8 December 1930 Visions Seminars Lecture IX
Last time, you remember, we saw that the white bird changed into the Black hawk in order to get an egg up from the earth, but when it reached the sky it was apparently the white bird again.
It is one and the same bird, it only took on the dark form in order to seize the germ of life. This egg is rather mysterious.
It always symbolizes a beginning, and we don’t know what will come out of it.
We will not speculate about it now, but learn from subsequent events what it contains.
The next thing is that the bird flies to the woman dressed in blue, who is sitting like an ancient statue, and settles down on her hands.
You will remember the picture of it.
The woman holds a grain of wheat which the bird takes in its beak and then flies again up into the sky.
The woman dressed in blue is a peculiar mixture of the Christian celestial mother and, on account of the wheat, of Demeter and Isis.
Inasmuch as the Host must consist of wheat, there is a connection with Christ as well as with Iacchus and Osiris (being the resurrected wheat).
The scene of the white bird coming down upon the mother is an unmistakable parallel to the conceptio immaculata, since the Holy Ghost is depicted as a dove.
We may assume, therefore, that the bird brings the seed of life, the divine germ, down to the mother.
The seed corresponds to the egg, which is also a germ of life.
We could say, therefore, that the egg reappears here, but transformed.
The grain of wheat in the hand of the mother refers to the fertility of the earth.
The egg as well as the grain symbolize the Self that is yet to be born.
What does the figure of the mother mean?
Psychologically she would be the collective unconscious under the maternal aspect, the history of the blood, for the mother in a woman’s case refers to nothing spiritual.
Properly speaking, the mother refers to the womb, to the clan, to the nation, or to the earth.
Therefore I say that the mother is the blood, and you will see that this interpretation is confirmed later on.
I should tell you that I did not explain these visions to the patient at the time; I merely listened, and we had enough work with dreams so that the visions as a rule remained absolutely untouched.
Through the picture of the immaculate conception the germ of life has been deposited in the stream of blood; thus it has been inserted into the sphere of the instincts and thereby something like a pregnancy begins, in which the patient is her own child.
This is the mystical child, another symbol of the Self.
The mother holds a grain of wheat, which is exactly like the mysterious Iacchus in the Eleusinian mysteries of which I have spoken already.
It was there not only a grain of wheat, it was a whole ear of wheat which the priest showed at midnight in a ceremony containing the same underlying idea, one could say, as on the night of Christmas; the situation is the same.
The ear of wheat represented the son born of the Great Mother, the earth.
So this might be a sort of anticipation: the mother shows the grain of wheat as the anticipated result of the birth to come.
And the bird takes that grain and flies up into the air with it, we don’t know where.
This is very typical of the beginning of visions: it begins at the bottom, as it were, as if the whole world had to be built anew, or as if nothing had ever happened before; and then it carries the thought through until it reaches the stage that is not yet and that never has been: it reaches the future.
It is often as if such a series covered the whole way, as if each series extended from hell to heaven, from
the beginning to the end, as if it were a complete cycle more or less clearly formulated.
In the beginning, the future stage is rather dimly characterized, then later it becomes more and more clear, and the beginning gets blurred.
This is a general characteristic of such visions.
I cannot tell you how far the patient has been influenced by her reading here; it is possible that she has read about the ceremony at Eleusis.
I must verify that point.
Here is the next vision: “I beheld a horse which changed into a ram and then into a bull.”
This is again the typical series and you see how things begin at the bottom.
The horse symbolizes the animal libido, so this means the unconscious libido associated with man; and that changes into a ram, and the ram into a bull, which is spring symbolism, as we have seen.
The ram is the sign of Aries, and the bull is the next sign, Taurus, the fuller fertility, the greater generative force.
The vision goes on: “I saw that the Indian was upon the back of the bull holding it by the horns.”
This means that the animus is renewed by that renewed libido.
Then the Indian was leading the bull which followed very quietly.
They slowly ascended a high hill until at last they stood upon a pinnacle of rock.
Below them many people surrounded the rock and raised their hands as if in supplication.
This is interesting, that resuscitated libido expressed by the bull is a very primitive idea.
The reason for the spring festivals is to shake off the past year and to renew the medicine power or the mana, the health power, for the coming year.
