11 March 1931 Visions Seminar LECTURE VII
We got as far last time as the union of that pair of opposites, the two white snakes that approached this woman and said that they were night and day, good and evil, her two eyes, her two hands, and her two feet.
And I tried to impress you with the fact that these two white snakes were opposites which were nevertheless like each other.
They would be interchangeable.
They should really be black and white, they should be differentiated from each other; it is an entirely new situation that the pair of opposites should be alike.
It would amount to the statement that night is the same as day, and evil the same as good.
Like the two hands, no difference between the left hand and the right hand, no difference between the left foot and the right foot.
That analogy with the limbs is very suggestive.
It means the complete coordination of the pairs of opposites, they are no longer different, opposition has come to an end; all the usual conflict between good and evil, or great and small, or any other contrasts is at an end.
And when that is the case, we can assume that life will go on in a different place; something new is coming up, and we have seen that that black snake with the green eyes is obviously a new focus of life; there a new intensity begins.
We would assume that the black snake coming from below must counteract or balance something of an opposite character from above, but that is not yet mentioned.
On account of the equality of those white snakes, she ceases to struggle, and she says:
then the black snake uncoiled from my leg and lay beside me uttering these words: “While you walk we are coiled about you, while you rest we are beside you.”
You remember, the black snake was coiled round her left leg, which was very uncomfortable, but now, when she ceases to struggle against the opposites, when she accepts their equality, that snake uncoils and behaves quite decently; it is not offensive, it explains itself humanly.
As soon as she makes a movement, instantly the snake clutches her, but the moment she ceases to move it uncoils and lies beside her.
Now what does that mean?
Mrs. Crowley: She does not protest, she accepts. When she can accept things, they no longer pursue her, they are not on top of her.
Dr: Jung: Yes, they are simply provoked by her own movement.
As soon as she shows any kind of initiative, any kind of tendency to do something on her own account, say an egotistical intention showing her own will, the snake immobilizes her.
But the moment she gives way and keeps quiet, the snakes are at rest too; there is no danger as long as she does not move, which is a very strong argument in favor of a complete standstill.
There has been a great deal of movement in her visions, but lately we have seen that she came to a standstill in becoming a tree.
That accounts for the balancing of opposites.
As soon as she does no more deciding, and makes no movement, there is no disintegration into pairs of opposites; she is at one with herself.
But now the fantasy goes on, and she says: “Then I suddenly stood up in anger and seized the black snake.
I swallowed it.” This is very interesting symbolism. What does that mean?
Mrs. Crowley: Assimilation.
Dr: Jung: Yes, but here I stress quite specially the eating. Do you know of any parallel?
Dr: Baynes: Zarathustra.
Mrs. Schlegel: In fairy tales.
Dr: Jung: Yes, there is a fairy tale where someone eats a snake and thereby understands the language of animals.
And then Zarathustra, as Dr. Baynes says, in the chapter about the shepherd. That is really the clue.
Zarathustra is a great psychological tragedy, and in a way it is the tragedy of modern man.
Of course, it has never been understood as such, because the people who read it have not the symbolical knowledge necessary to understand it, but with analytical psychology one can really get at it.
But there are other cases of eating snakes.
Mrs. Jaeger: There is a Hopi story, that when they want to kill a man, they come together and eat snakes.
Dr: Jung: I think that is not a Hopi story.
That must be the story of some other primitive tribe where they cut up a snake and eat it.
If the snake were the totem animal, that would happen.
Mrs. Jaeger: They were strong enough to kill the man after eating the snake.
Dr. Jung: That would be a magic ceremony to create additional strength. But we have other parallels.
There is a passage in the Psychology of the Unconscious which you may remember.
Dr. Baynes: In the witches’ meal in Macbeth, they put snakes in the cauldron.
Dr. Jung: Yes, in witchcraft they ate such horrible stuff.
Miss Wolff In the Orphic cult there was a snake crawling on the table amongst the little loaves of bread, but I don’t know whether they ate it.
Dr. Schlegel: The Dionysians fed a snake, did they not?
Dr. Jung: Yes, and there were other such cases.
The early Christian, or probably pre-Christian, Gnostics, celebrated the communion in the presence of a snake who was supposed to be the Savior; the snake was amongst the sacred bread that was eaten, as a sort of Host.
