read about this site and my work, check the list of tags, or open a random page.

❚ opposition ❚ shadow ❚ archetypes ❚ manly ✱ Robert A. Johnson

tempering of one by the other

… the only redemption for either of a pair of opposites is the tempering of one by the other. Faust is redeemed by the love of Gretchen; Mephistopheles is redeemed by his first experience of love. Ego and shadow each finds its own level of redemption and its own appropriate salvation. The boy angel, symbolizing love, is the fourth manifestation of the archetype of the puer aeternis, and sums up the power of that figure. To touch the puer is to touch eternity, to touch love, and to be delivered from the time-space world that India labels as maya, or illusion.

This is more than a hint that wholeness is not attained by means of masculine law or contract. It is a gift from the eternal feminine aspect of God. Faust is saved by the very bungling of his attempts at love, by his perilous journey to the place of the Mothers, and by the fidelity of Gretchen. No less miraculously, his lordship, Mephistopheles, that dark part of our human capacity that we call the devil, is saved by the first stirrings of love within his dark bosom.