Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group
18 December 1930 Visions Seminar Lecture X
I have brought photographs of the frescos in the Villa Misteri, one of which I showed you last time.
Women were initiated there into the mysteries of the Dionysian cult.
In the first scene is Silenus, the rather fat god, a perfect wise man, drunk with the sacred wine of inspiration.
He and another figure are playing the harp, the music that arouses the feeling.
Here is that communion scene with the two little goats; it is a communion with the goats.
The woman is to be initiated; she is receiving the inspiration that comes through communion with the animals.
Then comes the union with the god, in the forms of Dionysus and Kore. Kore is the cult name for Persephone.
The initiate is transformed into the divine figure, Kore, and as such she is celebrating the union with the god. I emphasize this particular fact, keep it in mind.
Later on I shall show you that this is the central idea of the Yoga in India, where the union is between Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the god and Shakti is the eternal sweetheart, this being the highest idea of the union with the god.
The god, Dionysus, leaning against the figure of the woman, Kore, means the consummation of the union, the entrance of the god.
One sees from these pictures that in the antique mystery cults there were ideas of a rather similar nature, but naturally much less complicated and sophisticated than the ideas I am explaining here.
In studying those antique ideas, what strikes you is that notwithstanding their obscurity and complication, they are simpler, more abstract, with less individual variation than in our psychology.
With us it is a return, a new beginning of things which have been lost and forgotten; it is a matter of primordial experience, and since it has not undergone a conscious elaboration, there is always great individual variation.
Whatever has been subject to a process of conscious elaboration becomes abstract.
Our mind is a great simplifier; things take on a mechanical routine character.
But that is not the case with the primordial experience; that is the raw material as nature produces it.
And it is immensely valuable because we have in such material the beginnings of the most different thoughts thoughts, for instance, that you find in China, in India, in old Alexandria, in Rome, or in the Middle Ages.
These ideas are to be found everywhere, but as soon as they become mechanical-that is, subjected to a process of conscious elaboration certain characteristics are lost which you still would find in the primordial experience.
And the very characteristics that are wiped out in one cult, or in one country, or in one epoch, may be the points most emphasized in an entirely different time or place.
Modern fantasy material is far more complicated than in these frescos, which look so exceedingly simple: people are put under the effect of music, and then they commune with the animal, after which they are filled with the Holy Ghost, the breath of the god, and then they are united with the god and everything is all right.
It is as abbreviated and simple as the Christian baptism, which in the Protestant church is a complete degeneration of a highly developed rite.
Originally they put people under water, and if they almost drowned, so much the better, for it meant a figurative death.
A certain sect in Russia, for instance, takes their baptismal rites in a far more serious way; not only do they put people under water until they nearly drown, they even make a hole in the ice and put them into the ice-cold stream.
That is an experience which they remember, as it is meant to be.
And it used to be real with us, but in these days it consists of sprinkling a few drops of water upon the forehead of a quite unconscious little baby, which is absolutely ridiculous.
In the Catholic church it still means something, it is a magic rite, a very beautiful thing.
When the priest takes the candle
and gives it to the godfather of the child saying, “I give thee eternal life,” it means that through the baptism an immortal soul is bestowed upon the child, and if one believes that the priest is the representative of the
deity, one feels the magic of the ceremonial, one experiences something even if the little bambino experiences nothing.
It is a sort of revival of one’s own mystical feeling and one gets something through it.
But in the Protestant church, where we don’t believe that the rite is in any way magical, where it is Mr. So-and-So who sprinkles a few drops of water on the Smiths’ baby, that is such a hopeless banality that you just hurry sadly home to your midday meal and try to forget about it.
I said last time that the tendency now in this series of visions is to come back through the ages, and we saw that the Indian animus had gotten as far as a primitive culture having to do with sun worship.
There he had to undergo something almost like a human sacrifice, rather a cruel test, which represents a conflict between pairs of opposites.
This conflict comes from the fact that the patient has touched the bottom, she has looked into the eyes of the animal, and so the animal soul has gone into her.
