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By J.D. Stephen Flynn.

 

I assume most readers to be Psychotherapists, in training, or those who take the dream seriously. To do so would constitute developing a 'constructive* approach or technique (Martin 1956:36-67,) also see (Jung 1971:147-163) and (Jung 1990 80ff). Jung advises the therapist to see the dream as a welcome assistant in the treatment plan, as it illustrates the client's situation bringing memories, insights and experience to the fore. The dream is suggesting new points of view and ways of 'getting over the dreaded impasse in the momentary adjustment of one sidedness,' by offering deeper insight and experience to the analysis. Jung considers it impossible for anyone without knowledge of mythology and folk lore to diagnose the dream (Jung  1960:237-300). When investigating the workings of the psyche from both the conscious and the unconscious, all points between must be considered. In this Forum I start by exploring a fairy tale as if it were a dream and thereby serving the dual purpose of dream analysis. This approach highlights the importance of the fairy tale per se and also its application to clinical practice. Papers to follow:

 

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A Jungian analysis of Snow White and the seven dwarfs:

Offering What Myths and Fairy Tales suggest to our understanding.

By J.D. Stephen Flynn.          

Key Words:

Myth, patterns, anima, animus, synchrony, ego, shadow.

Introduction:

I argue that the fairy tale has qualities found in classical myth and should be taken more seriously. In both fairy tale and myth there is much to be discovered about ourselves. From this deduction I suggest the whole fairy tale be interpreted as part of any individual person’s psychology.  Looked at in this way each figure within the story impacts on the whole, each turn of events has a cause and effect forming or conforming to patterns that unfold towards a workable unity. I have chosen the fairy tale of Snow White to authenticate the above assertions.

In the summery, I suggest a chart or path our hero Snow White took could also be used as a guide for therapists working clinically with people suffering from neurosis.

 

The Opie's tell us that the story of Snow White can be found with little variation all over the world `...from Ireland to Asia Minor and in several parts of North and West Africa.' (Opie & Opie 1980:227).  So we are dealing with a fairytale which has a lot of meaning for many people and like myth continues to fascinate.

I feel quite humbled as I continue to realise such simple stories as Snow White continues to hold much contemporary relevance that remains deeply buried within its simplicity.  I am prepared to conclude that some fairy stories seem to verge on myth, in that, the more I read about the science of myth, the more I reluctantly conclude that this tale, among others, has all the magnitude of classical mythology.

If this was so, then we might give more weight to these simple tales. Perhaps it is `invented' just to show us something of our selves and perhaps these simple stories are as C. G. Jung considers myth to be, the '..unconscious expressions of ourselves...'(Jung and Kerényi 1989:162).

My difficulty with 'classical myth' is that it was once believed to be true, and was yesteryear religion. Whereas the fairy story was never believed to be so, but then again, in the eyes of a child such stories are considered `true.'  Was medieval man more 'child like,' primitive or less differentiated in his belief then modern man and did he give credibility to the fairytale as we now give credibility to religion?

I would like to believe society has moved on to distinguish a little better between the truth of ‘maybe’, and the fantasy of  ‘what if...’. Whatever stance one takes either with religion, myth or fairy tale, they all share a common purpose of transmitting meaning.

The limitations of such an approach is that the description and significance of the protagonist personality is invariably scant and insignificant as the fairy tale centers on ‘the unfolding of story (Von Franz:1980:10).’ However, both Fairytale and myth have stood the test of time, and both contain an underlying pattern or meaning that speaks to our present day condition. On this basis I suggest we take the fairytale seriously and try to discover what this pattern is that people find themselves walking along or struggling on.

 In this paper I attempt to analyse what truth there is in fairytale for the individual today. But no matter how extensively my rendering of the story, I must humbly concede deeper meanings will always remain.  As Jung put it, `...The archetypes are the imperishable elements of the unconscious, but they change their shape continually.' (Jung and Kerényi 1989:)

 This 'imperishable element' of the unconscious is a key, held in myth, to assist in our understanding of a pattern, the unconscious maps within us all. What if we can identify this map? It may be possible to 'plan' or 'map out' the stages of life in the analysand, and thereby aid the essential temporary adjustment. This ‘map’ involves identifying what labyrinth our client is in and which archetype  is at play. The archetype in the Snow White story, I suggest is the maiden, kore, the unfolding feminine. For instance, there are three women in this story, and the first, the caring mother soon dies leaving our hero Snow White with no psychological mother. Thus all the images in the story can be seen or can become aspects of a feminine or the ‘Anima’ irrespective of gender (Jung 1960:345). I will use all the people mentioned in this Fairy Story to represent autonomous complexes common to us all and yet still held in a single mind, or to put it another way, I will take each character of the story to represent different aspects of the an individuals psyche. This story is essentially a story for little girls and so I may be in danger of running the sexist gauntlet, but I wish to make it clear that there are equal immature imagery to be found in the psyche of men or in the masculine psyche ‘Animus’ (ibid.), which can also found, for instance, in the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk. In fact, these stories tell us how growing up has numerous difficulties  and how to integrate conflicting aspects of our selves as our personal unconscious develops along some prescribed map, albeit allowing for individual idiosyncratic differences and choices.

