Jungian analysis of fairy tale
Anima – female consciousness, the feminine principle, Eros – is defined as an internal female figure in man’s psyche in analytical psychotherapy. It is an archetypal image and individual complex, responsible for feelings, emotions, dreams, images, spirituality, and intuition. Anima ensures the connection between consciousness and unconscious, the continual replenishment of consciousness by the unconscious data.
In Latin “Anima” means the soul. Jung called it the archetype of life itself (Jung, 1999). A man must be aware of his inner femininity and find ways to express and develop it. The success of this process impacts access to feelings, states, and unconscious aspects, relation with the body, close relationships, the experience of flow and fullness of life. If integration of the Anima is absent, development of personality sticks, one-sidedness emerges. Jung warns that Anima’s cognition is of particular importance in the second half of life. “Younger people /…/ can bear even the total loss of the anima without injury. The important thing at this stage is for a man to be a man. … After the middle of life, however, permanent loss of the anima means a diminution of vitality, of flexibility, and of human kindness. The result, as a rule, is premature rigidity, crustiness, stereotypy, fanatical one-sidedness, obstinacy, pedantry, or else resignation, weariness, sloppiness, irresponsibility, and finally a childish ramollissement [petulance] with a tendency to alcohol.” (Jung, 2015 p. 92)
Formation of the Anima begins in the relationship with the mother. The more Anima is overwhelmed by the figure of the mother, the greater is the probability that life partner will be chosen similar or opposite to the mother. Demonstrating extreme care and preventing from separation mother strongly blocks man’s self-sufficiency and can lead to addiction to women. Negative initial relationships lead to the inability to establish a connection and maintain relations (Kast, 1993). If mother’s influence is negative, it is likely that the Anima will come out in a depressed mood, insecurity, and anxiety, increased sensitivity, fear of becoming ill, impotent or victim of an accident (Holis, 2005).
The figure of the Anima comes up in dreams, images, beliefs about what women are, how they behave, what’s common to them, and in projections also. Unconscious Anima is being projected to a real woman, and until the projections answer the purpose, a strong, but usually short, emotionally unstable relationship is experienced (Kast, 1993). Bearing in mind how much energy uses a man to establish and maintain a connection with a figure embodying the Anima, we can understand the importance of this complex. Post-Jungians (Hillman, Samuels, Kast, etc.) emphasize that the Anima figure is significant not only for men. Both Anima and Animus are archetypes characteristic to both sexes.
In psychotherapeutic practice, I often find clients whose relationship with the Anima is scant, and this is one of the most important reasons for their suffering. Tales, myths, other symbolic material are very helpful in understanding the Anima, its complicated and significant effect. Having found a fairy tale in which the hero experiences similar challenges as a client, a connection between different mental levels – consciousness and unconscious, both individual and collective, – is established. The tales are especially useful when working with rational, too logical clients who do not dream, do not fantasize, are sceptical about drawing, engaging their active imagination, etc. Sometimes I even ask myself, why do such people choose a Jungian psychotherapist? They are probably driven by the Anima that wants to be seen and recognized. Otherwise, it becomes the biggest source of the problems.
Integration of the Anima is a necessary part of individuation. Taking this way, the Ego becomes a hero, which experiences many challenges, overcomes the most challenging obstacles, until it finally saves its bride (the Anima) and approaches to the entireness (the Self). Mental processes experienced by the Ego while seeking integration of the Anima are very clearly reflected in the Lithuanian folk tale “King’s Stolen Daughters.” By analysing this fairy tale, I will reveal which complexes (and other obstacles) hinder the establishment of relationships with the Anima, discuss the preconditions for their overcoming, and link them with examples of psychotherapeutic practice.
Brief story of the tale
Once upon a time, there was a king, who had three grown daughters and a new-born son. To find out when his daughters’ weddings will happen, the king visited the wizard. He learned that no one would see their weddings, because when the girls reach the age of twelve, one of them will be kidnapped by a deer, the second – by a whale, and the third – by an eagle. The king tried to protect his daughters, arranged the guards, but the prophecy of the wizard came true: at the age of twelve king’s daughters were captured by animals mentioned. Grown up king’s son travelled to find his sisters. In his journey, the prince met two sorcereres, fighting for magical shoes that step in miles. He proposed to resolve the dispute over running the race so that the winner would get the shoes. When the sorcerers entered the race, the prince stole the shoes. Wearing these shoes, he managed to find his sisters, and get acquainted with his brothers-in-law – the animals that become people at night. Granted with their support, having received bristles, scales, and feathers, which would bring him the help of his brothers-in-law, the prince went to rescue their sister, captivated by the strongest sorcerer. After finding her, he learned that her husband’s – sorcerer’s – power is in the iron box immersed in the sea. The box contained a bunny, that bunny – a pigeon, that pigeon – an egg, and when this egg is broken the sorcerer becomes powerless. Supported by the captivated sister and brothers-in-law the young man destroyed the sorcerer’s power. The fairy tale ended with sisters’ and brother’s weddings.
There are many figures in the fairy tale, several motives overlap. To determine the main idea of the fairy tale, we should pay attention to the very beginning. According to Franz (1998), miracle fairy tales usually start with a situation of lack or problem. Individuation also begins in the face of an unsolvable conflict or situation. Experience of the deadlock destroys the Ego’s pride, creates conditions for the manifestation of the Self.
