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

Lecture III 12th May, 1939

I gave you some psychological parallels to our symbol sequence in the last lecture.

We have reached the symbol of the quaternitas, the synthesis of the four elements, the quinta essentia in the mandala.

The totality and boundaries of the individual are e stablished as far as possible.

The ceremony used by the Romans when they founded a new town contains the same idea.

They protected it magically by the circumambulatio.

I told you about the Stupas in the last Semester where the Indians still circle round the images of their gods and we saw the motif of circling in Buddha’s own sermons.

This circling is linked up with the quality of roundness and appears in alchemy as the circulating distillation in the retort.

The liquid is driven up in the form of steam to the top of the retort, it is not allowed to escape but is conducted as water down again into the belly of the retort.

It is sometimes conducted into a further retort in order to purify it yet more, these retorts can number as many as six or seven.

One of the names for the top retort is the head of an angel or seraphim.

This circulating movement is called the circulatio, rotatio or rota (wheel).

M. Maier tells us that the sun, in the millions of years which it has revolved round the earth, has spun the gold into the earth.

That is, it has gradually impressed its own image or reflex on the earth, and gold is noble and yellow because of this.

The gold is also called the terrestrial sun and the Deus Terrenus.

The psychological idea of the quaternitas is concentration on the centre of the circle where the four have come together.

This is the four-headed Vajra of the Tantric text.

The parallel psychological situation is when the individual is able to say: “Yes I am this and that ” and a great many opposites, positive and negative, can come together, and everything can begin to be united.

This synthesis of the four is often symbolised in Hermetic Philosophy by the synthesis of the many colours in the cauda pavonis (the peacocks tail).

The totality is manifested in the fullness of colours.

This always has a symbolic meaning and the unfolding of the colours , the feeling values, means an unfolding of the personality, in which positive and negative feelings are united.

This totality is the next symbol in the sequence, the lotus or the golden flower.

The totality is seen first as a sort of intuition about the whole personality.

We should find ourselves in difficulties if we had to explain it.

Only a small piece of the personality is conscious, we can set definite boundaries to that, but there are no boundaries when it comes to the unconscious.

So the real personality is very questionable, it is problematic being.

It can be experienced but such experiences always have a mystical and symbolic character.

Therefore we have to find symbols for primordial experiences which cannot be defined.

Such symbols are intuitions that lead towards the experience of wholeness.

In Tibetan, Chinese and Hermetic philosophy, the lotus or the golden flower is a very frequent symbol for the unfolding of the living unity.

The peacock’s tail, the lotus and the golden flower are usually very beautiful .

The lotus has always had an important mystical meaning.

Its roots are down in the slime and mud at the bottom of the lake and the flower unfolds on the surface of the water.

So it is chosen as the seat of the Buddha, and the other gods of the Indian Pantheon also frequently appear in the lotus.

The emphasis is on the centre, where the Buddha, the symbol of the Self, sits.

The Self, as we know, is by no means identical with the ego.

And in order to reach the Self we must deal with the problem of the shadow, that most inferior and disagreeable being, who is more invisible to ourselves than to other people!

There are, it is true, cases of people who are living below their own value where the shadow is the superior instead of the inferior part of the personality.

Such people are apparently very modest but there is a lot of cunning in their modesty.

It is easier to play a modest role, there is not so much responsibility involved.

Such humility is quite as suspicious as megalomania, the opposite is always present.

Insight into the other part of the personality is an acquisition, an enrichment, and, though sometimes it is very awkward, it is yet a step towards wholeness.

The Self is always strange because it contains the shadow and other unknown contents , it is different from and superior to the ego.

We find the actual concept of the Self in India but more usually it is projected into a divine form: Buddha, Prajapati, Hiranyagarbha, etc.

In the West it is projected into Christ, you will remember certain pass ages in the New Testament where this idea appears, for instance: “I am the vine, ye are the branches”. [John XV. 5.) “I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me”. (Gal. II. 20.)

When the Self is projected it is usually into a higher, divine figure.

In this case man remains a minus, everything good comes from God and everything bad from man.

This is the disagreeable consequence, but it is unavoidable when all the good is projected.

We find just the same in Buddhism, perfection belongs to the Buddha.

Though, as we saw in the texts which we read last Semester, the case is sometimes reversed, and the Yogin transforms Buddha and takes him into himself.

The Yogin is then not in the Buddha but the Buddha is in the Yogin.

This is a more advanced stage.

The totality and all-embracing nature of the Self are far greater than the ego, so we call it God.

The Self always has the quality of eternity, and a circle is the symbol of eternity.

The circle is identical with the indivisible, invisible, incorruptible and eternal central point. So St. Augustine said: “God is a circle
whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere”.

What can be more than the whole personality, we might almost think we had reached our goal.

But an intuition is not an experience or even a reality, it is like seeing the peak of a mountain through a telescope.

