LECTURE II 14 November 1928

We have here a question: “How is it that we create symbols in dreams?

How can we be sure that the interpretation is correct, especially when there are no associations?”

That is, of course, a very practical and fundamental question. I had not taken it up here because I took it for granted that you understood the theory of dream analysis.

We are by no means sure that dreams have symbolic meaning, and we don’t know that the interpretation is correct, but
we make the hypothesis that a dream means something.

Suppose one has a case that presents a difficult problem and one has come to an impasse in the analysis, there are neurotic symptoms, one has tried hypnosis and other methods, but nothing works.

Then where is the key to unlock that door?

The patient doesn’t know.

It is most difficult to give a demonstration of dream analysis; one cannot give full particulars of a case to make it plain, because it involves the whole life history of the patient.

But here is a simple case.

A Swiss lieutenant,1 an infantry officer, a very simple-minded man of no great intelligence, quite devoid of any mental complexes, came limping into my room, walking in a very gingerly fashion and complaining of pains in his feet, especially in the heels, and also in his heart “as if stabbed.” (We always have pain where it does most harm and is most disturbing, in the feet for an infantry officer; a tenor would have it in the throat.)

These symptoms began two months before he came to me; he had been treated by several doctors and had tried hypnosis, electricity, baths, etc. but got no help. 1 asked where the trouble began but his face was absolutely blank; it was evident that he had no idea, and it seemed impossible for him to give me any material.

All questions were in vain.

I felt almost hopeless-the man was a Swiss and perfectly innocent of any psychological complications-but thought as a last resort that there might be dreams from which to catch something.

Dreams “leak out,” they are not under control; no matter how innocent and simple a person is, there are dreams from which to get something if one can only catch any little tail that may be sticking out.

I was sure the trouble must be due to some emotional conflict or he would not have had such symptoms all at once.

So I said to him: “I don’t know what is the reason for your symptoms, but you might tell me your dreams.”

By doing so I ran the risk of being taken for a sorcerer with such a simple-minded man, to ask about dreams is almost obscene, so I had to explain very carefully why I did so.

He had great difficulty in remembering his dreams but produced some scraps and finally brought one that struck him as very peculiar and had evidently made an impression on him: “I was walking in the open somewhere and stepped on a snake that bit me on the heel, and I felt poisoned. I woke up frightened.”

I asked him if he thought of anything in particular concerning the snake, and he said: “A dangerous one-that snake could kill a man-very painful to be bitten by a snake.”

He has never actually been bitten by a snake, but snake bites might cause pain such as his.

You remember the Biblical saying in Genesis: “The serpent shall bruise thy heel while thou art treading upon its head.”

I suggested a metaphorical snake and he said: “Oh, you mean a woman?” and showed emotion.

“Is there perhaps something of that kind?”

At first he denied it, then finally admitted that about three months before he had been almost engaged, but when he came back from service, another man
had her.

“Were you sad?” “Oh, if she doesn’t want me, I take another.”

I pointed out that sometimes very strong men were greatly distressed. He maintained an attitude of indifference, tried to bluff it off, but presently he was weeping.

The case was perfectly plain.

He had repressed his feeling about her and his emotion at being jilted. He cursed her, said that all women were the same, and tried to take another, and couldn’t see why he didn’t succeed.

When he realized his real feeling, he was profoundly moved and the pains in his heels and feet were gone, they were merely repressed pain.

The pains in the heart continued, but they referred to something else; I won’t stop over that-I took the pains in the heel as a useful example. This dream led directly to the heart of the matter.

A snake for a man is eternally a woman.

The snake of Paradise in old pictures is represented with a woman’s head.

This man probably did not know the Biblical saying about the snake bruising the heel of man, but the image was there in his unconscious.

One thinks of Ra, in the Egyptian hymn, bitten by the snake formed out of the earth, and put in his path by Isis, his beloved wife; she poisoned him that she might be able to cure him again.

This is the psychology of women poisoners.

In the time of Louis XIV, there was a famous case of a woman who poisoned her faithful manservant in order to have the pleasure of nursing him, which she did with extraordinary self-sacrifice for four years until his death; everyone called her a saint.

Then she poisoned her old uncle in the same way and nursed him, but this time she was discovered and torn into four pieces by four horses, a fitting punishment which she richly deserved.

The case of the officer shows how a dream can give the key.

Something leaks out even in people who are well defended; one can eventually procure the necessary help without which the analyst cannot unlock a patient’s psychology.

This is why we consult dreams.

But one can never say of any particular dream that it has a meaning; it is always a hypothesis, one is never sure; one experiments and finds out if the dream is correctly interpreted by the effect on the patient.

Most people after a certain amount of dream analysis know when the interpretation “clicks”; when there is the feeling that it absolutely hits the fact, one knows one is on the right track.

One explains dreams on a certain theory, and if the interpretation is absolutely wrong, the effect on the patient will show it, the unconscious will react in the next dream, and so the interpretation can be corrected.

If one gives a patient arsenic instead of sodium chloride, the organism will react and throw out the poison, and it is the same in psychology, one cannot feed a person on psychical poison any more than on physical poison and expect it to be assimilated.

The dream we are dealing with now is far more complicated than the one I have just given you.

Our dreamer is not really neurotic; he is an educated and very intelligent man, and his dreams reflect this.

The dreams of peasants, young or simple people, or primitives are as a rule astoundingly simple.

But the dreams of young children are sometimes very clear and sometimes very difficult; the more unconscious children are, the more they are under the influence of the collective unconscious, or they may absorb the unconscious problems of their parents.

I had great difficulty with a man patient who never dreamed, but one day he mentioned the dreams of his nine-year-old boy.

I asked for them at once.

The boy dreamt the problems of his father, and I analysed the father by the boy’s dreams; the boy was unusually intuitive.

After four weeks the father began to have his own dreams and the boy’s dreams ceased to deal with his father’s problems.

