As my life entered its second half, I was already embarked on the confrontation with the contents of the unconscious.
My work on this was an extremely long drawn-out affair, and it was only after some twenty years of it that I reached some degree of understanding of my fantasies.
First I had to find evidence for the historical prefiguration of my inner experiences.
That is to say, I had to ask myself, “Where have my particular premises already occurred in history?”
If I had not succeeded in finding such evidence, I would never have been able to substantiate my ideas.
Therefore, my encounter with alchemy was decisive for me, as it provided me with the historical basis which I had hitherto lacked.
Analytical psychology is fundamentally a natural science, but it is subject far more than any other science to the personal bias of the observer.
The psychologist must depend therefore in the highest degree upon historical and literary parallels if he wishes to exclude at least the crudest errors in judgment.
Between 1918 and 1926 1 had seriously studied the Gnostic writers, for they too had been confronted with the primal world of the unconscious and had dealt with its contents, with images that were obviously contaminated with the world of instinct.
Just how they understood these images remains difficult to say, in view of the paucity of the accounts which, moreover, mostly stem from their opponents, the Church Fathers.
It seems to me highly unlikely that they had a psychological conception of them.
But the Gnostics were too remote for me to establish any link with them in regard to the questions that were confronting me.
As far as I could see, the tradition that might have connected Gnosis with the present seemed to have been severed, and for a long time it proved impossible to find any bridge that led from Gnosticism or neo-Platonism to the contemporary world.
But when I began to understand alchemy I realized that it represented the historical link with Gnosticism, and that a continuity therefore existed between past and present.
Grounded in the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages, alchemy formed the bridge on the one hand into the past, to Gnosticism, and on the other into the future, to the modern psychology of the unconscious.
This had been inaugurated by Freud, who had introduced along with it the classical Gnostic motifs of sexuality and the wicked paternal authority.
The motif of the Gnostic Yahweh and Creator-God reappeared in the Freudian myth of the primal father and the gloomy superego deriving from that father.
In Freud’s myth he became a daemon who created a world of disappointments, illusions, and suffering.
But the materialistic trend which had already come to light in the alchemists’ preoccupation with the secrets of matter had the effect of obscuring for Freud that other essential aspect of Gnosticism: the primordial image of the spirit as another, higher god who gave to mankind the krater (mixing vessel), the vessel of spiritual transformation.
I thought the Mother of God and Bride of Christ has been received into the divine thalamus (bridal chamber) only recently, after centuries of hesitancy, and thus at least been accorded partial recognition.
Before I discovered alchemy, I had a series of dreams which repeatedly dealt with the same theme.
Beside my house stood another, that is to say, another wing or annex, which was strange to me.
Each time I would wonder in my dream why I did not know this house, although it had apparently always been there.
Finally came a dream in which I reached the other wing.
I discovered there a wonderful library, dating largely from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Large, fat folio volumes, bound in pigskin, stood along the walls.
Among them were a number of books embellished with copper engravings of a strange character, and illustrations containing curious symbols such as I had never seen before.
At the time I did not know to what they referred; only much later did I recognize them as alchemical symbols.
In the dream I was conscious only of the fascination exerted by them and by the entire library.
It was a collection of medieval incunabula and sixteenth-century prints.
The unknown wing of the house was a part of my personality, an aspect of myself; it represented something that belonged to me but of which I was not yet conscious.
It, and especially the library, referred to alchemy, of which I was ignorant, but which I was soon to study.
Some fifteen years later I had assembled a library very like the one in the dream.
The crucial dream anticipating my encounter with alchemy came around 1926: I was in the South Tyrol.
It was wartime.
1 was on the Italian front and driving back from the front line with a little man, a peasant, in his horse-drawn wagon.
All around us shells were exploding, and I knew that we had to push on as quickly as possible, for it was very dangerous.
We had to cross a bridge and then go through a tunnel whose vaulting had been partially destroyed by the shells.
Arriving at the end of the tunnel, we saw before us a sunny landscape, and I recognized it as the region around Verona. Below me lay the city, radiant in full sunlight.
I felt relieved, and we drove on out into the green, thriving Lombard plain.
The road led through lovely springtime countryside; we saw the rice fields, the olive trees, and the vineyards.
Then, diagonally across the road, I caught sight of a large building, a manor house of grand proportions, rather like the palace of a North Italian duke.
It was a typical manor house with many annexes and outbuildings.
Just as at the Louvre, the road led through a large courtyard and past the palace.
The little coachman and myself drove in through a gate, and from here we could see, through a second gate at the far end, the sunlit landscape again.
