Elijah reviving the Son of the Widow of Zarephath by Louis Hersent
On the following night I was led to a second image: I am standing in the rocky depth that seems to me like a crater. Before me I see the house with columns. I see Salome walking along the length of the wall toward the left, touching the wall like a blind person. The serpent follows her. The old man stands at the door and waves to me.
Hesitantly I draw closer. He calls Salome back. She is like someone suffering. I cannot detect any sacrilege in her nature. Her hands are white and her face has a gentle expression. The serpent lies before them. I stand before them clumsily like a stupid boy; overwhelmed by uncertainty and ambiguity. The old man eyes me searchingly and says:
“What do you want here?”
I: “Forgive me, it is not obtrusiveness or arrogance that leads me here. I am here perchance, not knowing what I want. A longing that stayed behind in your house yesterday has brought me here. You see, prophet, I am tired, my head is as heavy as lead. I am lost in my ignorance. I have toyed with myself enough. I played hypocritical games with myself and they all would have disgusted me, were it not clever to perform what others expect from us in the world of men. It seems to me as if I were more real here. And yet I do not like being here.”
Wordlessly Elijah and Salome step inside the house. I follow them reluctantly. A feeling of guilt torments me. Is it bad conscience? I would like to turn back, but I cannot. I stand before the play of fire in the shining crystal. I see in splendor the mother of God with the child. Peter stands in front of her in admiration-then Peter alone with the key-the Pope with a triple crown-a Buddha sitting rigidly in a circle of fire-a many-armed bloody Goddess-it is Salome desperately wringing her hands. it takes hold of me, she is my own soul, and now I see Elijah in the image of the stone. Elijah and Salome stand smiling before me.
I: “These visions are full of torment, and the meaning of these images is dark to me, Elijah; please shed some light.”
Elijah turns away silently; and leads the way toward the left. Salome enters a colonnade to the right. Elijah leads me into an even darker room. A burning red lamp hangs from the ceiling. I sit down exhausted. Elijah stands before me leaning on a marble lion in the middle of the room.
E: ”Are you anxious? Your ignorance is to blame for your bad conscience. Not-knowing is guilt, but you believe that it is the urge toward forbidden knowledge that causes your feeling of guilt. Why do you think you are here?”
1: “I don’t know. I sank into this place when unknowingly I tried resisting the not-known. So here I am, astonished and confused, an ignorant fool. I experience strange things in your house, things that frighten me and whose meaning is dark to me.”
E: “If it were not your law to be here, how would you be here?”
I: “I’m afflicted by fatal weakness, my father.”
E: “You are evasive. You cannot extricate yourself from your law.
I: “How can I extricate myself from what is unknown to me, which I cannot reach with either feeling or presentiment?”
E: “You are lying. Do you not know that you yourself recognized what it means if Salome loves you?”
I: “You are right. A doubtful and uncertain thought arose in me. But I have forgotten it again.”
E: “You have not forgotten it. It burned deep inside you. Are you cowardly? Or can you not differentiate this thought from your own self enough so that you wished to claim it for yourself?”
I: “The thought went too far for me, and I shun far-fetched ideas. They are dangerous, since I am a man, and you know how much men are accustomed to seeing thoughts as their very own, so that they eventually confuse them with themselves.”
E: “Will you therefore confuse yourself with a tree or animal, because you look at them and because you exist with them in one and the same world? Must you be your thoughts, because you are in the world of your thoughts? But your thoughts are just as much outside your self as trees and animals are outside your body.”
I: “I understand. My thought world was for me more word than world. I thought of my thought world: it is I.”
E: “Do you say to your human world and every being outside of you: you are I?”
I: “I stepped into your house, my father, with the fear of a schoolboy. But you taught me salutary wisdom: I can also consider my thoughts as being outside my self. That helps me to return to that terrible conclusion that my tongue is reluctant to express. I thought that Salome loves me because I resemble John or you. This thought seemed unbelievable to me. That’s why I rejected it and thought that she loves me because I am really quite opposite to you, that she loves her badness in my badness. This thought was devastating.”
