LECTURE IV 30 October 1929
We will continue our dream.
The two committees are at work now digging up material for the next seminar, so I will refrain from discussing the cross and the crescent symbolism because we shall hear about that later.
We have already spoken of the cauldron, but we remained entirely within its mythological aspect, as an archetypal symbol-very concrete, and too objective.
Now, what does it mean as a psychological fact?
For instance, when we dream of the mystic four of Pythagoras and the Greek philosophers, we naturally ask, what is the four anyway?
That it obviously refers to the four functions is as near as we can get to it nowadays, but a thousand years from now people will be much farther along on the way.
It may mean something that we cannot conceive of now.
Originally it was the four sons of Horus, later the four Evangelists, and in the twentieth century the four functions.
“That was their concretism; they will say.
These old symbols are inexhaustible. They are not objects of the mind, but categories of the imagination which we can formulate in ten thousand different ways.
They are inexhaustible because they are before the mind, the basis of everything mental.
If you ask how I know, I have no absolute evidence.
Another example is the Pueblo Indians’ four cardinal points of the horizon, but they were already very civilized, we did not catch them at a sufficiently primitive stage to show the original unconscious form in which it existed.
I mentioned a very good and striking example of such beginnings that I myself observed, the beginning of the idea of prayer among the Elgonyi in Africa.
••• The living essence from the inside of their bodies is held in their hands and presented to the rising sun. To us it would mean, “I offer my soul to thee, 0 God.”
I concluded that the moment of the sunrise was their God, and at that moment they offer their souls. But they themselves were perfectly unconscious of the meaning.
These things come out of the blue, out of nowhere.
The further back one goes, to the Australian tribesman or to the Paleolithic man, one still finds the most amazingly complicated rituals, and there is no explanation.
The unconscious nature of man forces him to do these things, they express the natural structure of man, as though Nature herself were offering homage to the rising sun.
Every animal, every plant, every flower takes a definite position toward the rising sun, and man does the same not knowing why.
So symbols are in existence before consciousness.
That is the reason why we are so deeply unconscious of our own rites.
Many of them are inexplicable.
Is there anybody here who could give me a satisfactory account of our Christmas tree?
Suppose a Chinese dropped in and asked you what it meant.
You would say, “It is to commemorate the day when our redeemer was born.” ”
But is that prescribed in your holy books? Is there any record that in a stable in Bethlehem there was such a tree?”
We are just as dull and stupid as the primitive who greets the rising sun.
In my native town Basel, every year on January 13th, three masked dancers, a griffin, a lion, and a wild man, come down the Rhine on a raft; they land and dance around the town, and no one knows why. It is an amazing thing in a modern town.
These things originate before mind and consciousness.
In the beginning there was action, and only afterwards did people invent opinions about them, or a dogma, an explanation for what they were doing.
And so with the cauldron.
First it was a hole in the ground, and then a kettle into which they threw water, meat, and red-hot stones.
A thinker among them asked: “What are you doing? – Is this instead of the hollow in the rock where our ancestors cooked things?”
He connected the two. Why do we dream of the cauldron?
The old witches had a kettle, and the alchemists had their crucible, so it goes right back to the hole in the ground.
That was the first idea of the magic cauldron.
In the Psychology of the Unconscious there is an account of the ceremonial of the Wachandi, where a hole in the ground quite obviously represents the female genitals.
That is the primary place, the original cooking-hole where things are produced.
The unconscious seizes upon the cooking procedure as a symbol of creation, transformation.
Things go in raw and come out new, transformed-and they taste better cooked.
The magic cauldron is a suitable expression for that which transforms things.
As a rain charm, primitives sprinkle water on the ground to imitate rain.
In an Indian tribe of northern California, priests and medicine-men came together and sang the song of the frogs, an imitation of the chorus of frogs in the rainy season; in order to bring
rain, they sang as if they were frogs in wet weather.
It was through such analogies that they sought to bring about a change.
Now, one sees from this man’s dreams that things should have began to come together, but always when he makes a step forward he regresses.
One can’t push him.
Slowly a deep conviction dawns upon him that he ought to change, and in order to do so the unconscious makes a proposition.
The conscious says, “Why the devil don’t you move on?”