I looked around: to my right was the facade of the manor house, to my left the servants quarters and the stables, barns, and other outbuildings, which stretched on for a long way.
Just as we reached the middle of the courtyard, in front of the main entrance, something unexpected happened: with a dull clang, both gates flew shut.
The peasant leaped down from his seat and exclaimed, “Now we are caught in the seventeenth century.”
Resignedly I thought, “Well, that’s that! But what is there to do about it? Now we shall be caught for years.”
Then the consoling thought came to me: “Someday, years from now, I shall get out again.”
After this dream I plowed through ponderous tomes on the history of the world, of religion, and of philosophy, without finding anything that could help me explain the dream.
Not until much later did I realize that it referred to alchemy, for that science reached its height in the seventeenth century.
Oddly enough, I had entirely forgotten what Herbert Silberer had written about alchemy.
At the time his book was published, I regarded alchemy as something off the beaten track and rather silly, much as I appreciated Silberer’s anagogic or constructive point of view.
I was in correspondence with him at the time and had let him know how much I valued his work.
As his tragic death shows, Silberer’s discovery of the problem was not followed by insight into it.
He had used in the main late material, which I could make nothing of.
The late alchemical texts are fantastic and baroque; only after we have learned how to interpret them can we recognize what treasures they hide.
Light on the nature of alchemy began to come to me only after I had read the text of the Golden Flower, that specimen of Chinese alchemy which Richard Wilhelm sent me in 1928.
I was stirred by the desire to become more closely acquainted with the alchemical texts.
I commissioned a Munich bookseller to notify me of any alchemical books that might fall into his hands.
Soon afterward I received the first of them, the Artis Auriferae Volumina Duo (1593), a comprehensive collection of Latin treatises among which are a number of the “classics” of alchemy.
I let this book lie almost untouched for nearly two years.
Occasionally I would look at the pictures, and each time I would think, *Good Lord, what nonsense!
This stuff is impossible to understand.”
But it persistently intrigued me, and I made up my mind to go into it more thoroughly.
The next winter I began, and soon found it provocative and exciting.
To be sure, the texts still seemed to me blatant nonsense, but here and there would be passages that seemed significant to me, and occasionally I even found a few sentences which I thought I could understand.
Finally I realized that the alchemists were talking in symbols those old acquaintances of mine. “Why, this is fantastic,”
I thought. “1 simply must learn to decipher all this.”
By now I was completely fascinated, and buried myself in the texts as often as I had the time.
One night, while I was studying them, I suddenly recalled the dream that I was caught in the seventeenth century.
At last I grasped its meaning. “So that’s it! Now I am condemned to study alchemy from the very beginning.”
It was a long while before I found my way about in the labyrinth of alchemical thought processes, for no Ariadne had put a thread into my hand.
Reading the sixteenth-century text, “Rosarium Philosophorum”
I noticed that certain strange expressions and turns of phrase were frequently repeated.
For example, “solve et coagula” “unum vas” “lapis,” “prima materia” “Mercurius” etc.
I saw that these expressions were used again and again in a particular sense, but I could not make out what that sense was.
I therefore decided to start a lexicon of key phrases with cross references.
In the course of time I assembled several thousand such key phrases and words, and had volumes filled with excerpts.
I worked along philological lines, as if I were trying to solve the riddle of an unknown language.
In this way the alchemical mode of expression gradually yielded up its meaning.
It was a task that kept me absorbed for more than a decade.
I had very soon seen that analytical psychology coincided in a most curious way with alchemy.
The experiences of the alchemists were, in a sense, my experiences, and their world was my world.
This was, of course, a momentous discovery: I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious.
The possibility of a comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology.
When I pored over these old texts everything fell into place: the fantasy-images, the empirical material I had gathered in my practice, and the conclusions I had drawn from it.
I now began to understand what these psychic contents meant when seen in historical perspective.
My understanding of their typical character, which had already begun with my investigation of myths, was deepened.
The primordial images and the nature of the archetype took a central place in my researches, and it became clear to me that without history there can be no psychology, and certainly no psychology of the unconscious.
A psychology of consciousness can, to be sure, content itself with material drawn from personal life, but as soon as we wish to explain a neurosis we require an anamnesis which reaches deeper than the knowledge of consciousness.
And when in the course of treatment unusual decisions are called for, dreams occur that need more than personal memories for their interpretation.
I regard my work on alchemy as a sign of my inner relationship to Goethe.
Goethe’s secret was that he was in the grip of that process of archetypal transformation which has gone on through the centuries.
He regarded his Faust as an opus magnum or divinum.