Another important aspect in determining the main idea of a fairy tale is the dispersion of characters by gender, age, and other terms. At the beginning of a fairy tale, we usually face the disproportion of the distribution of characters, which is being eliminated at the end of the story. The tale we have chosen begins with the sentence: “There was a king, he had three grown daughters and a new-born son.” So we see a king and four of his children. We see right away that a large family lacks a woman – wife, and mother. This detail suggests that the story will reflect the search and integration the feminine rudiment – the Anima.
It is important to note that at the beginning of the fairy tale, one of the characters is the baby – “the new-born son.” The birth of a baby symbolizes the renewal of the Ego, the potential, for the realization of which continuous work is required. As the story says, the baby – the son of the king – is the main hero of the fairy tale. A hero making feats and working hard takes a risk and sacrifices himself, saves the others. His first task is to overcome the mother and the father complexes. The journeys and feats of the hero reflect the process of the Ego, the development of his consciousness, continuous integration of new elements.
Taking all that into account, we assume that the main line of the tale is individuation of a man through the search and integration of the Anima – feminine rudiment, irrationality, emotions, spiritual dimension. Hero’s feats – confrontation with the shadow, release and conscious experience of instinctivism, the use of the Trickster energy. After realizing and understanding unconscious figures, the hero acquires special powers. When the sisters and the princess – the Anima – is released, fourfold weddings are held that symbolize the coherence of the female and male rudiments, the restoration of fullness, the renewal of the relationship between the Ego and the Self – the realization of the goal of psychological development.
The story tells about the search for man’s identity, but reflections of woman’s individuation can also be spotted in particular motifs. Looking at the fairy tale from the perspective of personality development, we see adolescence problems, features, and dynamics characteristic of this period, elements of the initiation ritual.
Further I will discuss in more detail the symbols and motifs of the tale, highlighting the Anima search line.
Symbols and motifs in the fairy tale, and their equivalent in depth psychotherapy
King, queen, and wizard – the Ego, the Anima, and the unconscious
At the beginning of the fairy tale, we see the king. “The king is often perceived as the incarnation of God, the sun, the heaven, as the centre of space, or as a mediator between heaven, man, and earth.” (“Simbolių žodynas”, 1995, p. 75). When interpreting the tale at the intrapsychic level, the king could symbolize the Ego – the centre of consciousness, aiming to control all mental processes. For the king to be successful, conscious provisions must regularly be supplemented by unconscious data. The Ego is the gatekeeper, who is responsible for unconscious data that are passed into consciousness (Jung, 1994).
Our fairy tale does not speak of a queen that symbolizes the feminine rudiment – irrationality, feelings, in the broad sense – the unconscious. Thus, we can assume that interrelation between the Ego and unconscious is insufficient; psychic is dominated by “male” – rational and logical – provisions, and there is a lack of attention to irrationality, feelings, and spiritual aspects. Such a situation is especially complicated when psychic is dominated by the negative father complex, which does not have a proper counterweight and which the Ego identifies itself with. With this complex, a man can feel restrained, rigid, full of pre-decisions and pre-assessments, knowing how everything needs to be and trying to fit those frames. Also, the experience of humiliation and worthlessness, problems in relations with authorities are frequent. When the negative father complex is dominating, comprehensive development of other mental parts is hardly possible. The development of the inner child, which implies creativity, spontaneity, courage, and freedom to feel and think, hangs, stops, remains in the stage of possibilities.
The king grows four children, three of them – daughters. Hence, the female rudiment exists, but it is immature, undifferentiated. It is embodied by three dull girls – daughters.
The king visits the old wizard and asks her when his daughters’ weddings will happen. Dictionary of Religion Science (1991) says that the wizard is “a person engaged in augury. Also, he is known as the witch, the poisoner, the sorcerer, the exorcist, the charmer. /…/ Wizards treat, foretell, consult” (“Religijotyros žodynas”, 1991, p. 76). In the inner plan, this event symbolizes the Ego’s attempt to connect with the unconscious, to ensure and control the change and growth process. The old wizard (the unconscious) is recognized as knowing and wise, able to foresee, but it is not accepted as equal: the king does not intend to ask her what she thinks about the situation. Moreover, he does not ask her for help with raising daughters, etc. His question shows that he has a picture of how things should continue, and wants to find out just one “detail” – when all this will happen. The position of the king corresponds the Ego’s, which identifies itself with the father complex, attitude towards its own depths. “I decided how everything should be, and I will act according to the plan, regardless of my own or anyone else’s feelings or physical well-being.” Such a position is common among nowadays clients. On the one hand, it can help to achieve career and other important goals that require persistent, systematic work. However, it becomes a huge obstacle where spontaneity, relaxation and just being in the flow of life plays the most important role. The strict observance and control of plans and structures are particularly impeding the opening of relationships, self-acceptance, acceptance of others and life itself. The Ego, recognizing only its own power and will, is inclined to inflation. When depreciating intuition and irrationality, an attempt to maintain a connection with this important and strong world cognitive function takes on a primitive expression. For example, it is started to believe in extrasensory, astrologers, and other external experts who, even without the participation of the person, can define or even change his life, his fate (Jung, 1999). Even a psychologist is sometimes addressed with unrealistic expectations, hoping that a professional will magically solve problems.
This episode of the tale reminds of a case from psychological practice: the family asked to help with the son, addicted to drugs. Dominant, demonstrative mother in bright red suit was explaining heart and hand that “everything is fine in the family, and certainly not worse than among others, just he – an eloquent gesture to the only son – needs to be given a piece of mind to stop these games.” “How could we brainwash him?” – The father was asking gloomily. Meanwhile, the adolescent son was indifferently looking around the cabinet. This example illustrates how do the clients attribute magical powers to the psychologist and formulate questions based on their narrow views and imaginations, which are preserved by defensive mechanisms like guards in the tales – exclusion, denial, rationalization. That family had a lot of unrecognized communication and relationship problems the awareness of which has been blocked by primitive defensive mechanisms. We can assume that there were no valid presumptions for recognition and valuation of the Anima in this family. On the other hand, the need of it was evident.
The king is warned that preconceptions and expectations for the future will not be fulfilled. The old wizard foretells that no one will see the daughters’ weddings, because when they are twelve years old, the first will be kidnapped by a deer, the second – by a whale, and the third – by an eagle. The king gets angry – like most people with strong Ego when they realize that everything will not be the way they have anticipated and sought. The king rejects the words of the wizard and, to protect the daughters, arranges the guards. Guards are defensive mechanisms used by the Ego when faced with frustration. The use of defensive mechanisms allows surviving for those who have to deal with difficult and hardly solvable problems. Defensive mechanisms help to cope with the situation, distribute more evenly the accompanying emotional pressure. However, if the use of defensive mechanisms is constant, they become an obstacle to realize the reality. The energy is wasted to strengthen defensive mechanisms instead of solving the problem.
For example, client T. (32 years old) suffering from alcohol addiction, turned to psychological help in the divorce situation. T. denied or rationalized problems that occurred due to alcohol abuse, he found pseudo-decisions – “Everything goes well, I drink only occasionally, with the company, and for two months I have no problems at all with that.” In this case, the defensive mechanisms allowed to avoid the feelings of guilt, shame, defeat, and breakdown, but prevented the recognition of reality, taking responsibility for the situation and changing it.
Despite the use of defensive mechanisms, the moment comes when the problem cannot be denied. In our fairy tale, this moment is reflected in the kidnapping of daughters. When the first and second daughters are kidnapped, the king arranges stronger guards. It reminds strongly of the attempt of a person suffering from neuroses to maintain the status quo and avoid solving the problem despite obvious suffering and losses.
Kidnapping – the overwhelmed Anima
King’s daughters are kidnapped right after they reach the age of twelve. The situation when something unusual happens to children when they become teens is frequent both in fairy tales and in real life. In fairy tales, they bite off a magic apple or get stuck while spinning and fall asleep, they are captivated or kidnapped, or they themselves find reasons to travel to the wide world. And all this happens even when parents are foretold about the dangers, and they try to avoid them by building towers and guards, by throwing out spinning wheels. These security measures only work until the fateful age.
What would happen, if parents prepare for this critical age of their children differently? If they weaken the guards instead of strengthening, allow their children to try spinning, taste a variety of apples and choose the right ones, explore different paths, recognizing dangers by themselves and learning to avoid them? It is obvious that strengthening of security measures – guards and fences – does not work. That is what tales speak about, and that is what real life confirms. Some events are just necessary for growth. Analysing kidnappings of the young people described in the tales from the perspective of inner personality, we should admit that Ego’s separation from the Self, the weakening of the father and mother complexes, the search for the own personality, and the constant renewal of relationship with the Self, are essential for person’s maturity and growth. Estes (2005) poetically portrays this psychological task: “Go faster into the woods, go. For if you do not go to the woods, nothing will ever happen to you, and your life will not start.” (p. 595).
While growing up, children leave parents in one way or another, regardless of whether the parents support separation or not. Physical separation from parents is an important precondition for overcoming the mother and the father complexes. Kast (1998) points out that young people whose separation took place in a timely and appropriate manner strengthen their sense of identity and go easier than those who were detained or abstained. In extreme cases, children symbolically leave their parents physically staying with them: starting to use alcohol, engaging in activities of sects or gangs, etc. I will present an example from the practice of late separation, stopped by the parents. A woman (53 years old), whose 27-year-old son left his parents’ home and settled down with a girl, talked: “Everything would be completely different if he had prepared me, if he had introduced the girl and her parents to me… Now I do not know how he even lives there. After all, he is so tall, that we bought a bed for him by special order. Has he something to put on there? /…/” We see that the woman imposed responsibility for separation and her feelings on her son, she did not want to let him go, and he chose to run away for separation. From the mother’s point of view, her son was kidnapped.
Separation from parents (and from the father/mother complexes) is stimulated by initiation rituals. In modern society, they reveal itself as not sanctioned acts, symbolizing breaking of taboos – for example, alcohol or drug use, tattoos, or the like.
Episodes of kidnapping and salvation of sisters can also be interpreted as fragments of woman’s individuation. It is interesting to note that the fate of a man and a woman, the ways of his and her lives are often depicted in parallel in the Lithuanian folk art. Sometimes one of these branches is incomplete, limited to one or more elements, like in the tale we are analysing. We can assume that such a parallelism reflects the feeling the roots of which lie in the most ancient times that mind encrypts the premises of the worldview of both sexes.
