Transformations, by Phyllis Stowell, is a story of five years of analysis told from the point of view of the woman dreaming. There are many voices. She is in dialogue with an analyst, an imaged analyst, an unknown other, and herself. The dreams and visions are also voices. This is not an autobiography, although it is a life focused, confused and clarified. Not ill but knowing her years are numbered and death is nearby, she experiences an urgency both unexpected and unavoidable. Part of the pressure involves dealing with what has been left behind. She has to live through much that is unwelcome but the trade off is compelling, extraordinary illuminations that go far beyond personal issues. One dream named this work: Hello, Sacred Way.
“Approaching the end of her eighth decade, Phyllis Stowell makes unexpected use of the loose threads left over from incomplete initiations of her past. Bringing the reader into the contained space of a late-life Jungian analysis, she shapes a moving prose narrative and a new poem-cycle out of scraps of dreams and the associations they stir in her and in the analyst. We are with her on a deeper journey of attitude-change that begins by setting aside a premature intuition that she may have spent a lifetime getting nowhere. The light that returns to Stowell on this bend in her life’s road flames like a brilliant fall tree, illuminating the ambiguities of individuation for all of us.”
-John Beebe, author of Integrity in Depth
“Transformations gives a virtual check list of what those of us in the process of aging secretly worry through. Phyllis Stowell documents the phenomena of aging by way of her personal process, including relevant details of her childhood and life. It comes alive like fiction—characters, voice, falling apart, the losses, frustrations, symptoms and pain, expressed also in poetic moments and poetry. That’s why we understand and gain so much from this book. It is her gift to us.”
-Patricia Berry, author of Echo’s Subtle Body: Contributions to an Archetypal Psychology