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Dream analysis. Notes of the seminar given in 1928-1930 by C.G. Jung. Edited by William McGuire.

LECTURE V 5 December 1928

Today I want to hear your interpretations of the dream.

He is very widely read, and has a very thorough mind; he did it in quite a conscientious way.

One must be careful in speaking of the anima as the promoter of an interest.

Moods are only one symptom of the anima-there are other most conspicuous symptoms.

The anima can give one very strange ideas: she can, for instance, give that peculiar quality which makes a man lead his life as a sort of adventure or quest, making the task the goal of his whole life.

Napoleon is an example, whose dream it was to be like Alexander the Great; his life became a quest, a romantic adventure; that shows the influence of the anima.

Our Swiss dreamer is thoroughly romantic, he went at the occult studies in the way of a quest, set out like a knight seeking adventures, and that is the doing of the anima.

The anima doesn’t busy herself with nonsense alone, she is also the femme inspiratrice: she gives a man very great ideas and generous impulses, she can make a man’s life grand and noble, not merely a bundle of moods.

It is true that when the anima is behind a man there is also some trap,

as if the incentive were somehow wrong, or as if it were done with only half his brains, as if it were not the whole man, his complete personality.

This man is a merchant, and when he goes into the occult, he is living only half of himself, not the sum total of his personality.

He is like a person with a hobby.

His later dreams constellated the fact that he is a merchant and that he has a practical mind; he would be dreaming of very mythological situations and then in would come the practical merchant.

Once he dreamed he was in the presence of a peculiar evil deity, a yellow ball, and he was doing some magic with it, so one would expect something tremendous; but in making a picture of it, what should have been a yellow god came out like a piece of money, a gold coin.

He wanted to burn up that yellow ball but someone had cut the wires.

Then he was irritated, he wanted to kill people, and the only weapon he could find was a horseshoe-not sufficient to kill his enemies, so he got into a funk and rushed, like a boy, sliding down the banisters to escape, thinking that he wasn’t up to that problem.

It was as if he himself had cut the wires so that the yellow god couldn’t be burned.

The dream showed how near the pairs of opposites had approached each other, it was a close fight.

But then he was still far away from the problem of what the yellow god means and what the occult studies mean.

He was primarily a business man and then he switched off to occult studies.

That is what the anima can do alone, when she works unaided by the man; she can switch him off to an entirely different sphere where he forgets his ordinary life.

But she remains apart, as in She.

Dr. Deady: Therefore that study, the birth of a new interest, is the birth of a child; so the child is his interest in the occult. But his interest in the occult is an anima interest, not a masculine logos interest; consequently the child is sick.

It is his shadow and his anima that have this interest, and they are both in his unconscious so he is led into something over which he has no control.

He has to know his unconscious, to be related to his shadow, if he is to go into theosophy, etc., consciously. The dream represents the situation and is dynamic: he goes to the theatre and dines, that is, he takes steps towards a new attitude, towards consciousness.

Dr. Jung: You should mention that his brother-in-law, his shadow, invited him to go to the theatre, he does not think of it himself.

The message came from his unconscious, as if a low voice had spoken: “Go to the theatre.” Just so the voice said to Socrates, “Make more music.”

And another time, “Take the street to the left,” and by listening to the voice of his daemon, Socrates avoided a great herd of pigs that were rushing down the street he had been on.

I was consulted recently by a woman who hears such a voice; she is just nicely mad, sort of home-like.

She has a voice that speaks from down below, in her belly, and gives excellent advice; she comes to be cured of her voice yet wants to keep it.

It is the voice of the shadow, of course.

For instance, she was accustomed to write individual notes to all her people at Christmas, but then her voice suggested that she should send the same note to everyone.

Since our man is not mad, he hears the voice in sleep, not in consciousness.

The voice is peculiarly banal and also great.

One may make a mistake, as Socrates did when he took his voice literally and went out and bought a flute.

And that woman is bewildered, she doesn’t know whether it is the voice of God or the devil.

One ought to be afraid and yet it should not be taken entirely seriously.

A Negro woman who was a bit mad once told me: “Yes, the Lord is working in me like a clock, funny and serious.”

That is exactly what dreams are-funny and serious.

So it is important for our patient to notice where the message comes from, that it comes from the unconscious.

For his conscious thinks he has already dined, has already made some occult studies.

But you have not got to the main point of the dream.

Miss Taylor (Second interpretation):

The message of the dream is conversion, a change of attitude.

