Children’s Dream Seminar

[A Presentation on the “Devil” from Dr. Jung’s “Children’s Dreams Seminar,”]

Mrs. Brunner:

This leads us to the devil: our concept of the devil has developed out of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and, above all, the later Christian dogma.

In the Old Testament, the devil pales beside the almighty Yahweh.

In the Book of Job he is still listed among the “sons of God.”

By his association with the Persian Ahriman he acquires Persian traits.

Ahriman is the antagonist of light; he means darkness and death; he comes from heaven in the form of a serpent.

Philo was the first, following the Persian view, to make the serpent of the Hebrew Fall of Man the Satan and the image of evil lust.

In the New Testament, the devil fights, as the lord of this world, against the kingdom of God.

Consequently, he not only becomes the master of all evil, but also of what could have endangered the spread of the Church’s power: the Church saw Gnosis and Reformation as temptations by the devil.

In the Gnosis, several pairs of gods, none of whom assume a material form, stem from the highest god.

From Sophia, the divine wisdom, a relatively ignorant being is born, the Demiurge, who creates the world.

Later, the Church Father Irenæus replaces the Demiurge with Satan, the fallen angel of pride.

The notion of the fallen Lucifer means that a being of the light has fallen under the law of gravity, that it has assumed a material body.

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Lucifer, with his three heads in the earth’s deepest abyss, is the counterpart to the Holy Trinity.

In the New Testament, the devil is still rather shapeless.

He became the devil incarnate only through ideas introduced by non-Jewish converted and subjugated peoples, whose gods had been degraded to devils by Christianity.

To the saints, the devil appears in his incarnate form, so, for example, to St. Simeon in the form of the man on the cherub carriage telling him: “Come, get on the carriage, so
that you may receive your crown.”

To St. Paternian the devil appears in the form of a girl.

When his voluptuousness is aroused by this, he recognizes the Tempter and remembers that all who soil themselves with wantonness will be punished in the fire.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the belief in the devil reached its climax.

Misfortune, illness, blasphemy, passion—all these were attributed to the devil and his sorcery.

Pagan magic and rituals were revived in the belief in witches, particularly in its feminine and natural aspects.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, belief in the devil decreased.

The devil was rationalized and depersonalized.

He was no longer the evil power at whose mercy mortals lived, but he became the evil instinct within man’s heart—egotism.

The vital symbol was reduced to a pale allegory.

Let us summarize the most important characteristics of the devil concept: the devil is the black one, the opposite of light.

When he appears red, he is of a fiery, that is, passionate nature, and causes wantonness, hate, or unruly love.

As the “green one” he is related to vegetation and nature. He appears as a goat, snake, cat, or poodle; he is seen with a cloven hoof, filthy and with a tail.

He is living in the earth, and represents the earth power of the Titans and man’s being bound to the earth. He stands for our animal nature.

As a wild hunter and heir to Wotan, he is the spirit of eternal unrest, who storms through the skies on his horse.

His wings point to his relation to the thinking function.

As Mephistopheles, he is arrogant, egomaniacal, cunning, and eager to draw man into dust and matter.

Finally, as Lucifer, true to his name, he is the bearer of the spark of light, who descended through the planetary spheres from the highest light down into matter, seeking to liberate it as a work of salvation.

Filthy and rough like a tomcat below, but more brilliant than the sun above—that’s how a judge of the witch trials described him.

He who becomes slave to the devil has to burn in the fire.

For those who have not been redeemed by Christ on the cross, the fire of hell will be eternal agony.

As Purgatory, it has the effect of purification by which man attains sight of the face of God.

Frazer offers a great deal of evidence for fire’s power to purify and to promote light and fertility.

In all cultures, fires were, and still are, lit on the eve of great feasts and great changes, as in the Walpurgis night, at midsummer celebrations, at Easter, and so on.

The old god, or his earthly representative, is burned in the new fires.

Cremation should enable rebirth in the next world.

The prophet Elijah went into heaven on a fiery wagon.

According to Heraclitus, the world was created in fire, and will perish in fire. His fire is the power of God.

Similarly, Simon Magus sees the dynamis of the fire at the origin of the cosmos.

It is logos; it is the primeval unity and it is the root of the cosmos.

Fire has a double nature, a hidden and a visible side.

In the hidden fire above heaven, all things are preserved.

Through fire, which consumes the material form, the soul becomes the pure image, godlike and immortal.

In alchemy it says: In this fire, which God created in the earth, just as he created the Purgatory in hell, God Himself is glowing in divine love.

And Jesus Christ says, according to an apocryphal word of the Lord: “He who is near me, is near the fire.”

So the savior is of a fiery nature. In the Krishna legend, however, the savior is born to a parental couple, at whose wedding the carriage is steered by evil demons.

~Children’s Dreams Seminar; Pages 173-176.