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Carl Jung: Dream Analysis Seminar Lecture IV

Visions Seminar

Dream  Seminar Lecture IV 28 November 1928

Before continuing our dream, I must tell you about certain things which have happened in the meantime.

Those of you who are intuitive probably observed that the mood in our second meeting was somewhat upset.

We had the bull dream with its community aspect, and so we lived through a little scene which we might have watched in ancient Athens-I mentioned the fact that important men used to tell their dreams, and illustrated it by the dream of the senator’s daughter and the dream of the Greek poet.

Or we might have watched such a scene in the market-place of some primitive village, where a man gets up and says: “In the night I saw a vision, a spirit spoke,” and then everybody gathers round and is dreadfully impressed.

All this has brought interesting coincidences to light.

You remember that on the 21st of November we spoke of the bull and the meaning of the bull-fight.

The dreamer is a man whom I occasionally still see-that means analysis has not killed him yeti Now from the 20th to the 24th he spent four days making a picture which he could not understand, and which astonished him so much that he came to me to ask for an explanation.

He had to draw a bull’s head, and it must be a very sacred bull because he holds the disc of the sun between the horns.

Unfortunately I cannot show you the picture because the man thinks we have already been very indiscreet in discussing his dreams here in the seminar.

I get my examples from my patients-from you tool I told him that we were talking of the bull in connection with his dream, and that his drawing synchronizes with that, and then I explained to him the meaning of his drawing.

Then after our last meeting, after Dr. Shaw’s dream, when I commented on the antique meaning of the bull-fight, I got another letter from Mexico, from the friend who had just actually been to a bull-fight.

This letter came two days after the last seminar, it would have been about two weeks on the way, so she must have written it just about the day when we first spoke of the bull in the seminar.

She does not describe the fighting.

I will quote what she says: “The one point of supreme art in the whole thing is the moment when the bull stops still, confused, and faces the matador, and the matador standing in front of him makes the gesture of scorn to show his complete mastery.” ”

The matador is the point of perfect conscious control in that weltering mass of unconsciousness, in that black background of barbarism.”

And it seemed to me that that was the meaning of the symbol: one must have perfect conscious control, perfect style and consummate grace and daring, to live in the bosom of barbarism; if one weakens anywhere one is done for.

That is why the bull-fight was the symbol of the divine.

And the toreador is the hero because he is the only shining light in that dark mass of passion and rage, that lack of control and discipline.

He personifies the perfect discipline.

My friend is a quite independent observer, but she got the gist of it and in that moment found it necessary to convey it to me.

This is what we call just a coincidence.

I mention it to show how the dream is a living thing, by no means a dead thing that rustles like dry paper.

It is a living situation, it is like an animal with feelers, or with many umbilical cords.

We don’t realize that while we are ……………. talking of it, it is producing ..

This is why primitives talk of their dreams, and why I talk of dreams.

We are moved by the dreams, they express us and we express them, and there are coincidences connected with them.

We decline to take coincidences seriously because we cannot consider them as causal.

True, we would make a mistake to consider them as causal; events don’t come about because of dreams, that would be absurd, we can never demonstrate that; they just happen.

But it is wise to consider the fact that they do happen.

We would not notice them if they were not of a peculiar regularity, not like that of laboratory experiments, it is only a sort of irrational regularity.

The East bases much of its science on this irregularity and considers coincidences as the reliable basis of the world rather than causality.

Synchronism1 is the prejudice of the East; causality is the modern prejudice of the West.

The more we busy ourselves with dreams, the more we shall see such coincidences–chances.

Remember that the oldest Chinese scientific book is about the possible chances of life.

Now we will continue our dream.

We are practically through with the associations, and we ought to try our hand on the interpretation.

We should sum up all the associations, in this case a pretty strenuous business because there are so many of them if we take in all the connotations mentioned.

The jeu de paume and the bull-fight are not in the dream itself, but we must consider the whole context because the mind of the dreamer has been moulded upon that model.

Our minds have been made by the history of mankind; what men have thought has influenced the structure of our own minds.

Therefore when we go into a careful, painstaking analysis of our mental processes, we must get back into what others have thought in the past.

To explain certain thinking processes in a modern man, one cannot get along today without the past.

One can explain the personal to a certain extent, for example, that this man wants to buy a new car; but to buy a new car, a modern thought, is only the cause that excites a certain kind of thinking which he
has not made; for the most important part of his logical deduction, the whole past is responsible.

Only in the middle ages did we learn to think logically-and then through religious teachers.

The primitives did not possess logical thinking, simply because they could not produce the same kind of abstract reasoning which we can produce.

