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Tenars Psychic Growth

Updated November 1, 2018

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Tenars Psychic Growth essay

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.. ed and had been reborn in a new body at the hour of her old bodys death…,” it explained over the years of her childhood that she had been reborn and what she knew now was something that she knew long ago but had forgotten as she entered maturity, through her dream.

Through the Labyrinth of her unconscious mind, she tried to discover her Self by exploring the darkness of the unknown through passages and rooms, in search of the other half of her personality, another aspect of her personality that fits in the whole puzzle piece of the Self. After Kossil told Arha about the other half of the Erreth-Akbe ring being in the treasury room, which only the One Priestess was able to go into, compelled her journey further, deeper in the Labyrinth, to discover this other half of herself. She traveled through the Labyrinth for days, months and even years, everyday exploring more and more, finding new rooms, applying the guidance bestowed upon Arha by Kossil and Thar. But there was one day that was most the fascinating of her visits to the Labyrinth, when she saw light in the passages, something that was prohibited in the Labyrinth by the Nameless Ones. Fear as well as curiosity took over her as she traveled through the maze, and soon found what was generating the light, a man! No man was ever permitted to be in the Labyrinth; no one was allowed there but the High Priestess. This man, Jung would say, is Arhas animus- “the male personification of the unconscious in a women” (pg 198, Man and His Symbols) (a personification of the shadow).

But Arha, not knowing what to do, acted on her own impulsive and acquired knowledge, and trapped the anima within the walls of the Labyrinth, thus introducing to Arha her evil side. She knew that if she trapped him there he would die, her Masters would avenge the disrespect shown by this stranger. The stranger didnt die; he was a sorcerer, out to find something. He was out to find the other half of the Erreth-Akbe ring, to complete Arhas Self puzzle. But, as Jung said, the anima may be a “death demon” out to lure the dreamer to a point of self realization thats on the verge of death. Arha, so intrigued by the stranger, decided to keep him alive as she felt that she was to learn something from this stranger.

But at the same time her evil personality was exposed as she began to use her powerful political force on Manan, her good anima. Manan is the anima in which is filled with help, trying to lead her into the state of womanhood that is found in the darkness of Atuan, where as Ged, the stranger, is her evil anima, trying to lead her into a state of womanhood found in the Inner Lands (pertaining to her inner self). Arha wasnt to tell Kossil that the stranger was living, because Arha told her that he was going to die. If she did so, death would have been an item on the list for herself; Manan would continue with the downward motion of the sword without stopping it till it was dripping with the blood of the Priestess.

Jung says, “..the animus does not merely consist of negative qualities such as brutality. He too has a very positive and valuable side; he too can build a bridge to the Self through his creative activity.” That is exactly what happened with Ged. His purpose in her dream was to lead Arha to her inner self. He did that in such a way that made Arha think that he was almost brainwashing her with false ideas, which brought her to the conclusion that he was evil, but she soon learns to embrace him he turns into a positive figure. But, this evilness (an aspect of her personality) led her to believe that he was truthful in what he (her unconscious voice) was telling her. He is an embodiment of dreamy thoughts, filled with fervor and judgments of what life in the real world (the Inner lands/her inner self) “ought to be”.

He tells her of Havnor, a land of wild fantasies, with high towers everywhere, colorful roofs, mosaic bridges, a land drastically contrasted to Atuan, dark and elementary. In Jungs terms, Ged is the fourth phase of the personification of the animus- the highest level- where he becomes “the mediator of the religious experience whereby life acquires new meaning.” He is her guide to spiritual fullness, and to complete this last phase in the quest for womanhood, and an escape from darkness, Ged is responsible for convincing Arha to leave with him to the outer world, once the ring of Erreth-Akbe is combined. Ged explained to Arha that throughout her life she has been taught to be a slave of her own mind, that life outside is dead, something only a lost soul was to believe. But Arha broke free and followed Ged and his dreamy thoughts of the “Inner Self”, out of the dark and into the light, killing the obstructions that once were part of her shadow, Kossil.

And soon she had come to terms with her inner self as she was brought to the light, the outside world, the Inner Lands of her mind. On the road to womanhood, Arha passed through various phases which would Carl Jung describe as ones psychic growth. She passed from a young girl with little knowledge of her own self to understanding her inner self, a process (Jung writes in his Man and His Symbols) known as individuation, which Le Guin used to structure The Tombs of Atuan. Throughout this book Arha inched closer and closer to the realization of her inner self as she entered her shadow (her unknown personal attributes), and as she listened to those personifications, like Ged (her animus), that guided her and mislead her through the path of womanhood. “Through him, [Arha] experienced the underlying processes of her cultural and personal objective situation, and found her way to an intensified spiritual attitude of life….. [Arha] found the courage and inner broadmindedness to question the sacredness of her own convictions.

Only then did she take in the suggestions of the unconscious, and only then did the manifestations of the Self get through to her, and she was finally able to consciously understand their meaning,” voices Jung in his book, which is exactly how Le Guin structured The Tombs of Atuan.

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Tenars Psychic Growth. (2018, Dec 20). Retrieved from