Therefore such ceremonials are still celebrated in the spring in order to make people sound or strong for the
For instance, in my native town Basel, at the end of January, when one feels the first inklings of spring, a highly primitive ceremonial, a masked dance, is performed by three figures.
A very strong primitive man, a wild man, carrying a sapling and wearing green wreaths of ivy on his head and round his body-showing that he is a renewed vegetation demon-comes floating down the Rhine on a raft, with drummers beating in a particular rhythm.
He is welcomed to the town by two animals, a lion and a griffin, who are waiting by the bank of the river and beg him to land.
This he does with some reluctance apparently, and then they dance together, a very curious dance with the drummers now beating in a different rhythm.
It is very impressive, a really primitive ceremonial.
That is the renewed ram or bull spirit; the new vegetation power, the new mana for the whole town for the whole year, comes down the Rhine in the very early spring.
Carnival has the same meaning.
And that was the idea of course in the Dionysian festivals in Athens, where they carried the phallic symbol.
There is also evidence of such ceremonials in Italy in Etruscan times, symbolizing the renewed forces of nature.
The renewed force has in this case a spiritual value, and it leads the animus, the Indian, up onto a high pinnacle of rock, where a remarkable scene ensues.
It is very much like a biblical scene, like Moses on Mount Sinai, for instance, with the people down below worshipping the divine miracle; they all have their arms outstretched to the Indian as if in supplication,
so we must assume that the animus as well as the bull have taken on a spiritual or divine significance.
This picture is based upon nothing in external experience; it happens in the unconscious of the patient and she simply looks on as at a moving picture.
But the figures in the scene express, or are at least mirror reflexes of, corresponding facts in her unconscious.
The bull, the Indian, and the crowd that watches the performance are all in her unconscious; it is a sort of audience within herself composed of the parts and particles and atoms of the collective unconscious.
There is one leader, the animus, and there is one power, the renewed libido.
That is the important fact for the unconscious.
It is as if there were a tremendous desire in the unconscious to be led, and with the hope of renewal.
For what they expect of the bull and the Indian is rebirth, the spring miracle, and it is interesting to see how apparently the whole collective unconscious is waiting for this miracle to happen.
You may remember that passage in St. Paul about the apokatastasis, which is this same idea that the whole of nature, all creatures, are expecting the revelation.
As we are expecting the manifestation as the children of God, a revelation of the Holy Ghost within us, so all creation, even the animals and the plants, are waiting for it too; that spiritual miracle of redemption or completion which happens in man means the crowning of all nature at the same time.
So everything that has been fettered will be released with the liberation of the children of God.
The idea is that man is the representative of the whole of creation, and whatever happens to him happens in a magic way to the whole world.
One finds the same idea among very primitive people.
The members of a totem clan, for instance, undergo certain ceremonials in order to change themselves; and because of that change, the nature of the totem will change also.
The totem animal is also affected in a way; by their getting into a certain psychical condition, the fertility of the totem animal is assured. In the center of Australia the growth of grass is exceedingly important, so they have a variety of grass seed as their totem; they perform their rites and the grass-seed totem is responsible for the crops.
And there is a water totem in places where water is very scarce; they believe that through their ceremonies the water totem will secure enough rain and drinking water.
So the primitive idea is also the idea of the apokatastasis.
It is an exceedingly mystical idea. And as Paul thought, so the unconscious still thinks.
This belief is also to be found among the common people.
I once observed a very interesting case, a girl who came from the eastern part of the Black Forest, which was a very backward country then and in fact still remains so.
This girl was my mother’s cook, and at that time we wereliving in the country and had a chicken yard with dwarf hens and roosters that were sort of fighting cocks.
One was particularly bad, he raised Cain all day long, so my mother told the girl to kill him.
So the girl chopped the cock’s head off, and when she came back she said to my mother: “Well, at least he repented before he died, so now he will go to heaven.”
My mother said: “But it is not possible for a cock to repent!”
“Yes, he did, when I chopped his head off he cried: ‘Verzeih mir, Forgive me! Forgive me!’ He repented because he was afraid that he would go to hell.”
“But there is no hell and no heaven for chickens,” said my mother,
“we have immortal souls and we go to heaven because God sent his only son to redeem us, but there is no such thing for chickens.”