Elijah is silent. Heaviness lies on me. Then Salome steps in, comes over to me and lays her arm around my shoulder. She takes me for her father in whose chair I sat. I dare neither move nor speak.
S: “I know that you are not my father. You are his son, and I am your sister.”
I: “You, Salome, my sister? Was this the terrible attraction that emanated from you, that unnamable horror of you, of your touch?
Who was our mother?”
1: “Is it a hellish dream? Mary; our mother? What madness lurks in your words? The mother of our Savior, our mother? When I crossed your threshold today; I foresaw calamity. Alas! It has come. Are you out of your senses, Salome? Elijah, protector of the divine law, speak: is this a devilish spell cast by the rejected? How can she say such a thing? Or are both of you out of your senses? You are symbols and Mary is a .symbol. I am simply too confused to see through you now.”
E: “You may call us symbols for the same reason that you can also call your fellow men symbols, if you wish to. But we are just as real as your fellow men. You invalidate nothing and solve nothing by calling us symbols.”
I: “You plunge me into a terrible confusion. Do you wish to be real?”
E: “We are certainly what you call real. Here we are, and you have to accept us. The choice is yours.”
I am silent. Salome has removed herself Uncertainly I look around. Behind me a high golden red flame burns on a round altar. The serpent has encircled the flame. Its eyes glitter with golden reflections. Swaying I turn to the exit. As I step out into the hall, I see a powerful lion going before me. Outside, it is a wide cold starry night.
It is no small matter to acknowledge one’s yearning. For this many need to make a particular effort at honesty. All too many do not want to know where their yearning is, because it would seem to them impossible or too distressing.
And yet yearning is the way of life. If you do not acknowledge your yearning, then you do not follow yourself but go on foreign ways that others have indicated to you.
So you do not live your life but an alien one. But who should live your life if you do not live it? It is not only stupid to exchange your own life for an alien one, but also a hypocritical game, because you can never really live the life of others, you can only pretend to do it, deceiving the other and yourself since you can only live your own life.
If you give up your self you live it in others; thereby you become selfish to others, and thus you deceive others.
Everyone thus believes that such a life is possible. It is, however, only apish imitation.
Through giving in to your apish appetite, you infect others, because the ape stimulates the apish.
So you turn yourself and others into apes.
Through reciprocal imitation you live according to the average expectation.
The image of the hero was set up for all in every age through the appetite for imitation. Therefore the hero was murdered, since we have all been aping him.
Do you know why you cannot abandon apishness? For fear of loneliness and defeat.
To live oneself means: to be one’s own task. Never say that it is a pleasure to live oneself It will be no joy but a long suffering, since you must become your own creator.
If you want to create yourself then you do not begin with the best and the highest, but with the worst and the deepest. Therefore say that you are reluctant to live yourself.
The flowing together of the stream of life is not joy but pain, since it is power against power, guilt, and shatters the sanctified.
The image of the mother of God with the child that I foresee, indicates to me the mystery of the transformation.
If forethinking and pleasure unite in me, a third arises from them, the divine son, who is the supreme meaning, the symbol, the passing over into a new creation.
I do not myself become the supreme meaning or the symbol, but the symbol becomes in me such that it has its substance, and I mine.
Thus I stand like Peter in worship before the miracle of the transformation and the becoming real of the God in me.
Although I am not the son of the God myself I represent him nevertheless as one who was a mother to the God, and one therefore to whom in the name of the God the freedom of the binding and loosing has been given.
The binding and loosing take place in me.But insofar as it takes place in me, and I am a part of the world, it also takes place through meiin the world, and no one can hinder it.
It doesn’t take place according to the way of my will but in the way of unavoidable effect.
I am not master over you, but the being of the God in me.
I lock the past with one key; with the other I open the future.
This takes place through my transformation.
The miracle of transformation commands.
I am its servant, just as the Pope is.
You see how incredible it was to believe such of oneself.
It applies not to me, but to the symbol.
The symbol becomes my lord and unfailing commander.
It will fortify its reign and change itself into a·starry and riddling image, whose meaning turns completely inward, and whose pleasure radiates outward like blazing fire, a Buddha in the flames.
Because I sink into my symbol to such an extent, the symbol changes me from my one into my other, and that cruel Goddess of my interior, my womanly pleasure, my own other, the tormented tormentor, that which is to be tormented.
I have interpreted these images, as best I can, with poor words.
In the moment of your bewilderment, follow your forethinking and not your blind desire, since forethinking leads you to the difficulties that should always come first.
They come nevertheless. If you look for a light, you fall first into an even deeper darkness. In this darkness you find a light with a weal<. reddish flame that gives only a low brightness, but it is enough for you to see your neighbor.
It is exhausting to reach this goal that seems to be no goal.
And so it is good: I am paralyzed and therefore ready to accept. My forethinking rests on the lion, my power.
I held to the sanctified form, and didn’t want to allow the chaos to break. through its dams. I believed in the order of the world and hated everything disorganized and unformed.
Therefore above all I had to realize that my own law had brought me to this place. As the God developed in me,
I thought he was a part of my self I thought that my “I” included him and therefore I took him for my thought.
But I also considered that my thoughts were parts of my “1.”
Thus I entered into my thoughts, and into the thinking about the God, in that I took him for a part of my self On account of my thoughts, I had left myself; therefore my self became hungry and made God into a selfish thought.
If I leave myself my hunger will drive me to find my self in my object, that is, in my thought.
Therefore you love reasonable and orderly thoughts, since you could not endure it if your self was in disordered, that is, unsuitable thoughts.
Through your selfish wish, you pushed out of your thoughts everything that you do not consider ordered, that is, unfitting.
You create order according to what you know, you do not know the thoughts of chaos, and yet they exist.
My thoughts are not my self and my I does not embrace the thought.
Your thought has this meaning and that, not just one, but many meanings.
No one knows how many.
My thoughts are not my sel£ but exactly like the things of the world, alive and dead. Just as I am not damaged through living in a partly chaotic world, so too I am not damaged if I live in my partly chaotic thought world.
Thoughts are natural events that you do not possess, and whose meaning you only imperfectly recognize.
Thoughts grow in me like a forest, populated by many different animals. But man is domineering in his thinking, and therefore he kills the pleasure of the forest and that of the wild animals.
Man is violent in his desire, and he himself becomes a forest and a forest animal. Just as I have freedom in the world, I also have freedom in my thoughts.Freedom is conditional.
To certain things of the world I must say: you should not be thus, but you should be different.
Yet first I look carefully at their nature, otherwise I cannot change it.
I proceed in the same way with certain thoughts.
You change those things of the world that, not being useful in themselves, endanger your welfare.
Proceed likewise with your thoughts. Nothing is complete, and much is in dispute.
The way of life is transformation, not exclusion. Well-being is a better judge than the law.
But as I became aware of the freedom in my thought world,
Salome embraced me and I thus became a prophet, since I had found pleasure in the primordial beginning, in the forest, and in the wild animals.
It stands too close to reason for me to set myself on a par with my visions, and for
me to take pleasure in seeing. I am in danger of believing that I myself am significant since I see the significant.
This will always drive us crazy; and we transform the vision in to foolishness and monkey business, since we cannot desist from imitation.
Just as my thinking is the son of fore thinking, so is my pleasure the daughter of love, of the innocent and conceiving mother of God.
Aside from Christ Mary gave birth to Salome.
Therefore Christ in the gospel of the Egyptians says to Salome:
“Eat every herb, but do not eat the bitter.”
And when Salome wanted to know, Christ spoke to her:
“If you crush the covering of shame, and when the two become one, and the male with the female, neither male nor female.”
Forethinking is the procreative, love is the receptive.
Both are beyond this world. Here are understanding and pleasure, we only suspect the other.
It would be madness to claim that they are in this world. So much that is riddling and cunning coils around this light. I won the power back again from the depths, and it went before me like a lion. Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 248-251