So the sisters are kidnapped by the animals. Animals are part of Mother Nature. They represent the mother rudiment. In individual’s mind, this corresponds with the archetype of the mother (Franz, 1998). Then, from the perspective of woman’s individuation, sisters kidnapped by the animals are women who have never been separated from the mother complex. They spend a lot of time in the fantasy world, they are little aware of themselves, feelings, actions, and needs, they do not notice and cannot set the boundaries (Birkhoizer, 2006). An important task is pending for those who are overpowered by the mother complex – to strengthen rational and spiritual rudiment. These processes are enabled by recognition, acknowledgment, and realization of the Animus – inner man, by developing a habit of rational and logical thinking, learning not only to adapt, but to dominate, not only to merge, but also to set boundaries, to separate. E. Jung (2008) warns that if a woman does not go through the path of spiritual development, negative Animus activates in the unconscious, and it can overcome the Ego and capture the personality. Probably such a fate happened to the sister of brothers-in-law, which was captured by the strongest sorcerer .
From the cultural point of view, animals kidnapping adolescents might have been tribal totems whose involvement had to facilitate the initiation. Apparently, it was expected that the young girls having intimate relations with these animals would acquire their properties and thus become full members of the community.
Let’s return to the man’s individuation and analyse what ideas kidnapping of the sisters convey from this perspective. The kidnapped sisters are the Anima, overwhelmed by the other mental entities. Anima is the soul itself, the one that is beyond consciousness (Jung, 1999). The goal of a man’s development – to discover and deliberately release this mental part, the development, and expression of which is prevented by complexes that remain undefeated and the lack of awareness. As already mentioned, animals that kidnapped the sisters are part of Mother Nature. They represent the mother rudiment. In individual’s mind, this corresponds with the archetype of the mother (Franz, 1998). Thus, the sisters kidnapped by the animals could mean that the mother complex prevailing in man’s mind impedes identification and integration of the Anima (Franz, 1998; Henderson, 2001). By examining particular symbols, we will specify and expand the assumptions about what mental elements can prevent the relationship with the Anima.
The first sister is kidnapped by a deer. The deer is a graceful and extraordinary beautiful animal. His horns, in many aspects completely non-functional sprouts, are used exclusively for mating, fighting for does. In Lithuanian mythology, deer is mentioned in terms of conversion (especially weddings, funerals). On the head of the nine-horned deer the fire – the sun – burns, blacksmiths coin silver scissors, a golden ring or a golden cup – symbols of weddings and funerals. It is likely that the deer is a worshipped animal that has played a significant role in teenage initiations (Ragevičienė, 2007). Many nations consider the deer as a bearer of light (consciousness in psychological meaning). An Evenks’ legend says that the Milky Way originated from the whirls of snow caused by the rush of two deer. Thus, a deer can awake creation, the formation of new derivatives. U. Beker (1995) mentions that sometimes a deer is also a symbol of melancholy because he likes being alone. A man whose Animus is overwhelmed by excessive awareness and rationality may experience sensory states that do not give up to logical reduction – episodes of grief or melancholy, sentimentality (E. Jung). The situation of a man who recognizes only rationality and logic is dangerous as he can be overwhelmed by unrealized Anima and run his instinctivism by giving up to spontaneous sexual impulses. It is possible that in such cases the impulsive discharge of the trickster energy occurs. The Anima, which could colour the situation with emotions and complement with spiritual aspects, does not appear. Unrealized Anima cannot prevent the Ego inflation. When the state of the Ego’s inflation ends, a man may wonder himself how something that doesn’t meet either common sense or value system might have occurred.
“I don’t know what came over me, how could this happen” – this phrase was repeated again and again by the client R. (47 years old), who turned to psychological help when he became aware that he was infected with HIV. The news about the infection was much unexpected. Even after the initial crisis, R. could hardly understand how could it happen that he – responsible, strong-willed, intelligent, high-ranking man, gave up to spontaneous sexual impulse and did not protect himself. R. had created the Persona of a very strong, supreme leader, and he completely identified himself with it. There is a compensatory relationship between the Anima and the Persona (Jung, 1999). An extremely strong, masculine Persona hides extremely feminine Anima. The client highly valued and emphasized mind, logic, conscious choice, will, rejecting and depreciating irrationality and unconscious structures – feelings, emotions, states, dreams, images. Jung (2012) warns that identification with a social role (the Persona) is an abundant source of neuroses because the rejection of the Self leads to highly negative uconscious reactions – moods, feelings, insistent thoughts, etc. The client sold his soul for the mask of a strong, powerful, controlling man. R. was unable to understand and accept feelings, to differentiate emotional states, to identify their origin. Emotions have been suppressed or acted out. “Externally, a man plays the role of a strong person, while inside lies helplessness against the effect of unconscious” (Jung, 2012). R. understood the world of feelings as a stable, logical and consistent reflection of outer life. At the beginning of the therapy, the idea of the flow, the illogicality, and interlacing of feelings evoked sceptical surprise to the client. The main products of the Anima – fantasies, imaginations, dreams were terra incognita to R. (“Fantasize? .. Just imagine something? .. /…/ I never do it, and it would hold no interest for me”). Dreams were considered by R. as the consequence of physiological processes, or discharge of impressions and emotions experienced during the day (“Could they mean something? – I doubt it very much”). The lack of relationship with the Anima also became apparent through the line of relationships with women. The client was divorced, he easily formed relationships, but they did not grow into a close friendship. He has repeatedly described women of his environment as concentrated on career, exploiting, demanding, and seeking power and dominance. It seems that R.’s Anima image was strongly influenced by his own Persona. During the long psychotherapeutic process, R. succeeded in restoring the relationship with the Anima, which helped to accept a serious diagnosis and would likely contribute to protecting himself from the Ego inflation.
