Author Topic: A fairy tale discussion  (Read 19020 times)

Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2008, 03:35:37 PM »
Matt, whatta' you mean you gotta' run?  You old post and runner you.  Why don't you split off the stuff about the collective unconscious to another(new?)thread?  I think the collective unconscious is one of the most misunderstood of Jung's concept!!  Gotta' run -  (-)laugh2(-)
"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
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Kafiri

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2008, 01:48:15 PM »


Gabrielle Guedet has responded via email and given me permission to post her comments:


Quote
Hello - I have reviewed the many statements regarding Beauty & The Beast on your site - some very interesting comments - going back and forth between what is and what is the aspect of Beast to Beauty - the main tale you concentrate on (Disney's version) is not the original tale - the original tale - written in 1756 by Marie LaPrince Beaumont - is a French Salon tale - all these tales were oral tales "made up" for the entrainment of the newly emerging middle class - the purpose of the tale (which had to have a beginning, middle and end & a moral) was to create - entertain - and foster more tales in response - in the original tale there is father - 3 brothers - 3 sisters - of which Beauty is the youngest - father loses his material at sea & the family is forced to abandon their city life and retire to the country where they must labor - this lasts a year when father gets word that his ship have arrived and he goes back to town to get his wealth - each child is given permission to request what they want/need father to get - Beauty asks "for a rose, because none grow here" - when father arrives at town he finds that he has nothing - unhappy and burdened he heads back to the country & gets lost during a storm - he happens upon Beast's palace - he is fed - taken care of by invisible beings - when he goes to leave in the morning he spies the rose garden and thinking of his daughter Beauty he grabs a branch of roses and tears it off from the bush - then the Beast appears - angry & upset - telling him that this greed is his death - father disclaims any responsibility for the action & states "my daughter required a rose - I would never have touched your roses if she has not requested it." - Beast lets father go to say good-bye to his children - he is to come back to his death - when father arrives home - everyone blames Beauty - in some versions father takes her to the palace - in others she leaves and goes on her own - when she arrives - she is greeted by Beast - he is horrifying & ugly - Beauty expects to be eaten - he shows her her room - her wardrobe - her library - and tells she is in charge - each evening at supper - he asks her "Beauty will you wed me?" - she rejects him and he leaves - time passes - the only notion we get that time is different is in the passage when Beauty is strolling the gardens with Beast & she asks "I notice the flowers remain in bloom and they do not fade, how is that?" "Time is different here," Beast replies - eventually Beauty asks to visit her father - stating he does know that she is alive - Beast grants this wish - but tells her "be back within the week or I shall die." - Beauty awakens in her father house in the country - while she has been gone her sisters have married (and are unhappy in their marriages) her brothers have gone on to have successful careers -everyone is happy to have her back - her sisters contrive to keep her there in the hopes that Beast will be so angered by her neglect that he will reject her - Beauty realizes she misses Beast & goes back to the palace to look for him - she finds him by a stream of water - dying - she kneels next to him & places his head in her lap - washing it with water from the stream - begs his forgiveness - claims she herself has been a beast in neglecting him & tells him she will wed with him - she is briefly distracted by what appears to be fireworks coming from the palace and when she turns back the prince is there - she inquires after her Beast & he states that he is the Beast - she accepts him - but does state "she will miss her beast" - this tale has been interpreted many different ways - VonFranz interpreted it as a anima tale (Golden Ass) - Leonard & Gad interpreted it as a couple tale - a father's daughter wed to a mother's boy - it is universal in that in most every culture in the world you will find versions of "this animal-husband" tale - some versions have similar titles - some have very different titles - when I wrote of this for my dissertation, "Beauty in the Beast - a study of a woman's journey to individuation" (Pacifica Graduate Institute 1998) I looked at this as a tale where woman was getting to know one of her animus figures - in this tale I saw many different animus figures - father - a good - bungling animus figure - brothers - a undeveloped animus figures - Beast the major animus figure - who carries Beauty's shadow projections - sisters - undeveloped negative feminine figures (remember there is no mother in this tale & we are told in the beginning that the MATERial is lost at sea - so the feminine of Beauty is undeveloped also -
1. your comments have been interesting to follow - and I have enjoyed reading them - this tale does seem to have a life of it's own - thank you for asking me for my comments - I hope this information has added to your efforts to know more about this wonderful tale - Dr. Gabrielle Guedet, MFT


"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves."
      -Eric Hoffer

Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2008, 08:28:40 PM »
Thank you for your reply, Gabrielle.  Please feel welcome to continue with the conversation.

