Monday, September 1, 2008

A bit of filler

Today we're adding a few notes and quotes relating to the hero symbol.

  • He had tumbled down from his childhood Olympus and was no longer the son-hero of a divine mother. His so-called fear of castration was fear of real life which refused to come up to his erstwhile childish expectations, and everywhere lacked that mythological meaning which he still dimly remembered from his earliest youth. pg. 68 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (ACU)
This applies to both our hero and the audience of the myth. We see that moment of disillusionment occur for Mulder at the time of his sister's abduction. The myth of the ideal family is shattered for our hero. This is something that occurs for every individual who grows up in a family unit. The parents or guardians will on day prove fallible, reality will encroach on the idealized concept. At this point in our lives all individuals experience the fear which Jung describes here. The audience can then overcome that fear within themselves through identification with the hero, whose life retains the myth as he becomes the questing hero after his loss of his identity as the son-hero. The viewer, or partaker in the ritual, if you will, uses the myth as an aid to find a sense of greater purpose for themselves. Contemplation of the hero's quest stirs a desire to identify a quest of their own. pg. 190 Man and His Symbols (MHS)

  • *if a*'s experience of his mother has been positive...he is either effeminate or is preyed upon by women and is unable to cope with the hardships of life.
I'm going to postulate here that in the particular case of the character Mulder, it is in this principle that we find, in part, his shift into the role of a hero fit for a quest. To explain, we've observed that this man in adolescence transferred the positive aspects of the mother figure onto his absent sister, consequently, when th above effects occur for him they possess a quality of separateness, that while obviously highly dysfunctional, allows him to compartmentalize his reactions to negative stimuli, and thereby suffer the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' by keeping those injuries and weaknesses indicated by Jung separate from his conscious sense of himself.
In other words, this dysfunction serves as a coping mechanism that gives him the capacity to take on the role of the mythic hero. Rather than paralyzing him as Jung finds is the tendency in actual men, our mythological figure is actually aided in the sense that he is able to withstand more than most men can in actual life.

  • But there are other hero myths in which the hero gives in to the monster...Jonah and the whale, in which the hero is swallowed whole by a monster that carries him on a night journey from west to east, thus symbolizing the supposed transit of the sun from sunset to dawn. The hero goes into the darkness, which represents a kind of death. pg. 111 MHS
As we look at the aspects of Mulder as the archetypal quest hero, we find here with an important, though late in the chronology of the story, step in his journey. The death and rebirth of the hero. Mulder experiences a symbolic death and rebirth early on in the series (episodes Anasazi through Paper Clip), but his literal and therefore more complete resurrection comes in Season 8 when he is literally dead and buried before being revived and reborn. The idea of the hero "giving in to the monster" is very apparent in this case, when in the episode Requiem, we see that he is reevaluation the costs and tolls of the quest, but cannot stop himself from going forward in to the metaphoric and literal 'dark woods' where he is inevitably abducted. Taken on a 'night journey' to the stars.

  • Christ...Osiris, Taminuz, Orpheus, Balder...they belong, in fact, to cyclic religions in which the death and rebirth of the god-king was an eternally recurring myth. pg. 99 MHS
We see that our myth and perhaps the 'religion', of UFOlogy belong to this category of cyclic religions, in that as we've noted, our hero (god-king) follows the pattern of death and rebirth.

  • Both in the Red Horn cycle and that of the Twins we see the theme of sacrifice of death of the hero as a necessary cure for hubris. pg. 106 MHS
In the second and more fully realized rebirth of Mulder, we can find this theme. Upon his rebirth, he finds that he is no longer the only person engaged in his quest. Doggett, Reyes and Skinner, have joined his anima in pursuit of the 'truth'. He must accept that he cannot fulfill his calling unaided, and thus must reconcile the hubris that was implicit in his previous solitary pursuit. Remember that Scully is in this interpretation a projection of a facet of his psyche, so her sharing of the quest from an earlier point in the story does not carry the same symbolic significance as this revelation that he has been joined by others.

  • The typical hero figures exhaust their efforts in achieving the goal of their ambitions; instead, they become successful even if immediately afterward they are punish or killed for their hubris. In contrast, the novice for initiation is called upon to give up willful ambition and all desire and submit to the ordeal...He must be willing to experience this trial without hope of success. pg. 124 MHS
Mulder struggles with this motif throughout his journey. As a novice, when he first embraces his quest, we see a willingness to submit. He is willing to put the quest before all else, be it professional ambition or personal relationships. Despite that willingness, we do see him struggle with hubris, as he seems to truly believe his goal is attainable. The narrative repeatedly shows him that he may fail. The three biggest examples of this are when he must come to terms with never literally finding his sister (Seit und Zeit/Closure), when he is put on trial and sentenced to death in 'The Truth' he seems willing to accept that fate, but once freed and reunited with his anima, he seems still unable to accept that the date for colonization is set and he may be powerless to stop it, and most recently in the second film we see his hubris brought low again when in his relentless pursuit to locate the missing agent he is unable to succeed and several people lose their lives as a result. A final resolution might require that he accept the uncertainty of his pursuits once and for all.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Face of the Hero

So we return to examining the dramatic arc of a particular archetype in our myth. This time we'll look at the "hero". (Mulder) In order to examine the overall dramatic progression of this symbol, we'll utilize Joseph Campbell's mode of the stages of the hero's journey.