When the old way of living begins to lose interest, any time between forty and seventy, the moment has come for a change, not of outward conditions but one within:
for a union between the ego and the shadow, by looking at and assimilating the images of the unconscious to obtain the mana stored up in them to create anew: “his brother-in-law asks him to go to the theatre with him and to dine afterwards.”

The problem of the dreamer is

(1) his ultra-correctness-he gave up the study of the occult not through lack of interest but because there was “some odium” around that study;

(2) consequent boredom-grey shutters, etc.; and

(3) his unconscious primitive feeling-he asks a sick child to pronounce correctly and yawns in saying his wife’s name. He is bored by his wife but his correctness prevents
him from realizing it until his dream tells him, and hints that the blame lies in himself-“people protest.”

“Girl two years old”: Two years before on the death of his sister’s boy his feeling was constellated and a girl-child was born, the Eros principle in himself.

He began to question: he had had an active, successful life, yet he was bored, and a new interest was awakened in him, an interest in the other world.

Also two years before, his sister, on whom he had projected his anima, went away.

As he had no real relation with an actual woman, his libido fell to his anima, who drove him to occult studies-he did “not know exactly why” he studied the occult.

So the child was the creative expression of his own unconscious, and “was sick” because it was fed on occult studies; libido had gone from the child to feed his anima.

The food for the child would be free expansion and the study of his unconscious images, not occultism, since it is the child of his anima and therefore within, not without.

“My brother-in-law asks me to go to the theatre and to dine”:

His irrational side suggested that he should look at dreams, the images of his unconscious, and then assimilate these unconscious parts of himself. “Alone”:

Without the women, that is, without emotion.

“I think I have eaten already, yet can go with him”:

He thinks he knows all about himself, yet he will see what the analyst has to say; this is some resistance to analysis.

“Big room, diningtable, seats reversed, etc.”:

An intuitive conception of analysis as a forerunner of a new kind of collectivity; first confession, the unburdening of secrets that make a real communion for everybody
impossible; he is separated from his wife, friends, etc.

The player, the ball and the wall, that is, the ego, the self and the analyst. Then the meal, the real communion.

“I ask why his wife has not come, and think because the child is ill”:

As if he realized that there could not be feeling or the right communion when his interest was fed on occult studies.

“Child is better, only a little fever now”:

He had given up the occult studies, analysis is the right line.

“At the home of his brother-in-law”:

The scene shifts to his personal problem which lies in his own psychology.—————————-

Dr. Jung: There is an element of legend, of fantasy, in this.

In reality the sister is the man’s anima in his dream only, not in actuality.

He had no positive anima projection into a living woman, he had only moods.

Until this time his anima has been almost entirely negative. But we must have the end of the dream.

Mrs. Fierz (Third interpretation):

The little nephew’s poem and song, “Aunt Maria is a dear boy,” and the old Aunt Maria the man gave as an association seem important.

His wife is to him something like a distant aunt, and the old aunt seems boring, as his wife does.

The song might show him he could really do something with his own wife; that is what children often mean when they call a person dear.

Not so much sentiment as expressing a desire to play with, do something with, the person who is “dear.”

Perhaps this man could, with his wife, do something for their children, help in their education, etc.

He admits he doesn’t care so much for the boys, likes the girls better; here is something to work on.

He says of himself only that he corrects the children’s language, a stupid part of their education.

So perhaps the dream means he could show a change of attitude towards his wife and children; for his attitude towards his children is evidently like his attitude towards his wife.

Dr. Jung: In that family Aunt Maria means the old aunt.

She is boring and she refers to his wife yet his wife is declared to be a ”dear boy.”

Mrs. Fierz: The child who wrote that song is a boy, and he makes his aunt his companion. Children’s comradeships are active.

Dr. Jung: He thinks of her as on his own level?-that is right.

One of the symptoms of the sick child is that she doesn’t want to pronounce the name Maria, and that is associated with the other fact that all the children of the family do just this.

His wife has an attraction for children, she is child-like, she is the playmate of all the children in the family, a fact which is exceedingly important for his own problem, for it means that his wife is not a good playmate for a man.

The anima type of woman can always play with a man and therefore is important for his mental and spiritual development.

His association explains that his wife is a good playmate for children and implies that she is not a good playmate for him.

The child will not pronounce that name because she doesn’t like the wife; that little girl-child in him, occult studies, leads him away from his wife to secrecy.