“The picture of the catastrophe makes a person feel his absolute helplessness and shuffles him back to himself. He turns to his inner world and seeing that everything around collapses, looks for some support” (Jung, 2012, p. 9). Many myths, fairy tales, and stories testify that relationship with a woman (in the inner sense – the Anima) saves from the catastrophe. Moreover, the discovery of this figure explains how a rational, logical, consistent person could do the exact opposite. “Cherchez la femme” – the French say. Assumptions of the depth psychotherapy confirm this phrase.
The second daughter is kidnapped and dived to the depths by a whale. The “Dictionary of Symbols” (1995) says that a whale can symbolize infinite, multiple-meaning darkness. It drips under water, which is considered a symbol of the unconscious. In this case, the man does not recognize and is not aware of his own femininity and its powers. His soul is in the depths, just as prophet Jonah, who disobeyed God’s call and was swallowed by the fish. Anima needs time to mature and opportunities for rebirth. Whale (unconscious) in this case performs the incubator function.
The Wikipedia (http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banginis) gives the following important for us facts about the whales’ life (the text is shortened).
Whales – the only mammals that are fully adapted to living in water. The whales are great divers, and sometimes they breach out of the water with great force and then fall back with a splash. It has been noticed that when one whale even once jumps out of the water, others usually start to do the same. Breaching remains one of the most mysterious elements of whale behaviour. However, scientists have highlighted several hypotheses on that: it could be self-demonstration, spooning, a way of communication, fish chasing, self-cleansing from parasitic infestation, demonstration of strength, or just entertainment. Scientists are convinced that there is more than one reason. It is believed that in most cases such whale behaviour can be explained by desire just to play fun. It has been noted that they persecute each other, jump into the air, whirl and perform other nimble actions in the water and on the surface. If the whales hear a sailing ship, they follow her, swim in the waves. It seems that most of these mammals love the company of people, seals, sea turtles and other sea inhabitants; they even play with seaweed, stones and other objects in the sea, carrying them in their mouths or throwing on their fins.
Whale on the surface – charming, fascinating and attractive – reminds a man still possessing the mother complex. The “eternal youngster” (Puer Aeternus) looks energetic, radiating joy of life, creative, free, and prone to risk. However, he avoids any obligations, is afraid of responsibility, and is afraid to grow up. He easily builds intense, close relationships, engages heartily in activities that interest him, but he can pull everything away if his interest wanes, like an egocentric child who cannot predict the consequences of his actions. Psychologically “forever young” man is not separated from his mother. This complex can lead to homosexuality or the Don Juan lifestyle when the mother is sought in each woman. In contemporary psychotherapy, the “forever young” complex would match the diagnosis of narcissism (Jung, 2015). Huge significance of the mother complex prevents a man from conscious knowledge, recognition, and expression of his own femininity – the Anima, which would provide stability, ability to maintain a lasting relationship, and the possibility to recognize emotions of oneself and others.
The third daughter is taken by an eagle. An eagle, flying high and fast, is named the king of birds. In the Bible, the eagle symbolizes God’s omnipotence and the power of faith. This bird is also a symbol of resurrection and baptism. In the mythology of Eurasia and North America, one of the most important deeds of an eagle is the abduction of light or the help to a human in getting the fire. The eagle is associated with light. He symbolizes freedom, force, strength, endurance and insight, contemplation and spiritual knowledge. The bird’s eye view reveals a much broader perspective; the eagle can clearly see and assess the situation. A flying eagle means a clear perception and rising above materiality. A man, who treats the power of thinking as absolutely perfect, often depreciates other ways to perceive the world, does not find a way to the world of feelings, emotions, dreams, and images. Also, the eagle is not only the bearer of light and truth, the assistant, and patron of shamans and sorcerers, the incarnation of a positive hero. He personifies pride, fame, arrogance, and baseless claims. This symbolism is reflected in the household language, when the “eagle” epithet is used in a negative sense, regarding dare-devilism, trespassing of human possibilities, and ignorance of restrictions (e.g., “road eagle”). Finally, in fact, the eagle is a stupid, timid bird, feeding on carrion (Lorenz, 1981). Taking this into account, we can assume that the most important thing to the man whose Anima is kidnapped by an eagle is self-demonstration, being visible and recognizable. He tends to take risks pointlessly, lacks awareness of feelings, self-understanding, and understanding of others. Here again, we can see the expression of narcissism. A man who, like an eagle forgets materiality and devotes himself to analysis of abstract ideas, treats the life theoretically and idealistically, criticizes others and himself without mercy and masterly manipulates facts to justify himself or to divert attention from real problems. He is extremely short of soul – the Anima, which could refresh and colour abstract and dissociated from life reflections with feelings, help to root them in reality.
When man’s Anima is overwhelmed by the mother complex or its derivatives, a man is having difficulty in developing and growing the long-lasting relationship. He can easily fall for one woman or another knowing absolutely nothing about her. Moreover, he does not know himself – real, authentic, subjective. The slight ability to fascinate fades, and he no longer has anything to offer for the relationship. His efforts to create a relationship while showing attention, buying expensive gifts sooner or later fail, if he is unable to enrich the relation by bringing himself, his subjectivity.
