LECTURE X 11 December 1929
I have here a question by Mrs. Sawyer which I rather expected and which shows that we are not yet finished with this exceedingly intricate problem about astrology and the connection between time
As I told you, I never would have ventured into such an abstruse subject if it had not been indispensable for the understanding of the dreamer’s material.
This is his universe, and if one dismissed the problem, it would be saying to him that one was not sufficiently concerned with his psychology.
For him, as for most men, the Logos side of his material is the most interesting.
It might be less important in a woman’s .case.
Mrs. Sawyer’s question is in regard to the relationship between ordinary astrology and the precession of the equinoxes.
I will state the problem again.
You see, ordinary astrology suggests that our life is dependent. Upon the so-called vibrations of the planets that. are in a certain relative position at the moment of our birth and, they say, actually influence that moment and all our life.
So if a planet crosses the same place it was in at that moment, perhaps twenty years later, it produces a special effect.
Astrologers still hold to the actual place of the planets, but here we are confronted with the fact that today there is no correspondence between the positions ascribed to them and their actual position in the skies.
Since 100 B.C. the spring-point has been artificially fixed at zero degrees Aries, but astronomically that is no longer true.
In reality, on account of the precession of the equinoxes, the spring-point has passed from Aries to Pisces and it is shortly to enter Aquarius.
So our calculations are simply arbitrary, having to do only with time and not with the actual position.
Now, the last time I told you something that was apparently quite contradictory.
Having stated that the position of the stars had no influence upon us, I then drew certain conclusions about the effects of the sun on the earth as it passed from one zodiacal sign to another.
I told you, for instance, that in A.D. 900, when by actual astronomical calculation the spring-point was at the point of greatest extension of the Fishes, Christianity was coincidentally at the height of its power.
Then by 1500, the spring-point was in the commissure, the ribbon connecting the two fishes, and at this point began a mental and spiritual revolution and the decline of the Church.
The second fish represents the Antichrist and the decay of Christianity.
The Gothic movement was vertical, and then began the horizontal age of materialism, a time of great intellectual extension, voyages of discovery, etc., but winding up with the World War, the moral defeat of the spirit of Europe.
I said, too, that we might expect a peculiar change in the mentality of the world in the next fifty to one hundred years, in the time when the spring-point proceeds into Aquarius.
So I seemed to be linking up the astronomical positions with human affairs and with peculiar changes in mentality.
The problem is an exceedingly difficult one, and it took me years before I understood, so I don’t expect you to solve it at once.
An astrologer told me that the ephemerides, that is, the position of the planets, are exact as to time but not as to the actual position of the stars.
Now I will read Mrs. Sawyer’s question: “I understand that astrology has been projected into the stars, and that it does not matter whether the stars are actually at the spring point, the time element being the important thing. But when you say that the spring-point is now actually in the Fishes and prophesy about 1940, you are following the actual movement of the stars, are you not?
Was the whole projection in the first place really made with an intuition of the backward movement so that the projection works both ways-that is, that it works from a static standpoint and also at the same time from the moving standpoint?”
Well, the important point is that the horoscope is true only in the time sense, not astronomically. It is independent of the stars.
We see that menstruation has a moon period, yet it does not coincide with the phases of the moon; otherwise all women would menstruate at the same time, and they don’t.
It simply means that there is a moon-law in every woman and likewise the laws of the stars are in every human being but not in the relation of cause and effect.
The fact that the spring-point changes does not mean that it is the cause of the changes that ensue on earth.
Life has changed and will change, as the spring-point is changing, but the apparent connection is a coincidence; that is, the two things occur together in time but not in a causal sequence.
In an ordinary horoscope, one is not concerned with the spring point.
In the life of the individual the spring-point doesn’t matter, but in the life of the tree of mankind, it matters very much.
An ordinary year is to us what the Platonic year of 26,000 of our years is to the race.
The precession of the equinoxes is making its way backward in a circle from Aries to Pisces, to Aquarius, Capricorn, etc.
When the cycle is complete, it covers 26,000 years. That is the Platonic unit in the life of the tree.