At the start of the story Snow White, or the undeveloped anima, is far from complete as she is both innocent and immature and lacks a caring mother figure within. The same difficulties presented in the classic Greek myth, but how far can the analogy hold? I will also pursue this line of inquiry throughout the remainder of this paper as there is much to gain from so doing.  For the sake of clarity and simplicity, rather than use anima or animus, I will interchange with either ‘boy, man’ or ‘girl and woman’.  to be continued:-----

Hello JD - and four legged friend,

Dia's Muire Dhuit :) Thank you for your posting which I found particularly interesting and timely as I'm just reading Marie-Louise von Franz's 'The Feminine in Fairytales,' in which she discusses the tale of Snow White or Briar Rose... Her insights are wonderful such as the needle being representative of the negative anima. Do please continue with your paper(s)!

Warmly, Esther.

In psychological terms, what is going for Snow White?

In more detail of Opies' version, (the alternative title of Snow Drop is used), and starts with Snow Drop's mother, a Queen who ...'sat working at a window, the frame of which was made of fine black ebony: and  as she was looking out upon the snow, she pricked her finger and three drops of blood fell upon it. Then she gazed thoughtfully upon the red drops which sprinkled the white snow,...' (Opie and Opie 1974:230).

It is interesting to compare Grimm's story of Snow White here. It is actually snowing in this version of the tale as Snow White's mother '...sat at a window netting. Her netting needle was of black ebony, and as she worked, and the snow glittered, she pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red spots looked so beautiful in the white snow that the queen thought to herself...' (Grimm 1984:188)

This silent reflection evident in both versions by the Queen looking upon her freezing blood and the pattern it made in the snow activated a deep yearning for her expectant child. This form of reflecting, Jung considers, is a masculine trait within the feminine. The animus often uses the silent image to illustrate meaning to the woman. He presents himself within the woman `...as a painter ...or is a cinema-operator or owner of a picture gallery..' (Jung 1960:171). The above motif is a fine example of such an experience. Or as Jung would put it ‘Image and meaning are identical, as the first takes shape so the latter becomes clear’ (ibid: 204).

There are other archetypes (Jung1981:21) to be found in this story. The `Primordial Child and the Earth Mother'(Jung and Kereyi 1989:158)., is aptly described in the opening paragraph whose colours of black and red are depicted in the begriming of the story. It is only later as the story unfolds does it become apparent the need to `..extend the feminine consciousness both upwards and downwards..' (Ibid:162). In so doing, the bud-like quality of the maiden unfolds and maybe the roots go deeper.

 

More significantly perhaps is the symbol of transcendence of the above motif :  The bud holds future promise as does the child within the womb symbolized in the spots of blood forming a  mosaic of some future promise which surpasses the life of the mother. Note how Snow White's mother ‘gazed thoughtfully’ on the image and places her future offspring into its structure by visualising her future child’s attributes. Within one motif we can also find a pure feminine act of imagination as well as Jung’s ‘masculine trait’ (ibid), of a mother imaging her daughter's nature prior to birth.

We are presented with a `symbol' of the child through the elements of `snow' on the ground.  Professor Kerényi defines it ..`as an image presented by the world itself. In the image of the Primordial Child the world tells of its own childhood, and of everything that sunrise and the birth of a child mean for the world.' (Jung and Kerényi 1989:45).  Later he refers again to the Primordial Child who '... originally comprised both begetter and begotten. The same idea, seen as the woman's fate, presented itself to the Greeks. The budlike quality of it is expressed in the name often given to its personification: kore, which is simply the goddess "Maiden" (Jung and Kerényi 1989:105). So far our simple story touches on deep the deep imagery of classical Greek myth in its opening passage. The similarity between myth and fairytale holds as what follows is the birth of a maiden of bud-like quality. All described by Jung and Kerényi in ‘The Science of Myth’ continues to be applicable to Snow White.

 Other observations on the opening of the Snow White tale include the number three recurring: three drops of blood: The ‘black needle,’ the ‘blood’ and the ‘snow,’ make three images: Giving her daughter three attributes, Black hair, white skin and red cheeks, and the 'three' symbol of unity in ‘crone,’ ‘maid’ and ‘mother’ involving a cycle of death, giving birth and renewal of life again. Three seems to be a significant figure and is invariably transcendent, moving, incomplete. It is when we reach the number four the process is complete. The crone, the mother, the daughter, and eventually the Prince, is one example of a quadrature. As we will discover, Jung develops the notion of Maid, mother and daughter, stating that all maidens die on their journey to motherhood (Jung and Kerényi 1989:172). It is the fourth element that seems to enter from nowhere to complete the story. The masculine or 'animus,’ in this case, appears as her prince. However, before we leap to the end of the story, our hero has to undergo her final stage of transformation. In terms of dramatic action, it is the fourth attempt to kill her that the step-mother queen is supposedly successful. Maybe she is spent, complete, as it were, on her fourth attempt.

 

Examining the development of the masculine and feminine in the story:

There are ten men in the story of Snow White and nine of them could be said to represent weak or inadequate father figures within Snow White as she strives toward inner completion. These ten men can be broken down into four stages of development of the masculine within the growth of the female striving to become a fully mature woman at the end of the story.