Then I have spoken of that interesting sect who believed that the Savior was the serpent on the tree in Paradise, where it gave good advice to our first parents, advice which made them conscious.
The idea was that God was vain and blind and did not want human beings to see how incomplete his work had been, and they understood the Savior to be the serpent that enlightened them.
You remember that passage in the Gospels where Jesus says: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up”-likening himself to the serpent.
But there are other stories from antiquity about the serpent which come closer to this symbol; for instance, one of the early Fathers tells of the mysteries of Sabazios, an Orphic cult, where they put a golden snake down through their clothes and pulled it out from under the garment below.
That is like eating the snake, a sort of transitus of the snake through the body, meaning its assimilation, obviously.
And a similar cult was celebrated in Eleusis; there the initiate had to kiss a huge snake.
Kissing means a very close and intimate acquaintance, and it means also a certain assimilation, either the assimilation of the snake to the human being, or perhaps the assimilation of the human being to the snake,
since the snake was supposed to be a heroic soul.
Many of the old Greek heroes were supposed to have snakes’ souls.
The soul of the hero appeared after death in the form of a snake that dwelt near his tomb.
Therefore the famous serpent of Erechtheus, and the snake of Cecrops on the Acropolis at Athens.
The serpent would be the chthonic part of the hero, the soul underground from which he draws his magic strength and efficiency; by assimilating it, he becomes a hero.
That particular ceremonial at Eleusis was performed with the purpose of establishing such a connection; it was in order to partake of the serpent’s magic power, its mana.
So eating the snake in dreams, as well as in fantasies and visions and ceremonials, means assimilation.
It is the same idea as eating the body of the Lord in the communion, in order to participate in its strength.
That was also the original meaning of cannibalism, which was by no means instinctive; it was a magic ritual, and that is still the case wherever it prevails.
Those who eat human flesh and drink human blood acquire additional human strength.
And drinking the blood in the form of wine has exactly the same meaning.
So the serpent usually symbolizes the darkness of the human soul that is connected with the earth.
There is a suggestion of this in the myth of Antaeus: Hercules could not overcome him until he discovered that Antaeus, being a son of the earth, got his insurmountable power from his contact with the earth; so Hercules simply lifted him up in the air and Antaeus immediately lost his power.
That black serpent, then, would be this woman’s connection with the earth, and that would be at the same time her connection with the past.
The ancestors are supposed to be living in the earth; they are buried there.
The life of the earth is our past, and psychologically the snake means our connection with the past; it is a long historical tail that links us with that past existence, with the primeval forests and caves.
It is magic and mysterious in a way.
Also, it has a particular connection with the vegetative nervous system, because snakes are cold-blooded animals and have chiefly a vertebrate consciousness, one could say; that is, their main accumulation of nervous substance is in the spinal column, it is not in the brain.
So, actually, if there is anything like psychological life, it must be located in the lumbar region and not up in the head.
The snake is called the soul of the abdomen.
In the Kundalini yoga, which is a branch of the Tantric system, the Kundalini serpent is supposed to be coiled up in the lower basin.
The word Kundalini means the coiled serpent.
That serpent has to do with the one we are dealing with here; this black chthonic snake that comes up round the left leg is tremendously important symbolism.
The Kundalini snake is really situated in the lumbar region, but here it crawls up the left leg because the left side is the unconscious side and the side of ill omen.
For the relation to that snake is very critical, very fatal; it depends on one’s attitude whether it is dangerous or helpful.
Practically nobody who has had to deal with the unconscious, has not come across that snake.
In Meyrink’s Green Face it works miracles as the Vidu serpent.
Now we come to Zarathustra, who is of course Nietzsche himself.
He encountered a black serpent, and no wonder!
Being a modern man, he came to problems which were beyond the medieval Christian world.
He hit upon the problem of the chthonic force from which our modern consciousness has been separated.
We are as if cut off from the roots and therefore we are seeking the roots again.
In the forty-sixth chapter, “The Vision and the Enigma,” Zarathustra encounters a dwarf; there the problem
really begins, and the development is most interesting.
The story of the dwarf starts just a scene before the part about the black snake, and I think I should read you that, for the dwarf is the typical chthonic man, a sort of personification of the chthonic soul.
Dwarfs are supposed to live in the mountains or in the earth, having control of the underground rivers and of all hidden treasures, like ore and precious stones.