The fixation of the spring-point is an arbitrary measure for our arbitrary use, the same condition having prevailed in 2000 B.C., when the astronomical conditions actually did coincide with the statements of the horoscope.
The precession of the equinoxes might be said to be the clock-hand that marks the great spaces of time, the hand that measures time for the tree of mankind.
On our clock, the hand moves forward, but with the clock of the race it moves in the other direction.
Each zodiacal sign then becomes a [Platonic] month, and we call a certain period of 2,150 years the [Platonic] month of the Fishes, for instance, which is of course again a projection.
So for us, our whole historical life, the length of human consciousness, is only three months.
But man has gone through those 26,000 years many times.
Divide 1,000,000 years (the probable age of man) by 26,000 and you will know how many Platonic years they have been
Paleolithic man might go back many hundreds of thousands of years to the Pithecanthropus erectus, and from that to the apes and, still further, to the saurians.
So when we speak of the coming up of the saurian in our dreams, we mean that the impressions of an infinitely remote time are making themselves felt.
In the course of the innumerable revolutions of the Platonic years we have received imprints of conditions of which we are not conscious, but they are in our unconscious.
Only three months in power is so little, it makes a poor showing.
One is embarrassed intellectually, for one does not know; human consciousness is much too young.
There are certain symbolic evidences in our dreams and fantasies, but that is far from scientific.
All that remains to us, for instance, of the “months” of Taurus and Aries are bull gods and ram gods.
Perhaps by a further elaboration of the unconscious we may sometime get further back; we may get the feeling of what Gemini and Cancer meant to mankind.
At all events, we have the Zodiac, which is the naive projection of unconscious imprints through numberless Platonic years.
Mankind has projected intuitive memory into the stars as he moved through the cycle in remote ages I don’t know whether in those days he felt the exceedingly historical character, but relatively primitive man has made those projections.
Then time progressed, and slowly the spring-point wandered out of Aries; and then they felt the need of getting it fixed, and since then it is simply the law in ourselves that accounts for the validity of astrology.
It has the same validity as the connection between the monthly period of woman and the moon.
So we can think of the underlying laws of our unconscious as star laws.
But the artificial spring-point has nothing to do with the life of the tree of mankind.
At the time when the Zodiac was invented, man was in the springtime of consciousness, so the falling of the spring-point in Aries, a spring-sign, was appropriate; it is as if the horoscope of humanity had begun with the dawn of consciousness.
The essential point to remember is that the precession of the equinoxes does not prove the identity of astronomical facts with periods of human psychology.
It is just that our consciousness began in the spring-time of mankind, and that happens to fit the zodiacal sign of that time.
But here is a little mistake.
Hipparchus should have fixed the spring-time in Taurus instead of Aries.
At that time the Zodiac had only eleven or ten signs. In Roman times there were eleven, Libra, the twelfth, was made by cutting off part of Scorpio.
That had to do with the fact that the spring-point moved from Taurus into Aries.
This is very complicated, but you must get the peculiar fact that the flow of energy, the libido in ourselves, is the flow of energy in living nature and in the universe, although the two worlds are not causally connected in their energic phenomena.
The energy in both is identical in essence, but in each plane it is following different causal sequences.
And the flow of energy in ourselves and in the universe has to do with time.
How can we best catch time, in itself such an abstraction?
Well, in the flow of energy we have something upon which to hang time.
Our modern idea of time is highly abstract, we have definite notions about the divisions of time into hours, minutes, seconds, etc.-very fine distinctions about time values, in other words.
To the primitive, however, time is a very nebulous thing.
One feels this as soon as one is out of the reach of civilization, and of course the whole East has no notion of time in our sense.
So we can’t expect primitive man to produce symbols with the specific time character as we know it.
He is much concerned, however, with the flow of energy, as is shown in his conception of mana.
We have plenty of material that shows us that energy symbolism.
But the question of time symbols is abstruse and more difficult, and I want to confine myself now to those that appear in language.
We are constantly using metaphors, for instance, in which time appears as a river, a wind, or a storm-“the stream of the hours that pass” or “Tempestas horarum”-devouring quality of time.
In mythology it may be the dragon that eats everything that one loves father and mother, all that one has.
Therefore the hero who overcomes the dragon brings into existence again all the ancestors, the crops, even whole nations that have been eaten by time.
He redeems all these precious things from the past.
So the quality of eternity has been attributed to the religious hero.
Before Christ, it was immortality that the hero possessed, not eternity.
In the Babylonian myth of Gilgamesh, the hero was two-thirds divine but one-third human, and in order to be wholly divine and gain immortality he must cross the great sea to the Westland.
Now in these symbols-dragon, wind, river, etc.-we have energy symbols.
It is the flow of life, the river of life, wind, spiritual energy.
So we see how the concept of time gets mixed up with energy concepts.
As a river is a fertilizer so time has also been understood as productive.
Bergson has this idea in his duree creatrice, which is really the Neoplatonic idea of Chronos4 as a god of energy, light, fire, phallic power, and time.
The material for time symbols as they appear in language is very scattered.
The concept of time is so abstract and merges so with that of energy that it is difficult to detach, in order to show that time is really meant.
It soon becomes energy.
Mana at first seems only to have to do with energy, but later on it takes on time qualities.
Now let us take Chronos, the god who ate his own children, the word having the meaning of time.
Chronos is from the Greek root chre, which later becomes the Indo-Germanic rootgher (where there is a reversal of the r and the e), and they have the peculiar connotation of a verb, activity.
The word chre has the meaning of passing over like wind. In German it is hinstreichen uber.
Cher gives the idea of taking in, holding.
From the root-word chre comes chronos, and from the root-word gher comes geron, a Greek word meaning old, in German, Greis, old man; so time takes on the guise of an old man.
With the primitives, the notion of time is expressed by an old man, or by a visible sign of old age.
In seeing an old man, it becomes visible that there is time.
My Africans thought I was a hundred years old because I had white hair.
One hundred means untold ages.
Chronos is the oldest of the gods.
Then there is an Iranian word zrvan, usually found in connection with another word, akarana, meaning a god, and Zrvan Akarana means unlimited duration that contains all that happens.
An old French scholar once made a shrewd guess about this phrase, but unfortunately it proved to be not the right one.
He guessed that since it meant an immensely long time, it contained the idea of Ormuzd (light) and Ahriman (darkness). In other words, the pair of opposites.
But this cannot be, because one version has it that Zrvan, the devil, made time and another that Akarana, the god of duration, made it, so opinions are divided about the origin of that awful thing, the flow of energy.
One can never make out who is responsible.
Nowhere is there such a marvellous dualism. One could make a diagram of it like this:
Do you see that it makes a cross?
I have a book with a picture that I would have liked to show you.
It is a crucified god hanging on the cross, and on the right is the sun and on the left the moon.
The blood from all his wounds is flowing down as grace to the world-divine energy.
The clash of the sun and the moon, unified by the suffering man on the cross, brings the energy.
The thing that flows is time.
Then in the old Persian religion there is another very interesting symbol, a real mana concept. It is Haoma,1 which means grace.
It really means fiery splendour, but it is what the Christians called grace, the gift of the Holy Ghost, like the fiery tongues that fell upon the disciples-fiery tongues of heavenly grace, mana.
It is quite possible that there is somewhere a connection between the Persian and the Christian idea.
You see, besides the time, there is also the energy concept.
I would like to discuss also another Greek word dealing with time, Aion, meaning the time of life. Aion has interesting connections.
The equivalent in Latin is Aevum, meaning eternity, also the duration of life, or an epoch in history.
There is a wonderful verse in Horace, about the river that is flowing and flowing, fleeing past into all eternity, (aevum). Again we find here the peculiar union of energy and time.
The old High German word ewa meaning “always” is close to the Anglo-Saxon and modern English word ever.
Then concerning Aion there is the interesting fact that the Persian Zrvan Akarana became in later times the god Aion and played a great role in the Mithraic cult.
This is rather difficult to understand.
He also is called Deus Leontocephalus, or the lion-headed god, and statues of him have been often found in underground caves.
