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Carl Jung and it was necessary for me to instruct the figures of the unconscious


d4930 death

Memories Dreams Reflections

[Carl Jung and “it was necessary for me to instruct the figures of the unconscious,..]

The figures from the unconscious are uninformed too, and need man, or contact with consciousness, in order to attain to knowledge.

When I began working with the unconscious, I found myself much involved with the figures of Salome and Elijah.

Then they receded, but after about two years they reappeared.

To my enormous astonishment, they were completely unchanged; they spoke and acted as if nothing had happened in the meanwhile.
In actuality the most incredible things had taken place in my life.

I had, as it were, to begin from the beginning again, to tell them all about what had been going on, and explain things to them.
At the time I had been greatly surprised by this situation.

Only later did I understand what had happened: in the interval the two had sunk back into the unconscious and into themselves I might equally well put it, into timelessness.

They remained out of contact with the ego and the ego’s changing circumstances, and therefore were ignorant of what had happened in the world of consciousness.

Quite early I had learned that it was necessary for me to instruct the figures of the unconscious, or that other group which is often indistinguishable from them, the “spirits of the departed.”

The first time I experienced this was on a bicycle trip through upper Italy which I took with a friend in 1911.

On the way home we cycled from Pavia to Arona, on the lower part of Lake Maggiore, and spent the night there.

We had intended to pedal on along the lake and then through the Tessin as far as Faido, where we were going to take the train to Zurich.

But in Arona I had a dream which upset our plans.

In the dream I was in an assemblage of distinguished spirits of earlier centuries; the feeling was similar to the one I had later toward the “illustrious ancestors” in the black rock temple of my 1944 vision.

The conversation was conducted in Latin.

A gentleman with a long, curly wig addressed me and asked a difficult question, the gist of which I could no longer recall after I woke up.

I understood him, but did not have a sufficient command of the language to answer him in Latin. I felt so profoundly humiliated by this that the emotion awakened me.

At the very moment of awakening I thought of the book I was then working on, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido, and had such intense inferiority feelings about the unanswered question that I immediately took the train home in order to get back to work.

It would have been impossible for me to continue the bicycle trip and lose another three days.

I had to work, to find the answer.

Not until years later did I understand the dream and my reaction.

The bewigged gentleman was a kind of ancestral spirit, or spirit of the dead, who had addressed questions to me in vain!

It was still too soon, I had not yet come so far, but I had an obscure feeling that by working on my book I would be answering the question that had been asked.

It had been asked by, as it were, my spiritual forefathers, in the hope and expectation that they would learn what they had not been able to find out during their time on earth, since the answer had first to be created in the centuries that followed.

If question and answer had already been in existence in eternity, had always been there, no effort on my part would have been necessary, and it could all have been discovered in any other century.

There does seem to be unlimited knowledge present in nature, it is true, but it can be comprehended by consciousness only when the time is ripe for it.

The process, presumably, is like what happens in the individual psyche: a man may go about for many years with an inkling of something, but grasps it clearly only at a particular moment. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections