A Post-jungian Understanding of the Counter-dependent Puella Aeterna (Eternal Girl) as Psychological Pattern in Women

By Loura Griessel.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The feminist movement in Western society raised consciousness about the roles and images that disempower women in a patriarchal society. Various post-Jungians are exploring different patterns or archetypal images that are often reinforced in women of which one is referred to as the Puella Aeterna/Eternal Girl. On outer appearances, women who identify with the Puella aeterna are often regarded by others as successful performers and achievers who “have set themselves free” whilst their inner life is often in turmoil. As a myriad of personal and cultural aspects influence the constellation of the Puella Aeterna in women, this psychological pattern is quite complex and elusive in its understanding thereof, therefore, it needs to be contextualized and brought to consciousness, especially by women living in a patriarchy. Careful study and integration of this body of post-Jungian work could bring a greater understanding of this important pattern in women. The purpose of this article is to delineate the counter-dependent Puella Aeterna. Her archetypal roots will be explored and traced back to the pre-patriarchal triad of Maiden/Mother/Crone. The partial identification of the Puella Aeterna with the Maiden in a patriarchal society and its implications for women will be elucidated. Furthermore, the characteristics of this Puella and her underlying narcissistic wounding and archetypal dynamics which often stays undetected in women as a result of cultural influences, perpetuating this blistering wound, will be discussed.

Keywords: Puella Aeterna, Eternal Girl, Psychological Development of Counter, Dependent Puella Aeterna, Influence of Cultural Expectations on the Psychological Development of Women, Archetypal Triad of Maiden-Mother-Crone

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 12, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 844.133KB).

Dr. Loura Griessel

Senior Lecturer, Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Dr. Loura Griessel is a Counseling Psychologist, responsible for the development and facilitation of various courses in personal development at the UFS School of Management, as well as for the professional training of Psychometrists in the Department of Industrial Psychology. Dr. Loura Griessel has a part-time private practice and is especially interested in Jungian and post-Jungian psychology and mythology.


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