She has been united with the animal, with the deepest part of the collective unconscious, and that is an unforgettable experience which will cling to her and which will cause inevitably a tremendous conflict in her life.
This, you will probably say, is a most deplorable effect, but if you don’t suffer from such a conflict, it is that you are unconscious of it; for whether you have experienced it consciously or not, it is there.
In the one case you experience something which you don’t understand, you don’t know why you suffer, and you are absolutely dissatisfied with God’s rule over the world and think it is very stupid of him to torture you so; in the other case you know why you suffer-there is meaning in it.
After such an experience, you know what you are up against.
You know that you feel the animal in yourself just as much as the cultural man, you know the conflict comes from the fact that you want to be an animal just as much as a spiritual being.
And then you have nobody to blame when you are in such a predicament.
I recently saw a very successful and efficient man who suffers from a hellish neurosis.
He has undergone quite a number of serious operations under the impression that his trouble was organic, but it is purely psychical. His life has been made miserable by it.
He is quite dangerous looking because he is trying to kill the fellow who causes that neurosis; if he knew the man he would kill him on the spot.
So he is exceedingly bitter about his fate, and about everything and everybody that he could make responsible.
Of course, he does not know that he himself is responsible.
He always wanted to do the right thing, always wanted to be correct.
I am quite convinced he is completely flawless, yet he committed the terrible sin against his own animal which then took an awful revenge upon him.
For in the animal is the god.
The great secret in the Dionysian mystery was communion with the animal in preparation for the coming of the sun, for the union with the god.
For if there is nothing below, there is nothing above; where there is no shadow, there is no light.
So this conflict in our patient is not too deplorable.
She is very lucky to know what it is because she cannot blame anybody else for it.
She knows she is responsible-“mea culpa, mea culpa,” it is my guilt.
And she will at least leave other people alone, while people who don’t know their own conflict always want to improve others, they always know what is good for others.
Or they go about being educational grumblers, or habitual scolds, or as a public conscience; they are always interfering with other people and naturally they are always miserable because not to be aware of one’s own conflict amounts to a neurosis.
So she is pretty lucky despite the fact that it is difficult not to be a child any longer.
Now the vision continues:
The bull picked up an infant from the ground and carried it to an antique statue of a woman and laid the child at her feet.
A naked young girl, her hair crowned with flowers, came riding on the backs of a white bull; she seized the child, tossing it up in the air and catching it again.
The white bull carried them to a Greek temple. Here the girl laid the child on the floor.
Through a hole in the roof streamed a ray of sunlight.
This ray of light struck the child on the forehead, imprinting a star there.
She then changed into a youth, standing in a sacred grove.
A satyr appeared and said, “Why are you here?” The youth answered, “I have no place to go.”
That infant is naturally herself, it is the newborn personality in her.
Going down to the animal means a sort of night sea journey, the life between death and rebirth, the life in the womb.
And when she comes out of it, she begins life again at the bottom of the long stairs of the development of civilization; she must come up again through all stages of civilization, first as a child.
The bull, the full power of spring, carries that infant to an antique statue of a woman.
Obviously the atmosphere is Greek yet no longer a primitive civilization; it is now a more developed civilization but of an antique nature.
The naked young girl riding on a white bull is like the well-known picture of Europa on the back of the bull-god, a very antique idea of course.
She is an anticipation of what this child might become if they continue on the antique level.
That young girl, the anticipation of the future, seizes the child and tosses it up in the air as if it were a ball, which means that the new personality is absolutely in the hands of that time-the antique tendency.
Well, this is a bit dangerous.
The reason why people fear the collective unconscious is that they are absolute victims, they become as helpless as children; such visions can play with them, tossing them about like balls, and there is no defense against it.
Then the antique girl puts the child upon the floor, and in comes that ray of sunlight, which marks a certain point upon her forehead with a star.
I can only elucidate this symbol by the parallel in Hindu philosophy, where light always has the value of consciousness.
It is the first ray of consciousness that strikes the child, and therefore it strikes the forehead, the seat of the highest form of consciousness.
Formerly, there were different localizations of consciousness.