Moreover they possess great wisdom, secret knowledge. That is not a medieval invention.
In Greek antiquity one finds the same idea in the form of the Idaei dactyli-the thumblings of lda.
Ida is the great mountain in Greece where Zeus dwelt, according to a very old Greek tradition.
And Zeus was one of the Idaei dactyli.
He was a thumbling, which can only be understood by the formula, “smaller than small yet greater than great.”
Hercules, the strongest and most powerful of men, was also a thumbling.
These dactyli are also called cabiri, which means in Syrian and in Arabic the great ones, the powerful ones, yet their cult was chiefly celebrated in Samothrace in the form of those little figures: I believe they were only
one foot high on the coast.
And two other great Greek heroes were supposed to be cabiri, Castor and Pollux, the gods of navigation, those beautiful stars.
Yet the little monuments on the cliffs which represented them were about one foot high; though they were called the great ones they were very small in reality.
They were thumblings, yet they were terribly powerful. Also they were hidden as treasures are hidden.
In every Greek household they had a kista, a sort of case, where they kept a number of such cabiri; they were carefully wrapped up in cloth or in little garments, and they were kept hidden away in the dark kista, as if they were still dwellers in caves.
And in the temples of the cabiri, they were kept in the adyton, a place where nobody was allowed to enter, like the most secret place in the Jewish temple at Jerusalem.
Only once in the year was the High Priest allowed to enter and to hold a service to the secret gods who dwelt in the adyton.
So the dwarf is also linked up with the snake symbolism because they both lived underground, and both had the secret knowledge and were the guardians of the treasure.
Dragons were also guardians of the treasure, and the Greek word for dragon means a snake as well as what we would call a dragon.
I will now read part of the forty-sixth chapter of Zarathustra: Gloomily walked I lately in corpse-colored twilight-gloomily and sternly, with compressed lips.
Not only one sun had set for me.
This describes the condition in which he sets out on his quest, with compressed lips, sternly, going quite alone because not only one sun had set for him.
He has lost so many days, so many illusions, and now he is gloomily starting out on an adventure or to perform some deed.
A path which ascended daringly among boulders, an evil lonesome path, which neither herb nor shrub any longer cheered, a mountain-path, crunched under the daring of my foot.
Mutely marching over the scornful clinking of pebbles, trampling the stone that let it slip: thus did my foot force its way upwards.
Upwards:-in spite of the spirit that drew it downwards, towards the abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and arch-enemy.
The movement goes up.
His devil and arch-enemy, the spirit of gravity, is the earth spirit that draws him down into the dark region, but he is moving up and away, he wants to get rid of it.
And the spirit of gravity is the serpent.
Upwards:-although it sat upon me, half-dwarf, half-mole; paralyzed, paralyzing; dripping lead in mine ear, and thoughts like drops of lead into my brain.
This is the standstill, this is what the dwarf tries to bring about, lameness and standstill.
“O Zarathustra,” it whispered scornfully, syllable by syllable, “thou stone of wisdom! Thou threwest thyself high, but every thrown stone must-fall!
“O Zarathustra, thou stone of wisdom, thou sling-stone, thou star destroyer!
Thyself threwest thou so high-but every thrown stone-must falll”
That is the spirit of the abyss, the spirit of gravity, which speaks like the dwarf.
“Condemned of thyself, and to thine own stoning: 0 Zarathustra, far indeed threwest thou thy stone-but upon thyself will it recoil!”
Then was the dwarf silent; and it lasted long.
The silence, however, oppressed me; and to be thus in pairs, one is verily lonesome than when alone!
I ascended, I ascended, I dreamt, I thought-but everything oppressed me.
A sick one did I resemble, whom bad torture wearieth, and a worse dream reawakeneth out of his first sleep.
But there is something in me which I call courage: it hath hitherto slain for me every dejection.
This courage at last bade me stand still and say: “Dwarf! Thou! Or I!”
For courage is the best slayercourage which attacketh: for in every attack there is sound of triumph.
Man, however, is the most courageous animal: thereby hath he overcome every animal.
With sound of triumph hath he overcome every pain; human pain, however, is the sorest pain.
Courage slayeth also giddiness at abysses: and where doth man not stand at abysses! Is not seeing itself-seeing abysses?
Courage is the best slayer: courage slayeth also fellow-suffering.
