Dream [28]

He was called by the voice of a child to go to a swimming-pool. The child said that there was a big animal in the water.

He goes with the child but instead of a swimming-pool, he comes to a large bed.

The child pulls away the bed-cover, and there is an enormous tortoise. He finds in his hand an iron tool, a chisel with a wooden handle, which he takes by the iron part.

He beats the head of the tortoise with the wooden handle-not with the iron part, mind you-whereupon the animal opens its mouth and spits out a living child.


The dreamer says that man is not in his habitual element when he is in a swimming-pool-in the water, that is.

He thinks that swimming has something to do with living in the unconscious, it is something like dreaming.

He wonders that the swimming-pool is not a bathing-place but a bed, really the place where one dreams.

The tortoise, he thinks, is like a crocodile, a relic of prehistoric animals, and he says that it looks as if he were not intending to kill it (as he had no feeling about it) but apparently only wanted to overcome it, because he was beating its head not with the iron part of the chisel but with the wooden handle.

He says, concerning the child that came out of the tortoise, that it looked like an embryo in the womb, that is, it came out with the arms and legs all drawn up in the embryonic position.

He says that this is obviously a birth, but he doesn’t know what to think about it.

This dream is not simple.

I think we will start with the first sentence.

He hears the voice of a child calling him to the unconscious, the swimming-pool. What would that mean?

You see, it is not his own child, he doesn’t know it.

Mr. Schmitz: His honest attempt.

Dr. Jung: Yes, one thinks naturally of that third child, the honest attempt, his new business which is also a sort of child.

And the new attempt, the new life, is calling him to a certain place.

We had that child symbolism in the second dream before this one, and the question left over from the last dream was how the new enterprise was to continue, so it is obvious that this is the new attempt.

his associations show that he has found out the analogy, the immediate
relationship, between the bed and the swimming-pool.

It is a movement in the unconscious.

Water generally means the unconscious, and one’s movement in the water is not the habitual movement, like walking in the air, but a new way of locomotion, as the conscious life is naturally different from our psychic life in the unconscious.

Dreams have a different kind of movement, and in his associations the dreamer insists upon comparing the bed and the swimming-pool-what is swimming in the pool is dreaming in the bed. I think we can hardly add anything to his associations.

That is perfectly plain.

Now, something is hidden in that bed-in the unconscious-which he discovers in pursuing his new attempt.

Naturally, the new attempt would have no reason if one were not going to discover something new-have an adventure.

Such an enterprise always means a wish for new discoveries, and the first thing he encounters is a tortoise.

We don’t know why he should find such a prehistoric animal on his way to the new enterprise, that is perfectly irrational, we simply have to accept the fact that it is so.

Now he links up the tortoise with the crocodile.

Do you remember about the crocodile
in a former dream?1

Mrs. Sigg: The crocodile was a holy animal in Upper Egypt.

Dr. Deady: The saurian brings libido from some very great irrational depths.

Dr. Jung: You remember I said that when a crocodile or any saurian turns up, one may expect something quite unusual to happen.

This is again such a case.

As I explained at that time, the crocodile, as well as the tortoise and any other cold-blooded animal, represents extremely archaic psychology of the cold-blooded thing in us.

Schopenhauer said: “the fat of our brother is good enough to smear our boots. ”

That is the thing we never can understand that somewhere we are terribly cold-blooded.

There are people who, under certain circumstances, would be capable of things which they simply could not admit.

It is frightening, we are shocked out of our wits and cannot accept it.

I gave you examples of the natural mind of woman; there you see the cold-blooded animal.

And naturally the same thing is in the cold-blooded man; they will confess it to each other, but never to a woman, because it is too shocking. It is like an awful danger very far away.

It used to be in the Balkans, but now it is much farther away-in the moon.

It would be a moral catastrophe, but since we are so far away we can laugh about it.

But when it touches us, we don’t laugh, it drives people almost crazy.

Once we were quite certainly cold-blooded animals, and we have a trace of it in our anatomy, in the structure of the nervous system.

The saurian is still functioning in us, and one only needs to take away enough brain to bring it to the daylight.

Let a man be wounded very badly in the brain, or have a disease that destroys it, and he becomes a vegetative and utterly cold-blooded thing, exactly like a lizard or a crocodile or a tortoise.

I told you that Hagenbeck, the famous connoisseur of animals, said that you can establish a psychic rapport with practically all animals until one comes to snakes, alligators, and such creatures, and there it comes to an end.

He told about a man who brought up a python, a perfectly harmless and inoffensive animal, apparently, that he used to feed by hand when it was quite big, and everybody assumed that it had some knowledge of him and knew that he was its nurse; but once, suddenly, that animal wound itself like lightning round the body of the man and almost killed him.

Another man had to cut it to pieces with a hatchet in order to save the man’s life.

That is a typical example of the untrustworthiness of these creatures.