He raises his arms, but a countermove follows.
Therefore the unconscious comes in with the advice, “Now here is the kettle,” just as, when nothing will help, the primitive turns to magic quite shamelessly.
We have a modern explanation for the number four symbolism, have we for the cooking-pot?
I should tell you that when they invented cooking-pots, they gave them faces, eyes, ears, human form.
There is a marvelous collection collection of Peruvian pots in the Museum of Natural History in New York, and among them are personified pots, and as soon as they are given human form, one recognizes the analogy to the human body.
Then one puts the cauldron into man himself, he becomes the cauldron.
Mrs. Crowley: Would the Holy of Holies be the same thing?
Dr. Jung: Yes, but thousands of years later, when the kitchen became the most sacred place, the place where the fire was always burning.
The communion, the meal of love, really took place first in the kitchen.
There were co-operative cooking societies, originating chiefly in Rome, a city of two million inhabitants at that time.
The social conditions were difficult then.
Streets were narrow, houses were inadequate, they had no room to cook, so in order not to starve, they made these co-operative eating arrangements, which guaranteed to their members one meal a day.
There was one kitchen and one man in charge who prepared the meal, and these societies were under the patronage of a saint or hero.
Herakles was one of the heroes, and probably Hermes, the Thrice-Greatest Hermes, and Christ, another mystical god.
And the man who prepared the meal read something to the members when they were together; the Epistles of St. Paul were first read under such conditions
That the cauldron soon became a living symbol was in recognition that the cauldron is in man, man is the cauldron.
But what part of a man?
With a woman one can say it is the womb which gives rebirth, but how about the man?
He seems to be a fool device anyway, what can he do?
We creep along the history of the symbol.
First the hole in the ground (Negroes smear the hole with clay still), then the cauldron was taken out, and then some fantastical artist gave a face to it, so why not give feet to it?
Now where is the cauldron in ourselves?
Suggestion: Is it the brain?
Dr. Jung: No, never in the brain.
I remember the Pueblo chief who said, “We hold that all Americans are crazy because they believe that they think in their heads, while we know that we think with our hearts.” A Negro thinks in his stomach.
Dr. Harding: The Bible says, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. ”
Dr. Jung: Yes, it is in the abdominal cavity of man.
That is the next analogy.
As you fill the cauldron, so you fill the belly; as food is transformed in the cauldron, so it is in the belly.
So the next step was to concentrate upon the body.
Therefore those holy men in India concentrated upon their navels.
And mental processes of the belly play a tremendous role in dreams.
Now what about the abdomen as a mental organ?
There is a chance that things might be changed if a most important function is in the belly.
Suggestion: Would it be the solar plexus?
Dr. Jung: Yes, the plexus solaris, the brain of the sympathetic system; it is less concentrated than the brain, but it is the centre of all vegetative functioning.
It is the main accumulation of ganglia, and it is of prehistoric origin, having lived vastly longer than the cerebrospinal system, which is a sort of parasite on the plexus solaris.
If you really concentrate upon the navel, succeed in repressing consciousness, and press everything into the vegetative system, you can bring the functioning of the cerebrospinal system to a standstill, just as fakirs do.
They go into a trance, they don’t feel and they don’t hear, they are as if dead.
But life goes on, and digestion goes on, it can go on when a man is practically decapitated; it doesn’t stop the heart, though an outside shock might.
So the sympathetic system has great autonomy and is still alive when the cerebrospinal system is cut off.
As to the mental part, there is no possibility of assuming that it has psychic life, but my idea is that all nervous life is psychological though it is not all conscious.
A man who cannot speak or move may yet have psychic contents.
So with the sympathetic system there are psychic contents, but they are not yet conscious and they express themselves only in symbolic actions.
The contents of all the early manifestations of religion came, not from the mind, but from the sympathetic system.
And it is the saurian, the original worm, that brings up the contents of the unconscious.
When man concentrates on the kettle down in his belly, he discovers that something happens.
He pushes his libido down into the original primordial instinctive centers in his consciousness, the raw materials, were gathered together and thrown down into the dark abyss of his sympathetic system, into the warmth of the body, well protected, and there begin to cook, to be transformed.
Lovely perfumes arise which are intuitions of new contents, new birth.
