Miss Wolff” Was he conscious of the spiritual meaning of the hut?
Dr. Jung: Naturally, as a white man, he would hardly enter such a hut in reality, but he knew there was also the spiritual aspect of it; he is divided as all white men living in the colonies are.
One is aware of the extraordinary filth, and on the other hand one can hardly deny that the place has an extraordinary quality.
One finds there very interesting symbolic remnants of Coptic Christianity.
The meaning is almost conscious to him: “Les extremes se touchent.”
But how else would you explain this crocodile?
Mrs. Sigg: Was not the crocodile a very holy animal for the Egyptians?
Dr. Jung: Yes, in Upper Egypt. There was a crocodile cult. So this is a sacred saurian.
Mrs. Fierz: Before he gets to the kettle mustn’t he find his totem animal as the incarnation of ancestral spirits?
Dr. Jung: The totem animal is always the first, the original, ancestor.
The next generation would be heroic animals or demigods, like the Homeric heroes in Greece.
The heroic age follows the animal in Australian mythology also. Then comes man.
So in the place of his origin he meets the ancestral animal, the divine crocodile. Now you can begin to speculate.
Mrs. Sigg: Would it be a feeling connection? He must somehow get into connection with nature.
Dr. Jung: To be in such a hut is to be isolated like an anchorite or like any saints who try to live spiritual lives; or like primitives when they are secluded in the bush in order to get into the community of ghosts.
The whole thing is an archetypal situation where man is put in isolation in order to become aware of ancestral ghosts.
There are striking examples among the North American Indians.
After the manhood initiations, they have to go alone into a cave or little tent, where they sit all day and fast.
Nobody talks to them; they are supposed to have dreams and intercourse with spirits, chiefly in the form of animals.
In northern California there is a sort of marathon race; a man starts early and races up the mountain to the Fire Lakes (so called because they are reached in the sunset light).
It is a lonely place and there he must sleep, and in the early morning the first animal he sees is his totem animal.
If the animal speaks to him he must be a medicine-man.
When he returns the old men take him into their circle and sing songs of animals, and when they sing the song of the animal he has conversed with, he cannot help betraying it.
He may try to conceal it because he doesn’t want to become a medicine-man, it is dangerous, but if the toad has spoken to him, for instance, when they sing that song he cannot help sighing audibly, and then he is in for trouble.
So now we see that the presence of the crocodile has something to do with a spiritual origin, which confirms our conclusion that the hut is spiritual.
And we see that this is an archetypal situation, it is the place of the spirit, such as one sees in the initiations of primitive man.
That would generally be a ghost-house in woods or mountains, and there is often a pole with the blood-stained skulls hanging on it of prisoners of war who were put to death in a ritual way, the ritual consisting of everyone putting his dagger in the prisoner’s body and then licking the blade for the health magic.
This is very fortifying.
It is comparable to our communion, the tasting of the blood, and to the spear-thrust when Christ is on the pole.
The Greek word for cross is pole; the primitive victim was hanging on the cross.
And in an old Germanic ritual Odin was represented hanging on a tree, pierced with a spear.
In this place of the spirits we see the totem animal, which symbolizes the beginning of man.
With the primitives, not every animal has spiritual qualities, only doctor animals.
There are ordinary foxes, but if one of them behaves in a funny way or if a coyote, ordinarily very shy, appears in a village, the natives say, “That is a doctor animal”-an animal with spiritual qualities, an exceptional animal like, say, a white elephant.
In the spiritual place, then, there are ancestral instincts, the stock of physiological life, and here there is the instinctiveness of a coldblooded animal with almost no soul.
Hagenbeck of the Hamburg Zoo says you can establish an emotional rapport with all animals except reptiles.
There a psychic rapport simply comes to an end.
With the warm-blooded animals there is a certain similar quality of psychology which makes connection possible.
The difference between monkeys and human beings is not great.
Kohler, in his researches on anthropoids, saw them doing ritual dances like the primitive tribes.
Monkeys in the primeval forest have a very human quality. And dogs are very human. But the crocodile is beyond human reach.
For us it would be snakes, since crocodiles are prehistoric here. In dragon myths they perhaps refer to dinosaurs.
Whenever a snake appears, it symbolizes -symbolizes a piece of instinctive psychology in ourselves that is simply inaccessible, something of tremendous power, a thing that is inexorable and that we cannot make compromises with.
A Nordic myth says you can recognize the hero by his snake’s eyes, cold, not to be trusted.
You can’t influence the serpent thing in man, and this makes him a hero or medicine-man.
The serpent in Oriental psychology is very spiritual, it symbolizes the treasure of wisdom.
Yogis have an instinctive understanding of people with snake’s eyes because they are in contact with that part of their own psychology.
But snake’s eyes of course mean the bad quality, too, something quite inhuman that you see in primitive medicine-men also.
In Spencer and Gillen’s book there is a photograph of such a man; he has a peculiar, staring look, it is the evil eye that can charm snakes.
So the hero is of a like nature.
He reproduces youth by casting off his old skin and taking on a new, a continuous rejuvenation by overcoming the great dragon, Death.
The inhuman quality that the snake represents is linked up with the lower centres of the brain and spinal system, into which fakirs occasionally penetrate, as when they are able to stop their own bleeding, or produce tears at will, as some actresses do; these are snake powers. ~The Visions Seminar, Page 324-327