He called it his “main business/’ and his whole life was enacted within the framework of this drama.
Thus, what was alive and active within him was a living substance, a suprapersonal process, the great dream of the mundus archetypus (archetypal world).
I myself am haunted by the same dream, and from my eleventh year I have been launched upon a single enterprise which is my “main business.”
My life has been permeated and held together by one idea and one goal: namely, to penetrate into the secret of the personality.
Everything can be explained from this central point, and all my works relate to this one theme.
My real scientific work began with the association experiment in 1903.
1 regard it as my first scientific work in the sense of an undertaking in the field of natural science.
Studies in Word Association was followed by two psychiatric papers whose origin I have already discussed: “The Psychology of Dementia Praecox” and “The Content of the Psychoses.”
In 1912 my book Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido was published, and my friendship with Freud came to an end.
From then on, I had to make my way alone, I had a starting point in my intense preoccupation with the images of my own unconscious.
This period lasted from 1913 to 1917; then the stream of fantasies ebbed away.
Not until it had subsided and I was no longer held captive inside the magic mountain was I able to take an objective view of that whole experience and begin to reflect upon it.
The first question I asked myself was, “What does one do with the unconscious?”
“The Relations between1 the Ego and the Unconscious” was my answer.
In Paris I had delivered a lecture on this subject in 1916; it was, however, not published in German until twelve years later, in greatly expanded form.
In it I described some of the typical contents of the unconscious, and showed that it is by no means a matter of indifference what attitude the conscious mind takes toward them.
Simultaneously, I was busy with preparatory work for Psychological Types, first published in 1921.
This work sprang originally from my need to define the ways in which my outlook differed from Freud’s and Adler’s.
In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one’s psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person’s judgment.
My book, therefore, was an effort to deal with the relationship of the individual to the world, to people and things.
It discussed die various aspects of consciousness, the various attitudes the conscious mind might take toward the world, and thus constitutes a psychology of consciousness regarded from what might be called a clinical angle.
I worked a great deal of literature into this book.
The writings of Spitteler occupied a special place, in particular his Prometheus and Epimetheus; but I also discussed Schiller, Nietzsche, and the intellectual history of the classical era and the Middle Ages.
I was presumptuous enough to send a copy of my book to Spitteler.
He did not answer me, but shortly afterward delivered a lecture in which he declared positively that his Prometheus and Epimetheus
“meant” nothing, that he might just as well have sung, “Spring is come, tra-la-la-la-la.”
The book on types yielded the insight that every judgment made by an individual is conditioned by his personality type and that every point of view is necessarily relative.
This raised the question of the unity which must compensate this diversity, and it led me directly to the Chinese concept of Tao.
I have already spoken of the interplay between my inner development and Richard Wilhelm’s sending me a Taoist text. In 1929 he and I collaborated on The Secret of the Golden Flower.
It was only after I had reached the central point in my thinking and in my researches, namely, the concept of the self, that I once more found my way back to the world.
I began delivering lectures and taking a number of journeys.
The various essays and lectures formed a kind of counterpoise to the years of interior searching.
They also contained answers to the questions that were put to me by my readers and patients.
A subject with which I had been deeply concerned ever since my book Wandlungen und Symbole was the theory of the libido.
I conceived the libido as a psychic analogue of physical energy, hence as a more or less quantitative concept, which therefore should not be defined in qualitative terms.
My idea was to escape from the then prevailing concretism of the libido theory in other words, I wished no longer to speak of the instincts of hunger, aggression, and sex, but to regard all these phenomena as expressions of psychic energy.
In physics, too, we speak of energy and its various manifestations, such as electricity, light, heat, etc.
The situation in psychology is precisely the same.
Here, too, we are dealing primarily with energy, that is to say, with measures of intensity, with greater or lesser quantities.
It can appear in various guises.
If we conceive of libido as energy, we can take a comprehensive and unified view.
Qualitative questions as to the nature of the libido whether it be sexuality, power, hunger, or something else recede into the background.
What I wished to do for psychology was to arrive at some logical and thorough view such as is provided in the physical sciences by the theory of energetics.
This is what I was after in my paper “On Psychic Energy” (1928). I see man’s drives, for example, as various manifestations of energic processes and thus as forces analogous to heat, light, etc.
Just as it would not occur to the modern physicist to derive all forces from, shall We say, heat alone, so the psychologist should beware of lumping all instincts under the concept of sexuality.
This was Freud’s initial error which he later corrected by his assumption of “ego-instincts.”
Still later he brought in the superego, and conferred virtual supremacy upon it.
