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Carl Jung: That is like the magic use of the sacred symbols.


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Zarathustra Seminar

That is like the magic use of the sacred symbols. Of course there is the right use and the wrong use.

You see, mandalas were first discovered by some old wise guy who lived in a cave or in the woods because he was bored with the crowd of fools that humanity consists of, and had discovered much more interesting things than

the ordinary small talk of the villages.

He sat apart and studied the miracles in his mind, and he had funny dreams also, and he came to the idea that things must be somehow in a circle like the horizon round himself.

So he made a circle, that was one thing; then he made a point in it, and thus he got nearer to the truth, and he went on filling the circle with pictures of the world.

Then he made four points for north, south, east, and west, and thought to himself, “Now everything is nicely arranged.”

But then he was disturbed by curious, ordinary people who have spiritual appetites, and young people came along saying: “What about this?” and “What about that? He thinks in circles.”

And he said: “Don’t get excited about that, just let things go as they naturally go.” They thought this was exceedingly wise and so he was called the wise man.

Then certain people thought: Now could one perhaps acquire that wisdom?-we want to be as wise as he.

So they asked him about his wisdom.

He said, “Well, you see the world is like this,” and he began to explain with circles and squares and all sorts of triangles, and they thought: “Now that is grand!

We must only make such squares and triangles and that will turn the trick, that will carry.”

Therefore, they made mandalas and they stared at them, they contemplated them, they put themselves into them: Yes, it is true, the old man has filled them with truth.

And it is of course most convincing, because one believes that in stepping into those mandalas, one steps into the truth.

Yet, they didn’t know that they had stepped out of the truth.

That is the terrible thing: when one thinks a thing is obviously the truth, most convincing, and steps into it, then one steps out of it.

You see, they omitted one thing, the great rhinoceros of the alchemistic process: namely, that they are the truth, not the circle.

The old man made the circle out of himself: he is the truth. And they think it is the circle.

But they have stepped out of their truth.

The old man has never stepped into the circle: he made it, he is the circle.

It is a bit like the secret in Nietzsche’s lamentation over the lost god, in his poem called: “The Lamentation of


You see, Ariadne is dissolved in pain and sadness when she discovers that Theseus, her lover and rescuer, has disappeared in the night, leaving her on the island of Naxos alone.

Then the god Dionysos appears, and he takes her by the ear and says:

“Thou hast small ears,
I but thou hast my ears;
I put a cunning word in,
I am thy labyrinth.”

Now that is Zarathustra. Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 188-189