These connections between children and parents are most amazing; the dreams of children belong to the most interesting phenomena of analytical psychology.

The big room in which our patient and his brother-in-law were to eat was like a village hall in an inn, like those where the Vereins [clubs] meet in Switzerland.

One often finds, especially in villages, a hall for concerts, etc. where numerous meetings are held, with or without ladies, with or without beer, etc.

On two official occasions the patient remembers he has participated in such meetings in a room like this.

The long dining-table in the middle of the room was spread as though for a great number of people.

Then he discovers the peculiar arrangement of the seats, rising on the four sides like an amphitheatre, but with their backs turned to the table.

But before we go into this point we ought to have a certain idea about the big room. How can we link up the big room with a theatre?

Suggestion: It was his private theatre, where he would see his own inner drama staged.

Dr.Jung: Yes, and then comes dinner-he thinks he has already eaten, yet goes again to dinner.

Last time we made the supposition that eating meant the assimilation of complexes.

For about twenty five years I have analysed about two thousand dreams or more every year, and from that experience, I would say that most probably eating, in connection with the theatre, means the assimilation of the images seen in the private theatre, that is, the fantasy material or other material revealed through introspection,

This is a most important activity and is the purpose of analytical treatment.

It is also just what nature does in the physical body.

If you have a foreign body in you, nature sends a host of special cells to assimilate it; if they don’t succeed in absorbing it, then there is suppuration to bring about expulsion.

And the laws are the same in the unconscious mind.

Probably in absolute reality there is no such thing as body and mind, but body and mind or soul are the same, the same life, subject to the same laws, and what the body does is happening in the mind.

The contents of the neurotic unconscious are strange bodies, not assimilated, artificially split-off, and they must be integrated in order to become normal.

Suppose a very disagreeable thing has happened to me and I don’t admit it, perhaps an awful lie.

I have to admit it.

The lie is there objectively, either in the conscious or in the unconscious.

If I don’t admit it, if I have not assimilated it, it becomes a strange body and will form an abscess in the unconscious, and the same process of suppuration begins, psychologically,
as goes on in the physical body.

I shall have dreams, or, if introspective, a fantasy of seeing myself as a criminal.

What am I going to do with these dreams or fantasies?

One can reject them, like the Pharisee, and say

“Thank heaven, I am not like that.”

There is such a Pharisee in each one of us who doesn’t want to see what he is.

But if I repress my fantasies about this, they will form a new focus of infection, just as a foreign substance may cause an abscess in my body.

When it is reasonable I have to admit the lie, to swallow it.

If I accept it, I assimilate that fact, add it to my mental and psychological constitution; I normalize my unconscious constitution by assimilating facts.

The dream is an attempt to make us assimilate things not yet digested.

It is an attempt at healing.

Primitives say they rarely dream.

When I was in Africa, I was very anxious to get some dreams from the tribesmen, and I offered them high prices, two packets of cigarettes, salt, etc., for every dream they would bring me, but they were so honest that no one brought a dream though many came daily to watch me.

One day an old chief came, very proud and excited, waving his hat two hundred metres away and making signs from far off that he was bringing a dream, a treasure: “I dreamed that the black cow had a calf down at the river, at a place I do not know.”

For a primitive to have such a dream means that he has been blest by heaven.

This was Ota, the big vision, and the man must be a great chief to be appreciated by heaven to such an extent.

The dreamer was quite a rich old man, and slaves looked after his cattle so he did not know what was going on.

They are a cattle-loving people, cows are their totem animal, and, like the Swiss, they are identified with their cattle; they have the same thing in their eyes as the Swiss.

He knew he had a beautiful black cow but did not know it was with calf, but after the dream he went down to the river in the morning and there was the cow with her calf.

Was it a bit of telepathy?

Had he seen the cow once when pregnant and become aware of its condition?

He denied ever noticing it.

In this tribe there was no castration, no oxen, the bulls were always with the herd; very nice bulls, lovely beasts, mild, timid, almost cowards, not like our bulls; so there was no season for calves, no control, a cow might become pregnant at any time, and it was quite reasonable that he should not have known it.

But the dream informed him.

Why should he assimilate such a thing?

To cattlemen the birth of a calf is more important than the birth of a child.

I have lived in the country, and when a peasant had a calf everyone congratulated him, but not when he had a child.

Hence this very important event, being in his unconscious, was revealed to him through a dream, and his adaptation was put right, for he should have kept himself more informed about his cattle.

The medicine man used to dream about where the cattle had gone, when the enemy was coming, etc., and if we lived under primitive conditions, it would be so with us.

As it is, we are informed by our dreams about all the things which are going wrong in our psychology, in our subjective world, the things which we ought to know about ourselves.

I am going into detail for the interpretation of our patient’s dream because it is exceedingly important to develop it from step to step, to go from fact to fact: because he went to the theatre, because he ate, so and so happened.

Thus the irrational sequence is to be understood as a causal sequence.

We have seen the connection between the big room and eating and the theatre: we have the amphitheatre seats in the big room as in the theatre; both are public places, the table is spread; and we have been told that he went to the theatre and to a certain place to dine, so we may be perfectly sure that this part of the dream belongs to the same theme.

Now we come to those seats which are turned away from the table.

He said: “We had to climb a stair beginning at the door as if going up to a sort of tribunal, and from the stair we had access to rows of benches turned to the walls of the room.

I saw how people were sitting down on those seats and noticed no one near the table in the middle of the room; dinner was not to begin yet, apparently.”

He remembered having seen a room like that in an Algerian town, where they were playing jeu de paume, a kind ofpelota basque, like the old English tennis.

That room also suggested an amphitheatre, but the seats were arranged along only two sides of the room, coming almost to the middle, but leaving an open space for the game.

In this game a ball is beaten against a wall with tremendous force so that the arm gets swollen up to the shoulder.

It is somewhat like the English “fives,” the forerunner of the English tennis.

He also had an association with a clinic, where there were amphitheatre seats in the lecture-hall.