However, prior to the Ego development, it doesn't seem to matter what gender the child is, as Professor Kerényi pointed out, `..the role of the child was restricted neither to the male nor the female sex' (Jung and Kerényi 1989:147). The psychic transcendence of unconscious forces in a child includes the boy transcending to manhood or in this case 'maid' transcending to 'womanhood'. The metamorphosis of `one unfolding of the bud like idea that envisaged the continuity of life in the unity of maiden, mother, and child, a being that dies, gives birth, and comes to life again.' (Jung and Kereyi 1989:148). The male in a similar immature state has eventually to face his shadow side too. Non-acceptance or none integration of the shadow results in no growth. Peter Pan never grew up, but then again, he never had a shadow. In clinical practice as a therapist, I explore the patients ‛attitude' to their own shadow, as everyone has an attitude. Acceptance of ones dark side seems to be less harmful than (say) denial.  I am reminded of Jack, in Jack and the Bean Stalk. His shadow was the giant who killed his father, whom he has yet to meet.

Stage one of the developing Ego:

Uniformity starts to emerge when we read how the queen died at the birth of her child and with her death we have the first mention of her husband, '..the king took another wife'(Grimm 1984:188): But this is the only mention of Snow Whites' father. The indolent father figure might as well not exist for all the good he did, so too with ‘Cinderella’ and perhaps ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. The latter does not seem to have had a father at all! Common to all these tales is the fact that the negative aspect of the masculine (indolent/absent father) cannot be integrated and this can result in a denial of the masculine as..’These maidens are always doomed to die, because their exclusive domination of the feminine psyche hinders the individuation process, that is, the maturation of personality '(Jung and Kerényi 1989:172).

The 'absent one' in a persons life or the one avoided mentioned in the analysand usually has an enormous contribution to make. Our hero starts out with an almost non-existent father figure or 'Animus’ and at this stage equivalent to not knowing her natural mother. This state of the psyche is tragic as it lacks both the caring mother and father image. Her father cannot stand up for her and continues ‘doing nothing’ throughout the story (her life) even though she is subject to four attempts of murder. He doesn’t offer any suggestions, guidance or even attempts to control the raging forces within his new wife/queen. He does nothing against the raging opposite. The counter balance to the weak Animus is an inflated negative feminine 'shadow' which  ‛... is totally unconscious....and... seems to possess a peculiar wisdom of its own...'(Jung1981:233f)  in the form of the step mother. Taking all this as an integral part of Snow White’s psychic condition, the whole story seems to be about Snow White eventually finding her prince within, the tenth male figure, before she is able to face and tame her rage.

The Ego although ‘..an immense accumulation of images of past processes..’ within Snow White is nevertheless infantile in development and  also immense (Jung:1960:323:360). This initial state of a person contains all that is needed to develop into an adult, but suffers from a failure of adaptation, compensated by '... an older...regressive reactivation of the parental imagos...' (Jung1995:140). As we discover, there is growth of the primal female in the form of the wicked step-mother queen. So it is not surprising that this dominant ‘shadow’ (ibid.: 208) tries to dislodge the Ego, especially when the shadow itself is married (counterpart) to such a weak Animus. Snow White is in a mess, we can conclude the inevitable 'partial suicide’ is the shadow's way of restricting the existence of Snow White, our hero (Jung and Kerényi 1989:110). If she were a patient at this stage of development, she would appear hysterical, have a terror around freedom and at the same time be dependant on whoever was available. She may well describe her feelings likened to being in a small dark place and hiding away from responsibility and the danger of the wide outside.

The ego began its own development when Snow White was seven years old, and it was then we find terror expressed by our Queenly step-mother. This terror can also accommodate jealousy, a lack of love for the child within, which then becomes hateful and murderous '...she would have been ready to tear her heart out of her body'(Grimm 1984:189).

 

Stage two of the developing Ego:

This involves the first glimmer of awareness on the part of Snow White. She is considered a threat by the shadow figure in her psyche- presented in the story as the wicked step-mother. So the first state of male awareness emerges too- the Woodman who will do no harm, but will not protect either. This is a transit stage for Snow White as she finds herself wondering in the wilderness of the wood abandoned by adults. It is also the first time Snow White has to initiate something: find her way to safely and negotiate to remain alive.

The shadow within, our new usurper Queen and has hired a killer. Thus, enters the second male figure. He is not as violent as the first, her father who is significantly absent, at least the Woodcutter does do something: he refuses to harm her, but also fails to protect her, letting her go into unknown danger in the woods and hoping she will never return. At least he deceives the Shadow figure (the usurper queen) by taking back the heart of a deer as a pretense.

The Ego at this stage is under the spell of unknown forces within and is restricted in freedom ’ ...being alienated from normal life’ (Jung1960: 311) where she continues hiding in the woods.

 

All the masculine force of the father in Snow White are mesmerised by the attributes of beauty in his new wife masking the evil content which harbor no warmth of feeling. A beautiful woman must be a good person! We are told the shadow queen  '..could not endure that anyone should surpass her in beauty' (Grimm 1984:188)., And of course, she had the magic mirror. It was magic because the queen is herself only a reflection and what she saw ‘in’ the mirror was the real self looking back, but the reality was actually the other way round.  This is indeed a symbol of one aspect of feminine beauty. Jung says of such a woman that they have '..artistry in illusion being a specifically feminine talent.. However, it seems if a woman remains '...content to be a femme a' home, she has no feminine individuality. She is empty and merely glitters-a welcome vessel for masculine projection. (Jung and Kereyi 1989:172-3). The mirror told the queen she was no longer the best. The first emotion '...the queen was terrified' (Grimm 1984:189). A rather interesting feeling terrified when we consider it is only competitive beauty that is at stake. Her beauty is also about control because if she ceases to mesmerise her man he would 'see though her' and all would be lost.

