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seems in no way commensurate with the threatened punishment.97 However, the words of the green maiden, “Child, how could you look upon me in my distress?” reveal that in the wrath of the dark mother, her rage about being caught in her shadow aspect by far outweighs her irritation over the transgression of her command. In my opinion, a parallel to this strange motif of denial is the so-called negative confession of sins of the ancient Egyptians. At the judgment of the dead in the beyond, the deceased enumerates a long list of sins with the assurance that he has not committed those. Despite this, it must be presumed that he knows of some that he did commit. As H. Jakobsohn has explained,98 for an Egyptian of those ancient times, confession of his sins would have seemed blasphemous, since he would thus be ascribing to himself the individual potentiality or power to stand up to the gods on his own. Thus the negative confession of sins is to be understood as a gesture of humility and awe. Still more archaic but it seems to me along the same lines of religious behavior is the gesture of “not doing the same thing” of the dairy farmers of Uri, Switzerland, whom E. Renner described in his book Goldener Ring über Uri (Golden Ring over Uri).99 Whenever anything extraordinary, that is, “numinous” happens, for example, when the “it” makes the cows disappear, or the mountain milking hut suddenly seems to have melted away by magic, then the most important thing for the dairyman is “not to do the same thing,” through which he avoids, as it were, getting emotionally entangled with the demonic; as a result “it” will let go of him.100 Although in these examples we have expressions from entirely different stages of culture, of which the last-mentioned gesture of “not doing the same thing” represents the most archaic and the wise silence of Job the most differentiated form, nevertheless it seems to me that we can recognize in these examples a common primal form of religious behavior, which is characterized by the following common elements: safeguarding of the human boundary with the numinous, in which a certain humility is expressed; a selfdisciplined protection of oneself from one’s own emotion (panic) and from the emotion of the deity by preventing getting affectively entangled with it; and an awe-conditioned letting the divine be as it is. It is possible that the denial of the girl in our present tale represents a return to such a primal religious gesture; and it seems to me no accident that

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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