And he does not want secrecy, or that any part of him would not like the name of his wife, so he tries to teach the child to pronounce the name, and cannot do so without yawning imself.

That gives him away, he can no longer deny that he is bored.

Men may go to cocottes and yet insist that they remain correct; and women may fly away with devils and yet say they are loyal wives.

We must settle down to the fact that the world is very serious and very funny.

The dream forces this fact upon the dreamer in a very obvious manner.

He told me frankly that he hates the idea that he is not the correct husband, it is disgusting to him to have to acknowledge this fact.

A man usually treats the children as he treats the women and as he treats his own feeling self.

The dream is rather bewildering on account of not having one main thought. It contains two entirely different sets of things-exceedingly personal material on the one hand and very impersonal material on the other.

The beginning and end of the dream are very personal; and you have heard how that material in the middle came in and what it has to do with the dream.

[Here a discussion was started on the relationship of man and wife, whether individual or collective.]

Question: ls whatever relation a man has with his wife collective?

Dr. Jung: A man may find his relationship to his wife to be nothing but collective, and that won’t do.

He ought to have an individual relation; if that is lacking, there is no individual adjustment.

He is just the ordinary perfectly respectable husband, and his wife is the woman with whom he finds himself in the institution of marriage, and he tries to fulfil his duty as a husband as he tries to be a good director in a company.

But his wife is a particular woman with whom he should have a particular relationship.

To understand marriage, we must think of it as an institution and go back historically to know what it means.

Since times immemorial, marriage has been arranged as a system of matches, and there were very few love matches; it was chiefly barter, women bought and sold; and in the royal families, it is still almost a sort of cattle deal, and has much the same character in very rich families.

That is quite certainly true with peasants for powerful economic reasons. So it is often “the bacon to the sausage,” as we say, two fat things together.

Marriage is a collective institution, and relationship in marriage is a collective relationship.

Then when the times become more sophisticated and there is a certain culture the individual gets spoilt; one has more desires and claims, one psychologizes
and wants to understand, and then one finds one is not really adjusted and hasn’t really a relationship.

After a great catastrophe one seeks a water-tight room where one can be safe, any room will do provided the roof doesn’t leak; but one has no relationship to this room, it is just any hole which is covered and relatively safe.

So in former times and under more barbarous conditions, and among primitive tribes, any woman would do more or less.

That explains incest among peasants. There are extraordinary cases in Switzerland.

Here is a case I have just heard of: A peasant boy wanted to marry; he and his mother had a good place so the mother said: “why marry?-it only makes more mouths to feed;

I should have to go, and you would have to support me; if you want a woman, take me.”

That is the peasant, and that was for economic reasons.

It has been stated by the courts in certain districts that incest for economic reasons is so frequent that the cases are not dealt with at all, they don’t bother about it.

Everywhere one discovers these things.

In some of the British islands, in the Hebrides, etc., the condition of the people is exceedingly collective, just instinctive, not at all psychological.

So the general condition of marriage has always been exceedingly collective; the personal element is the attainment of a cultural age; and only very recently has marriage become a problem one can discuss without being accused of immorality.

Morality is the only thing that can’t be improved upon, we say. It is the one thing that can’t!

We have a great problem today because that collective marital relation is not what people expect of it-an individual relationship, and it is exceedingly difficult to create one in marriage.

Marriage in itself constitutes a resistance.

This is simply a truth.

For the strongest thing in man is participation mystique, just “you and your dog in the dark”; that is stronger than the need for individuality.

You live with an object and after a while you assimilate each other and grow alike.

Everything that lives together is influenced one by the other, there is a participation mystique; the mana of one assimilates the mana of the other.

This identity, this clinging together, is a great hindrance to individual relationship.

If identical, no relationship is possible; relationship is only possible when there is separateness.

Since participation mystique is the usual condition in marriage, especially when people marry young, an individual relation is impossible.

Perhaps the two hide their secrets from each other; if they admitted them they might be able to establish a relationship.

Or perhaps they have no secrets to share; then there is nothing to protect one against participation mystique, one sinks into that bottomless pit of identity and after a while discovers that nothing happens at all any longer.

Now, in this state of affairs our patient obviously realizes that something is wrong, that he is dissatisfied.

His sexual relation with his wife doesn’t work at all: she keeps him away as much as possible, and at forty-seven to always do uphill work is terribly uninteresting,
and he more or less chucked the whole thing.

So it is an unpleasant situation.

His attempt at occult studies is rather like Freud’s sublimation idea-intercourse with angels.

