LECTURE VIII 3 December 1930
We stopped last time at the apparition of the swan, and we saw that our interpretation of the swan as a substitute for the white bird symbolizing the Holy Ghost was confirmed by the biblical language of the swan.
Then the Chinaman pushed the Indian into the pond, where he disappeared. The Chinaman is a sort of duplicate.
He is also an animus but of a different kind; he is more a cultural animus, acquired by her study of Chinese philosophy, while the Indian is the natural primitive mind.
That the Indian is now pushed into the water seems like a hostile act on the part of the Chinaman, as if he were murdering the Indian. Is this murder?
What does it mean when the natural mind is pushed into the black water?
Mrs. Sigg: He is replaced by a man who has some relationship to him in race; the Indian and the Chinaman are related.
Dr: Jung: There is a faint relationship there.
Mrs. Sigg: The more cultural replaces the less cultural.
Dr: Jung: So you understand the fact as a sort of substitution, that the Chinaman is going to substitute the Indian and so makes him disappear in the pond. Is there another point of view?
Prof. Eaton: Is it not an attempt of the artificial to suppress the natural mind?
Dr: Jung: That would amount to practically the same thing. Mrs. Sigg says that the cultural mind, or the cultural system of opinions, is substituting the natural mind.
But there is another possible interpretation.
Miss Sergeant: The Indian is pushed into the unconscious.
Dr: Jung: Yes, those black waters would be the deeper layers of the unconscious.
The animus impersonates the unconscious, as the anima impersonates it in a man’s case.
Those figures are as if on the surface of the sea.
One could say the anima was the woman who emerges from the water, like Aphrodite arising from the foam of the sea in a shell.
And the animus is also in a way a spirit that hovers over the black waters and is often represented as such; I have two pictures in my collection where the animus is depicted as a huge black bird hovering over the primordial waters.
As an impersonation of the unconscious, the natural function of the animus here is to establish a communication between the conscious mind and the collective unconscious.
I admit it is somewhat difficult to have a clear idea of these matters, but I think if you find it in any way hard to understand it is on account of your conception of the collective unconscious.
You perhaps understand the collective unconscious in too abstract a sense, whereas it is extremely concrete.
For instance, when I say that your persona, the form or attitude you adopt in order to meet the world, is a mediator between the external and collective world and the more individual ego that is behind your
mask, you can easily understand, I suppose.
You put on a certain persona, expressed, say, in your clothes, or in the expression of your face, or
the words you use.
You affect a particular kind of language even, you take on certain mannerisms for a certain purpose; you are conscious that all this is not yourself, but you use it as a sort of means.
You say how do you do with a particular intonation, knowing quite well that you are not in the least interested in how he is doing.
Of course, there are many people who are foolish enough to believe that they are interested, but we cannot be bothered with such illusionists.
Intelligent people know that the means they use in order to express themselves are peculiarly inadequate.
They do not express what is within, nor are these expressions intended to express what is within; they are more often a means to deceive.
You feel like hell inside, and you put on a friendly mien and are very nice outside, and you think it is a great accomplishment to be able to conceal yourself.
Sure enough, I am very grateful to anybody who conceals himself like that; you are less bother when you don’t show your entrails all over the place.
For it is often really true that people walk about with their entrails hanging around.
Such people have no persona, so we must be very glad that you have a persona, that I have a persona, that everybody has a persona.
But that does not mean that there is nothing behind, that there is nothing but the persona.
You must understand the persona as a mediator.
And so the animus is a mediator-and the anima in a man’s case-only they are on the other side, so they do
For the sake of simplicity and clarity, it is quite permissible to think of the collective unconscious as being behind your back.
Just as you are quite convinced in reality that the things behind your back are no less real than those in your field of vision, although you don’t see them, so your conception of the collective unconscious should be that it is an invisible reality.
But, mind you, it is an unconscious reality.
It is the unconscious reality in everybody, and in things as well, in the wall and the carpet and the ceiling and the light.
The inside of things is unknown, unconscious, and there, wherever you touch, is the collective unconscious;
it is all over the place, outside as well as inside of you, it is the unknown reality.
So naturally inasmuch as that unknown reality is nonetheless reality, you ought to have the means of adapting yourself to it.
Obviously it cannot be a conscious adaptation because the thing is unconscious.
But even if unconscious it does not cease to function.
