Individuation in fairy tales

by Marie-Louise von Franz

Book, 1977



Call number


Call number



Zürich : Spring Publications, 1977.

Original publication date


Physical description

189 p.; 22 cm

Local notes

Explores the themes of psychological and spiritual transformation in the varied images of birds, such as the phoenix, the parrot, and the griffin. Special attention is given to the connection between fairy tales and alchemy and to the guidance that fairy tales give to therapeutic work.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Mary_Overton
“In general, one can say that the water of life, or what is symbolized by it, is what man has always sought. We had it in paradise, but lost it. Symbolically it expresses this psychological experience which one could describe as the feeling that life is flowing in a meaningful way…. There are
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ups and downs, but you feel, to use a more technical modern simile, that your plane is riding approximately on the radar beam. You are where you belong, and then you have this absolutely marvelous feeling of being alive. Even the vicissitudes and difficulties of fate and human life can be accepted if one has basically this contact with the flow of libido in the unconscious, which is why we make all this effort about dream interpretation, because only by it can we tell where the flow of unconscious libido is moving and try to adapt our conscious movement to it, for then we feel alive. Then, even if not much happens in our lives, or we have a boring job to do, or all sorts of frustrations, we feel inwardly alive.
“…. Generally people project the flow of life into outer objects, they think that if they had a different wife and more money, or something like that, then they would have it, but that is a pure projection which you can see best if someone has all that, for then you realize that that is not it! What people really seek, even if they project it sometimes onto outer objects, is the feeling of being alive. That is the highest thing one can reach, during this life at least, and therefore it has always been a simile for any kind of religious mystical experience, because that conveys this feeling most…. Medieval mystics, for instance, would tell you that the inner experience of God was the well of life, and the Zen Buddhists say that when they find samadhi it is like drinking a cup of cool water after thirsting in the desert.” pp. 41-42
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