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The Grail Legend by Emma Jung & Marie-Louise Von Franz

And now we come to the magic of words.

A word, also, just like an idea, a thought, has the effect of reality upon undifferentiated minds.

Our Biblical myth of creation, for instance, where the world grows out of the spoken word of the Creator, is an expression of this.

The animus, too, possesses the magic power of words, and therefore men who have the gift of oratory can exert a compulsive power on women in both a good and evil sense.

Am I going too far when I say that the magic of the word, the art of speaking, is the thing in a man through which a woman is most unfailingly caught and most frequently deluded?

But it is not woman alone who is under the spell of word-magic, the phenomenon is prevalent everywhere.

The holy runes of ancient times, Indian mantras, prayers, and magic mantras of all sorts down to the technical expressions and slogans of our own times, all bear witness to the magic power o| spirit that has become word.

However, it can be said in general that a woman is more susceptible to such magic spells than a man of a corresponding cultural level.

A man has by nature the urge to understand the things he has to deal with; small boys show a predilection for pulling their toys to pieces to find out what they look like inside or how they work.

In a woman, this urge is much less pronounced.

She can easily work with instruments or machines without it ever occurring to her to want to study or understand their  construction.

Similarly, she can be impressed by a significant-sounding word without having grasped its exact meaning.

A man is much more inclined to track down the meaning. ~Emma Jung, Animus and Anima, Page19-20

An interesting connection between “name” and “anima!’ which is found in J. Rhys’ Celtic Folklore, remains to be considered.

The author poses the question: With which part of the person is his name associated?

Rhys sees an answer in the fact that the Old Aryan words for “name:’ such as the Irish ainm,

Old Welsh anu, Old Bulgarian imen, Sanscrit naman, Latin nomen and Greek onoma, are remarkably like the Irish and Welsh words for “soul:’

For instance, in Irish ainm is “name” and anim is “soul, anima’.’

In certain cases they are declined alike and therefore often confused by students.

Rhys traces both back to the very oldest Aryan word for “breath;’ because the soul was looked upon as the breath of life, which is certainly expressed in the words Atem, atmen (“to breathe;’ in German), anima, animus and breath.

A similar connection is hinted at when Perceval learns his own name at the same time that he becomes acquainted with the anima.

Attention must be drawn to the fact that the name “Perceval” could not until now be satisfactorily explained.

The literal translation, “pierces ( or penetrates) the valley,” seems the likeliest and would imply that the hero was destined to penetrate the dark valley of the unconscious.

In the Perlesvaus it is emphasized that the name means per-les-vaux, i.e. “for the valleys’.’

The boy was thus christened in remembrance of the fact that his father had lost some valleys belonging to him or because he penetrates the mystery of the valley that leads to the Grail.

Wolfram himself explains the name as meaning “right through the centre:’ for “with the plough of faithfulness great love ploughed a deep furrow through the centre of his mother’s heart.

The name would thus be connected with the idea of the centre and the heart, a meaning really invented by Wolfram, which nevertheless expresses Perceval’s symbolic nature extremely well. ~Emma Jung, The Grail Legend, Page 185-186

According to many Gnostic and alchemical texts, the tree means both gnosis (knowledge) and sapientia (wisdom), in a certain sense it is also man in his comprehensive form as the Anthropos.

In the English legend it is clear that the babe in the tree represents an intimation of the birth of Christ who, in the days to come, will grow out of the Tree of Knowledge which has withered because of the sin of the first parents.

What, though, does the child in the Grail legend mean?

It is obviously not a prefiguration of Christ, whose birth and death already lay in the distant past.

It is really not possible to avoid the conclusion that it must refer to an intimation of the birth of a new redeemer, similar to the son of the woman crowned with stars in the Apocalypse.

Jung interprets that figure as a symbol of the process of individuation, depicting a continuation of Christ’s work of redemption in the single individual, and it is natural to interpret the child here in the same sense.

So it is understandable that it shuns Perceval and only shows him the way to Mount Doulourous, for we know from the context that Perceval has not yet understood the nature of his task.

The withdrawal of the child is in accordance with the later withdrawal of the Grail into Heaven, which indicates that a realization of the Self was not yet possible at the level of development in those days, and that therefore it had to remain latent in the unconscious.

Even so the child sends Perceval to the pillar at Mount Doulourous, to which only the “foremost knight” is able to fasten his horse.

The column on the hill is similar to the tree in meaning; it embodies a maternal principle, the axis of the world, the framework of the process of individuation.

The tree, as Jung says, “symbolizes a living process as well as a process of enlightenment, which, though it may be grasped by the intellect, should not be confused with it”.

In many of the rites of primitive peoples a post is set up to mark the centre of the world, and around it revolves the ritual event.

In this sense the post is a centre, like the point of all psychic happenings.

The mountain also has a similar meaning.

The name of the “grievous” mountain has a special significance, as if in this phase of development the Self were first experienced as that which stimulated suffering, in an analogy to the Christian Passion.

The mountain is almost a parallel to the Hill of Calvary and symbolizes the anguish of becoming conscious.

Tying the horse to the pillar accords with a painful binding and restriction of the animal soul, which is subjugated and bound to the centre, the Self.

In so far as the horse Represents the instinct that carries consciousness it means that instinct, by being bound to the pillar, is concentrated on the individuation process and robbed of its free roaming motion.

The pillar was set up by Merlin; therefore his figure and that of his daughter acquire an ever more profound significance; they seem to personify the principium individuationis par excellence. ~Emma Jung, The Grail Legend, Page 284-285