that some public health bureaucrat reads into the tea leaves of the viral genome, we know what this virus is. The fundamentals have barely changed from day one. The case fatality rate is about 0.15% with the risk being almost exclusively confined to the elderly and immuno-compromised. For the majority of the population, this virus is equivalent to seasonal flu and, the younger you are, the less dangerous it is. The idea of mass vaccination with an experimental vaccine for such a virus is ludicrous and completely irrational but it is irrational in exactly the way predicted by Munchausen by Proxy where The Devouring Mother insists on unnecessary medical treatments even if she must harm the child to do so. In one of his interviews, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, who has been one the most lucid experts right from the start of corona, was talking specifically about the dangers of the vaccines and noted “the immune system is being trained [with the vaccine] to do something that it would do very well on its own.” With just a couple of changed words, this sentence could describe The Devouring Mother archetype in its entirety. Children grow up and seek independence all by themselves. The parents’ job is to keep the children on the rails, not to micromanage every part of their development. But that is what The Devouring Mother does because she wants the child to remain co-dependent. That is what our society does too. Think about all these über safe playgrounds designed so children can’t hurt themselves. For previous generations, dealing with a broken bone was just a normal part of growing up. Just like catching the flu, it was an opportunity to learn about the healing powers of your body. Nowadays, that is not allowed to happen. We inhibit the development of autonomy in the young in other ways too. Think of the enormous student debt we burden them with. Think of the fact that in Australia and many other western countries, the dream of home ownership is fast disappearing as rampant inflation makes housing unaffordable. Think that during corona we have added trillions to the national debt which must, at least in theory, be paid off by the young. For a society that claims to care about the young, we sure do a good job of inhibiting their growth and autonomy. All these things make the young less independent and the vaccine follows the same pattern. Rather than allow young people for whom the virus poses no risk to be exposed naturally and let their immune system do a job it’s been doing for millions of years, we have locked them away in their houses waiting to “train” their immune system with the vaccine. That would be bad enough except we have no idea what the cost-benefit analysis of the vaccine is. Vaccines such as the tetanus shot have a clear cost-benefit profile. Tetanus is a genuinely deadly disease which will kill everybody who gets it if they do not receive immediate treatment. The side effects of the tetanus vaccine are mild and very well-known as it has been in use for decades. It’s a no-brainer to take a tetanus shot. With the corona vaccines, the cost-benefit analysis is not clear at all. Unlike the tetanus shot, the amount of protection the corona vaccine offers is also unknown but we already know it doesn’t prevent infection and doesn’t guarantee protection from death. An argument could be made that the vaccines are in the interests of the elderly who are most at risk from corona and have nothing to fear from long term effects. In a sane society, we would let the elderly take the vaccine and let everyone else get on with their lives. But we are in the society of The Devouring Mother. In Europe, the vaccines are now being trialled on children as young as six months old. At time of writing, we are hearing the latest fear campaign that corona could become a dangerous disease for children and therefore they should take the vaccine too. This is the exact excuse given in Munchausen by Proxy cases where the mother is worried about what could happen to her child and demands treatment for things that haven’t even happened yet. Of course, anything could happen. But it’s a simple statistical fact at present that corona is far less dangerous to children than seasonal flu so why would anybody want to vaccinate children with an experimental vaccine? As Bhadki states bluntly – “You are endangering your own children.” But that is exactly what The Devouring Mother does in her Munchausen by Proxy form. She deliberately submits them to unnecessary medical intervention, not in their interests, but in hers.
Such unnecessary intervention has become a feature of the medical industry in recent decades. One of the ways in which it has manifested is a seemingly counterintuitive form which involves disintermediating medical professionals. We have seen this exact pattern during corona where the “diagnosis” was based entirely on the PCR test. Normally, if you are sick, you go to a doctor who makes a diagnosis based on your symptoms. That is a skilled activity where the training and experience of the doctor play a crucial role. Of course, doctors don’t always get it right. The human body is an extremely complex system and there are many variables at play. The tests that get used in the medical industry are there to help the doctor with diagnosis. They are like the doctor’s toolkit and just like any tool they must be used wisely and their results interpreted properly. To give an example from my personal experience. I went to a dermatologist with a skin condition. She made a diagnosis but also took a sample and sent it off for testing. The result came back negative and this contradicted her diagnosis. She was very sure of her diagnosis and reasoned that there was an error in the test. I went in to get another sample taken and this time the test came back positive. We proceeded with treatment based on her diagnosis and the problem went away. That’s how it normally works. The test is there to aid the diagnosis, not replace it. It is one bit of evidence the doctor must weigh up among many. What has been happening in the medical industry in recent decades is an attempt to replace a doctor’s diagnosis with diagnosis by technology and that is exactly what we have seen during the corona event. Doctors were replaced by the PCR test. To become a confirmed covid “case” did not require a doctor to diagnose symptoms, it just required a test to give a result. Having removed doctors from the diagnosis side of the equation, we proceeded to remove them from the treatment side too. Treatments that came from doctors based on real world experience such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were deliberately suppressed. The only acceptable treatment was the vaccine. It’s an irony of corona that many people will tell you that if you’re not a doctor then you should keep your mouth shut and leave it to the experts. They don’t realise that the doctors themselves have been silenced. In Australia, both doctors and nurses were threatened with de-certification if they spoke out against the vaccines. We saw the same thing in many other coun...


  1. Half-Title
  2. Full-Title
  3. Contents
  4. Preface
  5. Introduction
  6. Chapter 1: The Devouring Mother
  7. Chapter 2: The Acquiescent Children
  8. Chapter 3: The Rebellious Children
  9. Chapter 4: How Dare You
  10. Chapter 5: The Archetypal Mask
  11. Chapter 6: Conclusion
  12. Appendix A: The Land Of The Unfree And The Home Of The Safe
  13. Appendix B: A Theoretical Discussion On Archetypes
  14. References
  15. Note To The Reader
  16. Also By The Author