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Marie-Louise Von Franz (1915 – 1998)


Daughter of an Austrian baron, was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar who was born in Munich, Germany.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
The embodiment of the unconscious of a woman as a figure of the opposite sex, the animus, also has positive and negative features. The animus, however, does not express itself so often in women as an erotic fantasy or mood, but rather as "sacred" convictions. When these latter are expressed loudly and energetically in a masculine style, this masculine side of a woman is easily recognizable. However, it can also manifest in a woman who appears very feminine externally as a quiet but relentless power that is hard as iron. Suddenly one comes up against something in her that is cold, stubborn, and completely inaccessible.
Von Franz quotes
To sum up: numbers appear to represent both an attribute of matter and the unconscious foundation of our mental process. For this reason, number forms, according to Jung, that particular element that unites the realms of matter and psyche. It is “real” in a double sense, as an archetypal image and as a qualitative manifestation in the realm of outer-world experience.
Von Franz
…Jung even asserted that he would have no objection to regarding the psyche as a quality of matter and matter as a concrete aspect of the psyche, provided that the psyche was understood to be the collective unconscious.




Von Franz Marie-Louise quotes
In one African myth the word for God is even identical with skill and capacity. The Godhead is defined as that thing which appears in man as the mystery of an unusual skill or capacity. It is something divine, a spark of the divinity in him, not his own possession or achievement, but a miracle.
Von Franz Marie-Louise
The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. ... People living in cultures more securely rooted than our own have less trouble in understanding that it is necessary to give up the utilitarian attitude of conscious planning in order to make way for the inner growth of the personality.
Marie-Louise Von Franz quotes
On the fourth level, he embodies the mind and becomes a mediator of creative and religious inner experiences, through which life acquires an individual meaning. At this stage he confers on a woman a spiritual and intellectual solidity that counterbalances her essentially soft nature. He can then act as a liaison connecting her with the spiritual life of the time. When this occurs, women are often more open to new, creative ideas than men. That is why in the past women were often used as mediums able to make knowledge of the future available to the world of the spirit. The creative courage in the truth conferred by the animus gives a woman the daring to enunciate new ideas that can inspire men to new enterprises. Often in history women have recognized the value of new creative ideas earlier than men, who are more emotionally conservative. The nature of woman is more closely related to the irrational, and this makes a woman better able to open to new inspirations from the unconscious. The very fact that women normally participate less in public life than men do makes it possible for their animus to act as a "hidden prince" in the darkness of private life and bring about beneficial results.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
The way the anima initially manifests in an individual man usually bears the stamp of his mother's character. If he experienced her in a negative way, then his anima often takes the form of depressive moods, irritability, perpetual malcontent, and excessive sensitivity. If the man is able to overcome these, precisely these things can strengthen his manliness. Such a negative mother anima will endlessly whisper within a man: "I'm a nothing," "It doesn't make sense anyhow," "It's different for other people," "Nothing * gives me any pleasure," and so on. Continual fear of disease, impotence, or accidents are her work, and she constellates a general sense of gloom. Troubled moods like these can intensify to the point of temptations to suicide; thus the anima can become a demoness of death. She appears in this role in Cocteau's film Orpheus.
Von Franz Marie-Louise quotes
In real life, too, it takes a long time for a woman to bring the animus into consciousness, and it costs her a great deal of suffering. But if she succeeds in freeing herself from his possession, he changes into an "inner companion" of the highest value, who confers on her positive masculine qualities such as initiative, courage, objectivity, and intellectual clarity. Like the anima in a man, the animus also commonly exhibits four stages of development. In the first stage he manifests as a symbol of physical force, for example, a sports hero. In the next stage, in addition he possesses initiative and focused ability to act. In the third stage, he becomes "the word" and is therefore frequently projected onto noteworthy intellectuals, like doctors, ministers, and professors.
Von Franz
Number, as it were, lies behind the psychic realm as a dynamic ordering principle, the primal element of which Jung called spirit. As an archetype, number becomes not only a psychic factor, but more generally, a world-structuring factor. In other words, numbers point to a background reality in which psyche and matter are no longer distinguishable.
Von Franz Marie-Louise
Just as the mother influence is formative with a man's anima, the father has a determining influence on the animus of a daughter. The father imbues his daughter's mind with the specific coloring conferred by those indisputable views mentioned above, which in reality are so often missing in the daughter. For this reason the animus is also sometimes represented as a demon of death. A gypsy tale, for example, tells of a woman living alone who takes in an unknown handsome wanderer and lives with him in spite of the fact that a fearful dream has warned her that he is the king of the dead. Again and again she presses him to say who he is. At first he refuses to tell her, because he knows that she will then die, but she persists in her demand. Then suddenly he tells her he is death. The young woman is so frightened that she dies. Looked at from the point of view of mythology, the unknown wanderer here is clearly a pagan father and god figure, who manifests as the leader of the dead (like Hades, who carried off Persephone). He embodies a form of the animus that lures a woman away from all human relationships and especially holds her back from love with a real man. A dreamy web of thoughts, remote from life and full of wishes and judgments about how things "ought to be," prevents all contact with life. The animus appears in many myths, not only as death, but also as a bandit and murderer, for example, as the knight Bluebeard, who murdered all his wives.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
The "ultimate" questions referred to above do not always come up in the encounter with the shadow. Much more often behind him or her another inner figure emerges as a personification of the unconscious. This takes the form of a woman in a man, and in a woman, that of a man. Often it is they who are at work behind the shadow, throwing up new problems. C. G. Jung called them anima and animus. The anima embodies all feminine psychic qualities in a man-moods, feelings, intuitions, receptivity to the irrational, his personal capacity for love, his sense of nature, and most important of all, his relationship to the unconscious.