Campbell breaks down the evolution of the hero into 12 stages, as follows:

1. The Ordinary World-to put this in theatrical terms, this is the base reality in which our myth is set, the formative world of the hero. From this point, we encounter the central problem or dramatic question that disrupts the normalcy of this "ordinary world".

2. The Call to Adventure-this is the event that makes the disruption of the ordinary world a problem for the hero personally, the event that presents him with the quest and is a catalyst for his journey.

3.Refusal of the Call-an event or time in which the hero denies the call to the quest in favor of the ordinary world.

4. Meeting of the Mentor-here the hero meets the person or object that will aid him in the undertaking of his objective. At this point the "call to adventure" is accepted.

5. Crossing the Threshold-this is where the hero meets his point of no return, when there can be, for reasons of obligation or practicality, no turning back from his pursuit.

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies-here we find the hero learning and experiencing the "special world" of his quest. He will, herein, find himself refining the skills that he will need to reach his goal, learning to discern enemies and allies and undergoing various degrees of initiation that will prepare him for the increasingly difficult portions of his journey.

7. Approach to the Inmost Cave-this is a period in which the hero gets a brief respite before entering into the heart of his quest and facing his greatest fears and challenges. He is able to take stock of his supplies and assets for the coming struggle and also to acknowledge losses and casualties that have been incurred along the way. This is also a time when he can relish and indulge, be it in a joke, a cigarette, or a romance, before advancing toward his ultimate fated encounter. Here the clock ticks, the stakes are heightened.

8. The Ordeal-here the hero faces the central life and death crisis of his quest, in which he looks death in the face, in some instances in a literal or metaphorical death and rebirth.

9.Reward-now the hero, upon completing the ordeal, is given a a reward or magic elixir in exchange for his sacrifices. However, is some instances, the elixir is stolen by the hero, in which case it will be reclaimed by the shadows.

10. The Road Back-the hero returns to the "Ordinary World" for a time, only to have an event that reestablished the central dramatic question with heightened stakes, recalling the hero to fulfill the quest.

11. The Resurrection-this is the hero's final and most dangerous meeting with death and the forces of darkness. The ultimate life and death ordeal, Armageddon, the apocalyptic revelatory battle.

12. The Return with the Elixir-the hero, having achieved his purpose, has now earned the reward of the Elixir, the object of his quest. (In Jungian terms, he has integrated his true "self").

So now we'll look at our story in these terms:

1. The Ordinary World-in our story the "Ordinary World" can be seen as America the democracy and the American Family. Our hero is born into the mid 20th century model of the American Dream; a nuclear family, a functioning democracy. The disruption of the status quo occurs with the introduction of extraterrestrial intelligence to this world. This can be said to be the so called Roswell Incident, or some similar event that causes the formation of our story's "syndicate" and "shadow" government.

2. The Call to Adventure-our hero (Mulder) finds that the central problem or "dramatic question" comes into his own life with his father's involvement with the Syndicate and the abduction of his sister. The symbols of the his ''ordinary world", the American dream and nuclear family are shattered for him by these events. He is now called to pursue the "truth" behind these events. To look for the mandala symbol (the UFO) of his "self" and rescue the divine child (Samantha) and his concept of family.

3. Refusal of the Call-in this case the refusal comes because of the hero's need to develop through his adolescent years. Despite feeling the call at the time of his sister's abduction, Mulder chooses to pursue his education and career, in an attempt to remain in the 'ordinary world'. This continues until he meets his 'mentor'.

4. Meeting the Mentor-the mentor in our story is the X files themselves. They provide Mulder with a resource and context for his pursuits. When he takes up this project he is accepting the Call to Adventure. His step away from the Violent Crimes Section and into the X files is his step away from the 'ordinary world' into the 'special world'. In this formula, Scully can be seen as an aspect of the mentor in that the upon entering the 'special world' Mulder discovers this new and more functionally developed personification of his anima who will aid him much as the Files themselves will.

5. Crossing the Threshold-what is the point of no return for Mulder on his journey? It comes when he gain an obligation that goes beyond himself, his family and his concept of the truth. Which would be most clearly defined occurring with the abduction of Scully (episodes Duane Berry, Ascension and One Breath). This is when our hero knows that if he were to turn back now, he would be betraying his obligations to another (Scully) and is the point where the sacrifices made to the quest are no longer his alone. He does not know the extent of this at this time, but he and the audience both learn that Scully, in the name of the quest, has now lost; her health (when she is stricken by cancer) and her fertility; and as a consequence of her wider involvement with the quest, her own sister. Now the hero is invested not only due to his own losses and sacrifices, but those of another as well.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies-this stage is active through a good portion of the series, and incorporates all of the many events and cases in which our hero is given greater and greater knowledge of the 'special world' of the paranormal and learns lessons of trust that allow him to be able to identify his allies and enemies. In this period, we also see him hone his skills as an investigator and find more solid and tangible proof of the truth (Scully's questioning and scientific viewpoint assisting him immeasurably). These things will all serve him as he ventures further and further toward his goals and the stakes and obstacles become higher and more imposing.

7. Approach to the Inmost Cave-this stage plays our primarily in the 7th season of the the show, when we see the hero come to terms with the losses he has incurred (his sister and family) and reexamine his priorities. We see him have an opportunity to form a romantic attachment with Scully (all things) and this adds to his reflections in that he must ask if the sacrifices of his quest are worth the rewards (evident in Requiem foremost).

8. The Ordeal-this happens when Mulder comes face to face with the 'spirit' symbol of the extraterrestrials, during his own abduction. He goes seemingly willingly into this confrontation, though with misgivings (also in the episode Requiem). The hero now experiences his death and rebirth during the events of season 8. Interestingly in this myth of modern times in which gender roles have been redefined the audience experiences much of the characters key confrontation and struggle through the experiences and battles of his anima (Scully) in her search to locate him and continue the search for the the truth.

9. The Reward-the reward, the magic elixir for Mulder is the symbolic rebirth of the divine child archetype. This happens through the seemingly miraculous conception and birth of his and Scully's own son William. The question of if the elixir has been stolen must now be examined. Based on the subsequent events, it would seem that even if the child was conceived naturally (which all evidence points to), the things which made this conception possible were things stolen. Most likely the chip in Scully's neck which has extraterrestrial origins and was stolen back by Mulder to cure her cancer, her previously harvested ova which Mulder also stole back from the syndicate and /or the mysterious artifact that they took possession of in the Sixth Extinction episodes would be where the theft of the elixir occurred. This is why the shadow reclaims the elixir in the 9th season when the threats to the child's well being force his mother to give him up for adoption.

10. The Road Back-this phase occurs during the intervening years from the conclusion of the series into and through the events of the film 'I Want to Believe'. The hero, in this period, returns to a degree of normalcy and reclaims a part of the 'ordinary world'. He makes a home and life for himself and his anima mate. But since the quest is not ended this period cannot last and we see the central dramatic question of finding the truth by facing the darkness is brought back into their lives in this second film. We see a degree of resistance to return to the quest (from Scully the anima of Mulder particularly), and we learn the ways in which complacency has weakened some of their skills and weapons in the struggle. By the end of the film we see the hero and his anima resolve to continue the quest and see it through ("the darkness finds us") using the love that they have found to light the way.

11. The Resurrection-this stage of the journey we have yet to see enacted. The hero's final stand seems to be set for the alien invasion in 2012. If we're lucky, we'll get a third film which will show us the fulfillment of the quest.

12. The Return with the Elixir-if we get to see the hero's Resurrection, it will no doubt involve the fate of the Elixir, which we have identified as the reborn divine child William. At the conclusion the hero and his anima should be reunited with their son and thereby he will have reclaimed the symbol of the family that was destroyed for him at his journey's beginning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Notes and Quotes Part 2

More of the same...there's a lot...

  • Princess A is the anima of the hero. She rides-that is, possesses the three legged horse, which is the shadow, the inferior function-triad of her later spouse. To put it more simply; she has taken possession of the inferior half of the hero's personality. She has caught him on his weak side, as so often happens in ordinary life, for where one is weak on needs support and completion. In fact, a woman's place is on the weak side of the man. This is how we would have to formulate the situation if we regard the hero and Princess A as ordinary people. But since it is a fairy story, played out mainly in the world of magic, we are probably more correct in interpreting Princess A as the hero's anima. pg. 245 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (ACU)
First off, we see that in our myth this principle can work both ways, whether we regard Mulder as the hero and Scully as his anima, or if we view Scully as the hero and Mulder as her animus. Both work to support and complete the other's weaknesses. Basically, the fairy tale referred to above can be seen as an example of how the hero's anima/animus can be an aid in the journey to the quest goal, but supplementing those weaknesses. Further I will note, the image the the fairy tale includes of the anima's association with the shadow calls to mind Scully's interactions with Mulder's shadow (the syndicate/Smoking Man). This seems to be particularly to be relevant to the episode En Ami, where we find that Scully has a great deal of impact on the Smoking Man and his view of Mulder and in her choosing to go along with the shadow in the hope of finding an important piece of "the truth".

  • ...or she meets him only in the dark and may never look at him. The implication is that, by blindly trusting and loving him, she will be able to redeem her bridegroom. pg. 206 MHS
Here is an example of a motif that we regularly encounter in our myth. Scully meets Mulder in the dark both literally in clandestine meetings when they have been separated, and metaphorically in the sense that she journeys with him to face dark forces. And certainly it is through mutual trust and love between the two that Mulder is redeemed as a more functional individual and that same trust and love make him fit to continue in his quest.

  • The young swineherd who climbs from the animal level up to the top of the giant world tree and there, in the upper world of light, discovers his captive anima, the high born princess, this symbolizes the ascent of consciousness, rising from almost bestial regions to a lofty perch with a broad outlook, which is a singularly appropriate image for the enlargement of the conscious horizon. Once the masculine consciousness has attained this height, it comes face to face with its feminine counterpart, the anima. pg. 239 ACU
This fable parallels our story in that we see two strong anima personifications first Samantha and later Scully make the "Ascension" (we even have that as an episode tag name) to the heavens when they are abducted. We can then view Mulder's abduction in 'Requiem' as a moment of expanded consciousness in which he finds a new kinship with his anima.

