In conclusion, I would like to give a concrete example of the way the symbol of the fish springs out of the unconscious autochthonously.
The case in question is that of a young woman who had uncommonly lively and plastic dreams. She was very much under the influence of her father, who had a materialistic outlook and was not happily married.
She shut herself off from these unfavourable surroundings by developing, at a very early age, an intense inner life of her own. As a small child, she replaced her parents by two trees in the garden. In her sixth or seventh year, she dreamt that God had promised her a golden fish. From this time forth she frequently dreamt of fishes.
Later, a little while before starting psychological treatment on account of her manifold problems, she dreamt that she was “standing on the bank of the Limmat and looking down into the water. A man threw a gold coin into the river, the water became transparent and I could see the bottom. There was a coral reef and a lot of fishes. One of them had a shining silver belly and a golden back.
During treatment she had the following dream: “/ came to the bank of a broad, flowing river. I couldn’t see much at first, only water, earth, and rock. I threw the pages with my notes on them into the water, with the feeling that I was giving something back to the river. Immediately afterwards I had a fishing-rod in my hand.
I sat down on a rock and started fishing. Still I saw nothing but water, earth, and rock. Suddenly a big fish bit. He had a silver belly and a golden back. As I drew him to land, the whole landscape became alive: the rock emerged like the primeval foundation of the earth, grass and flowers sprang up, and the bushes expanded into a great forest. A gust of wind blew and set everything in motion.
Then, suddenly, I heard behind me the voice of Mr. X [an older man whom she knew only from photographs and from hearsay, but who seems to have been some kind of authority for her]. He said, quietly but distinctly: ‘The patient ones in the innermost realm are given the fish, the food of the deep.’ At this moment a circle ran round me, part of it touching the water. Then I heard the voice again: ‘The brave ones in the second realm may be given victory, for there the battle is fought.
Immediately The transparency of the water means that attention (value, gold) is given to the unconscious. It is an offering to the genius of the fountain. Cf. the vision of the Amitabha Land in my “Psychology of Eastern Meditation.”
another circle ran round me, this time touching the other bank. At the same time I saw into the distance and a colourful landscape was revealed. The sun rose over the horizon. I heard the voice, speaking as if out of the distance: ‘The third and the fourth realms come, similarly enlarged, out of the other two. But the fourth realm’—and here the voice paused for a moment, as if deliberating—’the fourth realm joins on to the first. 10* It is the highest and the lowest at once, for the highest and the lowest come together. They are at bottom one.’ ” Here the dreamer awoke with a roaring in her ears. ~Carl Jung, Aion, Pages 151-152