One thing Gabrielle brings up is the fact that we are working from different texts here.  You may have noticed that I was working not from the Disney film text but from the same version Gabrielle has just recounted above.  There are definitely some important differences, most notably, Gaston, the pompous suitor from the film, is absent.

I would enjoy hearing more about your animus interpretations, Gabrielle, if you are willing to stick around.  You seem to look at all of the male characters as animus figures, which is, of course, a perfectly legitimate way of looking at them.  Sealchan also is inclined in this direction (although he is working from the Disney text with its different cast).  My personal preference is to reserve the animus title only for the beast in order to diminish the muddiness of so many animuses.  My take on the relationship between the father and the Beast is noted above.  I did not get into an analysis of the three brothers/three sisters theme, but the male/female triads are a common symbol in both fairytales and alchemy (not to mention myth in general).  In alchemy, this 3-and-3 split is often associated with the division of Sol and Luna.  Generically, we could posit something along the lines of: the father's "wound" and the absence of the mother divide the sexuality in Beauty in half . . . and the relationship with Beast is essentially a healing of this split.  But that's pretty abstract territory, and I don't like to make too strong a point of such interpretations.

You mentioned a couple quotes from the text that I think are important, too.  First, Beauty asks "for a rose, because none grow here".  You didn't elaborate above, but I would see this as an indication of the distinct difference between the father and Beast.  The flower belongs to Beast, to the erotic animus . . . and doesn't grow where the father lives and where Beauty is still a father's daughter.  This is also why the father's attempt to steal the rose is such an important transgression, the transgression which awakens the entire plot (the individuation journey).  The father cannot provide a healthy erotic awakening to his daughter, and to attempt any such thing would be a violation, a stab at making Beauty into his anima . . . and thereby imprisoning her sense of eros.  I mentioned this in slightly different words above.

When the father says to Beast, "my daughter required a rose - I would never have touched your roses if she has not requested it", it's as if he is saying, "I was fine without an erotic companion of my own, but then one day I noticed that my daughter had grown into womanhood.  This reminded me of my own erotic needs, but to think such a thought is sinful . . . and I had to repress this.  Not only that, I had to repress Beauty's eros so that it didn't tempt or frustrate me in any way."  It is the animus that rises up here and says, "No.  You have no right to your daughters eros, no right to usurp it or to conceal it."

Next, you mention that the brothers have gone on to have successful careers while the sisters have wound up in unhappy marriages.  This seems to be a further indication that the Feminine is being stifled by the relationship between the father and his daughters (or in the relationship of the daughters with their inner Masculine).

When Beauty returns for Beast and washes his head as it lies in her lap, a great deal could be made, symbolically, out of this.  The cleansing of the beastliness away from the shadowed animus (like the Mundifcatio in alchemy . . . or the transformation of the wild man in Iron John).  The animus head in Beauty's lap is like a spiritual insemination.  It also vaguely reflects the insemination of Isis by the dead Osiris (that begets Horus).  It's a veiled sexual symbol, but very appropriate to the typical animus work symbolism.  The stream with which she washes him is like the renewing stream of instinct from the Self.