Warm-blooded animals have an idea of man; they are either friendly, or they avoid him and his habitations because they dislike or are afraid of him.

But snakes are absolutely heedless.

So we must assume that cold-blooded animals have an
entirely different kind of psychology-one would say none, but
that is a little arbitrary.

These cold-blooded relics are in a way uncanny powers, because they symbolize the fundamental factors of our instinctive life, dating from paleozoic times.

If constellated by circumstances, the saurian appears. For instance, a terrible fear or an organic threat of disease is often expressed in dreams by a snake.

Therefore people who understand nothing of dream interpretation will yet tell you that whenever they dream of snakes, they know they are going to be ill.

During the war, when I was in charge of the British interned soldiers, I became acquainted with the wife of one of the officers, a peculiarly clairvoyant person, and she told me that whenever she dreamt of snakes, it meant disease.

While I was there, she dreamt of an enormous serpent which killed many people, and she said: You will see that means some catastrophe.

A few days later, the second of those big epidemics of the so-called Spanish flu broke out and killed any number of people, and she herself almost died.

The snake comes up in such cases because there is an organic threat which calls forth all one’s instinctive reactions.

So whenever life means business, when things are getting serious, you are likely to find a saurian on the way.

Or when vital contents are to appear from the unconscious, vital thoughts or impulses, you will dream of such animals.

It may be the hindrance that comes up, and it will block your way though you think it is perfectly simple.

Up comes an invisible hindrance, and you don’t know what it really is because you can’t see it, or symbolize it even, and yet it can hold you.

There is something hidden. Perhaps your libido drops, it appears usually in that well-known form; one loses interest suddenly, and the dream expresses it as a dragon or a monster that appears on your way and simply blocks the path for you.

Then in other cases, such a monster is a help: the tremendous force of organized instinct comes up and pushes you over an obstacle which you would not believe possible to climb over by will-power or conscious decision.

There the animal proves to be helpful.

Now we do not know how vital the coffee business will be for our patient, whether it really is important or dangerous to him, but this dream tells him:

Look out! Here is the saurian-this is serious! At all events, the decision he obviously has made means that it will be a situation touching his instincts, the very foundations of his being.

So the appearance of a tortoise is rather a startling discovery in this case. And it seems to have a very important function here, because it brings forth a child, which clearly demonstrates the fact that it is really a doctor tortoise, not an ordinary one, a thing that is a secret human being.

The only association the dreamer gives is that he links it up with the crocodile.

Now what about the tortoise?

Mr. Schmitz: There is important mythical symbolism connected with the tortoise. There is even a myth, I don’t know where, that  he tortoise is the mother of the whole world, that everything living -is-heFn-f’rom–tlietortois-e-;-~——~—~~-

Dr. Jung: You find it in Hindu myths chiefly.

The world is carried on the back of an elephant that is standing on a tortoise.

A tortoise is a most fundamental being-the basic instinct that carries our whole psychological world. For the world is our psychology, our point of view.

And as our point of view is carried by our instincts, so the world is carried by the tortoise.

Now, what about the symbolic aspect of this animal?

Mrs. Deady: It is also very fertile.

Dr. Jung: That is true, but all lower animals are very fertile.

Miss Wolff’ The tortoise has been a mother symbol.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the tortoise in mythology has that female character-maternal, underground. But these sex analogies are everywhere, and the tortoise has something very specific about it.

Mrs. Crowley: Its longevity.

Dr. Jung: It has a tremendously long life.

Miss Sergeant: It moves slowly.

Dr. Jung: It is not very temperamental!

Prof Hooke: It only becomes vocal at the moment of coition.

Dr. Jung: That is also a particularity, but it is not so accessible to human experience. There is another very striking feature.

Dr. HoweUs: The amphibious side of the animal.

Dr. Jung: The amphibious side is exceedingly important as referring to the unconscious side; that has a symbolic aspect.

But there is something else.

Dr. Baynes: There is its crustacean character.

Dr. Jung: Yes, it can withdraw into its own house.

But the tortoise
is a very impersonal symbol.

The obvious features are that this animal has an armoured house into which it can withdraw and where it cannot be attacked.

Then it is amphibious, it is apathetic, it lives a very long time, and it is highly mythological and mysterious.

Remember that the I Ching was brought to land on the shells of one hundred tortoises.

These are all the qualities of a particular psychological factor in man-age-old, very wise, and manifesting in the conscious as well as the unconscious.

This makes the tortoise very meaningful. What would it portray if you translated it into a sort of conscious function?

Answer: Introversion.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but only in an extraverted type.

Dr. Baynes: Sensation?

Dr. Jung: Only in an intuitive type.

Mrs. Fierz: Feeling?

Dr. Jung: Only in an intellectual type. If that thing should be fully developed, fully integrated into man, what would happen then?

You see, if you translate the tortoise symbolism into the most differentiated thing man possibly can attain to, it always contains the thing that is in the beginning and also in the end.

