Remark: If you click on
http://psychophysical.free.fr/search.php , there in 'Search for
keywords' enter 'Marie-Louise von Franz' , in 'Search for Author' 'Remo
Roth' and in 'display results' chose 'posts' , you will get many more
impressions about my relationship with MLvF and my further development
of her thoughts.
My Personal Memories of
Marie-Louise von Franz
by Remo F. Roth, PhD, CH-8038 Zurich, Switzerland
her death on Feb. 17th, 1998 there has been a lot written about
Marie-Louise von Franz. Therefore I would like to limit the following
reflections to some of the very important aspects of our personal relationship.
Some months after the publication of her last
book Traum und Tod (On Dreams and Death) in the autumn
of the year 1984 Marie-Louise fell ill with Parkinson's disease.
After this, she told me several times that she had the distinct
feeling that the illness was the direct effect of writing this book.
She never did go into details, but I felt she
had not yet found the individual solution to the
problem of the developing of the so-called subtle body (the diamond
body in eastern mysticism) for the life after death. This was one of
the most important topics in her book and I saw that she continued to
deal with this subject very intensely.
For thirteen years, until she was redeemed
by death, Marie-Louise suffered her severe disease with stoic patience. In spite of the fact that she finally was hardly able to
talk, her alert and critical mind was preserved. It was therefore a
very great pleasure for me, when I realized that she, despite her disease, continued to be very interested in my creative
research on the application of Carl Jung's synchronicity theory on
psychosomatic and somatic illness, which is itself based on the
phenomenology of the subtle body.
Again and again she gave me symbolical hints
about the direction of my research, based on dreams I sent by mail or
told her during personal meetings. It was exactly the fact that her
advice was given in this symbolic language, formulated
in extremely short statements, which allowed me to have the space for
my own creative ideas.
Through this behavior, developed out of her intense, conscious
suffering, Marie-Louise accepted my individual
freedom of research, and only by this it was possible that my Body-Centered
Imagination or Symptom
Symbol Transformation for psychosomatic and somatic disease could
be born [example see in A Body Centered Visualization
for Arrhythmias of the Heart]. To my great pleasure, I could also see that she began to
experience this body-centered method for the subtle body's
creation herself, which is
based on a combination of Active Imagination and creative insights of
Paracelsus, and seems to be a modern interpretation of
Gerardus Dorneus' unio corporalis.
But the last 13 years of her life were not
only stamped by the role of the femme inspiratrice for close friends. When one tried to see Marie-Louise with the "inner
could feel that she had finally found an imaginative technique for
the developing of the subtle or eternal body, the goal of Paracelsus' vita longa, for the life in the
Beyond. According to the Church
Father Origenes this is the main challenge in this life on earth (as
she describes in her book). And only through this transformation of
the physical into the subtle body is individual life in
the beyond possible.
The closer Marie-Louise's
physical death came, the more intensely I felt that she succeeded in this
developing of the subtle body for the individual life in the beyond, which she
had described in her last book with the amplification of historical examples. It was
exactly this very individual and absolutely introverted transformation, her
psychological realization of Gerardus Dorneus’ body-centered
unio corporalis which is intellectually almost not describable, that was
the final chapter to her opus in this world.
One was able to perceive this development also
with regard to the change of her physical presence. Her body - always
reminding me of a peasant woman - , changed over the course of time
into the body of an elf-like being. In doing so it took on -
especially towards the end of her physical life - an aura
inexplicable by natural science.
One of the goals of alchemy was the
production of the philosophical gold or stone (lapis). As gold
it possessed such an intense "radiation" that all material around it
was also changed into gold. The same idea was the so-called
multiplicatio of the lapis: A "radiation" coming out of
it which influenced the whole universe in a positive manner. In the
case of the alchemical opus applied to the physical body, this goal
was nothing less than the creation of the above mentioned subtle body as the
guarantee for the individual life after death.
Exactly this corpus mysticum (the
mystery of the body) was the opus of the Medieval "priest-physician"
Hildegard von Bingen 800 years ago. Her life-long physical suffering
was the prima materia for her visions, famous today [see:
Jung, CG, CW 10, §§ 765]. I am deeply convinced that
Marie-Louise von Franz - by the individual developing of the insights
of Carl Jung in her opus of suffering - has found a modern extension
of Hildegard's work.
Horgen-Zurich, October 15,
English translation, August 8th,
proofread by GJS
Homepage Remo F. Roth
Archetype of the Holy Wedding (coniunctio) in Alchemy and in Modern Man
New Mysticism and the Life after Death
Body Centered Visualization for Arrhythmias
of the Heart
and Body Centered Visualization - Imitation
of the Eastern
Creative New Beginning on the Western Way?
von Franz (in German)
uns die Träume über ein mögliches Leben nach dem Tod
sagen (in German)