The Pueblo Indians, as I have told you, think Americans are all crazy because they think in the head; they themselves think in the heart region, which is a more primitive psychical localization.
The half-primitive man would have his ego center in the heart, while we have this psychical center in
the head, despite the fact that when I refer to myself, I am apt to touch myself near the heart.
But that is an archaic gesture; an earlier kind of consciousness was localized there.
Then, to go further back to really primitive people, we find that the center is in the diaphragm.
In Homeric times, mind was called phren, which means the diaphragm.
The Homeric civilization was about 800 B.C., so it was very primitive.
The statues of the sixth or seventh centuries B.C. still have the strange archaic smile that is a typical sign of primitivity.
In the temple of Aegina there is a beautiful statue of Venus that has that archaic smile, and one sees it particularly clearly in a famous Apollo.
A bit further down, more primitive still, the Negro will inform you of the thoughts that weary him in his belly-his psychological localization is quite low down.
And the prehistoric or caveman started with a consciousness which was closely associated with his abdomen, because that was the very first thing which demanded conscious attention, since food did not just fly into his mouth.
That is probably the reason why the stomach is still such a psychical organ; the slightest psychical reaction causes trouble in the stomach in all forms, anything that is a bit repressed manifests there.
There is, as I told you, hardly a case of hysteria without stomach troubles, even organic troubles, because these difficulties have a tendency to become organic after a while.
Higher up is the function of breathing, and there the symptoms are heart trouble and trouble in breathing.
Nearly all neurotic people have irregular or too flat breathing, so that they interrupt themselves by deep breaths, so-called sighs.
When such a person is sitting beside you and you hear her sighing, the trouble is that she simply does not breathe; breathing is hampered because her soul is in the region round the heart, there is a tremendous tension round the thorax.
Then the next center is higher up, round the mouth.
This is not very clear but the Hindus make that distinction, thought having to do with speech, and you know how nervous people are apt to develop stuttering and similar difficulties in speech.
And the next center is in the head. In the vision the dawn of consciousness is in the head; the atmosphere is Greek, and it was in Greece that our modern Western consciousness arose.
One can trace there the growth of consciousness from the bowels up into the diaphragm, and from the diaphragm to words, speech, and then to the head.
The point on the forehead, the light of consciousness, is the mystical point all over the East.
You must have seen Hindus, or pictures of them, with a caste sign on the forehead, the same sign that is always on the figures of the Buddha.
It is the place of the highest flower of development, the supreme lotus.
Flowers are stars, stars of the earth.
They are all little sun images, they imitate the eternal sun, turning their sun-faces up to the sun; it is almost like a reflex of the stars above, and they have that solar or star form because everything is in tune in this
This woman is now characterized in her vision by that sign on her forehead as the chosen one, as a star in heaven, a little sun.
That is according to antique ideas; it was a prerogative of the Caesars.
When a caesar died, the astrologer sought a new star in heaven, and naturally they always found one and declared it to be the deceased Caesar.
And so in the antique mysteries the initiate was always transformed into Helios, a cosmic being; he had to climb through fantasy circles up to the sun.
She has become a child of the sun, a child of god in the antique form, a star herself, which means that she is now continuing her union or communion with nature on a much higher level, an almost universal cosmic level.
This is not poetry, mind you, it is history and it is psychology.
You should not think of these things as merely poetical metaphors.
In the history of mystery cults or comparative religions, these are sacred metaphors in which man’s psychology has expressed itself since time immemorial.
They would not have come into existence if they did not correspond to very living and real psychological fact; inasmuch as psychological facts are authentic facts, these metaphors are equally real provided that they are not mere words.
And I warn you not to assume
that they are mere words; if they strike you as mere poetical words, metaphors only, that comes from your lack of experience.
Anybody who has had the corresponding experiences knows that these words are not mere metaphors, they are very poor attempts of man to characterize powerful psychological facts of an overwhelming nature, and they may transform human beings completely.
Now the animus takes the lead again.
She apparently steps out of the mystery for a while, and leaves the active role to the animus.
She changes into a youth and is standing in a sacred grove, and there a satyr appears.