Fellow-suffering, however, is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man looketh into life, so deeply also doth he look into suffering.
Courage, however, is the best slayer, courage which attacketh: it slayeth even death itself; for it saith: “Was that life? Well! Once morel”
In such speech, however, there is much sound of triumph. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
“Halt, dwarf!” said I. “Either I-or thou! I, however, am the stronger of the two:-thou knowest not mine abysmal thought! It couldst thou not endure!”
Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang from my shoulder, the prying sprite!
And it squatted on a stone in front of me. There was however a gateway just where we halted.
“Look at this gateway! Dwarf!” I continued, “it hath two faces.
Two roads come together here: these hath no one yet gone to the end of.
This long lane backwards: it continueth for an eternity.
And that long lane forward-that is another eternity.
They are antithetical to one another, these roads; they directly abut on one another: and it is here, at this gateway, that they come together.
The name of the gateway is inscribed above: ‘This Moment!’
But should one follow them further-and ever further and further on, thinkest thou dwarf, that these roads would be externally antithetical?”
“Everything straight lieth,” murmured the dwarf, contemptuously.
“All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle.”
“Thou spirit of gravity!” said I wrathfully, “do not take it too lightly! Or I shall let thee squat where thou squattest, Halt-foot and I carried thee high!”
“Observe,” continued I, “This Moment! From the gateway, This Moment, there runneth a long eternal lane backwards: behind us lieth an eternity.
Must not whatever can run its course of all things, have already run along that lane?
Must not whatever can happen of all things have already happened, resulted, and gone by?
And if everything has already existed, what thinkest thou, dwarf, of This Moment? Must not this gateway also have already existed?
And are not all things closely bound together in such wise that This Moment draweth all coming things after it? Consequently-itself also?
For whatever can run its course of all things, also in this long lane outward-must it once more run!
“And this slow spider which creepeth in the moonlight, and this moonlight itself, and thou and I in this gateway whispering together, whispering of eternal things-must we not all have already existed?
And must we not return and run in that other lane out before us, that long weird lane-must we not eternally return?”
Thus did I speak, and always more softly: for I was afraid of mine own thoughts and arrear-thoughts.
Then, suddenly did I hear a dog howl near me.
Had I ever heard a dog howl thus? My thoughts ran back. Yes!
When I was a child, in my most distant childhood: then did I hear a dog howl thus.
And saw it also, with hair bristling, its head upwards, trembling in the stillest midnight, when even dogs believe in ghosts-so that it excited my commiseration.
For just then went the full moon, silent as death, over the house; just then did it stand still, a glowing globe-at rest on the flat roof, as if on someone’s property-thereby had the dog been terrified: for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts.
And when I again heard such howling, then did it excite my commiseration once more.
Where was now the dwarf? And the gateway? And the spider? And all the whispering? Had I dreamt? Had I awakened? ‘twixt rugged rocks did I suddenly stand alone, dreary in the dreariest moonlight.
But there lay a man! And there! The dog leaping, bristling, whining-now did it see me coming-then did it howl again, then did i\ cry:-had I ever heard a dog cry so for help?
And verily, what I saw, the like had I never seen.
A young shepherd did I see, writhing, choking, quivering, with distorted countenance, and with a heavy black serpent hanging out of his mouth.
Had I ever seen so much loathing and pale horror on one countenance? He had perhaps gone to sleep?
Then had the serpent crawled into his throat-there had it bitten itself fast.
My hand pulled at the serpent, and pulled-in vain! I failed to pull the serpent out of his throat.
Then there cried out of me: “Bite! Bite!
Its head off! Bite!”-so cried it out of me; my horror, my hatred, my loathing, my pity, all my good and my bad cried with one voice out of me.
Ye daring ones around me! Ye venturers and adventurers, and whoever of you have embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas! Ye enigma-enjoyers! Solve unto me the enigma that I then beheld, interpret unto me the vision of the lonesomest one!
For it was a vision and a foresight: what did I then behold in parable? And who is it that must come some day?
Who is the shepherd into whose throat the serpent thus crawled? Who is the man into whose throat all the heaviest and blackest will thus crawl?
The shepherd, however, bit as my cry had admonished him; he bit with a strong bite! Far away did he spit the head of the serpent and sprang up.
No longer shepherd, no longer man-a transfigured being, a light-surrounded being, that laughed!
