The Red Book

A critical figure in Jung’s fantasies during this period was that of Philemon. In Memories, Jung recalled that Philemon first appeared to him in a dream.

In this, Jung saw a sea blue sky, covered by brown clods of earth which appeared to be breaking apart.

Out of the blue, he saw an old man with kingfisher wings and the horns of a bull flying across the sky, carrying a bunch of keys. After the dream, Jung painted the image, as he did not understand it.

While he was doing this, he was struck to find a dead kingfisher at the bottom of his garden by the lakeshore, as kingfishers are rare around Zürich. Thereafter, Philemon played an important role in Jung’s fantasies.

To Jung, he represented superior insight, and was like a guru to him. Jung would often converse with Philemon as he strolled in the garden of his home in Küsnacht.

To Aniela Jaffé, he recalled, “He was simply a superior knowledge, and he taught me psychological objectivity and the actuality of the soul . . . He formulated and expressed everything which I had never thought.”

Jung’s fantasy figure was based on the figure of Philemon who had appeared in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and in Goethe’s Faust. Page 62