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web, consumes it again. The god loses himself into his own creation, and, in an opposite process, takes himself back again and becomes conscious of himself. Osiris’s progressively increasing role in the later Egyptian religion follows such a systolic movement: retiring from the multiplicity of his creation, the god condenses again and becomes conscious. But while in the Indian myth this movement is cyclic and extends over billions of years, the Egyptian myth contains a new element of progression and evolution, for the return of the god is not like his first appearance: it is not a simple repetition. If one were to diagram this movement, it would be a spiral and not a circle; its new quality consists in this: Osiris, when he is reborn, resembles the Ba, the human soul. He has acquired by his death and resurrection that mystical something which is human individuality, which adds something, an otherness, to the divinity. The process repeats itself with the coming of each new sun-king. When the pharaoh died, he became Osiris. Then came the figure of his son, who had to lead all the sacrificial rites and take over the role of the Sem priest; with the iron hook, he opened the mouth of the dead, so that the dead could eat and drink and speak in the Beyond. What would that mean psychologically? Let us compare this myth with what happens in a human being. A man identifies with the principle of consciousness and makes its meaning his own: he knows how to bridle his own impulses, he can work, propagate; in short, he becomes a socially adapted ego. On a smaller scale, he represents the development of the sundivinity. He feels “I am,” “I think.” He believes himself to be the owner of his thoughts and considers himself a small sun. When in the midlife crisis he falls into a depression, it is as though the sun descended below the horizon: all conscious values have disappeared, he no longer knows what he thinks and even doubts his own identity. This would correspond to the death of the sun-king in Egypt. This state is represented by the death of the king, though not the actual death. In a situation of this type the psychotherapist would try above all to help him carry on; instinctively he would feel like dropping everything and becoming completely passive, and, to a certain extent, this is wise. But one cannot simply remain in this state and await return: something in the person must assure continuity. A certain interior attitude is necessary during this time. I would compare Horus the younger with that attitude: he is the image of the consciousness which lives in death and which works on the corpse of the king. It is that which “brings about the

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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