To Raymond F. Piper
Dear Dr. Piper, 21 March 1950
I am sending you the two photographs1 you wanted and also the picture of a third mandala which has not been published yet.
I have nothing against your using them.
The conditions under which such a mandala picture is produced in the course of treatment are very complex.
I have given a description of such a process in a book which is just about to be published in German: Gestaltungen des Unbewussten (Rascher & Cie., Zurich).
The book also contains a number of hitherto unpublished reproductions of mandalas.
It would lead much too far if I should attempt to give you a full description of the psychological background of the two pictures in the Golden Flower.
All I can tell you is that the painter of No. 1 is a young woman, born in the East Indies, where she spent her first 6 years.
Her difficulty was a complete disorganization caused by her coming to Europe into an entirely different milieu where she couldn’t adapt on account of the fact that she had been imbued by the Eastern atmosphere.
She got into a highly neurotic state in which she couldn’t cope with herself any longer.
The unconscious produced chaotic dreams and she was filled with confusion.
In this state I advised her to try to express herself by making pictures.
She made quite a number of them which she developed out of a few lines without knowing where they would lead to.
These mandalas helped her to restore order in her inner life.
The other picture is by an educated man about 40 years old.
He produced this picture also as an at first unconscious attempt to restore order in the emotional state he was in which had been caused by an invasion of unconscious contents.
The third mandala was designed by an artistically gifted patient of mine, a woman of about 50 years.
It represents a labyrinth, i.e., it is based upon a labyrinthine design with entrances, one in the middle of each side, and one exit in the centre near the central quaternity.
It represents all the shapes and forms of life, a veritable ocean of organic life through which man must seek his way to the central goal.
This is what the woman herself says.
It is a fair representation of the individuation process.
Amidst the wealth of figures there are two outstanding points, the one a moon and the other a wheel.
The moon represents the essence of woman’s nature and the wheel the course of life, or the cycle of birth and death (according to the Epistle of James III, 6).
The 4 entrances are allegorized by representatives of the 4 elements.
It is one of the most remarkable examples of such drawings I ever came across.
The drawing was produced in an absolutely spontaneous way.
As to Eastern mandalas I should say that there should be quite a number of them to be found in your oriental collections in America.
San Francisco seems to be a place where you can get them occasionally from oriental dealers.
Also the Musee Guimet in Paris has a number of extraordinarily fine specimens.
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 549-551
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Great Sites to visit:
1. Jenna Lilla’s Path of the Soul http://jennalilla.org/
2. Steve Jung-Hearted Parker’s Jung Currents http://jungcurrents.com/
3. Frith Luton’s Jungian Dream Analysis and Psychotherapy: http://frithluton.com/articles/
4. Lance S. Owens The Gnosis Archives http://gnosis.org/welcome.html