SHADOWLAND: Prostitution– the story of Kay

Sep 9, 2021

A woman with blond hair faces away from the camera. She has a daisy chain in her hair. She represents Kay's prostitution story.

This is Shadowland a new podcast experience from This Jungian Life that explores the lives of people who work and take refuge in the hidden places of our culture. Lisa, Deb, and Joseph collaborate with songwriter Wells Hanley, creator of I Wrote This Song For You podcast, to bring insight, compassion, and understanding to the darker side of human experience.

Nietzsche wrote, “I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”

In that spirit, we meet Kay, a 21-year-old single mother who works throughout the American southwest as a self-described prostitute. We explore how she found her way to that life, what she aspires to, and how she holds the complicated tensions between herself, her clients, and the current culture.

Here’s Kay’s dream that we analyze:

“I am in a pet store with my best friend and my daughter, who is in a stroller. The woman proprietor went in the back. I saw an alligator in a cage eating a piglet, and looked at my daughter’s stroller — she wasn’t in there. Then I am somewhere running through halls trying to find her. I see a lot of kids about her age running around [but she isn’t among them]. I think she is in the ventilation system because she likes to crawl around. I tell someone to hide the weed that’s in my car so we can call the police.”

We shared this interview with Wells, who was moved to create a song for Kay. We hope you’ll be as touched by her story as we were. 

You can support Well Hanley’s creative work by becoming his patron here: https://www.patreon.com/iwrotethissongforyou  

To learn more check out his website: www.Iwrotethissongforyou.com

music and lyrics by Wells Hanley © 2020.

I will listen 
receive you 
affirm you in every way 
And I will hold you 
but as I’ve told you 
it’s just part of the play 
I will undress you 
and then impress you 
we’ll make a game of predator and prey 
I’ll be unrestrained 
but as I’ve explained 
it’s just part of the play 
She is hiding in the walls 
she is watching through a screen 
She is frightened to come out 
so she lingers there unseen 
calling, “Mama, help me!” 
I’ll be your Echo 
a kind of mirror 
your missing Helen I am willing to portray 
And you may long to claim me 
but you’ll never tame me 
I’m too refined for that cliché 
You see, my heart is never part of the play 
See her high above the crowd 
see her fall into the cage 
See her flee into the walls 
as she steps onto the stage 
crying, “Mama, help me!” 
You call me princess 
tell me I’m beautiful 
I’m not immune to the things you say 
But when the curtain falls 
I walk these empty halls 
and even though I can never go, I can show you the way 
and I will swear that everything’s ok 
Hush little baby, don’t say a word 
about what you’ve seen or about what you’ve heard 
There’s a fat, hungry beast in need of a meal 
so don’t ever share 
no, don’t tell a soul what you feel

Music and Lyrics by Wells Hanley © 2020.
Singer:  Ali Thibodeau at www.deaueyes.com


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/


The Book of Symbols, published by Taschen

Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma


  1. LAB

    Loved this episode and very excited about the pivot to a new series!

  2. Alice

    Absorbing. Good luck to Kay.

  3. Mamie Krupczak Allegretti

    I actually thought this was a very respectful conversation and Kay seems very open to what you have to offer. She also seems quite self-reflective and intelligent. I found myself thinking that she could do anything she puts her mind to. I was very intrigued by the reasons why he clients come to her. That could be a podcast in itself – why men see prostitutes and their views of that relationship. It started my husband and I on the conversation of why men might see prostitutes instead of a therapist. Anyway, thanks again for this podcast and best of luck to Kay.

  4. MV Clark

    One of the best things on prostitution I’ve come across and I’ve been looking into it a lot recently. Spans the harm and – as you say – the soul. It’s all connected and although I’ve never been a prostitute I find they speak for a lot of women, they know the psychic places we all occupy. Not being quite the right kind of women.
    Imperfect intimacies of various kinds – failed, dangerous, tolerable, even helpful, or otherwise – in encounters of gendered psyches. Mind body connection/disconnection. Kay is a remarkable person and I hope she continues to use her mind to shed light on what it all means for the rest of us.


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