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Seminar on Dream Analysis. C.G. Jung

LECTURE III 23 October 1929

We have two questions to deal with. The first one asks whether the mechanic represents the function of intuition or feeling.

Sometimes it is of a certain importance to know what function is represented by a figure, but in this case it is not so, because the dream is not concerned with the specification of the functions.

It is far more concerned with the moral problem.

It contains the important problem of taking the way of the flesh against the way of the spirit; it is more or less indifferent what functions come into play.

In this case the mechanic is No. 4, and in spite of the fact that numbers are not emphasized, one could theoretically argue like this, though it seems a bit arbitrary and forced: This man is a thinking type
with feeling as his least differentiated function, and sensation and intuition are auxiliary.

Now when No. 4 turns up as a sort of deus ex machina, we can be certain that this figure has turned up from the unconscious.

It comes suddenly, spontaneously, apparently from nowhere.

It is autonomous, coming and going as it wants.

That is one of the characteristics of the inferior function.

The conscious can do nothing about it.

So the mechanic would be the feeling function.

Do you consider that we have any other indication why this should be so?

Dr. Harding: It is the heart that he is putting together.

Dr. Jung: Yes. He is the heart doctor, for he puts the magneto together. Feeling is typically represented by the heart.

It is also most probable that the inferior function would be the first to give way.

It cannot maintain the necessary concentration, the devotion and courage, on his individual road.

It is as if his heart were failing him.

The second question is: Why is it that some men are never faced with the necessity of bringing up the feeling function? I am thinking of a man over sixty, extraverted thinking type, who still goes on
within his formula.

He must be a bad man, very bad!

We can only say that it is so; certain people can go blundering through life in the most amazing way and apparently nothing happens.

But something does happen somewhere, in their family perhaps; no doubt his children suffer and have to pay the damage.

This hangs together with the fact that a human life is nothing in itself; it is part of a family tree.

We are continuously living the ancestral life, reaching back for centuries, we are satisfying the appetites of unknown ancestors, nursing instincts which we think are our own, but which are quite incompatible with our character; we are not living our own lives, we are paying the debts of our forefathers.

This is the dogma of inherited sin. So that man may be allowed to go blundering on till he is a hundred.

But if one goes into the history of his family, one will see.

We know too little about our forebears.

We go on in a terribly one-sided way sometimes, because it makes sense as a historical compensation for ancestors who lived a hundred years ago or more, though we think they have nothing to do with our lives.

This corresponds to the primitive belief in ghosts; whatever is the matter, they say it is due to an ancestral spirit.

I saw such a case when I was in Africa.

Down by a water-hole near our camp a young woman collapsed with a septic abortion, and they brought her home in a high fever.

They would not tell me, or their own medicine-no local man, but they called in a foreighner with a witch doctor from another village.

The great man is always abroad. He was trying to smell out the ghost by behaving like a dog on the scent of something.

He went in spirals around the hut-nearer and nearer-till he suddenly stopped and said: Here!

It was the spirit of her grandfather, whom she

had always lived with because her parents had died early.

He said in ghost language that he was bored and lonely in ghostland and wanted her with him, so he came down the trail at night to get the girl, and it made her ill.

The doctor prescribed building a ghost-house, so they made one very neatly of stone, quite the opposite of their own wattle huts, and they put in a bed and food and water.

Sometimes they also put in a little clay image of the sick person, but they didn’t this time.

And the next night the ghost looked in and thought it seemed very nice, so he went in and slept until very late.

“There is the sun!-1 must go,” he said, and he hurried off to ghostland, leaving the girl behind him.

As a matter of fact, the girl’s fever went down and in three days she had quite recovered.

Funny things in Africa!

I don’t mean to tell you cock-and-bull stories about Africa, but it is psychologically interesting that they put everything down to the action of ghosts, with the perfectly logical recognition that we
are tremendously influenced by ancestral facts.

To those primitives, all children are reincarnations of the ancestors and are given ancestral names.