In “The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious” I had discussed only my preoccupation with the unconscious, and something of the nature of that preoccupation, but had not yet said anything much about the unconscious itself.
As I worked with my fantasies, I became aware that the unconscious undergoes or produces change.
I was presumptuous enough to send a copy of my book to Spitteler.
In individual cases that transformation can be read from dreams and fantasies.
In collective life it has left its deposit principally in the various religious systems and their changing symbols.
Through the study of these collective transformation processes and through understanding of alchemical symbolism I arrived at the central concept of my psychology: the process of individuation.
An essential aspect of my work is that it soon began to touch on the question of one’s view of the world, and on the relations between psychology and religion.
I went into these matters in detail first in “Psychology and Religion” (1938) and then, as a direct offshoot of this, in Paracelsica (1942).
The second essay in this book, “Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon,” is of particular importance from this point of view.
The writings of Paracelsus contain a wealth of original ideas, including clear formulations of the questions posed by the alchemists, though these are set forth in late and baroque dress.
Through Paracelsus I was finally led to discuss the nature of alchemy in relation to religion and psychology or, to put it another way, of alchemy as a form of religious philosophy.
This I did in Psychology and Alchemy ( 1944).
Thus I had at last reached the ground which underlay my own experiences of the years 1913 to 1917; for the process through which I had passed at that time corresponded to the process of alchemical transformation discussed in that book.
It is only natural that I should constantly have revolved in my mind the question of the relationship of the symbolism of the unconscious to Christianity as well as to other religions.
Not only do I leave the door open for the Christian message, but I consider it of central importance for Western man.
It needs, however, to be seen in a new light, in accordance with the changes wrought by the contemporary spirit.
Otherwise, it stands apart from the times, and has no effect on man’s wholeness.
I have endeavored to show this in my writings.
I have given a psychological interpretation of the dogma of the Trinity and of the text of the Mass which, moreover, I compared with the visions described by Zosimos of Panopolis, a third-century alchemist and Gnostic.
My attempt to bring analytical psychology into relation with Christianity ultimately led to the question of Christ as a psychological figure.
As early as 1944, in Psychology and Alchemy, I had been able to demonstrate the parallelism between the Christ figure and the central concept of the alchemists, the lapis, or stone.
In 1939 1 gave a seminar on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.
At the same time I was occupied on the studies for Psychology and Alchemy.
One night I awoke and saw, bathed in bright light at the foot of my bed, the figure of Christ on the Cross.
It was not quite life-size, but extremely distinct; and I saw that his body was made of greenish gold.
The vision was marvelously beautiful, and yet I was profoundly shaken by it.
A vision as such is nothing unusual for me, for I frequently see extremely vivid hypnagogic images.
I had been thinking a great deal about the Anima Christi, one of the meditations from the Spiritual Exercises.
The vision came to me as if to point out that I had overlooked something in iny reflections: the analogy of Christ with the aurum non vulgi and the viriditas of the alchemists.
When I realized that the vision pointed to this central alchemical symbol, and that I had had an essentially alchemical vision of Christ, I felt comforted.
The green gold is the living quality which the alchemists saw not only in man but also in inorganic nature.
It is an expression of the life-spirit, the anima mundi or films macrocosmi, the Anthropos who animates the whole cosmos.
This spirit has poured himself out into everything, even into inorganic matter; he is present in metal and stone.
My vision was thus a union of the Christ-image with his analogue in matter, the filius macrocosmi.
If I had not been so struck by the greenish-gold, I would have been tempted to assume that something essential was missing from my “Christian” view in other words, that my traditional Christ-image was somehow inadequate and that I still had to catch up with part of the Christian development.
The emphasis on the metal, however, showed me the undisguised alchemical conception of Christ as a union of spiritually alive and physically dead matter.
I took up the problem of Christ again in Aion.
Here I was concerned not with the various historical parallels but with the relation of the Christ figure to psychology.
Nor did I see Christ as a figure stripped of all externalities.
Rather, I wished to show the development, extending over the centuries, of the religious content which he represented.
It was also important to me to show how Christ could have been astrologically predicted, and how he was understood both in terms of the spirit of his age and in the course of two thousand years of Christian civilization.
This was what I wanted to portray, together with all the curious marginal glosses which have accumulated around him in the course of the centuries.
As I delved into all these matters the question of the historical person, of Jesus the man, also came up.
It is of importance because the collective mentality of his time one might also say: the archetype which was already constellated, the primordial image of the Anthropos was condensed in him, an almost unknown Jewish prophet.
