[Carl Jung on the “Sun Vision.”]
Lecture VIII 21st June, 1935
The cloister, which our patient came to after her brief glimpse of the sun, belongs to sun symbolism, it is, so to speak, a piece of it.
I gave you a parallel last time in the four-fold Tai-gi-tu – a Chinese temple picture.
This belongs to the secret teaching of the Yoga and is difficult to understand as we are not initiated.
I am not versed in all the secrets of it, and have to thank my deceased friend, Richard Wilhelm, for all that I do know ab out it.
We will go on speaking of the problem of the sun vision today.
It would be surprising if we did not find it in India, as well as in China; India is richer in pictures and poorer in philosophy than China.
This parallel comes from the Tantra Yoga philosophy which was developed later.
Fortunately an Englishman, Sir John Woodroffe, had himself initiated and published some books about it under the name of Avalon.
Chief among them is the “Serpent Power” from which I have brought you the following extracts:
“At the centre of the region of the navel is the lotus Manipura, so-called . . . . . . . because, owing to the presence of the fiery Tejas, it is lustrous as a gem. It is a lotus of ten petals.”
The cakra Manipura has its centre in the region of the Solar Plexus.
Its petals are the color of rain clouds which cover the lotus blue.
In the middle of the triangle is the Bija of Fire, Ram, and just above it is the Bindu Point, which plays an important role as the symbolic dwelling house of the gods.
Meditation is advised on the region of the fire, a triangle which is light as the rising sun.
The text says:
“The triangle has three swastikas.”
These turn in the opposite direction to the German swastika.
“The red Bija of fire, ‘Ram’, is seated on a ram, the carrier of Agni, the lord of fire. Here is the old red Rudra smeared with white ashes.”
His hands make the gestures of giving and taking, he is the destroyer and creator.
We must not forget that this is the region of the navel where we feel.
It is a western prejudice that we think and feel in the head, American Indians know that this only happens if things are out of order.
These cakras are all old psychological localizations.
Primitives are so unconscious that nothing registers with them unless it affects their hearts or their stomachs and the same thing happens continually with us also.
We do not notice an emotion till a digestive disturbance draws attention to it.
We prefer, it is true, to identify with our heads and remain above all these things, but we can only do this at the cost of the unconscious centers below, and today the problem of the Sun Vision is making itself felt in the region of the Solar Plexus.
The water region below Manipura is very unconscious, it is the seat of a sort of dog psychology.
The dog asks to be let out of the room when he needs to go. Children’s psychology begins there, but they quickly creep up out of it.
Ram is the sign of the Spring equinox, Mars is associated with him, a fiery red God.
He was the God of the doctors in the Middle Ages.
The Indian cakra Manipura is three-fold in contrast to the Chinese but the lowest cakra Muladhara is four-fold, for it is right down on the earth; this is like the Chinese who cling
to the yellow earth.
There are ten petals in the Manipura cakra.
It is doubtful whether the triangle’s Swastikas are really Swastikas, they look like the three handled pot, an alchemic idea.
It would be very suitable here as the text continues:
“The Shakti Lakin!, who as the Devata of this digestive region, is said to be fond of animal food and whose breasts are ruddy with the blood and fat which drop from her mouth.”
Here is the primeval form the God and Goddess.
Rudra is the old Vedic God, a Bellower of Frightfulness, a Destroyer and Healer.
He is a forerunner of Siva.
After Manipura we pass through the diaphragm.
The God was negative below and positive above the diaphragm, the meat-eating gods are to be found in the lower centers, the Shaktis of the higher centers are not meat-eaters.
In earlier times there was nothing above the diaphragm.
The commentary says “Rudra should here be meditated upon as seated on a bull.”
The Bull is the next astrological sign to the Ram so Rudra is seated on the Bull of Heaven.
This god, in his original, primeval form consists of wild, untamed instinct and emotions.
He and his Shakti are a very wild pair of Gods who react in every direction.
They arose out of Brahma and divided into masculine and feminine, and develop as they pass through the wild emotional stage.
We will now continue our phantasy.
She does not stay long in the cloister:
“It was a bare, arched passage, which ended in a light pointed arch. Through this I came to a staircase which led up to the daylight. The staircase was exceedingly steep and wound round a rock.”
This is the way of the snake, and has many points of resemblance with the Chinese picture I showed you last time.
You will remember that way led through rocks.
Here they have a similar meaning.
“Then the way continued up a small, iron staircase, which had a rail, and ended on a plateau overlooking an immense abyss, which seemed to reach into the infinite. I found myself in the clouds and a fog lay at my feet. The way led round a huge rock which blocked my view for a time, but I went and at last reached the summit. All around were steep, bare peaks as in the high Alps. The mountains stretch e d endlessly in every direction, there was no vegetation to be seen, neither path nor bridge were visible. I had no idea what to do next.”