There must have been a long period of time before our minds were trained to produce an abstract condition of mind over and against the temptations of the senses or emotions.

In technical matters the ancients never could hold an abstract thought for any length of time, they were always interrupted by the playful instinct.

We see this in old engines or machines as late as 1820; in an old pump, for example, the axles were placed upon two Doric columns; and certain machines were built in the rococo style-perfectly ridiculous.

That is playing; and the more they played, of course, the less chance there was of the machine being efficient.

They stopped at the curiosity which pleased their senses so never got to any serious kind of thinking.

Sailing against the wind, tacking, was not known in antiquity; it was invented by the Normans in the twelfth century.

Before that time sailors always had to wait till the wind was favourable or take to the oars; and they had no deep keels or even heavy keels, only flat bottoms.

Yet they had boats up to 1500 tons, and the Egyptian vessels which brought wheat to Rome were about 1800 tons.

We began to build ships again of that tonnage only in the nineteenth century, about 1840.

These are the historical ways in which our mind has developed and they need to be taken into account; we need to consider the historical connotations in trying to explain dreams; we cannot understand
them on the personal basis only. In practical analysis however, one cannot go so far into the historical pathways.

As far as it is feasible, I try to be short, practical, and personal.

In this first dream that 1 analysed with the patient, I did not draw his attention to the cult of Mithras, the jeu d,e paume, etc., there was no reason to do so, I was quite satisfied to give him some superficial
idea of its meaning.

But here in the seminar we must go into detail to see what the dream is made of, perhaps more so than in the dreams I have analyzed with you personally.

This. man would be astonished to hear us talking of his dream, he would not recognize it.

Now let us go back to the dream once more and try to make a general interpretation.

Very often the end of a dream can teach one something; at the end something has usually happened to the figures that appeared on the stage, so that the situation at the beginning and the events between are quite explicable.

In this case we could easily begin at the end, where we strike the very important fact which the whole dream leads up to, that the dreamer is obviously bored by that name, Maria, and yawns in pronouncing it; and the protests of members of the family show that he himself protests against it from the family standpoint.

He is a family man and the family is an almost sacred thing, it is rather awful to yawn over the name of one’s wife.

So we are introduced to his personal conflict right away; he is bored against his will, it is not his intention and he dislikes it.

In such a case we can draw a conclusion as to the economy of his mental state. What would you conclude?

Suggestion: He is unconscious of being bored?

Dr. Jung: Yes, quite right: he would not need to dream of it if he were aware of it; his non-admission goes so far that he has to dream of it.

The dream has to tell him: “My dear fellow, you are just bored!”

We are always assuming that we know even the unconscious, which of course is perfect nonsense; the unconscious is what we don’t know.

You would assume that you would realize it if you were bored, but there are situations in which you would not dare to realize it, you would rather think you were ill.

There are situations in which we cannot afford to admit the truth, it may go too much against our own interests; we cannot admit the true nature of our emotions, they are too shocking.

He is a very nice man, a family man, a father and all that, so of course he is duly interested in his wife, and the dream has to tell him: “You are just bored, that’s the truth!”

Now when a man is forced to realize that he is bored, what happens to his life force, his libido?

Suggestion: I should think it would begin to occupy itself with what he could do about it.

Dr. Jung: What would be his preoccupations?-that is the right word, the things that come before occupations. Haven’t women been bored by husbands? What could they do?

Suggestion: That is too much in the psychology of a man.

Dr. Jung: I am not so certain! But here the dreamer is a man so let us keep to his role. What will he do?

Suggestion: He would begin to look out of the window.

Dr. Jung: In this dream nothing of the sort is mentioned. Your conclusion is not proven in this case.

Suggestion: I think he must have looked out of the window before he had that dream.

Dr. Jung: Quite right, he has often looked out of the window and is beyond the state where this would come in a dream.

He is now in a situation where he is seeking more; he is still bored with his wife, looking out of the window has not helped that, and he has come to the conclusion that that won’t do.

Certain hints in the dream might help him out, such little things, but he could not accept them; they would seem ridiculous to him, they represent no answer, he needs another answer; so he arrives at a standstill.

We assume that the dream contains an answer to his very big problem, so we must read it as a message coming from the unconscious, we must take it very seriously, and all the more because the situation of this man is similar to that of many other men, and there are innumerable women who are bored to death with their husbands.

Plenty of people between forty and seventy have been or might be in a similar situation.

Therefore the dream is of general importance.

Going into it with the associations should give us an idea of what one should do in such a situation.

