chapter  Chapter Three
57 Pages

The Animus as Negation and as the Soul’s Own Other

The Soul’s Threefold Stance toward Its Experience of Its Other
WithWolfgang Giegerich

In order to behold what the animus is in his deepest core, it is advisable to begin with those images in which he carries his potential to its utmost extreme, even if this is not the form in which he ordinarily shows himself. This, his extreme form, is Bluebeard: the animus as murderer. Marie-Louise von Franz once said in passing about Bluebeard:

… Bluebeard is a murderer and nothing more; he cannot transform his wives or be transformed himself. He embodies the death-like, ferocious aspects of the animus in his most diabolical form; from him only flight is possible. … The animus in his negative form … draws woman away from life and murders life for her. He has to do with ghostlands and the land of death. Indeed, he may appear as the personification of death, as in the French tale of the Diederich collection called “The Wife of Death.” …1