Never on earth laughed a man as he laughed! 0 my brethren, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter-and now gnaweth a thirst at me, a longing that is never allayed.
My longing for that laughter gnaweth at me: oh, how can I still endure to live! And how could I endure to
die at present! Thus spake Zarathustra.
Zarathustra-Nietzsche-to the problem of the black snake.
One gets a much wider view of what happened through the association of the dwarf.
He occurs again at the end of the book as the “ugliest man,” the chthonic man, who is ultimately rejected by Nietzsche.
He is also the rope dancer that should not be leapt over-meaning that he should not be omitted in the chapter where it is prophesied that his mind would die sooner than his body, which literally came true, as you know.
Nietzsche’s relation to the chthonic element is clearly shown here.
He was always terribly neurotic and he could not connect with his soil, with external conditions.
Because he was out of tune with his surroundings, he became hypochondriacal and was always hunting for the proper climate, the particular spot on earth that would suit him.
He was intellectual and intuitive chiefly, but in writing Zarathustra he was entirely intuitive.
That was his reality.
His hypochondria about climatic conditions-how he was affected by the sun or the rain or the air-was the compensation for his lack of reality sense.
This became finally a sort of obsession with him, showing that he was on bad terms with the given facts.
The dwarf is, as I said, a forerunner of the black serpent.
He is a humanized form of the same principle; it is the small man within, the chthonic man, that ultimately is identical with the snake.
Therefore dwarfs have very much the same attributes as snakes.
This dwarf really tells Zarathustra what will happen if he rejects him, the spirit of gravity: he will ascend and ascend, and finally reach the culmination, which is too high, so that he falls back upon himself.
The stone he has thrown so high will fall upon him and he must fall in the end.
You see, what Nietzsche does in Zarathustra is really what our intellect and our cult of the will is doing-ascending, ascending, chiefly for selfish and egotistical ends, ending in vain ambition apparently, high above the earth.
And then comes the fall.
Now this man was not only prophetic for Nietzsche’s individual life but for the civilized nations of Europe in general.
It is the fault of all of us who have an attitude which disregards the laws of the earth.
We simply provoke the spirit of gravity by striving after the stars, by imagining that our rationalism can really win out and rule the world.
That is the stone thrown too high, which will fall back upon us; and that is the wisdom the dwarf was trying to get into Zarathustra, but he refused to be lamed in his beautiful movement up to the stars, so he rejected the dwarf.
Now rejecting such a gentle warning, this whisper in his ear, means a grave offense against the laws of the earth, so things do not become better.
On the contrary they become worse, for then the snake crawls into him.
Of course that is projected into the shepherd, a figure like the poimen, the shepherd of men.
Zarathustra can be put beside Hennas the Shepherd, which was a canonical book for about two centuries; this is really a book of revelations, a modern “Shepherd of Hermas.”
Zarathustra is himself that shepherd, so one could say the snake began to crawl down his throat because he had not listened to the dwarf, he did not accept it, he could not assimilate it.
You see when someone does not assimilate a thing, you cram it down his throat, and so that snake tried to
crawl into him in order to infect him with the spirit of gravity, with the fact that he was earth-bound.
For we are earth-bound; it is absolutely wrong to assume that we can fly as he wanted to fly.
So the shepherd’s plight is much worse than that of the dwarf, and that is why the dog howls. Nietzsche describes it as a death howl, the dog foresees the disaster; it is a very evil omen when a dog howls in the night.
It was an ill-fated moment when that serpent crawled into the shepherd.
That moment contained the death sentence; because he could not accept the black snake, things took their course.
You see, he advised the shepherd to bite off the head of the snake and spit it out.
The head is the sense, the meaning of the snake; there is the poison and there is the consciousness, and biting it off means killing it and rejecting its meaning.
The shepherd succeeds in doing so and then comes the frenzy.
He suddenly gets into a condition which is not to be explained by the preceding facts; he laughs, and one can quietly say that it is most hysterical laughter, it is unsound laughter.
In reality one would be terribly disgusted. That is the laughter of the lunatic.
“Oh my brother, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter.”
Then comes this passage: “And now gnaweth a thirst at me, a longing that is never allayed”-for that kind of laughter.
This is the Dionysian tendency that develops throughout the whole of Zarathustra, the desire to attain to the
state of divine mania, which ended in disaster.
