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mother complex. As Jung has shown, the mother sometimes symbolizes, on a deeper level, the entire unconscious of man. When she thus appears at the end of the novel in the archetypal form of the great mother goddess Isis, she is the personification of an interior cosmos that surpasses the limits of the conscious personality: the world that Jung has called “the reality of psyche.� We will see that on this deeper level Apuleius gives form to a deep process of evolution of historical dimension: the coming back of the feminine principle into the patriarchal Western world. This slow comeback of the feminine principle13 intermittently surfaced in the Middle Ages, but it is only today that it seems to have broken through into the collective consciousness. Courtly love provided an opportunity, and there it broke through partly, and with it the symbolism of the Grail, but it all came as a tremendous problem. For these chevaliers were not capable of having only courtly, platonic love for their ladies, just letting themselves be killed, or half-killed, in tournaments, and then getting only a little rose emblem on their heads as a reward. Normally they asked for, and usually got, the whole reward. At that time, however, there were no contraceptives, and as this was happening in aristocratic families there was the tremendous problem of the bastard. That created an impossible sociological situation, and the Church saw its chance, condemned sexual courtly love, and urged the worship of the Virgin Mary. So more and more of the chevaliers adopted the Virgin Mary as the dame du coeur for whom they fought, because that involved no danger. But, as Jung points out so clearly, at that moment began the witch persecutions! For the anima problem cannot be solved on just an impersonal level; it cannot be solved by a principle. Whatever is decided sociologically, collectively, can only be wrong. If there is a solution it can only be unique, from individual to individual, from one woman to one man. Eros is in its essence only meaningful if it is completely, uniquely individual. In courtly love the move was toward bringing the impossible together through the uniqueness of the personality. But the collective broke in, and the collective needed principles, so there was another failure, which is why we are still in the same soup. If we read it with this in mind, The Golden Ass is the modern description of the development of a man’s anima or feminine unconscious personality. Today there is much discussion of the liberation of women, but it is sometimes overlooked that this can only succeed if there is a change in men as well. Just as women have to overcome the patriarchal tyrant in their own souls, men

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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