He had seen a picture of such a room, and also been in one in reality where a professor demonstrated on a blackboard an operation which was to be done on his wife.

Remember that a dining-room is a place where things ought to be assimilated; but eating has not begun, and it seems to be meant that it should not yet begin.

I would emphasize that that dining room is a public place.

Why does the dream emphasize the collectivity in which the assimilation of the images ought to take place?

The dream says: “Assume that you are in a public place where there are other people, as at a concert, theatre, or ball-game, and you have to do ‘like so many other people,’ a collective job, by no means an individual one; here are the phantoms of your dreams, and it is very difficult to have to swallow that you are a coward, a lazy dog, etc.”

This seems to the patient to be an almost impossible job.

He takes it with so much hesitation, so little appetite, because he assumes _that he is the only individual from the beginning of the world who has had to do it.

It is true that analysis is an individual thing; the collective part is confession, as in the Roman Catholic Church confession is collective; and the analytical confession is a particularly disagreeable kind.

Catholics have told me in analysis that they don’t tell everything to the priest.

I once said to such a patient: “Just go and tell the priest that!” “Won’t he be upset?” “I hope he will; just go and do it.”

These patients become much better Catholics after analysis; I have often taught Catholic patients how to confess.

Once a priest, a high authority in the Catholic Church, asked a patient of mine: “But where did you learn to confess like that?”-and was a little shocked when informed.

So the dream says to the man: “This thing you are doing is a collective job; you think you are doing it privately in the doctor’s room but many other people are doing the same thing.”

Analysis is analogous to confession, and confession has always been collective and ought to be collective; it is not done for oneself alone but for the sake of collectivity, for a social purpose.

One’s social conscience is in trouble and forces one to confess; through sin and secrecy one is excluded, and when one confesses one is included again.

Thus human society will be built anew, after the seclusion of the Protestant age, on the idea of universally recognized truth.

The idea of confession being a collective duty is an attempt on the part of the unconscious to create the basis of a new collectivity.

It doesn’t exist now.

That, you may say, is a very far-reaching conclusion, but for this man it hits the nail on the head.

He is very conscientious and he realizes painfully how much people today are separated from each other; he is separated from his wife, he can’t talk with her, and also from his friends because he can’t discuss his real concerns.

This is perfectly foolish, an irrational conglomeration of nonsense!

In primitive circumstances one can discuss anything, everything can be told to everyone.

When a man says his wife has slept with another man, it is nothing-every wife has done that.

Or if a woman says her man has run off with a girl from another village, it is nothing-everyone knows that every man has done that.

These people do not exclude each other by secrecy, they know each other and so they know themselves, they are living in a collective current.

What strikes one most in living with a primitive tribe is that feeling of being in the current of collective life; if a man is clever, he dissociates himself from himself even, in order not to be separated from the tribe; the whole tribe is really a unit.

One feels that our towns are a mere conglomerate of groups, every man has his own set, and doesn’t venture to betray himself even to them, he tries to hide even from himself. And it is all a matter of illusion.

So-called most intimate friends don’t know the most important things about each other.

A homosexual patient told me how many friends he had. “You are very fortunate to have so many intimate friends!”

He corrected himself: “I have about five intimate friends.” “I suppose you are homosexual with your intimate friends?”

He was shocked at the idea, he hides it from them. This hiding away from friends destroys society; secrecy is anti-social, destructive, a cancer in our society.

The patient suffers particularly from the fact that he cannot tell the truth, and the dream says this is a collective task.

Now why this ball-game?

A table would be the place where eating takes place, and the seats would serve the people who are attending that collective eating-really a psychological communion table.

The psychological root of communion, and the necessary preliminary, is always confession; we must confess before we are worthy to receive communion.

The apostolic command: “Confess your faults, one to another” was given to the early Church in order to establish brotherhood.

So why are these seats turned with their backs to the table?

This obviously means something very abnormal, it is very strongly put; any absurd fact which is much emphasized in a dream refers to something almost pathological.

To interpret it, we must put ourselves into the position given by the dream.

Suppose you entered that room where communion should take place and found the seats with their backs to the central thing in the room, what would this mean?

That you are refusing to enter into the communion, of course.

If everyone turns his back on his fellow-beings the game cannot be played, no communion is possible, there is no concentric interest in the thing going on, it is a sort of excommunication; everyone looks at the wall away from other people, and so everybody is excommunicated, everybody is isolated.

This is a very personal dream, which social considerations enter; there is nothing mythological in it, it is not a dream from the collective unconscious.

The dream says: “What you are doing in your secrecy is what everyone else is doing, everybody is turning his back on his fellow-beings.”

The centre of a social group is always a religious symbol.

With the primitive, it is the totem; later it is a sacrificial symbol, like the Mithraic killing of the bull; and in the higher forms of religion it is a sacrament.

The centre of social activity under very primitive conditions is dancing or magic ceremonial in a circle in the midst of the huts.

Probably those ancient stone circles still found in Cornwall were such community places.

And it was understood that when people came together, the ancestral souls were there too, watching them; not only their conscious was in communion, but their ancestors, the collective unconscious.

The ceremonial was a symbolic game.

The bull-fights in the cult of Mithras were not as they are now in Spain; the bulls had a belt around the chest in different colours, and the toreador had to jump on the bull’s back and stab
him from above in the shoulder-not with a long sword.

Mithras was supposed to be such a toreador, like a Jesus of the boxing-ring or the football match.

These games were communions, the people turned their faces to one another.

Bull-fights are still the symbol in Spain of behaving decently through sheer violence against oneself; the Spanish temperament would not allow decent behavior if they did not have bull-fights, they must have the toreador attitude: passions must be controlled by living them as the toreador controls the bull.

Mithraism was the cult of the Roman legions because of its discipline.

In Rome, they met in caves; there was a place for meeting and dining, a sort of triclinium, with two parallel rows of benches, and at the end of the room a symbolic picture of Mithras killing the bull; the picture was made to revolve and show, on the other side, the new life sprouting from the dead bull, cattle from the genitals, wine from the blood, etc., all the fertility of the earth.