And they must not be interfered with or disciplined; one must not be harsh to children for fear of offending the ancestors, so they are a terrible nuisance till the age of puberty, when they are reborn and become human.

Then in the initiations they get it, a hell of a time!-all their education in one big lump.

It may be so severe that they are completely crushed by it.

But before that they are not interfered with, for the ghosts would be off ended and the children fall ill, and then the kraal would be haunted.

So that man is probably compensating for the lives of his parents.

People do awful things, but if one goes back into the history of the family one understands.

Now, before we go on with the dream, I want to set you a certain task.

I would like you to do some research work in symbology.

Here is an excellent opportunity, for in this last dream very typical symbols occur-crosses and crescents, representing Christian and Islamic remains.

These obviously point to the two attitudes of mind.

That the patient has such a dream is of tremendous importance to him personally, but the symbols themselves are of great collective importance.

So it is a good opportunity for an attempt at comparative symbology.

I should like you to form two groups, one to discuss the cross and one the crescent, and then make a report.

The symbolism of the cross was written by a Benedictine monk in three volumes,1 so you have plenty of material!

You should also consider the pre-Christian, the primitive, and the prehistoric crosses, and the history of late and early cross forms, down to primitive ornaments.

Also the cross as part of the mandala.

There must be somebody who understands Latin and Greek, and someone else must have a scientific mind to put together the results of your esearches.

You remember that the old Turkish flag showed a crescent and a star.

And in digging up some Punic graves/ below the Roman remains, tombstones of the seventh and eighth centuries before Christ were found with the same symbols.

This reminds one of the Swiss city Bern, where the cantonal coat-of-arms carries a bear and they still keep bears in a pit there-their totem animal; this used to be explained as a bad etymologicaljoke, bear for Bern, but when they excavated the old Roman settlement nearby, they found a temple with a perfectly preserved figure of a Celtic goddess surrounded by bears.

So the crescent and the star have also to do with Ishtar, Astarte, the Magna Mater, the mother goddess of Asia Minor, and the Egyptian Isis, as well as with Islam.

Then it has to do with a pre-Islamic Sabaean astrological cult, which leads to Babylonian history.

That kind of knowledge is needed to have any safety in the technique of dream interpretation.

Also it gives one a most precious impression of the universality of the human mind, our own little minds being reproductions of archetypal patterns.

Well now, our dreamer starts with the statement that he is in the South again, in Egypt. In the dream before, he was in the North.

His feeling function gave way, the mechanic put it together again, and he quietly continued his journey south.

Mrs. Sigg: He seems obliged to go south to the place where he was born.

Dr. Jung: Yes, going to Africa has for him a spiritual connotation, while the North is sensual, and it is interesting to see that this is so to one born there; as the place of his origin is spiritual.

In China, the South is also spiritual, dry, hot and radiant, the Yang; while the North, the Yin, is female and material and dark.

The Chinese mystical idea was really born in the South of China.

This is rather suggestive of certain dogmatic teachings, the underlying conviction that man is really a spiritual creature, like the Christian idea, “Our home is in Heaven,” and all that.

Why does the place where he was born mean something spiritual to this man?

Mrs. Fierz: Because in his case it is not the concrete birth in the flesh but rebirth, a symbol of the new man.

Dr. Harding: There is a spiritual as well as a material creature.

Dr. Jung: Yes. And now why is he in a hut? He has no associations.

This is one of those banalities in dreams, but they are very important.

Mrs. Fierz: Christ was born in a hut.

Suggestion: Inside the house of the mother.

Dr. Jung: Yes, inside the womb, a place of rebirth.

The hut is the symbol of an exceedingly simple place.

Such huts are square in that country, the most frugal holes you can imagine, a stable is comfortable in comparison; often there is not even a roof because it never rains.

This suggests the box, the belly of the whale, the house of the square foot and the house of the square inch in Chinese symbolism, the simplest place, like the cell of a monk, completely bare.

As a matter of fact, this is a country where the rocks are honeycombed with cells of early Christian anchorites, so the atmosphere is particularly suggestive.