“But of course there is! Don’t you know that at the same time that Christ came for human beings, the savior of the chickens came into the world too?
He preached the Evangel for the chickens.”
She was in dead earnest about it. I enquired of local people and they said that these ideas were to be found among the peasants, that they cherished the conviction of an absolute parallelism between man and animal.
So when Christ appeared in the world, a savior appeared to each animal-a Dr. Fox, a Dr. Snake, a Dr. Hare, and so on-and preached the same thing, in order that all creation should be redeemed together with man.
That is the idea of the apokatastasis in a very primitive form.
Of course, above, in the thin air of universities nobody knows of such things, but they are still going on.
I am quite certain that that is printed in no book, but it is printed in the hearts of the people.
Here we have the same idea.
It is as if the unconscious were showing our patient how the aspirations of the whole collective unconscious were aroused, and as if the Indian upon the bull were really the savior of the collective unconscious.
That brings us to a very paradoxical idea: you see, on this plane of consciousness we feel single and as if collectivity were just the opposite.
Inside it is different, there is a multitude, and there the situation is reversed: it is as if we were the multitude there, and as if the Indian on his bull were opposed to us.
You could say it was a sort of private theater if it were not so disagreeable; the theater idea makes it a bit too light.
When you really get in touch with these figures in the collective unconscious, you feel how terribly real they are and how utterly ungovernable.
But it might be a sort of antique drama, a performance amongst primitives where people were really killed, really tortured. Or it is like a mystery play in which blood may be shed.
It is as if you were a whole universe inside, while externally you are simply a unit. Inside you are a macrocosm and you contain many microcosms.
Then, as a matter of fact, there is no limit to greatness as there is no limit to smallness, so it is quite possible that each red corpuscle of your blood means a nebula or something of the sort.
The structure of the corpuscles of the blood has a great likeness to little solar systems, so why not after all?
Such speculations seem awfully far away, but step out into the night and look up at the sky, and there is infinity and eternity right on top of you, there are all those crazy speculations that you loathe during the daytime.
There is the fact that rays are still wandering in the sky which portray, say, the French Revolution.
You still could see the light of the guns of the World War at a certain distance from the earth, because light has a limited speed.
So somewhere out in space you can go back in history.
If you could put yourself at a distance of only about four hundred light years from the earth, you would see Columbus discovering America; if you had a good telescope you could see him just now landing.
You could see the destruction of Mexico, and the great fire of Rome if you could take your stand about two thousand five hundred light years away and had a particularly good telescope.
That is perfectly true, so infinite greatness and infinite smallness are true.
It is quite possible that we contain whole peoples in our souls, worlds where we might be infinitely great as we are infinitely small outside, so great that the redemption of a whole nation or of a whole universe could take place within.
I once had a case of schizophrenia, a girl who was so caught by that redemption mystery which was going on in her that she could no longer speak to people.
She was locked up in a lunatic asylum for about sixteen months, and I had a chance somehow to get behind her screen and discover where she went.
She went to the moon and became the savior of the moon people.
She became the redeemer of the world, she built temples and did all sorts of wonderful things, it was a most amazing story.
And the thing which was difficult for her to bear was that, in telling me that story, she cut the thread to the moon and could not go back; she had to be sane, she was caught to the earth because she had betrayed
She wanted to kill me because I had cured her, because her life in the moon was so much more beautiful.
She had no idea that the moon was a symbol, so that one called people like herself lunatics; she went into the unconscious-into the moon-and there she did the only thing that was worth living for, redemption; she succeeded in saving the moon people.
But she got stuck in the moon, she became the prisoner of the moon spirit. Then when I came in and she could tell me that story, she was caught in this world and could not go back.
She hated me for a long time and said to me: “Oh, it was so much more beautiful, I hate to live on this earth.”
Since then I am not so compassionate about insane people; it may not be so bad, it only looks so.
Our patient is in the position of the supplicating people in this case because the Indian still has the lead, and the Indian on his bull is the redeemer; the savior and his bull is the Mithra figure.
Of course she has no idea that this Indian, being a warlike man, is Mithra.
I am sure that if she had known of that possibility she would have adorned him with Mithraic symbols, or would have called him that.
