#304 Tragic Beauty: The Dark Side of Venus Aphrodite with Jungian Analyst, Arlene Diane Landau


Arlene Diane Landau, Ph.D., is a Diplomate Senior Jungian Analyst. She is a member of the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and the International Association for Analytical Psychology. Dr. Landau has been a certified Jungian analyst for 16 years and a psychotherapist for 25 years. As a mythology scholar she has provided an archetypal analysis of the novels of Thomas Hardy. Dr. Landau holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art, masters degrees in psychology and mythological studies, and a PhD in mythological studies.

She has lectured in Berlin, Bucharest, Cape Town, London, and in the United States. She is a board member of the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. Dr. Landau has been active in the teaching, analysis, and evaluation of candidates in training to become Jungian analysts. Her interests include art, literature, theater, and film. She is in private practice in Pacific Palisades, CA.

Check out the following Psychology CE Courses based on listening to Shrink Rap Radio interviews:
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Jungian Psychotherapy Part 2 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 3 (7 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Part 4 (6 CEUs)
Jungian Psychotherapy Package of the Four Above (26 CEUs)
Wisdom of The Dream (4 CEUs)
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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. John Knight
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Whoah, I’ve been having the same feeling as you Dr. Dave, regarding the Roman Circus, and that we’re perhaps on the verge of an oncoming tragedy.

  2. Lisa Shalfoun
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Very interesting topic! I always enjoy learning more about archetypes. But this time, my European thinking or upbringing made it very difficult to separate cliche from archetype as there is a lot of maybe even dislike of celebrities in, let`s say German speaking Europe`s intellectual culture. And because of that specific culture, the last phrase became very long too!
    I could relate though to the perception of beautiful women in the Ukraine, Russia etc. as well as to the popularity of the “Western” beauty accessories.
    The interview was very stimulating and I am looking forward to studying these archetypes in detail.
    Hollywood, America, those are myths for many many people around the world.

    I specially liked the statement of Dr. Landau about integrating or looking inside oneself for that what one is desiring or that type of person one wants to be or wants to be with.
    This is one of the essential findings to me. It is also one that shows the way from being unhappy with oneself towards being happy with oneself.
    But I must say, I still have not completely grasped the concept of the shadow although I have read quite a bit about it.
    Dr Dave, would you mind explaining this a bit, if you think it would also be interesting to other listeners? That would be very nice.

    Very interesting how the archetypes play out so differently in different cultures… The association of blond and gold.. is an interesting lead…

    Thank you for one more great interview. I would like to ask every listener, if I may, who earns decent income, to support this site, You also pay for magazines and newspapers and books. Here is one great source on information that we all want to keep having access to. You might not be aware of the fact that a website when it receives a lot of traffic, will have to pay more to a provider. And as long as we prefer to not have too much or not even any ads and commercials on the site, we have to support it.

  3. John Knight
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Hi Lisa,

    Perhaps you’d like to join our SRR discussion group and we can all talk about it in detail? (There seems to be a hunger for such a topic).

  4. Posted May 16, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Lisa et al,

    John makes a good suggestion. Here is the link for joining the discussion:

  5. Reema Zaman
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Dave,

    Thank you for the gift of your words, inspiring voice, and insights. You treat each guest with such warmth and compassion, giving them a safe and vibrant space, and it is no wonder they grace us with interviews that are truly incredible. Your son Matthew was the one who initially introduced me to your work, and Shrink Rap Radio, and I am now, happily hooked. The moment I saw the title of this particular interview, I was so excited to listen to it, for a variety of reasons. I’m a writer, actress and singer, and double majored in Theater and Women’s Studies in Skidmore College. My thesis dealt largely with beauty mythology and female archetypes, as traced through Greek tragedy, pop culture, media and literature. My work at this very moment explores those topics, in particular, beauty myths and archetypes as seen in the contemporary woman’s condition, or, myth-cycle. Our modern day fairytale. You can imagine: I was already smiling *this* big, waiting for the podcast to load.

    A few points in particular resonated with me quite deeply. As noted earlier, understanding beauty and the female condition is a large part of my path in life. As with any power, beauty carries with it great shadow and light, especially in our present climate. I really appreciated and empathized with your point about how as a world culture and family, we are in a toxic place (forgive me for paraphrasing). I agree. I think we are living in such a dark time. I feel a deep-rooted need and responsibility to raise the necessary questions, to invoke honest conversation and action that somehow addresses this toxicity. As a daughter, a sister, and a hopeful future parent, it’s all I can think about, and I work from that impetus. Also, I’m not from the United States, and have my own understanding of beauty, gender roles, etc., collected from different cultures. I was born in Bangladesh, lived in Hawaii until I was 6, then in Thailand until I was 18, and moved to the U.S. for school and work. The women in my immediate family, and the spiritual sisters and mothers I have been blessed to meet through my meanderings, we have our own mythology and history with beauty, the female body currency, and the traditional roles men and women play. Our archetypes are the same though, of course, and that’s why it’s all so fascinating: while the details manifest in different ways, we still embody many of the same shadows and light. Furthermore, in my day to day, as a 28-year old singer and actress, I find myself thoroughly embedded in the dark murky mix that is pop-culture, and it creates an interesting balancing act with my personal politics and creative journey. Trying to write songs that appeal to a large audience, while at the same time, don’t reinforce harmful, antiquated messages about men and women, and actually move and challenge the listener, is a humbling, exciting process. It’s a dialogue that I love and invite. And so, I thank you, because through your calling and gift, you too move this conversation along. You bring and give so much to your audience, and we are grateful.

    Something else that really struck me was Dr. Landau’s use of the term “creature”, when referring to “those women.” The term, for me, was one that subtly vilified the women she was talking about, and cast them in the “other” light. In general, I grow a little uncomfortable when hearing or reading that sort of phrasing, as I am of the school that thinks we enter dangerous territory when such words are used. Of course, perhaps it was simply too subtle to be of note, and perhaps I am reading way too much into this. It was interesting to me nevertheless, adding richness to my listening experience, and so, I absolutely welcomed the feeling of trepidation. It reminded me of the time when Naomi Woolf, in her book The Beauty Myth, infamously called fashion models “freaks” and “genetic aliens”, and Cindy Crawford was quoted saying something along the lines that while the book was truly fascinating, being coined a “freak” wasn’t really necessary. “Those creatures” raised my eyebrow for a few reasons: 1) in juxtaposition with Dr. Landau’s comments about her own journey with age, transitioning with grace from one generation to another, feeling and understanding her own reactions to her daughter and other younger women, and 2) I feel that especially as a woman studying the dynamics of women, men, behavior, etc, we tiptoe potentially harmful terrain when coining terms about “those girls/women”. It’s simply a personal belief, and something I try to be mindful of, about breeding words that could hurt ourselves and our sisters, depreciating our work and collective cause in the long run. After a few minutes of mulling this over, I just had to put it aside, saying to myself “It’s a soft ‘they’, not a hard ‘they’, let it go!” (It reminded me of a moment I had a few days ago, when I was trying to explain to a 6 year old how the letter “j” can be used differently in various languages: “Well, in English, we have a hard ‘j’, like ‘jungle’, or ‘jam,’ and then in French we have a soft ‘j’, like ‘jolie’ and ‘jamais’, and of course there’s Carl ‘Jung’, who was Swiss, though the name is German . . you know what sweetheart, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Let’s go practice our cartwheels.”) Sometimes, going in circles and arriving at Jung simply signals that it’s time to go practice our cartwheels 🙂

    Thank you so much once again for this particular podcast, and your podcasts at large. I eagerly look forward to each one, and the exciting, inspiring journey they invariably take us on. I learn so much, every time.

    With Warmth,


    Daughter, Sister, Friend, Writer, Actress, Singer, Freak-a-zoid Alien Creature.

    p.s.. Thank you David, for encouraging me to embed and share the following video. This is a satire performance-piece called “I Made A Sex Tape”, which looks at sex, voyeurism, celebrity, toxicity . . all that jazz. Enjoy 🙂


  6. Kate Kurtz
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    New to Shrink Rap Radio, I listen to podcasts often between reading chapters and writing papers for school. I’m a ‘young’ 56 year old and recently retuned to college and am looking forward to a new career in counseling. My transition is a bit scarey and confusing at times so I greatly appreciatte Dr. Dave’s interviews with leading psychologists who share their vulnerabilities, passion, and knowledge in addition to those magical moments of sychronicity that propel me forward.

    Regarding the inteview with Dr. Landau, I agree with Reema Zaman’s concern of Dr. Landau’s choice of words such as ‘creatures,’ ‘there’s one of the species,” and ‘over the top’ used to describe some women who appear caught in an ‘unbalanced Aphrodite archetype.’ I felt discomfort with Dr. Landau’s emotion toward ‘the species’ (wondering if the women in the airport and Gallery of Lafayette felt their presence invaded/penetrated) and had difficulty finishing the podcast with an open mind.

    Not all Aphrodite allure is portrayed by the image of skin tight pants, 4 inch stiletos, rhinestone belts and blonde hair. My daughter and I are two of many happy balanced Aphrodite archetypes whose natural beauty and sensuality is unadorned, simple and fascinating. We both enjoy being homemakers and can put up a tent without loosing any of our femininity. I created my own successful small business and have the courage to battle when absolutely necessary. Most importantly, I’ve enjoyed a few long term loving and deeply intimate relationships. Given my understanding of Aphrodite and her empathetic ability, I would much rather send love and acceptance to ‘the species’ Dr. Landau refers to rather than, what I interpret as, contempt.

    Overall, I think Aphrodite is given a bad rap and am inspired to do more research on her persona(s), maybe I’ll write a paper on it.

    Thank you for both insight and inspiration.


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