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by a regathering and redemption of what has been broken up. Here the story ends with the dissolution caused by Hans the Gambler’s inflation and lack of religious respect for the gifts of his divine visitor. Many other such tales could be mentioned—sometimes the divine visitors restore the youth of an old man or even bring back the dead—however, these examples suffice to shed light on the typical basic motif. The motif involves a compensatory humanization of the divine image and of the addition of trickster attributes in cases where the divine image lacks them. The trickster or “divine scoundrel” is, after all, as Jung showed, an archetypal personification of the collective shadow.10 The extent to which this also contributes to be a living inner experience in later times and even today can be seen in two visions of the Swiss Saint Niklaus of Flüe.11 He had these visions during his period of fasting and living with the forest brothers in the hermitage of Flüeli near Sachsen. In one vision he saw three unknown noblemen coming to his hermitage. The first of them said to the hermit, “Niklaus, will you yield yourself to our power, body and soul?” He replied, “I will yield myself to no one other than the almighty God, whose servant I long with body and soul to be.” Hearing this reply, they turned aside and broke into happy laughter. Then the first of them spoke further: “If you have promised yourself only to the eternal servitude of God, then I promise you with certainty that when you have reached your seventieth year, merciful God, having mercy on your strivings, will release you from all hardships. Therefore, I exhort you in the meantime to unwavering perseverance, and in the eternal life I will give you the bear’s claw and the banner of the victorious host; however, this cross, which is to remind you of us, I leave behind for you to wear.” Then they went away. On the one hand, these three noblemen obviously represent the holy Trinity; however, the promised gifts, the bear claw and the banner of the victorious host, allude rather to Wotan, who often wandered the earth visiting human beings as part of a threesome, accompanied by Hönir and Lodur or by Saxnot (Tyr) and Donar. He was also called Björn (Bear) or even Hrammi (Bear’s Claw). This same deity (but here only as one man) appeared to Niklaus again in a later vision: From the east, where the sun rises, a pilgrim came to him, dressed in a blue coat, with a black hat and a walking stick, and sang “Hallelujah.” And as he sang, “the voice echoed back to him, and the earthly realm and everything that was between heaven and earth, held (i.e.,

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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