Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940

Participant: The three Fates represent the coming into being and the fading away of what happens.

Professor Jung: In Mahayana Buddhism, you will find the Three as the center of the carnal world: a cock, a snake, and a pig.

The cock is lust, the snake envy, and the pig ignorance.

These three are the roots of the world, these are the three causes of what happens in the world.

This can be found in the so-called Kilkor Mandala, which has these three figures at its center.

At Friday’s lecture you heard about the visions of Mahasukha, and that he had three eyes to see the past, the present, and the future.

This shows that the Three stands in connection with time.

The Three is time, and time is always identical with the flow of energy.

We can conceive time only on the basis of movement.

There must be change to make time possible.

Proclus says: “Wherever there is creation, there is also time.”

The Neoplatonic god of creation is Chronos, that is, time.

This is the original form of Bergson’s idea of the durée créatrice.

Time has these two aspects: that which lies behind us, and that which lies ahead. Certain [American] Indians have only one word for time: day.

Pointing forward means tomorrow, pointing backward yesterday, and a movement downward today.

Threeness designates the course things take.

Time is identical with the course things take.

Time, as such, does not exist at all.

There is only the course things take, which we measure with the notion of time.

For primitive man, who is close to nature, the course of time is no abstraction.

For him there is only a then, a now, and a before.

He doesn’t have a watch, does he, on whose numbers he could read the time.

He completely exists in that stream of events, which is permanently flowing into a dark hole, which comes to us from a dark future, which flows through us, and sinks into eternal darkness behind us.

Primitive man has no history; there is no history before the grandfather, prehistory lies only about three generations back.

The primitive is most deeply impressed by this strange stream of events, however, coming from the tomorrow, flowing through the today, and sinking into the yesterday.

For him this is a directly experienced fact of life.

This continuity of events is also at the basis of the Chinese concept of nature, according to which everything happening at a given moment is happening exactly as it has to.

You will find this idea in the Book of Changes, the I Ching.

When I throw a handful of peas, they will roll in all directions.

Try to interpret this, and you will understand the importance of the moment.

If you practice such a method to some extent, you will see how remarkably well the meaning of the I Ching matches the psychological situation.

It is more than a façon de parler.

It is a highly remarkable fact that can also be proven by data from astrology—which is not just superstition, provided you have the necessary experience.

Astrology has to do with stars only insofar as the course of events is measured with the help of them.

Telepathic experiences also belong here.

Some smart alecks say it’s all nonsense, but most often they have never heard of such experiences, simply because this does not fit into their worldview.

All these phenomena of synchronicity—which are really striking once we pay attention to them—only mean that corresponding things are happening at the same moment.

This points to the substantiality of events in time.

It is an archaic experience such as that of expanded space.

We have seen that time has three aspects: past, present, and future.

The three snakes in our dream are probably a reference to time.

Originally time itself was depicted as a snake, as in the Zodiacal snake.

Religious heroes were often portrayed in connection with time.

In the Upanishads, too, Prajapati is the year, is Chronos, the creator of the world.

Christ is also the ecclesiastical year; in certain early Christian drawings he was depicted as a snake carrying the stars on its back—twelve stars representing the twelve disciples.

It is the time, the year with its twelve months.

Time symbolism also played a great role in the Mithras cult.

The figure of Aion usually stood at the main altar of the Mithras cult—he is a man with a lion’s head, enveloped by the Zodiacal snake, Zrvan akarana, meaning “boundless time.”

As you can see, there is ample evidence for the snake as a symbol of the passing of time.

In our dream, the child is told to go into this circle of snakes to transform herself.

The transformation is inevitable because she is stepping into the fire with the corruptible body.

In our rational thinking this would equal self-destruction, but the irrational meaning is: transformation to immortality. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dream Seminar, Pages 203-207.