All the analogies of rebirth come then; the renewal of man is represented as childbirth; and the cooking-pot always figures in birth symbolism.
The alchemists were not trying to form a new man, a human being, but a new philosophy in terms of alchemy.
They had to be careful, because it was heretical, and the social consequences might be rather disastrous.
The Pope would have been glad to have any gold they might make, so he let them go ahead.
It was less dangerous to try to produce the homunculus than to change man himself, for that would have meant competition with the Christian mysteries.
The making of the homunculus in the cauldron of the alchemist was the symbol of the transformation of man in his own belly.
The sympathetic nervous system is an exceedingly emotional centre, and it rules to a great extent the emotional part of our psychology, not the mental part.
The cerebrospinal system controls the mind.
Emotions are often mixed up or obscure, they cause confusion, and may even make people lose their minds.
The word “sympathetic” shows that it has to do with the emotions; it comes from the Greek word meaning to suffer, to feel compassion, to feel together with, so it has the connotation of connection or relatedness.
A mental emotion is an isolated emotion, you alone get angry, but the sympathetic emotion has almost a cosmic character, as if you were suffering with many, as if you were connected with the whole
world, your whole nation.
That word “sympathetic” is an old intuition derived from a very clear perception of that particular kind of emotion, it must have that quality.
It has nothing to do with individuation, but it has to do with the whole history of man, including animals; it is collective, out of yourself, as if a strange thing had taken possession of you.
Now we must mention again the youngest son, that future man, the one he is to become.
He points to the kettle, the creative thing, which means that the creative instinct in our patient is pointing out that analogy charm.
So it is not the conscious solution of the dreamer or something that he has been told, it means, look into yourself, push your consciousness down into your belly and all that is contained there.
He already discovers that there are things there of which he was oblivious.
The main contents are the cross and the crescent, symbols which in his associations he refers to the Christian and Islamic religions.
He was born among the Moslems.
That is a very showy religion, and in Cairo and the coast towns one still sees very impressive sights, the afternoon prayer, for instance, when traffic stops, and long rows of kneeling people bow low to Mecca.
Whole streets are filled with them.
So it must have gone deep into him, particularly as his Christian education was so exceedingly pale and Protestant in comparison.
You must not mix it up with the bad qualities with Christianity.
Since Christianity has produced the world war and poison gas, we have to look at that in a different light.
So Islam to this man is far more positive and determining than with us.
But he finds the symbols that are typical of both these cults in the kettle.
Why is that?
Mrs. Sigg: They are already in his soul.
Dr. Jung: One would rather assume them to be in his consciousness, but they have been cast aside-broken scythes, disused rubbish, no good any longer.
They have been thrown down into the kettle, below consciousness.
This is exactly what is the matter with him, as with millions of Christians.
The living symbols have already fallen into the unconscious and they don’t know it.
People say here, “I am not a Christian, I don’t believe in those old things,” and yet their whole psychology is Christian.
They don’t know that they are suffering from a lack of the religious function.
These symbols are already in the kettle to be made over as soon as someone puts a fire under it.
Here, then, are two determining but contradictory factors.
At one time in his life he had considered the justifications for both religions.
Then he couldn’t make them out, why should he bother?
He threw them away, and they fell into the kettle.
But it appears now that these things have to be recognized.
They are incompatible things: swords, scythes, the figure of Christ, etc., all thrown together in disorder, and naturally they cannot blend unless they are put through a reconciling process.
These two strong imprints, the Islamic and the Christian, should blend, there is an arrested development of personality because they won’t blend-these two standpoints so utterly different that they cannot possibly blend.
He is at a standstill, he cannot move forward, it is as if his legs were going in different directions, so he remains stationary.
The irreconcilable nature of Christianity and Islam must be reconciled.
He is unable to do it consciously, and I also am unable.
Each point of view has its justification.
If you knew the social conditions that brought about their development, you would say that each one was right.
You would be in the position of the famous judge: One man made a speech, and he said, “Yes, you are right,” then another man said exactly the opposite, and he said, “Yes, you also are right.”
But, you see, this man’s intuition foresees the necessity of bringing these two objects together.
The fact that they are broken is obvious.
Now the figure of Christ with the long sword of sheet iron, as long as the figure itself, what do you make of that?