 Stage three of the developing Ego:

There is indeed more maturity within the feminine and masculine at this stage. This is where Snow White meets the common man, the vast majority of men- all seven of them! He (the dwarfs) works all day and expects everyone else to do so. So Snow White enters a tentative agreement based on mutual help: She does the house work for her keep and they needs-must work. The Shadow takes up a disguise at this stage too as the shadow is becoming aware of the budding Ego Snow White.  But the Dwarfs are not grown-up enough, half man size as it were, and fail to protect their female charge and leave Snow White unguarded even after repeated attempts of homicide. Likewise, the feminine is equally as stupid where she obeys the instructions ‘not to open the door’ but opens the window instead, because they never told her not to do that.

She meets the animus in the form of many which ....’is undifferentiated and many (Jung1981:16f)). ‘The animus also embodies helpful figures’... as the Dwarfs proved to be, and thus starts the Ego’s road back to recovery (Jung1960:347).

In this state although obviously distressed, Snow White is unable to get in touch with her feelings. The split within herself eventually becomes evident.  Discovering the hatred expressed by her own negative mother within, is actually witnessed.  All this is painful to witness for people in real life too and our hero is only just beginning to see it. The subdued Ego needs to  find 'herself'.  In the mealtime, there is a need for the Ego to 'grow up' by becoming more 'differentiated,' albeit this is a process which takes time.

If you think about it, the shadow (the wicked Queen) is not the legitimate heir to the Psyche.

She is usurping the Ego, and by so doing, is prepared to commit partial suicide. The wicked queen’s modus operandi includes the notion that '..there is no actual loss of reality, only a falsification of it' (Jung 1995: 140). Notice how the feminine shadow includes the 'glistening' part of the libido. It allures the masculine with little concern for the more wholesome purpose which should include the need to form an intimate relationship or to reproduce. However, in our story the potential of the ego resorts to hiding, and thereby grows up slowly replacing the totally inept ‛animus' (the indolent father) with the un-differentiated but helpful dwarfs.(Perhaps the therapist plays the role of the dwarfs retrieving treasures from the unconscious, and the analysand is represented by the Ego ‘keeping house’ the temporary safe space.)

When working with women striving to integrate, the therapist’s task includes her to... '. Keep everything neat and clean and orderly . . . '(Grimm1984:191) and helping her to see  '...directly that all was not right...' (Opie and Opie 1974:232). This latter comment includes looking at the 'sociology' of our patients too.

 

The times in fairy stories where a girl has a father in ‘name only’ indicates  uniformity.  'The psychotherapist cannot fail to be impressed when he realizes how uniform the unconscious images are despite their surface richness.'(Jung 1995:175). (It was only later in Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in 1938 did the dwarfs receive any personality traits whatsoever.)

For Snow White’s personal growth,  her transcendence is dependant on the  process of building up the inadequate masculine father through the help of the Dwarfs.

'Thus the creative dwarfs toil away in secret; the phallus, also working in darkness, begets a living thing; the key unlocks the mysterious forbidden door behind which some wonderful thing awaits discovery (Jung 1995:124). They delve into the underground or unconscious to find precious stones and mineral. In the mean time the Shadow imposter, having failed the first time, makes three more attempts to destroy the Ego. The fourth succeeds, she thinks.

Snow White has been pursued, robbed of her rights, failed to understand, and yet she has shown few emotions. She did thank the hunter who had been ordered to kill her '..so sweetly.. '(Grimm 1984:189) for sparing her life. Another rare expression of emotion she makes was whilst she was in the forest where the story states she became '..dreadfully frightened, and knew not what to do. She ran on as long as she could until her feet were quite sore; and towards the evening she saw, to her great joy, a pretty little house'(Grimm 1984:189). This is the time, I suggest,  when a person is suffering this kind of problem they feel they are at there lowest, abandoned by all and seeking help. How many times do we therapists marvel at what our patients have been though? I am often presented with dullness of feeling and at the same time ‛a toughness.' This latter quality is the very thing that will take them though the analysand to reach integration. It is as though, the resilience, or ability to suffer, is equal the task to be surmounted.

