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Thomson, J. (1987). Franz, Marie-Louise Von, On Dreams and Death. Shamhala, Boston, 1986. Pp. 157. $14.50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 32(4):396.
(1987). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 32(4):396
Franz, Marie-Louise Von, On Dreams and Death. Shamhala, Boston, 1986. Pp. 157. $14.50.
Review by: Jean Thomson
Edited by: Andrew Samuels
‘What an interesting title’ everyone says who spots the book waiting to be read. Precisely. Dreams and death—two subjects with appeal to deep intrigues of the soul. Together—what can the book be about? Von Franz says it is not about bereavement, not about the treatment of problems around dying people. It is, rather, about the mystery of life and death and the dreams and phantasies human beings weave to describe and link apperceptions of a unity between living consciousness and what is not, cannot be, or is not yet, known. For Jungians, archetypal theory and the collective unconscious offer umbrellas under which the search for meaning and for universal truths can be contemplated.
The book explores its themes in sequence: deathcontaining the seeds of life, death as marriage, an ecstatic experience at the end of life, death as rebirth and resurrection through darkness, death as the stranger, welcome or feared, who comes to collect the one who must die.
The sources upon which von Franz draws begin in prehistory. She refers to religious and mystical texts in a very clear descriptive linking which, for me, showed two major tendencies. One conceives of a soul flying off into an eternal stratosphere, other worlds. The other views cycles of birth and death as a series of embodiments, transformations which usually mean a higher status for the continuing entity.
The word ‘entity’ is cool and does not show the rich symbolism of most of the source material of this book.
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