Now, in that house is a crocodile. His associations are that it is a remnant of prehuman, prehistoric times, a saurian belonging to a former geological period, symbolizing in himself something that is
primitively instinctual. That is what Janet would call the “parties inferieures des fonctions” as opposed to the “parties superieures.” The crocodile is the “partie inferieure” of his instinctive nature.
(Read Les Nevroses by Janet. It is good, a book you could buy.) The well-organized part, the differentiated part, is the “partie superieure,” the function as applied to some specific use. If there is a
disturbance in the functioning of the “partie inferieure,” it would be organic, something wrong with the brain cells, for instance. If there is a lesion in the “partie superieure” it is psychogenic and
neurotic. An example is hysterical dumbness, localized aphasia, where the person can talk but not in his mother tongue; or a disturbance in walking, where a person walks with a queer gait, sort of hopping along. This can be seen in horses and dogs, for animals can become hysterical and have the same symptoms as human beings. I once saw a mare who walked very unnaturally on the sides of her hoofs. All domesticated animals may have hysteria. This crocodile, then, means the “partie inferieure” of our patient’s whole instinctive nature. Now, how do you explain the fact that in such a place such an animal appears? Geographically, crocodiles are rarely seen there now, though formerly the Nile swarmed with them.

Mrs. Sawyer: When he is in the South his instincts come up.

Dr. Jung: You are right. The character of the place is connected with an ancient spiritual quality, and just there the most primitive instincts come up.

Where there is a church, the devil is not far away.

A person cherishing the qualities of a saint has a peculiarly close relation to the devil.

Nobody has such hellish dreams as a saint; St. Anthony’s visions, for instance.

One must be a saint to have infernal relations. It is the pair of opposites, the law of enantiodromia.

In such a place one is apt to become aware of tremendous opposition if one is holding strongly to one side.

One becomes aware of very ancient animal instincts, for instance, which is a rather terrifying experience.

Miss Wolff” Was he conscious of the spiritual meaning of the hut?

Dr. Jung: Naturally, as a white man, he would hardly enter such fl hut in reality, but he knew there was also the spiritual aspect of it; he is divided as all white men living in the colonies are.

One is aware of the extraordinary filth, and on the other hand one can hardly deny that the place has an extraordinary quality.

One finds there very interesting symbolic remnants of Coptic Christianity.

The meaning is almost conscious to him: “Les extremes se touchent.” But how else would you explain this crocodile?

Mrs. Sigg: Was not the crocodile a very holy animal for the Egyptians?

Dr. Jung: Yes, in Upper Egypt. There was a crocodile cult. So this is a sacred saurian.

Mrs. Fierz: Before he gets to the kettle mustn’t he find his totem animal as the incarnation of ancestral spirits?

Dr. Jung: The totem animal is always the first, the original, ancestor.

The next generation would be heroic animals or demigods, like the Homeric heroes in Greece.

The heroic age follows the animal in Australian mythology also. Then comes man.

So in the place of his origin he meets the ancestral animal, the divine crocodile. Now you can begin to speculate.

Mrs. Sigg: Would it be a feeling connection? He must somehow get into connection with nature.

Dr. Jung: To be in such a hut is to be isolated like an anchorite or like any saints who try to live spiritual lives; or like primitives when they are secluded in the bush in order to get into the community
of ghosts.

The whole thing is an archetypal situation where man is put in isolation in order to become aware of ancestral ghosts.

There are striking examples among the North American Indians.

After the manhood initiations, they have to go alone into a cave or little tent, where they sit all day and fast.

Nobody talks to them; they are supposed to have dreams and intercourse with spirits, chiefly in the form of animals.

In northern California there is a sort of marathon race; a man starts early and races up the mountain to the Fire Lakes (so called because they are reached in the sunset light).

It is a lonely place and there he must sleep, and in the early morning the first animal he sees is his totem animal.

If the animal speaks to him he must be a medicine-man.

When he returns the old men take him into their circle and sing songs of animals, and when they sing the song of the animal he has conversed with, he cannot help betraying it.

He may try to conceal it because he doesn’t want to become a medicine-man, it is dangerous, but if the toad has spoken to him, for instance, when they sing that song he cannot help sighing audibly, and then he is in for trouble.

So now we see that the presence of the crocodile has something to do with a spiritual origin, which confirms our conclusion that the hut is spiritual.

And we see that this is an archetypal situation, it is the place of the spirit, such as one sees in the initiations of primitive man.

That would generally be a ghost-house in woods or mountains, and there is often a pole with the blood-stained skulls hanging on it of prisoners of war who were put to death in a ritual way, the ritual consisting of everyone putting his dagger in the prisoner’s body and then licking the blade for the health magic.

This is very fortifying. It is comparable to our communion, the tasting of the blood, and to the spear-thrust when Christ is on the pole.

The Greek word for cross is pole; the primitive victim was hanging on the cross.

And in an old Germanic ritual Odin was represented hanging on a tree, pierced with a spear.

In this place of the spirits we see the totem animal, which symbolizes the beginning of man.

With the primitives, not every animal has spiritual qualities, only doctor animals.

There are ordinary foxes, but if one of them behaves in a funny way or if a coyote,

ordinarily very shy, appears in a village, the natives say, “That is a doctor animal”-an animal with spiritual qualities, an exceptional animal like, say, a white elephant.

In the spiritual place, then, there are ancestral instincts, the stock of physiological life, and here there is the instinctiveness of a coldblooded animal with almost no soul. Hagenbeck of the Hamburg
Zoo says you can establish an emotional rapport with all animals except reptiles.

There a psychic rapport simply comes to an end.

With the warm-blooded animals there is a certain similar quality of psychology which makes connection possible.

The difference between monkeys and human beings is not great. Kohler, in his researches on anthropoids, saw them doing ritual dances like the primitive tribes.

Monkeys in the primeval forest have a very human quality.

And dogs are very human. But the crocodile is beyond human reach.

For us it would be snakes, since crocodiles are prehistoric here. In dragon myths they perhaps refer to dinosaurs.

Whenever a snake appears it symbolizes a piece of instinctive psychology in ourselves that is simply inaccessible, something of tremendous power, a thing that is inexorable and that we cannot make compromises with.

A Nordic myth says you can recognize the hero by his snake’s eyes, cold, not to be trusted.

You can’t influence the serpent thing in man, and this makes him a hero or medicine-man.

The serpent in Oriental psychology is very spiritual, it symbolizes the treasure of wisdom.

Yogis have an instinctive understanding of people with snake’s eyes because they are in contact with that part of their own psychology.

But snake’s eyes of course mean the bad quality, too, something quite inhuman that you see in primitive medicine-men also.

In Spencer and Gillen’s book there is a photograph of such a man; he has a peculiar, staring look, it is the evil eye that can charm snakes.

So the hero is of a like nature.

He reproduces youth by casting off his old skin and taking on a new, a continuous rejuvenation by overcoming the great dragon, Death.

The inhuman quality that the snake represents is linked up with the lower centres of the brain and spinal system, into which fakirs occasionally penetrate, as when they are able to stop their own
bleeding, or produce tears at will, as some actresses do; these are snake powers.

When such a monstrous animal appears in a dream, we know that something is coming up from the unconscious which is not to be influenced by will-power.

It is like a fate that cannot be twisted.

The primitive is sad, like a lost child, till he has a dream placing him with his totem animal.

Then he is a child of God, a human being, he has a distinct fate.

It is always a sign in dreams that now a level is reached where something is going to happen.

I once treated an artist who went all to pieces, got in a terrible turmoil.

I was afraid he might be going into a psychosis.

Then after a number of unsatisfactory and confused dreams, he had a remarkable dream of a wide plain where big mountain-like molehills appeared.

They burst open and out came a number of saurians, dinosaurs and so forth. I took that as a sign of the beginning of a new epoch in that man’s life.

And so it was, he started an entirely new style of creative work.

There was a most amazing change in his life and art.

