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Visions Seminar

18 May 1932 Visions Seminar LECTURE III

We stopped last time in the middle of the new series of visions, and we were in rather a tangle, you remember.

As soon as we got into that witchcraft atmosphere, things became most difficult, and the air was filled with all sorts of misunderstandings.

Is anyone bold enough to try to give a clear report of what was happening in that vision?

Mrs. Fierz: I will try. In a previous vision the patient had seen the crater on the mountain, and from that she went down to the collective situation. This new vision is a parallel; she again comes down a mountain and

into a town, the collective place, and there she finds a house with a cross marked in blood on the door. We compared it with the Jewish Passover, when the blood on the doorposts was a sign to the angels to protect

people against the epidemic. She opens the door and goes in.

Mrs. Sigg: Outside was the Christian cross, but inside it was not Christian.

Dr. Jung: What would that denote?

Mrs. Fierz: That the Christian side of it and the epidemic only belong to her personal part, the outer part.

Dr. Jung: Well, the danger she was running when she came down the mountain the first time was the contagion from the collective mind.

And here is a hint of an epidemic; to dream of an epidemic disease is quite common, and it usually symbolizes contagion through the collective mind.

So again she is descending into a collective atmosphere, and the first thing she meets is the cross, which has the value of an apotropaic charm against the collective infection.

The remarkable thing is that the sign of the cross is outside of the house, and inside are the charred

bodies of snakes, remains of a witchcraft ritual.

Mrs. Fierz: She rubs the ashes on the palm of her left hand. The ashes were a sign of a sort of power of rebirth in the snake, and by rubbing them into her hand the power goes into her.

Dr. Jung: Yes, whenever snakes, toads, or any such witchcraft animals are boiled or distilled or burned to ashes, it is done in order to get the essence, the spirit, one could call it.

The spirit of the snake is its essential

magic quality, and that quality is the power of rebirth; they are supposed by many primitive tribes to be immortal on account of the fact that they can shed their old skins, thus apparently acquiring a new life every year.

So the procedure of rubbing the ashes into her left hand means that she tries to bring the specific rebirth mana of the snake into her own system.

Of course, she does not know what she is doing, it just happens to her.

Then, you remember, by burning a body, one not only gets at the mana of that specific substance, but the mana of the fire is added; fire is one of the important ingredients of witchcraft.

Here we have to deal with a blending of two forms of mana, the two together making the volatile spirit.

So she is not only acquiring the power of rebirth, but also the nature of the fire; she is getting the spirit or mana of fire into her own spirit.

Then the left side represents the unconscious because the right is more associated with consciousness, so she is rubbing it into the unconscious.

Therefore the magic path in Tantrism is called the path of the left hand.

Then she said: “I put the knife in the fire until it was red hot.”

She uses the fire to heat up the knife, which here has a magic quality; it functions like the mandragora root that opens all locks.

As you know, any cutting instrument always points to the dissecting mind, but here it is used as a magic tool. Of course, you can use the mind for entirely rational purposes, and then it has no magic effect at all, but the kind of mind which does work magic is the so-called natural mind.

That is the sort of mind which springs from natural sources and not from opinions taken from books; it wells up from the earth like a natural spring and brings with it the peculiar wisdom of nature.

And that mind has mana, it

often fits situations so exactly that it really has what one could call a magic effect.

Our patient is now heating up that mind; in other words, she is adding the spirit of fire to the natural mind.

That sounds very abstruse. What would it be in psychological terms?

Dr. Reichstein: She puts more libido into it.

Dr. Jung: Yes, because heat gives energy, she is giving libido to the natural mind that wells up from her unconscious in order to bring it more into life.

Practically it would mean giving less attention to artificial opinions, the usual rationalistic intellect, and more attention to the natural revelation from within.

The problem has been the question of Tao, which she could not understand.

She got an inkling of it but she could realize it better by following that natural mind, because the natural

mind comes out of Tao.

