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The hanging of the victim on a tree was a religious rite


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The Red Book

As I have already pointed out, the hanging of the victim on a tree was a religious rite, of which numerous examples can be found in the Germanic sphere of culture. It is also characteristic that the victims were pierced with a spear. Thus in the Hovanmol Edda Odin says:

“I wee that I hung / on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, / and offered I was
To Odin, myself to myself.

Image: Odin hanging on the World Tree.

“If I accept the lowest in me, I lower a seed into the ground of Hell. The seed is invisibly small, but the tree of my life grows from it and conjoins the Below with the Above. At both ends there is fire and blazing embers. The Above is fiery and the Below is fiery. Between the unbearable fires grows your life. You hang between these two poles. In an immeasurably frightening movement the stretched hanging welters up and down. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 300.

I, to Salome: “I see, Salome, that you are still weeping. You are not yet done for. I hover and curse my hovering. I am hanging for your sake and for mine. First I was crucified, now I’m simply hanging-which is less noble, but no less agonizing. Forgive me, for wanting to do you in; I thought of saving you as I did when I healed your blindness through my self-sacrifice. Perhaps I must be decapitated a third time for your sake, like your earlier friend John, who brought us the Christ of agony. Are you insatiable? Do you still see no way to become reasonable?” ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 325.

To deliver the men of his time from the stretched hanging, Christ effectively took this torment upon himself and taught them: “Be crafty like serpents and guileless like doves.” For craftiness counsels against chaos, and guilelessness veils its terrible aspect. Thus men could take the safe middle path, hedged both upward and downward. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Pages 300 – 301.

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