Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940

Professor Jung:

I am thinking of something else, namely, of cases in which a content emerges from within quite spontaneously, without causal involvement of the environment.

Participant: Could it be a psychic inclusion?

Professor Jung:

Yes, that’s what I mean.

I am calling this a psychic teratoma. This is a term borrowed from medicine.

There it refers to a kind of tumor as the result of a developmental disorder, and containing parts of a twin, for example, hair, teeth, finger parts, an eye, and so on. Teratomas are to be conceived of as an incomplete development of a fetus that is included in the other, fully developing twin.

Something analogous exists in the psychic realm too; though one can’t talk of a psychic twin, but rather of an encapsulated entity of inheritance.

You all know what an entity of inheritance is, don’t you?

You know, for instance, the peculiarity of the lower lip in the Habsburg family, although it has nothing to do with a teratoma.

Now, if an entity of inheritance simply grows along unbeknownst to the individual, then we are dealing with a kind of teratoma.

It is like the inclusion of something alien that is not properly connected to the surrounding environment.

This creates a character who, on the one hand, may have a normal disposition, but in whom, on the other, something is hidden that doesn’t want at all to connect with the rest
of the person.

It’s not always easy to identify a teratoma; when folks say, for instance, “Now that’s a very nice guy; unfortunately he’s in herited that particular family trait that ruins his whole life,” there needn’t necessarily be a teratoma present, but it may point to some manifest feature, such as mendacity, alcoholism, or the like.

If something completely incommensurable is enclosed in the character, however, something that in no way would fit the character or could be derived from his mentality, then we can assume the existence of a teratoma.

When this part of the soul becomes conscious it can cause immense disturbance.

That is why one may touch this encapsulated world only with utmost caution, because otherwise there is the danger that all of a sudden a second personality erupts.

Such cases can be observed in the mentally insane.

Do you think that the present case could point to such a teratoma?

Participant: No, it wouldn’t manifest itself as such a general symbol.

Professor Jung:

Quite right.

As I described it, the characteristic feature of the teratoma lies in the fact that it is a pathologically grotesque phenomenon, for example, consisting of only one eye, or two
teeth, and so on.

The snake in our dream has no such pathological character at all, but is a general symbol.

So, by no means is it a teratoma.

What then can, on the contrary, be concluded from this universal symbol?

Participant: That the child is not abnormal.

Professor Jung:

Yes, that she is quite normal overall.

Only the facts of concretism and the force personified in the snake are striking, both being strongly accentuated.

So where must we locate the reason for the split?

Participant: In environmental influences.

Professor Jung:

Yes, very probably there must exist parental influences, affecting an in itself normal disposition of the child, and causing there a split that is an adequate answer to the situation at home.

The cause of the split, with which we are obviously dealing here, is thus clarified.

We now arrive at the question: “How should we conceive the character of the split?”

Naturally, such a disturbance affects the child’s whole behavior.

Don’t forget that this anxiety-triggering figure is very dynamic and contains very much energy. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dream Seminar, Pages 253-254.