The Water of Life: Russian Tales in Jungian Perspective

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C.G. Jung’s psychology provides a unique understanding of the seven tales in this volume. The archetypal images therein are many-layered. We can see them from the mythological viewpoint as dragons, demons and witches; we find them in rivers of fire, in kingdoms at the bottom of the sea, in talking animals, and in endless transformations that defy human experience. The same images mirror situations of everyday life: the joys of love, success in one’s endeavors; but also, abandonment, yearning for offspring, loss of a sheltered existence, as well as the many insurmountable tasks which confront us in life.

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C.G. Jung’s psychology provides a unique understanding of the seven tales in this volume. The archetypal images therein are many-layered. We can see them from the mythological viewpoint as dragons, demons and witches; we find them in rivers of fire, in kingdoms at the bottom of the sea, in talking animals, and in endless transformations that defy human experience. The same images mirror situations of everyday life: the joys of love, success in one’s endeavors; but also, abandonment, yearning for offspring, loss of a sheltered existence, as well as the many insurmountable tasks which confront us in life.

But the most significant of Jung’s insights into the psyche is the realization that all such experiences rest upon an inner reality which needs to be understood symbolically. This is where the archetypal nature of fairy tales is most relevant, for it explains why people of all ages and all levels of society have been fascinated by them; people, often without much formal education, gathered around a fire at the end of a hard day and, gazing into the flames, followed the images arising from the storyteller’s words. Today, many have by and large lost the capacity for such experiences. Children still do; adults are often distracted by the demands of outer life. And yet, fairy tales retell fundamental experiences of life which are timeless.

 “The Water of Life is an eloquent tribute to Russian folk wisdom that is destined to become a significant feature in the field of Jungian psychology. Building on the work of C.G. Jung and M.-L. von Franz, Nathalie Baratoff presents a carefully chosen collection of Russian fairytales and interprets them with a style that gifts us with a work that delights the mind and moves the heart.” 

-Murray Stein, Ph.D., author of Jung’s Map of the Soul.

“Nathalie Baratoff’s interpretation of the fairy tales in this volume discloses a deep understanding of Jungian psychology and a vivid interest in Russian folklore. She explores the archetypal background of her material in an enlightening and inspiring way.”

-Christa Robinson, MA, ISAPZURICH.

“The Water of Life is written with love and sensitivity for Russian tradition and folklore. This background colors the archetypal images in the presented tales and enriches their interpretation. Schooled in the Zurich tradition of Jungian psychology, Nathalie Baratoff traces the psychic development of the characters in the tales with insight and depth.”                                                                                                                                                                                                      –Gert Oskar Alexander Sauer      

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

I. The Water of Life

II. The Speedy Messenger

III. The Feather of Finist, the Bright Falcon

IV. The Enchanted Ring

V. Two Ivans, Soldier’s Sons

VI. The Seven Simeons

VII. Mar’ya Morevna

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

Additional information

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