Then she said that she touched the roof of the house with the knife and the entire house fell away, she stood alone upon the desert at night with the fire burning beside her.

You see, the thing that remains is the fire, she is again associated with the fire, the source of libido and warmth.

Here she seems to be in touch with the burning power of nature.

And she is now no longer in a house, she is liberated from the house, so we must see what the house really meant.

How would you explain or designate a house that is characterized by a Christian symbol outside and witchcraft inside?

Mrs. Sigg: As a provisional shelter.

Mrs. Fierz: It is a collective attitude.

Dr. Jung: Yes, as the town represents collectivity, so the house, as a part of it, is also collective.

It is not emphasized here, but of course the idea of a house is to have a roof over one’s head and four walls to protect one against all sorts of inconveniences or invasions.

Mrs. Sigg: It means the whole cultural atmosphere.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the whole traditional way of adapting to actuality.

The symbol of a ship that carries you safely across the waves of the ocean is used in the same way.

A house is a shelter, as a religious faith, or a philosophical conviction, or a traditional form, is a shelter.

It is as if you were driven out of your own house when you lose your belief or your convictions: you feel like a nomad when you have lost the faith of your ancestors.

This series of visions shows that up to the present moment she has still had an ultimate shelter in that house.

Now how do you understand this statement, that the Christian belief or conviction that sheltered her

hitherto can be witchcraft inside?

Mrs. Sigg: It was not a real synthesis.

Dr. Jung: Yes, it was just as association.

You see, two things fell apart, so it is a pair of opposites; on one side the collective religion, fully acknowledged and highly valued, and witchcraft on the other side.

Witchcraft is supposed to be very evil and such abstruse nonsense that one would hardly believe it could exist, it is too stupid.

Yet that is the statement of the vision.

Mrs. Sawyer: When the Christian symbol has real life in it, it is magical, but when there is no longer life in it, it changes into witchcraft magic.

Dr. Jung: Yes, as long as a symbol has life so that it really conveys a solution, as long as it works, it contains all the magic, and there is then no witchcraft.

In the Acts of the Apostles one sees the conflict between the Christian faith and witchcraft.

According to legend, Simon Magus was a Gnostic, who was called Simon the Sorcerer.

The tradition in the Acts of the Apostles is very one-sided, a distortion, for inasmuch as he was a real historical person, he was presumably a very wise man, but in the New Testament he appears as a vain sorcerer who tried to fly by magic and failed.

There are other references to Simon Magus in early Christian texts, which are not included in the Bible, where he is spoken of as an opponent of the apostles; they performed miracles in the name of the Holy Ghost while he was performing miracles by black magic.

And in the Old Testament there is the same opposition between Aaron and the sorcerer in the story of the miracle of the sticks transformed into snakes and back again into sticks.

It is the age-old truth that a true religion, expressed by a true symbol, works magic; it has mana, it is convincing, it is the expression of the power of life.

But if the symbol no longer conveys life, it is as if the mana fell out of that form and existed all by itself, and then it immediately degenerates into low forms like witchcraft.

One sees that again and again.

One of the most striking examples is the history of Taoism in China.

The early Taoism of Lao-tze is a marvellous philosophy, and also the Taoism of Chuang-tze two hundred years later, but in the course of the centuries it degenerated slowly into the most absurd sorcery, so Taoists fifty or a hundred years ago were the lowest kind of ordinary tricksters or swindlers.

Of course, among them and behind them were true Taoists, and in recent years there has been a religious movement in China which is a very curious parallel to what is going on in Europe, namely, the decay of the official church-in China that would be the decay of Confucianism-and a return to Taoism in a renewed and far more positive form.

In the course of history, one repeatedly sees the contamination of the very high symbol with the low magic performances, as if it were sucking up all the low magic; then when the symbol becomes lame, outworn, when it no longer holds the forces of life, it immediately sinks down and takes on the lower forms again.

In Christianity the critical time was reached in the time of the Reformation when the great schism occurred; then witchcraft and sorcery, black magic in all forms, sprang up.