 

 

The fairy story of a young man’s personal development is similar, but he ‘goes forth’ to meet his shadow, and the woman remains in the house and is visited by her shadow. Whereas Jack (in Jack and the Bean Stalk) disguised himself three times when approaching the 'shadow complex'. '.. He had a dress prepared, which would disguise him, and with something to discolour his skin, he thought it impossible for any one to recollect him.'(Opie and Opie 1974:221), it is the opposite with the feminine, as the shadow, the step-mother queen disguises herself three times '...disguised herself as an old pedlar,... '(Opie and Opie 1974:232) and the second time the wicked queen '... dressed herself up again in disguise but very different from the one she ware before...'(ibid:234). Snow White would have known by now one would think, but no! On her final and third visit we learn '.. she dressed herself  up as a peasant's wife'...(ibid:234). I am often astounded when working with some women that they do not realize what is going on in their lives is 'not right.' They have come to accept the unacceptable.  It seems there is a necessity to help the Ego recognise the wrong doing and 'grow up' and first to ‘accept’ the shadow. Instigating a dialogue with the dark side is essential in this task of negotiating with the shadow. This work also involves examining the ‘attitude’ held towards the shadow. I find the technique of Jung's 'Transcendent function'(Jung 1960:67-91) can be used here to great advantage.

 

Stage four:

 

The Prince comes into her world only when she is unconscious before she can lay claim to her  birth-right as a Princess. What luck she had lying there as one dead when the Prince hap to come alone, or as Jung would have it ‘... is there some other nervous substrate in us, apart from the cerebrum, that can think and perceive, or whether the psychic process that go in us during loss of consciousness are synchronistic phenomonena.. (Ibid: 509)

Another pattern common in the fairy story is the notion of hiding or comatose state of the hero which amounts a special kind of sleep, and even results (in our case) in the wicked Queen stopping scheming too. The Ego has now a chance to become redeemable, that is, ‛return to life' and at the same time claim unity with the masculine (the arrival of the Prince). United in marriage, they return to put the usurper in her proper place.

 to be contunued.....

The universal principles of Maidenhood:

 

There seems to be six major aspects in the universal principles of life found in the myth of the maiden (Jung and Kerényi 1989:137). How many of these principles can we find in the fairy tale? I offer a brief comparison between what the two professors deducted and what has come to light in our story:

 

  1. 1.         The first principle is '... to be pursued...'(Jung and Kerényi 1989:137). Snow           White was certainly perused by the step-mother queen, '...and went her way over            the hills to the place where the dwarfs dwelt.'(Opie and Opie 1974:232).

 

 

2.          The second aspect is one of being '...robbed..' (Jung and Kerényi 1989:137).           Snow White's heritage was usurped. She was the Princess and rightful heir to          the whole kingdom. The step mother robbed her of her rights and would have            robbed her of her life too.

 

3.          The third aspect of the myth of the maiden concerns being '...raped, ...'(Jung and   Kerényi 1989:137). Such calamities cannot be allowed in childrens stories.      However, Snow White was unquestionably physically abused when she was subjected to the wicked step-mother who placed a silk lace for her stays round       her waist and '...pulled the lace so tight, that Snow-drop lost her breath, and fell   down as if she were dead.(Grimm 1984: 192). Next, the child was subject to a       poisoned comb and as she '..stood before the woman to have her hair dressed;             but no sooner had the comb touched the roots of her hair than the poison took       effect'(Grimm 1984:193/4). Finally, having failed via wrapping the white skin tight           and digging into the black ebony hair, she poisoned her with an apple placed   between those rosy red lips. All of these together do not amount to rape, but certainly amounts to a serious abuse.

4. The fourth quality according to Jung is for the maiden  to '.. fail to          understand,(Jung and Kerényi 1989:137). Snow White did this on so many     occasions it seems there was never a time she did understand. She was told '...             on no account to open the door...'(Grimm 1984:194), which she technically did not, She shouted to the disguised farmer's wife 'I dare not let you in; the seven        dwarfs have forbidden me. 'But I am all right,' said the farmer's wife. 'Stay and I        will show you my apples.'(ibid:194). On one level could any person be so dim?             Snow White is not so innocent though,  she did play a role in all of this by her        desire for the trinkets and goodies on offer.  This showed naivety too, thus giving her full rites of passage to qualify for the archetype of maidenhood found in mythology. When working with people suffering this internal split, I make great     play on the qualities of the shadow’s ability to know, to be cute, to have wisdom,         as one of the reasons why it is necessary to accept the shadow.  However, it    seems Snow White is so innocent even at this stage that an approach of trying to         introduce the shadow to  her would be almost disastrous. She has to die, and         thereby transform and become a woman first.

 

5.         Having suffered so much pain and malice, our sweet hero must at some time          undergo the fifth quality  '..to rage ‛(Jung and Kerényi 1989:137). In our story             there is no hint that Snow White herself actually becomes enraged or grieves,   but the shadow does. This can only happen when the prince or the animus has             established itself in the feminine psyche.

For the first time, the wicked step-mother 'is actually invited' by the Ego, that is, she joins with what Snow White is doing. The shadow is recognised. This is the final process where the shadow is invited by the Ego to integrate with the Ego, (not the other way round.) In so doing, the Shadow is allowed to express the rage and grieve. 

 

6.         The sixth principle is to '... grieve,’ (ibid)., which is the completion of transition:

I'll let the story take over here and tell its own tale.

     

'Now it happened that the stepmother of Snow-white was invited, among other quests, to the wedding-feast. Before she left her house she stood in all her rich dress before the magic mirror to admire her own appearance but she could not help saying:

'Mirror, Mirror on the wall

Am I most beautiful of all?'

 

Then to her surprise the mirror replied :

'Fair queen thou art the fairest here,

But at the palace, now,

The bride will prove a thousand times

More beautiful that thou.'