You are entirely unconscious of the function of your liver, for instance, yet the liver goes on functioning.
These systems must exist whether they are conscious or unconscious.
Therefore when we come across such a thing as the animus, we may be sure that it is a real function, which serves as a mediatory system, or a system of adaptation to certain real facts of the corresponding world, the facts of the collective unconscious.
Since the animus is more or less the counterpart of the persona, the animus is in your unconscious life what the persona is in your conscious life-of course, in a woman’s case.
Moreover, the more you indulge in the conviction that you appear as you really are, that your appearance expresses your own being, the more you are identical with the persona, in other words, then the more you
are identical on the other side with the animus.
Just as much as you are possessed by the persona, are you, unconsciously, an animus-possessed being.
You see, there are women who think they really are just what they seem to themselves to be and what they appear to be to other people, but that is a tremendous illusion.
Such women are possessed by their animus, by their opinions; any woman who believes that she is identical
with her persona is invariably an animus hound.
That expression has become almost a technical term, because it really designates the thing; to be entirely possessed by the animus is beastly.
Only the animal man can be possessed.
The man who is possessed by the anima and the woman who is possessed by the animus are just beasts.
It is easier to talk or to argue with a dog or a cow than with someone possessed by such a
For nothing that one says permeates, it is impossible to pierce the wall they put up; it is a wall of unconscious beliefs, and people behind the wall cannot be reached.
They are totally inaccessible.
There is no access because the human being is degraded to the state of an animal, and the thing that seems to function is not a divine being, it is a ghost.
In the case of the animus it is a paper of a certain political party perhaps, or the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or preferably a textbook on public hygiene.
And in the case of the anima it is the resentments of ten thousand or one hundred thousand years in all their different nuances.
Naturally such a thing has nothing to do with the individual human being; it has no warmth, it is icy cold and utterly nonhuman.
One should invent a term for the man possessed by the anima.
I must leave that for a clever woman to suggest. I cannot do it for my own sex.
The natural function of the animus is not to possess the human being, because the human being is supposed to be human, thus far divine and creative; the possession of at least two functions guarantees a nature that
is at least approximately divine.
If we possessed all our functions we would be perfectly free, above conditions and therefore even divine mortal, but divine for the time we exist.
But since we are not in possession of all our functions, or all our faculties, we are only partially divine, only thus far free.
If the animus or the anima are in their proper place they cannot possess the human being; instead, the human being is in control.
The human being is then superior to those figures, as he-or she-is superior to the appearances of the persona.
Such a person knows that he has to play a certain role, but he knows that he is behind that role, he knows that he is inside, wearing that role.
Perhaps his whole life is a sort of mask which he has to perform.
A mask in that sense is not a depreciation of the task of life, it is rather a recognition of the task: that one has to perform a certain role.
There is an old Eastern saying that every human being should play the role that is assigned to him, the
king should play the king, the beggar the beggar, and the criminal the criminal-but always remembering the gods.
That would mean that one should take one’s role in life as a sort of mask, not identifying with it, yet
recognizing it as one’s task, and always reminding oneself of the divine being that cannot possibly be identical with the more or less incidental role.
It simply expresses the consciousness of the human being, that he cannot be identical with a momentary, transitory system of adaptation, any more than he can identify with the qualities he has in dreams.
Well, there are people who do, but usually in that case they get an inflation; then they burst after a while and there remains a sad little heap.
So the natural function of the animus is to remain in his place between the individual consciousness and the collective unconscious, exactly as the persona is a sort of stratum between the ego consciousness and the objects of the external world.
The animus should function as a bridge, or a door, leading to images of the collective unconscious, as the
persona should be a sort of bridge into the world, which allows you to be reasonably protected and to have a reasonable amount of influence on other people.
If you walk out into the streets naked, you will have a funny effect upon people, and they will have a funny effect upon you; the police will seize you and you will be put in the lunatic asylum.
And if the animus does not function properly, it will be like appearing naked in the collective unconscious, and the result will be a catastrophe because there is no protecting function in between.
That animus system of opinions is, in a way, a very good shield against the collective unconscious.
It is an adequate instrument; for the animus always knows what would be good, not for yourself, but for somebody else; it is an exceedingly collective thing, and this is the proper weapon for another collective
But it doesn’t help you at all in the individual case.
In the individual case, you crush a thing if you treat it with animus, as you lock the mouth of everybody else when you argue a thing with animus; it is so absolutely opposed to the real point that any argument comes to an end right away.
