Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marie-Louise von Franz

Back into Jungian material I delve. This month I find myself attracted to the works of Marie-Louise von Franz, and in my hands I hold her Creation Myths. Last night I read the following, which appealed to my training as a Medievalist and amateur astronomer:

"In the Middle Ages they drew all the constellations they knew, and outside them the cosmos was surrounded by the Zodiac snake, the snake on which were all the signs of the Zodiac; beyond that lay the unknown. There again the snake bites its own tail, the uroboros motif, comes up where man reaches the end of his conscious knowledge. In late antiquity, the beginnings of chemistry show that people also had certain knowledge of the elements and some technical knowledge, but when it came to the end of known facts, they again projected this archetypal image, the symbol of the uroboros, to characterize the mystery of unknown matter. In alchemy it was the symbol of the prima materia, of the original matter of the world." pp. 2-3

What appeals to me about the above is the use of symbol to fill in a blank in our consciousness. The snake seems to act as the placeholder for knowledge we have not yet attained. Like a code, some material has been deciphered and some is still encrypted. Having tracked my dreams for 13 years, I have repeatedly noticed the same symbols appearing again and again. Are these symbols mere placeholders or do they have life and breath of their own?And if they are placeholders, what is waiting for discovery and integration?

1 comment:

Lewis Lafontaine said...

We share a common interest in Marie-Louise von Franz, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.

I have a Facebook Group and Blog that you may be interested in visiting: