Batman, the creation of DC comics and featured in film and TV, can be related to shamanic animism as it reflects an empowerment through a connection with an animal nature. Although with the exception of Batman, the films, like the jungle book, seem to suggest that this animist empowerment leads to moral corruption and counter cultural activities. It is interesting that all the characters develop their superhuman powers through a traumatic event, which releases a primal energy. One can relate Freud’s concept of the oedipal complex to this, the trauma activating a return of the repressed. Subsequently the inhibiting super-Ego crumbles (which provides moral control of actions), which releases the primal power of the id.

Catwoman is the archetypal villain and femme fatale, a modern day Lilith, she is crafty and sensuous as she pursues riches, engaged in her fitting profession as a ‘cat’ burglar. Within the film ‘Batman Returns’ we see the self-conscious repressed neurotic- Selina Kyle, transformed into the goddess -like -Cat woman. This occurs through the traumatic experience of falling out of her window onto the pavement and then being surrounded by cats, as she lies in an unconscious state. Trauma, Freud theorised, can return people to the early oedipal trauma, where it is believed that girls in realising their apparent castration identify with the mother. This identification thus forming a super- ego that leads to creation of a morality. Catwoman has obviously identified with the cats after this accident, they provide the substitute that dissolves the moral code that developed through identification with the mother. Indeed the nature of her identity and sexuality is now based on that of cats.

One can relate it to fetishism, the cat becoming the substitute for the loss of the object. Indeed catwomans latex bodysuit and whip is archetypal fetishistic attire. Possessing a cat-like identity replaces her need to replace the phallus, indeed her strength and will, suggest she is in possession of the phallus, or at least believes this to be so. A shamanic interpretation of catwoman’s experience would be very different, although Freud attempted to explain shamanic experience in a purely material manner. Indeed Freud is quoted in his work on fetishism that; ‘substitutes are with some justice likened to the fetishes in which the savages believe that their gods are embodied’.

Even the characters that are not associated with an animal identity display particularly Dionysian traits, being instinctual and spontaneous, they are insane in the eyes of society. The Joker who constantly makes a joke out of everything and The Riddler with his symbol the question mark, who constantly questions the rules and values of the Apollonian ruling order.

Batman, the dark night, seems to have a constant battle within his own psyche as much as with the villains. His animal nature providing his crime fighting powers, but also his potential downfall. Catwoman often tempts him into her counter cultural lifestyle but in the end he manages to morally conquer this temptation and protect the values of industrial society.