Theosophy provides one with all sorts of things in that respect!

If I could hear the vibrations of Atlantis, listen in to old Egypt, and all that, I would forget all about my wife and all about my dear patients too!

Theosophy is a tremendous lure to such a man, and sublimation is a good word, it sounds like anything; but, peculiarly enough, in reality sexuality cannot be entirely sublimated.

Suddenly one day, in Paris perhaps, the man makes a mistake, the sublimation hasn’t worked that day.

Once in a fortnight it does not work perhaps, but the theory is very good!

Out of that mood of dissatisfaction came this dream.

The shadow appears and says: “Now come, let us look at the true pictures of the unconscious, the real, impartial pictures of things as they are; and let us eat them and assimilate them afterwards without the women-without emotion, objectively, impersonally, just looking at things as they are.”

Since the theatre is a public place it means: you are like all the others, you are in the same boat, doing what everybody ought to do or has done.

He associates the amphitheatre seats with a room where the game of pelota was played, yet the setting- of the room has nothing to do with pelota, it is rather like a tal?le d’hote in a hotel; but the benches are facing the wall so they cannot sit at the table.

Here, you remember, we got into a tangle of historical associations.

It is obvious that we are getting into something collective here; the dream, in emphasizing it as being a public place, intentionally puts forward the importance of its being collective.

At this point in the problem the collective must come in.

In contradistinction to his intensely personal feeling about his problem, the unconscious says it is a collective problem-not in just that form perhaps, out is happening everywhere in the world.

Only people who haven’t lived can have any illusions on this subject; it is all over the world.

As soon as a problem is collective it has to do with the history of that particular society, and there must be collective symbolism.

No collective problems have arisen just today, our conditions are thoroughly historical.

Take the question of marriage in general: it has tremendous historical connections, the laws about marriage have considerable age, and all our marriage customs and our whole moral system in dealing with sex are very old.

People say: “These are old-fashioned ideas-to hell with them!”

But if a problem is collective, it is historical, and we can’t explain it without explaining history; unavoidably we get into historical discussions.

It is not just you who are a fool to be married like that, we are all married like that, according to ancient laws, sacred ideas, taboos, etc.

Marriage is a sacrament with unbreakable laws; you must criticize the customs, not the individual people.

Back of everything we do is a general philosophy; a living one is a religion. Christianity is our philosophy.

That was already blossoming in the time of Augustus and is at the back of innumerable taboos, laws, etc.

So you see we cannot avoid going back into history it is not out of the way.

We must acknowledge that the dreamer in his literal associations did not bring this in; only later he became conscious of the need of it.

Naturally, we see nothing historical in what we do when we are unconscious.

Our language is full of the most extraordinary things of which we are not aware, we use them without stopping to consider.

For example, when you say, “I am under the treatment of Dr. So-and-So,” you are using the Latin word trahere, to pull; the doctor is pulling you through the hole of
rebirth, and when he makes you whole and sound, you say, “The doctor pulled me through.”

There was a prehistoric clinic in Cornwall, the Menanthole, a huge slab of stone with a hole through which the fathers pulled their children, and sick people were supposed to be cured in that way. I myself went through the hole.

And in Germany, in the nineteenth century, they had the custom of making a hole in the wall behind the sick man’s bed and pulling him through and out into the garden for rebirth.

Now the dreamer speaks of a room where many people come together, not everyone for himself but together, like playing a game or dining together, where all sit at the same table facing each other and doing the same thing.

So we are united with him as in a theatre or restaurant, we are all looking at the pictures together.

The shadow admonishes him to come and do something with many other people, in order to feel community in that particular problem of his.

You will realize what that means for a man who thinks he is the only one who suffers from his particular ailment and feels responsible for it.

When he hears that it is a general problem, he is comforted, at once it puts him back into the lap of humanity; he knows that many people are having the same experience, and he can talk to them and is not isolated. Before, he didn’t dare speak about it; now he knows that everyone understands.

The particular prescription in the New Testament-“Confessyour faults one to another,” and “Bear ye one another’s burdens”shows the same psychology that we have here in the dream.

We should have communion and fellowship in the trouble which is our particular burden, that is the admonition of the dream.

First of all there was the association of the jeu de paume and pelota basque.

They were not quite the same.

Thejeu de paume was played in the middle ages, not with a racquet, but with the palm of the hand; and the same idea was in the pelota basque, but the ball was
played against the wall; then a third version was the jeu de paume as it was played in the church, the clerics throwing the ball to one another.