But he remained an Indian and the bull a bull despite that scene where they appeared to be divine.
Now the vision continues.
She does not understand it and therefore it simply moves on like a film.
“The Indian and the bull crossed a high bridge over a swift mountain stream.”
Such a crossing always means going over into a different condition, a new chapter begins.
Then, “they turned to the left after crossing the bridge and descended into a wood.”
So the situation becomes now quite different.
To the left means to the side of the unconscious, as the right is the side of the conscious.
They are going deeper, they descend into a dark wood, again a symbol of the unconscious.
“The Indian stopped to drink at a spring of water.”
And then something very important happens: the patient herself appears in the picture; she is now a stage figure.
From now on the visions will be rather more like real experiences.
She will be more active in them, she is part of the mystery play, and this happens in the moment when the Indian comes down the hill and drinks the water.
Before, he was high up on the rock, but now he descends into the deeper layers of the unconscious until he comes to the spring of life, one could say.
He leaves the divine-mystery sphere and comes down to the sources of the libido, which are deep in the body.
He becomes almost physical and in that way he wakes her up; there he catches her-that was the key he inserted in drinking the water.
That is an old symbol: drinking from the magic well has a transforming effect; it bestows all sorts of magic qualities upon one.
By drinking from a certain well women became pregnant.
And you remember the symbolism of the well where the woman of Samaria came to draw water, and where Jesus offered the living water.
In this case, by going down toward the earth, down into the body, and drinking the water, the Indian
establishes a moment of communication between the sources of life and himself, and so he brings her in.
You see, that would again be something like bringing the egg to the mother, and also like the grain that comes from the earth.
For she now enters the mystery play, and apparently she is veiled.
And the Indian lifted the veil from my face, and we gazed at each other. And he gave me water from the spring to drink.
Then I followed the Indian who was still leading the bull and we came into a
Drinking the water has transformed the Indian in a way, it has brought him into connection with tangible reality.
And that this woman comes into the play veiled, means that she has not seen nor has she been seen
before-she has been unconscious.
This is now a sort of birth.
In the mysteries, veiling means that the initiate dies, and the unveiling means the resurrection.
So for a nun to take the veil means that she is dying to the world.
The church recommended that women in general, particularly virgins, should wear veils in order to prevent their influence upon men and to protect them from the eyes of men.
That is the reason why Mohammedan women still wear veils.
Therefore lifting her veil means here resurrection, going into action, having effect; and gazing at each other means that they have an effect upon each other.
So there will be a close association from now on with that leading principle which was first embodied in the Indian, and the obvious purpose of that close union is that she should now acquire the leading function herself.
The animus should not lead, it is not human enough for that office, it is only a partial figure.
She deserves to be led by something that is more her equivalent than the animus.
Their next move that they make together is on the time machine, they go back in time to a medieval town.
The unconscious can move in every possible direction, even in time it can go forward or backward, because
it knows no space.
There was a big square in the middle of the town and a cross was erected there; and we saw a woman who was holding up her baby to the cross.
Obviously a Christian symbol.
The Indian walked silently on, and the woman then, in anger, threw the baby at the Indian.
Instantly the baby was transformed into two little goats that followed along behind the bull.
This is very involved.
A movement back into the Middle Ages is a sort of regression, but it is not personal.
It is an historical regression, a regression into the past of the collective unconscious.
This always takes place when the way ahead is not free, when there is an obstacle from which you recoil; or when you need to get something out of the past in order to climb over the wall ahead.
At all events there is a certain obstacle in her path. It is not mentioned but it is rather simple, for if your guiding principle is represented by a primitive man and a bull, you will find it exceedingly difficult to go on.
You never would dream of following such a principle, that seems most untrustworthy.
So our patient regresses to a medieval town. It is no special town, it simply indicates the medieval
atmosphere, the medieval way of solving such a problem.
Then a child is offered to the cross.
The woman offering the child is Mary; Mary brought forth a child to be sacrificed on the cross.
This means that whatever is growing in one’s mind, reaching out into the future, is to be sacrificed.
Therefore no progress. You know how difficult progress has always been.
It is only recently that people like myself have not been executed; I would have been burned in the Middle Ages.