For that was a real mania, not a divine ecstasy.
In the beginning it was that, but it became a terrible truth.
Therefore later on, when he was definitely crazy, he signed his letters “the crucified” or “Christ Zagreus.”
Dionysus Zagreus was the Thracian Dionysus who was dismembered by the Titans; when he transformed
into a bull they reached him and tore him to bits.
So the tragedy of Zarathustra is that he could not accept the black snake.
I read Zarathustra a long time ago, when I was a young student.
I livedin Basel where Nietzsche was a professor and I heard a good deal about him.
At first I could not understand it at all, but this scene always made a tremendous impression upon me though I could never explain why.
I could never make out what that shepherd should have done, I only knew that some wrong advice had been given to him.
Ought he to have eaten that snake? But how could he?
Yet he surely should not have done what he did, because what happened afterwards-that laughter-was uncanny.
I did not know then that it would become my particular task to deal with the problem of that chthonic snake; I have been busy with it ever since.
And in this series of visions we find it again in a new form.
It is a similar situation, though what leads up to it is of course quite different.
Zarathustra had also gone through a considerable development before, through all sorts of adventures, in the course of which he occasionally encountered that warning, like a sort of milestone that pointed out: now
so far, and now only so many miles, until you come to your fate.
And towards the end the question of the “ugliest man” is brought up again and again.
The “Feast of the Ass” also symbolizes that; the ass is the chthonic animal that Silenus rides in the suite of Dionysus.
Silenus is the fat old man who is always drunk.
He is really a sort of god of wisdom, and he always rides on an ass.
So the whole series of Zarathustra’s adventures leads him up to the one problem, the relation to the earth, and this is what everybody will have to face who has advanced beyond medieval Christianity, beyond the more recent forms of Protestantism, that is.
The problem will come up because the Christian movement is the ascending movement; that is expressed
in the symbolism of the church.
For instance, EB the early Christian cross was equilateral, surrounded by a sort of halo like the disk of the sun, because it was really still the sun.
Therefore the early fathers of the church had such a hard time to teach their followers that Christ was not the rising sun, that the rising sun was merely a symbol for Christ.
One finds the equilateral cross in Norman art until the beginning of the thirteenth century, and then it slowly changed into the Gothic form, the cross with the elongated shaft.
And this cross is now slowly preparing, or expressing, a great change in religious consciousness.
The cross that originally was quite in the heavens, that expressed a detached deity, came down to the earth; it lost the form which was like the disk of the sun and became a structure erected upon the earth.
These three lines represent the earth, this is Calvary. The symbol has lost its divinity.
The church as a political institution prevailed against the spirit that originally prevailed.
So this later cross takes on a human form.
It loses its character as an abstract divine symbol and takes on the figure of a man with out-stretched arms.
In the days when that earlier form of the cross still prevailed, Christ was represented not as nailed to the cross, but standing in front of it with his arms outstretched.
I have seen in the Germanic museum in Nuremberg a so-called crucifix of the eleventh century, which represents Christ pulling the nails out of the cross and coming away from it, a most extraordinary
The lower shaft of the cross was elongated till it became almost like a Catholic church spire, a thing pointing to heaven.
The elongation means an elongation of the center of gravity; the divine center of the spiritual man was removed from the earth-it was somewhere up in the sky. This is expressed in the Gothic style.
The Norman style is rather hard and square, and it is built firmly upon the earth, sometimes giving almost the effect of a cave, while in the Gothic style everything is lifted up into the air, and therefore it is uplifting in its effect.
One could say that the divine symbol, with its magic power of attraction, descended to the point where it met man, and then pulled him up in a sort of inflation.
His human structure became, as it were, deified, and so the church slowly replaced the spirit-as if the church were spirit.
That is the origin of the blasphemous assumption of the church concerning the sacramenta.
You see, by performing the rite, the priest attracts the grace of God, and that is in a way inevitable.
But they assume that it is God’s choice, that his grace is freely bestowed upon the performance of the sacrament; whereas the sacrament is performed in order to induce his grace.
The sacrament of marriage in the Catholic church is an example.
The Christian marriage is a contract between two people of free will who choose to be husband and wife.
Now, when they declare their willingness and intention, and when they have fulfilled their part in the marriage ceremonial and it has been consecrated by the priest, it is assumed that this marriage is no longer made by man, it is made by God.