The psychological condition, equivalent to the lotus, is that of someone who has apprehended the Self intuitively, he has seen an image of it.

The ancient philosophers were aware of this fact and you always find the symbol of the flower about the middle of the symbol sequence.

How can such an intuition be transformed into a reality?

We meet two further steps , similar in both our symbol sequences: the sun and the moon.

In Hermetic Philosophy the moon equals the stage of the albedo, the making white, and the sun the rubedo, the making red.

We find red and white in very early alchemy, they are the classical alchemistic colours.

What do they represent?

Silver and gold but above all masculine and feminine.

We find them personified as the white woman and the red man.

One could say there were two floors to the unconscious.

As we are considering man’s psyche, the ego in the conscious and the shadow in the unconscious are both masculine but on the lower floor it is different.

There man meets his other side which is feminine.

The things that one finds in the personal unconscious are masculine.

We can learn a great deal about them from our friends.

But the feminine side of man is beyond the reach of conversation, it only comes up in bursts of affect from the depths of the personality.

The great change in personality, which is to be found in those depths, is also a change of sex.

As you know the figures which personify these are called anima and animus.

The anima mostly shows herself in moods.

The Chinese say that when a man wakes feeling heavy it is his feminine soul troubling him,

A man never knows this and can get quite hysterical if someone tells him so.

A woman does not have moods per se, but she has thoughts which produce much the same result; she suddenly, for instance, gets annoyed over something her husband said six weeks

If the husband has an anima mood and the wife re acts with an animus thought, the fat is already in the fire and a wonderful row takes place about nothing.

If you tax a man with emotion the anima becomes very visible; and if you speak to a woman about something with a double meaning, and she reacts with logic, her masculine side comes into full play.

In old age the very body often goes over into its opposite.

Present company is always excepted, so we will speak of Spain.

The old women there often have beards and deep voices, and the old men are gentle and patient.

The wife manages the shop and the husband sweeps it out and puts on the kettle for tea!

It is a primeval fact that the psyche consists of both sexes.

The medieval philosophers spoke of the hidden Eve carried everywhere by all men.

The old alchemists said that the work must be done “ex umbra so lis, ex sole et eius umbra”. (From the shadow of the sun, from the sun and its shadow.)

The shadow of the sun is the moon, so it is the sun and the moon, the conscious and the unconscious which must be brought together.

We have differentiated the sun and the moon but the work is not yet completed, they must unite, the conjunctio must take place .

This term occurs very often in alchemy, it was a well-known fact and an exceedingly interesting one, but the alchemists are never very clear in their use of the term.

Some use it for the union of masculine and feminine, and others for the synthesis of the quaternity.

It is a very difficult idea.

Why is the synthesis not accomplished when both the masculine and the feminine have been seen clearly?

Man and his shadow can come together through insight but this does not suffice when it comes to the union with the feminine, the anima.

This is because the anima is always projected, we do not see the lower floor, the split far down in our own diaphragm, so we only see the feminine in the outside world, in actual women.

A man will accept the worst facts about his shadow but to be told he is effeminate or hysterical is an insult which h cannot bear.

Every man likes to see himself as 1000% he-man and every woman likes to consider herself truly feminine.

Yet we know that every embryo is formed of masculine and feminine genes, the sex is determined by the majority.

Where then is the minority?

Obviously it is still there, functioning somewhere but unrecognized.

And everything in ourselves which we do not recognise projects itself. It is actually seen in the wife or some other woman.

The man is convinced that the moods are all hers.

Not one of us can escape this law of projection and it makes it terribly difficult because our own feminine is not present.

It actually is in the projection.

Goethe expresses this wonderfully when he says: “In a previous life surely you were my sister or my bride”.

But this feeling of primeval relationship is always to one’s own feminine side, and this is projected in every important love affair.

And for the conjunctio to be possible this feminine side must be extracted from the projection.

Marriage is no help in this, one does not reach it in that way, for we have deceived ourselves when we find our own feminine in a real woman.

But this deception often lasts a long time.

Some husbands and wives only see each other through anima and animus spectacles, after thirty years of daily companionship they have no real knowledge of the other.

It is very difficult in analysis to open such eyes, these projections linger on in an incredibly obstinate way.

But if the synthesis is to take place, one must be able to see the object without projections and to see the feminine in oneself.

This is an exceedingly difficult process and it can only be accomplished with the aid of analytic al psychology.

I am speaking to you of things which are the daily experience of specialists but which are not generally known.

We always believe that we can accomplish everything by the will, books on pedagogy and morals are based on the proverb: “Where there is a will there is a way”.

But this is an illusion, we can only bring about changes in the psyche through knowledge, we must know that part of us is projected, otherwise we are helpless.

The feminine side has to be extracted so it appears again in the Symbol Sequence as the Yoni, and in alchemy as the white woman, the anima or soror mystica, for the extract of both is needed in order to form the real totality. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Lecture III, Pages 112-115.