This is clearly the way of the snake that creeps round obstacles. The height after the depth reminds one of Goethe’s:
“Descend, I could as well say ascend.”
Here her intuitive fortune gave out for a while, but she looked into the abyss for a long time.
“For a long time I stood on that peak and could see no path. Then the sun appeared, large and red, as if it were near the horizon, and on the point of setting. I felt that my way led towards the sun and I was intensely relieved.”
Here we come definitely to the real vision of the sun.
I can give you a parallel from the writings of Symeon, the New Theologian (970-1040), who also describes a vision of the sun:
“My tongue lacks words, and what happens in me my spirit sees clearly but does not explain. It sees the invisible, that emptiness of all forms, simple throughout, not complex, and in extent infinite. For it sees no beginning, and it sees no end. It is entirely unconscious of the meanings, and does not know what to call that which it sees. Something complete appears, it seems to me, not indeed through the being itself, but through a participation. For you enkindle fire from fire, and you receive the whole fire; but this remains undiminished and undivided, as before. Similarly, that which is divided separates itself from the first; and like something corporeal spreads itself into several lights. This, however, is something spiritual, immeasurable, indivisible, and inexhaustible. For it is not separated, when it becomes many, but remains undivided and is in me, and enters within my poor heart like a sun or circular disc of the sun, similar to the light, for it is a light. And following It my spirit demanded to embrace the splendor beheld, but it found It not as creature and did not succeed in coming out from among created beings, so that it might embrace that uncreated and uncomprehended splendor. Nevertheless it wandered everywhere, and strove to behold It. It penetrated the air, it wandered over the Heavens, it crossed over the abysses, it searched, as it seemed to it, the ends of the world. But in all of that it found nothing, for all was created. And I lamented and was sorrowful, and my breast burned, and I lived as one distraught in mind. But It came, as It would, and descending like a luminous mystic cloud, It seemed to envelop my whole head so that dismayed I cried out. But flying away again It left me alone. And when I, troubled, sought for It, I realized suddenly that It was in me, myself, and in the midst of my heart It appeared as the light of a spherical sun”.
You see how alike these visions are. Last time I read you the vision which Dante had as he passed from the Inferno to the Purgatorio.
We find further sun visions later in the Purgatorio. In the first Canto there is an appearance of the sun as the holy four-starred light; this is connected with the first time Dante saw the very old man.
The second Canto begins with “I saw the sun” and later in the same canto it is described as God’s angel coming in a boat with a red glow on his face, so brilliant that it hurt Dante’s eyes.
Albrecht Dietrich published a Mithraic Liturgy which contains another parallel which I will read to you.
Mithraism was once a sister religion of Christianity, but they soon split far apart.
It is not so very certain that this is Mithraic, but it is most certainly an initiation.
It describes a technique by which to induce visions, we should call it a method of active phantasying.
“Fetch from the rays breath, draw it in three times as deeply as you can. You will feel yourself lifted up into the heights so that you believe yourself to be in the middle of the air region. At that hour you will hear nothing of man or of beast, and you will also see nothing of the mortals upon the earth, but will see the genuinely immortal. For that day and
that hour you will see the divine order, the Gods who rule over the day rising into the heavens, and the others descending, and the way of the visible gods will appear through the sun, God, my Father . . . . . . . When you see the upper world, pure and lonely with no God or angel entering it, then expect to hear crashing thunder so loud that you are overwhelmed. Speak then again. ‘Silence, silence’. Prayer:’ I am a star, that holds its course with yours, that rises resplendent out of the deep”‘ .
This idea is typically Indian, he declares himself one with the vision, identical with a star. “Silence, silence”, here he has to speak the Logos, the Mantra.
The text continues:
“When you have said this the disc of the sun will emerge. After you have repeated the second prayer, the one where Silence is call ed for twice and the following words, whistle twice and click with your tongue twice and at once you will see stars shooting forward from the disc of the sun, many, m any stars, five-rayed, filling the whole air.”
“Whistling and clicking”, so you are advised to make the noises to the gods that you would to animals.
The ancients recognized the non-human aspect of the gods, so they assumed these qualities to be animal, and thought that you must attract their attention by the same kind of noises that would attract real animals.
This is the reason that animal pictures were used to entice the Gods, the dove, for instance, and the lamb.
The text continues:
“Say again ‘Silence, silence’ and when the disc of the sun has opened you will behold an infinite circle and fiery doors that are closed. And here you should say the following prayer with your eyes shut, the third prayer: ‘Hear me . . . . . . ‘ ” .
Here follows a long list of the attributes of the God, all referring to fire, such as Creator of Light, One who breathes Fire, Courage of the Fire, Giver of the Light, Living Light, Lord of the Light and Body of the Light. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture VIII, Pages 227-230.