Saturday, November 12, 2011

Musings: von Franz's "Alchemy"... and further on the pin

The stories of Eve and of Isis getting secret knowledge from angels, is a man's view of growth. Eve is the Anima who steals knowledge from God (the Self). As a result, a man's unconscious paradise is lost and now he has to do all the hard, painful work of psychological growth. Or the story of Isis who, as his Anima, coerces the secret from the Angels and gives it to her Son (the man.) But what is a woman's story? Where are the stories of an Animus, the woman's mediator between her and God/Self? How do women gain secret knowledge? Or is it even knowledge that she gains? Prometheus steals fire from the Gods and therefore must suffer every day while his liver is eaten... and every night it heals. Is this the image of a woman's Animus? But it's not knowledge her Animus steals. Rather it's fire; power, energy and vitality; the light which illuminates the darkness and reveals what was hidden. As a result a woman's Animus is wounded during the day but is healed at night, when dreams come.

Another is the story of Inanna going into the Underworld, the land of her dark sister, Ereshkigal. Enki (the god of mischief, water, intelligence and creation) sends two little people he makes from the dirt under his fingernails to mourn her as she hangs on the meat hook. When she returns to her world above she has to choose someone to take her place. She picks her consort, Dumuzi, who was the only person who didn't mourn her death, but his sister loved him so much that she offered to take his place so half the year she's in the Underworld and the other half Dumuzi is.  What is the woman's Animus providing here? Sympathy, from Enki? A sacrifice, from Dumuzi, to suffer in her place (which calls to mind Prometheus' suffering during the light half of a day.)

Persephone was abducted by Hades, also of the Underworld. She doesn't want to go but she must if she's to find her power as a Queen. Here the Animus is the Demon Lover who kidnaps the woman to Death (in other words, he kills her old self.) Unlike Inanna here the woman is dragged kicking and screaming to her death, her transformation, in which she must give up her old self in order to be reborn to a greater, more whole and more powerful self. Here the Animus is the abductor, or Death himself. The woman resists her transformation initially. It is only by choosing Hades/her Animus/her transformation, giving up her old self, that she grows (because I made the choice, my Hades abduction is psychological rather than literal - my growth is through us *not* having a relationship.)

"[Y]ou wonder whether you should stick a pin in him and a drop of the poison of knowledge and give him an idea as to what it really means..." (von Franz, writing about whether an increase in consciousness is good or not in "Alchemy" p. 54.)

My dream of the dark man sticking a pin into my "other self" - the "dark man" is obviously my Animus in his role as the destroyer, the demon lover, Hades, Death. He sticks a pin in her and brushes the powder of knowledge - that is, of his own essence (the essence of the Self?) and that destroys the old me, the "other me," the one who must die in order for the new me to be born. He wants to unite sexually with me; he brushes his consciousness onto me to do so. By being covered with his essence does he unite with the me that's being born?


  1. _Thank you_ for this blog; thank you. What you have written here is so helpful to me (and is just plain fascinating reading) and I am looking forward to working through the archives.

  2. You are so very welcome! I'm so happy that any of this has been of help to you. Be sure to check the links I've listed for other great resources and the very best of luck on your journey! It's not easy but it's so very worth it :)


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