The mere fact that poor old Galileo had some ideas about the movement of the earth was enough to put him under thumbscrews, and the most innocent philosopher was burned alive.
That is not so long ago, and often it happened to perfectly nice people.
It was in 1796 that the last witch was burned to death in Glarus, about sixty kilometers from here,
and what is that?
My grandfather was alive then.
Just the day before yesterday anybody who had something new to say was in danger of hellfire and, quite literally, there were few inventors who escaped that fate.
A man who was interested in natural science and collected stones or fossils or flowers for entirely scientific aims was considered a sorcerer, and he had to put up with the possibility of being killed at any moment.
In the Middle Ages they were all most hellishly afraid of anything new.
Only in 1846 did the Pope allow the earth to revolve around the sun-only since 1846 is that officially true. It was exactly the same in China.
There was a famous museum of European inventions in Peking, every new invention was collected, but they were put into the museum as curiosities, to show what those red devils were doing in barbarous lands; they never adopted them for themselves.
And we were like that in the Middle Ages and until not long ago.
So the future of the child was to be sacrificed to the cross.
Everything was in the past, Paradise was in the past, the Golden Age was in the past, and ahead was only the Last Judgment.
For this world there was nothing ahead.
The idea of any real improvement did not exist; improvement was in heaven, it was not for this world.
Real belief in any kind of progress is an absolutely modern invention.
Our patient is shown to herself here as the medieval woman and she is shown what the medieval woman did, and naturally she has a participation mystique with that figure and offers up the child to the cross.
But the Indian passes on; that thing which is now alive in her, that guiding principle, cold-bloodedly goes on past the cross.
He seems to say: “Nothing for you in that, it won’t work.”
Then, as that woman, she gets angry and throws the child at the Indian, which means she offers up the child to that strange thing instead.
It is as if she said: “I am this medieval woman and I offer my child to the cross, but since you go on like this, well, damn it all, here it is, now take it with you.”
She rebels against that new thing in her which is disrespectful and disregards her medieval Christian intention.
Then instantly the child, the future, transforms and takes on an entirely new aspect, it is now two goats.
I can theoretically interpret those two goats through the fact that two things alike are always an indication of an unconscious condition.
In the unconscious, everything is in pairs of opposites, the yea and the nay.
When they are near to consciousness, they are sometimes white and sometimes black, but a bit farther away, one cannot say which they are, they are two apparently identical things, where one perhaps feels a possibility of the disintegration into the yea and nay.
Now that would point to an unconscious beginning, a future which is still unconscious to her, but in which her personal libido would take on the form of a goat.
The bull and the goat belong to Dionysian mythology, and she made a picture in which these animals occur.
And I will show you a picture from the Villa dei Misteri where the women’s mysteries were celebrated.
It was excavated near Pompeii.
We are not well informed about the nature of these mysteries, but in the picture, the woman who is to be initiated appears with the two little goats, meaning that she becomes aware of her absolute connection with nature.
You see, these figures are from the suite of Dionysus, the satyroi, satyrs, goat-men; and the tityroi, satyrs with horses’ tails-human above and animal below-and the nymphs are the corresponding female figures.
Pan was a goat-man; goats and panthers are the animals that belong with the animal human beings.
It was very important in the initiation that the initiate should remember where he was still identical with the animal, to walk on the animal path, as it were, in order to reach nature again from within.
Even in our days we have Freudian analysis which forces one to primitive animal layers of which one should become aware.
Only one does not see exactly what for.
But in the old mysteries one sees why: it led those old Greeks and Romans back to a nature which was still not far away from them, yet it was already lost because they were civilized people.
So diving into the participation mystique with nature was a great blessing to them.
Instantly they felt the god in the complete identity with nature; they felt the immortality of the god, his unchangeable substance.
They felt themselves in all animals and all plants, which is a poetical metaphor-it has become a sort of sentimentality-but then it was not sentimentality, it was really a reidentification with nature.
And not only the god but they themselves became strengthened; they felt once more the influx of the
god, a renewed power, the immortal power of nature.
Therefore those mystery cults were all concerned with the hope of immortality.
It was the going back to the god, to eat the divine body and drink the divine blood-whatever the sacred drink or food may have been.
