Lecture V 31st May, 1935
Last time we stopped in the middle of a very difficult problem. I began to tell you of a fifty-five year old American lady who could not be led back to the instinctive ways of youth, but who should learn to see the meaning of the instincts.
I spoke of the Yucca moth and I stopped in the middle of the case of a man of fifty who could not believe that he was not responsible for the happiness of the next generation.
Dynamic – Natural Flow
Pictures – Archetypes – Meaning
If you follow the second path, the way of the pictures, you arrive at the meaning.
This man, through a lack of understanding, was trying to move on the first path.
The investigation of his case revealed a mother complex, as mentioned before, which, through his own disposition, had led to the condition he was in.
He said that the secret was what attracted him; he thought every woman possessed this secret.
I could have gone on with him on the cold path of speculation but it would have led nowhere, so I chose the way of following up his d reams which clearly pointed to the mother.
They were exceedingly bad dreams, the mother app eared very negatively, as a blood thirsty demon, as a being half male and half female, he had to fight with her, and even once to cut off her hands.
He was an intelligent man so he soon saw that this did not refer to his real mother, there was something of a totally different nature in this mother image, something which was inhuman and inapplicable to a real woman; besides which his own mother was long since dead.
I explained to him that contents which belonged to the second path were entering the first, that a mythological picture of a blood thirsty goddess, an autonomous being, was mixing itself with the old reality situation.
His life had been much disturbed by the existence of this image, it was the secret for which he was searching and he was completely fascinated by it. The fascination is not to be wondered at when we realize that in other ages people found their gods in these images.
When the idea of the image became clear to him it had also a practical effect.
One day he came beaming to me and said: “A loving couple passed me in the street, and instead of envying them I thought ” Thank God, they have it, they must look after it, not!”‘.
And he had found another occupation, to study the pictures which would lead him to the realization of his Anima.
To young people, especially to those with artistic tendencies, these pictures are often used as a pretext to leave real women alone.
No woman is quite good enough, there is always a hair in the soup. This may go on till 30, or 35, and the foundations of the old bachelor have been well laid.
Or if the man does marry, he is soon convinced that he has married the wrong woman for she does not sufficiently resemble the goddess of the images.
But if people in the second half of life do not become aware of these pictures and yet find themselves unable to move freely in the first path, the repression of the instinct may lead to all kinds of sexual perversities.
The second path on the other hand leads to initiation.
As Goethe says in Faust:
“Yet now at last the god is surely sinking But the new gift impels to flight. Onward I speed, eternal radiance drinking, Before me day, and far behind me night”
It is the drive of the instinct which makes life worth living; without it life is merely momentary and fragmentary, it is this drive which gives life form and meaning.
But, unless we understand them in a deep sense, the spiritual instincts just worry at us, we try to explain them in the wrong way and can see no use in them.
It is necessary to have some understanding in order to feel in harmony with life, and this is the reason that initiation rituals were instituted.
When those doubtful blessings, missionaries, stop the initiation ceremonies of a tribe, it always decays.
When you take these rites from the people they lose their sense of life, and then they just go from one cigarette to the next, and from one drink to the next.
Gradually the whole tribe goes to pieces, they take to alcohol and become diseased, and they are even asked to wear clothes to prevent the missionaries having indecent phantasies!
On a certain island the English with great common sense – they have more common sense than other nations – beat the natives when they wear clothes.
That is how it should be, only white men are indecent naked.
The second path goes the symbolical way of the initiations for the natural drive cannot be controlled by the will.
Mankind noticed that initiation gave protection and therefore it seemed reasonable to give this protection earlier, so as civilization advanced the ceremonies were administered at an increasingly early age.
In our church baptism is practiced on babies, which makes no sense at all for no experience is possible.
The magic part of this ceremony has disappeared though many secret societies exist where living remnants of the magic are still to be found.
We will now return to our case of the fifty-five year old American woman, as I should like to show you the line which the development followed.
She had dimly discerned the youthfulness of her feeling and was not at all pleased with the discovery, in fact it frightened her terribly, for these youthful instincts were not suitable to her age.
In the second half of the life of a woman the feminine is, in a certain sense, used up, and the masculine side comes forward.
