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Carl Jung: The archetype compensates this state of spiritual deficiency…


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The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

The figure of the wise old man can appear so plastically, not only in dreams but also in visionary meditation (or what we call imagination”), that, as is sometimes apparently the case in India, it takes over the role of a guru.

The wise old man appears in dreams in the guise of a magician, doctor, priest, teacher, professor, grandfather, or any other person possessing authority.

The archetype of spirit in the shape of a man, hobgoblin, or animal always appears in a situation where insight, understanding, good advice, determination, planning, ete., are needed but cannot be mustered on one’s own resources.

The archetype compensates this state of spiritual deficiency by contents designed to fill the gap.

An excellent example of this is the dream about the white and black magicians, which tried to compensate the spiritual difficulties of a young theological student.

I did not know the dreamer myself, so the question of my personal influence is ruled out.

He dreamed he was standing in the presence of a sublime hieratic figure called the “white magician,” who was nevertheless clothed in a long black robe.

This magician had just ended a lengthy discourse with the words “And for that we require the help of the black magician.”

Then the door suddenly opened and another old man came in, the “black magician,” who however was dressed in a white robe.

He too looked noble and sublime.

The black magician evidently wanted to speak with the white, but hesitated to do so in the presence of the dreamer.

At that the white magician, pointing to the dreamer, said, “Speak, he is an innocent.”

So the black magician began to relate a strange story of how he had found the lost keys of Paradise and did not know how to use them.

He had, he said, come to the white magician for an explanation of the secret of the keys.

He told him that the king of the country in which he lived was seeking a suitable tomb tor himself·

His subjects had chanced to dig up an old sarcophagus containing the mortal remains of a virgin.

The king opened the sarcophagus, threw away the bones, and had the empty sarcophagus buried again for later use.

But no sooner had the bones seen the light of day than the being to whom they once had belonged -the virgin-changed into a black horse that galloped of into the desert.

The black magician pursued it across the sandy wastes and beyond, and there after many vicissitudes and difficulties he found the lost keys of Paradise.

That was the end of his story, and also, unfortunately, of the dream. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Pages 215-217