The dream speaks first of the child of his youngest sister and of the invitation of his brother-in-law to go to the theatre and to dine afterwards.

Obviously he is put in rapport with that part of his family.

You remember that this youngest sister was his particular pet, eleven years younger, and he still feels her to be a little child and is very fond of her; he was almost as grieved when she lost her child as he would have been had it been his own, so there is a particularly close relation between himself and this sister; and he is also on good terms with her husband.

These people, with whom he is at present not actually concerned, would be taken on the objective level if they were near or of any actual importance.

But since they are far away, we are safe in assuming that they represent subjective contents in the dream, parts of the dreamer himself, stage figures in his private theatre.

So we can only arrive at the real meaning of this part of the dream when we see what these people represent in him.

The child, as you know, is an unreal, imaginary child; the real child is dead.

We will leave that imaginary child for the time being.

First, the brother-in-law:

The dreamer has been in an important position, a director of a business company, and his brother-in-law, being a younger man, has succeeded him; so he followed him, he is the representative of the one that follows us, the shadow.

The shadow is always the follower.

Suggestion: The shadow often goes before.

Dr. Jung: Yes, when the sun is behind. But the old idea of the synopados4 is the one that follows and comes with us; it is the idea of a personal daemon:

scit Genius, natale comes qui temperat astrum, naturae deus humanae, mortalis in unum quodque caput, voltu mutabilis, albus et ater.

-a god of changeful face, white and black, that is in everybody, a daemon of contradictory aspects.

Now why should we translate such a figure in such a way?

Why should we call his brother-in-law his shadow?

Answer: The dreamer has been so much in business that parts of him have been neglected which are represented by the brother-in-law.

Dr. Jung: Well, the more one turns to the light, the greater is the shadow behind one’s back.

Or, the more one turns one’s eyes to the light of consciousness, the more one feels the shadow at one’s back. That term is in complete harmony with ancient ideas.

There is an excellent book called The Man without a Shadow, from which a very good film has been made, The Student of Prague, a sort of second Faust.

It is the story of a student, pressed for money, making a contract with the devil.

The devil offers him 900,000 gold sovereigns heaped up on the table before him, and he cannot resist.

He says: “Of course I can’t expect you to give me all that gold without something in return?”

“Oh, nothing of importance”, says the devil, ‘just something you have in this room.”

The student laughs-there isn’t much in the room, old sword, bed, books, etc., very poor.

“You are welcome to anything you please, you see there isn’t much of value here!”

Then the devil says: “Stand here and ‘look into the mirror.”

The great asset of the movies is the amazing effects they can produce.

One sees the man and his reflection in the mirror, and the devil stands behind and beckons to the reflection of the student in the glass, and the reflection comes out in a quite extraordinary way and follows the devil.

The student stares into the mirror and can no longer see himself, he is a man without a shadow. And the devil walks away.

Then the film goes on picturing all the embarrassing situations the student finds himself in because he has lost his shadow.

For instance, the barber hands him a mirror after he has shaved him, and he looks in and says, “Yes, that is all right,” but he sees nothing, no reflection, he has to pretend he does.

Another time he is going to a ball with a lady, and in a mirror at the head of the stairs he sees the lady with an arm as if through his, but he is not there.

It is the situation of a man who has split off all consciousness of his shadow, who has lost it.

Our patient is more or less like that, and his shadow is here represented by the one who follows him, his brother-in-law.

There is no scientific proof that this is so, we assume it as a working hypothesis.

And if the brother-in-law, represents the shadow, it follows that the wife of the shadow is a very definite figure; and must have the characteristics of that figure, the wife is the anima.

To elucidate such obscure and complicated concepts, as shadow, anima, etc. a diagram is useful to show what is or is not logical.

We must start from archetypal ideas, we must begin by the idea of totality; and we express the totality of personality, male and female, by a circle.

There would necessarily be a centre to it, but one cannot assign the central place to consciousness because our consciousness is always one-sided.

If one looks at what is before one’s eyes one is unaware of what is behind one’s back; one cannot be conscious of everything in a given moment.

To be conscious one must be concentrated; one is always conscious of something specific.

The total personality could be described as consciousness plus the unconscious.

There is the area of the habitually unconscious, and the area of the relatively unconscious.

And so there is an area which is only relatively conscious; there are times when one is conscious of this and times when one is conscious of something else.

Consciousness is like a searchlight wandering over the field; only those points which are illuminated are conscious.

The unconscious or dark side, the part that is habitually unconscious, is the sphere of the shadow, and that has no particular centre because we don’t know where it would be.