For instance, when in an individual case you say something ought to be so-and-so, that dismisses the argument; as soon as you use that word, you declare there is nothing to be done.
The animus is so irritating and ridiculous because it represents a problem as if it were not an individual reality, but a multitude of average abstract cases; it always wants to settle the problem in a general way, to formulate it as it ought to be for a duration of at least five hundred years and for a multitude of people at the same time.
But that is absolutely futile for the individual mind.
As I have explained several times before, it is not a matter of what the eleven thousand virgins ought to do, but what one is going to do, which is altogether different.
It is impossible to settle the problem for whole nations, it can only be settled for one individual being.
Therefore one must apply the animus in the right way: if you apply it to the individual unconscious, which is collective, you are right; there you have to deal with people of whole continents and a million years of
human life, so it is in the right place exactly.
Just as when you go to a public function or a social evening of some sort, you wear a dress suit, because that is the proper thing to do.
But in the case of a very individual problem, say religious doubts, suppose, in praying to God to help you in your trouble, that you argued in the following way: “Now look here, I am wearing my dress suit and my
jewelry, I am a very valuable person, very beautiful, very impressive, I am worth so many million dollars; moreover, I am tremendously intelligent, I have read such and such books, and therefore I expect you to do your best to clarify that problem for me.”
Of course that is nonsensical, but it is perfectly reasonable when dealing with the world; then it is a true
expression of your personality.
It is right to wear beautiful clothes and let people see that you are bright and have read some intelligent books.
Why should you be hidden away if you can be on top? Everybody likes to see the people who have succeeded.
Then you fill a most enviable role and can feel sorry for the many people who tried but have not succeeded.
There the persona is in the right place.
But when you come before God, all your knowledge and all your beauty amount to nothing, all the values that count in the world are nothing.
And to pull out your animus to deal with your individual problem is just as nonsensical, because it is your individual problem and not the problem of the hundreds of millions of human beings.
That is good for the collective unconscious, it gives you a basis from which to deal with it; the collective unconscious is the collective mind, and to use your collective mind against another collective mind is right.
In a man’s case of course, the anima applied to an individual problem is the same nonsense, but the anima applied to what appears to be a system of resentments is appropriate.
For through these resentments you can establish an understanding or a basis upon which to proceed against the collective unconscious; you can use all the anima resentments as an argument for or against the collective unconscious.
And you will find that these resentments of the anima contain the most important truths if you translate them into mind, just as all those foolish animus opinions have a tremendous metaphysical importance if you can translate them into real understanding.
So the Chinaman that pushes the Indian into the black water might be justified in doing so because the natural mind, the animus, is meant to establish a connection with the darkness of the collective unconscious
in order to bring up the images; it might be just Chinese philosophy that teaches her the right use of the animus.
Well, for the time being the Indian animus has disappeared into the pond-the unconscious which then changes its shape.
It was circular before and it is now growing long and narrow, more riverlike.
That is as if one said: If you meet society in a different way it takes on a different aspect, it has a different
meaning and a different value.
If we change, the world changes.
And if our attitude to the collective unconscious changes, even that changes its aspect; it begins to move.
That the pond changes to the form of a river would mean running water instead of stagnant water; the unconscious is not a dead sea, it is now a river of life.
At one end of this riverlike pond stands the Chinaman, and at the other end is a crane, another bird that is usually to be found in the neighborhood of water.
It is a stork-like creature, so it is quite possible that the crane is a mixed figure, a sort of compromise between an earth and a water bird, the swan being definitely aquatic, and the crane just as definitely a land bird-its wings are strong and it flies very far.
There, you see, is a sort of opposition.
Now all these birds have the meaning of the Holy Ghost in different forms or stages, for the Holy Ghost is by no means entirely divine.
The idea of the Holy Ghost in the church is definitely divine, but the psychological phenomenon of the Holy Ghost is not so definite; it doesn’t agree necessarily with the church idea.
You remember all those divine birds in mythology had more or less the character of the Holy Ghost despite the fact that they were not exactly doves.
The eagle of Zeus means a great enthusiasm; genius is a bird that comes down from above, seizing upon man and lifting him up, a sort of exaltation.
In the miracle of the Pentecost, it was said that the exaltation, the enthusiasm, that tremendous ecstatic overflow, was as if the disciples were full of sweet wine, they could speak in all tongues, and fire was
descending upon them.