The kidnapped sisters can be viewed as different types of the Anima. Franz (2005) points out that the Anima passes through four stages of development. At first, it appears as an instinctive, chthonic woman. Eve from Paradise Lost would be the best image of it. If man’s Anima is at this stage, he will project his instinctivism and sexuality to the woman. The second stage – a sensual and romantic woman. The latter match is Dante’s Beatrice. A man turns into a knight worshiping his lady. The third stage of the Anima is a spiritual woman. Her prototype is Virgin Mary. The fourth stage of the Anima is Wisdom itself (Sophia in the Old Testament). We can assume that the sister, who became the deer’s wife, reflects the first stage of the development of the Anima. Whale’s wife – the second, the eagle’s – the third, and the one kidnapped by the sorcerer – the fourth.
Such attribution, as well as the division of Anima’s development to the stages, is too general and does not reveal the variety and richness of femininity forms, combinations of different aspects of femininity. However, in psychotherapeutic practice, such division can be very useful in disclosing the client the origin of his problems. Client V., 48 years old, turned to treatment for anxiety episodes and internal emptiness, inability to keep closeness. V. was the only child of a spiritual, artistic woman. His image of a woman was limited to idealized spirituality that he projected towards women, and he experienced harmony until his projections met a hold in reality. However, admiration for a girlfriend’s spirituality was quickly changed by disappointment because V. was not able to accept other forms of femininity, and was surprised by the “roughness” of the woman – this was the word he generally called instinctivism, spontaneous expression of feelings, even awareness and realization of physical needs. Focus on one of the Anima’s types, rejecting the others, was one of the reasons for the client’s problem. In such case, the goal of the therapy is to expand the awareness and acceptance of diverse aspects of the Anima.
Looking for sisters
The grown up king’s son goes to find his sisters. Fairy tales give a little space to the outright description of feelings, but the sentence that describes the determination of the prince is clear enough to feel his disappointment and resignation (“… I will go searching, maybe I’ll find, and if I die, let it be so”). According to Johnson (1998), the psychological development of a man can be divided into three stages:
- Unconscious childish perfection and entireness when the inner and outer world is the one.
- The conscious suffering of your own unnecessity and vulnerability, the experience of dualism.
- The conscious experience of the inner fullness, conscious re-establishment of the harmony between the inner and outer world.
Thus, our hero’s feelings would prove that he has reached the second stage of psychological development. The childish perfection has been replaced by feelings of vulnerability, unnecessity, and the state of wholeness – by dualism. The king father dissuades the son, but the son does not give up and holds his decision. This plot reflects both the real advice of parents (the elders) to refrain from the campaign, which can last for a lifetime, and internal provisions that arise from the father complex, which calls to leave the situation as is. But the hero does not retreat.
The plot where a man is looking for a woman, longs for her and seeks for contact with her is commonplace both in folk and authors’ works. Sometimes this plot, as one of the central motifs, recurs in several works of the same author. An example of such recurrence – novels of the famous Finnish writer Mika Waltari: “The Egyptian”, “The Etruscan”, “The Dark Angel”, “The Adventurer”, “The Wanderer”, and etc., where the hero in many ways seeks to create honest relationships with capricious, demanding and whimsical women. These searches reflect man’s need to create a true, genuine connection with the Anima – emotions, moods and feelings, his own soul, instead of becoming their victim. The connection happens when the hero experiences tremendous challenges in his journeys, friendship and love affairs, successes, and failures. When the connection with an internal woman is found, and the man becomes aware of her different aspects, liberation is achieved. The man reaches the third stage of development – mature fullness. In this case, it would be possible to assume that constellation of the wizard archetype in man’s mentality helps for the connection with the Anima.
Franz (2009), analysing the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and other authors, states that the repetition of the same plot reflects author’s unresolved internal conflict, an attempt to escape from the dominant psychic complex. Maybe. However, I do not reject the assumption that repetition of the plot line is not a self-therapy only. It is possible that this is the way the author wants to share his experience gained from searching for his own way of relating the Anima and restoring the connection with the Self. It is likely that the experience of this journey was so important and inspiring that he wants to repeat it symbolically (through the creative work), record it in different angles, in different epochs.
In his journey, the hero meets two sorcerer es fighting for magical shoes that step in miles. The prince proposes to resolve the sorcerer es’ dispute and after sending them to the race, stoles the shoes. Shoes are a sign of power and freedom. Only the free people were allowed to wear shoes in the Antique; the slaves walked barefoot. In a psychological sense, the hero gains freedom and power when he becomes acquainted, establishes a connection and determines the way of interaction with his Shadow – psychological aspects that are considered negative; they are rejected, they are attributed to others. Sometimes vigorous fight begins against the bad others, which have traits characteristic to the own shadow, not realizing that the fight actually goes with the own shadow (Franz, 2009). According to Franz, in the face of evil, direct confrontation is ineffective. Much more productive is the moderate position when the Ego recognizes its shadow but does not concentrate on it, and can take advantage of the means used by the shadow figure. Not without reason, the hero of our fairy tale says: “You killed lots of people with your sorcery. That’s why I’ll cheat on you.” This strategy allows the Ego to continue to develop, does not close it in the deadlock of unsolvable problems. The prince does not try to destroy the sorcerer es. He deceives them, takes the shoes and travels further. When a person knows and recognizes his shadow traits, he can deliberately use them, because there are a lot of situations in life where these features (e.g., aggression, loquacity, laziness, etc.) can be successfully applied. Then projections decrease, less energy and autonomy remains for the shadow.