The cult of Mithras was chthonic in character, so half the churches were at least half underground, and originally they were in caves. (It is said that the cellar where Christ was born had been a grotto-temple of Attis.)
In the statues, the god Aion is represented s a man witn a hon’s head, about whose body is coiled a serpent, the head of the serpent projecting over the head of the man.
Another Mithraic symbol is the amphora with the lion and the serpent battling for its possession, and often a flame is coming out of the amphora.
The lion is July, the fiery heat of summer, and the serpent represents the darkness and the coolness of earth, so it is the Yang and the Yin again.
Aion is the god of the union of the opposites, the time when things come together.
Now, I think I have said enough for the present about the peculiar connection between time and energy and psychology, we have had rather a profound discussion.
Let us return to the dreamer.
One of the members of the seminar asked me if our discussions here had not affected the dreamer himself. I think they have, I must say that during the summer he made a decided step forward.
His feelings became very positive, and up to that time they did not visibly stir.
Four weeks ago for the first time he wrote a spontaneous poem about the birth of the new sun, which is a spring festival celebrated in the north of Africa.
On the 28th of July he had a dream which he brought to me to analyse on the 21st of November, three weeks ago.
He dreamed of a Buddhist monk, a little old man who led him to a fissure in a Cyclopean wall, and inside he saw the wall-people, who were like a secret society doing mysterious things.
Once inside, in a sort of temple, the old man changed into a beautiful little boy, and the dreamer fell down and worshipped him as if he were a divine being.
He wore three capes one over the other and a sort of cap.
He was something like a Milnchner Kindl.
This puzzled the dreamer, but I explained to him that the Cabiri are usually represented like that, the one on the arms of the city of Munich is a little monk.
He is like the Cabiri of Aesculapius, the inspiring familiar spirit of the doctors, who is often represented as holding a scroll and reading wisdom to Aesculapius, and he is always cloaked from head to foot with a hood over his face.
His name is Telesphoros, meaning the one that brings completion, perfection, or initiation.
That is what I told him, and somehow that worked in his mind, for during the last seminar, he produced a picture of a boy in the cross position.
In one of his outstretched hands he holds a sun, in the other the sistrum, or the crescent.
Mind you, he knows nothing of what is going on here, and yet he was doing exactly what we were doing.
The dream is interesting but the symbols would not· have come from what I told him, they probably would not have come without our seminar.
I think he was stirred from within. I must draw your attention to the design on the robe.
It is like a fleur-de-lys but it is also a Buddhist symbol for the thunderbolt, or collective energy, which the dreamer did not know.
When I asked him for an explanation of the picture, he said that as he painted it, he constantly had the words in his mind, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
Now we will take up the dream that directly followed the one concerned with the union of the pairs of opposites, the sword and scythe symbols.
He sees a vast grey plain approaching him, and the closer it comes, the more the monotonous grey dissolves into multi-coloured stripes, some wide and some narrow, and they move in a peculiar way
through each other, uniting and separating.
And then he sees that many people are occupied with those stripes, as if to shape or canalize them or to change the direction or to blend them.
The work is hampered through pressure that comes from other stripes.
So on account of that interference, the activity of the people is hindered and the result~ are often quite different from the original intention, and he says to himself “cause and effect.”
Then he tries to help them and in working on them he becomes aware that they are nothing but the surface of a vast mass, like a huge river flowing in a given direction, and the movement is due to the mass flowing along like a lava stream, the stripes coming up and disappearing again.
At the same time, he becomes aware that it is all transparent and luminous, that not only the mass itself but the atmosphere and the people and he himself are all permeated with something that he compares to fluid light, and he knows that this has a tremendous influence on everything that it permeates.
He says to himself, “The Fate of Man, the Fate of People, the Fate of Worlds,” yet still he remains preoccupied in shaping his stripe.
Associations: Of the grey plain, he says that grey contains all the colours because it is a mixture of all.
Concerning his remark “Cause and effect,” when he sees the people remodeling the stripes, he says, “That is indeed quite illogical. People couldn’t hope to make any effect on that huge mass. They would have no effect on the total thing.”
Then he says that he is quite unable to get at the meaning of the dream.
