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1cabiri

Black Books

  1. From the Cabiri episode of IN: “We carry what is not to be carried from below to above” (p. 426).

Later in 1917- that is, after this entry- Jung made a painting of the Cabiri episode.

On the reverse, he wrote the following lines from it:

“The Cabiri: ‘We hauled things up, we built. We placed stone upon stone. Now you stand on solid ground . . . . We forged a flashing sword for you, with which you can cut the knot that entangles you .. . . We also place before you the devilish, skillfully twined knot that locks and seals you. Strike, only sharpness will cut through it . .. . Do not hesitate. We need destruction since we ourselves are the entanglement. He who wishes to conquer new land brings down the bridges behind him. Let us not exist anymore. We are the thousand canals in which everything also flows back again into its origin . .. .’ 24 December 1917” (see The Art of C.G.Jt111g, cat. 63, p. 141).

The Cabiri  were the deities celebrated at the mysteries of Samothrace. They were held to be promoters of fertility and protectors of sailors.

Friedrich Creuzer and Schelling held them to be the primal deities of Greek mythology. from which all others developed (Symbolik 11nd Mythologie der a/ten Yulker [Leipzig: Leske, 18rn- 23]); also see Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, The Deities of Samothrace, 1815, introduced and translated by R. F. Brown [Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1977]).

Jung had copies of both of these works.

They appear in Goethe’s Faust, 2, act 2.

Jung discussed the Cabiri in Transformations  and Symbols of the Libido (CW 5  §§ 209-11).

In 1940 he wrote:

“The Cabiri are, in fact, the mysterious creative powers,  the gnomes who work under the earth, i.e., below the threshold of consciousness, in order to supply us with lucky ideas.

As imps and hobgoblins, however, they also lay all sorts of nasty tricks, keeping back names and dates that were ‘on the tip of the tongue,’ making us say the wrong thing, etc.

They give an eye to everything that has not already been anticipated by consciousness and the functions at its disposal. .. . deeper insight will show that the primitive and archaic qualities of the inferior function conceal all sorts of significant relationships and symbolic meanings, and instead of laughing off the Cabiri as ridiculous Tom Thumbs he may begin to suspect that they are a treasure-house of hidden wisdom” (“Attempt at a Psychological Interpretation of the Dogma of the Trinity,” CW II,§ 244).

Jung commented on the Cabiri scene in Faust in Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, §§ 203ff