Trials for witchcraft appeared only in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, in that critical time of the transition of the universal church, but ever since, such side developments have become more and more manifest.

Spiritualism-which amounts to a religion nowadays-is such low magic, for instance, and clairvoyance, but all those things are now more or less recognized.

Astrology and dream interpretation were absolutely forbidden by the church.

I could show you a book written by a Jesuit in the eighteenth century, in which there is a long dissertation on the question whether dream interpretation would be admissible.

He declares that it is entirely superfluous because all the ordinary dreams are no good, and the  extraordinary dreams might very easily come from the devil; so since the very good dreams do not contradict the truth as revealed in the scriptures, why pay attention to dreams at all?

But there he becomes very careful because God has revealed himself in dreams so often and in such an unorthodox way.

He dares not say that God would be incapable of inspiring a true dream, but he says such a dream should be submitted to the authority of the church and not be interpreted by any ordinary man.

On the whole he comes to the conclusion that dream interpretation is a damnable thing, not to speak of astrology or chiromancy or any other such intuitive craft.

Nowadays we are investigating all that very freely, we discuss the possible truth in dreams and visions, but that is all wrong from the historical point of view.

It is a symptom of the fact that the mana, or the magic power of life, has left the symbol.

Therefore the churches are so peculiarly

incapable of doing anything right.

I once had a great discussion with a theologian over a certain patient, and finally said: “If you do not

agree with me, you must handle the patient yourself.”

Of course, he would not, because the theologian believes that all illness must be in the hands of the doctor.

If the apostles had come to that conclusion, where would the power of the symbol have been, or the power of the Holy Ghost?

According to tradition they cured sick people, and that has always been considered a most powerful evidence of the living truth of the Gospels.

It is absolutely wrong for present-day theologians to decline to heal the sick.

Mental disease, or any psychological or psychical disease, is the suffering of the soul, and naturally the priest should take care of that.

But his symbol no longer works, so he lets the whole thing drop into magic, he leaves it in the hands of doctors and jugglers and soothsayers, dream interpreters, astrologers, spiritualists-the whole list.

Of course, we put another sort of scientific paint upon the thing.

Magic has always been the source of science; science developed out of magic, not out of religion.

Religion is too complete, but magic is very incomplete.

It has that luciferian quality which instigates or stimulates the human mind and fills it with a sort of megalomania, with exaggerated hopes of power, hopes that we shall be able to explain the great mysteries of the world by means of the intellect.

There is something fatal about it, for we must try to commit that Promethean sin against the completeness of religion.

But we pay the price.

You see, the magic knife commits the Promethean sin, the luciferian mind that only trusts itself, that casts away the shelter of any traditional conviction.

This woman simply blasts that house, and then she has no shelter whatever, she is in the desert, in the darkness.

But she has a source of energy within her, the fire.

You see, before she can realize the nature of Tao, she must destroy all the ideas behind which she has been

sheltered hitherto, because only he who is able to deliver himself over entirely to the river of life can experience Tao.

As long as he maintains traditional convictions he remains cut off from nature.

He might find peace for his soul within the traditional symbol inasmuch as the symbol works, that is not to be denied-practically everybody does try to make a connection with the past in the secret hope that it may work.

But as long as one is trying to make that historical connection, one cannot experience Tao.

We are now at the end of this series of visions, and the one that follows begins immediately with the symbol of the waters of life.

he says: “I beheld a great stream of water rushing from a rock and flowing down a hillside.”

The spring gushing out of the rock and following the potential, symbolizes life moving like a river, seeking the deepest place, and that is Lao-tze’s definition of Tao.

She continues: “I stood upon the bank and saw many souls caught in the foaming torrent whirled about by the force of the water.” What does this mean?

Mrs. Fierz: It is a parallel to a former vision where she saw in the eye of the old man a great stream in which people were whirling about.