The new encyclical of the Pope says that what God has bound together no man shall put asunder.
You see, the priest simply condescends to the fact that Mr. So-and-So and Miss So-and-So have promised
to marry each other, he reads the necessary prayers, performs the magic rite, and then suddenly it is as if God had made the marriage, merely by the application of the ceremonial rite.
The church handles the case as if not two people of free will had made the contract, but as if God himself
had made it, and that it is therefore indissoluble.
But if those two people should fulfill all the necessary requirements, yet with the arriere pensée that they did not want a Christian marriage, and if later on they should come to the priest saying they had concluded it without that intention really, then the priest calls it concubinage and it can be dissolved right away.
Then it is as if God had not been induced, as if God had not been lured into it, despite the fact that the ceremony has been performed.
That is diabolical because divorce then becomes most moral and respectable simply because one had had an arriere pensee.
Now the reformers have rightly attacked this system, but they are attacking the inevitable consequences that will always recur when the divine symbol, an idea, becomes a doctrine, when it thus becomes a human structure, a church.
The symbol then disappears into the earth, into the unconscious, where we are now finding it again by analysis.
We are finding it in the mandala, which is the original symbol, but this time with a psychological connotation; it is an entirely new concept.
No longer a symbol of the newly risen god, it is a symbol of the newly risen man. It is now a question of the orientation of consciousness, which is entirely different from its former meanings.
This transformation has really been brought about through Protestantism, because Protestantism is continuing the work of destruction.
Protestants at first considered that they still belonged to the church.
Luther, for instance, flattered himself that he was in the church, that no one could be outside the church who still believed in Christ, because Christianity and God and the church were simply identical.
As the Anglicized church in England still believe, they even believe in the Apostolic succession.
But Protestantism is splitting itself up into innumerable denominations; in other words, it is undoing itself completely.
The Protestant church hardly exists any longer.
In Switzerland the church simply does not exist, each parson preaches whatever he pleases.
The Lutheran church formerly existed in Germany but now it is crumbling away.
That is the future of Protestantism, and naturally all the people who believe in the church, in the structure, are very grieved at the way it is dissolving; they lament that individualism is getting into religion.
It is like the case of the Code Napoleon, which Napoleon produced with the aid of a very important lawyer.
Then after a year that man came back for an audience. He brought an enormous mass of documents and laid them on the table before the Emperor, with a proposition of changes, and Napoleon said: “Comment, il est mart, le Code?”
And the lawyer said: ”Non, Sire, il vit.” One could say the same about Protestantism when it splits, it lives.
But it is now bringing about the removal of the symbol, which is expressed in the church, and therefore the destruction of the church.
The first thing the Protestants did was to destroy the icons, the holy images in the churches, because they assumed, quite wrongly, that the people worshipped them, but they worshipped them as little as primitives worship their idols.
Everybody knows that it is the spirit in the images, but they thought it was the images themselves and
destroyed them, and with them the church, the foremost image.
Thus man falls back with a thud onto the earth, and there he falls right on the black snake.
And there we are now, for the snake is the life that has been left in the earth. It is the devil.
Therefore people in analysis often make, quite naively, a drawing of the snake crawling up from the ground onto the cross in the place of Christ.
That has the same meaning as the snake crawling up the left leg in this woman’s vision.
The snake is coming out of the earth and crawling up to the human structure, which becomes a definite
human being; the human being is attacked by the snake, by the life which has been left down below in the earth, while his consciousness has been up on a church spire.
Mrs. Baynes: Supposing the symbol comes to birth in a hundred years or so, will it be the policy of the Catholic church to try to crush it?
Dr. Jung: The Catholic church must crush it.
Mrs. Baynes: But might not the church say that it already contains the new symbol?
Dr. Jung: That would be crushing it by assimilation.
Dr. Shaw: Is not that the way they assimilate every strange doctrine and thus kill it?
Dr. Jung: Naturally. The great heresy of St. Francis of Assisi, for instance, was killed in that way.
Dr. Shaw: Whereas the Russian persecution of religion will cause a revival.
Dr. Jung: Well, I told you recently about the experience of an American who was traveling in the country in Russia a short time ago.
You see, those people were reverting to paganism.
And the Dionysian past which we have found in these visions means the same regression through the
ages, on account of the Protestant destruction of Christianity.
