Memories of Our Lost Hands
Searching for Feminine Spirituality and Creativity
Analytical Psychology
5.5 x 8.5, 168 pp.
9 color photos., 37 b&w photots.
Pub Date: 01/17/2006
Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology
Price:        $23.95

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Memories of Our Lost Hands

Searching for Feminine Spirituality and Creativity

By Sonoko Toyoda
Foreword by David H. Rosen

Also available in an open-access, full-text edition at
Hands are our creative contact point with the world. To Jungian analyst Sonoko Toyoda, they represent feminine spirituality and offer a way to achieve wholeness, in women and men alike. But in the contemporary world, many women have lost the wisdom their hands represent and now must recover the memory of them.

Through a traditional story told by the Grimm brothers and similar folk tales from around the world, Toyoda explores the ancient meaning of a woman’s hands and the wound of losing them. In the details of these stories she finds common threats to feminine independence and creativity and hopeful clues for how these qualities can be regained. She considers, as well, cultural variations in the tales and how the tasks of spiritual wholeness differ for women in Japan and the West.

Turning to the biographies of two prominent women artists—Frida Kahlo and Camille Claudel—she discovers similar themes played out in two historical lives. In these women’s relationships with their fathers, brothers, and lovers, she considers further the sources of spiritual wounding. In both paintings and sculptures, Toyoda examines what feminine creativity is.

In today’s world, the cult of the Black Virgin in Europe and that of the Senju Kannon (bodhisattva) in Japan represent remnants of feminine spirituality. Toyoda looks at these to discover universality before considering through stories of her own analysands how clinical work can help individuals claim their own feminine spirituality.

Through her sensitive, insightful, and creative book, Toyoda evokes the memory of women’s lost hands to help recover them.

Sonoko Toyoda is a professor of Clinical Psychology at Tenri University in Nara, Japan, and maintains a private practice as a Jungian psychoanalyst in Kyoto. She graduated in 1972 from Nagoya University with a Bachelor’s degree in French literature and completed her post-graduate at Kyoto University in 1983 with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. After seven years of experience at a psychiatric clinic and a psychotherapeutic enter for children, she went to Zurich, Switzerland, and earned her diploma in Analytical Psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute in 1992. Toyoda is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology

What Readers Are Saying:

“I recommend to you the work of Sonoko Toyoda, who demonstrates the veracity and strength of the feminine, but not in a shrill nor stentorian tone as is often the case. Toyoda-san’s voice is filled with delicacy and strength, reverence and insight about a woman’s way with suffering and redemption.”--Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“Drawing on the Grimms brothers’ famous fairytale of ‘The Handless Maiden,’ Sonoko Toyoda writes a comprehensive account of the effects of suppressed creativity, spirituality and agency in girls and women. From her background in Jungian psychology, Japanese Zen Buddhism, art history, and fairytale interpretation, Toyoda analyzes the life stories of artists Camille Claudel and Frida Kahlo to illustrate the suffering of women who are forced to give up their creative and spiritual self-expression. Toyoda’s account culminates in her rich interpretations of the compassionate figures of the Black Virgin and Kannon as inspirational symbols for restoring the lost hands of women’s spirituality. Unique and beautifully written, this little book expresses a new perspective on healing the female psyche.”--Polly Young-Eisendrath, author of Women and Desire

“Memories of Our Lost Hands celebrates women’s strength, creativity, and spirituality. With gentle dignity, Sonoko Toyoda laments the suffering that results when the feminine is deprived of her power. She makes a strong plea for the return of women’s hands, creativity, backbone, and authority. This is a timely and valuable book.”--Claire Douglas, author of Translate This Darkness, and The Old

"<Toyoda's> 'no blame' strategy is fascinating, as her strength in this book is in delicacy, lightness of touch, gentle irony and careful arrangements of stories and testimonies. It is protest in a soft key. She unnerves the patriarchy with the spirit of the feminine, making the system aware of something more powerful, something other."--Journal of Analytical Psychology


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