Now that satyr is the reason why she suddenly stepped out of the play, because to meet a satyr is somewhat awkward; she naturally steps aside with a very innate decency, she leaves the place to a man, she sends her animus ahead.
The satyr then inquired why that young man should be in that sacred grove and the youth answered that he had no place to go, he excused himself, as if it were just by mistake or by chance that he found himself there.
From such a little intermezzo one gathers that there is trouble ahead.
I don’t even attempt to make a guess about this satyr.
Then the scene rapidly changes.
Since it is awkward, something must happen.
So she suddenly sees that young man irrationally standing upon the prow of a boat with his spear raised.
The boat approached a cliff, a sort of rock wall, and the youth threw his spear into the face of the cliff where it stayed, and a trickle of water came from the place where it struck.
The boat then shivered and fell away and left the youth standing upon the rock.
He looked into the water and saw the face of a woman.
He leaped into the water and followed her and came to a cave where there were three witches; they said that they came from the land of the blessed.
He tore the tooth from the mouth of one of the witches and ran from the cave.
Then he was attacked by fierce wild animals until he was bleeding from many wounds.
After that an old man appeared and drove all the wild beasts away.
He wrapped the youth in a blanket and laid him upon a rock with his face to the sky, and that night a circle of fire descended and burned in a flaming circle about the youth.
Then the youth said, “I am the sacrifice,” and the fire consumed him.
A white bird issued from his breast and flew up beyond the reach of the flames.
Now what happened afterwards explains fully why there was such trouble before.
You see, the satyr is an allusion to the goat-god, or the goat-man; he is emblematic, almost divine, and as she is afraid to meet that god, she sends the animus in, and he also is apparently rather perplexed.
It is as if he were leaving on a new quest, for there was no going further with that satyr.
He goes away on a boat and then he strikes the rock with his spear, which means an opening of the way, finding the way or the water, a sort of miracle.
Then he mounts upon the rock and the face of a woman appears down below in the water, which is this woman herself in the depths of the unconscious.
She made herself unconscious in order not to face that awkward situation, and he follows her into a place where there are three witches-those three women who spin the threads of fate, adorning it with roses or cutting it with scissors.
And he behaves rather roughly because, according to the Greek myth, they have only one tooth between them and he tears that one out.
Obviously he is taking one disagreeable item away from them, robbing fate of one bad aspect.
But that is an outrage against fate, it is a presumption, and therefore the attack of wild beasts follows.
This is the typical punishment for all those Greek heroes that show hubris.
What is the definition of hubris?
Dr. Baynes: Arrogance. Prof Demos: Pride.
Dr. Jung: Yes, a sort of proud arrogance. The German word is Ubermut.
It is an increase of courage which amounts to insolence to the gods, and the punishment for the assumption of divinity is dismemberment, as, for instance, Dionysus Zagreus was dismembered.
He was torn to pieces by the Titans, the creative powers themselves.
So this youth who tried to rob fate of the poisonous tooth is dismembered or lacerated by wild animals,
for in resisting or outraging fate he puts himself in opposition to it.
This he should not do, because fate is an expression of the divine will. But he is saved by the old man.
This is again a typical fairy-tale motif: always in the supreme moment something helpful appears.
He would be a helpless victim, destroyed by the wild animals, had it not been for the intervention of the old man.
This is the wise old man, the medicine man, one who understands the speech of animals, who is lord of the animals and can therefore keep them at bay.
So the youth is saved for something better, for the divine sacrifice.
He cannot escape the necessity of falling a victim to the gods, but now in a different form.
In the night that circle of flames descends from heaven and burns him up, a sacrifice upon the altar.
The effect of the wise old man is that he makes him a willing sacrifice.
It is not a sacrifice to blind passions but a conscious fulfillment of fate.
In the picture [plate 7] you see the circle of flames descending upon him, he is consumed, but the white bird issues from his body and rises up to heaven.
This is the escape of the immortal soul, represented since time immemorial by the soul-bird.
I leave out the next vision, which has to do with the union with the beautiful god. It is the union really with the animus, that youth who through fire became transformed.
