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999 wotan

Black Books

Tuesday. In Memories, Jung recalled concerning his mother’s death:

“I was deeply shaken, for it had come with unexpected suddenness.  The night before her death I had a frightening dream.

I was in a dense, gloomy forest; fantastic, gigantic boulders lay about among huge jungle-like trees. It was a heroic, primeval landscape.

Suddenly I heard a piercing whistle that seemed to resound through the whole universe.

My knees shook. Then there were crashings in the underbrush, and a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw burst forth.

At the sight of it, the blood froze in my veins.

It tore past me, and I suddenly knew: the Wild Huntsman had commanded it to carry away a human soul.

I awoke in deadly terror, and the next morning I received the news of my mother’s passing. / Seldom has a dream so shaken me, for upon superficial consideration it seemed to say that the devil had fetched her.

But to be accurate the dream said that it was the Wild Huntsman, the “Griinhiitl” or Wearer of the Green Hat, who hunted with his wolves that night-it was the season of Fohn storms in January.

It was Wotan, the god of my Alemannic forefathers, who had gathered my mother to her ancestors negatively to the ‘wild horde,’ but positively to the ‘salig lut’ the blessed folk.

It was the Christian missionaries who made Wotan into a devil. In himself he is an important god, a Mercury or Hermes, as the Romans correctly realized, a nature spirit who returned to life again in the Merlin of the Grail legend and became, as the spiritus Mercurialis, the sought-after Arcanum of the alchemists.

Thus the dream says that the soul of my mother was taken into that greater territory of the self which lies beyond the segment
of Christian morality, taken into that wholeness of nature and spirit in which conflicts and contradictions are resolved. / I went home immediately, and while I rode in the night train I had a feeling of great grief, but in my heart of hearts I could not be mournful, and this for a strange reason: during the entire journey I continually heard dance music, laughter, and jollity, as though a wedding were being celebrated.

This contrasted violently with the devastating impression the dream had made on me. Here was gay dance music, cheerful laughter, and it was impossible to yield entirely to my sorrow.

Again and again it was on the point of overwhelming me, but the next moment I would find myself once more engulfed by the merry melodies.

One side of me had a feeling of warmth and joy, and the other of terror and grief; I was thrown back and forth between these contrasting emotions.

/ This paradox can be explained if we suppose that at one moment death was being represented from the point of view of the ego, and
at the next from that of the psyche.

In the first case it appeared as a catastrophe; that is how it so often strikes us, as if wicked and pitiless powers had put an end to a human life …

From another point of view, however, death appears as a joyful event. In the light of eternity, it is a wedding, a mysterium coniunctionis.” (pp. 344- 46).

There is no separate contemporaneous record of a dream, which suggests that Jung was in fact recalling the events described in the
entry for 7/ 8. I. 1923 at l a.m. See introduction, pp. 78ff. ~The Black Books, Vol. VII, Page 232, fn 222.