Lecture I

Von Franz does a nice job of setting the scene in pages 1-9 before the first tale she will discuss (Sleeping Beauty). There are a couple of high level points worth pointing out:
The feminine figure in a fairytale is not always specifically either the anima in a man or to a female psyche.

p1 “A feminine figure in a fairy tale with the whole story circling around it does not necessarily prove that the tale has to do with a woman's psychology. Many long stories of the sufferings of a woman have been written by men and are the projection of their anima problem. This is particularly the case in the theme of the rejected woman, who has to go a long way in suffering in order to find the right bridegroom …” (This makes me think of the tale of The Goose Girl by the well)

There is often a mix between the two; the female psyche and the anima figure. She goes on to discuss how the patriarchal tradition has not readily afforded a female representation on which to draw in our Christian society. Woman often identify with the man's anima projection.

p2 “Woman who behave in this way we call “anima women”. Such women simply play the role intimated to them by the man in whom they are at the moment interested. They are conscious of themselves only as mirrors of the man's reaction. …It is only the man's reaction to them which makes them aware of their feminine personality. …
In our Christian civilization, i.e. in a strictly patriarchal tradition, the image of the woman is not represented. As Jung has said, she has no representative in the Upper Parliament.”
This rings true at the time of writing and shows why Jung was so attentive to the assumption of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic church.

p3 “We have, then, to start with a paradox: feminine figures in fairy tales are neither the pattern of the anima nor of the real woman, but of both, because sometimes it is one, and sometimes another.”
p4 “A good approach is to interpret the tale both ways.”

Von Franz then goes on to discuss at a high level the difference between Myth and Fairytale.

p4 “As to figures in the story, it has been said, wrongly I think, that the myth is the story of the gods and the fairy tale the story of ordinary people …” From a psychological angle, we know that they are archetypal figures and have, on the surface, nothing to do with ordinary human beings and human personalities as we deal with them in human psychology. (of fairytales and myths I think, I really like this next comment as for me it speaks to how tales come about)
…people are able to project into empty space certain figures of their unconscious and can speak of these figures.“
This is really important. Von Franz talks here too of the representations collectives and that myths often represent the collective view of the archetypal narrative whereas fairy tales often have a compensatory or contradict the collective views. Further, the reason I really like this comment is that it gives a hint to the fact that it is often not so important (in my view) what figure is manifested in a tale or myth, but that there is a need to manifest such a figure. Particularly for e.g. in Alchemy - how Mercurius became so multifaceted - there is a psychological need to have a figure that resonates and does have all these different aspects - that is fascinating.
In this vein then she goes on to describe very nicely I think the fact that in many cases, depending on the collective and the culture there may be instances where the representations collective did not avail a figure on to which a person could project their unconscious content - the archetypal material - so they created something. We can then see why across culture, there is an archetypal similarity and that for e.g. in some cultures, certain content must have been 'hidden', for as she points out, how could we assign mercurial characteristics to Christ or promiscuous intentions to the Virgin Mary.

On another note, Von Franz points out that very often in a fairytale, the closing remarks or conclusion would be designed to p5-6 'kicks you right out of the story - but only at the end!' …i.e. to bring the narrator and reader back in to reality.

p6 “So you see, fairy tales actually tell us about figures of the unconscious, of the other world. You can say that in myth the figures are confused; they correspond to what Levy-Bruhl calls representations collectives . Fairy tales migrate and cannot be linked up with a national collective consciousness. They also contain a tremendous amount of compensatory material and usually contradict or compensate collective conscious ideas.”

p7 “If a figure (In a fairy tale) turns up which is not within the domain of the representations collectives , if there is nothing which fits a figure, you have to say that something appears which seems like So-and-So; you cannot pin it onto collective idea. …If you were brought up as a Catholic, you cannot call this figure the Virgin Mary. …In this way, fairy tales are to a great extent built up by inner experiences which do not quite fir the representations collectives .”

p8 “Thus in fairy tales either the figures of the representations collectives are not used or are misused.”

The Sleeping Beauty or Briar Rose (Negative mother complex. Cf. p48)

(p20 Belongs to the pattern of the daughter goddess disappearing. p28 “our story is a collective and not a personal story”.)

Von Franz takes a sideline now after going through the tale to discuss the representation of ego in (the) fairytale. Worth mentioning too, is her cautionary note (p11) to 'prevent any hard and fast theories' when reading the tale as there are often many different versions. However, (p12) 'There is always a definite and meaningful thread running through, for people's fancy runs along the right lines … unless there is too much conscious influence.'
To the problem of the ego …

p13 “A very abstract and ticklish problem concerns how we should interpret the hero or heroine. What do they represent? The particular and obvious problem in interpreting mythological material, which even well-known Jungian stumble over, is whether the hero has to be treated as an ego or not. We tend to say the hero is the hero, and the beautiful woman is his anima, and Jungian concepts are pinned on. But one has fallen into the same rap as in interpreting one's own dreams.”

She goes on to discuss an e.g. of a woman who was confronted with a potential marriage affair.

p14 “In alchemical symbolism the feminine figure is often first married to the wrong kind of man, and it is the heroic deed to separate the couple….
If you don't use your libido you are bored to death and must start some kind of nonsense.”

p15 “Max Lüthy says that all figures in fairy tales are abstract. We would rather say archetypal figures lacking human amplification. An abstract is something from which life has been abstracted, but the archetype is pre-human. We would say that they are not human individuals; they are not filled with actual life. The heroine is a feminine abstract - what shall we call it, an ego? A good way, … is just to talk around it without pinning it down to what it is.”

Speaking of the wicked fairy that cursed the young daughter…
p16 “It is the impulse (i.e. the wicked fairy = unconscious) from the unconscious that causes the neurotic disturbance in its attempts to get the child on to a higher level of consciousness, to build up a stronger ego-complex.”

p16-17 “If you take all these practical facts into consideration, you can say that the ego has an archetypal aspect, and it is the Self which builds up the ego-complex. It is this aspect that is meant by the hero or heroine of a fairy tale .”

This is important, in fairy tales then - the hero or heroine then is not the ego per se, but the archetypal aspect of the ego complex as energised by the Self, prompted through some endeavour/encounter to a higher level of consciousness.

Lecture II

I like the opening discussion in this lecture about the ego as the emissary, or instrument for the Self to realise ones potential - the ego needs to be involved. Following on from the previous lecture, the ego - in fairy tales and myth - is difficult to delineate as just the ego , it is more subtle than that. As Von Franz says, the ego as the hero or heroine is the instrument representing the necessary action required by the ego complex to achieve the Self objectives to bring, or rather, to return harmony with the Self regulating system of the psyche. Importantly though in this I think is that it is not the ego per se that is acting out in the fairytale - it is the psyche directing the energy of the ego complex to realise the compensatory energy requirements in order to restore balance.

p18 “You can say that the latent impulse to produce the ego is an aspect of the mythological hero.”
This is great the way she puts it - we have a desire, the psyche has a desire to create an ego. This desire - not the ego itself - is the hero of myth and tale.

p18 “Most human difficulties, including neurotic and psychotic dissociation, are linked with an ego that is not functioning in accordance with the total disposition of the psyche. …
… On of the main tasks of therapeutic treatment, therefore, is to try to enrich the range of emotional reactions so that the vessel (The ego) is larger and more solid and can receive the emotional impulses from the unconscious.”

An interesting discussion from p18 to p19 on the drive for the go to be independent of the psyche, i.e. the unconscious, and be autonomous. While the “essential problems of the human race is to build an ego which functions …in accordance with the instinctive makeup of the total anthropos.” Thus “our greater consciousness presents us with the danger of a split.”

p19 “The hero represents the ideal ego-complex in accordance with the requirements of the psyche.” Cf 'hero' on p18 above.

P19 “Obviously, therefore, the ego is the instrument of realisation of all the different psychological, inborn dispositions of the human being. Expressed mythologically, the ego is the instrument of incarnation for the Self. The hero and heroine in fairy tales illustrate the way in which such instruments of incarnation must function.”

Σ p19 “The central religious god of our civilization is a helpless man hung on the cross. He is condemned to suffering and complete passivity, and that is what the very active self-willed Western man worships and prays to, what he needs to meditate upon.”

