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Phantasy and the Solar Plexus

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Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941

Lecture XI 12th July, 1935

I left off last time with the theme of the solar plexus.

This time I have brought a Lamaistic Mandala to show you, as an analogy to our vision: it is complicated and
contains many qualities.

The East understands active phantasying and its inner meaning far better than we do.

It has had many centuries of experience, so this picture is highly differentiated.

In the centre there is a square, the cloister, which has four doors.

You will remember that there was a spring of water in the middle of the cloister in our patient’s phantasy.

Here we find a cross in which there is a remarkable drawing of the thunderbolt diamond, which depicts magic power.

This mandala is one of the few that contains no human figures; Shiva and his Shakti, his eternal feminine, are generally
represented, or some other figure such a s a Buddha; the centre usually holds many such figures.

These mandalas are plastically conceived and are built up on a flat surface or table, especially in Thibet.

Then they are covered by a “stupa” which is the Indian word for pagoda.

The chief development of the stupas took place in Buddhism.

The mandalas were square, 6-fold, 8-fold, or sometimes round, and they were covered with stupas, like umbrellas.

Sometimes there are as many as fourteen stories and the temple bells are hung round the eaves of the stupas.

The holy relic is buried in the innermost mandala.

The same idea is found in the Maya culture, in the temple of the warriors.

When this temple was excavated it was discovered to be on the site of one that was still older.

A limestone vase was found containing the most beautiful mandala that can be imagined, made of a great number of turquoises.

In m any other mandalas you find the same idea.

These western phantasies hint at things which are regarded as of the utmost importance in the East.

The golden flower is the centre of Chinese mandalas as the lotus or “Padma” in India and Thibet.

I will read you some quotations from the book of “The Secret of the Golden Flower”:

“The Golden Flower is the Light. What colour has the light?

One uses the Golden Flower a s an image.

It is the true power of the transcendent Great ‘One’.

The phrase, ‘The lead of the water-region has but one taste’, refers to it.”

Here the writer speaks of the substance of which the Golden Flower is made, which is found in the water region, the bladder, in

This is the localization in the psyche which is made entirely of animal substance, the spirit of weight which imprisons us and is described
as the most inferior thing.

This is the heaviness which Nietzsche tried to dance away.

He says in “Zarathustra” that the stone is thrown high indeed, but it must fall, and on the thrower.

This is the lead of the water region, it has one meaning, that the Golden Flower grows out of it.

This is the primeval substance out of which the Lapis, the Golden Flower, or the philosophers’ gold is made.

These come from the very commonest things.

The old alchemist said “If the huckster in the market knew that the things which he sells so cheap are the materials from which the
philosopher’s gold is made he would raise their price”, but he does not go on to tell us how to extract the gold.

We are told that it is to be found in old privies and manure heaps, but that “Many have worked on manure heaps and have found – nothing”.

“In the Book of Changes it is said: Heaven created water through the One. That is the true power of the Great One. If a man attains this
One he becomes alive; if he misses it he dies. But even if a man lives in the power [air, prana) he does not see the power [air), just as
Fishes live in water but do not see the water.”

This is the Tao in Chinese philosophy, it is always timeless, and is the beginning and the end. Out of Tao comes water – that
is the water region.

“A man dies when he has no life-air, just as the fishes are destroyed when deprived of water.

Therefore the adepts have taught the people to hold fast to the primal and to guard the One; it is the circular course of the Light and
the protection of the centre.”

Light is symbolic for consciousness; in doing the “circumambulatio” you must follow the direction of light, if you go the other way it
is black magic.

” If one guards this true power, one can prolong the span of life, and can then apply the methods of creating an immortal body by
‘melting and mixing’.”

If you are attentive the diamond or immortal body is formed.

“The work on the circulation of the light depends entirely on the backward flowing movement, so that the thoughts are gathered together
[the place of Heavenly Consciousness, the Heavenly Heart). The heavenly heart lies between Sun and Moon (i.e. the two eyes),”
The right eye is the sun eye and the left the moon eye. This heavenly heart, this centre, lies between the two eyes. “The Book of
the Yellow Castle says: In the field of the square inch, of the house of the square foot, life can be regulated. The house of the
square foot is the face. The field of the square inch is the face: what could that be other than the Heavenly He art? In the middle
of the square inch dwells the splendour.”

The Heavenly Heart is placed up in the forehead.

The Chinese believe that they think all kinds of thoughts in the heart, but these thoughts have a spiritual future so they rise.

But we believe that we think in our heads, for us, therefore, the treasure is in Manipura, in the fulness of jewels; so we have to
descend in order to find it. We do not do this voluntarily, it happens to us.

“In the purple hall of the city of jade dwells the god of utmost emptiness and life. The Confucians call it the centre of emptiness; the
Buddhists, the terrace of life ; the Taoists, the ancestral land . . . or the dark pass, or the space of former Heaven.
The Heavenly Heart is like the dwelling place, the Light is the master.”

The terrace of life is to be found in the Stupa buildings.

