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consciously sacrifices one of the most profound female instincts, maternal feeling for her child. The individuation process leads here to a sacrifice and thus to a making conscious to the ultimate degree of merely blind instinctive motherliness,87 and it is precisely this sacrifice that “redeems” the archetype of the dark mother through this process of making conscious, in other words, that brings it back, in the figure of the new queen, to its meaningful psychic function.88 During this last trial, the young queen’s mother-in-law, the king’s mother, suddenly appears as a negative figure and a helper of the black woman in her tormenting role, so that in effect during the day and out in the open the girl is plagued by the old queen, and at night and in secret, by the black woman. By itself this episode of the queen’s being falsely accused of infanticide is a well-known old motif89 that stems from medieval times, and it is found as an element in the plot of many other fairy tales, though in a different relationship to the overall meaning.90 The duality, however, of the slanderer is relatively rare. A Russian parallel to the present fairy tale, reworked from a Christian perspective, varies the motif in the following manner: The heroine in this case is named Maryushka and is the godchild of the Holy Mother and Godbearer Mary. In the forbidden room, the girl sees her godmother carrying and swaddling the Christ child and placing him on a throne. Later when Maryushka has become the queen, the Holy Virgin admonishes her to confess her transgression of her command, and she punishes the girl’s lying by each time ripping a hand or a foot off her child, sticking it in the mother’s mouth, and disappearing with the child. This causes her husband to repudiate her. When she finally admits the truth, she gets back her children and, finally, her husband too.91 This parallel illuminates the secret identity of the nocturnally appearing feminine figure and of the female slanderer who during the day portrays the queen as an infanticide.92 When the black woman is redeemed in the tale we have chosen as the main version, the old queen is burned as a witch. She represents a purely “destructive” (time-bound) shadow aspect of the black woman herself. Now the peripeteia of the tale reaches its climax: the young queen must be bound at the stake as a witch. The symbol of being burned represents the emotional suffering of the conflict reaching its most acute point, but even in this moment of the girl’s greatest torment, she still denies her deed. Thereupon, completely unexpectedly and as though by a miracle, the reversal

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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