The shadow is of course a sort of centre, a certain personality different from the conscious one, in this dream the brother-in-law.

Our consciousness is turned to what we call the world.

In order to move in the world we have need of a certain attitude or persona, the mask we turn toward the world.

People with a very strong persona have very mask-like faces.

I remember a woman patient who had such a face.

She was an anima figure to men, mysterious and fascinating just because of her mask-mystery behind, a mystery woman.

I get sick when I hear of it, but not everyone does.

The “mystery woman” of the movies is an anima figure.

This woman was said to have a very peaceful harmonious nature, but inside she was just the opposite, terribly torn and full of amazing contradictions of character.

Without her mask she would be just pulp, no countenance whatever.

Persona is a sort of paste one wears over the face.

What we see of the world is far from the totality, it is merely the surface; we don’t see into the substance of the world, into what Kant called “the thing in itself.”

That would be the unconscious of things, and inasmuch as they are unconscious they are unknown to us.

So we need the other half of the world, the world of the shadow, the inside of things.

The split between the conscious and the unconscious goes right through the world.

Now, if I have a skin of adaptation for the conscious world, I must have one for the unconscious world too.

The anima is the completion of the man’s whole adaptation to unknown or partly known things.

It was only very lately that I arrived at the conclusion that the anima is the counterpart of the persona, and always appears as a woman of a certain quality because she is in connection with the man’s specific shadow.

In the case of our dreamer we have a very typical demonstration of the anima.

She is connected with the brother-in-law, the shadow, as his wife; with the little sister, his female pet, the innermost female that he loves the most; and with the child for whom he has very tender feelings, as something close to his own soul.

Therefore it is a figure that one can designate as a soul symbol.

I have chosen to use the word anima to avoid all trouble with the meaning of “soul.”

That sister of his in the dream is the figure that is married to the shadow, and the further statement of the dream is that this female has an imaginary child.

An imaginary fact is not a non-existent fact, but one of a different order.

A fantasy, for instance, is a very dynamic fact.

Remember that one can be killed by a fantasy, and to be killed by a shot fired in war or by a lunatic is al the same – one is dead!

When the dream speaks of a child, that is a definite entity, as his sister and brother-in-law, the dream-mother and the dream-father, are definite entities.

They have a psychological existence, they are facts that work and they constitute a world that works.

There is not one thing in our civilization that has not first been in the imagination, in fantasy; even houses and chairs have first existed in the imagination of the architect or designer.

The World War came about through mere opinions that war should be declared on Serbia, opinions based on fantasy, imagination.

Fantasies are most dangerous; we would be wise to make up our minds that an imaginary child or woman is a dangerous reality, and all the more so because not visible.

I would much rather deal with a real woman than with an imaginary woman.

An anima can bring about the most amazing results: she can send a man practically anywhere in the world; what a real woman could not do the anima can do.

If the anima says so, one must go.

If a wife talks boring nonsense, one curses her, but when the anima talks boring nonsense-

Question: Why has the anima such power?

Dr. Jung: Because we undervalue the importance of imagination.

The anima and animus have tremendous influence because we leave the shadow to them.

By not being aware of having a shadow, you declare a part of your personality to be non-existent.

Then it enters the kingdom of the non-existent, which swells up and takes on enormous proportions.

When you don’t acknowledge that you have such qualities, you are simply feeding the devils.

In medical language, each quality in the psyche represents a certain energic value, and if you declare an energic value to be non-existent, a devil appears instead.

If you declare that the river which flows by your house is non-existent, it may swell up and fill your garden with pebbles and sand and undermine your house.

If you give such a limitless possibility to nature to work by itself, nature can do what she pleases.

If you see a herd of cattle or pigs and say they are non-existent, they are immediately all over the place, the cows will eat up the rose-garden and the pigs will climb into your bed and sleep there!

In this way the non-existent grows fat. Meyrink’s Die Fledermause (otherwise very bad) describes very vividly a world in which are living some extremely poor specimens of people, pale, sad, unhealthy, and getting worse and worse; and then the discovery is made that as they decrease, certain corpses in the graveyard are growing proportionately fat.

The thing you have buried grows fat while you grow thin.

If you get rid of qualities you don’t like by denying them, you become more and more unaware of what you are, you declare yourself more and more non-existent, and your devils will grow fatter and fatter.

As the shadow is a definite entity, so the anima is a definite entity, and so is this child a definite entity, and all the more dangerous because it is an imaginary child.

She is dangerous because she might reflect back on the patient himself.

This is again empirical, a mere working hypothesis, but we are forced to make them.