The ancient idea of the Anthropos, whose roots lie in Jewish tradition on the one hand and in the Egyptian Horus myth on the other, had taken possession of the people at the beginning of the Christian era, for it was part of the Zeitgeist.
It was essentially concerned with the Son of Man, God’s own son, who stood opposed to the deified Augustus, the ruler of this world.
This idea fastened upon the originally Jewish problem of the Messiah and made it a world problem.
It would be a serious misunderstanding to regard as “mere chance” the fact that Jesus, the carpenter’s son, proclaimed the gospel and became the savior of the world.
He must have been a person of singular gifts to have been able so completely to express and to represent the general, though unconscious, expectations of his age.
No one else could have been the bearer of such a message; it was possible only for this particular man Jesus.
In those times the omnipresent, crushing power of Rome, embodied in the divine Caesar, had created a world where countless individuals, indeed whole peoples, were robbed of their cultural independence and of their spiritual autonomy.
Today, individuals and cultures are faced with a similar threat, namely of being swallowed up in the mass.
Hence in many places there is a wave of hope in a reappearance of Christ, and a visionary rumor has even arisen which expresses expectations of redemption.
The form it has taken, however, is comparable to nothing in the past, but is a typical child of the “age of technology.”
This is the worldwide distribution of the UFO phenomenon (unidentified flying objects).
Since my aim was to demonstrate the full extent to which my psychology corresponded to alchemy or vice versa I wanted to discover, side by side with the religious questions, what special problems of psychotherapy were treated in the work of the alchemists.
The main problem of medical psychotherapy is the transference.
In this matter Freud and I were in complete agreement.
I was able to demonstrate that alchemy, too, had something that corresponded to the transference is namely, the concept of the coniunctio, whose pre-eminent importance had been noted already by Silberer.
Evidence for this correspondence is contained in my book, Psychology and Alchemy.
Two years later, in 1946, 1 pursued the matter further in “Psychology of the Transference,” and finally my researches led to the Mysterium Coniunctionis.
As with all problems that concerned me personally or scientifically, that of the coniunctio was accompanied or heralded by dreams.
In one of these dreams both this and the Christ problem were condensed in a remarkable image.
I dreamed once more that my house had a large wing which I had never visited. I resolved to look at it, and finally entered.
I came to a big double door.
When I opened it, I found myself in a room set up as a laboratory.
In front of the window stood a table covered with many glass vessels and all the paraphernalia of a zoological laboratory.
This was my father’s workroom.
However, he was not there.
On shelves along the walls stood hundreds of bottles containing every imaginable sort of fish.
I was astonished: so now my father was going in for ichthyology.
As I stood there and looked around I noticed a curtain which bellied out from time to time, as though a strong wind were blowing. Suddenly Hans, a young man from the country, appeared.
I told him to look and see whether a window were open in the room behind the curtain.
He went, and was gone for some time.
When he returned, I saw an expression of terror on his face. He said only, “Yes, there is something. It’s haunted in there!
Then I myself went, and found a door which led to my mother’s room.
There was no one in it.
The atmosphere was uncanny.
The room was very large, and suspended from the ceiling were two rows of five chests each, hanging about two feet above the floor.
They looked like small garden pavilions, each about six feet in area, and each containing two beds.
I knew that this was the room where my mother, who in reality had long been dead, was visited, and that she had set up these beds for visiting spirits to sleep.
They were spirits who came in pairs, ghostly married couples, so to speak, who spent the night or even the day there.
Opposite my mother’s room was a door.
I opened it and entered a vast hall; it reminded me of the lobby of a large hotel.
It was fitted out with easy chairs, small tables, pillars, sumptuous hangings, etc.
A brass band was playing loudly; I had heard music all along in the background, but without knowing where it came from.
There was no one in the hall except the brass band blaring forth dance tunes and inarches.
The brass band in the hotel lobby suggested ostentatious jollity and worldliness.
No one would have guessed that behind this loud facade was the other world, also located in the same building.
The dream-image of the lobby was, as it were, a caricature of my bonhomie or worldly joviality.
But this was only the outside aspect; behind it lay something quite different, which could not be investigated in the blare of the band music: the fish laboratory and the hanging pavilions for spirits.
Both were awesome places in which a mysterious silence prevailed.
In them I had the feeling: Here is the dwelling of night; whereas the lobby stood for the daylight world and its superficiality.
The most important images in the dream were the “reception room for spirits” and the fish laboratory.
The former expresses in somewhat farcial fashion the coniunctio; the latter indicates my preoccupation with Christ, who himself is the fish (ichthys) .
Both were subjects that were to keep me on the go for more than a decade.
