Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941
Lecture 1 28th October, 1938
Those of you who were present at my lectures in the last Semester will remember that I spoke to you of dreams, of their construction and of how one could reach their meaning.
In this Semester I intend to follow up this subject by speaking of the process of “active imagination”.
The last dream we spoke of was the dream ab out a concert where a glowing ball appeared from the Christmas Tree at the end of the dream.
This was, as we saw, no ordinary ball but a symbol which goes far back into the spiritual history of man.
Such a symbol was once a content of the collective unconscious, it lay with other phenomena at the foundation of consciousness, and in tracing its history we saw how such contents become conscious.
Speaking from an anthropomorphic point of view, it almost seems as if these contents had a will to become conscious, but this is only a hypothesis and should not be taken literally.
I was, however, impressed early with the fact that unknown contents exist on the threshold of consciousness.
I observed this phenomenon in patients as well as in the mentally deranged.
It is these unknown contents which appear in dreams.
The question then arose, was it possible to reach this place and to influence it, to induce it to give its contents more clearly?
This turned out to be possible, for I discovered that if one concentrates enough attention on the contents of the unconscious, they begin to move and various peculiar phenomena take place.
This was the technique of the old Egyptians, they believed in crystal gazing.
There was nothing in the crystal itself, they actually perceived the unconscious background which was animated by their attentive gaze.
Many old magicians in all parts of the world make use of this technique, and employ all kinds of shining objects, water, jewels and even buttons, for the purpose.
The Egyptian priests gave their clients beautiful blue crystals in which to perceive these background processes; the purpose was divination, and also the healing of the ill of the soul and even of the body.
The old Egyptians knew that the unconscious background was absolutely necessary for these purposes. ~Carl Jung, Modern Psychology, Vol. 3, Page 11.