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this forgotten form of behavior crops up in a fairy tale that illuminates problems of the development of feminine psychic nature. For in this gesture there is not only a safeguarding of the boundary with the divine, but beyond that a certain feeling of emotional relatedness to the divine, which could be characterized as a tactful, protective letting-it-be-as-it-is.101“For the spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:10) is a confession of the masculine logos; but it is far more the nature of the feminine to cover up the dark abysses of the deity with the mantle of love. (These are not two opposed approaches but rather complementary ones.) Thus the silence of the heroine could represent a differentiated form of eros in which there is acceptance of an antinomy within the divine principle.102 Also in the most ancient Chinese wisdom book, the I Ching, the feminine principle, kun, is characterized by an ability to bear things without judging them ethically, and by taciturnity and discretion.103 One of the oracular pronouncements even says, “bound-up sack, no blame, no praise,” which is interpreted in the commentary as meaning “strict reserve.” Whereas it befits the masculine principle (ch’ien) to structure things and make things manifest, in a rhythm of opening and closing, it is the latter that seems to correspond to the feminine principle. By behaving in this manner, the girl in our fairy tale shows herself a match for the dark mother. The masculine-active animus of a woman continually tries to seduce her into “taking over” even this aspect of her nature and destiny, and thus hinders her inner development. The girl, however, is a guiding example for a certain kind of right behavior. Erich Neumann speaks of a dimming of ego activity. The black woman represents a very dark root of feminine life, a wishful dreaming from which intrigues and a secret influence over others are born.104 This dark feminine power here should not be dragged into the light by ethical judgment, for in this darkness the germ of individuation also lies hidden. It is unmistakable that in this motif of denial is to be found the compensation for a certain Christian ethical ideal of truthfulness, and this is also shown by the fact that the Christianity-tinged versions of the story have done away with this motif.105 At this point, our interpretation comes to the problem, touched upon in the introduction, of the cultural-historical place of the present mythologem.

General Psychological Conclusions

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

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

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