Mrs. Sigg: It is a symbol of the cross.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the sword has always symbolized the cross.
Of course, it is a very pagan arriere pensee that the sword has a soul: because my sword is animated, the enemy’s is not.
So they prayed to the sword before a battle, made their vows, pledged their word by the sword, with the advantage of the old Germanic idea that it had a soul.
Miss Wolff: There is an old German poem where Christ is represented as the hero with a sword, doing great deeds.
Dr. Jung: Yes, he is represented there as the healer and also as the hero and warrior.
It is peculiarly applicable to our Christian nations, just emerging from the Great War.
We are most of us very unconscious about it.
To one born in the East it is convincing and impressive that a Christian people could use the sword to that extent.
It is the German warlike quality, the primitive berserker rage that is in the Western man in general.
So this man’s Christ is equipped with a long sword, that most peaceful redeemer Lord leading an armed host.
And the sword is detachable, an impression that would not originate in the Western Christian mind, only in one born outside, to whom the European is not the model of virtue.
As soon as I was outside our white civilization, I saw what Europeans are like. We look awful.
The Chinese call us devils and it is true, thin cruel lips, and our wrinkles are uncanny.
And we are always intent on something no devil can understand.
What are we seeking? Why the devil should we be seeking at all?
To a Pueblo Indian, God in his completeness is walking over the heavens every day.
As you approach the coast of Europe from the great flats of Africa, and see the snow-capped mountains, the little bays, etc., you know that this is the country where the pirates live, where their raids start upon the quiet, cattle-like men on their grassy plains.
From Europe, that half-island, the white man came in ships, bringing awful diseases and fire-water, and even intentionally selling infected clothing to destroy the population, as they did in the South Seas.
Wherever the white man went, there was hell for the other nations; one has to be outside to understand.
The white man is a very beast devouring the earth, the whole world trembles at him.
Such Christianity is a compensation, a hellish lie.
The missionaries told me how they shoot antelopes from their bedroom windows, and how they cheat the British Government for a game license.
They complain of their lot, when actually there is nothing more interesting than life among the primitive tribes.
Rockefeller has given a great deal of money to the missions, but the people of the countryside say, “Don’t employ a boy trained in the missions-they all lie and steal.”
How can these primitives be impressed with our religion?
They accept it as the old Britons accepted it, who took Christianity, trembling, from the lances of the Roman legions.
To understand the delicacy of that man’s criticism, you must remember that he is half outside of Europe.
So he deals only partially with the white man, he is exceedingly careful, he only half joins in our private lunatic asylum.
He has the fear and also the inferiority of the half-primitive man, that peculiar spot which people have who are born in the colonies.
Take an Englishman, an aristocrat, born in Australia or South Africa, send him to Eton and Oxford, and put him through the ordeal of English education, and he will still harbour a feeling of resentment.
There is something wrong with that fellow, he has a standpoint outside, and instead ot-using that as a weapon he feels inferior.
We once had a great theological conference here, and I asked a Christian representative what his ideas were about Buddhism.
He answered, “Since the Bible is the last word of God, we are not concerned with Buddhism.”
This is the standpoint of a fool, and it is the white man’s point of view. It is as if the people of Zurich should say they were not concerned with Paris.
I had another patient, a woman born in India, who could only adapt to European life on the most sophisticated level.
She couldn’t dream of marrying or having a child, for then she would have felt that she was going native, since that is a law of nature.
The conflict suffocated her and she was at a standstill.
So these people born outside of Europe have a critique, and a certain detachment; it produces a different situation.
This man was not lamed by being born among primitives.
He was born among the Moslems, and there was a time when the
Islamic mind was the leader of thought, the only light of consciousness in the deep mediaeval gloom.
We used to go to school there. (Universities of Saragossa and Cordova.)
And now the native man is coming in, explaining that his symbolism is still alive: the scythes, the crescents, which are to be hung among the lamps in the mosques at Ramadan, the highest feast of the Islamic cult.
Islam is living in the native side of him.
The Christian religion is no longer alive to him.
So this man consists of two, a native of that country, and, on the other side, a European, but with a strong emphasis on the native. ~Carl Jung, Dream Seminar, Pages 330-339