People reclined on the couches where the picture could be seen, and the middle space was open.

It was a sort of theatre and dining room where they communed with the god through the sacred meal: “As the god Is killing the bull, so I am killing my own passions.”

Water was drunk and little loaves of bread with a cross marked on them were eaten.

The bells used in the Roman Catholic mass came from the cult of Mithras; also the date, December 25th, was taken over by Christianity.

The bull-killer is a fit hero for the soldier, Jesuits are soldiers of the Church in this sense, and the Salvation Army uses this form; for a soldier, to have discipline, must kill his own selfish passions.

Many other things from the Mithraic cult went into the Catholic Church.

The original Christian love feasts were sometimes of a rather doubtful nature, they often ended in revels.

St. Paul was not quite happy about it and took over a good deal from the cult of Mithras for purposes of discipline because nothing else was available.

Hence the first ritual form was the sacrifice of the “lamb,”-no longer the bull-fight-the sacred feast which became the Catholic mass.

The idea of a ritual game survived until about the thirteenth century.

They really used to play ball in churches, the jeu de paume, and this gave rise to the rumour that Christians killed a child by tossing it to one another like a ball till it died.

The Gnostics accused the Christians of this, and the Christians in tum accused the Jews.

There was a rumour in Bohemia only thirty years ago that the Jews had killed a child, a ritual murder.

That jeu de paume had a ritual meaning just as carnival had.

In the monasteries during the spring carnival, they used to reverse the position of the abbot and the young lay brothers, the youngest lay brother became the abbot, and vice versa.

There was also a feast at which they changed places, the abbot and elder monks serving the young lay brothers; and a mock mass was celebrated, the youngest lay brother officiating, at
which the songs and jokes were obscene, and they all drank the wine, not only the celebrant; then drunken orgies took place, and they all streamed out of the church into the street and upset the whole place.

These feasts and the jeu de paume were stopped by the Pope in the thirteenth century because they went to such extremes.

Historical publications are exceedingly important, but in ecclesiastical publications a lot is hidden; there has been much cheating about religious matters, many lies and many omissions.

The old phallic cult, for instance, taken over from paganism by the early Christian church, is never mentioned; a remnant of it appears in one of the forms of the cross, but people avert their eyes.

One would seek such a fact in vain from ecclesiastical publications.

The central symbolic game, then, is historically true.

This dream hardly touches the collective unconscious, except that here perhaps is a slight allusion to what was once historical fact.

Mead had a paper on ecclesiastical games in an early volume of The Quest.

He also published a paper called “The Sacred Dance of Jesus,” a perfectly impossible idea from the Christian point of view, but it belongs to the first centuries and a little book called “The Hymn of Jesus” a dance- and passion-play from a Gnostic document of the second century.

Turning the back on the dining-table means the anti-social attitude of our time and society, like the splitting-up of our Protestant world.

The church that was once universal is now cut up into more than four hundred sects, dissociations ad infinitum.

And that has reached society so completely that we all belong to the “people that turn their backs on one another.”

So the symbolism in the dream leads back to the problem by which the patient is troubled.

For society as an abstract thing I don’t care a hang, but I am connected with society through the representatives of society, those nearest to me, beginning with my own wife, children, relatives, and friends, the bridges that connect me with society.

And I am disconnected from society when I am disconnected from those I love.

This cannot be indifferent to me.

Such is the case with this man: he is partially separated from his wife, they have no communion, no jeu de paume takes place between them.

Now the dream leads back to that very personal problem.

“We sit down and I ask my brother-in-law why his wife has not come. While I ask I remember at the same time the reason of her being absent; I did not wait for an answer .because I wanted to show my brother-in-law that I had not forgotten that the child was ill.”

As to the illness, he says: “My wife is never social, never goes out for pleasure if one of the children is not perfectly well, or if she thinks the children would be insufficiently controlled while she is away.”

As they had lived so much in tropical countries where much care is required with young children, bringing them up had been more difficult than if they had lived in Switzerland.

In Africa I saw the difficulty myself of guarding children from the dangerous heat of the sun.

The sick child is now much better, only a little fever.

In his associations with this fact he referred to the boy of his brother-in-law: “Before the boy died I had repeatedly asked my brother-in-law how the child was.”

All this discussion about his brother-in-law’s wife of course refers to his own personal problem, to the fact that his wife does not come with him, that they have no communion.

He said: “When a child is ill, my wife is always terribly troubled, out of proportion.”

The illness of the child is the most obvious reason why he and his wife turn their backs on each other; but the illness of a real child would not create an obstacle between a man
and his wife.

We know already that that absence of communion is a general social problem which becomes evident in almost every marriage.

Just as in fact a wife is called elsewhere by the sickness of a child, just so psychologically she does not join him because of the illness of the child in the dream.

Now, since the illness of the child goes all through the dream, we must assume that it means

more than the mere opportunity for the wife not to be in the game.

And it is important that the ill child is a girl.

Suggestion: We saw before that the girl-child was some aspect of himself.

Dr. Jung: The real child who died was a boy and has no actual importance here.

Therefore if he dreamt of a boy, it would express something in himself.

I have observed in dreams and in clinical experiences a certain tendency in man to personify his ages.

There was the case of a country doctor, early in the nineteenth century, a man living a very strenuous life, who was coming home late at night from a bad case, walking along very tired, when he became aware of a shadow figure parallel with him in the middle of the road.

He recognized the figure as himself about ten years younger.

Then the vision disappeared but appeared again as himself about twenty years younger, and so on down to a boy of eight or ten.

It was a personification of himself: “The boy or man that I was then, I see him still as he was.”

So the allusion to the dead boy is an allusion to the patient’s own dead youth.

He has arrived in the second part of life, where one’s psychology changes: youth is dead, the second part is beginning.

