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Several times in his life, starting at age 10, Jung carved human figures in wood or in stone.

At the age of 45, he had one of these figures reproduced in stone and placed in his garden (see the photo).

Only while I was doing this work did the unconscious supply me with a name.

It called the figure Atmavictu, breath of life (…) the creative impulse.

Only much later, by the end of his life, did the meaning of this repeated ritual become clear to him :

In fact, the whole thing was a Cabir (…) endowed with a provision of vital strength, in the form of a long dark stone.

The Cabirs were nature deities, whose cult was close to that of the goddess Demeter.

They were related to the creative element and the birth of life.

Translated from : C.G. JUNG, Ma vie. Souvenirs, rêves et pensées. Folio (1992), p.43.

He was my companion for many thousands of years. First he was an old man, then he died and became a bear. That too died and became a fish otter. This also died and became a black newt. This also died, then Atmaviktu became entered into me and immediately raised me to the threshold of splendor. I myself am the Atmaviktu, the ancient. Formerly he erred and became a man, while he is actually an earth serpent. ~Serpent, The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 290

That was the spirit of and the error of Atmaviktu. He is still erring and hasn’t flown into my throat yet. When he comes near me, I swallow him, so that I become full and my stony heaviness and immobility dwindle. I lack Atmaviktu’s soul. If I possess it, I will enter into the gate of splendor. I will lay myself over the gorge. I am the bridge, the living arch that leads over to the land of men and from the land of men into the golden castle. ~Serpent, The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 290

Serpent: Atmaviktu is a kobold, a conjuror of serpents, and is himself a serpent. Do I know who I am?

Soul: You should know, you blind worm.

Serpent: My name is my essence. I have been called Atmaviktu since my birth, if it has ever taken place. Perhaps I always was and always will be. How should I know who I am? ~The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 290

Serpent: Atmaviktu? I am the kernel of the self The self is no man. That was Atmaviktu’s error. That was my banishment and my darkness for many thousands of years.

Soul: So that is Atmaviktu!

Jung: But what is the green robe?

Serpent: That’s Atmaviktu’s cloak, which he took off as a man when he died and became an animal.

Soul: Yet what is the robe?

Serpent: His humanity. ~The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 291

Soul: Tell me, why did Atmaviktu become a man?

Serpent: It was unavoidable. He became sick from longing for man. His head hurt, because he could not think what he did. Therefore he became a man for the sake of healing. He remained in this state, and that was his error, since no one can become their own mantle. He realized this and died, in that he went into the forest and became a bear. Through this men became more human and began to build castles and left the forests to the bears. As they spread and increased their power, they cleared out the woods. Then Atmaviktu died for the third time and drew himself back as an otter into the water. Once more men spread themselves and built ships and headed to new shores. Then Atmaviktu died for the fourth time and became a black newt and drew himself back into the waters under the earth. But men conquered the whole earth and flooded everything with their might. However in the darkness Atmaviktu found his own self again, namely, myself, the white, self-illuminating serpent, which feeds on fire and has also swallowed the last error of Atmaviktu. ~Serpent, The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 291-292

Image legend: “The accursed dragon has eaten the sun, its belly being cut open and he must not hand over the gold of the sun, together with his blood. This is the turning back of Atmavictu, of the old one. He who destroyed the proliferating green covering is the youth who helped me to kill Siegfried.” ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Page 305, fn 226

It called the figure Atmavictu-the ‘breath of life.’ It is a further development of that quasi-sexual object of my childhood, which turned out to be the ‘breath of life,’ the creative impulse. Basically, the manikin is a kabir” ~Carl Jung, MDR, pp. 38-39.

Arab Youth Spirit of Gravity

the figure of Atmavictu went through a number of incarnations, as an old man, a bear, an otter, a newt, a serpent, then simultaneously a man and an earth serpent. He was Izdubar and became Philemon. The black magician, Ha, was the father of Philemon. Ka was the father of Salome, and also the brother of the Buddha. Ka was Philemon’s shadow. Philemon further identified himself with Elijah and Khidr and claimed that he would become Phanes. ~The Black Books, Vol. I, Page 70