The main point is that she is about two years old, that she is pale and ill, and that she is the product of the union of the shadow and the anima-they come together somehow.

It is very mysterious, very difficult to explain it at all.

We know the product is two years old and that the patient began his occult studies which led him into analysis two years ago; that is the significant fact.

If such a definite time is stated in a dream, it is a hint that it is necessary to pay attention to the time element in the history of the case.

To dream of a child of seven years means that seven years ago something started.

Another patient of mine dreamt she had a child just five years old who gave her terrible trouble and might have a bad effect on her mind.

I asked: “In the same month just five years ago, what happened?”

The woman could not think at first and then she became very much embarrassed: she had fallen in love with a man and had declared her feeling non-existent.

She had had a hell of a life in her marriage to another man, and was now devil-haunted for fear she would go crazy.

Women who have kept that fact secret have really gone crazy!

Because she was of a simple family, and he of a more aristocratic one, she felt her love was hopeless, never assuming that he could love her; so she married another man and had two children.

Then three years ago she met a friend of the first man who told her that he had loved her and had therefore never married. “Your marriage stabbed him to the heart.”

Soon after this, while bathing her older child, a little girl of three or four, with the eyes of her first lover-she liked to think of her as the child of her lover-she noticed the little girl drinking the water
from the bathtub, very infectious, unfiltered water.

She knew this but let it happen, and even let her boy drink the same water.

Both children were taken ill with typhoid, and the older child died.

The woman went into a deep depression, like dementia praecox, and was sent to a lunatic asylum where I treated her.

I soon found out the whole story and felt that the only hope for her was to tell her the brutal truth: “You have killed your child in order to kill your marriage.”

Of course she didn’t know what she was doing; because she denied her former love, declared it non-existent, she fed her devils and they suggested killing the daughter of her husband.

In this case the awful thing in her dream was born of the bogie of three years ago at the moment when she heard that her first lover was deeply grieved that she had married another man ..

She had “fed her devils,” the animus, and they had killed her child.

The woman recovered.

Question: Do you think there is really a connection between the marriage of the shadow and the anima, and the fact that the patient was led to occult studies?

Dr. Jung: I assume that the occult science he was trying to study would represent symbolically the dark and unknown side of things; since that interest was born out of the union of the shadow and
anima it would naturally be expressed by something occult.

The union of the shadow and anima has the character of something exceedingly mysterious.

That it eventually led our patient to occult studies is an important hint as to the kind of experience.

It feels like something strange and amazing like an event that could only take place in a non-existent imaginary world; one can’t express it properly, it is too odd, too unheard of, one gets only a repercussion from it.

I asked this man what had brought him into such studies and he could not tell me; he just felt that the world had another side.

He had got out of it all that outward success could give, but had the idea that this was not all; so he drifted toward the occult, he began to read about Atlantis, etc., in order to find where “that thing” was hidden.

Whatever that union between the shadow and anima may be, it has that effect.

Now the unconscious says it is an unsound kind of occupation and therefore the child is ill.

This is a piece of important information to him and to me.

Otherwise I would have no right to be critical.

Neither I nor anybody else could assume that his occult studies were necessarily morbid; the dream gave us the hint that it was pathological, that these studies were wrong.

Then he is invited to go to the theatre and to dine, but Mrs. Anima is not there, she is staying away, concerned with the ill child.

The shadow invites the dreamer to the theatre so that he may see all that the shadow sees, the scenery of the unconscious.

What is the secret purpose of the brother-in-law? What is he driving at?

He is trying to arrive at some kind of communion; by going with the shadow the dreamer goes with the part of himself which he has declared to be nonexistent.

When I say I am going to dinner with someone I give reality to that person.

The fact that he goes to dinner with the shadow means that he accepts the existence of the shadow as he accepts his brother-in-law; he admits the reality

of his shadow side that he is so terribly bored, that he has fantasies, etc.

He will go and see those images, and by assimilating them the ultimate goal of the dream, that the child shall be cured, will be furthered.

The child is ill because he has begun his studies in the wrong way, he ought to begin by the shadow.

Just recently a representative theosophist told me that he thought they ought to introduce analysis into their theosophy.

They begin to realize that unless they begin at the right end, with the shadowl their occult pursuits are morbid.

The right beginning is within. Learn of one’s own dark side, then one can tackle theosophy.

Theosophy means the “wisdom of God.”

Can we have that? Heavens, no! Be wise about yourself, then you know something.

Next week I should like you to give me your own interpretations of the dream, either your individual interpretations, or form groups and discuss it, with one member as the spokesman.

The teacher hasn’t to do all the work! ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 43-56