The original sperm from which we are formed is masculine and feminine, the one which is in the majority wins, but the other side does not die, it remains living but as a minority, just as in politics the Government and the Opposition both exist.
The man tends to develop much more feeling and the woman becomes masculine and aggressive.
We speak quite truly of a dangerous age, there should be a “Ligue pour la Protection du Jeune Homme “!
If an elderly woman were to try to follow the first, the instinctive path, she would leave her femininity behind and would develop an aggressive masculine attitude.
This, of course, makes her particularly anxious to repress the whole thing.
When such a case meets a situation, such as the conditions in America after the War, she becomes faint and powerless and holds desperately to her shattered ideals.
She was, in fact, as I said last time, completely disorientated.
The early dreams showed a crowd of phantasies in the unconscious soI suggested to her that she should try to reach these because, with the quantity of dreams that she was having, she was becoming bewildered.
She felt that there was a mass of important material which we had no time for.
I therefore advised her to try to phantasy.
She found this very difficult and at first brought the merest fragments.
She saw the picture of a lion, and looked away, then that of a train, and thought:
“What nonsense, I made that”. Then it was gone too.
She thought: “Either it is a silly method, or else I am stupid at it”.
She was a very intelligent woman but she only believed in concrete things, just as if all concrete things had not once been mere phantasies.
At last she was successful, she saw the lake of Zurich.
At once there was the criticism that she had invented it but then she remembered that I had said: Don’t think that, but watch it scientifically. You did not make it up, you found it”.
The idea, that she made it, is just as if she had found a book in a library and read it, and then afterwards thought she had written it herself.
This time she made a great effort to stand by her phantasy and found to her disgust that a snake was beside her on the bank.
Again she looked away and again she had to force herself to be objective to her own psyche; the most objective of us are not that, for it is the hardest objectivity of all to
After she had forced herself to look at the snake, she remembered that I had told her she should be in these phantasies herself, that it was no use whatever to be just a spectator.
Patients will watch with quiet interest while their fathers or mothers are killed.
One young man saw his fiancée skating; the ice broke, and she drowned, while he just stood and watched her. I asked him:
“But would you do that in reality?” which idea simply horrified him.
You see now what an infernal intention I have, it is to get people actively into their own psyche, on to the second path, so that they themselves may be really changed, otherwise they have merely watched an exciting film of adventure.
I learned this from the initiations of primitives, if they are re ally in these ceremonies, and experience suffering, they do at last come through to enlightenment.
This is the reason primitives are re ally hurt during their initiation.
In West Africa when they come to puberty they are called by the voice of the spirit to the bush house; an elliptical piece of wood on a long cord is whirled round and round with a humming noise, and when it is heard all women know that they must hide in their houses, otherwise they are at once killed.
This is to make clear to the people that the matter is serious, it is a case of life and death.
The second path is a phantastic way which, however, it is necessary to take when we can no longer follow the first path.
The patient understood this and went into the phantasy with the snake, and in order to make it real she gave a glance round at her surroundings and noticed that the lake was frozen.
She reported as follows: “I went out on to the lake accompanied by the snake.”
Here the venture begins.
“The snake described a circle, rolled itself into a spiral and raised its head. I stood beside it and my whole attention was drawn to it.
Then the ice broke, and the snake and I found ourselves drifting on a block of ice.
Soon the block began to spin round and to sink deeper and deeper into the lake with a spiral movement.
It sank rapidly until we could see the bottom of the lake, where there were rocks and meadows of sea grass.
I swan about like a seal, accompanied by the snake, and looked for interesting things .
As I found nothing, I took the snake by the neck and it led me to a deep black hole in the bottom of the lake.
I looked for a while into its depths , but I saw nothing but impenetrable blackness.
I even tried to climb down a little, but that was not a good plan, so I remained above, waiting and looking into the hole.”
A dark hole is usually the forerunner of an important event, if people only have the patience to wait to see what will happen.
This proved here to be the case.
“Suddenly I saw in the distance, right down in the depths, for a short moment only, the sun appear, then everything was dark again. At last I summoned up my courage and sprang into the depths. While descending the sensation of water dis appeared and I was once more surrounded by air. The vertical shaft became horizontal and slowly and windingly rose to the surface. After a long time the passage opened and I found myself standing in the cloister of a church”. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture V, 215-218.