Miss Hannah: Was it the self sleeping?

Dr. Jung: Of course, the self is then asleep. And in which stage is the self asleep and the ego conscious?

Here, of course, in this conscious world where we are all reasonable and respectable people, adapted individuals as one says. Everything runs smoothly; we are going to have lunch, we have appointments, we are perfectly normal citizens of certain states. We are under certain obligations and cannot run away easily without getting neurotic; we have to look after our duties. So we are all in the roots, we are upon our root support. (“Root support” is the literal translation of muladhara.) We are in our roots right in this world—when you buy your ticket from the streetcar conductor, for instance, or for the theater, or pay the waiter—that is reality as you touch it. And then the self is asleep, which means that all things concerning the gods are asleep.

Now, after this startling statement we have to find out whether such an interpretation is really justifiable. I am by no means sure. I am even convinced that Professor Hauer would not agree with me right on the spot. In these matters one needs a great deal of psychology in order to make it palatable to the Western mind. If we do not try hard and dare to commit many errors in assimilating it to our Western mentality, we simply get poisoned. For these symbols have a terribly clinging tendency. They catch the unconscious somehow and cling to us. But they are a foreign body in our system—corpus alienum—and they inhibit the natural growth and development of our own psychology. It is like a secondary growth or a poison. Therefore one has to make almost heroic attempts to master these things, to do something against those symbols in order to deprive them of their influence. Perhaps you cannot fully realize what I say, but take it as a hypothesis. It is more than a hypothesis, it is even a truth. I have seen too often how dangerous their influence may be.

If we assume that muladhara, being the roots, is the earth upon which we stand, it necessarily must be our conscious world, because here we are, standing upon this earth, and here are the four corners of this earth. We are in the earth mandala. And whatever we say of muladhara is true of this world. It is a place where mankind is a victim of impulses, instincts, unconsciousness, of participation mystique, where we are in a dark and unconscious place. We are hapless victims of circumstances, our reason practically can do very little. Yes, when times are quiet, if there is no important psychological storm, we can do something with the help of technique. But then comes a storm, say, a war or a revolution, and the whole thing is destroyed and we are nowhere.

Moreover, when we are in this three-dimensional space, talking sense and doing apparently meaningful things, we are non-individual—we are just fish in the sea. Only at times have we an inkling of the next Chakra. Something works in certain people on Sunday mornings, or perhaps one day in the year, say Good Friday—they feel a gentle urge to go to church.

Many people instead have an urge to go to the mountains, into nature, where they have another sort of emotion. Now, that is a faint stirring of the sleeping beauty; something which is not to be accounted for starts in the unconscious. Some strange urge underneath forces them to do something which is not just the ordinary thing. So we may assume that the place where the self, the psychological non-ego, is asleep is the most banal place in the world—a railway station, a theater, the family, the professional situation—there the gods are sleeping; there we are just reasonable, or as unreasonable, as unconscious animals. And this is muladhara.

If that is so, then the next Chakra, svadhisthana must be the unconscious, symbolized by the sea, and in the sea is a huge leviathan which threatens one with annihilation. Moreover, we must remember that men have made these symbols. Tantric yoga in its old form is surely the work of men, so we can expect a good deal of masculine psychology.

Therefore no wonder that in the second Chakra is the great half-moon, which is of course a female symbol. Also, the whole thing is in the form of the Padma or lotus, and the lotus is the yoni. (Padma is simply the hieratic name, the metaphor for the yoni, the female organ.) ~Carl Jung; Kundalini Yoga