Mutatis mutandis = 'by changing those thing which need to be changed'

An interesting comment about the appearance of the Self in different material - sometimes as something more personal with personification, and others as something impersonal, like the golden ball, or a tree…
p20 “One aspect, the ball, is that of a material symbolisaton of the Self; that is, a symbol which refers to the totality of the psyche in an impersonal way tends to turn up in moments of dissociation and disorientation.”

This next comment sets the tone for the remainder of the lecture and is very interesting…
p21 “The same tencency can be seen in the development of the antique mother goddess who wants to incarnate in a human daughter, but the impulse remains abortive. it has nowhere been carried through and become a religious event. The cult of the mother goddess got stuck and suppressed and then reappeared later in the cult of the Virgin Mary, but with great mental reservations and precautions for disinfection of her dark aspect. … The dark aspect of the antique mother-goddess has not yet reappeared in our civilization, which must leave a question mark in our mind, because naturally something is lacking.”

I find this very interesting, the development of the feminine goddess in our society. More so, the earth mother, 'dirty' goddess…these ideas resonate with the discussion around the lack of nature and the body, metaphysical engagement with nature in our current times. Everything is materialism and remains by enlarge about intellect and gathering of riches in this world, a hang over from the enlightenment.

The frog

p23 “In folklore the frog is looked upon as a rather unchaste animal. …It appeared at the beginning of many prescriptions having to do with fertility, sexuality, and bi-sexual love. …But if you read folklore, you find that it is a maternal animal used to help women at childbirth and to bring fertility.”

The motif of the forgotten godmother

p25 “What does this mean psychologically? …If a god or goddess has been neglected, it means that a specific natural psychological way of behaving has been omitted. It has either artificially or stupidly been left out of consideration.”

A comment on the negative mother-complex…
Naturally, women who have a negative mother-complex are those most liable to this form of reaction, since they are in such need of warmth and attention they have not adequately received from the mother. Therefore they tend to be especially touchy and constantly feel ignored.”

I just like this comment, something to keep in mind when speaking with someone; sometimes, to do something, p30 “ Just the confirmation suffices

Lecture III

p31 mentions a question of individuals questioning the collective. Often fairytales start with the motif of a king who is travelling and gets stopped by an evil principle - the devil himself even - and bargains to give up whatever he meets on his way home. It turns out to be a new born child. Cf this with The girl without hands tale.
p31 “In an individual neurosis that would be when one is stuck and cannot go on: (a) one has to enter into discussion with the unconscious; and (b) to promise that life in the future will be conducted on new lines.”
p32 “A fairy tale which begins in this way, in showing the necessity of a change to the opposite, could be paralleled with our story in which the frog speaks to the parents who have got stuck.”

Discussion here of Juno, Themis, Lucina …old goddesses.
Cf pp21-22. The motif of the forgotten goddess…

p32 “She represents an aspect of the mother goddess which has been very much forgotten in our civilisation, but which exists in many primitive civilisations, and in antiquity, i.e., a feminine principle which contains a strange kind of severity and revengefulness, and which does not coincide with the parallel male attitude.”

p33-34, Von Franz is talking of Justice from the feminine perspective as opposed to the 'logos' driven masculine perspective. I'm not sure I agree with everything she is saying. Certainly in nature, there is no revenge or justice so to speak, it just is. Some comments here on Themis as justice.
p35 Von Franz makes an interesting comment about over-population.

Σ p35 “All the well-meaning charitable enterprises in the world are built up on a Weltanschauung that does not take the dark side of the mother nature into consideration.”
YES!!! I so agree with this point, there needs to be more death in the world, people need to not be afraid of death. I wonder if in any way this could relate to my ideas of death and extreme sport where the individual is seeking out the mother. This could align with the desire to return to the participation mystique of things, a return to the womb??? …perhaps I'm over reaching. She continues…
“They are based in Christian ideas. But if one ignores a goddess, she manifests herself again. At one time nature and her dark side were in harmony, but from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries onward … natural processes were no longer on the lines of the one-sided light attitude.”

p36 - there is an interesting comment on the 'Jungian psychology being sheer poison' to people with an infantile unsteadiness, a weak ego.

Back to the story now, and the curse of death by the dark fairy godmother, that is softened by the good fairy godmother to 100 years of sleep…

Ω p36 “Sleep and death were two gods who in antiquity were looked upon as the divine brothers Hypnos and Thanatos. …
If I dream that such and such a person dies, it means that the complex represented by that person is completely repressed - so repressed that I have no further hunches about it. … That is why in psychosis there is so much symbolism of ghosts and cemeteries and corpses coming out of graves. There is complete, dissociated and autonomous psychological life.”

There is an interesting comment on p37 about Shakespear, and mention of earlier Romantic poets who encountered the anima issues but had to disguise it in “romantic irony” and then wake the audience from 'the dream'. This makes me think of the movie Avatar which resulted in much conversation about people leaving the movie feeling depressed. I wrote a long comment about this in my log book…essentially, people never left 'the dream' when they exited the movie, and thus, returning to the real world was depressing. Note the religious (Christian) comment on p38 about the Church not persecuting the poets because it remained 'artistic play'. Even nowadays I'm thinking there is more and more fantasy.

Back to the tale…In consideration of the fact that the girl is put to sleep; this often indicates a conscious ego attitude not ready. It does not mean repression so to speak, but that the issue is 'somnolent' as Von Franz says… p38 “Generally, the conscious attitude is such that the problems cannot come up, and therefore fall asleep - although one feels they will recur.”

The spindle

(Think of weaving too)

p38 “We should go into the problem of the spindle, which is a symbol of femininity.”
Makes me think of a spider, and spinning her web.
…“I think one can only say that the mystery of giving birth is basically associated with the idea of spinning and weaving and complicated feminine activities consisting in bringing together natural elements in a certain order.”

p39-41 There are some lovely comments about the feminine spinning and weaving the right attitude in the home and for children. I find this so true even when dealing with people. It is never about doing this or that, it's about navigating - spinning, or weaving - a path, an attitude over time that guides best of all.

p42 “The spindle is a kind of phallic thing within the weaving activity, which is essentially feminine.”

Lecture IV

p44 “The old woman in the story is a kind of mother, or grandmother, and the spindle would stand for the mother's animus.” Cf. p42 above where it mentions the phallic aspect to the spindle.

Von Franz talks here pp.45 about the effect of being pricked by the spindle in woman, and an example of a woman who had fallen in to a 'sleep'. This was manifest in an attitude of not expecting anything from her existence, not feeling her life was worth anything. The woman could not digest (in fact, she couldn't digest food) anything, and “To digest is to react.” This woman didn't react in analysis and couldn't see her worth, she did not wake up so to speak. She continues…
p45 “In a broader collective sense the same motif would mean that certain factors in feminine psyche life have been hidden by some unconscious reflections. In our civilisation one of the most widespread unconscious reflections … is a connection between good and evil and woman. …the identification of evil with the woman's problem. Men with a negative mother-complex do it frequently.”
There is more discussion here about the feminine taking a more balanced role in patriarchal religions, like Catholicism. There can be an unconscious rebellion of the feminine who can p46 “get a hidden feeling of inferiority that they compensate by being disagreeable, and so attracting attention.”

The rose

p46 “The rose, says one medieval author, belongs to the goddess Venus and means love, for there is no love without the thorn.”