He thought it must have to do with impressions he got from a book by Kunkel, called The Great Year, meaning the Platonic year. I have read that book and it is not particularly important, but there is a pretty good description of the outlook on the Fish age and the age of Aquarius.
There are some ideas in it that are interesting.
The dreamer happened to read it. Now, how can we prove that it was an astrological dream?
Dr. Baynes: By his saying, the Fate of Man, the Fate of People, etc.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that show
s the three stages, the individual man, mankind, and the world.
It is exactly what we were talking about the identity of the flow of energy and time, which contains the great Platonic years and his individual fate too.
Now, what do the stripes suggest?
Mrs. Sigg: Shaping his individual life.
Dr. Jung: Yes.
Mrs. Fierz: It is the same idea as the thread of the Parcae.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it stands for the extension of time, the thread spun by the goddesses of fate. Now what are the colours?
Dr. Baynes: The colours are the individual elements of the spectrum.
Dr. Jung: Yes, and that peculiar fluid that permeates?
Miss Wolff’ It is clarity, light, the spiritual principle of consciousness permeating everything.
Dr. Jung: Yes, everybody and everything is permeated by it.
That flow of compact substance like lava is the idea of physical matter, and it is permeated by light, the spiritual principle, which is not only inside but above.
There are the two things, substance or the material body, and the mysterious unsubstantial principle of consciousness. They interpenetrate one another.
We think we know something about matter, but what is consciousness?
We have no idea.
We have no standpoint outside of consciousness from which we could judge its quality.
Now each individual is represented by a stripe, and Mrs. Fierz has compared the stripes in the dream to the threads spun by one fate, decorated with roses by another, and cut by the scissors of the third, which would be death.
This is a similar kind of extension symbol.
It might be interesting to go deeper into it.
We can say that human life is a long stripe like a long river.
Looking down at it from a mountain, one can see perhaps a hundred miles, the whole distance of the river from its source to the sea.
One can see it all in one or two seconds, yet a ship on the river needs a long time to cover that distance, and it takes the actual water a long time to flow so far.
It is time or human life seen from very far away, the beginning and the end at the same time. It is seeing time in space.
Now, supposing that from a very high Swiss mountain you see two horses and wagons coming up, and you know it will take two days for them to meet.
From above we can look into the future of those two fellows.
So in such a dream we see human life as a stripe, as the river of time, and a person having such a dream is on a high standpoint, seeing the past, present, and future all at once.
From such a point, human life would look like an extension of man, and then man himself would no longer be a definite figure, he would be extended in time.
To his present body would be added all the other bodies he has ever had.
The body I had yesterday and before that, when I was cheese high or like an embryo, down to my death, form a stripe, a long series of bodies.
This makes man into a snake, and time is a snake. In the fourth dimension, man is a worm, and our length is not measured my metres but by the number of our years.
One might say that that was a perfectly crazy notion, but I will give you an illustration full of religious dignity.
Christ is represented as a great serpent who carries twelve signs on his back, meaning the twelve signs of the zodiac and also the twelve apostles.
He says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”
He is the zodiacal serpent and they are the manifestation of the months, so the idea of man as a serpent is not so unique.
The serpent was the original form of the physician’s god.
There was an enormous serpent in the temple of Aesculapius, and in the third century, the huge beast was brought to Rome to combat the spirit of pestilence.
For centuries, there was a serpent in the sanctuary.
It was snake worship. A staff with a snake wrapped around it was the doctor’s symbol, the caduceus. It was also the symbol of Hermes the Sorcerer.
There was originally an idea that Aesculapius himself was a serpent, so it conveyed the idea of healing, as Christ was the healing one.
Saviour and serpent are used interchangeably.
Moses lifted up the serpent and Christ said that so he must be lifted up to draw all men unto him.
The Gnostics say that Christ was a serpent sent by the really spiritual God who had pity on mankind when he saw what poor half-conscious things they were.
He sent Christ as a serpent into the garden of Eden to teach people to eat of the fruit of the tree, to know good from evil, and to become conscious.
It is a peculiar idea-that we ought to became wise like a serpent. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 424-435