Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940 (Philemon Foundation Series)

The fact that deity and devil belong together also plays a great role in alchemy.

There the devil appears in the form of the serpens Mercurii, which, however, is at the same time the serpent of the Nous.

For the Naassenes, too, the nachash, the serpent, is the Nous, or the Logos.

Psychologically speaking, the fact that the Logos at first manifests itself as a poisonous snake means that whenever a powerful content emerges from the unconscious, which we cannot yet grasp with our consciousness, there is a danger that the whole ego-consciousness will be pulled down into the unconscious and dissolved.

This introversion process can eventually lead to mental illness.

Consciousness is completely emptied, because its contents are attracted by the unconscious as by a magnet.

This process leads to a complete loss of the ego, so that the person in question becomes a mere automaton.

Such a person is actually no longer there.

He makes the impression of a piece of wood that lets itself be pushed around.

He has completely lost his initiative and spontaneity, because his consciousness has been dissolved by a content of the unconscious.

In the process of individuation, too, new contents can announce themselves in this devouring form and darken consciousness; this is experienced as a depression, that is to say, as being pulled downward.

As the unconscious has a tendency to project itself into the outer world, there is a danger that one might get dissipated in the environment, instead of staying with oneself.

That’s why the alchemists stress again and again that the alchemical vessel has to remain hermetically closed during the opus.

If the lid springs open, vapor will escape and the process will be disrupted.

Only when we bear our situation and accept our depression will it be possible for us to change internally.

Then the devouring animal will be deprived of its power, and the new content can be grasped by consciousness. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 373.