Page 288

problem is that his opinion is not based on the actual situation. For the most part he gives utterance to seemingly reasonable views, which, however, are slightly at a tangent to what is under discussion. Just as the mother influence is formative with a man’s anima, the father has a determining influence on the animus of a daughter. The father imbues his daughter’s mind with the specific coloring conferred by those indisputable views mentioned above, which in reality are so often missing in the daughter. For this reason the animus is also sometimes represented as a demon of death. A gypsy tale, for example, tells of a woman living alone who takes in an unknown handsome wanderer and lives with him in spite of the fact that a fearful dream has warned her that he is the king of the dead. Again and again she presses him to say who he is. At first he refuses to tell her, because he knows that she will then die, but she persists in her demand. Then suddenly he tells her he is death. The young woman is so frightened that she dies. Looked at from the point of view of mythology, the unknown wanderer here is clearly a pagan father and god figure, who manifests as the leader of the dead (like Hades, who carried off Persephone). He embodies a form of the animus that lures a woman away from all human relationships and especially holds her back from love with a real man.29 A dreamy web of thoughts, remote from life and full of wishes and judgments about how things “ought to be,” prevents all contact with life. The animus appears in many myths, not only as death, but also as a bandit and murderer, for example, as the knight Bluebeard, who murdered all his wives. The animus then embodies those half-conscious, cold, unscrupulous thoughts that many women permit themselves in the “quiet hours,” especially when they are neglecting matters that are obligations from the feeling point of view—thoughts about the division of the family inheritance, manipulative plans in which they go so far as to wish other people’s death. “If one of us dies, I’m moving to the Riviera,” a wife, for example, says to her husband as they take in the beautiful Mediterranean landscape. Through her destructive secret judgments even a mother can, in hidden ways, drive her children to the point of illness or death or hinder their marriage, all without this hidden evil ever coming to the surface of her consciousness. A naive old woman once showed me the deathbed photograph of her drowned son and said, “It’s better this way than that I should have lost him to another woman!”

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

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

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

Advertisement