Speaking of the hedge of thorns that turns to roses in the tale…

Hedge (think 'touchy dominance' motif)

p47 “Such hedges of thorns in dreams refer to exaggerated touchiness, which is always combined with aggressiveness. Touchy people are proud of their sensitiveness, by which they tyrannise others. An unkind word provides tragedy for months. … Such people usually have a very vulgar hidden domination-complex which comes out in the shadow - an infantile attitude towards life through which those around are tyrannised. What should be love becomes a thorny hedge, …“
“The solution in the story is strange, for there is no merit and no dramatic event anywhere. The situation just changes after a hundred years. … Several conclusions can be reached. One could say this illustrates that the problem of touchy domination has to be treated with patience and passivity. …” One day they will wake up

p48 “If taken on a personal level, the story of Briar Rose is that of the negative mother-complex in a woman, and also of a man's negative mother-complex when his anima goes to sleep.
No let us look at the counterpart, the pattern of a positive mother-complex…”

Snow White and Rose Red (Positive mother-complex)

p52 ”…in the beginning the male element is completely lacking. There is no father, for the man has died. It is a feminine atmosphere which is described as ideal. As long as the children are young, it is all right, but they live so isolated a life that they never see a man; they are out of life.”

p52-53 Von Franz discusses the timing of when the psyche - particularly the feminine - comes to maturity and when it is good, or more fruitful. The opinion is that later in life once the ego has had time to develop without the confusion of the opposites, i.e. boys & sex. So deferring this for a couple of years is good, see comment about Artemis, and her female devotees aged 12-16yrs, the awkward years. Cf. the cover of 'bearskin' here too..

p54 “In Chapter XX of the I Ching you will find that to look through the crack of the door is right for a woman but harmful for a man. To look at things narrowly or intimately is not shameful for a woman …”

The Bear

p54 “Everywhere in folklore the bear tends to be the bewitched prince, or the man who has been cursed to walk about in a bearskin.
Amon the followers of Wotan, as you know, there were the Berserks (Ber = bear, serk = skin, or shirt - Bearshirts). To “go berserk” was thought to be a gift in certain families.” Interesting bit about a king or duke falling asleep on his throne during battle and then a bear would appear in the battle, killing and winning the battle. When done, the bear disappears and the king awakes.
“…proof that it really was the Duke himself was that the bear was wounded in the right paw, and that the man when he woke up at home was wounded in his right hand.”

p55 “Giving up the capacity for producing the affect is as hard as giving up any other neurotic symptom; for people are often in love with their berserk quality and won't give it up in order to become sober and reasonable.”

In the continued discussion of going 'berserk' the idea of defense and standing up for oneself comes to play…
p56 “If people have not the conviction of their right to live, you can get them nowhere in analysis. There is such a thing as having the right to defend oneself and to fight not to be overthrown by the animus or other wickedness in the surroundings, and those who cannot do it are really sick.”

p56 “A world in which nothing on the harsh side is ever allowed, is not on the side of life, and here we come to a typically feminine problem. …“
p57 “The positive only feminine world, where everything is so gentle and roses and nobody quarrels, needs the bear….
That is the turning point of the story where the bear instinctively kills the dwarf over whom the girls have been sentimental .
So it is the question of integrating the masculine side into the feminine world without going a step too far and that is a great problem. …The bear illustrates the ideal reaction. …not bad-tempered and angry like the dwarf… He simply kills his enemy when he meets him, in contrast to the …dwarf. In woman, that would represent two animus figures; …” The bear and the dwarf
“His [the dwarf's, the negative animus] demands on them are annoying, which is also a classical aspect of the negative animus. Everything is formulated from the hidden standpoint of having the right and the need to be served.”
p58 “The dwarf had to come up; you could not get to the prince without it as an intermediary.”

The dwarf

p58 “If you make a study of dwarfs you will find that ninety-five percent are positive. The collect treasure, are wonderful goldsmiths, can weave, … Usually dwarfs are extremely positive and creative figures. They refer to the creative impulses of the unconscious and you very rarely come across destructive dwarfs in mythology.”

p58-59 Interesting points about the female animus and creativity.

Interesting point about the bear …
p59 “In Greek, Arctus [Arcturus], the Great Bear constellation, takes the feminine article. It is the animal of the mother-goddess in Greek mythology and according to medieval writers is also the animal of the Virgin Mary.”

Further on in the discussion… “In our language a mythological god is an archetype and an archetype is always at the same time an instinctive pattern, an instinctive basis.” This reminds me of CW8 On the nature of the psyche, where Jung discusses the archetypes and instinct - amongst other things.
“You could refer every go to a biological instinctive field; it is its meaning, or spiritual aspect. You could say that every instinctive dynamism has an archetypal image. Thus gods are representations of general complexes. …”

Lecture V

Back to “Briar Rose”…

The motif of 'the wrong kind of pity'

p61 ”…the same motif crops up in the story of “Amor and Psyche” in Apuleius' novel.
…is the archetype of the maternal instinct and always arouses a woman's pity. But every virtue, if overdone is against instinct and can become its own opposite.”
I think this is a really good point about pity, sometimes, too much pity can be a bad thing and not only unhelpful, but damaging for a person, 'keeping the person infantile' She goes on to talk of pity projected outwards as a way of avoiding, or rather, indulging the negative animus as it is easier to look outside than to admit the negative animus - shadow - figure within.

The motif of the man with the negative mother complex

p61 “Another aspect …at the back of many projections is that a woman may have a husband or lover of the type of the dwarf - that is, who is neurotic, or suicidal, or a sadistic kind of man with a negative mother-complex.”

More interesting stuff here about attaching p62 “herself to that which cannot be changed, (like a cause or movement or something) and, in a sense, actually live off it . (Emphasis mine) An example of this is the problem of the martyr wife and the drunken husband.
…There is a crucial time in woman's individuation when she must liberate herself from measureless pity.”

Interesting comment on Apuleius' novel “Amor and Psyche”: p63 “The author had a highly idealistic attitude and a positive mother complex. such men lack earthly or primitive aggressiveness and the instinctiveness represented by the robbers. The puer aeternus type of man has chthonic masculinity, but it is autonomous. Such men are cruel and destructive to women. If they transform that into firmness, then it becomes constructive. You could say that Lucius was overwhelmed with the chthonic shadow.”

p63-64 “Most men with a positive mother-complex are lazy, for the mother is the symbol of matter, and matter is inertia. …”

p64 “Every dark thing one falls into can be called an initiation. To be initiated into a thing means to go into it. …Even the worst things you fall into are an effort at initiation, for you are in something which belongs to you, and now you must get out of it.”

The beard (& hair)

Bluebeard fairytale : wonderful image of the destructive murderous animus, par excellence .
King Thrush-Beard : shows the transformation of the negative into the positive animus.

p65 “The hair which grows on the different parts of our body is reminiscent of our animal nature; … The hair on the head carries the projection of unconscious involuntary thoughts and fantasies, because these grow out of our heads.”

p66 “But what is the beard? It stands for something involuntary; it is the growth round the mouth. Thoughts and words bubble out of the mouth without your ever having through them - they talk themselves. … it is a logos (traditionally the dominion of the masculine) flow which is quite uncontrolled and unconscious and creates a lot of trouble.”

p68 “When someone dies in a dream, it shows that that specific personification is coming to an end. The psychological energy invested in it will appear on a different level, though sometimes, unfortunately , it reappears on the same level.”
I like this next bit…
“When somebody has a dream with a positive solution, within the layer of instinctive life possibilities, such a possibility is constellated. One is now fishing in waters where there are fish, whereas before there were none, or, according to the I Ching , one was hunting in a place where there were no deer.”
Worth reading on here about bringing the positive constellation to consciousness and the 'slip' between the positive dream and the integrated solution, i.e. knowing where the pond is, is one thing, actually fishing and catching a fish is another.
“Intuitive's especially, who are always ahead of themselves, sit back happily with a positive dream and think that the battle is won.”

p69 For an explanation on why the dwarf kept getting stuck in the tale. (the crude animus figure)

The handless maiden

The motif of not having hands

p70 “…as far as I have seen, is one that only occurs to heroines; it is ver widespread and has different causes.”

The theme of the miller in fairytales

p74 “The theme of the miller is very ambivalent in folklore.” He uses the power of water to do his work - through a machine. “The Greek word mechane means “a trick” … p75 He thus carries the projection of being the working devil and power fiend.”

p75 “So the miller is also the constructive god, a Hermes-Mercurius, and belongs in that mythological family. …So he can be said to have the mercurial quality of human consciousness which can be used for good or evil.”

