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Memories, Dreams, Reflections

I hated going to church.

The one exception was Christmas Day.

The Christmas carol “This Is the Day That God Has Made” pleased me enormously.

And then in the evening, of course, came the Christmas tree.

Christmas was the only Christian festival I could celebrate with fervor.

All others left me cold. New Year’s Eve alone had something of the attractiveness of Christmas, but definitely took second place; Advent had a quality about it that somehow did not fit in with the coming Christmas.

It had to do with night, storms, and wind, and also with the darkness of the house.

There was something whispering, something queer going on. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections and The Red Book [Introduction.]

Then, around Christmas of 1912, I had a dream. In the dream I found myself in a magnificent Italian loggia with pillars, a marble floor, and a marble balustrade.

I was sitting on a gold Renaissance chair; in front of me was a table of rare beauty.

It was made of green stone, like emerald.

There I sat, looking out into the distance, for the loggia was set high up on the tower of a castle.

My children were sitting at the table too.

Suddenly a white bird descended, a small sea gull or a dove. Gracefully, it came to rest on the table, and I signed to the children to be still so that they would not frighten away the pretty white bird. Immediately, the dove was transformed into a little girl, about eight years of age, with golden blond hair.

She ran off with the children and played with them among the colonnades of the castle.

I remained lost in thought, musing about what I had just experienced. The little girl returned and tenderly placed her arms around my neck.

Then she suddenly vanished; the dove was back and spoke slowly in a human voice.

“Only in the first hours of the night can I transform myself into a human being; while the male dove is busy with the twelve dead.”

Then she flew off into the blue air, and I awoke.

l was greatly stirred. What business would a male dove having with twelve dead people?

In connection with the emerald table the story of the Tabula Smaragdina occurred to the emerald table in the alchemical legend of Hermes Trismegistos.

He was said to have left behind him a table upon which the basic tenets of alchemical wisdom were engraved in Greek.

I also thought of the twelve apostles, the twelve months the year, the signs of the zodiac, etc.

But I could find no solution to the enigma.

Finally I had to give it up. All I knew with any certainty was that the dream indicated an unusual activation of the unconscious.

But I knew no technique whereby I might get to the bottom of my inner processes, and so there remained nothing for me to do but wait, go on with my life, and pay close attention to my fantasies. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections.

E. A. Bennet noted Jung’s comments on this dream:

”At first he thought the ‘twelve dead men’ referred to the twelve days before Christmas for that is the dark time of the year, when traditionally witches are about.

To say ‘before Christmas’ is to say ‘before the sun lives again: for Christmas day is at the turning point of the year when the sun’s birth was celebrated in the Mithraic religion …

Only much later did he relate the dream to Hermes and the twelve doves” (Meetings with Jung: Conversations recorded by E. A. Bennet during the Years 1946-196. ~The Red Book, Introduction, Footnote 31.

The symbol of the crystal signifies the unalterable law of events that comes of itself In this seed you grasp what is to come.

I saw something terrible and incomprehensible. (It was on the night of Christmas day of the year 1913.)

I saw the peasant’s boot, the sign of the horrors of the peasant war, of murdering incendiaries and of bloody cruelty:

I knew to interpret this sign for myself as nothing but the fact that something bloody and dreadful lay before us.

I saw the foot of a giant that crushed a whole city: How could I interpret this sign otherwise?

I saw that the way to self-sacrifice began here.

They will all become terribly enraptured by these tremendous experiences, and in their blindness will want to understand them as outer events.

It is an inner happening; that is the way to the perfection of the mystery of Christ, so that the peoples learn self-sacrifice. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 254.


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