Zarathustra Seminars

When one has a vivid inner experience, one always feels tempted to write it down, give form to it and expression.

Therefore, painting and drawing have been discovered as a means for the symbolic purposes; one simply feels the need, and also has a peculiar satisfaction if one succeeds in giving expression to an inner experience.

Many people who are not usually poets begin to write verses, and they write in a peculiar hieratic style.

They become solemn and poetic and express themselves in a high passionate manner, using all sorts of means to emphasize it because they feel they are experiencing something which needs that expression.

So Nietzsche at once drops out of his intellectual, aphoristic way of expression.

Zarathustra is a most passionate confession from beginning to end, and moreover it is an experience: his life itself flows into these chapters.

Therefore, each chapter is a new image in the process of initiation.

You know, those ancient initiation processes consisted of symbolic passages.

First, one is confronted, say, with a certain threat, or one is put into a dark room perhaps; and then one is exposed to all sorts of dangers, tests of courage are made-one must endure cold and heat and all sorts of things.

Those are all symbolic stages, imitating the processes one would presumably go through in an individual initiation.

These were all individual in the beginning, and from the condensation of the original representations, slowly a ritual was made; and then it all became artificial.

The most ridiculous forms were invented which nobody could take seriously.

For instance, in the Freemason initiation, one is put through tests which look a bit gruesome, but are not real at all.

It is like a sort of child’s play.

Of course, one is serious, or tries to make it serious, but it is not: it doesn’t even touch your skin.

Wilhelm2 told me that when the Japanese bombarded Kian Tchau, a Masonic lodge was hit by a shell and eventre, the whole wall of the house came down, the intestines were laid bare, and people went there to see the funny things inside.

Belonging to the initiation ceremonies, for example, was a sort of grating with most dangerous-looking iron spikes upon which the initiant had to kneel, and then the marvel happened that when he believed in God those spikes did not hurt him.

But upon examination it was found that those spikes where he had to kneel looked exactly like the others but were made of rubber; they were nice and soft, so instead of having his flesh lacerated, the initiant thought, how marvelous that God had helped him!

So the initiation may degenerate into mere fraud. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 461-462