I'm not quite sure what Von Franz is saying here about technology… (in reference to the miller, and his mechane , technological advancement that is coupled with the mercurial character)
p75 “I do not wish to speak here of the demoralization through technology in our civilization …but the problem is there constellated in its nucleus, the abuse of getting oneself out of a difficulty by a conscious trick. What we now lose on the scale is our own soul; we are doing the same thing as the miller, thinking that we are just sacrificing a bit of nature.”
What has this to do with technology?? …or is it that we no longer have time for nature, i.e. thus sacrificing nature?? …she does continue to explain, although I'm not sure I entirely agree with her.
… “ No longer have we a share in the emotional experiences of our ancestors … There is a whole scale of emotion which enriches our lives and links us with our ancestry. Industrial technology steals that, and we never notice what we are losing unless we go back and pick up the threads, for at least a part of the year.”
I don't disagree that there is a foolish sacrifice on the part of the miller in our tale and that the apple tree is not just an apple tree. However, technology is not to blame for that - it seems to me Von Franz is mixing topics here. There is the foolish giving up of the apple tree without conscious realisation that it is connected to the psyche - the little girl. That nucleus of a theme is not in my opinion readily related to technology. Although she says that people should 'pick up the threads' for a part of the year, this I assume means a return to nature. I don't disagree, but technology is not to blame here - people have just found a distraction that allows them to avoid their psyche…and technology is that vehicle. It is a different topic altogether I think with the example she uses about the power station development being the reason trees are being cut down - that is not technologies fault, that is simply progress. It is inevitable - from the moment Thoth (or Seshat = one of his wives, the goddess of writing) first presented writing as an invention to Tammuz. Tammuz is angry saying that writing will now stop people from remembering things and they will stop using their heads as much to remember. How is this progress any different from the progress of technology - where is the line? I absolutely believe there needs to be a balance and we cannot do without nature, but that does not make technology bad.

Speaking of the miller, an interesting point on the stance of consciousness …
p76 “Why it is only he who suffers, (as a single aspect - an animus figure) what has he done wrong, what laws of life has he ignored? It looks as though it was his own individual trouble. Symbolically seen, the intellectual qualities of the human mind have the quality of wearing off after a certain time. One aspect of consciousness has been used too long and become routine, and then the thing is at its end.”
I wonder what this looks like in real life? …she goes on to give some examples. There is a point here about the miller's energy running out and the reason he deals with the devil is a desire to continue in the old way instead of realising there are other possibilities.
p77 “In insisting on continuing in the old way, he sells his psychological possibilities to the devil.”
von Franz gives an e.g. of a young woman next. I like the reference to the hands though…
“She had the choice either of keeping her hands and falling into the devil's hands or of refraining from all mental activities - that is, of losing her hands.”

Lecture VI

The motif of the king who has a garden

Speaking of the king with the fruit garden in the handless maiden tale
p80 “The motif of the king who has a garden with beautiful fruit in it which invisible powers steal is very usual. In general, as Jung says in his chapter on the king and queen in Mysterium Coniunctionis, the king represents the dominant content of collective consciousness, and therefore is usually a symbol of the Self, but he is a visible aspect of it, relatively understood in collective consciousness.”
(Emphasis mine)
“Such representations of the Self, as seen in collective consciousness, always risk no longer expressing the totality of what the Self represents, but only one or other aspect, …”

Von Franz talks here now of the thief - the hand maiden now as a thief - as the “personification of an unconscious content that attracts libido from consciousness.”(Emphasis mine)
This last part of the energy moving away from consciousness, from the ego is important. When something constellates internally, it takes energy from consciousness…stuff is going on in the unconscious. When the feminine aspect - the anima, takes energy from the collective consciousness, i.e. steal fruit from the garden,
“a sullen opposition in the collective unconscious appears. …“
There is further explanation here into p81 about what Von Franz interprets in the girl 'stealing from the garden'. Psychologically the maiden - the feminine - is forcing the man to do something, to respond.

p81 “Apples are looked upon as a masculine symbol and pears as a feminine symbol.”

In considering the apple and the garden of Eden Von Franz says something quite interesting;
p82 “It is as though now it is a sin not to become conscious, whereas originally it was felt that it was a sin to become conscious (Eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. becoming conscious). … We are still confronted with the paradox that it is a sin to become conscious and a sin to remain unconscious.”

p82 “The solution of keeping out of the devil's hands by keeping out of life is only a temporary one.” (Cf. p52 above on the motif of being 'out of life'.)
p83 “Many young girls refrain from studying or developing their minds, (i.e. having hands) because they rightly feel that if they did they would fall into animus possession and that would prevent them from marrying.” Perhaps not so much any more…but now we have the problem of too much animus in woman.

More here on the exchange of letters in the fairytale and what that means; 'the father complex of the daughter meeting the mother complex of the king'

p83 “If we take the king on a subjective level, not as the husband but as an inner figure, he would represent a collective dominating positive attitude. The woman would then adopt all the prevailing ideas concerning religion and duty and behaviour, …”

Really interesting paragraph here …
p84 “Instead of spontaneity, collective standards are adopted. (i.e. the silver hands)
… Instinct is replaced by the rule of the collective. but such people will be aware of a dead corner within them, of something unredeemed; and the restless seeking remains, as though the devil stirred in the background and would not leave them alone.”

p85 “Thus the girl was forced to go into the forest and there met the angel. If there is such a zero point where life is reduced to absolutely nothing, the fairy tale says then go completely into nature, and, in my experience, this is often the right thing.”

About the encounter with the angle in the forest…there are other versions where it is not necessarily an angle, Cf. p86…but what is important, is the tale indicates a religious experience.
p86 “Practically, this means that only a religious experience can help the woman out of her difficulty. …
Collective standards do not help. She has first to reach the zero point and then in complete loneliness find her own spiritual experience, which would be personified by the angel.”

p88 ” Mutatis Mutandis, the problem for men is similar where the anima has been hurt by the mother's animus. A man may be able to talk about it, but he cannot bring up from within the genuine chthonic masculine reaction and be himself definitely masculine. He lives according to what he believes to be the masculine pattern.”

p90 Very interesting - Von Franz goes off on a tangent here I think - but nicely so, about the sun as the archetype of the Self as a symbol of the collective consciousness. There is an aspect where the sun can burn things in tales, meaning that there are some things that should not be brought into collective consciousness but must remain a secret, individual.
“There are secret things of the soul that can only grow in the dark - the clear sun of consciousness burns the life away.”

The napkin and the motif of the veil (or Scarf, hand-kerchief)

p90 “If you take the king as a man, it would mean that he cannot reconnect with his anima - for the woman would represent his anima - without putting a napkin over his face, keeping himself away from the principle of collective consciousness.”
This kind of explanation always makes me suspicious …really???
…“If he represents in a woman the collective principle, it would mean that within her, her collective religious ideas, and her ideas of morality have to be set aside so that she can react with the spontaneous truths.”
p91 …“The napkin on the face is a beautiful picture - the collective values should be protected from the sun of too clear consciousness.”
More here about the napkin and the positive animus. The napkin is setting aside for a min the positive animus solution which is possibly correct but timing is not right…the correct timing is needed. There is more here too on the matter of 'veiling' and keeping things to oneself.
p92 “If one talks about certain things one behaves irresponsibly, though on a minor scale one must sometimes take a risk, but a person meant to live on a lower collective level could be destroyed. An analyst must interpret a dream carefully so that it may be within the range of the analysand's understanding, and not beyond it.”

Lecture VII

The motif of solitude for woman

p94 “This is a very frequent motif, and being excluded from life for many years seems to me typically to illustrate a problem of feminine psychology.
From the outside it looks like complete stagnation, but in reality it is a time of initiation and incubation when a deep inner split is cured and inner problems solved. This motif forms a contrast to the more active quest of the male hero, who has to go into the Beyond and try to slay the monster, or to find the treasure, or the bride. …. There seems to be a typical difference between the masculine and feminine principle, the latter being the more passive. The unconscious is experienced as isolation, and afterwards comes the return to life.”

p94 “But the anima never directly puts the problem of his Weltanschauung to a man; rather she puts him indirectly into a situation in which he has to revise his whole religious attitude towards life. The woman, on the other hand, is directly confronted with the problem of evil as soon as she goes into the unconscious, because the animus has to do with ideas and concepts.”

