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biblical terms: the powers of darkness long for the light. The robbers’ mother longs for something spiritual, but she takes it in this well-known surrogate form of liquor. Taken in the context of the whole book, it becomes more and more evident that behind the mother complex, even in the destructive form which is now slowly overwhelming Lucius, in the last analysis there is a secret longing for religious experience. Furthermore, this old woman is not altogether negative, since, in order to comfort Charite, a prisoner of the robbers, she tells her the beautiful story of Eros and Psyche. Before we go into that, we first have to see what led up to the telling of the story. The robbers irrupted into a wedding party where the well-educated girl of a very good family, Charite, was to have been married to a young man called Tlepolemos. Tle means “to endure,” “to stand,” and polemos means “war.” So he would be the warrior, the one who endures through a war, which is why he has the name of a famous Greek hero. The wedding ceremony of Charite and Tlepolemus is prevented, the robbers put the guests to flight, seemingly kill the bridegroom, steal all the wedding gifts, and abduct the bride. They do not harm her, for they are only interested in getting ransom money from her rich parents. The girl is in utter despair, and in order to keep her quiet the old hag tells her the story of Eros and Psyche. It has already been pointed out by Reinhold Merkelbach6 that the two couples, Charite and Tlepolemus as well as Eros and Psyche, undergo much the same fate at the beginning, for, as we will see later, Psyche is also separated from her bridegroom, goes through a tremendous amount of suffering, and in the end is reunited with her lover. Charite, the listener of the story, goes through the same process, except that for her everything goes wrong. So here there is a double couple: Charite and Tlepolemus, two human beings, and Psyche and Eros, two divine beings. The constellation that appears thus in their paralleled stories is the famous “marriage quaternio.”7 Jung has pointed out that in every deep relationship between a man and a woman there come indeed four elements into play: the conscious ego of the man, the conscious ego of the woman, his anima, and her animus. The figures of the animus and the anima, owing to their numinous nature, were projected until now (for instance in alchemy) upon royal figures or upon a divine couple. Today, for the first time in history, we are confronted with the problem of integrating these “superhuman” elements representing powerful aspects of the unconscious. If their integration does not succeed, then the heterosexual elements of the unconscious overflood the ego: this is one of 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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