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Matt Koeske

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Re: A fairy tale discussion
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2008, 09:45:12 PM »
I wonder if there is not way to much emphasis on the "Heroic?"  Not only in these pages, but in our culture in general.  IMO our political leaders are hiding behind the use of the term heroic.  If one listens to the news everybody and his sister and brother are heros for one reason or another.  It seems to me that behind this almost constant invocation of the terms hero and heroic there exists the need, the desire for a hero or heroine to rescue this culture from the mess it has made of itself?  But I ask, as you consider the use of the term to bear Hillman in mind:

Quote

Where there is hero, there is shadow.  Depth psychology has too long insisted that the hero integrate the shadow, whereas maybe the heroic is actually a product of the shadow.  When Heracles was born, a weasel, attendant at his birth was the first to recognize and proclaim Heracles to the world.  This sneaky moment calls up the heroic from the beginning; something tricky is going on whenever a heroic impulse comes into being.(My underlining).  Does the weasel want the hero?  And if so, are heroisms and egoisms emboldened weaslings?  At this point the terms 'ego' and 'shadow' begin to dissolve into each other. We have begun to guided by Hermes towards the serpentine roots of consciousness, the imagistic impulses that cannot be contained by concepts such as ego and shadow.(Again my underlining).
James Hillman, the essay "Notes On Opportunism," found in The Puer Papers. p. 159.

So IMO opinion we need to very careful in invoking the "heroic,"  lest we follow "the wrong god home."

I've pretty much said what I have to say on the hero in the thread on the hero archetype.  The trouble I think you are running into with my emphasis on the hero is due to the fact that I have a different definition of the archetypal hero than perhaps is typical among Jungians.

For me the hero is much more pared down and generally is reflected in fairytale heroes but not mythic/saga/epic heroes.  For me, the hero is an attitude taken up (or aspired to) in the ego that is devoted to facilitating the Self above all else.  It has nothing to do with conquering the darkness, at least nothing directly.  It has nothing to do with the ego bringing order to the unconscious or whipping it into shape.  Very much the opposite.

I don't see any over-emphasis on the hero in our culture.  Rather, I see an enormous amount of dishonorable behavior and inadequate respect and concern for others.  The comic book style interest in superheroes in popular culture seems to me more a fantasy that comes out of feelings of impotence and not the hero archetype.  But the hero archetype underlies the development of modernism.  Wherever the ego is emphasized, the hero with lie dormant but ready.  But without adequate initiation rituals in a culture, the hero is never really activated.  The modern era has thus celebrated the anti-hero above all else.  That is the person who fails to be heroic, the tragic figure.  This is preferred because the hero has become (in its dormancy) dangerously inflated.  The embrace of the anti-hero is an attempt to run away from this heroic inflation.  But I think that the hero is feared and inflated because we lack adequate initiations.  That is, because we have no elders helping us channel the heroic into our daily lives, we look upon the hero from a child's perspective and see ridiculous visions of the superhero, the being that can do anything he or she wants, the impenetrable "man of steel" or some such construction.

It takes wise and experienced people (those who have been initiated) to understand that the hero is channeled in simple, quiet acts most of the time . . . and not in "leaping tall buildings in a single bound".  There is no glory for heroes most of the time, usually not even any recognition.  And of course, when I say "heroes", I mean people who occasionally act in the heroic vein.  No one does or can do this all the time.  That would be another kind of inflation . . . although one nobody could ever live up to.

But since we lack any kind of ritual initiation system in the modern world, the hero doesn't get to come into the world and into consciousness.  It lives in the shadow, and we have a hard time telling it from shadow . . . or from inflation, ego-mania.

In my life I have only seen very small episodes of heroism . . . and these always came from unlikely places, people that often seemed utterly unheroic at first.  Simple acts, simple sacrifices, small braveries . . . sacrifices that weren't martyrous, carried no expectations.  Yes, the word hero is thrown around a lot, but its over-usage is only an indication of how little we know about the hero today.

I think one of the best ways to learn about heroism is to read fairytales.  In these tales, we get to see how simple, and often Foolish, heroes are.  They win by fate and honor, never by might.  They succeed by relinquishing power but remaining indigestible.

