Symbolic Life

Death has laid its hand upon our friend. The darkness out of which his soul had risen has come again and has undone the life of his earthly body, and has left us alone in pain and sorrow. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1705

To many death seems to be a brutal and meaningless end to a short and meaningless existence.

So it looks, if seen from the surface and from the darkness.

But when we penetrate the depths of the soul and when we try to understand its mysterious life, we shall discern that death is not a meaningless end, the mere vanishing into nothingness—it is an accomplishment, a ripe fruit on the tree of life.

Nor is death an abrupt extinction, but a goal that has been unconsciously lived and worked for during half a lifetime.

In the youthful expansion of our life we think of it as an ever-increasing river, and this conviction accompanies us often far beyond the noonday of our existence.

But if we listen to the quieter voices of our deeper nature we become aware of the fact that soon after the middle of our life the soil begins its secret work, getting ready for the departure.

Out of the turmoil and terror of our life the one precious flower of the spirit begins to unfold, the four-petaled flower of the immortal light, and even if our mortal consciousness should not be aware of its secret operation, it nevertheless does its secret work of purification.

When I met J. S. for the first time I found in him a man of rare clarity and purity of character and personality.

I was deeply impressed with the honesty and sincerity of his purpose.

And when I worked with him, helping him to understand the intricacies of the human psyche, I could not but admire the kindness of his feeling and the absolute truthfulness of his mind.

But though it was a privilege to teach a man of such rare human qualities, it was not the thing that touched me most.

Yes, I did teach him, but he taught me too.

He spoke to me in the eternal language of symbols, which I did not grasp until the awe-inspiring conclusion, the culmination in death, became manifest.

I shall never forget how he liberated his mind from the turmoil of modern business life, and how, gradually working back, he freed himself from the bonds that held him fast to his earthly parents and to his youth; and how the eternal image of the soul appeared to him, first dimly, then slowly taking shape in the vision of his dreams, and how finally, three weeks before his death, he beheld the vision of his own sarcophagus from which his living soul arose.

Who am I that I should dare say one word beyond this vision?

Is there a human word that could stand against the revelation given to the chosen one? There is none.

Let us return, therefore, to the external language and let us hear the words of the sacred text. And as the ancient words will give truth to us, we will give life to them. (I Corinthians 13; l 5 : 37-55-) ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 757-758