The Water of Life: Russian Tales in Jungian Perspective (Paperback)
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.