 

Then the wicked woman uttered a curse, and was so dreadfully alarmed that she knew not what to do. At first she declared she would not go to this wedding at all, but she felt it impossible to rest until she had seen the bride, so she determined to go. But what was her astonishment and vexation when she recognised the young bride Snow-white herself, now grown a charming young woman, and richly dressed in royal robes! Her rage and terror were so great that she stood still and could not move for some minutes. At last she went into the ball-room, but the slippers she wore were to her as iron bands full of coals of fire, in which she was obliged to dance: And so …’in the red, glowing shoes she continued to dance till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealously.'(Grimm 1984:198).

 

The interpretation of the ‘complex’ actually dancing itself harmlessly to death from vexation and rage, constitutes the demise of the maiden (Jung 1960:98&369). This is another reason why the maiden had to die in the story, to indicate her innocence is no more.  Significantly, her wedding is taking place at the same time, which indicates the unifying of the feminine and masculine. This is the symbol of the fourth element or fourth stage (re above), the completion.

I have tried to show that the fairytale has a lot of the hall marks normally reserved for classical myth. This being so, I suggest the fairy tale needs to be taken seriously as representing authentic primitive unconscious patterns within the psyche.

 To be continued....

 

Robert Graves suggests there are few references to ritual murder of women in European myth (Graves 1999:411). He cites the German folk-stories Sleeping Beauty and Snow White as exceptions stating their significance to include the importance of the number 13 in the case of Sleeping Beauty representing the thirteenth month as the death month whereby the uninvited thirteenth guest curses the Princess.

In the Snow White illustration Graves states Snow White was a Goddess who was plainly immortal and that 'These deaths are therefore mock-deaths only-.'  The emphasis is on the 'annual drama...when his bride consents to open her half-closed eyes and smile' (ibid: 412).

Just to complete our analogy of our fairy story to myth before I draw together my conclusions, Jung then adds that the maiden will '.... then to get everything back and be born again.'(ibid:137).  She takes the place of the mother,  able to reflect as she herself was imaged by her mother, and so on, stretching back and forward in time.

 

We have seen that although the Anima is singular in the male, it has both positive and negative qualities. By contrast the animus in the female is multiple, represented by the ten men. Note the progression :-

The first was her father who did absolutely nothing.

The second man could not hurt Snow White but did little to help her either and let her go in the woods. She did speak to him though by begging to be let free.

The third were the type of man is Mr Majority,  the seven dwarfs who were much better:  They took her in: Offered her shelter and advice: They nursed her when she was attacked.

She gave back, (Note this is the first act of communicating with the masculine by her). By looking after their house for them she entered a contract, an agreement. But the dwarfs did not stay back to protect her when there was an attempted murder, rather they left her to her own devises. So the dwarfs care for their female charge  was incomplete. There was not a ‛full man' between them.

The last, the fourth, was the Prince. The tenth male figure represents the symbol of completion of unification with the masculine.  After all, Snow White is essentially a story for girls, for the female, and it is about the development of the feminine psyche, but the whole story is as relevant to men as it is to women, as I hope I have shown.

 

 I recall an account where C.G. Jung once concluded in a stubborn case, in desperation he advised a neurotic patient to just ‘shut up!’ I have made the connection with the piece of apple caught in Snow White's throat effectively did just that, It ‘shut her up.’ Thus the Ego stoped the shadow-part of herself from creating further havoc. The negative aspect of the feminine has to be silenced before the Prince can arrive.

 

What if the Prince met the wicked step-mother first? That would lead to a whole new tale, but through the  ‘controlled silence’ the prince was actually given space to become enthralled with his bride to be and thus  installed.

 

In Conclusion:

 

I have tried to establish underlying patterns of the psyche in the fairy tale by perusing a notion that the story could also be interpreted as an aspect of psychic development. I have attempt to plot the process through which our hero had to travel in order to find completion as an aid to our understanding.

Thus:-

At the beginning of our story where Snow White is almost comatose and un-differentiated is could be said such people are in shock, chaos and not knowing where to turn and continue residing in a life style of aloneness and fear. When there is some degree of differentiation the shadow is threatened. A terror prevails around the prospect of taking what is rightfully their own, freedom to become, freedom to embrace their own opposite.

Rather than contemplate this freedom, such an individual would rather create chaos and even wish to die.

At this primitive stage the Ego lives to please others.

 

Our hero was unable to seek out what is useful from the unconscious, and had little idea of her own dark side.

From the above story we can see people in this state lack power. In the state of innocence a person will attribute all that happens to others and take no responsibility themselves and are not willing to accept their own dark side. After several incidences brought about by their own destructive behaviour, they are still incapable of looking at the raging ‘other half’ within, but choose to remain tucked away from life.

Statements like  'I can't.'  form part of the power game being played out by the shadow which prevents them form seeing their own part in this destruction.

 

At this point there is a long process of dialogue, psycho dramatically with the complex, and slowly our hero (Ego) can begin to accept their own faults.

There are many dangers at this stage as the Ego gathers knowledge from the depths of the unconscious. This process continues until a final stage of conflict occurs where the Ego is in serious trouble. The awareness begins to prove intolerable: The choices are stark, either become more comatose or find a way to go more fully into life.

 

To complete their integration, our hero must invite her shadow to participate.

