1925 Seminar

The serpent is the animal, but the magical animal.

There is hardly anyone whose relation to a snake is neutral.

When you think of a snake, you are always in touch with racial instinct.

Horses and monkeys have snake phobia, as man has.

In primitive countries, you can easily see why man has acquired this instinct.

The Bedouins are afraid of scorpions and carry amulets to protect themselves, especially stones from certain Roman ruins. So whenever a snake appears, you must think of a primordial feeling of fear.

The black color goes with this feeling, and also with the subterranean character of the snake.

It is hidden and therefore dangerous.

As animal it symbolizes something unconscious; it is the instinctive movement or tendency;

it shows the way to the hidden treasure, or it guards the treasure.

The dragon is the mythological form of the snake.

The snake has a fascinating appeal, a peculiar attraction through fear.

Some people are fascinated by this fear.

Things that are awe-inspiring and dangerous have an extraordinary attraction.

This combination of fear and attraction is shown, for instance, when a bird is hypnotized by a snake, for the bird flutters down to fight the snake, and then becomes attracted and held by the snake.

The serpent shows the way to hidden things and expresses the introverting libido, which leads man to go beyond the point of safety, and beyond the limits of consciousness, as expressed by the deep crater.

The snake is also Yin, the dark female power.

The Chinese would not use the snake (i.e., dragon) as a symbol for Yin, but for Yang. In Chinese [tradition], the Yin is symbolized by the tiger and the Yang by the dragon.

The serpent leads the psychological movement apparently astray into the kingdom of shadows, dead and wrong images, but also into the earth, into concretization.

It makes things real, makes them come into being, after the manner of Yin.

Inasmuch as the serpent leads into the shadows, it has the function of the anima; it leads you into the depths, it connects the above and the below. serpent”—they say, “My serpent said to me,” meaning “I had an idea.”

Therefore the serpent is also the symbol of wisdom, speaks the wise word of the depths.

It is quite chthonic, quite earth-born, like Erda, daughter of the earth.

The dead heroes transform into serpents in the underworld.

In mythology, that which had been the sun-bird devours itself, goes into the earth, and comes up again.

The Semenda Bird, like the phoenix, burns in order to renew itself.

Out of the ashes comes the snake, and out of the snake the bird again.

The snake is the transition from the Heaven-born, back again to the bird.

The snake encoils the vessel of Ra. In the Night Journey, in the Seventh Hour, Ra must fight the serpent.

Ra is supported by the ritual of the priests: if he kills the serpent, the sun rises, if he should not succeed, the sun would rise no more.

The serpent is the personification of the tendency to go into the depths and to deliver oneself over to the alluring world of shadows.

I had already engaged the old man in an interesting conversation; and, quite against all expectations, the old man had assumed a rather critical attitude toward my kind of thinking.

He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but, according to his views, thoughts were like animals in a forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air.

He said, “If you should see people in a room, you would not say that you made those people, or that you were responsible for them.”

Only then I learned psychological objectivity.

Only then could I say to a patient, “Be quiet, something is happening.” There are such things as mice in a house.

You cannot say you are wrong when you have a thought.

For the understanding of the unconscious we must see our thoughts as events, as phenomena.

We must have perfect objectivity. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Pages 102-103