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Carl Jung: Told in her own words, this is what the patient saw:


62c11 12btotal2bpersonality

The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology

Coming now to our example: it concerns a fantasy of intensely visual character, something which in the language of the ancients would be called a “vision.”

Not a “vision seen in a dream,” but a vision perceived by intense concentration on the background of consciousness, a technique that is perfected only after long practice.

Told in her own words, this is what the patient saw:

“I climbed the mountain and came to a place where I saw seven red stones in front of me, seven on either side, and seven behind me.

I stood in the middle of this quadrangle.

The stones were flat like steps.

I tried to lift the four stones nearest me.

In doing so I discovered that these stones were the pedestals of four statues of gods buried upside down in the earth.

I dug them up and arranged them about me so that I was standing in the middle of them.

Suddenly they leaned towards one another until their heads touched, forming something like a tent over me.

I myself fell to the ground and said, ‘Fall upon me if you must! I am tired.’

Then I saw that beyond, encircling the four gods, a ring of flame had formed.

After a time I got up from the ground and overthrew the statues of the gods.

Where they fell, four trees shot up.

At that blue flames leapt up from the ring of fire and began to burn the foliage of the trees.

Seeinig this I said, ‘This must stop.

I must go into the fire myself so that the leaves shall not be burned.’

Then I stepped into the fire.

The trees vanished and the fiery ring drew together to one immense blue flame that carried me up from the earth.”

Here the vision ended.

Unfortunately I cannot see how I can make conclusively clear to the reader the extraordinarily interesting meaning of this vision.

The fragment is an excerpt from a long sequence, and one would have to explain everything that happened before and afterwards, in order to grasp the significance of the picture.

At all events the unprejudiced reader will recognize at once the idea of a “mid-point” that is reached by a kind of climb (mountaineering, effort, struggle, etc.).

He will also recognize without difficulty the famous medieval conundrum of the squaring of the circle, which belongs to the field of alchemy.

Here it takes its rightful place as a symbol of individuation.

The total personality is indicated by the four cardinal points, the four gods, i.e., the four functions which give bearings in psychic space, and also by the circle enclosing the whole.

Overcoming the four gods who threaten to smother the individual signifies liberation from identification with the four functions, a fourfold nirdvandva (“free from opposites”) followed by an approximation to the circle, to undivided wholeness.

This in its turn leads to further exaltation. ~Carl Jung, CW 7, Para 367.