[Carl Jung on the Symbol of the Bee and Kundalini]
To Elined Kotschnig
Dear Mrs. Kotschnig, 23 July 1934
The symbol of the bee, though belonging to the general class of the insects, is a very particular one. Insects in general always point to the sympathetic system, usually demonstrating a certain activity therein, owing to the fact that insects possess only a sympathetic system which is highly automatic and mechanical.
The bee in the case of your patient shows an intense activity, a continuous vibration that produces a sort of humming sound like a swarm of bees.
It is a peculiar restlessness in the lower centers closely associated with sex.
The bee is the symbol of the dormant Kundalini that is ready to strike.
Therefore in the Tantra Yoga (Footnote 2) it is said that she produces a humming sound like a swarm of erotically excited bees.
It shows a peculiar restlessness which draws all the attention to itself, so that the conscious becomes almost inaccessible to outward impressions and arguments.
The purpose of such an activity is never what the conscious would assume, namely an immediate erotic experience.
On the contrary, it is an intense enhancing of the Self.
This is the reason why such people always fall in love with those who don’t love them in return.
It is in order to prevent the erotic experience, because such an experience would alienate the person from her secret purpose, which, at least for the time being, is individuation.
In this case it would mean a greater awareness of herself.
As a matter of fact the bee symbolizes that instinct which makes her thoroughly autoerotic.
This is not wrong for the moment, as she is not grown up enough.
In certain respects she is still like a child who needs all her libido for her own development.
The bee as it is now presumably symbolizes erotic fantasies and thoughts that sting her.
The picture she has drawn proves that the bee-instinct is seeking the Rose, .i.e., the mandala, the symbol for the Self.
C.G. Jung [Letters Volume 1; Pages 169-171
Footnote 2: ln Tantric Yoga the Kundalini serpent lies coiled up in muladhara, the nethermost chakra (cf. Wilhelm, 27 Aug. 29, n. 2 ) and in meditation is experienced as moving upwards through the other cakras. Cf. also Anon., 5 July p, n. 2.