  • ...the relationship to the earth and to matter is one of the inalienable qualities of the mother archetype. So that when a figure that is conditioned by this archetype is represented as having been taken up into heaven, the realm of the spirit, this indicates a wnion of earth and heaven, or of mother and spirit. pg. 108 ACU
This further shows the significance of Mulder's abduction experience. Having been conditioned strongly by the Mother archetype he is then taken up by the aliens who we will later explore as the symbol of spirit.

  • to correct some sort of original male-female opposition Man's Knowledge (Logos) then encounters Woman's Relatedness (Eros) and their union is represented as that symbolic ritual of a sacred marriage which has been at the heart of initiation since its origins in the mystery religions of antiquity. pg 126 MHS
Once again we see here how our myth reverses many of the traditional qualities associated with the sexes, yet in the end, recreates the same dynamic interaction between those qualities to attain the same 'sacred marriage' to which Jung refers. In this case, Scully is Knowledge (Logos) and Mulder is relatedness (intuition) or (Eros).

  • The richly varied allegories of the Mother of God have nevertheless retained some connection with her pagan prefigurations in Isis (Io) and Semele...Teh ascension of Semele, the originally mortal mother of Dionysis, likewise anticipates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. pg. 107 ACU
In our myth we find this symbolism of 'ascension' not in the actual mother of the hero, but in his projection of the 'good mother' onto Samantha and later in the anima figure of Scully, in the latter case foreshadowing her progression to the Marian stage of anima development. Both of these characters can also be symbolically associated with the purity and virtue of the Blessed Mother in that Samantha is literally a virgin child and that Scully's abduction or 'ascension' results in her infertility and the eventual sexless creation of Emily. There is also an element of immortality attached to both characters. Samatha's immortality comes in existing in an afterlife of starchildren/walkins. Scully is associated with the mysterious prediction of the character of Clyde Bruckman, the psychic who can foresee the circumstances of every person's death, who tells her that she "doesn't die".

  • Your mass consists of your contemplation of these psychic images that your religious anima reveals to you. pg. 194 MHS
We see in the progression and evolution of Mulder's 'belief' that his interaction with the more traditionally religious Scully brings him to a point where his belief is something akin to hers. ('The Truth' "then we believe the same thing"). His supernatural/paranormal belief system, we find in the end, to be not so different from Scully's more traditional Catholic belief system. This ties back to the key thesis point that belief in the UFOs and the paranormal serves a religious function.

  • ...documented in my book Symbols of Transformation..."the loving and terrible mother"...the Virgin Mary, who is not only the Lord's mother, but also according to the medieval allegories, his cross...anima...mingled with the mother image. pg. 82 ACU
We see this paradox actively plague our hero in the immense guilt he carries regarding his inability to save/locate Samantha, his inability to fully understand and forgive his mother's choices, and in the role he has played in the tragic events experienced by Scully. These women are all in this way both a blessing and a cross for Mulder.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Notes and Quotes

So here we go again: This is just some further exploration of some of what we've talked about in the first few entries. Some is just support references, others deal with more specific examples of how archetypes appear throughout our myth (The X files); and still others elaborate on some of we've touched on.

  • Circle and square: (as seen in the second picture above) In Matisse's 'Still Life with Vase of Nasturtiums'...The two figures that from the beginning of time have formed a whole are in this painting torn apart or incoherently related. Yet both are there and touching each other. pg. 279 Man and His Symbols (MHS)
I include this image and excerpt in order to illustrate just what Jung meant when he spoke of a spiritual split in the concept of the unified 'self' showing up in the art of modern man. Here we see the circle and square, which in traditional religious art are often overlaid symmetrically as a symbol of the 'self' or complete spiritual being (as illustrated in the first image above in the form of a Tibetan Mandala) , have been torn out of balance in modern art. Just as Christianity took off balance the symbol of the equilateral cross, so we see this as a further expression of the imbalance in modern man's spiritual state.

  • a rule the feminine unconscious of a man is projected upon a feminine partner, and the masculine unconscious of a woman is projected onto a man. pg. 177 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (ACU)
The reinforces the basic definition of the anima and animus. At some point this work will include an examination of this myth from a perspective in which Scully can is viewed as the hero and Mulder as her animus. The elements of which, by their being present in this story, are a part of what makes this myth so particularly suited to this time which has seen such a rapid change in traditional sex roles in our culture.

  • We encounter the anima historically above all in the divine syzygies, the male-female pairs of deities. These reach down, on the one side, into the obscurities of primitive mythology, and up, on the other, into the philosophical speculations of Gnosticism and of classical Chinese philosophy, when the comsogenic pair of concepts are designated yang (male) and yin (female). pg. 59 ACU
Here we see specific examples of the fine balance of the male and female components of spirituality that the Judeo Christian tradition, according to Jung, threw out of balance. Yin and Yang and the Gnostic Gospels in which, as has been the topic of much discussion in the media and popular culture recently, Mary Magdalene is called the wife of Christ.