It is remarkable that the study of fish was attributed to my father. In the dream he was a caretaker of Christian souls, for, according to the ancient view, these are fish caught in Peter’s net.
It is equally remarkable that in the same dream my mother was a guardian of departed spirits.
Thus both my parents appeared burdened with the problem of the “cure of souls,” which in fact was really my task.
Something had remained unfinished and was still with my parents; that is to say, it was still latent in the unconscious and hence reserved for the future.
I was being reminded that I had not yet dealt with the major concern of “philosophical” alchemy, the coniunctio, and thus had not answered the question which the Christian soul put to me.
Also the major work on the Grail legend, which my wife had made her life’s task, was not completed.
1 recall how often the quest for the Grail and the fisher king came to my mind while I was working on the ichthys symbol in Aion.
Had it not been for my unwillingness to intrude upon my wife’s field, I would unquestionably have had to include the Grail legend in my studies of alchemy.
My memory of my father is of a sufferer stricken with an Amfortas wound, a “fisher king” whose wound would not heal that Christian suffering for which the alchemists sought the panacea.
I as a “dumb” Parsifal was the witness of this sickness during the years of my boyhood, and, like Parsifal, speech failed me.
I had only inklings. In actuality my father had never interested himself in theriomorphic Christ-symbolism.
On the other hand he had literally lived right up to his death the suffering prefigured and promised by Christ, without ever becoming aware that this was a consequence of the imitatio Christi.
He regarded his suffering as a personal affliction for which you might ask a doctor’s advice; he did not see it as the suffering of the Christian in general.
The words of Galatians 2:20: “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” never penetrated his mind in their full significance, for any thinking about religious matters sent shudders of horror through him.
He wanted to rest content with faith, but faith broke faith with him.
Such is frequently the reward of the samficium intellectus.
“Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. . . . There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” (Matthew ignif.)
Blind acceptance never leads to a solution; at best it leads only to a standstill and is paid for heavily in the next generation.
The theriomorphic attributes of the gods show that the gods extend not only into superhuman regions but also into the subhuman realm.
The animals are their shadows, as it were, which nature herself associates with the divine image.
The “pisciculi Christianorum” show that those who imitate Christ are themselves fish that is, unconscious souls who require the cura animarum.
The fish laboratory is a synonym for the ecclesiastical “cure of souls.”
And just as the wounder wounds himself, so the healer heals himself.
Significantly, in the dream the decisive activity is carried out by the dead upon the dead, in the world beyond consciousness, that is, in the unconscious.
At that stage of my life, therefore, I was still not conscious of an essential aspect of my task, nor would I have been able to give a satisfactory interpretation of the dream.
I could only sense its meaning.
I still had to overcome the greatest inner resistances before I could write Answer to Job.
The inner root of this book is to be found in Aion.
There I had dealt with the psychology of Christianity, and Job is a kind of prefiguration of Christ.
The link between them is the idea of suffering.
Christ is the suffering servant of God, and so was Job.
In the case of Christ the sins of the world are the cause of suffering, and the suffering of the Christian is the general answer.
This leads inescapably to the question: Who is responsible for these sins?
In the final analysis it is God who created the world and its sins, and who therefore became Christ in order to suffer the fate of humanity.
In Aion there are references to the bright and dark side of the divine image.
I cited the “wrath of God” the commandment to fear God, and the petition “Lead us not into temptation/’ The ambivalent God-image plays a crucial part in the Book of Job.
Job expects that God will, in a sense, stand by him against God; in this we have a picture of God’s tragic contradictoriness.
This was the main theme of Answer to Job, There were outside forces, too, which impelled me to write this book.
The many questions from the public and from patients had made me feel that I must express myself more clearly about the religious problems of modern man.
For years I had hesitated to do so, because I was fully aware of the storm I would be unleashing.
But at last I could not help being gripped by the problem, in all its urgency and difficulty, and I found myself compelled to give an answer.
I did so in the form in which the problem had presented itself to me, that is, as an experience charged with emotion.
I chose this form deliberately, in order to avoid giving the impression that I was bent on proclaiming some eternal truth.
My Answer to Job was meant to be no more than the utterance of a single individual, who hopes and expects to arouse some thoughtfulness in his public.
I was far from wanting to enunciate a metaphysical truth.
Yet the theologians tax me with that very thing, because theological thinkers are so used to dealing with eternal truths that they know no other kinds.
When the physicist says that the atom is of such and such a composition, and when he sketches a model of it, he too does not intend to express anything like an eternal truth.
But theologians do not understand the natural sciences and, particularly, psychological thinking.