So the Holy Ghost in certain cases is an enlightenment or an exaltation, or it may even be a very violent sort of ekstasis, having almost the character of the dervish ekstasis.
But here the Holy Ghost is symbolized by an aquatic bird approaching another state which has nothing to do with ecstasy or a great enthusiasm; it has here a different meaning.
For instance, the swan in Lohengrin is the messenger of the grail, and in the moment when Elsa asks
Lohengrin her foolish question, the swan appears and carries him away.
That is the Holy Ghost but in a very different form.
And Hermes, the winged god, is a bird-man, a messenger, and he is also the god of the thieves; it is a peculiarity of birds that they suddenly swoop down and take something off-that is another kind of descent.
This rather more unfavorable form of the spirit you must take in the sense of the Greek word daimonion, that is, neither good nor bad.
Therefore St. Paul was quite doubtful about the gift of the Holy Ghost; he was rather hesitant when it came to pronouncing it to be always good.
Earlier, they tried to make definite rules as to the functioning of the Holy Ghost, because that was the most dangerous chapter of the church dogma; they were the brethren of the spirit, and sometimes the Holy Ghost filled them with very peculiar ideas.
It can make people individualistic so it might be a spirit of evil.
There are evil birds and evil ekstases, dangerous things that steal people away.
For one of the functions of the Holy Ghost, of that daimonion, is that he suddenly overwhelms people, they are the victims of that beautiful vision.
You see, those images-or insights-that the Holy Ghost brings may have a tremendous power; when seized by such a vision a man may go crazy.
I have seen many cases of people who have had such an initial vision; they become so inarticulate that they are not always able to tell of them, they have seen things that were simply too big, and they are carried away.
A very good example of that is in H. G. Wells’s book Christina Alberta’s Father.
Mr. Preenby, a charming man of the smallest size, was suddenly filled with the Holy Ghost and understood that he was the great Sargon, which practically settled him forever.
He would have been a lunatic had it not been for a wonderfully clever doctor; as it was, his poor little head
got so swelled up that, although it did not snap, it remained in a liquid condition.
Occasionally such a little head actually does snap and there is no adaptation any longer.
The Holy Ghost is a serious danger: it can transform people in one instant for a whole lifetime.
You see, one of these birds suddenly appears and pulls them under the water or flies away with them.
When the Holy Ghost appears in the form of an aquatic bird, it is usually a swan, like the swan that carried Lohengrin away.
That means a change within. It is not necessarily an external change.
These are very intimate and secret experiences.
I have often heard people say that from that moment, something broke, disappeared; they don’t know
where it went but it is lost.
You see the bird comes and takes it away in the night.
That is a lost soul, or a part of the soul, for it can happen in all degrees. In certain cases it happens to such a degree that people feel that they are already gone, as good as dead.
That is such a recognized fact that it became part of an early dogma, the system of Docetism, which was a very important heresy in the early church; it was considered a danger.
The Docetae thought that Christ was such a case.
They believed that he was an ordinary individual till the time of his baptism in the Jordan, when the bird descended upon him, a superior ghost-man seized him and transformed him into the great teacher of mankind.
And when he began to waver in the garden before his arrest by the soldiers, the bird took the god-man or the ghost-man with him again up into the lap of God and left the human husk, the ordinary man Jesus who was crucified.
He cried: “My God, why hast thou forsaken me,” because he was left by the eternal spirit.
The Docetic conception was that no god was ever sacrificed, that it would have been quite impossible to sacrifice a god; it was an ordinary poor man who was sacrificed-he was abandoned by the white bird.
An entirely psychological viewpoint, and like most of those early heresies, beautifully human.
But the church had to be kept simple so those ideas were squashed.
I hope that either now or in two thousand years we shall be far enough along to understand their beauty. Most of them are terribly intelligent.
Now this arrangement, the Chinaman at the one end of the pond and the crane at the other, looks as if something were expected, and in fact something does happen.
The Indian emerges from the black water covered with slime, and on the side of the crane, which means that he moves in the direction of the representation of the Holy Ghost and away from the Chinaman, who is a system of Chinese philosophy.
The crane is the living spirit, a sort of animal form, because the animal, being nonhuman, is the symbol for the superhuman or divine. It is as if the Indian had been pushed in at one end of the water, made his way through it, and come up on the other side by the Holy Ghost, the crane, who now says: “Wipe the tears from your face.”