A person has to learn to ‘shut up’ the endless complains made by the shadow and witnesses their own rage and discover a way of expressing it harmlessly, that is, to observe their rage 'dance itself out harmlessly' is preferable to becoming their own victim once again. Then a person can decide to stop the previous useless and harmful actions and take charge of their own life, or as in the story, rule their own kingdom.

 

Bibliography:

 

Anderson, H, C, The  Complete  Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen  (1983), Chancellor Press London.

Graves Robert The White Goddess (1999) Faber and Faber.

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works..Vol’ 8. ‘The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche ‘1960 Routledge London .

Jung C,G. The Collective Works. Vol ‘6  pt X1. ‘Psychological Types’  ‘1971  Routledge  London.

Jung C,G.  The  Collected Works. Vol' ‘9 pt 11. ‘Aion’ 1981. Routledge , London.

Jung C, G. The Collected Works Vol 16  ‘The Psychology of the Transference’ ‘1983 Ark Paperbacks. London

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works.  Vol 12. Psychology and Alchemy 1993 Routledge London

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works.  Vol  5 Symbols of Transformation 1995 Routledge London

Jung C, G.& C. Kerényi Essays on a Science of Mythology 1993 Princeton University press USA.

Opie. P & I. The Classic Fairy Tales. 1980  Granada. Oxford.

Von Franz Marie-Louise. The Psychological Meaning of Redemption Motifs in Fairytales

1980 Inner city Books.

 

Diadhuit Esther,

Pleased you are finding the Snow White analysis useful..

Strange how all the study I did seeking to discover:

Why am I here? and Why does the Universe exist?

All this has culminated into the Universe asking me:

Why am I here!!

And unwittingly, to end up helping others with the knowledge of self so acquired.  I guess the burden of knowing rests uneasy and yet;

I am reminded of a poem I wrote some 30 years ago..(it’s short!)

 

Suspended between belief and non belief

I hang

Crucified by doubt

Alone

Envying those who have meaning,

and fearing those who are certain.

 

Robert Graves suggests there are few references to ritual murder of women in European myth (Graves 1999:411). He cites the German folk-stories Sleeping Beauty and Snow White as exceptions stating their significance to include the importance of the number 13 in the case of Sleeping Beauty representing the thirteenth month as the death month whereby the uninvited thirteenth guest curses the Princess.

In the Snow White illustration Graves states Snow White was a Goddess who was plainly immortal and that 'These deaths are therefore mock-deaths only-.'  The emphasis is on the 'annual drama...when his bride consents to open her half-closed eyes and smile' (ibid: 412).

Just to complete our analogy of our fairy story to myth before I draw together my conclusions, Jung then adds that the maiden will '.... then to get everything back and be born again.'(ibid:137).  She takes the place of the mother,  able to reflect as she herself was imaged by her mother, and so on, stretching back and forward in time.

 

We have seen that although the Anima is singular in the male, it has both positive and negative qualities. By contrast the animus in the female is multiple, represented by the ten men. Note the progression :-

The first was her father who did absolutely nothing.

The second man could not hurt Snow White but did little to help her either and let her go in the woods. She did speak to him though by begging to be let free.

The third were the type of man is Mr Majority,  the seven dwarfs who were much better:  They took her in: Offered her shelter and advice: They nursed her when she was attacked.

She gave back, (Note this is the first act of communicating with the masculine by her). By looking after their house for them she entered a contract, an agreement. But the dwarfs did not stay back to protect her when there was an attempted murder, rather they left her to her own devises. So the dwarfs care for their female charge  was incomplete. There was not a ‛full man' between them.

The last, the fourth, was the Prince. The tenth male figure represents the symbol of completion of unification with the masculine.  After all, Snow White is essentially a story for girls, for the female, and it is about the development of the feminine psyche, but the whole story is as relevant to men as it is to women, as I hope I have shown.

 

 I recall an account where C.G. Jung once concluded in a stubborn case, in desperation he advised a neurotic patient to just ‘shut up!’ I have made the connection with the piece of apple caught in Snow White's throat effectively did just that, It ‘shut her up.’ Thus the Ego stoped the shadow-part of herself from creating further havoc. The negative aspect of the feminine has to be silenced before the Prince can arrive.

 

What if the Prince met the wicked step-mother first? That would lead to a whole new tale, but through the  ‘controlled silence’ the prince was actually given space to become enthralled with his bride to be and thus  installed.

 

In Conclusion:

 

I have tried to establish underlying patterns of the psyche in the fairy tale by perusing a notion that the story could also be interpreted as an aspect of psychic development. I have attempt to plot the process through which our hero had to travel in order to find completion as an aid to our understanding.

Thus:-

At the beginning of our story where Snow White is almost comatose and un-differentiated is could be said such people are in shock, chaos and not knowing where to turn and continue residing in a life style of aloneness and fear. When there is some degree of differentiation the shadow is threatened. A terror prevails around the prospect of taking what is rightfully their own, freedom to become, freedom to embrace their own opposite.

Rather than contemplate this freedom, such an individual would rather create chaos and even wish to die.

At this primitive stage the Ego lives to please others.

 

Our hero was unable to seek out what is useful from the unconscious, and had little idea of her own dark side.