The woman who became a spider

p112 “This is a classical initiation dream but it goes wrong and, as the Eskimos, or the story, says - it is because of the weakness of the personality. This woman was a primitive peasant girl, and she was not big enough to swing it.” In being turned to a spider at the very end, Von Franz comments;
p101 “Interpreted psychologically, it seems that if there is a situation in which consciousness is too weak, the experience of the Beyond remains negative instead of positive.”

p102 Von Franz talks here of people who perhaps do not want to return to reality. This makes me think a little of the movie Avatar and the danger / depression that set in a bit after people watched the movie.

Regarding the head…
p103 “The girl is attracted to a ghost instead of a human bridegroom, and is very happy with him. It is a marvellous illustration of what we so dryly and technically express as “animus possession”, which is an abstract formula meaning that the woman is married to a “head” bridegroom and unattainable and unapproachable on the human side. …“
“You can see this in life when a girl begins to have her own ideas. The father hears his daughter and feels the animus growing and having disliked and loathed that in his wife, and in other women, when she too begins, he comes down on it.”

Von Franz goes on here p104 talking of development in boys and girls. It makes me wonder - as a tangent thought - how connected our psychic development is to the corporeal development in time and space. Assuming the unconscious is timeless, or rather, not bound by time, it means the wellspring of our conscious life has at its disposal the same content when we are 2 years old as when we are 92. However, our consciousness is obviously not able to integrate in the same way when we are 2 years old. That said, why does the animus in a boy suddenly go nuts when he is sixteen;“For instance, boys at the age of puberty, at about sixteen, when the eros problem first comes up… That is what the beginning of heterosexuality and the first awakening of the anima looks like.” This ties in that the body is intimately linked with the psyche in some way - for example, the boy could not experience the anima sexually before his hormones allow him, so the portal to experience is governed in some way by our reality, the time and space restriction and the body is like a throttle to what we can handle.

p105 Of parents and their influence on us… ”…one is influenced not only by one's visible parents but by their unconscious, quite normally so, … I think it is a very rational, causal way of thinking always to say it is the father's animus or the mother's anima. Eveybody is born of parents who have a conscious and unconscious attitude.”
More here on the influence of parents…but then a cautionary note: “…if someone wants an analysis and to become conscious, they of course should give up the constant, infantile causal outlook that something cannot be helped since it is a legacy from the parents, for that is a completely infantile attitude.”
p106 “The only way, I think, is to take the responsibility for what one is, and to make an enormous effort to interrupt the curse or the chain which goes on from one generation to another. …
The one who should become conscious is the one who has to stop the curse that goes on through the generations.”

The moon

p107 Von Franz here talks of not stereo typing the roles of gods and goddesses in tales. She mentions Sedna, who lives at the bottom of the sea. “One must not fall into a schematical way of thinking and say that the moon is feminine and that the goddess of fertility is a mother-goddess. Even in Roman times the moon-god was hermaphroditic.”
“So the moon is not always feminine, but it is a nature god and a spirit of fertility.”

p108 An interesting commentary on Egypt and their gods where the roles were reversed; feminine sky and masculine earth. There is a reversal in the Egyptian civilization.
It then gets interesting in considering nature as a masculine principle and what that would mean? In a man for example;

“But men who have the introverted feeling attitude and do not believe in doing things, or, if they do them, do not feel that it is the essential thing, will experience nature more as an active male principle of life and themselves as recipients of its gifts.” As opposed to the man as a hunter who would view nature as the feminine …definitely worth a read here.

p109 “If a woman dreams about the moon-god, that indicates her feeling vis-a-vís the unconscious (vis-a-vís = 'in relation to') - she is passive and cannot realise that she could do something. The unconscious is something active which affects her and she only asks for something.”
This is very interesting but must be read in the context of the foregoing explanation of the reversal of roles where nature is a masculine principle, i.e. the moon god, and the attitude is one of reception, to receive passively, nature sends them their bounty as opposed to the attitude of the masculine hunting in nature having to deal with a feminine nature principle.

p110 Von Franz talks here briefly about the 'ineligibility' of the individuation process for some people. Dream material will tell - in the details, and in this tale of the spider woman there are such details; her choice of the wrong path up to the heavens and not earth, and when she opened her eyes a minute too late.
More discussion here about the Eskimo's and Shamanism.

Lecture VIII

The six swans

The seven ravens

p114 “… two tales illustrate the woman's animus problem of being removed from the world and out of life.”<br/ There is an idea mentioned again here that the woman's journey is different to the man; where the man take on a heroic journey, the feminine quest is more passive, a removing from life, of reflection in selecting the right path.

The motif of the sister who redeems her brothers

Note the number symbolism in each tale = 8 at the end of the tale. A complete number. This is mentioned by Von Franz in Redemption Motifs in Fairytales Cf'ing Jung Psychology and Alchemy, CW12.
p117 “Thus, however it starts, at the end there are eight, which we can say in both cases has to do with the famous problem of the relationship of seven to eight: it is the variation of the three to four problem, which plays such an important role in number symbolism. From Jung's commentary on dreams in the first part of Psychology and Alchemy, you can see that the step from three to four, the assimilation of the fourth function, is a very difficult stage in psychological evolution.”
“In number symbolism seven is usually regarded as the number of the evolutionary process, of the seven planets of classical astrology.” Cf.



The number seven

p118 “Jakob Boehme, the mystic who went into a great deal of number symbolism, says that seven is the tension between the spiritual Holy Trinity above and the four elements of earth below; the eight is the lightning which suddenly connect the two, the seven calling for the eighth. St. Augustine also speaks of the symbolism of the seven. He say the six days of the week correspond to the work of the Creation in Genesis, and on the seventh day God rested, that is the day of the Lord. The you think it stops with the seven, but, he says, all that is still in Time, the eighth would be Eternity. So we must count the eighth element and that would be a “not in Time” element; so eight carries, like four, the meaning of the Self, totality aspect; one steps out of the process of evolution and into the eternal static state.”

Cf. Jung's notes on lightning appearing theriomorphically as a horse.

In the six swans tale, p118 “The king represents the dominating principle of collective consciousness and in fairy tales is very often ill or in a difficult situation.”
Cf. p80

The motif of 'nodding' (or mechanical back and forth)

…as with the old woman in the six swans tale

p118 “Mechanical nodding is often attributed to demonic figures. …either nodding or swinging on a fiery swing gives a similar idea. It is a basic archetypal idea that demons have a mechanical swinging movement, expressing the idea of to having been redeemed. …

p119 …thus, such mechanical eternally repeating movements are in mythology attributed to demons or cursed beings.
… The mother-goddess herself is said to have this aspect; it is the dark side of the divine principle itself which manifests in this meaningless movement, and it is that which gives the old woman the demonic aspect.” … “If the dominant principle of collective consciousness is worn out, then the children would be the promise of the new thing, the new principle, …“
Reading further, the existing conscious attitude will try to cling to the old ways “and prevent the renewal”. There is more interesting discussion on this into p120, where Von Franz asks the question, why does the king hide the children in the forest. Here I see an aspect of my own life even. In the balance of a new principle = the children, but not quite letting go of the past = my current job/money etc. Its a balancing act, and very difficult. Sometimes the balance shifts from now the children and their priorities, to now the new marriage with the evil stepmother and the old way. Jumping ahead a little bit here, Von Franz says on p125 “In a man, the girl would represent that part of his anima which is connected with certain unconscious thoughts not accepted in traditional consciousness. Seen from a feminine angle it would mean that the woman, particularly in our civilisation, tends to be connected with officially rejected thoughts.

The Swan & the Raven

p120 “The raven and the swan are both birds of Apollo (Masculine) and in many ways very similar.”

Cf. Dictionary of Symbols
The swan has hermaphroditic associations: the neck being ithyphallic while the smooth white body related to the feminine, so the two in one.

p122 “The swan can be said to represent an aspect of the unconscious psyche. Like all birds, it has its timeless analogy and demonic qualities which represent intuitions and hunches, sudden ideas and feelings which come from nowhere and go again.
Constant, conscious effort is required to keep these inner entities (Anima and Animus) in their human connection with consciousness, because the natural tendency is to switch away again … Therefore, negatively, the swan is the flighty inhuman quality of the anima. But in positive form, it is greater knowledge and the possibility of the greater inner realisations of life.
Martin Ninck's book, Wodan und germanischer Schicksalsglaube, speaks of the swan as the natural companion of Wotan.
If something which has already been in human consciousness is forced into a swan garment, it has a regression.”

Minnedienst : homage rendered by a knight to his lady.

p123 “Not only in the Germanic bt also in North American Indian and Eskimo mythology, the raven has always been a white bird. In the North American Indian and the circum-Polar mythologies it is the great light bringer, a Promethean figure which got so burnt as to become black when bringing down light and fire to mankind. So the raven is a creating and light bringing god.”
p124 “The crow is looked upon as the raven's wife, just as the horse is the husband of the cow - there is a kind of mythological relationship between them. The raven has become an ambiguous bird, for when Noah sent it out from the ark it found land but fed on the corpses and did not return.
In an article by Father Hugo Rahner on the heavenly and the earthly spirit, the heavenly spirit is the dove, and the spirit of the devil and the witches is the raven.”
There is a positive side too though to the Raven…
“The raven is also a messenger of God and carries divine help to saints, particularly hermits.”

Von Franz talks here of birds and thoughts a bit.

p125 “A depression is best overcome by going into it, not fighting it - …
A depression is really meant to re-connect one with the divine principle.”

She goes on to talk of the feminine and the masculine approach to things very briefly…
p126 “It is mythologically true that women are more connected with ideas in their statu nascendi. There they have greater freedom and are connected with the rejected and the newly appearing contents of the unconscious.”

The skin or garment

In relation to the shirts that the girl has to make to redeem her brothers, and the shirts that caused the curse, and the animal 'skin' they now move about in, i.e. the bird skin (a regression)…
p126 “The skin, or garment, indicates the modus, or the way in which one appears, or it can be the mask, or the persona - the skin or garment under which you hide.”

Interesting…Cf this with a fairytale like bearskin…
p127 “When you cannot express yourself, you drop back into the animal skin. When wrapped up in an affect you cannot present its basic idea. It must first be differentiated and integrated before you can express it.”
I find this very interesting, especially with the tale like bearskin - where he perhaps cannot express and is lost under the bear skin then until he can differentiate and integrate what it means before he can express himself, get to know himself. Also, the tale of the Goose girl by the well …where the young girl was beneath an old lady skin that she washed and bleached by the moon light. Not sure what this means.
Worth reading further on this page about integration of the animal skin and bring the human back to human life.

The Sewing Of Garments

p127 ” Sewing the star shirts, therefore, would mean working for many years in the deepest introversion and concentration, in order to find the human way to let these irrational unconscious contents - swans - reappear in human life in a way which does not shock or disintegrate the conscious world.”
p128 “Sometime animus possession can be recognised, but sometimes at the bottom of your criticism or resistance is a true statement of yourself, when you can just agree to differ from the other person. Then separation from the participation mystique, and from the herd instinct, is an aspect of individuation.” I find this interesting, the release from participation mystique

Lecture IX

p129 Revisiting the of Sewing of the garments as a motif to give expression to unconscious contents; “They could be contents of a more spiritual nature by which to express ideas , unconscious thoughts, or emotional contents , which would imply finding a way of expressing feelings or emotions in a humanly adequate manner. It is generally both, for emotion usually also contains the idea of a concept; and, vice versa, a thought which comes from the unconscious generally contains a tremendous amount of emotion.”

The motif of the star coming from below

p129 ”…is archetypal and was of great importance also in alchemical thinking. Paracelsus, …and one of his pupils, Gerhard Dorneus, or Dorn …had the idea that stars and herbs correspond astrologically. This thought has its origin in the Aristotelian Arabic ideas of the Middle Ages, namely that every flower or herb has an astrological correspondent and is the earthly image of an astrological constellation.“
Think here of Paracelsus who thought to find out the problem and cure by using herbs that represented the problem in the patient where the problem could be described from their astrological chart. So the above and below meet, and the below is used to bring alignment back to the patient and thus cure them. Cf. Paracelsus talking about cures and plants… herbarium spirituale sidereum

Von Franz goes on here to talk of the germs of archetypal, content, the germ behind the unus mundus, and the term Constellation and what we mean when we say something is constellated in someone…we don't really know, but we know something is there. The germ of things …worth a read.

I like this…
p132 “Etymologically, the word constellation comes from astrology. As Jung says, astrology is a medieval, scientific attempt to describe synchronicity with the help of, or by watching, synchronistic events in the sky. The stars are a beautiful mixture of order and disorder; there are regular and irregular events, like meteors. Behind the word constellation there is a whole mystery; one knows, more or less, what one means by it, but it points to a mystery.”

Worth reading last paragraph on this page about how we 'humanise' unconscious content, by using myth and folklore to have enough knowledge of 'archetypal constellations with which to sew shirts'.

p132-133 “Flowers, in general, also have to do with feeling. …That she used star flowers points to the feminine need of a feeling realisation of the archetypal constellation; for in a woman realisation takes place via feeling, such enlightenment comes to her in that realm.”

The motif of climbing a tree

p133-134 Worth reading …
p133 “But in comparative religion, the tree, and the climbing of a tree, as the meaning of approaching heaven, of going up to the top of a mountain to converse with the gods and the ghosts who are supposed to be in the sky. …“
p134 “Sitting in a tree, therefore, means retreat from reality and retiring into what is threatening. It is as though, instead of avoiding the thing which threatened, one retired into it. One trusts that thing.”

The motif of not laughing or speaking

pp135 “On the other hand, when one decides not to talk about something in order to keep it inside and allow it to grow, neither spoilt nor contaminated by the vulgar thought of collective consciousness, then silence becomes the quality of consciously and silently covering up a mystery, in order that it may become a religious conscious activity. Silence protects the content of the unconscious against collective misunderstanding externally and in oneself as well.”

She mentions here again the double life problem, i.e. when the queen is now married and having children but at the same time is silent and working on the shirts for her brothers. She leads a secret life. Cf. p119 where there is hanging on, or still living in the old way, not wanting to let go but also, moving to a new way…and there is a tension there, that the evil mother-in-law enacts.

The motif of a double life

p135 “This motif comes up in the middle of the thirteenth century. It is archetypal …so it must be very essential and typical. … The double life problem is, on one way, connected with the king, the dominant of the collective consciousness, for she is the queen.

The motif of the unfinished shirt

Where the one brother is left with a wing
p137 Von Franz quoting: “Something of the heavens remains with us, awkward to carry.”
” …It is like a religious and spiritual question mark which can never be integrated and perhaps should not be, for then everything would be too clear and too settled. One would know all about it and that would be death. … Even the best (interpretation) is never the whole, and is only relatively satisfactory. The archetypal basis must remain a mystery, which the best interpretation cannot solve….”
This is right, because to concretise something with a complete understanding would make it too conscious and that can not be when we try to understand the unconscious content, no interpretation or symbol is ever quite complete - that is why there are so many variants.

The motif of the heavenly journey

p138 “In the story of the ravens there is a difference, for instead of climbing a tree the girl goes on a long journey. She goes to the sun and moon and stars and gets help from the morning star, which is the variation of the archetypal motif call the “heavenly journey”. It is also to be found with the shamans and in antiquity, as well as in the Book of Enoch in Jewish tradition. … there is very often a reversal of values in which the sun is the most evil power, the moon rather evil, and the night with its teeming stars beneficial, in contrast to the usual interpretation by which the sun is the source of enlightenment, …
This motif is to be found in most mystery journeys concerned with the problem of eros, of love, but when it is a question of going into the Beyond to fin spiritual and mental illumination, the sun is of the higher value. “
Cf. the napkin above, about bringing things to consciousness (the Sun), but rather, some things should remain hidden…and here,
“The most beneficent power for the girl on this journey is the morning star i.e., Venus, the principle of love and all its symbolism. Venus, the principle of eros par excellence, helps her. There are problems which cannot be solved by following them into consciousness, but only by following one's own feeling, and that is very often essential in a woman's process of individuation.”

