In Aurora Consurgens, Marie-Louise von Franz elaborates on an alchemical treaty where Wisdom expresses herself. Here, Wisdom is to be understood as “a feminine personification of the collective unconscious” (Aurora Consurgens, p. 156) or as “a feminine pneuma who enkindles and inspires the author at his work. She is a “spirit of truth,” bringing him enlightenment. Thus the anima appears here not as a personal content but in her transpersonal collective significance as a feminine complement of the God-image itself.” (Ibid., p. 159)
In this text, Wisdom calls to be rescued by man. Quoting von Franz, “In patristic literature [Wisdom] was, as we have mentioned, defined as the “archetypal world” (mundus archetypus) or as the sum of eternal ideas in the mind of God, the prototypes from which he created all things. She may also be compared with the Indian Shakti or Maya and with the Gnostic Sophia. And yet in our text this figure is equated with the soul of the dark earth, the impure prima materia. Alchemy, accordingly, lays upon man the task, and confers upon him the dignity, of rescuing the hidden, feminine aspect of God from imprisonment in matter by his opus, and of reuniting her with the manifest, masculine deity.” (Ibid., p. 258)
To achieve such a task, she asks to be saved but not defiled:
For this cause have I laboured night by night with crying, my jaws are become hoarse; who is the man that liveth, knowing and understanding, delivering my soul from the hand of hell? They that explain me shall have (eternal) life, and to him I will give to eat of the tree of life which is in paradise, and to sit with me on the throne of my kingdom. He that shall dig for me as money and obtain me as a treasure and shall not disturb the tears of my eyes and shall not deride my garment, shall not poison my meat and my drink and shall not defile with fornication the couch of my rest, and shall not violate my whole body which is exceeding delicate[.]
Marie-Louise von Franz, Aurora Consurgens, pp. 57-59
Von Franz comments:
“Were it not for that cautionary remark about possible defilement, the passage could be interpreted as the soul yearning for her soul-mate Christ; but then there would be no need of this anxious request that he should not injure her. The anima is not calling Christ to her aid, but a human ego. […]
The unconscious symbolism thus expresses that progressive Christification of the individual the importance of which is discussed by Jung in Answer to Job together with its religious background. The ordinary man is chosen to be the place of God’s birth, and in him is incarnated not only (as in Christ) the “light” side of Yahweh: in him God regenerates himself as a totality, in both his light and dark aspects. Thereby the individual man, as Aurora says, becomes a son of God and is placed “first and highest among the kings of the earth.” Not only does Wisdom promise to exalt the alchemist to the status of a Godman, she also promises to keep her “covenant faithful to him for ever.” Accordingly, since she is “friendly to man,” she offers him protection against the dangerous and incalculable side of herself, or of God, and causes God to adopt the kindly-father attitude. It is clear from the text that the author fully identifies his mysterious female figure, the anima in matter, with God. She is his feminine aspect, but at the same time, paradoxically, God himself.” (Ibid., pp. 232-233)
This long commentary is to make a single point: the anima is not interested in Christ but in the human ego. It’s the human ego, under the guidance of the anima who is “friendly to man”, that has to learn the way of embodying the light and dark aspects of a God that is being transformed in the crucible of ordinary man.
This can appear to be a contradiction with the previous part, where it was argued that the anima sides with the shadow, but it is not. First, the shadow is the unacknowledged part of the ego, so it’s still the ego if just in potential. Second, an ego that does not acknowledge his shadow is in a state of ego-self identity, a state of original wholeness but also immature inflation. As long as the ego is identified with the self, it’s in a dangerous state of unconsciousness. In this respect, the anima looks for a human ego who has achieved both differentiation from the self and conscious realization of the shadow.