Black Books


Half a year or so before I had that dream about the white bird I dreamed the following:

I was in a southern town, on a rising street with narrow half-landings.

It was twelve o’clock midday-bright sunshine.

An old Austrian customs guard or someone similar passes by me, lost in thought. Someone says:

That is one who cannot die. He died already 30-40 years ago, but has not yet managed to decompose.

I was very surprised. Here a striking figure came, a knight of powerful build, clad in yellowish armor.

He looks solid and inscrutable and nothing impresses him.

On his back he carried a red Maltese cross.

He has continued to exist from the 12th century and daily between 12 and 1 o’clock midday he takes the same route.

No one marvels at these two apparitions, but I was extremely surprised.

I hold back my interpretive skills.

As regards the old Austrian, Freud occurred to me; as regards the knight, I myself. ~Carl Jung, The Black Books, Vol. II, Page 160

In 1925 he gave the following interpretation of this dream:

“The meaning of the dream lies in the principle of the ancestral figure: not the Austrian officer- obviously he stood for the Freudian theory-but the other, the Crusader, is an archetypal figure, a Christian symbol living from the twelfth century, a symbol that does not really live today, but on the other hand is not wholly dead either.

It comes out of the times of Meister Eckhart, the time of the culture of the Knights, when many ideas blossomed, only to be killed again, but they are coming again to life now.

However, when I had this dream, I did not know this interpretation” (Introduction to Jungian Psychology, p. 42).

In Memories, Jung commented on this dream in the context of his relation to Freud (pp. 186ff.) .

He added:

“The stories of the Grail had been of the greatest importance to me ever since I read them, at the age of fifteen, for the first time. I had an inkling that a great secret lay hidden behind those stories.

Therefore it seemed quite natural to me that the dream should conjure up the world of the Knights of the Grail and their quest-for that was, in the deepest sense, my own world, which had scarcely anything to do with Freud’s.

My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life” (p. 189). ~The Black Books, Vol II, Page 160 fn 53