Nothing had been said about his weeping, so it is as if the crane were interpreting the black water as tears.
This black water is a mood, a deep darkness; it is a sort of short voyage under the sea, which looked at externally or observed through one’s own consciousness is like a deep depression-as when things are dark
and the black water is closing over your head and you feel like hell.
It is a terrible depression, melancholia, which naturally means tears.
“Then the Indian came out of the water and sat upon the bank with his head bowed low upon his hands for he was very weary.”
That is simply the aftermath of his melancholia.
And then something new happens: a camel came along and he mounted upon the camel and rode away.
The camel is the animal that carries the burden, and here it means the instinct.
You see, when one has been in a deep depression, after a while something comes up which takes one out of it.
I remember a patient who was only in a relatively reasonable mood as long as I was on the premises; as soon as I took my vacation she sank into a hole-suicidal moods, etc.
And I callously went away, as I usually do, because I knew she could only get out of these holes by her own powers; even if I sacrificed myself completely she would not get out of them, she would only get deeper into them.
So I went away, and she was in despair and decided to commit suicide.
She was walking down to the lake to jump in, and on the way she passed a shoe shop where she saw some very nice shoes and thought they might perhaps fit her, so she stepped in and bought them.
And she was made all over, reborn, her depression gone for not less than three weeks.
She was amazed, and when she told me was already building up feelings of inferiority that a pair of new shoes could cure her of such a melancholia.
If I had put a mountain under her feet it would not have cured her, but that pair of shoes did the trick. It made her doubt her own internal values.
I strongly advised her, in case of another attack of melancholia, to buy another pair, so the next time she
bought something else quite foolish.
Now such experiences are not to be invented, and from that she learned that her melancholia was only
worth about fifty francs; she learned to objectify those black-water attacks.
That was a sort of camel that came along and carried her out of the situation.
It was an animal instinct, and most childish, but the point was that she got into those black moods because she could not follow the indications of nature.
There were a number of camels around her but she paid no attention to them.
Because she did not want to follow the instincts, she held to one conscious conviction and plunged into darkness.
As soon as she followed the instinctive indication, she was instantly cured. It was like sorcery to her, it was so simple; she just followed a futile little intimation.
That is like the figure of the helpful animal in fairy tales.
When the hero is in a tight place and doesn’t know his way out, one or two animals appear that prove to be very helpful; they show him the way-something very near and very self-evident which he has not seen.
This is the function of the instinct, and it helps in situations where nothing else helps, when your mind leaves you completely.
There are certain difficult situations in life when everything you have learned, everything you have slowly built up, crumbles away, nothing helps; and then you have a most foolish little idea or hunch and you go by that.
So people who can follow their instincts are much better protected than by all the wisdom of the
Though of course if they had nothing but instinct they might be protected in the primeval forest, but they would certainly not be protected in a civilized situation where they needed mind.
The Indian is here represented in connection with the simple animal impulse.
He shows himself as a true natural mind, he is carried by instinct.
The great advantage of the natural mind is that it can live by instinctive impulse.
That is, on the one side it is a great advantage, but on the other side it is a disadvantage, a sort of restriction, because through continuous commerce with animals a man assimilates the truth of the natural mind to such an extent that it alienates him from the cultural or spiritual mind.
It sometimes becomes quite difficult to deal with the natural mind, because it is at too great a distance from the point of view of the spiritual mind.
So if left alone for too long with the animals, the animus might be carried away by them to a deeper unconsciousness, and then connection with the conscious ego would be interrupted; he might indulge too much in the animal world.
Of course, you should never misunderstand this as sex fantasies, say.
The earth has a spirit of her own, a beauty of her own, and there is enough to indulge in besides sexuality. The natural mind has the world of earthly beauty to itself really.
You see nothing is precluded.
And it is not so entirely materialistic as one assumes, because the animal-we don’t know-may have a better knowledge of the deity than man, but of course an unconscious knowledge.
That unconsciousness is the danger.
If the animus becomes too animal-like, he becomes too unconscious and then the connection
does not work.
Moreover, when there is that lack of connection between the conscious and the animus, he animates the collective unconscious to such an extent that it is very difficult to deal with it.
Well, they rode out into the desert till they came to a wigwam, where the Indian went to sleep.