He was a man of no education, an ordinary painter, but he then started to read, and the whole world of knowledge began to pour down upon him.

I have seen such a symbol in other cases when a man can no longer arrange his life arbitrarily.

It might be a threatening symbol.

For a man who has played with life, from now on it is serious.

Animals of this kind can only be influenced by a superior demoniacal man of the order of snake-charmers and sorcerers and medicine-men.

But such a one has to pay the penalty for his powers.

He suffers the most from his own magic; a medicine-man has to go through hellish tortures.

Eskimos hang them up by their toes or immerse them in icy water till they are nearly mad.

Such a series of shocks pierces holes through which the collective unconscious comes in from all sides.

Now, provided a man can stand the onslaught of things coming from below, he can influence other people, he can have an almost hypnotic effect on his fellow tribesmen.

So in this case the crocodile means that something serious is going to happen.

The dreamer is touching something exceedingly primitive and primordial.

Then the youngest son brings the kettle containing old objects.

The association with the youngest son is that he is the rejuvenated self, the hope for the future.

So the wife who brings forth a son has given birth to the husband.

In the Christian year there is a famous day, the day of the newborn, of those who are newly baptized, “Quasi modo geniti.”

The youngest son is the dreamer himself in a future form.

He is the son of the crocodile, the child of God; the dreamer’s intuitive anticipation is bringing him the cauldron with many old things in it.

The cauldron is a Celtic symbol; it is the crucible, or the alembic, in the alchemical apparatus, it is the womb, the vase of sin.

Among the Gnostic gems in the British Museum, there is an amphora representing the “vase of sin,” the womb with the ligaments on each side.

It is the vase of transformation, the womb into which Nicodemus would not go: “Can man enter a second time into his mother’s womb?”

It was the krater for the mixture of wine and water.

There must have been a mystical society called the Krater, for there is a letter written by the alchemist Zosimos to a lady, advising her to go to the Krater to be reborn.

In modern language: “I would advise you to undergo some analysis in order to get a better attitude.” In the place where St. Peter’s now stands in Rome,

the Attis cult celebrated the taurobolium.

The initiate was put into a cauldron, a hole in the earth; a grating was put over it and there they killed a bull so that the blood of the sacrificed animal streamed down on him.

Then he was pulled out, washed, clothed in white, and fed on milk for eight days, for he was a baby, his own youngest son.

The high priest, now the Pope, was called Papas.

Dr. Draper: Does the cauldron sometimes represent something undesirable, as in Macbeth, where it implies evil?

Dr. Jung: Positive symbols can always be translated the other way round.

The womb that creates life can also create death.

In one case it is white magic and in another, black. The holy mass can be used for the temporal power, or for the spiritual food of man.

The black way works terrible evil; the white way works salvation.

In order to cure a sick man primitive people put a clay image or picture in the temple to make him well, but it also can be used to make him ill.

This explains the primitive’s dislike of having his picture taken; he thinks it is black magic, that part of his soul is being taken away in a black box.

So it depends on what you cook in the cauldron and with what attitude.

In black-magic ceremonies one finds holy names written on it even if it is used for evil.

The cauldron is the magic womb, in this case to pull together extraordinary opposition: Coincidentia oppositorum.

It is a bewildering thing in human life that the thing that causes the greatest fear is the source of the greatest wisdom.

One’s greatest foolishness is one’s biggest stepping-stone.

No one can become a wise man without being a terrible fool.

Through Eros one learns the truth, through sins we learn virtue.

Meister Eckhart says one shouldn’t repent too much, that the value of sin is very great.

In Thais, Anatole France says that only a great sinner can become a great saint, the one cannot be without the other.

How can man deal with this terrible paradox?

He cannot say: “I will commit a sin and then I will be a saint” or: “I will be a fool in order to become a wise man.”

The question is, what to do when put into a complete impasse.

Then the dream says, in the cauldron things are cooked together, and out of things strange to each other, irreconcilable, something new comes forth.

This is obviously the answer to the paradox, the impossible impasse. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 319-329