Projection and Re-Collection by Marie-Louise Von Franz

Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection

In the case of a powerful love projection (that is, a projection of the inner partner-images of animus and anima), a double process sometimes takes place and one experiences it both as being struck by an arrow (invasion by a complex) and as loss of soul, as utter dependence on the presence of the other.

Inwardly one feels as if invaded by a passionate disquiet and fantasy activity, and at the same time as if one’s own life has flowed out to the other in the outer world.

This explains a curious mythological motif that has so far gone unexplained.

For the most part we assume that when a man falls in love with a woman as a result of a sudden anima projection, he looks upon her as the sender of love’s arrow, not the god Amor.

In antiquity, however, such a man felt that he had been shot by the god Eros or hit by the mater saeva cupidinum, that is, by Venus.

The flare-up of or invasion by passion is separately experienced as something inner, while the lost soul-fragment is considered as something different, attached to the outer figure. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 32

Seen from the point of view of woman’s psychology, Eros in Apuleius’ fairy tale is also a pre-form of the god Osiris; in woman he is the “spirit who shows the way,” in the original meaning of the word (psychopompos)} that is, her positive animus.

One can study his destructive aspect in the very impressive medieval reports of possession by the devil, but here he is the positive animus-daimon in the role of mediator to the Self, which for a woman could be seen in the goddess Isis; Isis was also officially invoked as “Isis of women” in Egyptian religious texts.  ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 134

The animus as divine puer aeternus on the other hand, appears as a creative spirit who can inspire a woman to undertake her own spiritual achievements. This spirit is a spirit of love, that is, of her own living inner mystery, which comes into realization in the Eros between man and woman. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 134

It appears to be in the nature of the animus to lure the woman away from reality  now and again. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 135

In both cases anima and animus effect an alienation from reality, because the empathetic projections of the anima are of an illusory nature and the judgments of the animus are very often simply beside the point. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 135

Just as in the case of Apuleius the mother-anima figure appears differentiated into a form close to the human (Charite) and two divine forms (Psyche and Isis), so Perpetua too is guided in her visions on the one hand by animus figures that are symbolized by men from her environment and on the other by the divine shepherd and fencing-master, who are wholly transpersonal. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 136

If we compare the two great daimons, Anima and Animus, as they are depicted in our two examples, it becomes clear that, for Apuleius, Isis would be the anima, whereas she would represent the Self for a woman, just as the cosmic shepherd appears as animus in Perpetua’s visions but as the personification of the Self in texts that recount the inner experiences of men. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 139

Anima and animus, as we have come to know them in the form of lsis and the shepherd (Hermes-Psychopompos) in the two examples discussed above, appear in the alchemistic tradition as king and queen. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 140

If we compare the projections that issue from the shadow complex with those proceeding from the anima-animus complex, we may say that insight into one’s own shadow projections means first of all a moral humiliation, intensive suffering. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 141

Insight into projections originating in the anima or the animus, on the other hand, demands not so much humility as level-headedness and commonsense self-observation and reflection, which demand a certain wisdom and humaneness, because these figures always want to seduce us away from reality into rapture or pull us down into an inner world of fantasy.

Whoever cannot surrender to this experience has never lived; whoever founders in it has understood nothing. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 141-142

We should be skeptical about attempts to relate some of these “souls” or “daimons” to the Jungian concepts of shadow, anima, animus, and Self.

It would be a great mistake, as Jung himself often emphasized, to suppose that the shadow, the anima (or animus), and the Self appear separately in a person’s unconscious, neatly timed and in definable order.

In the reality of everyday practice it is much more likely that a person in depth psychological analysis will first meet with something psychically “absolutely other” in himself, a dark, chaotic something, appearing to him in complicated dream images in which, little by little, he begins to discover his alter ego.  ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 144-145

If we look for personifications of the Self among the daimons of antiquity, we see that certain daimons are more like a mixture of shadow and Self, or of animus-anima and Self, and that is, in fact, what they are.

In other words, they represent the still undifferentiated ”other,” unconscious personality of the individual. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, Projection and Re-Collection, Page 145

The heretic Girard di Monteforte (near Turin) even interpreted God as the primordially existing mind, or spirit, of man (!) and the Son as the spirit (animus) of man(!) beloved by God, but the Holy Spirit as the understanding of Scripture. ~Marie-Louise von Franz, Projection & Re-Collection, Page 49

The animus as divine puer aeternus on the other hand, appears as a creative spirit who can inspire a woman to undertake her own spiritual achievements.

This spirit is a spirit of love, that is, of her own living inner mystery. ~Marie-Louise von Franz, Projection & Re-Collection, Page 134

Whereas the anima usually appears in the form of a fascination, an allurement that draws the man into life, the animus often appears as a spirit of death; indeed there are even fairy tales in which a woman marries a handsome, unknown stranger who is revealed later on as death personified, · a revelation that brings about the death of the woman herself. ~Marie-Louise von Franz, Projection & Re-Collection, Page 135

This is tied to the fact that, as a projection-making factor, a man’s anima produces mainly passive, that is, empathetic, projections that bind the man to objects; the animus, on the other hand, produces more active, that is, more judgmental, projections that tend to cut the woman off from the world of objects. ~Marie-Louise von Franz, Projection & Re-Collection, Page 135

The shadow or the animus and anima can infuse a person with curiously distorted thoughts about himself, but only that reflection which proceeds from the Self, the inner center, could be correctly described as genuine moral reflection. ~Marie-Louise von Franz, Projection & Re-Collection, Page 168