The crooked bone

(or the wish bone in the chicken, or double cherries)
p139 It has something to do with a love charm.
She then goes on to discuss the girl cutting off her finger to replace the bone - a great sacrifice, and ego sacrifice.

p140 “Mercury is connected with the little finger, so its sacrifice would be the cutting off of mercurial planning or plotting, the ego use of it - using the cleverness of the witch for ego purposes. …One needs to sever the little finger, to sacrifice the ego plan and hand the whole thing over to the Self.”

Interesting point on p140 about the mans experience when starting to work with the unconscious, the anima imposes on him knowledge and concepts and a Weltanshauung, whereas for the woman, her animus will try to dominate and she must sacrifice her ego - the little finger, to be able to understand, or else the conscious ego and logic will abuse what her natural feminine psyche (anima) is in touch with.

p140 Re the Glass Mountain: “Glass illustrates a condition of being partially cut off. …That is being partly cut off, not intellectually, but emotionally; one is imprisoned by the glass wall. The spirit can also be a negative imprisonment, if an emotional experience was intended.” I think here the term spirit means the intention, or driving force behind an idea….as shown in the example she gives about love, concluding: “Thus what would have been the spirit becomes imprisonment and a hindrance. It is paradoxical, the spirit redeems one if too emotionally involved, and imprisons one if one does not live enough.”

p141 “Nothing cuts a woman off more from inner and outer life than ego plots, (Cf. the little finger ego sacrifice here and the glass mountain, i.e. being cut off) for in them is a kind of mechanism which arrests life and stops the process. …Creativeness is the alternative for intriguing and plotting…”

p142 Very interesting, of the tale The seven ravens Von Franz sees this as a 'cure' in the individuation process, but that the individuation process is simply halted at this point in the tale - “The girl goes home with her parents; it is a restitution of the former infantile situation and the dwarf is left behind.” So not like in The Six Swans where the girl is married.

Lecture X

The beautiful Wassilissa (Russian version of 'Cinderella')

p147 “In fairy tales the age of fourteen or fifteen is often an important age for a girl since it is a transition stage and the end of early childhood.
… In general, as you are aware, ruling persons in fairy tales represent dominants of collective consciousness, and the heroes are often poor peasant people.
Interesting; regarding the role of the wife in this tale - but also in other fairytales I think - The merchant's wife dies suddenly. As shown by the fact that she has no name, she would represent the average feminine type in life, the habitual type repeated over and over again in a country.”

p148 “The general motif is that after the death of the positive mother figure, something unnatural and numinous survives, i.e., the ghost of the mother, a fetish in which the mother's positive ghost is incorporated.”

The Human Level

p148 “What does it mean when a human being is replaced by a cat or a ghost? Archetypal contents sometimes appear in human and sometimes in other shapes. if they approach consciousness, then they come in human form. Human personification of a content of the unconscious shows that it can be integrated on the human level. …
The death of an archetypal figure is its de-personification, for archetypes cannot die.”
Interesting point here about the positive mother complex, and potential disadvantage to prevent individuation if the daughter remains and does as the positive mother did. Then as in this fairy tale, p149 “If the mother dies, that means, symbolically, a realisation that the daughter can no longer be identical with her, though the essential positive relationship remains.”

p149 “Again and again it is the great problem in feminine psychology. Woman, even worse than men, tend to identify with their own sex, and to remain in this archaic identity.” Needs context here - read this page

p149-150 The Doll
…” I think the early relationship of the child with the doll or with the washcloth, carried the earliest projections of the Self.”

The mother daughter relationship - some comments on p150-151 …worth a read.
p151 “The mother must take back all her projections on the daughter and become individual herself, and that is very difficult for all woman. You hear of mothers eating their sons but in many cases they are in a worse way tied up with their daughters. … In a woman's psychology the Self is represented by an older or a younger woman, just as for men there is the older man of younger man, the senex et puer, the God-Father and God-Son, the father and the boy, i.e., the oldest and the youngest. It is the eternally old or the eternally young woman and probably has to do with the timelessness of the Self. If the Self appears as a young person in a woman's material, it means the newly and consciously discovered Self. The the Self is my daughter. But in so far as the Self is also always within me, the Self is my mother, and existed long before my ego consciousness. … That is why the Self is like the father and son in male psychology and mother and daughter in feminine psychology.”

p152 “This is an archetypal motif: where the pearl is, there is also the dragon, and vice versa. They are never separate.” Von Franz commenting on the moment of Self realisation = the girl when her mother dies in the tale, and she receives the doll. At this point, when the dawn of light = individuation starting, the Self entering, appears, so does the 'darkness break in'. She also mentions the alienating aspect that arises at the moment someone becomes aware and steps apart from the collective, from the current unconscious level - there is a sense of not belonging, when the Self is statu nascendi = in the ascension, about to begin. .
p153 “A woman who gets the first hunch of the Self is immediately attacked, not only by the stepmother outside, but from within, by the inner stepmother, i.e., the inertia of the old collective pattern of femininity, that regressive inertia which always pulls one back to do the thing in the least painful way.”

The motif of the mother complex in a man

p154 ”…one of the great tricks of the mother-complex in the man is always to implant doubt in his mind, suggesting that it might be better to do the other thing; and then the man is lamed. (In the context of the current narrative and e.g. story ..) But the boy in the story says, “Grandmother, you should not ask such questions of a hero! Give me something to eat, and if you don't …!” Whereupon the Baba Yaga goes and cooks him a marvellous dinner and gives him good advice, and it works! So it depends on the boy's attitude. She tries to make him infantile, but when she sees he is up to her, she helps him.” I think this motif is very important

The pestle and mortar

(p156 “an instrument of contrition”)
p155 “She sits in a vessel that serves to pulverize matter. … In former times, …the simplest way of getting such a material was to burn everything to ashes, and call that the basic material, or to pulverize it to the finest dust in a mortar, and the projection was that that was the prima materia, (speaking of the alchemists) the most elemental basic element of matter. … Tero is to grind, and from it is derived a very interesting word used in religion, namely contritio, contrition ( = to feel remorseful and penitent.) …by contrition you can be healed of all your sins. (I find this very interesting now, and resonate with it quite a lot actually)” It is a realisation of the shadow, which goes so deep that one can say nothing more about anything.
… p156 Therefore, it is the turning point. The ego in its negative aspect has been pulverised, has reached the end of its selfish willfulness, and has to give in to greater powers. … Hence her archaic connection with the principle of death. Many people …reach this stage of complete contrition only when they have to face death.“

Separating the Grain

p156 - comments on the separating of the grain (like in Amor and Psyche), and the difference between how men and woman see and deal with detail, i.e. separating out.

Lecture XI

p158 The corn seeds
”…have very much to do with the underworld mother-goddess and, among other things, are a symbol of the souls of the dead and of the ancestral ghosts.“

p159 The poppy seeds
”… also point to the world of the dead and the ghosts. … So poppy seeds have to do with the mystery of sinking into the Beyond, the underworld, and getting into touch with its secrets.“

p159 Referring to the problem of multiplicatio in Alchemy; ”… The psychological analogy seems to have to do with the fact that when one succeeds consciously and positively to relate to an archetypal constellation, the effect is widespread.“

p159-160 Interesting comment on woman and inflation. The e.g. she gives is something even I have experienced…worth a read as I think this is a good simple e.g. of what inflation is most of the time.

p165 “That is exactly the work of the sorting of the seeds, trying to become conscious down to the very bottom of the situation and then to know what's what, and what has what effect, and to be as humbly conscientious about it as possible, but without inflation or making sweeping statements. … and to do it for a long time would be the woman's heroic deed. Such work strengthens consciousness and the feeling of responsibility, …”

The three pairs of hands

p165-166 ”…for it is an archetypal motif which has many variations which are very revealing.“