The material of analytical psychology, its principal facts, consist of statements of statements that occur frequently in consistent form at various places and at various times.
The problem of Job in all its ramifications had likewise been foreshadowed in a dream.
It started with my paying a visit to my long-deceased father.
He was living in the country I did not know where. I saw a house in the style of the eighteenth century, very roomy, with several rather large outbuildings.
It had originally been, I learned, an inn at a/spa, and it seemed that many great personages, famous people and princes, had stopped there.
Furthermore, several had died and their sarcophagi were in a crypt belonging to the house.
My father guarded these as custodian.
He was, as I soon discovered, not only the custodian but also a distinguished scholar in his own right which he had never been in his lifetime.
I met him in his study, and, oddly enough, Dr. Y. who was about my age and his son, both psychiatrists, were also present.
I do not know whether I had asked a question or whether my father wanted to explain something of his own accord, but in any case he fetched a big Bible down from a shelf, a heavy folio volume like the Merian Bible in my library.
The Bible my father held was bound in shiny fishskin.
He opened it at the Old Testament I guessed that he turned to the Pentateuch and began interpreting a certain passage.
He did this so swiftly and so learnedly that I could not follow him.
I noted only that what he said betrayed a vast amount of variegated knowledge, the significance of which I dimly apprehended but could not properly judge or grasp.
I saw that Dr. Y. understood nothing at all, and his son began to laugh.
They thought that my father was going off the deep end and what he said was simply senile prattle.
But it was quite clear to me that it was not due to morbid excitement, and that there was nothing silly about what he was saying.
On the contrary, his argument was so intelligent and so learned that we in our stupidity simply could not follow it.
It dealt with something extremely important which fascinated him.
That was why he was speaking with such intensity; his mind was flooded with profound ideas.
I was annoyed and thought it was a pity that he had to talk in the presence of three such idiots as we.
The two psychiatrists represented a limited medical point of view which, of course, also infects me as a physician.
They represent my shadow first and second editions of the shadow, father and son.
Then the scene changed.
My father and I were in front of the house, facing a kind of shed where, apparently, wood was stacked.
We heard loud thumps, as if large chunks of wood were being thrown down or tossed about.
I had the impression that at least two workmen must be busy there, but my father indicated to me that the place was haunted.
Some sort of poltergeists were making the racket, evidently.
We then entered the house, and I saw that it had very thick walls.
We climbed a narrow staircase to the second floor.
There a strange sight presented itself: a large hall which was the exact replica of the divan-i-kaas (council hall) of Sultan Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri.
It was a high, circular room with a gallery running along the wall, from which four bridges led to a basin shaped center.
The basin rested upon a huge column and formed the sultan’s round seat.
From this elevated place he spoke to his councilors and philosophers, who sat along the walls in the gallery.
The whole was a gigantic mandala.
It corresponded precisely to the real divan-i-kaas.
In the dream I suddenly saw that from the center a steep flight of stairs ascended to a spot high up on the wall which no longer corresponded to reality.
At the top of the stairs was a small door, and my father said, “Now I will lead you into the highest presence.”
Then he knelt down and touched his forehead to the floor.
I imitated him, likewise kneeling, with great emotion.
For some reason I could not bring my forehead quite down to the floor there was perhaps a millimeter to spare.
But at least I had made the gesture with him.
Suddenly I knew perhaps my father had told me that that upper door led to a solitary chamber where lived Uriah, King David’s general, whom David had shamefully betrayed for the sake of his wife Bathsheba, by commanding his soldiers to abandon Uriah in the face of the enemy.
I must make a few explanatory remarks concerning this dream.
The initial scene describes how the unconscious task which I had left to my “father,” that is, to the unconscious, was working out.
He was obviously engrossed in the Bible Genesis? And eager to communicate his insights.
The fishskin marks the Bible as an unconscious content, for fishes are mute and unconscious.
My poor father does not succeed in communicating either, for the audience is in part incapable of understanding, in part maliciously stupid.
After this defeat we cross the street to the “other side,” where poltergeists are at work.
Poltergeist phenomena usually take place in the vicinity of young people before puberty; that is to say, I am still immature and too unconscious.
The Indian ambience illustrates the “other side.”
When I was in India, the mandala structure of the divan~i-kaas had in actual fact powerfully impressed me as the representation of a content related to a center.
The center is the seat of Akbar the Great, who rules over a subcontinent, who is a “lord of this world,” like David.
But even higher than David stands his guiltless victim, his loyal general Uriah, whom he abandoned to the enemy.
