Zarathustra Seminars

Dr. Jung: Now we will go on to section 10:

This had Zarathustra said to his heart when the sun stood at noon-tide. Then he looked inquiringly aloft,-for he heard above him the sharp call of a bird. And behold! An eagle swept through the air in wide circles, and on it hung a serpent, not like a prey, but like a friend: for it kept itself coiled round the eagle’s neck.

“They are mine animals,” said Zarathustra, and rejoiced in his heart.

Here something happens. Not many things happen in Zarathustra, but occasionally something does happen. We are informed that the sun is now at noontide. Why should Zarathustra mention this fact? Is the sun ever at noontide for Zarathustra inasmuch as Zarathustra is the wise old man?

Miss Wolff: No, it would not be for him-he is an eternal figure-but for Nietzsche it is.

Dr . .Jung: Exactly. Here we have an example of how these things work practically. You see, Zarathustra the archetype is typically beyond time.

His wisdom is beyond time. First of all, it is old like the world, and secondly, it is always looking beyond the given moment. In the descent of the sun he sees midnight, and at midnight he sees the sun rising, because that is the character of wisdom.

As Till Eulenspiegel laughed like mad when he went uphill, and wept when he went downhill.

People could not understand it, for wisdom is never understood by ordinary people, but to him it was perfectly clear. In going up he thinks of the descent and that makes him laugh.

He rejoices in the idea that soon he will be able to go downhill.

But when he goes downhill he foresees that he will soon have to climb again and he weeps therefor.

And that is the nature of Zarathustra. So it is the man Nietzsche who discovers that he is at the noon of life.

He was born in 1844 so he was just thirty-nine when he started to write Zarathustra, and that is the noontide, the beginning of the afternoon.

In his case,  it was of course particularly important to see that, because he had only six years left before the atrophy of his brain began in 1888. ~Zarathustra Seminars, Page 226-227