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There are the winged demons, bats in the belfry


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Problem of the Puer Aeternus, The

Speaking in spatial terms, if we are objective we have to admit that there is a field of the unconscious both above and below us.

This same duality applies to the symbolism of the house.

The cellar often represents the unconscious in some form, the area of the drives, the instincts; there are innumerable dreams in which coal is in the cellar and there is a fire, or awful animals are in the cellar or

For instance, a crazy person, overwhelmed by the unconscious, has “bats in the belfry” or “mice in the attic.”

So up in the attic, where it is dark and full of cobwebs and we are a bit crazy, there is just as much a realm of unconsciousness as in the cellar.

People frequently dream of thieves getting in from the roof or of demons sitting up there and taking off the tiles, and so on.

We must therefore look at the above and the below from a different standpoint and see if there is any kind of qualitative difference between representations of the unconscious powers above and the unconscious powers below.

There are exceptions, but it can be said that in general the above is associated with what is masculines—ordered, light and sometimes spiritual—and the below with the feminine—fertile, dark (not evil; there are no moral designations in the original mythological counterpositions), chaotic, and the realm of the animals.

The sphere above is connected with birds and angels—with winged beings which have to do with the spiritual world.

For instance, if in a dream something comes from below, you might expect it to come up in the form of an emotion or a physical symptom such as sleeplessness, or some affective disturbance of the sympathetic nervous system.

Or it comes in the form of synchronistic occurrences in the outer world.

If an invasion from the unconscious comes from above, it can take the form of an enthusiasm for Communism or Nazism; such an “above” unconsciousness erupts into the system in the form of a collective idea.

If it is characterized as positive, then it can be said to be the Holy Ghost; if it is considered negative, then there are the winged demons, bats in the belfry, and other pernicious winged creatures—that is, destructive ideas.

Whether constructive or destructive, such ideas have a strong collective energy of their own.

Dynamic representations belong to the “above” aspect of the unconscious and the emotional, instinctive representations to its “below” aspect. ~Marie Louise Von Franz, The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, Pages 13-14.