  • every masculine mother complex, side by side with the mother archetype, a significant role is played by the man's sexual counterpart the anima. pg. 85 ACU
This is demonstrated in our myth when we see Mulder's mother and anima both become unbalanced or dysfunctional through the projection of the good/pure aspects of both symbols onto the image of his missing sister. This casts in actual mother into the role of villainess and becomes the root cause of his attraction to women who embody a dark sexuality accompanied with an apparent lack of virtue.

  • In an unbalanced anima/mother identification effects on the son... Don Juanism, in Don Juanism he unconsciously seeks his mother in every woman he meets. pg. 85 ACU
In our hero's particular misalignment of the feminine symbols (see previous quote) we see that this effect plays out in his early romantic attachments in his choosing relationships which reflect only the negative aspects of the feminine persona that he associates with his mother, the more positive female traits being misdirected onto the absent sister. Thereby dooming him into a constant cycle of relationships which repeat the pattern of abandonment and disillusionment that began with his view of his mother from the time of his sister's abduction.

  • Men may be drive to amuse their fantasies by looking at films and striptease shows, or by day-dreaming over pornographic material. This is a crude primitive aspect of the anima, which becomes compulsive only when a man does not sufficiently cultivate his feeling relationships-when his feeling attitude toward life has remained infantile. pg. 191 MHS
This is a fairly simple parallel to our hero's moments of being reduced to a recluse in a basement office or dark apartment alone with those "videos that aren't his"....(for the uninitiated, Mulder's porn habit is a source of running humor in the series).

  • within the soul of such a man repeat the theme: "I am nothing. Nothing makes any sense. With others it is different but for me...I enjoy nothing." pg. 187 MHS
Certainly our hero with his isolation, obsessions and overwhelming guilt complexes demonstrates this concept.

  • If he feels his mother had a negative influence on him, his anima will often express itself in irritable, depressed moods, uncertainty, insecurity and touchiness. pg. 186 MHS
This can also be easily apply to the mercurial nature of our hero, especially in the early seasons when his negative anima/mother complexes have their strongest hold on his personality.

  • I remember a case that was presented to me as the victim of a high grade mother and castration complex, which had still not been overcome in spite of psychoanalysis. Without any hint from me, the man made some drawings which showed the mother first as a superhuman being, and then as a figure of woe, with bloody mutilations. I was especially struck by the fact that a castration had obviously been performed on the mother, for in front of her gory genitals lay the cut off male sexual organs. The drawings clearly represented a diminishing climax: first the mother was a divine hermaphrodite, who then through the son's disappointing experience of reality, was robbed of its androgynous, Platonic perfection and changed into the woeful figure of an ordinary old woman. pg. 67ACU
Certainly we can see a reflection of our hero's history in the case of this patient, in that Mulder's childish deified image of his mother was shattered by her inability to cope with his sister's abduction, was further when he realized that his mother had played a role in that event and was finally was completely obliterated by her death by suicide. By that point she is reduced to a tragic figure of womanhood, where his childish image of her would have been that of the glorious entity "mother".

  • The anima is the personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man's psyche, such as vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for personal love, feelings for nature; and-last but not least-his relation to the unconscious. pg. 186 MHS
This is a great example of how this myth adjusts the archetypes to best fit the particular time and society it serves. In this age, when gender roles have been realigned, we see our hero himself (Mulder) rather than his anima Scully) personifying these traditionally feminine traits.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mulder's Inner Woman Part 3

So we left off with our hero approaching the point in his journey wherein he is ready to begin the integration of his anima bringing him to the fourth stage of anima development, that which Jung called Sophia. This process will occur over time in a number of symbolic moments in the story.

The first sign that our hero is ready to begin the integration of this symbol comes, as we noted in the previous entry, when in the first feature film he acknowledges her as a component of his complete "self" (the line:"You make me a whole person.") After working, through the sixth season's story arc, to banish his old negative anima persona from his active psyche (his relationship with thru the death of Diana Fowley), and begin to bring his image of his current anima projection (Scully), down from the impossible heights of idealism that she attained in her Marian phase of development. We are reminded of the hero's acknowledgment of the importance of his anima to his quest and his relation to his "self", when in Amor Fati, he refers to Scully as his "touchstone". The stone is a frequent symbol of the archetype of the "self" in myths and dreams; from the Christian view Christ as "the rock",to the alchemist's "philosopher's stone", to the character of Locke's relation to the island on "Lost".

In order for integration to occur for our hero the next and most significant step in his journey is the final release of the grip that the earliest anima/mother relations have on his present psyche. This comes to pass in the episodes "Seit und Zeit" and "Closure", in which the hero is finally and literally abandoned by his mother's death in suicide and simultaneously comes to terms with the disappearance of his sister, who has served him at times as Divine Child, Anima and Mother. He releases Samantha to the "starlight", the place where the other major symbol of his unified self and object of his quest, the UFO resides.

This symbolic integration of his childhood feminine symbols, represented by their release, and in turn the release of their paralyzing hold on his psychic life, makes him ready to face his next important task of integration, that of his current adult anima.

Later in the storytelling, we are told of a false start to this process in the episode Per Manum, where we learn that it was around this time that the hero and his anima had attempted to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization. Though the desire for this symbolic joining is present, since the attempt failed, it would seem that in the myth there is still another obstacle to its completion.

As the story plays out, it becomes apparent that the anima needs to be further removed from her Marion image of perfection. We see that an "immaculate" conception or laborotory produced conception, would be a shortcut to integration, and therefor this attempt must fail.

Here the shadow intervenes yet again in a mysteriously beneficial way, that aids in the final step necessary to allow integration. In the episode En Ami, we see the anima (Scully) seduced by the shadow (Smoking Man), who acts as the devil in the desert, tempting her with visions of the miraculous (a cure for all disease). In her following of the hero's shadow, we see the "Eve" component return to balance the whole of her moral character, through what the hero views as an act of betrayal.

In this episode, the Smoking Man seems to embody the biblical snake in his offer of temptation to Scully, which can also connect back to the image of the Oroborus, or snake eating its own tail that she was tattooed with in the episode Never Again, in which she rebels and pulls away from the hero, fearful of losing herself in Mulder (and demonstrating her unreadiness as a symbol to be integrated by the hero at that time). This Never Again episode also sees her exploring her sexuality, which Mulder, at that point in the story (the height of her Marian incarnation), is hesitant to associate with her.

To put it another way, the first step in the symbolic integration process for these characters is to join in a physical/sexual union. In order for the integration to move smoothly Mulder must acknowledge Scully as a flawed as well as virtuous character, the complete acceptance of which is brought about by her misadventure with the Smoking Man. He must also acknowledge that she is a sensual and sexual being, which the echo of her earlier carnal misadventure through the Smoking Man's biblical snake like actions invokes.

Through her interactions with the Smoking Man in this episode, and through her own reflections as to her past romantic patterns in the episode All Things, she brings to Mulder's attention her flawed and sexual side, but also allows her to reach a point where she is certain that she is ready to enter into a more "integrated" relationship with the hero.

Once this level of integration is attained, the next major step in the hero's overall quest is the fullest manifestation in the series of the hero's death and rebirth which occurs with his abduction and eventual literal death and rebirth that takes place from the season 7 finale Requiem thru the season 8 episodes titled This Is Not Happening. Simultaneously with this major step in the hero's journey, we see the anima move yet another step further in full integration when we learn that she is pregnant with what we eventually determine to be his child.

His relationship with the anima at this point is highly functional. She works tirelessly to be his savior and upon his return they are able to communicate enough to come to terms with their new level of integration (having a child together). More over, in his absence she has served the important anima function of facilitating the hero's capacity for socialization, having placed trust in others, particularly the characters of John Doggett, Monica Reyes, and Walter Skinner. Skinner is significant because until this point in Scully's development as a highly functional anima figure, he was always regarded with a certain level of distrust. Upon Mulder's return, his faith in Scully allows him to place a degree of trust and socialization in these individuals as well. She has recruited allies in the quest for the hero.

The hero's period of exile in the last season after the birth of their child is significant in his anima integration, because upon his return he is faced with a difficult test of his emotional maturity. When he returns he finds that his anima has been forced to make the same decision that his mother did early in his life and sacrifice the "divine child" of their union, in this case giving him up for his own protection. We can see where this action on her part might hearken back mightily to the early traumatic event in the hero's life. His reaction to this turn of events demonstrates his growth in relation to understanding of his own feminine nature (the anima) as he is able to understand and forgive Scully's actions and her motivations.

In this final episode we also see her give up security and identity to join him in exile and continue to aid in his quest. The final scene shows the process of integration reach the spiritual level, when in a discussion of recent events and their ramifications on their belief systems she concludes that they now, "believe the same thing".

We can now assume that the hero can move forward with his anima (inner feminine) symolicaly integrated in his psyche and as a wise and active partner in his life's journey....don't fuck it up Carter!

If there's anything as a reader you feel that I've overlooked as far as the anima relationship, please leave comments. The beautiful thing about archetypes is their elastic nature and the possibilities that they inspire, so I'd love to get the input of anyone reading.

Next up I'm thinking we may explore the Divine Child more thoroughly.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mulder's Inner Woman Part 2

So, where were we? Ah yes! We're looking at Scully's transition from the Helen to Mary stages of anima development.
The stage of Mary can be seen as an elevation of the feminine to a chaste ideal. There's is also an element of sacrifice in such a character, she who must bear the savior only to see him die on the cross, to use the Christian allusion. At this stage the anima becomes the epitome of virtue and righteousness.

How is this represented in the story arc of our myth?
After Mulder's first rebirth, we see a more spiritual side of Scully coming to light, as we discussed at the end of the previous entry. We also see her symbolically unsexed through the revelation that she's been rendered infertile as a result of her abduction. The image of motherhood comes to replace the more sexual aspects of the character. In the episode "Home" we hear the hero literally tell his anima that he's not viewed her as a mother up to this point. This seems a moment of revelation in his image of her.

But for our anima (Scully) to reach the pinnacle of this Marian ideal there will be obstacles. Jung warns us that one inherent danger in any anima complex, is that, " The anima can become a death demon by depressing the man to the point of suicide."-man and his symbols

We see this particular psychodrama enacted quite literally at this point in our myth. Our anima figure faces her literal mortality when we find out that she has an inoperable and inevitably fatal cancer. Our hero is now forced to look death in the face vicariously as his anima battles a deadly disease. In the end, the experience leads him to just the brink that Jung warns us of. In the connected mythology episodes between seasons 4 and 5 we see Scully rapidly approaching death and Mulder, unable to cope actively contemplating suicide.

Interestingly it is the shadow, or dark reflection of the hero's self, that saves them both at this point. He does not take his own life, rather he is forced to kill a representative of the shadow forces, whom he finds has been monitoring his activities, and thereby spurring him back into action in his pursuit of a cure for his anima. And it is the shadow figure of the Cigarette Smoking Man who in the end gives him that cure, leading him to the chip that needs to be replaced in her neck in order for the cancer to subside. (Redux I&II) The anima is revived and the shadow of death is removed by the shadow figure of the hero's psyche.

It is in the fifth seasons that we see hero's anima reshaping itself around the image of the Christian symbol of Mary. We see the anima experience a strange sort of immaculate conception when she discovers her daughter Emily, who was created in a laboratory by the individuals who orchestrated her abduction. And we see her live out the Christian Mary's sacrifice when she has to let go of her child in death.

Before we move into the next obstacle that our hero faces in his anima relations, we should note a pivotal stepping stone that is achieved at the point of the first X files feature film. This is the acknowledgment on the part of the hero that the anima is in fact a part of himself, "You make me a whole person." Here the hero has acknowledged that his positive anima has an intrinsic part to play in the completion of his quest. He cannot find his elusive "truth" without the aid and support of his feminine self.

The next challenge to the anima development of our hero occurs with the return of one of the "Eve" anima figures from his past, one Diana Fowley. Our hero is now faced with a juxtaposition of the two faces of his anima, one that embodies all that is earthly and one his spiritual ideal.
This situation evolves primarily over the course of the sixth season, as our hero is faced with a choice of whether to regress to what may seem at times a simpler anima relation with this old Eve figure, or to continue forward with the more challenging yet fulfilling relationship with the anima that has taken precedence in his adult life .

How can this decision be reached in a way that continues our hero's growth? We find that it comes in the gradual breaking down of the pedestal on which Scully, the Marian anima, has been placed. He needs to allow himself to let go of his guilt for her losses and view her as a multidimensional woman, who, while possessing great virtue, can also have human fallibilities, and who can have a sexual aspect to her persona. This then allows him to release the unhealthy anima relation in his past and move forward certain of his choice.

What are the events in which we see this happen? Certainly throughout the sixth season we see both Mulder and Scully slowly coming to acknowledge that there may be a romantic or sexual element to their partnership. (Evidenced in the film, and in such episodes as, Triangle, Dreamland I&II, The Rain King, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas,Arcadia,Milagro and the Unnatural). In this same time frame we see a jealous, perhaps overly protective streak emerge in Scully (toward Diana and in the episode Alpha in particular), along with a further exploration of her needs as a woman (Milagro), which serve to humanize her emotionally, and make her less of an infallible goddess in the eyes of the hero.

When we reach the end of this conflict in Amor Fati, with the death of the old negative anima Fowley, we see the character of Scully begin the journey to fourth stage of development, when the hero will achieve the integration of this aspect of his psyche, which as we will see, occurs in several steps in this myth.

The fourth stage is Sophia, take it away Wiki:
Sophia, named for the Greek word for wisdom. Complete integration has now occurred, which allows females to be seen and related to as particular individuals who possess both positive and negative qualities.

and it looks like we'll be continuing this in yet another post...

What will happen as Mulder manages to gradually integrate his anima?
Tune in next time....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mulder's Inner Woman

So here we go gang, let's delve a little deeper and look at a specific story arc in symbolic terms. I want to examine the development of our hero in terms of one of the most important archetypes, that of the anima.

In psychological terms, a man's anima is the inner feminine aspect of his own psyche. Complexes that can affect the development of his anima begin with the first female figure he encounters, the symbol of the mother.

In our myth (X-files, for those who need reminding) we see our hero's (Mulder's) anima personified in a number of ways throughout his journey, the primary incarnation being that of Scully.

But before we explore the details of that particular relationship, we must examine the incarnations of the anima in our hero's early development. First, of course, there is his mother. This character is presented to us as caring, if slightly detached. From what we eventually learn of his early childhood, this was a comparatively normal relationship with a fairly common level of dysfunction.

However, his anima development is abruptly arrested in its normal development at the age of 12, with the defining event of his adolescence and early adulthood, the abduction of his sister Samantha. This causes a monumental shift in his relations to the mother; and here we can observe an almost Freudian split in the mother symbol, wherein his actual mother and his relationship to her become the foundation of the personality of the darker side of his anima. Consequently, the figure of the sister, who though her primary function in this myth is that of the divine child, at his point also takes on an anima/mother role as the hero projects onto her the characteristics of the "good mother" and thereby sculpts his anima's positive characteristics around this immature and idealized figure of loss and sacrifice.

As our hero moves through his adolescence and into early adulthood we see his outward personality and relationships greatly affected by this catalyst event and its symbolic ramifications. We observe almost textbook manifestations of his anima complex, in that we now see a man who is emotionally and intuitively driven, sometimes to the exclusion of logic, and who devalues women, both in his choice of his quest over his romantic attachments (the primary examples we're given being Phoebe Green in the episode "Fire" and Diana Fowley whose relationship with Mulder is alluded to in seasons 5-7), and in his habitual use of pornography and adult entertainment (something alluded to periodically throughout the earlier years of the series).

His early romantic relationships further reinforce the origin of his issues, in that we see him being drawn to women with dominant, and at times hypersexual personalities. These relationships, as we have noted, cannot survive in the shadow of his idealized relationship with the figure of his sister/mother/good anima (Samantha), inevitably dooming him to repeat the traumatic break down of the relationship with his mother when he finds himself continuing to re experience the betrayal and emotional abandonment caused by his mother's actions and responses at the time of and since his sister's abduction.

We should also note here, that his idealized relationship with his positive anima, up to this point embodied by his missing sister, is the cause of a great deal of guilt in our hero. He failed to save his sister on the night of her abduction and has since failed to be able to find her, and as a result he adds to this guilt every time that experience causes him to fail in his adult relationships with women and adds fuel to his tendency to fixate on cases of missing persons in his work as an investigator. This sense of guilt and unfulfilled obligation becomes a major obstacle as his relationship with his anima moves forward in its evolution.

So this brings us to the point at which we meet our hero. We find a man with an extensive anima complex, that has affected his personal and professional decisions. All of his anima interactions have amounted to, what we in the modern vernacular would call a "virgin/whore complex", in which there is one ideal of woman held pure and sacred, while all other women reflect the earliest stage of anima development, that which Jung called "Eve", in which the female is the object of desire, yet simultaneously viewed as evil and ultimately powerless.

At this point I will diverge briefly and touch on the symbol of the shadow as it has manifested itself in our myth. I'll insert a definition here for those who might need further clarification as to what the "shadow" is.

Wiki":In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts."Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." [1] It may be (in part) one's link to more primitive animal instincts,[2] which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind. According to Jung, the shadow is instinctive and irrational, but is not necessarily evil even when it might appear to be so.

As a consequence, the shadow is prone to project: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized "The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object--if it has one--or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power." [3] These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.

Jung also believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.

In the case of our hero and his development, up to the point at which we first encounter him, the shadow is very well developed and is represented primarily by the "syndicate" or the "shadow government", specifically the figure of the Cigarette Smoking Man. There are other manifestations of the shadow that we will explore at another time, but those mentioned here are the ones that have bearing on the subject at hand.

Our hero up to this point has, as we have just discussed, projected his positive anima into the figure of his missing sister. But as the shadow can at times work mysteriously to our benefit, we see that at this point it introduces a new female (Scully) into our hero's world. The shadow's stated intention in bringing her into the equation is nefarious. She is instructed to discredit and debunk the hero's work, or in symbolic terms, his quest.

This figure, however, seems to have a will all her own, that we can see have a positive impact on our hero. She is, interestingly, the polar opposite personality of the anima complexed figure of our hero. She is rational, logical and scientific, a rigid contrast to the fluid and kinetic disposition of Mulder.

Upon meeting this new figure, our hero's initial response is to immediately project his negative anima's image onto her, knowing as he does, that she has come from the shadow, and is therefore a perceived threat. His interactions with this new anima figure, however, contradict this preconceived notion of her motives and allow him to form a new level of respect for a woman, and thus, he takes a step forward in his development when he takes her into his confidence and places professional trust in her. His overall anima now moves into the stage of "Helen", for which I will again I will defer to the Wiki definition for simplicity's sake.

"The second is Helen, in allusion to Helen of Troy in Greek mythology. In this phase, women are viewed as capable of worldly success and of being self-reliant, intelligent and insightful, even if not altogether virtuous. This second phase is meant to show a strong schism in external talents (cultivated business and conventional skills) with lacking internal qualities ( lacking faith or imagination)."

So thus far, we have established the dynamic that characterizes our hero's interaction with this new anima figure in the early portion of this myth. The next major event in this evolution comes when we see Scully abducted herself ("Duane Barry" through "One Breath") . Here we see that she is beginning to acquire some of the symbolic significance that was previously concentrated in the figure of his sister. The extent of this transference is later demonstrated more concretely, when Mulder chooses to save Scully over the woman who he believes to be his sister (End Game).

It is at this point in the overall story, that we see the hero's first major rebirth, (Season 2-3 cliffhanger series) and simultaneously, we see the anima begin a gradual progression into the third stage of development, which Jung named "Mary".

Wiki:The third phase is Mary, named for the Christian theological understanding of the Virgin Mary (Jesus' mother). At this level, females can now seem to possess virtue by the perceiving male (even if in an esoteric and dogmatic way), in so much as certain activities deemed consciously unvirtuous cannot be applied to her.

In this phase of our myth we learn more and more of the spiritual side of Scully, as demonstrated by her seemingly psychically based faith in Mulder's return in "The Blessing Way", and her relationship to religion and Catholicism.

I'm going to stop abruptly here and continue this in another post if that's not too confusing...this is just getting to be quite long and this new phase seems like a good point to press pause.