But this is only an allusion; our interest now is in the sickness of the girl-child. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Pages 16-28

That is, of course, a very practical and fundamental question. I had not taken it up here because I took it for granted that you understood the theory of dream analysis.

We are by no means sure that dreams have symbolic meaning, and we don’t know that the interpretation is correct, but we make the hypothesis that a dream means something.

Suppose one has a case that presents a difficult problem and one has come to an impasse in the analysis, there are neurotic symptoms, one has tried hypnosis and other methods, but nothing works.

Then where is the key to unlock that door?

The patient doesn’t know.

It is most difficult to give a demonstration of dream analysis; one cannot give full particulars of a case to make it plain, because it involves the whole life history of the patient.

But here is a simple case.

A Swiss lieutenant,1 an infantry officer, a very simple-minded man of no great intelligence, quite devoid of any mental complexes, came limping into my room, walking in a very gingerly fashion and complaining of pains in his feet, especially in the heels, and also in his heart “as if stabbed.” (We always have pain where it does most harm and is most disturbing, in the feet for an infantry officer; a tenor would have it in the throat.)

These symptoms began two months before he came to me; he had been treated by several doctors and had tried hypnosis, electricity, baths, etc. but got no help. 1 asked where the trouble began but his face was absolutely blank; it was evident that he had no idea, and it seemed impossible for him to give me any material.

All questions were in vain.

I felt almost hopeless-the man was a Swiss and perfectly innocent of any psychological complications-but thought as a last resort that there might be dreams from which to catch something.

Dreams “leak out,” they are not under control; no matter how innocent and simple a person is, there are dreams from which to get something if one can only catch any little tail that may be sticking out.

I was sure the trouble must be due to some emotional conflict or he would not have had such symptoms all at once.

So I said to him: “I don’t know what is the reason for your symptoms, but you might tell me your dreams.”

By doing so I ran the risk of being taken for a sorcerer with such a simple-minded man, to ask about dreams is almost obscene, so I had to explain very carefully why I did so.

He had great difficulty in remembering his dreams but produced some scraps and finally brought one that struck him as very peculiar and had evidently made an impression on him: “I was walking in the open somewhere and stepped on a snake that bit me on the heel, and I felt poisoned. I woke up frightened.”

I asked him if he thought of anything in particular concerning the snake, and he said: “A dangerous one-that snake could kill a man-very painful to be bitten by a snake.”

He has never actually been bitten by a snake, but snake bites might cause pain such as his.

You remember the Biblical saying in Genesis: “The serpent shall bruise thy heel while thou art treading upon its head.”

I suggested a metaphorical snake and he said: “Oh, you mean a woman?” and showed emotion.

“Is there perhaps something of that kind?”

At first he denied it, then finally admitted that about three months before he had been almost engaged, but when he came back from service, another man
had her.

“Were you sad?” “Oh, if she doesn’t want me, I take another.”

I pointed out that sometimes very strong men were greatly distressed. He maintained an attitude of indifference, tried to bluff it off, but presently he was weeping.

The case was perfectly plain.

He had repressed his feeling about her and his emotion at being jilted. He cursed her, said that all women were the same, and tried to take another, and couldn’t see why he didn’t succeed.

When he realized his real feeling, he was profoundly moved and the pains in his heels and feet were gone, they were merely repressed pain.

The pains in the heart continued, but they referred to something else; I won’t stop over that-I took the pains in the heel as a useful example. This dream led directly to the heart of the matter.

A snake for a man is eternally a woman.

The snake of Paradise in old pictures is represented with a woman’s head.

This man probably did not know the Biblical saying about the snake bruising the heel of man, but the image was there in his unconscious.

One thinks of Ra, in the Egyptian hymn, bitten by the snake formed out of the earth, and put in his path by Isis, his beloved wife; she poisoned him that she might be able to cure him again.

This is the psychology of women poisoners.

In the time of Louis XIV, there was a famous case of a woman who poisoned her faithful manservant in order to have the pleasure of nursing him, which she did with extraordinary self-sacrifice for four years until his death; everyone called her a saint.

Then she poisoned her old uncle in the same way and nursed him, but this time she was discovered and torn into four pieces by four horses, a fitting punishment which she richly deserved.

The case of the officer shows how a dream can give the key.

Something leaks out even in people who are well defended; one can eventually procure the necessary help without which the analyst cannot unlock a patient’s psychology.

This is why we consult dreams.

But one can never say of any particular dream that it has a meaning; it is always a hypothesis, one is never sure; one experiments and finds out if the dream is correctly interpreted by the effect on the patient.

Most people after a certain amount of dream analysis know when the interpretation “clicks”; when there is the feeling that it absolutely hits the fact, one knows one is on the right track.

One explains dreams on a certain theory, and if the interpretation is absolutely wrong, the effect on the patient will show it, the unconscious will react in the next dream, and so the interpretation can be corrected.

If one gives a patient arsenic instead of sodium chloride, the organism will react and throw out the poison, and it is the same in psychology, one cannot feed a person on psychical poison any more than on physical poison and expect it to be assimilated.

The dream we are dealing with now is far more complicated than the one I have just given you.

Our dreamer is not really neurotic; he is an educated and very intelligent man, and his dreams reflect this.

The dreams of peasants, young or simple people, or primitives are as a rule astoundingly simple.

But the dreams of young children are sometimes very clear and sometimes very difficult; the more unconscious children are, the more they are under the influence of the collective unconscious, or they may absorb the unconscious problems of their parents.

I had great difficulty with a man patient who never dreamed, but one day he mentioned the dreams of his nine-year-old boy.

I asked for them at once.

The boy dreamt the problems of his father, and I analysed the father by the boy’s dreams; the boy was unusually intuitive.

After four weeks the father began to have his own dreams and the boy’s dreams ceased to deal with his father’s problems.

These connections between children and parents are most amazing; the dreams of children belong to the most interesting phenomena of analytical psychology.