Dr. Baynes: It is an irrational function.

Dr. Jung: Only in a rational type.

Dr. Schlegel: It has the ability to introvert and extravert, go in and out.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but it is more than that. It is the transcendent function. That is what the tortoise symbolizes, and therefore it is so important.

Mrs. Baynes: l don’t see that.

Dr. Jung: The characteristics of the tortoise are the characteristics of the transcendent function, the one that unites the pairs of opposites.

Mrs. Baynes: l thought the transcendent function was created each time the pairs of opposites came together.

Dr. Jung: The coming together each time is the transcendent function. The term transcendent function is used in higher mathematics,
where it is the function of rational and irrational numbers.

I did not take that term from higher mathematics, I learned only later that the same term was used there, meaning the same thing,
namely, the function of rational and irrational data in the functioning together of conscious and unconscious, of the differentiated
function with the inferior function.

It is the reconciliation of the pairs of opposites.

From this reconciliation a new thing is always created, a new thing is realized.

That is the transcendent function, and that is the tortoise.

And the new thing is always strange to the old thing.

A plant, for instance_!!!!~}’ have fruit which is -not at all the same, like the spores of the water algae.

The mother is a plant, but the child is a little animal with a little head and a little tail, swimming about, and then it settles down and becomes a plant again.

So the result of the transcendent function is as strange to
us as the turtle is.

Dr. Schlegel: ls it only the tortoise, or every cold-blooded animal?

Dr. Jung: Not so much as the tortoise, on account of its great age and its amphibious quality.

The snake has a somewhat different meaning, it can renew itself by shedding its skin, which gives it the quality of eternity.

But the snake comes nearer to the tortoise than the crocodile, in spite of the fact that there are enormously old crocodiles.

There was one on the west bank of Lake Victoria9 which the Negroes fed because they said that crocodile protected the whole coast, it chased away all the others.

It was tremendously big and fat-they fed it with fish, and it never ate human beings.

It was the friend of man, a doctor animal. Usually the crocodile symbolizes the voracious quality of the unconscious, the danger from
below which suddenly comes up and pulls people down.

That is also a function of the unconscious, a very dangerous one.

Now we come to this very peculiar action of the dreamer, that he beats the tortoise on the head with the wooden handle of the chisel. He says that he obviously wants to overcome the animal, but has not the intention of killing it or he would have used the iron part.

Now what about the chisel?

An instrument is an important
motif. Instruments often turn up in dreams with the same meaning
that they have in mythology.

Dr. Deady: I think he said that it was a tool for opening boxes.

Dr. Jung:· Yes, as if there had suddenly been an allusion to a locked box and it was necessary to pry open the lid, but that was not meant.

Dr. Deady: Striking the head, then, would be to bring about consciousness.

Dr. Jung: To beat somebody on the head?-Unconsciousness,

Although we have a nice story in this country of thieves who broke into a house and tried to smash a man’s head with a hammer.

But the man said, “Come in!”-as if somebody had aroused a slight interest in him by knocking at the door. In this case it is probably something of the sort.

The tortoise is not killed, it merely got dizzy and delivered that child. But why such an instrument?

Mrs. Deady: It would help him to open all his drawers and boxes, his compartments.

Dr. Jung: That he must have it to open the boxes is quite possible,
but what does the instrument mean?

Mrs. Crowley: In mythology it is a phallic symbol, so it might  ean penetration.

Dr. Jung: Yes, and in the I Ching penetrating means understanding a thing;  therefore we speak of a penetrating mind.

And naturally when one speaks of a thing that is able to penetrate, one

thinks of an oblong and pointed object.

So there is the obvious phallic analogy, but it also symbolizes and expresses the penetrating will of man.

In psychology, the action of the mind is symbolized by penetration.

And we have figures of speech in other languages, in French and in German, where the action of the mind is symbolized by the idea of penetration-a ray of light like a spear, for instance. Later on, this man had a dream where he came to an illumined wall, and he knew that behind it was truth, and he holds a spear trying to pierce that wall.

There is the act of penetration.

In this case he uses a penetrating instrument but not for penetration.

He knocks the animal on the head just to beat it down without smashing its skull. What does that mean?

Mrs. Nordfeldt: He is overcoming it.

Dr. Jung: Yes, and where do you see that in folklore?

Mrs. Baynes: In the similarity of cutting the dragon open.

Dr. Jung: Of course. It is the fight with the dragon who holds the treasure inside, and when the hero has succeeded in beating the dragon down, out will come the father or mother, or he will get at the hidden treasure. In this case, the dragon or tortoise delivers a child.

That is what the dream means exactly-the overcoming of the unconscious.

He has to make it conscious, he has to wrench it loose from the original unconsciousness, to detach that bit of consciousness or that content from the unconscious and make it his own.

Now what has he to make conscious by beating back the ~instinct1fiaTKeeps everything in the unconscious? · ·642-650