IN MEMORY OF MARIE-LOUISE VON FRANZ by EDWARD F. EDINGER
It is a sad task for me to write farewell remarks about Marie-Louise von Franz.
Next to Jung himself she has exemplified for me what individuation is and what it means to be conscious.
I first met her in the fifties when she would come to New York to give seminars on such things as fairy tales and the “Sapientia Dei” in the Aurora Consurgens.
With the exception of Jung, I probably learned more about the psyche from her than from any other person.
I was impressed by her brilliant intellect, her erudition, her uncanny intuition, and, later, by her profoundly human responses to feeling issues of depth.
As I got to know her better it was her total personality that had the greatest impact—the magnitude of her consciousness.
“Individuation” and “consciousness” are the goals of Jungian psychology, but they are very hard to define.
Given our competitive instincts it is even difficult to acknowledge these accomplishments when we encounter them in others.
At present we have no reliable way to measure objectively the magnitude of an individual’s consciousness.
And yet clearly differences in size of consciousness do exist.
In my judgment Jung’s level of consciousness was and is without peer.
After his death Dr. von Franz took over for me that premier position among the living.
Her relation to Jung was extraordinary.
She was his true spiritual daughter.
Although thoroughly her own person and in no sense identified with him, she submitted herself to the full impact of Jung’s magisterial consciousness and allowed herself to be transformed by it.
Like the Philosopher’s Stone, “Jungian consciousness” underwent a multiplicatio and reproduced itself in her.
As a result she took on Jung’s most important quality, a profound commitment to the transpersonal Self.
Our understanding of the collective unconscious teaches us that the collective psyche is a continuum connecting all the members of our species.
Given this fact, it seems likely that those carriers of a large consciousness serve an “Atlas function,” supporting the world of collective consciousness and assuring the continuity of civilization.
When one of these “great ones” dies, the psychic Continuum is torn, exposing us to eruptions from the depths.
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened . . .” (Matt 27:5l NKJV).
In my view Dr. von Franz’s consciousness was of this order.
Her death has torn a hole in the world psyche. It is a dangerous gap that will be hard to fill. ~Edward F. Edinger, Psychological Perspectives, Vol. 52, Issue 1, 2009