[Carl Jung on the Black Sun “Sol Niger.”]
To Wellmann W. Schmied
Dear Sir, 5 November 1942
With regard to your question about the black sun, Baudelaire’s “soleil noir”is by no means an exception.
The idea of a counter earth occurs, for instance, in the Pythagorean system, and we find the sol niger in alchemy, also the ignis niger.
The corresponding idea of a black moon does not exist, because this would coincide with the new moon and so is already anticipated.
The moon plays a considerable role with women, while the sun vision occurs both with women and men.
The question of wo men’s initiation pictures is obscure in so far as the archetypal material in this respect is not nearly so extensive as men’s.
This for the simple reason that the initiations were evolved and handed down chiefly by men.
Nevertheless there are all sorts of clues in Greek mythology (also in primitive psychology).
I would particularly draw your attention to the figures of Hecate, Demeter, and Kore, and the Magna Mater.
It is this last figure that plays the most important and most repellent role in female initiations.
The “terrible” refers to her.
You will find something about it in Kerenyi and Jung: Einfiihrung in das Wesen der Mythologie (Pantheon Akademische Verlagsanstalt, Amsterdam and Leipzig, 1941).
Much of interest also in H. Thurnwald: Menschen der Siidsee (Enke Verlag, Stuttgart, 1937).
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 322-323.