Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940
[Carl Jung on the “Tree.”]
The tree is the world tree.
Odin was hanged on a tree.
Also, the wood for the Christian cross comes from the tree of paradise.
Christ is crucified on the tree of life.
Strangely enough, the cross has a feminine meaning.
It symbolizes the woman, the cruel woman, in whose arms Christ died.
There is a legend that Mary talks to the cross, which she addresses as “mother cross,” how cruelly she would treat her son.
Here, too, the tree as a cross takes the place of the mother who, however, was completely depersonalized.
She is the mother of death.
The mother gives birth, and at the end of life, as earth, she again receives the dead in herself.
In a Maori myth, death is the old ancestress Hine-nui-te-po.
She sleeps with her mouth open.
Maui, the hero, wants to overpower her in order to defeat death.
He has arranged with all creatures that none of them make a sound when he creeps into her mouth.
But a little bird cannot stifle a laugh.
Hine-nui-te-po wakes up and snaps her mouth shut.
So that’s how Maui finds his fate.
The ancestress is in the past, but also in the future.
She is the beginning and the end.
The Madonna too, the heavenly mother, has her hellish counterpart in the devil’s grandmother; likewise, Kwannon, the goddess of mercy, has a hellish manifestation.
In the East it is not believed that deities can be good only.
Also the mother has got a reverse side, like the mirror; there she becomes the tree of the dead, in which the dead are buried.
A Germanic legend recounts: the last men on earth vanish again in the tree from which they originally came out.
There has to be a consciousness that mirrors the world; otherwise, the world would not exist at all.
The primitive man still had a premonition that the world will cease to exist when consciousness ceases to exist.
This will be when the forest reappears; Earth will belong to the forest.
The tree is the vegetative, unconscious life, which will emerge again when human consciousness has been extinguished.
Death, as he appears in the magic mirror, is a “hanging” [Aufhängung].
Hanging is a ritual in sacrifice.
Christ too was called the “hanged” by the pagans.
On the other hand, death is also characterized by the motif of dismembering.
This connection is also evidenced historically: the relation to Wotan and Dionysus.
Dionysus is the dismembered one. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Pages 83-84.