Uriah is a prefiguration of Christ, the god-man who was abandoned by God. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
On top of that, David had “taken unto himself” Uriah’s wife.
Only later did I understand what this allusion to Uriah signified: not only was I forced to speak publicly, and very much to my detriment, about the ambivalence of the God-image in the Old Testament; but also, my wife would be taken from me by death.
These were the things that awaited me, hidden in the unconscious.
I had to submit to this fate, and ought really to have touched my forehead to the floor, so that my submission would be complete.
But something prevented me from doing so entirely, and kept me just a millimeter away.
Something in me was saying, “All very well, but not entirely.”
Something in me was defiant and determined not to be a dumb fish: and if there were not something of the sort in free men, no Book of Job would have been written several hundred years before the birth of Christ.
Man always has some mental reservation, even in the face of divine decrees.
Otherwise, where would be his freedom?
And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not threaten Him who threatens it?
Uriah, then, lives in a higher place than Akbar.
He is even, as the dream said, the ‘^highest presence,’* an expression which properly is used only of God, unless we are dealing in Byzantinisms.
I cannot help thinking here of the Buddha and his relationship to the gods.
For the devout Asiatic, the Tathagata is the All-Highest, the Absolute.
For that reason Hinayana Buddhism has been suspected of atheism very wrongly so.
By virtue of the power of the gods man is enabled to gain an insight into his Creator.
He has even been given the power to annihilate Creation in its essential aspect, that is, man’s consciousness of the world.
Today he can extinguish all higher life on earth by radioactivity.
The idea of world annihilation is already suggested by the Buddha: by means of enlightenment the Nidana chain the chain of causality which leads inevitably to old age, sickness, and death can be broken, so that the illusion of Being comfes to an end. Schopenhauer’s negation of the Will points prophetically to a problem of the future that has already come threating close.
The dream discloses a thought and a premonition that have long been present in humanity: the idea of the creature that surpasses its creator by a small but decisive factor.
After this excursion into the world of dreams, I must once more come back to my writings.
In Aion I embarked upon a cycle of problems that needed to be dealt with separately.
I had attempted to explain how the appearance of Christ coincided with the beginning of a new aeon, the age of the Fishes.
A synchronicity exists between the life of Christ and the objective astronomical event, the entrance of the spring equinox into the sign of Pisces. Christ is therefore the “Fish” (just as Hammurabi before him was the “Ram”), and comes forth as the ruler of the new aeon.
This led to the problem of synchronicity, which I discussed in my paper “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle.”
The Christ problem in Aion finally led me to the question of how the phenomenon of the Anthropos in psychological terms, the self is expressed in the experience of the individual.
I attempted to give an answer to this in Von den Wurzeln des Bewusstseins ( 1954 ).
There I was concerned with the interplay between conscious and unconscious, with the development of consciousness from the unconscious, and with the impact of the greater personality, the inner man, upon the life of every individual.
This investigation was rounded out by the Mysterium Coniunctionis, in which I once again took up the problem of the transference, but primarily followed my original intention of representing the whole range of alchemy as a kind of psychology of alchemy, or as an alchemical basis for depth psychology.
In Mysterium Coniunctionis my psychology was at last given its place in reality and established upon its historical foundations.
Thus my task was finished, my work done, and now it can stand.
The moment I touched bottom, I reached the bounds of scientific understanding, the transcendental, the nature of the archetype per se, concerning which no further scientific statements can be made.
The survey I have given here of my work is, of course, only a brief summary.
I really ought to say a great deal more, or a great deal less.
It is an improvisation, like everything I am relating here. It is born of the moment.
Those who know my work may possibly profit by it; others perhaps will be impelled to look into my ideas.
My life is what I have done, my scientific work; the one is inseparable from the other.
The work is the expression of my inner development; for commitment to the contents of the unconscious forms the man and produces his transformations.
My works can be regarded as stations along my life’s way.
All my writings may be considered tasks imposed from within; their source was a fateful compulsion.
What I wrote were things that assailed me from within myself.
I permitted the spirit that moved me to speak out.
I have never counted upon any strong response, any powerful resonance, to my writings.
They represent a compensation for our times, and I have been impelled to say what no one wants to hear.
For that reason, and especially at the beginning, I often felt utterly forlorn.
I knew that what I said would be unwelcome, for it is difficult for people of our times to accept the counterweight to the conscious world.
Today I can say that it is truly astonishing that I have had as much success as has been accorded me far more than I ever could have expected.
I have the feeling that I have done all that it was possible for me to do.
Without a doubt that life work could have been larger, and could have been done better; but more was not within my power. ~Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Pages 200-237