Dr: Jung: Yes, she returns to the same vision, but this time she sees it through her own eyes.

Now she says that many souls were caught in the foaming torrent. What does that hint at?

Mrs. Sawyer: They are helpless.

Dr: Jung: One might think that souls should be in the stream of life that they are there in the right place.

But that she says they are “caught” sounds like a criticism.

They should not be caught and whirled about in the water. What does it denote?

Mrs. Crowley: That she is not yet able to hold her own in the water.

Dr: Jung: Naturally she sees her own face there, she sees that she is whirled about in the same current.

One can be in the stream of life in several ways: one can swim, for instance, or go in a boat, or one can be


These are very different conditions.

She sees the soul of man as a victim in the stream which indicates an unconscious condition being

unconsciously caught in the stream of events.

Obviously she is now coming to a certain problem. What is that?

Dr: Reichstein: I think this is an allusion to a former situation. It means that she must find herself, get a fixed place.

Dr: Jung: Probably, but what would that be?

Mr. Allemann: Consciously accepting the condition of the stream.

Dr. Jung: Exactly. It is a question of being consciously in the stream and not the unconscious victim of events.

That would link up this vision with the former one.

Tao is the conscious way, therefore written with the head sign, the way as seen in the head; so she is now about to realize something of what Tao means.

He says: I stood under the stream of water which issued from the rock and was afraid lest I also would perish. But I stood firm and lifted up my face to the water which was greatly refreshing.

What has happened here?

Mrs. Crowley: She did not fear it and so was able to endure it.

Dr. Jung: Yes, she is holding her own, she resists the rush of the water, she is clinging to herself.

The idea is that the water is coming from above, always falling from above to below, and so carrying her with it as long as she is unconscious.

But she now faces the down-coming water, she looks directly into it and holds her ground, so she feels that the water, instead of drowning her, is very refreshing.

What is so particularly refreshing when one is conscious of the way?

Well, when you are traveling through the Red Sea and have the wind astern, you know how it feels to go with the stream-you just suffocate-while traveling against the wind is very refreshing.

So it is with the stream of events.

If you can be conscious of the stream of life, if you see how the whole thing moves, you are naturally at variance with things; otherwise you could not be conscious.

In a way you must be at variance with things, you must be against them.

But that gives a feeling of power which you could really call refreshing.

Nothing is more deadly than to be always in harmony with things, it kills one, but to feel at least a difference, or really a conflict, is refreshing.

A controversy, even a rather heated discussion, may be most refreshing, as you know; it is as if a leaden weight were lifted, removing a terrible atmosphere of gloom.

Mrs. Crowley: Is it not also being outside of oneself, capable of observing things? So one cannot be so completely immersed or destroyed, one is not a victim.

Dr. Jung: Exactly, one is not a victim.

Now she says: “I emerged and stood upon the other bank of the stream.”

She has already traversed the stream; evidently she was under the water for a moment, and then came out of it.

She continues: “I was filled with a new strength and about me played flames of white light.”

Crossing the great river is a rebirth symbol, and therefore the renewed strength.

But what about these flames of white light?

Mrs. Crowley: They would be flames of consciousness, having to do with her mind, rather than the flames which were fiery and red and emotional.

Dr. Jung: Yes, they were flames of passion before, and now it is the white light.

Mrs. Baynes: Does it not mean that she is approaching the central experience? The white flame is the symbol of it.

Dr. Jung: Yes, there is beautiful evidence for that in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, where the Clear Light of the Void, the Dharmakiiya, first seen in the Chikhai Bardo, is called the “Divine Body of Truth. ”

So this would be a true symbol, it would be the light of vision, of understanding, a form in which the magic fire could be contained; no longer the chthonic witchcraft fire of a merely emotional nature, but the pure light of truth.

For truth is a certain way of understanding and a way that contains the fire.

You see, what is usually called truth is more or less dissolved by the flames of passion, it simply doesn’t stand fire, nor does it hold water, but the criterion of a real truth, or of a real symbol, is that it does stand the onslaught of fire and of water.