The Grimm tale "Mrs. Trude" (Frau Trude)

p166 ”…the Great Mother-goddess, generally lives in close association with the dark underworld godhead, i.e., the devil, and there is very often this triadic structure. In our civilisation, this triad is a compensation to the upper trinity. Just as the Virgin Mary would be the female figure in the upper trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost - with the Virgin Mary a little outside, so there is a quaternity below with Frau Trude (The mother goddess, or Frau Trude in the Grimm story she is quoting) and three aspects of the devil, the divine underworld totality against the spiritual and positive divine totality. The three pairs of cut-off hands, therefore, probably refer to the same kind of secret, namely that close association of this mother-goddess with the last ultimate principle of evil, of what we project as the devil - the ultimate evil and destructiveness, which there is at the bottom of the abyss of every human creature.“ … More on the shadow and cruelty of nature

p168 “So Mother Nature's attitude depends on the human being. …the fact that Wasillissa does not ask about the hands saves her life, but the “Frau Trude” child pokes into secrets which should be ignored.”

p169-170 An interesting discussion here of the scientific view on things like war, the ability to rationlise evil in some way - against natural human nature. That is the danger of 'curiosity' as shown with the little girl in Frau Trude where her curiosity gets the better of her. This is an underdeveloped animus (according to Von Franz) …it is the abuse I think of the animus trait of rationalism…the ability to look at war (in the example she gives by a guy called Nikolai, The biology of war and argue that perhaps it could be a good thing). Worth a read. She gives a concluding statement about scientists working on the atom bomb for e.g.; p170 “They speak of mass destruction and how to deal with it; they are possessed by the hands.” I wonder what she means here exactly, with the hands reference…the ego? Oh right, its the fairy tale of Wasillissa and the hands of Baba Yaga, the earth mother goddess. She calls it a 'demonic mind', the 'demonic coldness of nature'….cruel. This can be necessary, to be comfortable with cruelty, death etc, in the case of the police, or a doctor, or even an analyst, “But if one doesn't know what one does, one becomes completely devilish oneself. … I think, to a certain extent, it is a woman's task to hold onto the personal side against the spirit of natural science. A doctor has to expose himself and say that he cannot be sentimental but has to face such things and be detached.”

p172 Very interesting discussion on striving to do good out of ethical and moral principles as opposed to natural goodness. The former often brings with it expectations, is 'against nature' as Von Franz says and 'has a secret counter effect.' I absolutely agree with this…there is a subtlety in doing things right, of ” transcending the ethical and getting into something which is perhaps the nearest to being absolutely good. “ This makes me think of my own thoughts in a relationship where a couple - I think - should live independently as one, be able to rely wholly on their partner, but not be reliant. Be able to depend completely on them, but not be dependent. It is a paradox.

The motif of not asking

Bottom of p172. Although this motif is mentioned and discussed at some length already with the Frau Trude (p166) tale mentioned above and the girl whose curiosity got the better of her, she poked into a secret and was killed.

The motif of lying and being rewarded

p173-175 Worth a read. She uses the over basic example of an analyst spotting an analysands shadow but perhaps lying about it till the right time so not to blow-up the relationship. There is more …

p175 “The unconscious is nature in man, so you must say that nature, the psychic nature in man, describes nature as wanting to become more human and less cruel.” This is very interesting. She goes on… “We can only say that nature mirrors itself in the unconscious as something infinitely horrible and cruel, just as we see it, but that it has a secret longing to get out of that. So this is a source of certain optimism.” I'm not sure I agree. Nature as a mirror of our unconscious as we perceive it perhaps, but nature in itself, as Von Franz says on the same page - 'we do not know'. I don't think nature is seeking to get out of being cruel or horrible…nature is not cruel or horrible, it just is.

p175 “That is why in reverence of the chthonic god in antiquity, people turned away and covered their faces, and when they prayed to Hecate they put on a black veil not to see her - in order not to become her.”

Lecture XII

p176 “There are myths which explain the incompleteness of nature as the result of a fall, or of destruction, or of disappointment of a goddess.”
Why is nature incomplete? …who said that?

Von Franz mentions and discusses the Eskimo goddess Sedna here a bit…
She goes on to say that - referring to the Kabbala - the incompleteness in nature is the separation of male and female, and that 'the reunion of the male and female principle', the hierosgamos is what is needed. Sure, I agree about that for us, but nature? She does tend to jump around a bit! She moves on to evil and,
p178 ”…we have to ask ourselves what it could mean if the myths seem sometimes to recommend tactfully ignoring evil. What would be the right instinctive attitude at the back of such a religious attitude?“ Cf above the motif of lying and not poking into a secret, and Cf top of page 179, 'religious attitude'.

p178 ”…the fear of God.“ She talks further of this…and some good points I think that resonate with Jung of course around a religious attitude and being humble in the presence of a divinity. We cannot look at pure evil she says, but I would add that we can also not look at pure good; as with God or with Zeus in the many myths…as mortals, we cannot.

p179-180 Von Franz talks here about encountering such 'evil' within someone as for example when you know that arguing with someone (possessed) is not going anywhere, you are blocked. She talks about how this might be with an analysand. This, she says, should be handled in silence, as the fairytale implies. With regards the silence, when confronted with this 'evil', p180 talks of 'walking away in silence' even if you have lots to say that may be true. It makes me think of the tenet 'why am I saying this?…for who, them or me?' When it is for you and for the sake of saying your own truth whether that person wants to hear it or not, then it is for you, not them and should not be said, unless it is part of a human discussion. This can be like inflation too, p180 “to pursue shadow problems that are not one's own.”

This is a good 'summary' in a sense…
Σ p180 “I think the great danger of the Christian teaching, of the privatio boni, of the nonexistence of evil, is that it causes an inflation of the good, a wrong kind of inflated optimism. The idea that we can clear up the dark corners of nature (I would add here, 'in man', as I'm still no convinced of the idea of clearing up the dark corners in nature per se, its the psyche as a manifestation of nature. We are different to nature though, but the same.) and the Godhead has given the white civilization an enormous drive and optimistic élan, but also inflation. it is a very subtle problem, because if one did not believe in the possibility of cleaning out dark and dusty corners in the human soul, and thus improving the situation of the human being, one could not be an analyst. But when that optimism goes an inch too far, you are inflated.”

Σ p190 “This light, rational attitude is really an inheritance from the Platonic, Neo-platonic, and Stoic philosophies and not an influx from genuine Christian teaching.”

p182 “You could say that the absolute knowledge in the human soul knows of good and evil and that one cannot escape. Conscience is not without reason related to the word “consciousness”. Conscience is a form of ethical consciousness which one cannot escape, even if the police do not catch us.”

p182-183 It is important to know your shadow. Not least of all so that you can understand your weaknesses, and, identify the shadow/evil in others. Otherwise you remain naive and fall victum to the tricks of others. Von Franz is a little harsh when she says of those people who are harmed by the evil tricks of others, “But indirectly, they themselves are guilty for they haven't sufficiently realised the evil within themselves.”
I.e. they have not taken a look at their shadow.
p183 “One can thus avoid evil, but only by knowing how evil one is oneself, for only then has one an immediate, instinctive awareness and recognition.”

Λ p185 “A lack of desire to live can be genuine … But this lack of desire may also be seen in persons who are merely not connected to, or unaware of, the depths of darkness. They are, as it were, too good and have illusions about their own goodness. If one penetrates the horror of the destructive darkness of one's own nature and the wish for death, then normally there come counter-reaction and the desire to live. This positive instinct springs from the realisation of opposites. Living means murdering from morning to evening; we eat plants and animals.
…The whole of natural life is based on murder.
…living is guild, in a certain sense. The realisation of destruction and the wish to live are very closely connected.”

p188 “If I try to be better than my instincts permit, I cease to do good.” We must be true to instinct. …'the animal is stronger than either black magic or book knowledge.' I.e. the instincts..

p189 “The important thing is to be true and natural and genuine in one's own nature, that is more important than to be artificially ethical or unethical.”

p191 ”….and now we return to what one would call plain, positive humanness, the ultimate state of transformation.“

The beautiful fine silk clothes
p192 “That is what the differentiated anima gives the man and what consciousness gives to a woman - the capacity for living the “just-so-ness” of life, something very mysterious and very subtle. It gives the intimate attitude which can take things just as they are instead of making sweeping judgments, and it gives the subtlety of the feeling touch.”

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  • Last modified: 2017/02/17 22:26
  • by janus