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could be called the problem of the right “jumping-in point” for the mythologem. For every mythical story is so much a unity and has such an integral form that, like a drop of water, it exhibits a kind of surface tension, which becomes palpable for the would-be interpreter in the feeling that he or she is helpless in confronting something that is really infinitely simple and of one piece; and that any interpretive grasping at a single image in the context would already destroy this perceived unity. And yet the story is not comprehensible without amplification and interpretive tracing of the thread of the mythologem. Jumping into the process of interpretation is thus always a matter of a decision that causes a psychological backlash in the interpreter, which often even shows up in dreams.18 What I am calling “jumping in” here corresponds to the notion of the “cut” in modern physics, where “every gain in knowledge of atomic objects through observation must be paid for with an irrevocable loss of other knowledge.”19 The location and choice of the cut is left rather freely to the discretion of the observer. In the interpretation of a mythologem, too, such a “cut” is inevitable and therefore certain potentialities for knowledge must also be sacrificed here. This is where the resistance comes from that many people feel against interpretive intervention with mythical images. In the location and choice of the “cut” or “jumping-in point” in the interpretation, the nature of the observer is always inevitably implicated. Therefore, relatively speaking, the most one can do to approach objectivity in interpretation is to try to make the choice of the jumping-in point as consciously as possible so that one is in a position to take it into account. In what follows, I shall attempt briefly to interpret a fairy tale that seems to illuminate certain problems related to the feminine principle. It is an Austrian fairy tale called “In the Black Woman’s Castle.”20 Once upon a time there was a crofter (Keuschlegger)21 who had seven children. When his eldest daughter was twelve years old, he wanted to find her a place as a maidservant, so he packed up her clothes and set out with her. As they were going along the road, a wagon without any horses drawing it came toward them and stopped in front of them. It was completely black, and a woman who was just as black looked out of it and offered to take on the girl as a maid. She gave the father some money and promised him a further sum if he brought the girl back to the same spot in eight days. “If she’s a good girl, things won’t go badly for her,” she said.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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