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anima figure are more or less one in the man’s unconscious. Hence, one could say that Venus embodies the mother-anima archetype per se. Every man has by nature a predisposition to live such an experience, since its structure exists latent in the collective unconscious, somewhere “in Olympus,” to use the language of Apuleius. There is no primary connection with that structure until it becomes visible by a human drama: the anima experience of a man begins, for instance, when he is interested for the first time in a woman. The feeling which he experiences thereby does not involve his personal conscious memories only; rather the whole mother-anima archetype comes into play and leads him to the love experience, with all the richness of the relationship to the other sex, as well as its difficulties and complications. Later still, it can lead to the realization of an inner psychic factor, independent of the outer woman: to one’s own anima. For a human being, the experience of this realm of the psyche brings a fertile widening of the personality, which is why it has a healing effect. Here lies also the reason why Eros and Methē in Epidaurus were worshipped as healer gods. Psychological healing always entails a widening of the personality. It brings more life and more aspects of the personality into activity. One can say that the greater part of neurotic disturbances is due to the fact that the ego has its shutters too closed against those realities of life which want to enter. Therefore, healing coincides with a widening of consciousness. To the human being this means an access to religious experience, a discovery of the deeper meaning of life and of healing emotions. But in the mirror process it also means pulling down a brilliant omnipotent god into the miserable narrowness of human existence. A concept of the Christian theology illustrates this: the process of kenosis (from the Greek, “to empty oneself,” “to dispose”).12 It means that Christ (when he was still with the Father, before his incarnation, as the Logos, the Johannine Logos) had the plenitude of the Father, the allpervading oneness with the divine world, without definiteness. After that he emptied himself—“ekénose heautón,”—as Saint Paul writes—which means he emptied himself of his all-embracing plenitude and oneness in order to become a mortal. Man is heightened through the realization of the inner Christ (for instance, by getting Christian teaching), and Christ is lowered by his descent into the human world. This is also expressed by his birth in the stable. What Christian theology says about Christ’s kenosis is really a specific representation of a general archetypal event. Whenever a god incarnates,

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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