Analysing the plot in the context of external events, an important message emerges: sometimes it is possible even to deceive, although it contradicts the Christian position and most of the traditional values that prohibit justification of the wrongdoing by pointing to a good outcome. Fairy tale reveals the wisdom of life: there are situations when deception is inevitable. And it would be better if this action is a deliberate choice. In inner sense, deception, a lie is related to the trickster activity. In the fairy tale, we can see that the ability to deliberately use the energy of this archetype helps to approach the Anima.
In the context of psychotherapy process, magical shoes – like other magical instruments (flying carpets, wings, etc.) that help to get over long distances – symbolize the methods and techniques used by the psychotherapist helping to achieve unconscious content. Shoes acquired from the shadow can also symbolize a change of conscious attitude: self-permission to dream and fantasize – move on to the other worlds. The ability to go into the fantasy world is an important precondition for the discovery of the Anima (Franz, 2009).
Liberation of the princess
Wearing magical shoes, the prince finds his sisters and gets acquainted with the brothers-in-law – the deer, the whale and the eagle. From the intrapsychic point of view, people who have become animals symbolize rejected, unidentified and unrecognized, instinctive, almost wild parts of the personality. In such a situation, a person cannot fully use his potential and be nimble as a deer, diving deep like a whale or covering the perspective as an eagle. The hero the Ego identifies with establishes contact with these sub-personalities and finds out that his journey and searches are not over – the prince will also have to find and liberate the sister of these brothers, who was captivated by the “strongest sorcerer .” Brothers-in-law promise to help in this process: they give bristles, scales and feathers, which put to the forehead call them out to appear. Why do these materials should be put exactly to the forehead? Why it is not enough to just possess them? .. Archaic traditions associate forehead with the mind, the spiritual spheres. Hinduism and Buddhism indicate that the third eye is on the forehead, the opening of which is a sign of spiritual development (Razauskas, 2008). The forehead is oiled during Christian sacraments, and this becomes a sign of God’s closeness, touch of the Holy Spirit. Apparently wild parts of personality, instinctivism can be meaningfully actualized only with the help of mind, consciousness, and spiritual values.
The prince, searching for a way to the captured sister of his brothers-in-law, puts brothers’-in-law gifts – bristles, scales, and feathers – to the forehead. Psychologically, this motive corresponds the deliberate use of instinctive powers. One little feather starts to fly, showing the way to the hero. The symbol of the feathers is discussed vividly and in detail by Franz (1998). Feathers are a symbol of intuition, the spiritual sphere. Unconscious use them to send its signs. The feather rises and flies even with the slightest breeze. It symbolizes sensitivity to spiritual inspiration, enthusiasm, and invisible impulse. The motive of feathers as signposts impressively exploits filmmaker Robert Zemeckis in the movie “Forrest Gump” (1994). When Forrest, the main character of the film, tells his story, we see constantly repeated pictures with feathers flying in the wind. Forrest – a sensitive, naive, simple and kind-hearted guy, despite his slow-witted mind, becomes a hero, a millionaire, a happy husband, because he listens to the heart throughout his life and values relationships more than personal principles or imposed rules.
The feather leads the prince to a steep mountain. The mountain symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth. Spiritually significant events take place in the mountains: the manifestation of the God, immolations (Becker, 1995). Based on analysis of the Lithuanian folklore Beresnevičius (2004) reveals that mountain is the cosmogonic centre where the world is created. Lithuanian legend says that there is a boat inside the mountain, and the lady with a little dog sits in this boat. Beresnevičius (2004) relates this figure also with the world of the dead. Clear indications of this is the ship – the means by which the dead are floated, and the dog – the frequent guardian of the death gate in myths of various nations. The lady would correspond the Scandinavian goddess Nerthus – the patron of wealth and fertility.
The prince climbs the mountain. Climbing the mountains, a person checks out his physical and psychological powers, experiences limit situations and states, has the opportunity to truly know himself and another person, without lies or fake decorations. Mountain climbing requires courage and humility, the ability to concentrate and evaluate many external and internal factors. Mountaineering folklore tells that spirits living in the mountains may or may not accept people ready to go to the mountains. Death is waiting for those who disregard possible non-acceptance signs (severe weather conditions, lost things, fracturing equipment, flairs, etc.), and still climb the mountains. Dangers in the mountains also arise when a person is selfish, considers his interests more important than others, does not value relationships, behaves unfairly or otherwise violates unwritten rules of mountaineer’s honour code – does not help those who are in trouble, do not share. Existence, life in the mountains is associated with ascesis, prayer, and meditation. Solitary people move over to the mountains, some travel to try themselves and relationships.
The young man finds a cave in the mountain, and a door in the cave, and a girl is sitting behind the door. The Anima is discovered in a cave not accidentally. Cave – a narrow slot on earth – is considered a symbol of the womb. The Anima is ready for a new rebirth. But the princess is possessed by the strongest sorcerer . The sorcerer could symbolize the negative father complex dominating in mind. Before entering into an open and direct confrontation with this mental derivative, the hero asks the princess for help – she has to find out where the sorcerer’s power lies. So for the Anima to be released, the hero seeks to thoroughly get acquainted with mental derivative, which has taken her over, and the causes of its origin. The Anima itself is leading this process.
