The Feminine in Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise Von Franz

Most human difficulties, including neurotic and psychotic dissociation, are linked with an ego that is not functioning in accordance with the total disposition of the psyche.

There is a kind of disharmony between it and the makeup of the psyche.

In a certain type of schizophrenia there is an enormous fantasy production in the unconscious and an impoverishment in consciousness of either thinking or, as Eugen Bleuler pointed out, of emotion and affect.

The conscious personality is in disharmony with the wealth of vitality of the unconscious.

The overflow of the unconscious falls into too narrow a vessel.

One of the main tasks of therapeutic treatment, therefore, is to try to enrich the range of emotional reactions so that the vessel is larger and more solid and can receive the emotional impulses from the unconscious.

But there are various forms of disharmony.

Not every neurotic split is due to this cause, though it is a frequent form of dissociation.

Especially the ego complex tends to dissociate from the rest of the psyche and to get out of harmony with it; it tends to act autonomously.

Therefore one of the most essential problems of the human race is to build an ego which functions in a healthy manner, that is, in accordance with the instinctive makeup of the total anthropos.

On the one hand, we are distinguished from the other animals by having a strong ego complex; and on the other, our greater consciousness presents us with the danger of a split.

The mythological tales in which hero or heroine behave in a specific way express an unconscious attempt to produce an ideally functioning, model ego complex.

The hero represents the ideal ego complex in accordance with the requirements of the psyche.

He is the one who cures the sterility of a country and restores collective health through a flow of life in healthy forms.

Every tale has a different meaning, with the model hero functioning in accordance with his instincts.

When the heroine functions in accordance with the instinctive requirements of the psyche, she is the pattern of the conscious feminine personality.

It is a kind of model of an archetypal connection of ego and Self, which has to be filled out by actual realization in each person’s life.

You could say the totality, or what we call the Self, is a dormant, inherent possibility.

It is like an egg, a mass of possibilities that needs actual conscious life with its tragedies, conflicts, and solutions to bring the totality into reality. ~Marie-Louise Von Franz, The Feminine in Fairy Tales, Page 21-22