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Not only can the girl now perform magic, but in the course of the story more and more of the black woman’s attributes and conditions are transferred to her—suffering, being misunderstood, being isolated—until at the end she even inherits the castle and replaces the black woman in it. The archetypal ego, “properly” fulfilling its function, is more and more assimilated to the Self and finally becomes a new image of the Self. Or: the Self transforms ever more within itself, finally taking on a new form.50 Interpreting now in terms of the psychology of a man, we could compare the painful development of the girl with the suffering of the Gnostic figure of Sophia,51 which sinks into darkness and agnoia,52 because the masculine consciousness identifies too strongly with the world of light of the spirit and neglects the emotional side, the anima.53 Because of this, the anima regressively fuses with the mother imago and must be liberated from it, which in the present tale occurs through the action of the young king. But this does not yet explain why the black woman places the task of cleaning her castle in the girl’s hands, but hides her personal involvement in this as a numinous and horrible secret. As we mentioned above, when mythologically amplified, the castle is a symbol of the feminine self and thus also an analogy for the black woman herself.54 Also, in alchemy the castrum as well as the vas is considered as an image of the anima or mother; and the Virgin Mary is often praised as a tower or palace.55 The castle is the feminine symbol that contains the black woman and also the one that is inherited at the end by the girl from the disappearing redeemed figure. If the girl had just done the cleaning and had never known what she was doing to the black woman in the process, then she could have been compared to an alchemist who distilled his chemical substance and never had any inkling that his own psychic mysterium was mirrored in this. Such a person remains stuck in projection by definitively projecting her unconscious into what the Christian view sees as “dead” matter—just as in the present case the castle made of stone represents something inanimate. As a man-made construction, it would also be possible to regard the castle as a form for conceiving the numinous. In that case the cleansing of the castle would mean cleansing one’s own religious views from elements of the shadow, but not yet an immediate experience of the numinous itself, which would go beyond that. Only when the girl opens the door of the forbidden chamber and commits the sacrilege of seeking an immediate experience does she transgress into the realm of the

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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