The “Double Birth”


Happy Birthday, Dr Jung.

Saint Anna, Virgin and Child
By Leonardo da Vinci

The double birth signifies that motif known from hero mythology, which allows the hero to descend from the divine and human parents. The motif plays a significant role in mysteries and religions as a motif for baptism or rebirth. This motif also led Freud to make a mistake in his study A Childhood Memoir of Leonardo da Vinci in 1910. Without realising that Leonardo is by no means the only one who painted the motif of St. Anne Selbdritt (Saint Anna, Virgin and Child), he attempts for Anna and Mary, namely grandmother and mother, to be reduced to Leonardo’s mother and stepmother, i. H., to assimilate the image to his theory. Did the other painters all have stepmothers too? What prompted Freud to commit this violence was evidently the fantasy of dual descent suggested by Leonardo’s biography. Fantasy painted over the incongruous reality that St. Anna is the grandmother and prevented Freud himself from researching the biography of other artists who also dealt with St. Anna Selbdritt. The author himself has confirmed the “religious inhibition” mentioned on p. 17. The theory of incest that has been so strongly emphasised is also based on an archetype, the well-known incest motif often encountered in heroic myths. It derives logically from the original hermaphrodite type, which seems to go back far into primitive times. Whenever a psychological theory proceeds somewhat violently, there is a reasonable suspicion that an archetypal fantasy image is trying to distort reality, which would correspond to the Freudian concept of “religious thought inhibition”. Explaining the origin of the archetypes with the incest theory would be just as fruitful as if you scooped water out of a kettle into another vessel standing next to it, but which was connected to the kettle by the pipes. One cannot explain one archetype by another, i.e. one cannot explain at all where the archetype comes from because there is no Archimedean point outside these a priori conditions.

Carl Jung: Archetypen

Über den Archetypus mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Animabegriffes 1936 [Fußnote S. 89] (On the Archetype with Special Consideration of the Anima Concept 1936) [footnote p. 89]

8 thoughts on “The “Double Birth”

  1. Aladin, I see that we’ve posted within minutes of each other and in pure synchronicity “birth” and “death” are our shared themes. I had no idea it was Jung’s birthday today, which makes me smile all the more as I followed my intuition and wrote a new prose poem today.

    The painting you explore in this post is exquisite, I have a copy of a similar one, The Cartoon of St. Anne here in my home. The first time it, I literally fell to my knees in the middle of the gallery. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on those “Double Births” motifs, most interesting.

    I haven’t read much on Freud myself, Jung, fortunately got there first … well second, as I turned away from Freud. Hope you’re having a good day. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh yes, I have been also surprised to see your wise words come up at the same time, and I am so proud and honoured by this synchronicity. Love it 😉. As you know I do mostly try to post on Saturdays but I thought today is good day to throw a good word for the master. Thank you, lovely friend. ❤️🦋

      Liked by 2 people

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