Protestantism does not want to destroy Christianity, but Christianity has become the church, and as such it has necessarily become human; and having become human, whether they want it or not, the church will be
destroyed, and the next effect will be a regression into paganism.
That is the snake, that is the past.
Naturally we turn back to the past.
It is as if we wanted a revolution and every gun had been taken out of our hands; of course we would then go to the museum and take the old guns and fight.
Our patient does not go back to Dionysus for fun, she goes back because he is the great competitor of Christ.
I have told you many times the story of how the devil had whispered the legend of Dionysus to the Greeks eight hundred years before Christ’s appearance.
And, you remember, the miracle of the transformation of the wine is typically Dionysian.
Also I told you of that famous chalice where Christ is sitting in the branches of a grapevine full of the most gorgeous grapes, exactly like old Dionysus.
Dr. Baynes: Did I understand you to say that Nietzsche’s attitude towards Dionysus had the character of Anempfindung, and because he could not surrender to a genuine Dionysian spirit he heard the hysterical laughter after the peasant bit off the head of the snake?
Dr. Jung: Yes, it was a kind of Anempfindung-like a patient getting stuck in the Dionysian exaltation.
Dr. Baynes: And then play-acting it?
Dr. Jung: Yes, acting that exaltation of which Nietzsche spoke.
He called himself one of the initiates of Dionysus.
His experience of Dionysus was genuine, but it was genuine only for a minute, and he wanted to cling to it forever.
He could not because it is a transition, as it is described in these visions.
This woman leaves everything behind and wanders back through the ages to the animal, and then grows up from the animal unconsciousness until she reaches the antique cult of Dionysus, and from that the level of Christianity once more, but as if she really were an antique woman, realizing the value of the old gods.
She comes to the idea of the value of sacrifice, and now she is in Christianity already, and here we are concerned with the black snake.
She does not, on her way up, meet the crucifixus again because she left him on a former path.
She meets now the black snake instead of the crucified one.
It is as if someone had left the crucifixus and then turned round again and saw that, instead of Christ, a black snake was on the cross.
Some of you have seen the later picture she made of Calvary, and mind you, we had never really discussed it.
Prof Demos: Your idea is that the destructive process by Protestantismis a necessary phase for the emergence of new religious forms?
Dr. Jung: I think it is the necessary instrument of history for the destruction of the church, but it is not in itself necessarily destructive.
If you look at it from the standpoint of the Catholic, it is destructive.
But to the Protestant, within, it is constructive, only he does not know it.
Prof Demos: What is the new form which religion will take?
Dr. Jung: I don’t know, but it is quite possible that it will regress pretty far.
We have that one interesting piece of evidence from Russia, wherethe destruction of their religion forced the people to regress to paganism.
And in Germany those National Socialists, those swastika people,are building Wotan’s fires again.
Prof Demos: The Renaissance began by making the people regress to antiquity, that always seems to happen.
Dr. Jung: It is inevitable.
If such an important institution as a religious cult is destroyed, a cult which has assimilated the hopes and desires of centuries, all the interests and experiences, then a lot of libido simply runs out-runs loose-and naturally that produces all sorts of disturbances.
It is true that during thirty years now, I have had hundreds of patients, of whom the minority were Jews and the majority were Protestants, and I have not had more than four or five real Catholics among the whole lot.
Mrs. Jaeger: I believe that the attitude toward analysis in France is very typical, in comparison with Germany which is more or less Protestant.
Dr. Jung: Yes, naturally. In France people do not understand these problems we are dealing with. I saw that when I sent a questionnaire to French people.
I talked to a very intelligent Catholic and he said: “I really don’t see, Doctor, why you bother with all this. We don’t bother.
If l have a question I simply ask the Bishop, and if he is unable to answer it, he writes to Rome, where for two thousand years the most intelligent heads in the world have been digging up the truth about these matters; they settled it long ago.”
They simply look up one of their big books in the Vatican Library and so no one worries about it.
That is the Catholic standpoint.
They are quite naive and certain about it, and mind you, it works.
That is, it works as far as it goes. I have seen certain people in whom it did not work.
A Catholic said to me: “I don’t believe in the Pope, I don’t even believe that there is a God, but I shall hold on to thechurch until I die.” You see that is the Catholic. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 273-289