I don’t know what kind of figures they made but all were playing the same game.

And we play it too, the ball game has become almost a figure of speech with us; we often

It simply means playing together; we all play together and since we react, we are all in it responsible and alive-that is the idea.

Then there is a particular version here, a mere association, so we must not press it too hard: in the case of the pelota played against the wall where the ball is caught not by other people but by oneself, there may be an element of self-isolation or autoeroticism.

In playing the ball like that, not with a partner but against the wall, there is a particular connotation.

But we must not force this point; we must handle dreams with nuance, like a work of art, not logically or rationally, as one may make a statement but with a a small restriction somewhere.

It is the creative art of nature which makes the dream, so we must be up to it when we try to interpret them.

That there is here a nuance which might point to an autoerotic game, played alone, not together, would easily come from the fact that the man will play it alone first.

Some people speak “against the wall” and not to their fellow-beings: such speakers are more or less autoerotic, they talk to themselves even though they speak in community.

If the dreamer follows the intimation of the shadow, he will see his problem as a collective one which ought to be brought into general connection with the spirit of his own time, and not hidden away, assuming that it is the mistake of a single individual and that normal happy families are not like that.

His problem should not be discussed just in the pretty terms of general prejudice, assuming that the world is all nice families in nice little houses, with five o’clock teas, and prams, and sweet little babies!

There are the most terrible things underneath all that stuff, and I have to bother with it. People play to the gallery as if nothing was the matter at all!

All that part of the dream prepares him for the fact that he is entering on a collective problem and the solution will be something equally impersonal: something like a communion, an initiation, a mystery play in church, a sort of ritual play like the central symbolism of the cult of Mithras.

You will remember that when we spoke of that cult the unconscious began to react all over the place, and we got a whole crop of bull dreams, which proves that the thing is practically active even here and is a general problem for people right here.

Now, after this general statement, which prepares him for an entirely different attitude to his particular problem, the dream returns again to the personal aspect of things, the pathological condition of the child.

Its condition is morbid because occult studies lead nowhere; they are just an attempt at sublimation, a sublimation which never answers the real, urgent problem of the times.

What must be done now with the child?

It is all very well to say that this is a collective problem, mais il f aut cultiver son Jardin, come back to your own problem, your own child, come and admit you are bored
with your dear wife at home.

Psychologically that means he must acknowledge his shadow, the inferior man who does not live up to rational conditions, a sort of primitive more aware of the needs of
nature, who forces him to admit his boredom.

He would then gain a knowledge of his shadow, he would admit his natural being and shake hands with him, and no longer deny the truth about his own psychology.

Since he cannot escape his shadow he will become conscious of the less elegant side of himself.

Then the shadow will be detached from his anima, because as he becomes conscious of his shadow, it is released from his unconscious.

Then between the shadow and anima a real relation can take place, with the outcome that the child will be normal.

And when the shadow and anima have a proper relationship, there is a chance that his relation to his wife will become better, that he can have an individual relationship with her.

For he can only establish a real relationship when he is aware of his shadow.

We allow ourselves the most amazing illusions about ourselves and think other people take us seriously.

It is as if I should have the illusion that I am only five feet tall-just mad!

This is no more absurd than people who want to make us believe that they are very moral and respectable.

It isn’t true, and how can you establish a real relation unless people are real, as they really are?

We know that people, instead of being respectable or moral, are just hopelessly blind.

How can you establish an individual relationship with such a creature?

One gets seasick, it is nauseating. I would far rather have an individual relationship to a dog, who doesn’t assume he is a respectable dog, a sacred dog, a taboo dog, or any other kind of a dog-nothing but a dog!

There are people who have the illusion they are better than other men, assume that they are different, as if they had another kind of blood.

This is all illusion; therefore no individual relation is possible with such people.

First of all, our man must give up his illusions, admit he is not respectable and that he is bored; and he must tell his wife he is bored to death and at the same time that “sometimes my sublimation fails to work.”

If he only knew his wife this would be easier.

She will be outraged at his infidelity but she herself in the night will be going away with the animus devils-only he doesn’t know it.

If he asks her to be interested in what he is reading, very likely she says, “Oh, I can’t read such difficult books,” and he thinks she is too good
and sweet!

If only he were aware of her as she really is, he could find it easier to tell about his sublimation not working as it should.

Now to get all this into practice, that is something else! ~Carl Jung,Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 57-68