Through his sacrifice in the fire he acquires divine qualities, he attains to divinity.
Then she is united with him, which means that the role of the animus for the time being has come to an end.
Having performed the ritual of self-sacrifice, having shown her what would befall her, he has now given all his strength to her; he has entered her and she is entheos, which means filled by the god.
That ceremonial was usual in the antique mysteries though in very different forms.
The god entered into the body of the initiate, for instance, by means of the sacred food.
Or another interesting custom was to put symbolically-a golden snake through the body of the man, but instead of putting it into his mouth, the golden snake was pushed into his garment at the top and came out down below.
One of the titles or qualities of Dionysus was enkolpios, which means being in the womb or the bowels
or the vagina; an important fact in the mysteries was that the god should enter the initiate.
As our dreamer is now in this condition she will naturally have to face the thing from which she recoiled.
You see, she recoiled from the satyr and left that tricky place to her animus, and the animus having done
what should be done on such an occasion, she is now supposed to be able to face the satyr, so the vision goes on:
I beheld a satyr under a tree playing a reed. He stood up.
Great stars fell down upon him and a very brilliant band of streaming light slowly moved across his face.
I could only see his eyes which were green.
I tried to part the band of light which hid his face from me but I could not.
He stood with the palms of his hands upraised to me. He tore hair from his breast and threw it upwards.
As he did so the hair turned into little flames. Then it became dark.
He squatted down and blew upon a fire. I besought him to speak to me.
He put a blue robe upon me and pearls around my neck. I knelt before him.
Then he spoke to me saying: “I am the immortal one, I am the past, I am also the future. You shall know me.”
He made the sign of the cross upon my face and breast. Then he faded away and I saw him no more.
You see this experience with the satyr takes an entirely different course from the one she expected.
If I should say to any one of you: there is a satyr in there, go in, you wouldn’t do it probably, unless you were a policeman or an alienist.
Of course, she was afraid, she turned away and left the place to the animus.
But now she confronts the satyr and the situation is not at all like her expectations.
She had expected something sexual, but naturally it is a god.
We are prejudiced in regard to the animal. People don’t understand when I tell them they should
become acquainted with their animals or assimilate their animals.
They think the animal is always jumping over walls and raising hell all over town. Yet in nature the animal is a well-behaved citizen.
It is pious, it follows the path with great regularity, it does nothing extravagant. Only man is extravagant.
So if you assimilate the nature of the animal you become a peculiarly law-abiding citizen, you go very slowly, and you become very reasonable in your ways, inasmuch as you can afford it.
For it is very difficult to be reasonable; you are quite different from what you assume the animal to be.
Only a man can behave outrageously. Have you ever seen an animal getting drunk on cocktails?
We have an entirely wrong idea of the animal; we must not judge from the outside.
From the outside you see, perhaps, a pig wallowing in mud, but that is partially because man has made the pig what it is; judged from the outside that pig is dirty.
If you were wallowing in the same mud, naturally for you it would be dirty. But it is not for the pig.
You must put yourself inside the pig.
The pig is convinced that the mud it is sniffing, mud with aquatic animals in it, is a perfectly businesslike proposition, and he is a very nice and law-abiding citizen of the world, whose daily job it is to sniff through the dirt.
In the picture of the confrontation with the satyr [plate g], you see his green eyes and the flames rising from his breast.
These are symbols of emotion.
She is tingling with emotion, a lot of little flames ready to burst into a big flame, the hopes that will arouse her to a big flame.
But nothing happens. She wears a blue mantle and a pearl necklace.
And that satyr, peculiarly enough, is without any genitals, which is of course very uncommon for a satyr.
The usual fashion is to wear them very conspicuously, as we know from antique pictures.
So the animal within is really meant and that god is the spirit of the animal.
She expected something awful, but the spirit of the animal puts a celestial mantle upon her, the blue mantle of Mary, and he gives her a necklace of pearls, which means tears, the sadness and divinity.
He is crowning her in the mysteries.
That is what the spirit of the animal does. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 158-168