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man, who then either takes on a feminine role and becomes a homosexual or else is drawn into relationships with hard, masculine women. Another type of common negative-anima manifestation is characterized by “femininely” venomous remarks that sting like a wasp and always contain a bit of a lie. Because of this we find throughout the world mythological tales of so-called poisonous maidens, as this figure is called in the East, who contain poison or weapons in their bodies, with which they kill their lovers on their wedding nights.20 In this form, the anima embodies an aspect of cold unscrupulousness in the man, which can lead him to sudden arbitrary actions. When a man falls under the spell of such an anima, he can irresponsibly abandon his family or do other cruel things in which the sense of inferiority of his eros becomes evident. In the Middle Ages, this was explained as the work of witches, and for this reason many myths and fairy tales deal with the theme of a man who must free himself from a witchlike “false bride” in order to find his “true bride,” that is, his genuine capacity for love. In Heinrich von Kleist’s Käthchen von Heilbronn (Katie of Heilbronn), this motif was also introduced into literature. If, on the other hand, a man’s first experience of his mother was positive, this influences the nature of his anima in another way. The anima can then make him effeminate, a prey to women, and make him incapable of dealing with the hardships of life. Such an anima often makes a man react sentimentally, like an old maid or the princess in the fairy tale who could feel a pea through thirty mattresses. A particularly refined form of this kind of anima figure appears in fairy tales as a princess who gives her suitors riddles to solve or orders them to hide from her. If they are unable to fulfill the task she sets them, they must die. This type of anima embroils a man in intellectual games.21 One can observe the trick of this type of anima in all those neurotic, pseudo-intellectual conversations which keep a man from contact with reality. In such cases, he thinks so much about life that he himself is no longer able to live, since all his spontaneity and all genuine feeling have been lost. This form of the anima is represented by the Greek sphinx, who poses a riddle to the hero Oedipus. When he answers it seemingly correctly, the sphinx pretends to commit suicide. This makes Oedipus think he has defeated her, and he walks straight into the very trap of mother-anima entanglement he wanted to avoid. This Greek saga still serves as a valid warning for us today,

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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