You remember in one of the early visions, she was standing between the flames and the water.

That was the test.

Mrs. Sigg: I think this is a parallel to that earlier vision of the stream with the bodies flowing along in it, and in that case also she saw the white light soon after, it was then the white city.

Dr. Jung: The white city was the first glimpse of the white light; in Tantrism the idea of the perfect white light is also associated with the idea of an abode, a city, the sacred place.

So we may expect that here she is approaching a very central experience.

Now the scene changes.

She says: I walked into a dark jungle. The trees parted to let me pass and many wild animals followed behind me.

What does that mean?

Mrs. Sigg: She is on God’s way where all hindrances vanish, like the Jews in the Red Sea.

Dr. Jung: It symbolizes being on the right path, in tune with things; where there had been rocks in her way, they are suddenly no longer there, darkness gives way to light, the trees part to let her pass; it is a symbolic picture of the smooth part of Tao.

And many wild animals following behind would mean what?

Mrs. Crowley: That her instinctual forces were behind her.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the chthonic fire of passion burns in the animal, but as she is on the right path even the fire of passion or desirousness falls into the right rhythm and follows the path.

She continues: “When I emerged from the jungle I saw the entrance of a Mithraic cave.”

This is very interesting.

Mrs. Crowley: Does it mean a new form of initiation?

Dr. Jung: The Mithraic cave is the place of initiation, but is it not strange, having traversed the stream and having been reborn, having even had the vision of the white light, the “Perfect Body of Truth,” that she should now land at a Mithraic cave?

It was already strange that she should be walking into that jungle, but it might be that after rebirth the

enantiodromia followed, where she was tested, to prove that her renewal really held good. But why should she come suddenly to a Mithraic cave?

Dr. Reichstein: I think because the animals were with her, wild animals behaving as if they were tame, something Dionysian must follow.

Dr. Jung: Well, wild animals behaving tamely would be awkward company.

Do you remember the story of St. Anthony, the patron saint of the swine?

He had a tame pig that led a very saintly life, and when St. Anthony died and went to Heaven, the pig went with him, they both traveled to the gates of Heaven, where St. Anthony rang the bell.

Peter opened the door and said “Come in,” so the pig was going in after him; but Peter said that the pig could not come into Heaven, that was quite impossible.

A famous German humorist made verses about it: ”Es kommt so manch Kamel hinein Warum nicht auch einfrommes Schwein?”That means: Since so many camels got into Heaven, why should not a pious pig get in


Rather a stupid joke, but it is really a very serious and interesting problem.

Have you noticed that in the whole of the New Testament nothing is said about the fate of animals when they die, excepting in one rather hidden allusion? What happens to your faithful dogs, or to your


In just one place, St. Paul speaks to the Apostles of the apokatastasis, the reinstatement or redemption of all creatures.

The idea is that all creatures are lying in fetters with us, and as we, the children of God, are expecting the revelation of the Holy Ghost within us, so the whole of nature is expecting that spiritual miracle; as man will be redeemed ultimately, so the nature of the animals will be redeemed too.

It is a very faint allusion, but there are other facts which contradict the usual attitude of the New Testament.

In the early church there are several legends about saints having animals who were also saints.

There was a certain saint who had a saintly ass, for instance, and when he died, the ass was buried, not exactly in the church, but under the threshold of the church.

And there are other stories of the same kind, that idea never died out completely.

The relation of St. Francis to the animals was a historical revival of it; his brother the wolf was a saint, well deserving to be buried in sacred ground.

There is a story about a place in East Africa where Christianity was introduced.

The missionary, who did not understand the language very well, translated a hymn, “Christ is our hope,” but he put the accent upon the wrong syllable, so the word meant locust, and for years the Negroes

sang: “Christ is our locust.”

They were quite satisfied, it meant much more to them than the original version.

Then the bishop, who really understood the language, came one day and discovered to his horror what they were singing.

