The Frog Prince

I’ve kissed a few frogs in my day, and many of them were indeed princes.

But my favorite story is of the geek girl who is asked to kiss the frog, and replies, “Cool! A talking frog!” and sticks him in her pocket…. although lately it has been turned into a male nerd joke. When I was a female in engineering, this was OUR joke:

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to her and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a handsome prince.” She bent over, picked up the frog and put it in her pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a handsome prince, I will stay with you for one week.” The engineer took the frog out of her pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a prince, I’ll be your devoted boyfriend.” Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into her pocket. Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a handsome prince, and that I’ll be your devoted boyfriend. Why won’t you kiss me?” The engineer said, “Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a boyfriend, but a talking frog……that’s cool.”

But the real story of the frog prince has nothing to do with a prince, but is about restoring the golden ball to the psyche and in return receiving what at first seems to be the burden of an awkward, useless frog to carry around. If one sits with the frog long enough (or maybe tosses it against the wall), it rewards you by becoming something magnificent. When you find “true love” for the things in your psyche that you think are ugly and unlovable, then you have truly come to self-acceptance and the rewards are indeed magnificent.

When we read fairy tales which tell the story of initially playing with a golden ball, then losing that golden ball, and ultimately recovering that golden ball, we are being told the story of the individuation process. Early in life we are, unconsciously, one with the Self, and life is golden. We lose that sense of wholeness as the Self recedes and the ego begins to realize itself – its limitations, its vulnerability, its smallness, its otherness. And then, usually at the Self’s instigation, the ego attempts, often through pain and defeat and suffering, to recover that initial relationship with the Self – the golden ball, if you will – although in a new and more conscious way. Each one of us had a golden ball when we were young, which was suddenly taken from us by fate or design, and here we are, at some stage in the process, whether we are in analysis or not, of trying to get it back. And it is possible. Fairy tales don’t lie. (Yes, it’s possible; but who’s willing to pay the price?)

“We can analyze someone for a long time and the dreams seem to discuss certain obvious problems and the person feels all right, but suddenly he will have a dream out of the blue which starts something completely new. A new creative idea which one could not expect or explain causally, has arisen as if the psyche had decided to bring up something new, and these are the great and meaningful healing psychological events. The symbol of the sphere or the ball primarily means this. That is why so often in fairy tales the hero follows a rolling apple or a rolling sphere to some mysterious goal. He just follows this spontaneous self-impulsiveness of his own psyche to the secret goal.”

You will also notice that balls, when they roll, will often take the most direct route to reach its destination, will yieldingly follow the natural gradient of the landscape, the path of least resistance, and because of its perfectly round shape, will roll as true as true can be. These are additional characteristics of the Self at work in the psyche. Jung stated that the Self, the unconscious, does not deceive us. It may use language that is cryptic and symbolic, but its intent is not to disguise its message. It communicates as truthfully as it can using the language and methods it possesses. Its roll is direct and true.

In the real world, there are some types of frogs that might be hallucinogenic to kiss:

Another possible connection to this process of liminality might lie in the ornamental carvings found on stone representations of the yokes worn during the contests. These yokes are portrayed with drawings of the Marine Toad (Bufo Marinus). Although this species of toad is inedible, its does secrete a fluid through its skin which is hallucinogenic and was probably used in religious rituals which sought to produce an altered state of consciousness. It is therefore thought that perhaps the appearance of this toad on the equipment of the ball players connected the game to the religious system which sought a momentary descent into the Other World. This connection might lie in the other-worldly, trance-like state the ball players would assume while playing, which separated them from ordinary time and thrust them into sacred time.

In the environment, frogs are also an indicator species of the health of the environment. Frogwatching has become a way to help track environmental damage and pollutants.

So you might want to check on whether your internal frogs are healthy and lovable, and maybe cool, or if they might need some loving and kissing….