The wigwam is the right place for the Indian, he is among his own tribe where he belongs.
He is the natural mind, and instinct has taken him back into his natural conditions.
The animus is not meant to live in the depths of the unconscious, he is meant to live on
the surface of the earth.
He must be connected with consciousness, one should always know where he is; when he disappears, anything may happen.
That he is in the right place here is shown in the fact that when the dawn broke, he looked out of the tent and beheld three flaming crosses in the sky.
Here the animus functions in the proper way: he must have vision, he must see what is going on in the unconscious; he now informs the conscious that he has seen three flaming crosses, which the conscious
does not see.
The vision is like a sort of story, because the conscious ego is still a mere onlooker and has no hand in the game; thus far the animus and the animals are the active dramatis personae.
But the drama shows the proper function of the animus. It reveals the laws of the unconscious to the spectator.
I said, you remember, that a certain amount of disposable energy is used up in such a vision.
After a while the patient gets tired, and then the Indian goes to sleep, in spite of the fact that there is still something in the end pointing to a future problem, as is often the case.
These three flaming crosses in the sky indicate that the problem of the Holy Ghost is not completely settled.
What would you say about that symbolism?
Prof Eaton: It is the Christian symbol, Christ in the center and the thieves on either side.
Dr. Jung: And why flaming crosses?
Prof Eaton: That is the element of enthusiasm.
Dr. Jung: Yes, anything that is flaming, shining, has the element of enthusiasm.
It is radiating energy, so it is full of mana, a strong fetish.
That is quite contrary to this woman’s conscious attitude; if I should ask her whether the three crosses held any importance for her, she would deny it.
But to the unconscious there is a great intensity in the Christian sacrificial symbolism.
And you remember in the Mithraic bull sacrifice the two dadophori are like the two thieves in the Christian sacrifice.
It is the sacrificial situation, and it is therefore full of energy and must be of great importance to her.
Yet people generally assume it to be of no importance even when their attention is called to it.
They ascribe to their minds the magic power of making thoughts come true.
Of course, they no longer believe that if they speak a certain mantra, a column of smoke will rise from the floor, but they assume that an idea which is fixed in their minds can by some magic process become a reality; they think they can charm and entice their mind by words, by speaking mantras.
To a certain extent that is true, but not to the point of producing new facts.
So our patient naturally does not attribute any importance to the Christian symbolism in the conscious, yet the Indian shows that it is full of radiating energy.
And that is not only true in her case, it is true of everybody.
Of course, I am not speaking of those Christians who consider it their duty to believe that the church is full of mana, though as a matter of fact there is perhaps less mana in it for them than for you to whom it seems
to mean little or nothing.
Christianity is a profound teaching, a gigantic attempt to master the secrets of the soul.
The last historic theory is the Christian theory, and as long as we know of nothing better, we have to
stick to the thing as it is.
It is as if you were on the bank of a river with no bridge; you wish to be on the other side, and you may think you are there, but the fact is that you are still on this side.
Christianity is the last word of mankind in the tremendous attempt to formulate the mysteries of the soul, and knowing nothing better we should acknowledge that we are still there; whether we like it or dislike it makes no difference at all, we are still there.
And that is what this woman has to see.
She is still under the influence of the Christian sacrificial idea; she is medieval, her ideal is saintliness.
It is the Christian idea with all its paraphernalia.
When it comes to any important decision in her life, most certainly she will decide according to that symbolism because it is still alive and full of power.
The problem of the Holy Ghost has not come to an end, so no wonder that in the next vision the great white bird appears again.
But now something very strange happens, the white bird suddenly changes into a dark hawk.
You know the dove is relatively weak and harmless, but the hawk is a wicked bird of prey.
Yet it is also a divine bird, it is the bird of Horus, the Egyptian Christ, and the official Catholic teaching is that the Egyptian myth was an anticipation of Christ.
And this dark hawk is darting about, swooping down to the earth and up again, holding an egg in its beak.
This transformation is decidedly a step forward, for here our patient is taught in the mystery play that the white bird could be just as well a black bird.
As I told you before, the spirit has two sides, it is ambivalent; the spirit can manifest itself in the highest supreme form or in the form of an animal of prey, a very destructive animal perhaps.
The hawk is just the contrary of the dove, and here the spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is performing in its dark form.