The princess tells the hero that the sorcerer ’s power is in the egg, the egg is in the pigeon, the pigeon is in the bunny, the bunny is in the iron box, the box is in the sea. The task which awaits the hero recalls work with a dominant mental complex: the latter arises in different situations, in different shapes, its roots – forgotten or unconscious experiences. To reach them requires a lot of effort and assistance from different sub-personalities.
For example, client L. (38 years old) turned to a psychologist for anxiety episodes. In the course of therapy, the dominant negative father complex came out: the client had high demands on himself, he perceived competition, criticism, failing defeat and humiliation in many life situations (even in marriage, sports training, therapy), he was often suffering from aggressive fantasies that flashed with compulsiveness. “I rest, and insensible thoughts and visions come up to my mind that it would be so easy to get rid of him (i.e., a business competitor). I could organize everything so neatly, no one could suspect anything … / I think so, and murder becomes a small logical task.” In this fantasy, one can see fragmentation of personality – feelings, values did not come out. The difficult task was awaiting the client during the therapy – to overcome the negative father complex and find a counterbalance to rational and pragmatic principles of life, take a comprehensive look at experience, integrate the spiritual component and values.
All component parts of the complex lie in the unconscious (in the depths of the sea). Bunny is a symbol of life and fertility, but also of fear, weakness, and lust. When the bunny is succeeded, the pigeon appears – a symbol of peace, but also a prophet of obsession, death, and disaster (Becker, 1995). Negative aspects of these symbols – fear, a threat of destruction, disordered sexuality, etc. – turns out when negative father complex shows up. When they are overcome, the egg is broken – the core of the complex is discovered, and its activation mechanism is figured out.
The episode of the fight against the sorcerer serves as an excellent illustration of this particular case, but bearing in mind the whole tale, multiple symbols, and amplifications, we can treat the sorcerer as a symbol of the wise man archetype. This interpretation of the tale would reflect more accurately the entire path of man’s individuation. Looking at the fairy tale from this angle, we can identify four types of the Animus distinguished by Henderson: the Father (old king), the Son (king’s son), the Hero (king’s son on the journey), and the Wise man (new king) (Henderson, quoted by Gudaitė, 2001).
Usually, the archetype of a wise man appears in the tales as a rescuing omniscient when a hero finds himself in a desperate situation that he cannot control alone. The wise man appears as a wizard, a magician, a sorcerer, an old man, etc. In our fairy tale, he is called a sorcerer . It is not odd because true wisdom is not only infinite patience, clear, bright, kind-hearted and easy being. It is also a fierce gaze, an experience of the destructive side of life and death, the ability to go honestly through life’s dramas and tragedies, finite and irreversible situations, without giving up to an “optimistic tyranny”, without trying to mitigate it with the “wisdom” of so popular self-help. The archetype of a wise man knows and understands the laws of the unconscious and nature itself.
The archetype of a wise man matured the Anima. Bearing in mind the types of the Anima defined by Franz (2005) and Lithuanian tale about a lady with a puppy analysed by Beresnevičius (2004), we can assume that the princess seized by the sorcerer is the Wisdom itself (the fourth stage of the Anima development, cf. Franz, 1995).
A hero who wants to achieve his own Anima must assimilate the powers of the wise man. Objects which hide the sorcerer ’s life are being destroyed – broken, tore and otherwise empowered (assimilated). The hero is supported by the Anima itself, which finds out how the archetype of a wise man can be achieved. Wisdom lies in the unconscious. And truly, wisdom is needed precisely when rational thinking can no longer help and hangs, forms closed circles. The lack of mind and logic is rare when dealing with or accepting difficult situations, more often unconscious wisdom is needed. While seeking for it, the Ego remains passive; the Anima and the recently discovered parts of personality act instead: the whale (embodying the ability to play and fantasize) dives into the depths of the sea (unconscious) and brings out the box. The box – probably one of the most important attributes of a wise man – is the ability to accumulate and withstand the experience. The bunny jumps out of the box – vigilant, fast, reproductive and vital creature is associated with the constant renewal of life. The bunny is being caught by the deer (consciousness rules!). The pigeon jumps out of the bunny. A pigeon is a bird that enables a connection (e.g., pigeon post), brings a sign of reconciliation with God. He symbolizes naivety, purity, self-control, and love, and can also be considered a prophet of disaster and death. The pigeon is being caught by the eagle – one that covers the wholeness, sees the perspective. The egg drops out from the pigeon – a symbol of life, fertility, regeneration, and rebirth. The hero breaks it. The world is born anew.
The fairy tale ends with fourfold weddings – connection of contrasts, integration of the masculine and feminine rudiment. Guggenbühl-Craig (1981) considers the marriage a distinctive form of individuation – an “instinctive individuation” that occurs when both partners in the marriage express themselves fully and “face” one another. In our fairy tale, four pairs get married. Four is the symbol of harmony, the Self. Looking at the whole story, there is no definite answer to who saved whom. The same as in real relationship: by giving you get, by saving you save yourself. The Ego reaches fullness when separates itself from security which prevents development, and goes out, bravely opens to the world, listens to feelings, dares to ask for help and accept it, strives to establish a relationship, cares for its continuity, sacrifices, saves others, looks for its soul and finds ways to make it free. The Anima we are looking for is always nearby on this journey, it initiates changes and helps them to happen, but to be so, the hero needs to search for it and recognize it.
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