Marie-Louise Von Franz quotes
Nevertheless, this individual aspect [just-so-ness] of number appears to contain the mysterious factor that enables it to organize psyche and matter jointly.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
Always at bottom there is a divine revelation, a divine act, and man has only had the bright idea of copying it. That is how the crafts all came into existence and is why they all have a mystical background. In primitive civilizations one is still aware of it, and this accounts for the fact that generally they are better craftsmen than we who have lost this awareness. If we think that every craft, whether carpenter's or smith's or weaver's, was a divine revelation, then we understand better the mystical process which certain creation myths characterize as God creating the world like a craftsman. By creating the world through such a craft he manifests a secret of his own mysterious skill.
Von Franz quotes
The favorite themes that the animus of the woman dredges up within her sound like this: "I am seeking nothing but love, but 'he' doesn't love me." Or, "There are only two possibilities in this situation," both of which of course are unpleasant (the negative animus never believes in exceptions). One can seldom contradict the animus, for it/he is always right; the only problem is that his opinion is not based on the actual situation. For the most part he gives utterance to seemingly reasonable views, which, however, are slightly at a tangent to what is under discussion.
Von Franz Marie-Louise
It is no accident that, in ancient times many peoples used priestesses (think, for example, of the Greek Sibyls) to enter into relationship with the will of the gods.
Von Franz Marie-Louise quotes
Our whole tradition has trained us to think always of God as being outside the world and shaping its dead material in some form. But upon making a general survey of creation myths, we see that this type of God mirrors a rare and specific situation; it mirrors a state where consciousness has already markedly withdrawn, as an independent entity, out of the unconscious and therefore can turn toward the rest of the material as if it were its dead object. It also already shows a definite separation between subject and object; God is the subject of the creation and the world, and its material is the dead objects with which he deals. Naturally we must correct this viewpoint by putting it into its right context, namely, that the craftsman in primitive societies never imagined himself to be doing the work himself. Nowadays if you watch a carpenter or a smith, he is in a position to feel himself as a human being with independent consciousness, who has acquired from his teacher a traditional skill with which he handles dead material. He feels that his skill is a man-made possession, which he owns. If we look at the folklore and mythology of the different crafts in more primitive societies, we see that they have a much more adequate view of it. They all still have tales which show that; man never invented any craft or skill, but that it was revealed to him, that it is the Gods who produced the knowledge which man now uses if he does anything practical.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
The mathematical forms of order which the mind of a physicist manipulates coincides "miraculously" with experimental measurements.
Marie-Louise Von Franz quotes
Many myths and fairy tales tell of a prince, who has been turned into an animal or a monster by sorcery, being saved by a woman. This is a symbolic representation of the development of the animus toward consciousness. Often the heroine may ask no questions of her mysterious lover, or she is only allowed to meet him in darkness. She is to save him through her blind faith and love, but this never works. She always breaks her promise and is only able to find her beloved again after a long quest.
Marie-Louise Von Franz
Number is therefore the most primitive instrument of bringing an unconscious awareness of order into consciousness; from it you can best tap the unconscious constellation. This probably why it is used in most mantic methods.
Von Franz Marie-Louise
It [number] preconsciously orders both psychic thought processes and the manifestations of material reality.


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