We are not used to thinking of the Holy Ghost as taking anything from the earth, as taking something from below, but always as bringing something down to the earth, such as the immortal feat, the miracle of transformation, the heavenly fire, or the generative power from God into man.
But now the hawk fills the role of the rapacious spirit, it seizes an egg.
Here for the first time we encounter the egg as a symbol. Have you any idea about it?
Mrs. Crowley: It might contain the germ of the new attitude.
Dr. Jung: The egg is always a germ, a beginning, but to what does it refer?
Remark: The beginning lies in the darkness.
Dr. Jung: That is perfectly true. The hawk is the dark nocturnal bird, the black form of the Holy Ghost, a rapacious bird that goes about in the night, that is used to the darkness and the earth.
And the white Holy Ghost is not capable of that kind of stunt; a dove could not steal an egg, it needs a bird of prey.
This is a very delicate point. I am sorry, but such symbolism brings up tremendous problems.
Here it is the problem of what one could call the morality of evil, the question of the usefulness of evil.
This has been one of the great stumbling blocks of theology. Why should evil be?
All the animi are firmly convinced that evil should not be.
To the four hundred millions evil is no good and should be wiped out as soon as it is discovered.
As to the individual case, that is not dealt with.
For instance, the four hundred millions should never lie, but in the individual case, you see, we have to apply that truth.
Meister Eckhart wrote a beautiful sermon about repentance in which he said one should not waste too much time on repenting one’s sins because out of the night comes day; out of error, truth; and out of sin, forgiveness.
And he said that even the apostles were mortal sinners, that it looked as if God had burdened the chosen ones with sins the most, and he quoted some very good examples of that truth.
So when you study carefully the true biography of the individual-of course no written biography is really true, I mean the biography as the doctor sees it-you come to the conclusion that if there had not been a
certain evil, a certain good would also not have been.
Without mistakes or sins, the best moral qualities would never have developed.
For what is morality without freedom?
Where there is no freedom, there is no morality.
The thief in jail is not moral just because for the moment he cannot steal, he is a caged animal.
Let him be made cashier of a big bank where he has the opportunity to steal every day, and then if he doesn’t steal, you can say he is all right, he is no thief any longer.
If there is no freedom to do wrong, there is never the choice between good and evil, so a specifically moral action is simply prohibited by a sort of moral cage.
If there is freedom, there is the chance of choice, there is the ultimate fight between good and evil.
And sometimes it is a much greater moral achievement if one chooses to lie than to tell the truth.
It is often the case that a thing which would be wrong, looked at from the standpoint of the four hundred million people, is the only right thing in the individual case.
When it comes to the individual, it is exactly like going into the interior of the atom, where the natural law doesn’t count any longer.
The moral laws that are good for the four hundred millions come to an end, just as the natural law in the interior of the atom comes to an end; it is irrational.
And so the human individual in the zone of his moral ethical freedom is irrational. There you simply cannot judge.
The mistake is that we believe (and it is not the worst and most stupid people who believe it) that this general moral law is absolutely valid throughout the whole universe-as we used to suppose that natural laws applied to the interior of the atom.
It is a great discovery of recent years that these natural laws have not a universal application; they do not apply to the facts in the interior of the atom.
And so in psychology we make the discovery that in the sphere of the freedom of the individual, in the sphere of divine choice, divine freedom, laws have nothing to say.
We may think we have discovered in this an extraordinary truth, something quite new, but you can read it in the Epistles of St. Paul; it was his tremendous discovery that there the law came to an end.
To the superior man who has reached redemption, the law means nothing because the individual standpoint must prevail.
That standpoint is now becoming recognized in practical life, in legislation, for instance, the postponement of punishment is a recognition of that truth.
It does not matter so much what you do but how you do it.
When a decent man commits a crime under trying circumstances, his punishment can be postponed, he is not actually punished, because we recognize that though he has committed a theft or even a murder, he has not done it in the same way that other people have committed such crimes.
There is the victim as in any other case, but the individual conditions are absolutely different from the individual conditions in other cases and, therefore, deserve a particular treatment.
Perhaps an alienist is consulted because it is obvious that this man has not the same intellectual or moral outfit as other people, and that is taken as a reason for exculpation.
So in individual psychology we have to weigh all the time very carefully whether, looked at from an individual point of view, a good thing is not really to be considered as a very bad thing.
Mind you, nobody would doubt that Christianity was a very good thing for the four hundred millions, but it might be the worst thing for a particular individual; for him it might mean utter destruction.
