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On symbolism of the eagle carrying the serpent round its neck


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Zarathustra Seminar

I have here two interesting cases where that symbolism of the eagle carrying the serpent round its neck was discovered by other people besides Nietzsche.

The first contribution I owe to Mr. Baumann who is generous enough to let us see some of his pictures, where the fate of the serpent-or the achievement of the eagle-is demonstrated.

It is the story of the relationship of the spiritual and the material principle as a part of the inner development, the drama interieur.

One can call it a sort of initiation process.

Or one can also express it in a reversed way, that all the initiation processes we know from history or by experience are the external manifestation of a natural inner process which is always happening in the mind.

Our dreams are like windows that allow us to look in, or to listen in, to that psychological process which is continually going on in our unconscious.

It is a process of continuous transformation with no end if we don’t interfere.

It needs our conscious interference to bring it to a goal—by our interference we make a goal.

Otherwise it is like the eternal change of the seasons in nature, a building up and a pulling down, integration and disintegration without end.

No crops are brought home by nature; only the consciousness of man knows about crops. He gathers the apples under the trees, for they simply disintegrate if left to themselves.

And that is true of our unconscious mental process: it revolves within itself.

It builds up and it pulls down; it integrates and disintegrates—and then integrates again.

It is like the seasons, or the eternal sunrise and sunset, from which nothing comes unless a human conscious- ness interferes and realizes the result.

Perhaps one suddenly sees something and says, “This is a flower.” Now we have reached something.

But left to itself the process would come to nothing. Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 236-237

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