Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The feminine

Is there anyone out there who hasn't read THE DA VINCI CODE? Well, if you're one of the few, then stop now. I'm going to mention a general spoiler in order to talk about one of the books I'm pondering at the moment.

My fellow author and friend, Cheryl Howe, one day ordered a bunch of books by Marie Louise Von Franz. Years ago, this woman studied with Jung and became well known for her takes on archetypes in fairy tales and dreams, among other subjects. Over wine one day, as Cheryl and I sat on her ocean-view deck, we started to talk about weird dreams we'd had. I told her about one very vivid entry that I still remember in great detail. (Don't worry--it's too long to go into and I don't wish to be psychoanalyzed via the Internet--I wouldn't wish that chore on anyone, as a matter of fact.) Suffice to say that this dream disturbed me so much that I started reading up on dream analysis, which brought me to Jung and the idea of the animus. I figured out that this horrifying figure starring in my nightmare could be this male-driven force in my psyche.

Yikes.

Anyway, an inspired Cheryl brought out her new books and loaned one to me. It's called THE FEMININE IN FAIRY TALES and it uses the idea of the anima/animus to interpret sociological aspects of different so-called bedtime stories (but we know that fairy tales are far from that--those are the scariest freakin' stories ever and I would never tell one in pure form to a kid).

Von Franz has a chatty style that makes the dense material easy to access, so while I feel I'm being educated, I don't feel like it's a chore to pick up the book. Also, it makes an interesting companion to THE DA VINCI CODE. Both works maintain that there's a gaping hole in Western culture where "the feminine" should be due to the structure of our religion; we have no ultra-powerful feminine symbols and it affects the way women see themselves. It might be an interesting idea to read both works at the same time.

So there's my generalized take on something with much more depth. Still, it's a fascinating study....

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