I have seen cases where their condition is such that if they believe the Christian moral laws to be true, on top of everything else, they just go to the devil; one cannot heap up the virtues eternally.
Such people are only helped when you lift the lid.
Sometimes people who are indubitably good and wonderful, believing just the things they should believe, are so inhibited that any more virtuous efforts would mean death.
While the fact that I helped them to swear, for instance, was helpful, it was the greatest relief, a lifesaver to those people to utter a blasphemy; it opened up a new channel of life.
So finally, after many experiences of that kind, I came to the conclusion that it is really much more reasonable, or saner, or perhaps more corresponding to the unknown will of the unknown god, that human beings should live what they are, instead of just believing something.
Suppose that humanity should believe that salt was the principle of all evil and that eating salt was criminal.
Then the whole of humanity would stop eating salt and, of course, they would all die after a while.
Now is that the meaning o flife? Is that the fulfillment of the divine will?
Sure enough, if God wants the destruction of mankind he most certainly will instill such a creed into mankind, but what we see is that mankind and every living thing intrinsically believe in life.
Mankind feels that life has a meaning when one lives and there are relatively few exceptions to that rule.
Of course, there are so many monasteries, so many suicides-too heroic attitudes-but such things just
serve for a psychological demonstration and do not affect the bulk of human life.
St. Simeon Stylites stood on one leg on a column for seven years.
That sort of thing was necessary in the early days to demonstrate spiritual power.
Now we would say he was a silly ass, and a party of sightseers might pay five francs to see him; he would be an object of curiosity, but it would not be an uplifting sight.
The early Christians were tremendously naive, they thought it a proof of the Lord’s wonderful kindness that he allowed a man to stand upon one leg.
That is still true in the East, there are many good examples of what the Lord can do for people in that line, a man standing with his hair like a bird’s nest on his head, for instance, eaten up with vermin.
And think of the lives of those greatest saints, the Tibetan monks who have themselves walled in for sixty or
seventy years until they shrivel up.
One man was walled in for seventy-two years and died in the wall; he had atrophied completely and decreased to a third of his height.
But such enormities do not mean that the bulk of humanity is going to live like that.
In spite of all convictions to the contrary, life has always fulfilled its own meaning; it wants to fulfill itself and in a sound body.
We surely don’t admire a tiger that eats apples and lives as a vegetarian.
But if in one leap, with a cow in his mouth, he jumps over a fence twelve feet high, that is a good tiger. And so it is with man.
There might be a wonderful specimen who has lived on noodles for fifty years, or who eats only salad like a rabbit, or who installs himself in a sun-baked Libyan desert forever; we can admit that such things are possible, but we would not assume this to be the meaning of life.
That is the license we have on our transitory way; we can indulge in mitigated suicide, but it is impossible to
make that into an ideal for the life of mankind.
We know nothing better than the laws that are laid down by man, and we must orientate ourselves by those laws.
Nevertheless, what you feel to be your necessity is surely your necessity, and if you can fulfill that necessity without murdering other people or being murdered, that is all you can expect.
The ultimate proof is always whether you get killed by the other people.
As long as they don’t kill you there is some latitude between yourself and collective humanity.
Sometimes life demands such a latitude in order to be lived.
Of course, one should not live nonsensical things as sort of moral acrobatics, it is a matter of the individual necessity, like a lie in a certain moment, when it is much better to lie than to tell the truth.
So this is very important teaching for our patient.
The visions place before her eyes a white bird changing into a dark hawk, a bird of evil omen.
And that is the Holy Ghost that you rightly worshipped as the very essence of the right kind of life.
For it is the spirit of ecstasy, of enthusiasm, and no life is really lived without enthusiasm; you could put yourself into a box just as well and be buried.
Life is only worthwhile if lived with enthusiasm.
And the vision says that thing can change into a black bird, that it is even necessary in order to get to the germ of life, to a new beginning.
You cannot keep on the white side only, you have to admit that the spirit of life will at times take on the aspect of evil.
Life consists of night and day, and the night is just as long as the day; so evil and good are pairs of opposites without which there is no energy and no life.
They are the Yang and the Yin and they are necessary.
Even the Holy Ghost has to turn into a bird of prey in order to snatch the germ of life.
The content of life is not always above, sometimes it is below.
That is the
important truth. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 124-140