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the subhuman animal kingdom. Thus the saint casts an animal shadow. . . . He who is capable of bearing the highest and the lowest together is hallowed, holy, whole. The vision is telling him that the spiritual pilgrim and the berserker are both Christ, and this paves the way in him for forgiveness of the greatest sin, which is sainthood.” Later in his life Niklaus had a vision of God’s wrath that horrified him, “for this wrath applied to he who had betrayed his dearest ones and ordinary people for the sake of God.” The Christ-berserker in Brother Klaus’s vision thus unites irreconcilable opposites, that is, subhuman savagery and Christian spirituality, the frenzy of war and Christian agape, the love of humanity. Only because Klaus could make room for this figure within himself was he capable of reconciling these opposites in the outer world, of convincing his compatriots to adopt a peaceful solution rather than letting themselves be carried away into a civil war. In order to understand how this is possible, we must come to grips with certain basic notions of depth psychology. Let us take a look at the situation as it is represented in the accompanying diagram. The points A, A, A located on the outermost edge of the diagram represent the human ego consciousness. Below that lies a psychic stratum B, B, B, which represents the sphere of the so-called personal unconscious, that is, the psychic stratum discovered by Freud that contains forgotten and repressed memories, desires, and instinctive impulses. Below that is the stratum C, C, C, which is a kind of group unconscious that comes to the fore in family or group therapy. This contains the customary reactions and complexes common to whole groups, clans, tribes, and so on. Still further down, we find the stratum D, D, D, which embodies the unconscious of large-scale national unities. In the mythologies of the Australian aborigines and the Indians of South America, we can see, for example, that they constitute a large “family” of religious motifs that are relatively similar to one another, which, however, they do not share with the whole of humanity. An example is the motif of capturing a demonic solar figure and taking away its strength. We find this motif in the Far East, but not in the West. Finally, the circle in the middle of the diagram, E, represents the sum of those universal psychic archetypal structures that we have in common with all of humanity, as, for example, the psychic notion of mana, of heroes, of cosmic divine persons, of mother earth, of the helpful animal, or the figure of the trickster, which we find in all mythologies and all religious systems.

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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