Page 292

the Self, when it personifies itself, manifests as a superior female figure, for example, as a priestess, a sorceress, an earth mother, or a nature or love goddess. In the dreams of a man, it takes the form of someone who confers initiations (an Indian guru), a wise old man, a nature spirit, a hero, and so forth. An Austrian fairy tale recounts the following: A king posts a soldier to keep watch on the coffin of a cursed black princess who has been bewitched. It is known that every night she comes to life and tears the guard to pieces. In despair, not wanting to die, the soldier runs away into the forest. There he meets an “old zither player who was, however, the Lord God himself,” and this old musician advises him how to hide in different places in the church and what to do so that the black princess cannot find him. With the help of this miraculous old man, the soldier succeeds in evading the princess’s attack and in this way is able to redeem her. He marries her and becomes the king.31 The old zither player who is really God himself, expressed in psychological language, is a symbol of the Self. He helps the soldier, that is, the ego, to overcome the destructive anima figure and even to redeem it. In a woman, as we have said, the Self takes on a feminine form. The following Eskimo tale may serve as an example:32 A solitary maiden, who has been disappointed in matters of love, is carried off to heaven by a sorcerer who travels about in a copper boat. He is actually the spirit of the moon, to whom men are accustomed to pray for success in the hunt. Once, when the moon spirit has gone out, the maiden visits a little house that stands next to that of the moon sorcerer, and in it she finds a “little woman,” who wears bizarre clothing made of “the sewed-together guts of the bearded seal.” This little woman, who also still has a little daughter living with her, warns the heroine of the story about the moon spirit, saying that his real intention is to kill her. She says he is a wife murderer, a kind of Bluebeard. In order to save her, the little woman weaves a long rope, on which the maiden will be able to climb back down from heaven to earth. This she does on the new moon when the little woman is able to make the moon spirit unconscious. The maiden lets herself down on the rope, but when she reaches the earth, she does not reopen her eyes fast enough, although the little woman has explicitly told her to. As a result she is turned into a spider and can never become a human being again.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

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

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

Advertisement