Psychology of the Unconscious

The symbolism of the instrument of coitus was an inexhaustible material for ancient phantasy.

It furnished a widespread cult that was designated phallic, the object of reverence of which was the phallus.

The companion of Dionysus was Phales, a personification of the phallus proceeding from the phallic Herme of Dionysus.

The phallic symbols were countless.

Among the Sabines, the custom existed for the bridegroom to part the bride’s hair with a lance.

The bird, the fish and the snake were phallic symbols In addition, there existed in enormous quantities theriomorphic representations of the sexual instinct, in connection with which the bull, the he-goat, the ram, the boar and the ass were frequently used.

An undercurrent to this choice of symbol was furnished by the sodomitic inclination of humanity.

When in the dream phantasy of modern man, the feared man is replaced by an animal, there is recurring in the ontogenetic re-echo the same thing which was openly represented by the ancients countless times.

There were he-goats which pursued nymphs, satyrs with she-goats; in still older times in Egypt there even existed a shrine of a goat god, which the Greeks called Pan, where the Hierodules prostituted themselves with goats, It is well known that this worship has not died out, but continues to live as a special custom in South Italy and Greece.

Today we feel for such a thing nothing but the deepest abhorrence, and never would admit it still slumbered in our souls.

Nevertheless, just as truly as the idea of the sexual assault is there, so are these things there too, which we should contemplate still more closely, not through moral eye-glasses, with horror, but with interest as a natural science, since these things are venerable relics of past cultural periods.

We have, even today, a clause in our penal code against sodomy. But that which was once so strong as to give rise to a worship among a highly developed people has probably not wholly disappeared from the human soul during the course of a few generations.

We may not forget that since the symposium of Plato, in which homo sexuality faces us on the same level with the so-called “normal sexuality,” only eighty generations have passed And what are eighty generations?”

They shrink to an imperceptible period of time when compared with the space of time which separates us from the homo-Neandertalensis or Heidelbergensis.

I might call to mind, m this connection, some choice thoughts of the great historian Gughelmo Feireio:

“It is a very common belief that the further man is separated from the present by time, the more does he differ from us in his thoughts and feelings, that the psychology of humanity changes from century to century, like fashions of literature.

Therefore, no sooner do we find in past history an institution, a custom, a law or a belief a little different from those with which we are familiar, than we immediately search for some complex meanings, which frequently resolve themselves into phrases of doubtful significance.

“Indeed, man does not change so quickly; his psychology at bottom remains the same, and even li his culture varies much from one epoch to another, it does not change the functioning of his mind.

The fundamental laws of the mind remain the same, at least during the short historical period of which we have knowledge, and all phenomena, even the most strange, must be capable of explanation by those common laws of the mind which we can recognize in ourselves.”

The psychologist should accept this viewpoint without reservation as peculiarly applicable to himself.

Today, indeed, in our civilization, the phallic processions, the Dionysian mysteries of classical Athens, the barefaced Phallic emblems, have disappeared from our coins, houses, temples and streets ; so also have the theriomorphic representations of the Deity been reduced to small remnants, like the Dove of the Holy Ghost, the Lamb of God and the Cock of Peter adorning our church towers In the- same way, the capture and violation of women have shrunken away to crimes.

Yet all of this does not affect the fact that we, in childhood, go through a period in which the impulses toward these archaic inclinations appeal again and again, and that through all our life we possess, side by side with the newly recruited, directed and adapted thought, a phantastic thought which corresponds to the thought of the centuries of antiquity and barbarism.

Just as our bodies still keep the reminders of old functions and conditions in many old-fashioned organs, so our minds, too, which apparently have outgrown those archaic tendencies, nevertheless bear the marks of the evolution passed through, and the very ancient re-echoes, at least dreamily, in phantasies. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious, Pages 33 – 35.


Pan teaching his Eromenos, the shepherd Daphnis, to play the pipes, 2nd century AD Roman copy of Greek original ca. 100 BC, found in Pompeii.

Pan God of Nature, the Wild, Shepherds, Flocks, Goats, of Mountain Wilds,and is often associated with sexuality.