From the above story we can see people in this state lack power. In the state of innocence a person will attribute all that happens to others and take no responsibility themselves and are not willing to accept their own dark side. After several incidences brought about by their own destructive behaviour, they are still incapable of looking at the raging ‘other half’ within, but choose to remain tucked away from life.

Statements like  'I can't.'  form part of the power game being played out by the shadow which prevents them form seeing their own part in this destruction.

 

At this point there is a long process of dialogue, psycho dramatically with the complex, and slowly our hero (Ego) can begin to accept their own faults.

There are many dangers at this stage as the Ego gathers knowledge from the depths of the unconscious. This process continues until a final stage of conflict occurs where the Ego is in serious trouble. The awareness begins to prove intolerable: The choices are stark, either become more comatose or find a way to go more fully into life.

 

To complete their integration, our hero must invite her shadow to participate.

A person has to learn to ‘shut up’ the endless complains made by the shadow and witnesses their own rage and discover a way of expressing it harmlessly, that is, to observe their rage 'dance itself out harmlessly' is preferable to becoming their own victim once again. Then a person can decide to stop the previous useless and harmful actions and take charge of their own life, or as in the story, rule their own kingdom.

 

Bibliography:

 

Anderson, H, C, The  Complete  Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen  (1983), Chancellor Press London.

Graves Robert The White Goddess (1999) Faber and Faber.

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works..Vol’ 8. ‘The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche ‘1960 Routledge London .

Jung C,G. The Collective Works. Vol ‘6  pt X1. ‘Psychological Types’  ‘1971  Routledge  London.

Jung C,G.  The  Collected Works. Vol' ‘9 pt 11. ‘Aion’ 1981. Routledge , London.

Jung C, G. The Collected Works Vol 16  ‘The Psychology of the Transference’ ‘1983 Ark Paperbacks. London

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works.  Vol 12. Psychology and Alchemy 1993 Routledge London

Jung C,G. The  Collected Works.  Vol  5 Symbols of Transformation 1995 Routledge London

Jung C, G.& C. Kerényi Essays on a Science of Mythology 1993 Princeton University press USA.

Opie. P & I. The Classic Fairy Tales. 1980  Granada. Oxford.

Von Franz Marie-Louise. The Psychological Meaning of Redemption Motifs in Fairytales

1980 Inner city Books.

 

Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O) wrote a number of fairy tales. In fact, during her illness and treatment by Josef Breuer she often recounted her own tales to him. None of the tales from that period are extant but according to the case history in Studies in Hysteria they appeared to be modeled on Andersen's Picture Book Without Pictures. I have uploaded one of her later published tales onto the website I have created for Pappenheim. Here is the link: http://berthapappenheim.weebly.com/the-pond-sprite.html

Can anyone suggest any interpretations?

Without going into the personal difficulties /personality of the dreamer/writer – what if the Sprit was the dreamer herself; and so she could ‘act out’ her account of that which she either experienced or feared to experience in real life.. to dance with a man who it appears was not too far from the image of her father.. Thus the transference …Anyway.. It seems that to exit her world of safety would result in a personal cost as the ‘Sprit’ could not/ was not allowed to 'follow through' and form a relationship … the intimate contact between her and the hansom man reviled what she feared he would see.. what she really was.

But Sure! These comments are merely that.. :Basic stuff and not elaborated upon vis the archetype of the stone figure which had a ‘permanence’ and an adverse judgemental countenance- perhaps the inferior neg masculine  thinking function of a psychological type who is an introvert feeling Type. But sure! Just a thought.. No doubt there is much to add vis her image of the city/town as a commentary on her own Psyche. She also feared being transformed thereafter..

I have written one more: exploring the masculine....but taking a slightly different prospective.. anywone up for it?

 

Dear JD,

Thank you for this profound discussion on this subject. It is of particularly interest to me, not just as a psychotherapist who works with dreams but also because fairy tales have played such a profound role in the development of psyche. They were, of course, childhood friends that were listened to, read and reread over the years. In the last several years, I have been teaching a series of workshops beginning with the myth of "Eros and Psyche" and fairy tales that stem like branches from this tale. We explored "Beauty and the Beast", "Cinderella" which seemed to correspond to the roots of the Greek Myth. "Snow White" was the most profound and rich of the fairy tales. I was astonished at the intimations to the alchemical processes. "Hair as black as night (Nigredo), skin as white as snow (Albedo) and lips as red as blood (Rubedo). The wicked stepmother as shadow, of course, the apple of the garden of Eden, the 7 drawfs as the 7 elements, the glass coffin as alchemical sealed container. All the fairy tales are rooted in ancient alchemy but Snow White, so far has borne the richest fruit. I have yet to explore "The Sleeping Beauty" but it is on the list.

Thank you for your beautiful insights; they widen the scope and the scope of meaning and understanding of psyche and cosmos is immense here.

Has anyone read the fairy stories by Bertha Pappenheim (the Anna O of Studies in Hysteria)? I haven’t found any significant mention of them in all the material that has been produced about her. Perhaps this is because she is associated with Freud rather than Jung? A number of them have been published in English under the title In the Junk Shop and Other Stories. Two of them – In Storkland and the Little Mermaid in the Pond – are of particular interest in relation to Bertha’s own story. 

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