You see, that fits in with the old belief that God also appears in the form of animals.

So the question of animals is an important one, so important that in the early teaching, not of the church but probably of Christ himself, the animals were not omitted.

For the new members, I will quote again that passage from the famous Oxyrhynchus papyrus. ‘Jesus said: Who are these that draw us to the Kingdom of Heaven? The fowls of the air, and all beasts that are under the earth or upon the earth, and the fishes of the sea, these are they that draw you.”

Now the question is, why have the animals disappeared?

When animals are no longer included in the religious symbol or creed, it is the beginning of the dissociation between religion and nature, then there is no mana in it.

As long as the animals are there, there is life in the symbol, otherwise it is the beginning of the end.

Dr. Reichstein: What about the symbolism of the lamb?

Dr. Jung: The lamb is too symbolical; it hardly counts as an animal; in the New Testament it is really a figure of speech.

But when Christ speaks of the fowls in the air, the fishes in the sea and the animals upon the earth, he means the real animals; and the sacred ass that was buried under the threshold of the church was a real animal, that was not a metaphor.

Now the suite of animals following this woman leads up to a certain problem which you will recognize from the next sentence, where they come to the entrance of the Mithraic cave.

Mrs. Sawyer: When she went to the white city, she found the bull there, who told her she must drink of the goblet again and again. It seems as if she were now coming to the same situation.

Dr. Jung: There again is a parallel, but what would the Mithraic cave mean?

Mrs. Crowley: Mithraism means the sacrifice of the bull.

Dr. Jung: Yes. You see, the animals that follow suggest the problem, what shall we do with the animals?

And the next suggestion is the sacrifice of the bull.

Now why not Christianity, why not the sacrifice of the lamb?

Miss Wolff: That house blew up.

Dr. Jung: That is true, and only the cave of Mithras is left.

In other words, there is no question of a Christian solution of this problem because that house blew up literally, and therefore she could only regress to a former solution, or progress to a contemporary solution.

That is often the case.

In dreams of people who know nothing of Mithra, one observes this same dilemma, and the same possibility of solving the problem, not in the way of Christianity, but in the way of Mithra.

Now what is the typical difference between the two religions?

Mrs. Sigg: In one, man was sacrificed, and in the other, the animal.

Dr. Jung: Yes. In the Christian religion the sacrifice of the lamb was merely metaphorical; what was meant was the human sacrifice, or the divine sacrifice, the sacrifice of God’s only Son.

While in the Mithraic religion it is true that the bull is in a way Mithra himself, yet it is decidedly a bull.

Therefore, it is always depicted in the form of a bull of the arena, and Mithra as the toreador, though in the antique form he does not stab the bull through the heart with a long sword, but jumps upon his back and strikes with a short sword or dagger from the neck down.

You remember the bull is often represented on Mithraic monuments with a sort of belt, and in the antique arena that belt was gripped by the toreador in order to swing himself onto the bull’s back and stab him

with the short sword.

So it means the sacrifice of the bull, the animal, and not of a human being.

We have already discussed this in a former seminar, and I pointed out that the advantage Christianity had over Mithraism, the merely symbolic advantage which was not recognized then, was that the sacrifice was far more differentiated and far more complete than in Mithraism.

There is the idea of discipline in Mithraism, but not of complete sacrifice.

So in our days when to so many people the Christian symbol has become obsolete-when the house

with the cross outside and witchcraft inside has completely vanished people are naturally asking what to do with their animals, what to do with their nature, that is; and they come quite naturally to the idea of the

Mithraic solution.

That happens to our patient here, as it has happened before, when she reached the white city she could not stand the light and had to recognize the Mithraic idea.

It is rather like the cult of Attis, the cult of the bull’s blood, the idea of drinking the blood or bathing in the blood of the bull.

Mr. Baumann: I recently read a strange thing-that in a fox hunt young girls put their whips into the blood when the fox is killed.