The big room in which our patient and his brother-in-law were to eat was like a village hall in an inn, like those where the Vereins [clubs] meet in Switzerland.

One often finds, especially in villages, a hall for concerts, etc. where numerous meetings are held, with or without ladies, with or without beer, etc.

On two official occasions the patient remembers he has participated in such meetings in a room like this.

The long dining-table in the middle of the room was spread as though for a great number of people.

Then he discovers the peculiar arrangement of the seats, rising on the four sides like an amphitheatre, but with their backs turned to the table.

But before we go into this point we ought to have a certain idea about the big room. How can we link up the big room with a theatre?

Suggestion: It was his private theatre, where he would see his own inner drama staged.

Dr.Jung: Yes, and then comes dinner-he thinks he has already eaten, yet goes again to dinner.

Last time we made the supposition that eating meant the assimilation of complexes.

For about twenty five years I have analysed about two thousand dreams or more every year, and from that experience, I would say that most probably eating, in connection with the theatre, means the assimilation of the images seen in the private theatre, that is, the fantasy material or other material revealed through introspection,

This is a most important activity and is the purpose of analytical treatment.

It is also just what nature does in the physical body.

If you have a foreign body in you, nature sends a host of special cells to assimilate it; if they don’t succeed in absorbing it, then there is suppuration to bring about expulsion.

And the laws are the same in the unconscious mind.

Probably in absolute reality there is no such thing as body and mind, but body and mind or soul are the same, the same life, subject to the same laws, and what the body does is happening in the mind.

The contents of the neurotic unconscious are strange bodies, not assimilated, artificially split-off, and they must be integrated in order to become normal.

Suppose a very disagreeable thing has happened to me and I don’t admit it, perhaps an awful lie.

I have to admit it.

The lie is there objectively, either in the conscious or in the unconscious.

If I don’t admit it, if I have not assimilated it, it becomes a strange body and will form an abscess in the unconscious, and the same process of suppuration begins, psychologically,
as goes on in the physical body.

I shall have dreams, or, if introspective, a fantasy of seeing myself as a criminal.

What am I going to do with these dreams or fantasies?

One can reject them, like the Pharisee, and say

“Thank heaven, I am not like that.”

There is such a Pharisee in each one of us who doesn’t want to see what he is.

But if I repress my fantasies about this, they will form a new focus of infection, just as a foreign substance may cause an abscess in my body.

When it is reasonable I have to admit the lie, to swallow it.

If I accept it, I assimilate that fact, add it to my mental and psychological constitution; I normalize my unconscious constitution by assimilating facts.

The dream is an attempt to make us assimilate things not yet digested.

It is an attempt at healing.

Primitives say they rarely dream.

When I was in Africa, I was very anxious to get some dreams from the tribesmen, and I offered them high prices, two packets of cigarettes, salt, etc., for every dream they would bring me, but they were so honest that no one brought a dream though many came daily to watch me.

One day an old chief came, very proud and excited, waving his hat two hundred metres away and making signs from far off that he was bringing a dream, a treasure: “I dreamed that the black cow had a calf down at the river, at a place I do not know.”

For a primitive to have such a dream means that he has been blest by heaven.

This was Ota, the big vision, and the man must be a great chief to be appreciated by heaven to such an extent.

The dreamer was quite a rich old man, and slaves looked after his cattle so he did not know what was going on.

They are a cattle-loving people, cows are their totem animal, and, like the Swiss, they are identified with their cattle; they have the same thing in their eyes as the Swiss.

He knew he had a beautiful black cow but did not know it was with calf, but after the dream he went down to the river in the morning and there was the cow with her calf.

Was it a bit of telepathy?

Had he seen the cow once when pregnant and become aware of its condition?

He denied ever noticing it.

In this tribe there was no castration, no oxen, the bulls were always with the herd; very nice bulls, lovely beasts, mild, timid, almost cowards, not like our bulls; so there was no season for calves, no control, a cow might become pregnant at any time, and it was quite reasonable that he should not have known it.

But the dream informed him.

Why should he assimilate such a thing?

To cattlemen the birth of a calf is more important than the birth of a child.

I have lived in the country, and when a peasant had a calf everyone congratulated him, but not when he had a child.

Hence this very important event, being in his unconscious, was revealed to him through a dream, and his adaptation was put right, for he should have kept himself more informed about his cattle.

The medicine man used to dream about where the cattle had gone, when the enemy was coming, etc., and if we lived under primitive conditions, it would be so with us.

As it is, we are informed by our dreams about all the things which are going wrong in our psychology, in our subjective world, the things which we ought to know about ourselves.

I am going into detail for the interpretation of our patient’s dream because it is exceedingly important to develop it from step to step, to go from fact to fact: because he went to the theatre, because he ate, so and so happened.

Thus the irrational sequence is to be understood as a causal sequence.

We have seen the connection between the big room and eating and the theatre: we have the amphitheatre seats in the big room as in the theatre; both are public places, the table is spread; and we have been told that he went to the theatre and to a certain place to dine, so we may be perfectly sure that this part of the dream belongs to the same theme.

Now we come to those seats which are turned away from the table.

He said: “We had to climb a stair beginning at the door as if going up to a sort of tribunal, and from the stair we had access to rows of benches turned to the walls of the room.

I saw how people were sitting down on those seats and noticed no one near the table in the middle of the room; dinner was not to begin yet, apparently.”

He remembered having seen a room like that in an Algerian town, where they were playing jeu de paume, a kind ofpelota basque, like the old English tennis.

That room also suggested an amphitheatre, but the seats were arranged along only two sides of the room, coming almost to the middle, but leaving an open space for the game.

In this game a ball is beaten against a wall with tremendous force so that the arm gets swollen up to the shoulder.

It is somewhat like the English “fives,” the forerunner of the English tennis.

He also had an association with a clinic, where there were amphitheatre seats in the lecture-hall.

He had seen a picture of such a room, and also been in one in reality where a professor demonstrated on a blackboard an operation which was to be done on his wife.