Anger at the hero (the modernist or post-modernist embrace of the anti-hero) seems to me a kind of affectation of a puer culture.  The descending puer looks at the hero with embittered disdain . . . and it is a disdain born out of envy.  This puer anti-hero hates the hero, because he has such a grandiose notion of the hero . . . one that he has coveted and failed to live up to.  But this is not the real hero . . . it is the Demon of the puer's complex that torments him with endless ascension and transcendence demands and temptations.  The puer crashes himself downward on purpose in order to slay the overbearing hero fantasy.  He will castrate himself in order to neuter the hero and the hero's power over the wounded puer.

This is a common male dynamic today.  I see it all over the place.  Especially in the poetry world (where I spent a good bit of time before moving on).  But you can see it in popular culture . . . in sitcoms, TV, anywhere.  I'm not sure if there is a similar dynamic for women today.  Perhaps it is more common today for women to aspire to the mentality and positions of power that men have been abandoning for the reasons I mentioned above.  Sadly, they don't yet know the baggage of patriarchal empowerment.  But women are starting to inherit the masculine wound in the animus . . . which is why stories like Beauty and the Beast have such resonance today.  Did you see that Sur La Lune page with all the modern interpretations of the story?  There were dozens!

I think this is the quintessential animus story.  Not the most complex, but the most common and archetypal.


As for Hillman's take on the hero, questioning whether the hero is a product of the shadow is classic puer cleverness.  It's a good example of the way a brilliant puer like Hillman can turn unexamined beliefs and attitudes on their ear.  It's a question we should ask . . . but ultimately, it's a misdirection.  Yes, we should always question the heroic impulses we think we are feeling . . . and inflation is a very real concern for those who pursue spiritual interests like analytical psychology.  But as I said above, the hero that Hillman means to question is the Demon in hero's clothing, not the real hero.  This hero is dangerous to Hillman, because it is a reflection of his own puer grandiosity and desire for transcendence.  But Hillman, as the puer voice par excellence, is doing a disservice here to himself and his audience along with his clever insight.  He is subtextually negating the possibility that the hero can exist in some other form that Hillman has not (at least here) imagined.  It's sort of like an appropriation of the term "hero" for Hillman's puer purpose.  But Heracles is not a good example of the archetypal hero.  He's just a superman of the classical imagination, a cultural grandiosity who's not entirely different from the Nazi ideal (for Nazi Germany).  He's the being that is angry at or disrespectful to the old gods . . . he's the new, modern ego imbued with super powers.

There is much more heroism in Beauty or any other fairytale heroes . . . say, one of the Russian Ivans or the British Jacks.  The fixation on "heroes" like Heracles is, in my opinion, not helpful to Jungians trying to understand the archetypal hero.  These conquering heroes always point back to egoism . . . and inflated egoism at that.  But if we get hung up on this super-powered ego as the hero archetype, we will fail to see the actual hero archetype and understand its usefulness in the individuation process.  As I stated previously in the hero archetype thread, I think the Jungians have shot themselves in the foot by misunderstanding the hero archetype . . . through the confusion of it with the conquering hero, which is an inflated ego fantasy and not the actual archetypal instinct.

By making inflation a pillar and taboo in the individuation process, Jungians have only assured that individuation cannot succeed.  They reach a certain point and realize (if they even get this far) that the hero has to be depotentiated and "disbelieved in".  But what is actually being done is a totemization of the hero, a raising of it far above the reach of human possibility.  Here it is totemized and tabooed . . . in the conventional Christian fashion.  And this only perpetuates the dissociation of the hero/Demon split.  The Jungians cannot stop believing in the hero, but because it has been totemized and tabooed, it remains unattainable . . . and the Demon in hero's clothing in therefor continuously empowered in the Jungian imagination.  The Jungian "solution" to this is to swear off heroism like a celibate monk . . . and as a result, the Jungian mentality is cloistered, petrified.  It cannot innovate or progress, only worship it's prevailing dogmas and totems.

But these topics are far too large for this thread.  I've written about this a number of times elsewhere, too.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]