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the stamp of his mother’s character. If he experienced her in a negative way, then his anima often takes the form of depressive moods, irritability, perpetual malcontent, and excessive sensitivity. If the man is able to overcome these, precisely these things can strengthen his manliness. Such a negative mother anima will endlessly whisper within a man: “I’m a nothing,” “It doesn’t make sense anyhow,” “It’s different for other people,” “Nothing gives me any pleasure,” and so on. Continual fear of disease, impotence, or accidents are her work, and she constellates a general sense of gloom. Troubled moods like these can intensify to the point of temptations to suicide; thus the anima can become a demoness of death. She appears in this role in Cocteau’s film Orpheus. The French call such an anima figure a femme fatale. The sirens of the Greeks and the Lorelei of the Germans embody these dangerous aspects of the anima—in a word, destructive illusions. The following Siberian tale gives a particularly apt portrayal of such a destructive anima: A solitary hunter once had the experience of seeing a beautiful woman appear on the opposite bank of a river. She waved to him and sang, “Come, come. I’ve missed you, missed you. Now I want to put my arms around you, put my arms around you. Come, come, my nest is nearby, my nest. Come, come, lonely hunter, right now in the stillness of twilight.” As he threw off his clothes and began swimming across to her, she suddenly flew away in the form of an owl, laughing mockingly. Swimming back, he drowned in the ice-cold river. Here the anima symbolizes an unreal dream of love and happiness, of motherly love and security (the nest), an illusion that holds a man back from life. The hunter freezes to death because of his pursuit of an erotic fantasy.19 The man with a positive mother complex relates to life like a little boy going into a pastry shop with his mother. His approach is: “I’d like this one, give me one of those,” and so on, all without any effort of his own. Life should give him everything like a warm loving mother, and when this does not occur, he cries out in pain or defiance. When this kind of neglect of the feeling aspect and the inner life takes place, feeling demands attention to itself, but on a relatively low level, which then certain women know how to exploit to their benefit. When the neglected anima produces this sort of compulsive state, we call it anima possession. This brings about an ill-adjusted effeminization 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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