Remember that a dining-room is a place where things ought to be assimilated; but eating has not begun, and it seems to be meant that it should not yet begin.

I would emphasize that that dining room is a public place.

Why does the dream emphasize the collectivity in which the assimilation of the images ought to take place?

The dream says: “Assume that you are in a public place where there are other people, as at a concert, theatre, or ball-game, and you have to do ‘like so many other people,’ a collective job, by no means an individual one; here are the phantoms of your dreams, and it is very difficult to have to swallow that you are a coward, a lazy dog, etc.”

This seems to the patient to be an almost impossible job.

He takes it with so much hesitation, so little appetite, because he assumes _that he is the only individual from the beginning of the world who has had to do it.

It is true that analysis is an individual thing; the collective part is confession, as in the Roman Catholic Church confession is collective; and the analytical confession is a particularly disagreeable kind.

Catholics have told me in analysis that they don’t tell everything to the priest.

I once said to such a patient: “Just go and tell the priest that!” “Won’t he be upset?” “I hope he will; just go and do it.”

These patients become much better Catholics after analysis; I have often taught Catholic patients how to confess.

Once a priest, a high authority in the Catholic Church, asked a patient of mine: “But where did you learn to confess like that?”-and was a little shocked when informed.

So the dream says to the man: “This thing you are doing is a collective job; you think you are doing it privately in the doctor’s room but many other people are doing the same thing.”

Analysis is analogous to confession, and confession has always been collective and ought to be collective; it is not done for oneself alone but for the sake of collectivity, for a social purpose.

One’s social conscience is in trouble and forces one to confess; through sin and secrecy one is excluded, and when one confesses one is included again.

Thus human society will be built anew, after the seclusion of the Protestant age, on the idea of universally recognized truth.

The idea of confession being a collective duty is an attempt on the part of the unconscious to create the basis of a new collectivity.

It doesn’t exist now.

That, you may say, is a very far-reaching conclusion, but for this man it hits the nail on the head.

He is very conscientious and he realizes painfully how much people today are separated from each other; he is separated from his wife, he can’t talk with her, and also from his friends because he can’t discuss his real concerns.

This is perfectly foolish, an irrational conglomeration of nonsense!

In primitive circumstances one can discuss anything, everything can be told to everyone.

When a man says his wife has slept with another man, it is nothing-every wife has done that.

Or if a woman says her man has run off with a girl from another village, it is nothing-everyone knows that every man has done that.

These people do not exclude each other by secrecy, they know each other and so they know themselves, they are living in a collective current.

What strikes one most in living with a primitive tribe is that feeling of being in the current of collective life; if a man is clever, he dissociates himself from himself even, in order not to be separated from the tribe; the whole tribe is really a unit.

One feels that our towns are a mere conglomerate of groups, every man has his own set, and doesn’t venture to betray himself even to them, he tries to hide even from himself. And it is all a matter of illusion.

So-called most intimate friends don’t know the most important things about each other.

A homosexual patient told me how many friends he had. “You are very fortunate to have so many intimate friends!”

He corrected himself: “I have about five intimate friends.” “I suppose you are homosexual with your intimate friends?”

He was shocked at the idea, he hides it from them. This hiding away from friends destroys society; secrecy is anti-social, destructive, a cancer in our society.

The patient suffers particularly from the fact that he cannot tell the truth, and the dream says this is a collective task.

Now why this ball-game?

A table would be the place where eating takes place, and the seats would serve the people who are attending that collective eating-really a psychological communion table.

The psychological root of communion, and the necessary preliminary, is always confession; we must confess before we are worthy to receive communion.

The apostolic command: “Confess your faults, one to another” was given to the early Church in order to establish brotherhood.

So why are these seats turned with their backs to the table?

This obviously means something very abnormal, it is very strongly put; any absurd fact which is much emphasized in a dream refers to something almost pathological.

To interpret it, we must put ourselves into the position given by the dream.

Suppose you entered that room where communion should take place and found the seats with their backs to the central thing in the room, what would this mean?

That you are refusing to enter into the communion, of course.

If everyone turns his back on his fellow-beings the game cannot be played, no communion is possible, there is no concentric interest in the thing going on, it is a sort of excommunication; everyone looks at the wall away from other people, and so everybody is excommunicated, everybody is isolated.

This is a very personal dream, which social considerations enter; there is nothing mythological in it, it is not a dream from the collective unconscious.

The dream says: “What you are doing in your secrecy is what everyone else is doing, everybody is turning his back on his fellow-beings.”

The centre of a social group is always a religious symbol.

With the primitive, it is the totem; later it is a sacrificial symbol, like the Mithraic killing of the bull; and in the higher forms of religion it is a sacrament.

The centre of social activity under very primitive conditions is dancing or magic ceremonial in a circle in the midst of the huts.

Probably those ancient stone circles still found in Cornwall were such community places.

And it was understood that when people came together, the ancestral souls were there too, watching them; not only their conscious was in communion, but their ancestors, the collective unconscious.

The ceremonial was a symbolic game.

The bull-fights in the cult of Mithras were not as they are now in Spain; the bulls had a belt around the chest in different colours, and the toreador had to jump on the bull’s back and stab
him from above in the shoulder-not with a long sword.

Mithras was supposed to be such a toreador, like a Jesus of the boxing-ring or the football match.

These games were communions, the people turned their faces to one another.

Bull-fights are still the symbol in Spain of behaving decently through sheer violence against oneself; the Spanish temperament would not allow decent behavior if they did not have bull-fights, they must have the toreador attitude: passions must be controlled by living them as the toreador controls the bull.

Mithraism was the cult of the Roman legions because of its discipline.

In Rome, they met in caves; there was a place for meeting and dining, a sort of triclinium, with two parallel rows of benches, and at the end of the room a symbolic picture of Mithras killing the bull; the picture was made to revolve and show, on the other side, the new life sprouting from the dead bull, cattle from the genitals, wine from the blood, etc., all the fertility of the earth.