The Taoists call this the Land of the Ancestors.

The ancestral part is given to us by our body, we take over the life of our ancestors in that way.

It is the terrace of life because it is here that life renews itself.

The dark pass has to go backwards against consciousness.

“Therefore when the Light circulates, the powers of the whole body arrange themselves before its throne, just as when a holy king has taken
possession of the capital and has laid down the fundamental rules of order, all the states approach with tribute or, just as when the master is
quiet and calm, men-servants and maids obey his orders of their own accord, and each does his work. Therefore you only have to make the
Light circulate: that is the deepest and most wonderful secret. The Light is easy to move, but difficult to fix. If it is allowed to go long enough in a circle, then it crystallizes itself: that is the natural spirit body. This crystallized spirit is formed beyond the nine Heavens. It is the condition of which it is said in the Book of the Seal of the Heart: ‘Silently in the morning thou flyest upward’.”

“In carrying out this fundamental truth you need to seek for no other methods, but must only concentrate your thoughts on it. The book Leng
Yen says: ‘By collecting the thoughts one can fly and will be born in Heaven’. Heaven is not the wide blue sky, but the place where the body
is made in the house of the creative. If one keeps this up for a long time, there develops quite naturally, in addition to the body, yet another
spirit body.”

“The Golden Flower is the Elixir of Life.

All changes of spiritual consciousness depend up on the Heart.

Here is a secret charm, which, although it works very accurately, is yet so fluent that it needs extreme intelligence and clarity, and complete
absorption and calm.

People without this highest degree of intelligence and understanding do not find the way to apply the charm; people without this
utmost capacity for concentration and calm cannot keep fast hold of it.”

(These ideas are also typical of alchemy, in this western sister we often meet with the statement that the path to the alchemic gold
is no path for the stupid.)

The heart, the “golden castle”, is called the “germinal vesicle”, where the seat of 1he inner way lies:

” . . . . the ‘germinal vesicle’ is also known as the ‘borderline of the snow mountains’, the ‘primordial pass’, the ’empire of the greatest joy’, the
‘land without boundaries’, and the ‘ altar upon which consciousness and life are made’. ‘If a dying man does not know this seed place’, says the
Hui Ming Ching, ‘he will not find the unity of consciousness and life in a thousand births and ten thousand aeons’.”

This is hard to define in western phraseology.

Christ’s saying to the man working on the Sabbath: “If you know what you do you are blessed, but if you know not you are cursed”
holds something of the same idea.

Jakob Boehme speaks of the eye that looks inward.

Boehme’s phantasies developed in this direction, though he had no connection with eastern ideas.

We will now leave this theme and return to our phantasy.

I am glad we do not have to follow it much further as it becomes very unpleasant; but this had to be, for it was altogether too beautiful and people
are tempted to stay forever in phantasies of that kind.

The patient continues very logically:

“I went on and came to some steps which led down to the water and I sat down on the bottom step. After I had waited some time two Indians
appeared in a canoe,”

The bottom step is symbolical, and means that it is necessary for her to go down to the very lowest.

The appearance of the Indians shows why she had to go down so far.

The patient i s an American so she has a secret relation to the Indians.

I once wrote an article for an American paper and called it “Your Indian and Negroid Behaviour” and I explained in it where the
Americans reminded me of these primitives.

When I became acquainted with negroes and Indians I saw Americans quite differently.

The negro has the quality of infecting you, you have to do the things which he does.

Jazz, for instance, is the rhythm of Umgoma, and also the sound of a heavy car.

I once saw a lorry whose engine was making this noise and out came the women and children and began to dance to the rhythm,
and soon the whole village was dancing round this lorry.

This is the negro, they are just children.

America is a half white land, this constitutes a fearful problem for if you live side by side with black people you become coloured.

I went to Africa in order to investigate this but it takes years for the black really to penetrate.

In Khartoum I met an English gentleman who bore one of the best English names but suffered from such a terrible inferiority that
he could only live in the colonies.

He had been to Eton and to Oxford, but, and this was the snag, he was born in Australia, so he had a touch of the colonial.

We think of this as English snobbism, but it really is a fact.

The child born in a country takes something of that land, it is the secret influence of the place.

It is even said that in the second generation the measurements of the skull have already altered.

In this phantasy we have Indians and not negroes.

The Indian influence is typical for the American.

If you dress American politicians and Indians in the same clothes and take pictures of them you cannot tell one from the other.

This is the secret influence of the soil which shows in other ways as well.

The genuine and cruel initiation ordeals in the American universities, for instance, are just the same as those of the Indians.

The ancestor ghosts stay on in a conquered land and you get the wrong children and the wrong souls creep into their bodies.

It is very dangerous to conquer the lands of strange peoples.

We know how bewildered this patient had become in modern life and here a piece of the original Indian who owned the American soil is
manifesting itself and coming to the surface.

These foreign bodies in a western consciousness frequently cause neuroses. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 12July1935, Pages 238-241.