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Visions : Notes of the seminar given in 1930-1934 (2 Volume Set) (Bollingen)


I find here a number of questions.

We will begin with one by Miss Howells: “Will you please discuss further the psychological experience of the transitus of modern man?

How does he take into his new psychological experience the carrying of the religious symbol of sacrifice?”

We spoke last time of the symbols of the transitus in certain old cults, the pine tree carried into the cave in the cult of Attis, for instance, and Mithra carrying the slain bull, and Christ carrying the cross.

The transitus means carrying a heavy burden.

This is well-known religious symbolism, of course, in every pious book and book of hymns carrying the burden is a familiar speech metaphor, and the meaning seems quite transparent; one understands that one should carry one’s own burdens without lamenting too much over the difficulties, and so on.

But one does not see exactly why this very natural admonition should be expressed in such dogmatic forms.

You see, the symbolism points to something more basic, to an unconscious fact. For instance, what has Attis, an anthropomorphic god, to do with the pine tree?

You remember the tree was cut down and his image fixed to the trunk, which was then carried into the cave.

This obviously has to do with the dying and resurrecting god, it is projected by man, and from the interpretation of that ritual we can find out what specific burden those people understood ought to be carried. So what does the pine tree mean?

Or the cross to which Christ was to be affixed?

Or the bull carried by Mithra who was himself the bull? ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1213