People reclined on the couches where the picture could be seen, and the middle space was open.

It was a sort of theatre and dining room where they communed with the god through the sacred meal: “As the god Is killing the bull, so I am killing my own passions.”

Water was drunk and little loaves of bread with a cross marked on them were eaten.

The bells used in the Roman Catholic mass came from the cult of Mithras; also the date, December 25th, was taken over by Christianity.

The bull-killer is a fit hero for the soldier, Jesuits are soldiers of the Church in this sense, and the Salvation Army uses this form; for a soldier, to have discipline, must kill his own selfish passions.

Many other things from the Mithraic cult went into the Catholic Church.

The original Christian love feasts were sometimes of a rather doubtful nature, they often ended in revels.

St. Paul was not quite happy about it and took over a good deal from the cult of Mithras for purposes of discipline because nothing else was available.

Hence the first ritual form was the sacrifice of the “lamb,”-no longer the bull-fight-the sacred feast which became the Catholic mass.

The idea of a ritual game survived until about the thirteenth century.

They really used to play ball in churches, the jeu de paume, and this gave rise to the rumour that Christians killed a child by tossing it to one another like a ball till it died.

The Gnostics accused the Christians of this, and the Christians in tum accused the Jews.

There was a rumour in Bohemia only thirty years ago that the Jews had killed a child, a ritual murder.

That jeu de paume had a ritual meaning just as carnival had.

In the monasteries during the spring carnival, they used to reverse the position of the abbot and the young lay brothers, the youngest lay brother became the abbot, and vice versa.

There was also a feast at which they changed places, the abbot and elder monks serving the young lay brothers; and a mock mass was celebrated, the youngest lay brother officiating, at
which the songs and jokes were obscene, and they all drank the wine, not only the celebrant; then drunken orgies took place, and they all streamed out of the church into the street and upset the whole place.

These feasts and the jeu de paume were stopped by the Pope in the thirteenth century because they went to such extremes.

Historical publications are exceedingly important, but in ecclesiastical publications a lot is hidden; there has been much cheating about religious matters, many lies and many omissions.

The old phallic cult, for instance, taken over from paganism by the early Christian church, is never mentioned; a remnant of it appears in one of the forms of the cross, but people avert their eyes.

One would seek such a fact in vain from ecclesiastical publications.

The central symbolic game, then, is historically true.

This dream hardly touches the collective unconscious, except that here perhaps is a slight allusion to what was once historical fact.

Mead had a paper on ecclesiastical games in an early volume of The Quest.

He also published a paper called “The Sacred Dance of Jesus,” a perfectly impossible idea from the Christian point of view, but it belongs to the first centuries and a little book called “The Hymn of Jesus” a dance- and passion-play from a Gnostic document of the second century.

Turning the back on the dining-table means the anti-social attitude of our time and society, like the splitting-up of our Protestant world.

The church that was once universal is now cut up into more than four hundred sects, dissociations ad infinitum.

And that has reached society so completely that we all belong to the “people that turn their backs on one another.”

So the symbolism in the dream leads back to the problem by which the patient is troubled.

For society as an abstract thing I don’t care a hang, but I am connected with society through the representatives of society, those nearest to me, beginning with my own wife, children, relatives, and friends, the bridges that connect me with society.

And I am disconnected from society when I am disconnected from those I love.

This cannot be indifferent to me.

Such is the case with this man: he is partially separated from his wife, they have no communion, no jeu de paume takes place between them.

Now the dream leads back to that very personal problem.

“We sit down and I ask my brother-in-law why his wife has not come. While I ask I remember at the same time the reason of her being absent; I did not wait for an answer .because I wanted to show my brother-in-law that I had not forgotten that the child was ill.”

As to the illness, he says: “My wife is never social, never goes out for pleasure if one of the children is not perfectly well, or if she thinks the children would be insufficiently controlled while she is away.”

As they had lived so much in tropical countries where much care is required with young children, bringing them up had been more difficult than if they had lived in Switzerland.

In Africa I saw the difficulty myself of guarding children from the dangerous heat of the sun.

The sick child is now much better, only a little fever.

In his associations with this fact he referred to the boy of his brother-in-law: “Before the boy died I had repeatedly asked my brother-in-law how the child was.”

All this discussion about his brother-in-law’s wife of course refers to his own personal problem, to the fact that his wife does not come with him, that they have no communion.

He said: “When a child is ill, my wife is always terribly troubled, out of proportion.”

The illness of the child is the most obvious reason why he and his wife turn their backs on each other; but the illness of a real child would not create an obstacle between a man
and his wife.

We know already that that absence of communion is a general social problem which becomes evident in almost every marriage.

Just as in fact a wife is called elsewhere by the sickness of a child, just so psychologically she does not join him because of the illness of the child in the dream.

Now, since the illness of the child goes all through the dream, we must assume that it means

more than the mere opportunity for the wife not to be in the game.

And it is important that the ill child is a girl.

Suggestion: We saw before that the girl-child was some aspect of himself.

Dr. Jung: The real child who died was a boy and has no actual importance here.

Therefore if he dreamt of a boy, it would express something in himself.

I have observed in dreams and in clinical experiences a certain tendency in man to personify his ages.

There was the case of a country doctor, early in the nineteenth century, a man living a very strenuous life, who was coming home late at night from a bad case, walking along very tired, when he became aware of a shadow figure parallel with him in the middle of the road.

He recognized the figure as himself about ten years younger.

Then the vision disappeared but appeared again as himself about twenty years younger, and so on down to a boy of eight or ten.

It was a personification of himself: “The boy or man that I was then, I see him still as he was.”

So the allusion to the dead boy is an allusion to the patient’s own dead youth.

He has arrived in the second part of life, where one’s psychology changes: youth is dead, the second part is beginning.

But this is only an allusion; our interest now is in the sickness of the girl-child. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 16-28

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