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Carl Jung: The symbol of the cave is naturally the symbol of the grave


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ETH Lectures

Curiously enough, there was an antique mystery cult in which this idea was carried out concretely.

A pine tree was felled during the yearly festival of the cult of Attis and was carried into the cave of Cybele.

A picture of the God was fixed to the tree : the tree represented the God.

The tree was thus made the child of Cybele who is nature.

If we think in the Indian way, Attis is the pine tree and stands in the womb of nature and is nature, he is a pure expression or image of nature.

But when the image of Attis is fixed to the tree, then it is an expression of the “suspensio”, of the painful death of Attis who was, so to speak, given back

to the mother as a corpse for re-birth, resurrection.

The symbol of the cave is naturally the symbol of the grave and life is buried like a grain of wheat in the womb of the earth and grows up again.

This is the mystical idea behind the mysteries of Eleusis, Attis, etc. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, 26 Jan 1940

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