Drawing on psychoanalysis, and on literature in the Christian tradition that has for many centuries focused on dreams and visions, this book challenges theologians and sociologists alike to expand their notions of the sacred. Richard Fenn presents a new sociological theory of religion, arguing that psychoanalysts have rightly taken over one traditional function of religious language - the function of expressing and embodying possibilities for selfhood and social life that are excluded in particular communities and societies. If religious language is to recover some of its potential, then it will have to recover sources of the Christian tradition that have long explored the more primitive aspects of the psyche - sources that include dreams, visions of hell and of a descent into hell. Yet Fenn argues that psychoanalysis has placed some religious understandings of the self in permanent jeopardy. Whereas earlier Christian ascetic practices reinforced the sense of the individual's ultimate helplessness to achieve spiritual maturity, the psychoanalytic tradition holds out that possibility without guaranteeing. The modern descent into hell, then, is riskier, its outcome less certain, and yet it holds out the promise of a new selfhood that can place certain perennial spiritual struggles in the past. This book sheds new light on the conflict between psychoanalysis and religion, as well as the nature of modernity and notions of the sacred. It will prove of particular value not only to students and scholars in the psychology or sociology of religion, but more generally to all who are concerned with spirituality, secularization, and the Sacred.