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deity, as Adam did when he ate from the tree of knowledge.56 In fairy tales there is no such thing as a forbidden chamber that is never opened,57 and such a chamber always contains a tremendum numinosum.58 In the pre-Christian religions this factor was still contained within the religious framework, in that in most cults there was an adytum that could not be entered by lay people except after certain initiations. It was there that the essential religious mystery unfolded. Related to the framework of the individual, the forbidden chamber—for example, in dreams59—represents the “shell” of a complex that is fully splintered off and is therefore utterly incompatible with the prevailing set of conscious ideas. It is a content that provokes panic as well as fascination. But in this fairy tale the image reflects how one archetype is encapsulated vis-àvis the sphere of the rest of the archetypes. At this point, now, relationship to something outside the narrative becomes indispensable, for such a phenomenon cannot be explained without reference to a particular set of the collective conscious ideas. To wit, presumably the forbidden chamber contains, as in the dream of an individual, an archetypal content that is incompatible with the prevailing consciousness and therefore cannot function as an “organ of the soul.” As a result, it becomes energetically charged and thus is repelled by the other psychic contents and becomes isolated in a special position. Here it is the image of the dark mother that has clearly been repressed into such an encapsulated, and at the same time, highly charged special position in the unconscious. After all, even according to the fairy tale itself, there is a curse on the woman, and this curse must have been laid on her at some time by someone; that is, a previous drama is hinted at which led to the current situation. And there is indeed something like a fatal history for each individual archetype, a history that is connected with the human development of consciousness. Now this tale depicts an isolated and unredeemed state of the dark mother imago which obviously cannot function within the living wholeness of the psyche. The incompatibility of what the girl saw in the room is clearly confirmed by her immediate repulsion; and after she has refused to admit her deed, she is thrown into the darkness and misery of the forest,60 and even further into a state of total disorientation and loneliness. It looks as though this were the punishment for her lie, but we find out at the end that admission of her deed would have had much worse consequences still, for in that case, the black

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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