Miss Hannah: Oh, I have hunted all my life and it is not true! But there is blooding. The first time a child of hunting people comes out with the hunt, if he is anywhere near at the kill, the Master of the Hunt bloods

the child, he just touches him with the blood.

Dr. Jung: I did not know that. Of course, that is just such a barbarous custom, perfectly outrageous!

You see, these things are still alive, or why should one dream of drinking the bull’s blood?

In a way this is a regression, our patient is obviously unaware how this problem of the animals is

solved, and she naturally turns to the Mithraic solution, which, mind you, has worked in the past.

Now she says: “I entered and beheld the communicants who had just killed the bull.”

That means solving the whole question of the wild animals by killing and eating them or drinking their blood.

She continues: They prayed in a loud voice while they dipped their hands in the blood: “Give us of your blood, Oh bull, that we also may live.”

That is simply part of a ritual; blood is always the special substance containing the life power, as the blood of Jesus is the life-giving mana according to the Christian idea.

There are many points in common in the rituals of Attis and Mithra and Christ.

Dr. Curtius: And the bull fights in Spain?

Dr. Jung: They come directly from antiquity, and therefore the religious fervor in them; it is by no means a mere sport, it is almost like a religious feast, that tremendous enthusiasm points to something religious.

And one can understand because it is a very masculine performance, the main point being to demonstrate the complete superiority of man over his emotions.

So one could say that the toreador, always risking his life, symbolized Christ; he has the value of an antique religious symbol.

Therefore Mithra was represented as a toreador.

Now in this vision, the prayer of the communicants: “Give us of your blood, 0 bull,” is extraordinarily like the idea in the cults of Mithra and Attis.

They kill the animals in order to drink their blood, integrate them in a form that is not dangerous; they kill them that they may live; The text continues: I said to them: “Your faces are encrusted with blood. You are too heavy with the blood of the bull.”

Remark: They have too much materialism in their lives.

Dr. Jung: Yes, and she criticizes here the horrid aspect of the people, their faces smeared with blood. Imagine a real taurobolium-real blood dropping down upon one! It was terribly barbarous.

And a horrible idea underlies our Christian communion; taken literally, it is a feast of cannibals.

The doctrine of transubstantiation forces one to believe that it is really the blood and the flesh.

But that is too heavy, too earthbound, and that is what our patient is criticizing.

Then she says: “When I had spoken all the communicants arose and followed me.”

Mrs. Sigg: She seems now to have a better measure of things. All the collective elements in her had made for exaggeration.

Mrs. Crowley: It is as if she had assimilated them.

Dr. Jung: Yes, for they arise and follow her. It is a very interesting cortege; first the animals, and then the communicants, the eaters of animals.

She continues: “We peered together into the temples of Rome and Greece and Egypt, but they were all deserted.”

What does this remind you of?

Miss Hannah: In one of the early visions there was a cortege of animals.

Dr. Jung: That was when she went back into the past, and when traveling down to the underworld, she passed temples of Rome and Greece and Egypt, and then she came up again through those old religions,

seeing and experiencing the true value of those pre-stages.

And now she has been through the cult of Mithra, and is casting a glance back over the whole development.

What does she discover when she looks into those temples?

Formerly she discovered life in them.

Mrs. Baynes: That should all be dead now because she has gone on.

Dr. Jung: She sees that they are all deserted, all that has produced its juice; she got it and has rejected it.

She says: “At length I led them to the shores of the sea.”

Mrs. Crowley: The unconscious.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the things one cannot see, The sea is the symbol of unfathomable depths and immense extension, the symbol of countless possibilities, and that is what she is coming to-the unconscious.

They asked me: “Why have you led us here? We behold nothing.”

Then they all went away and I was left standing alone. Why is that?

Mrs. Baynes: She cannot take that whole tribe through the experience that is ahead of her.

Dr. Jung: The question originally was what to do with the animals, with instinctual nature.

