chapter  Chapter 15
20 Pages

“… A new principle of love”

Neumann’s Amor and Psyche
WithAngelica Löwe

Erich Neumann’s contributions to the subject of the feminine are central to his cultural theory. These works include in particular Amor and Psyche (1952) and The Great Mother (1956). Neumann observes an overemphasis on the patriarchal to the detriment of the feminine, against which Western consciousness is still fighting. The luminous figure of the feminine, Sophia, also considered by Jung in Answer to Job, is regarded by Neumann as the highest embodiment of female intuition, symbolic depth, wisdom and loving relationship. She is the actual driving force of human creativity, which Neumann hopes will bring about transformation. Neumann regards the human and feminine disposition of an “original receptivity” as one of the highest goods of Western cultural development and to which it owes “soulfulness” and “spirituality.” Neumann’s interpretation of the tale of Amor and Psyche seeks to represent a “heroine’s path” in order to break the supremacy of the “solar” hero. In this respect, Neumann assigns psyche to the “archetype of relatedness,” from which “a new prince of love” emerges. This chapter shows that Neumann’s pair of opposites “masculine” versus “feminine” is limited as far as gender-related role attributions are concerned. It also considers Neumann’s foreboding doubts about the path of the solar hero as a path of salvation in light of Emmanuel Lévinas’s philosophical reflections.