The proposition of the cult of Mithra was killing them, eating them and drinking the blood, assimilating them, in other words; and then one must assimilate those who have assimilated the animals.

So she goes on until she comes to the unconscious, and there the past cannot understand the future, so it simply drops away from her.

It is no longer a problem because it is now all within her.

Those outer forms, the killers and their victims, have dropped away, and she is left standing there on the shores of the sea.

Now what would be the sensible thing to do there?

Mrs. Sigg: Go into the sea-swim.

Remark: Wait for a new revelation.

Mrs. Perkins: Take a ship and go across it.

Mrs. Sigg: It seems that she is now faced by the necessity of finding an individual way of adoration.

Dr: Reichstein: Perhaps she should only contemplate it.

Mrs. Baynes: She had better find the old man again.

Mr: Baumann: I think she should just wait, just look at it. Dr.Jung: Now we shall see. “I gazed for a long time at the waters.”

That is what she should do.

As long as she is so very much in doubt about that unknown possibility, she should not just plunge into it, go swimming.

Also when facing an unknown possibility, there probably would be no ship waiting to carry her across uncharted seas.

Usually there is nothing at all, just a blank wall, and the wisest thing to do about a blank wall is to sit down and stare hard at it.

By looking at the sea, by forcing one’s libido into the sea, one makes it pregnant, and then a birth will take


She says: At last the waters parted and from them arose a woman crowned with light. In her hand she held something which she lifted toward the sky.

She made a picture of it [plate 2 3] because this was to her a most impressive experience.

Remark: It is beauty arising out of the sea, is it not?

Dr: Jung: Beauty? Well, that remains to be seen. It is decidedly a birth from the water.

We must try to understand this birth, and who the child may be that is born from the sea.

Have you a title for that woman?

Mr. Allemann: Aphrodite.

Dr. Jung: Aphrodite Anadyomene would be a good classical title. Or a more literary one?

Dr: Curtius: The subtle body?

Dr. Jung: There is a literary title which gives at once a clue to the character of the woman.

Mrs. Baynes: The Lady from the Sea, by Ibsen.

Dr. Jung: She is the lady wedded to the sea, and of course Aphrodite, who rose from the sea, born out of the foam, would be a good mother toher, she has shown the way.

But that is only external, and Dr. Curtius has mentioned the subtle body.

Will you please explain to us why you think of the subtle body here?

Dr. Curtius: She was near to the Tao, so I think she is now at the point where she can develop the subtle body.

Dr. Jung: And Mrs. Sigg thinks that the atmosphere of this picture does not suggest Aphrodite Anadyomene.

Of course, it all depends upon how you understand Aphrodite.

It might be Aphrodite Urania, heavenly love, which has nothing to do with Venus, the mother of all lovers.

Love is both above and below.

Dr. Curtius: She represents herself in the picture.

Dr. Jung: It represents her in a way, but she would hardly think of herself as possessing the aura of a saint, or as rising from the waves in such a heavenly way.

Dr. Curtius: But as her subtle body-her Self.

Dr. Jung: Oh, if you write Self with a capital, that is something else.

You are right, it is the first experience really of the Self, of something rising in her, being born in her out of her unconscious, which is not herself, which she merely beholds.

This is the answer to all her problems. How would you formulate it?

Mr. Baumann: Is this not the Eros against the Logos?

Dr. Jung: Oh no, it is beyond the pair of opposites, as is indicated in the picture.

The two waves that part suggest a pair of opposites, right and left, and in the center is the reconciling symbol.

Eros is here and Logos is there, and that is beyond; it is what one would designate psychologically as the transcendental function.

The figure that appears is the idea of the Self, the objective Self, which is not identical with the ego; it

is the psychological non-ego. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, 690-704


s A play by Henrik Ibsen (orig. 1888; tr. U. Ellis-Fermor and P. Watts in Plays, New York,

1950) about a woman who waited by the sea for the lover she once :met there. Jung considered

the scene archetypal and discussed it again in “The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18,

par. 366.