In that way they renewed and strengthened their own being so that they could stand life again.
It was a sort of spiritual bath and was often expressed in that form; one finds that in certain Dionysian cults,
and the piscine of the early Christians was a bath really.
In another place which has been excavated in Pompeii, fish symbolism was found exactly like the Christian fish symbolism, the initiate being a fish in the water and then emerging renewed.
Being submerged under water means going down into the unconscious, and there in the depths one is no
longer single and separated, one is all-embracing, one is the creative god himself.
This extraordinary experience is really the purpose in going into the unconscious, and that was a conscious act in the old mystery teachings.
With us it is obsolete; we can only understand it as a sort of sentimentality unless one knows what such an experience really means.
At this moment our patient does not see what it means although she is acting it. This is evident in the fact that, as soon as the baby is transformed into the little goats-which means, as soon as she cannot avoid
becoming the goat in the suite of the god-they moved away and climbed up a hill again.
But at that moment I saw Christ in a white robe, holding a staff, behind his head a halo.
I stop and kneel down before him.
But as I did so, I see that the Indian with his animals is slowly going ahead again, and I quickly rise and follow them.
This is the same idea.
There was the question of what the medieval woman did, and the answer was: never mind, go ahead.
The Indian pays no attention to that woman and the cross, and she angrily follows him.
And now it is a most oppressive thought that she is following such a shepherd and that she herself is two goats.
She is full of doubts and again asks herself: As a Christian woman, whom should I follow?
Surely not that Indian.
Therefore Christ is there with his staff as a shepherd and she is just worshipping him, when she sees the Indian walking ahead and she instantly gets up and follows him.
This shows that she is already so much the goat that she follows her shepherd, she instinctively follows
the Indian and leaves the figure of Christ.
You see there is no choice in the vision; it simply functions like that.
And mind you, none of this has reached her consciousness, she must travel a long road before her fantasies
become experiences to her.
The cortege is now climbing uphill. We come to a great castle with a high tower.
The Indian calls out, and from a window in the castle a woman throws down a scarlet flower to the Indian.
Suddenly an ostrich appears and joins the other animals.
Then very slowly through Rome and past Grecian temples we walk with our animals.
They are now coming to a pretty strong place, a medieval stronghold with a dungeon in the center, and there a woman looks out, who is of course herself in anticipation, as the castle is an anticipation.
The castle is a stronghold and symbolizes a standpoint gained and fortified; one is entrenched there and relatively safe, one is protected behind thick walls in an inaccessible place.
This is simply a continuation of the facts before.
She follows the Indian and she seems to realize more or less that she is absolutely bound to him; like an animal to the shepherd, she must obey.
That becomes a truth from which she cannot get away.
So she is entrenched in it, fortified in it; it becomes an inaccessible and unshakable standpoint.
She puts herself into that castle where she is safe, but at the same time also a prisoner.
But the Indian led her into that prison so he might move on again, and then he would become the liberator.
And she throws that scarlet flower to him which means a very intimate relation with the Indian.
She is no longer related to him as a shepherd, she is now accepting him as a lover.
The scarlet flower is like that famous scarlet letter which your countryman wrote about.
And now an ostrich appears. Why does an ostrich come in here?
The ostrich does not occur in the suite of Dionysus.
Suggestion: Is it not supposed to be the only monogamous animal?
Dr: Jung: Oh, there are many.
And I hardly think that he would be under the suspicion of monogamy here.
He is under another suspicion, that he puts his head into the sand when he doesn’t want to see the
(That is not true of the ostrich actually; he just runs away, but that is the saying.)
So again an animal is shown to her, like a sort of cartoon, expressing: that ostrich is yourself! It shows her that she puts her own head into the sand in order not to see the situation.
For she hands herself over to that Indian, body and soul, and it is more convenient not to see it.
She is afraid, which is quite understandable.
But as they wander along with their animals the scene goes back in time, they come to Greek temples.
Now I will show you two pictures: one of the Indian upon the rock with his black bull [plate 3], whilst down below are the hands of the people raised in supplication; and the other is of the cortege [plate 4],
sightseeing in ancient Greece.
First comes the Indian, then the bull, and the two goats, and then the ostrich, and she comes last.
The next vision is a very mysterious one [plate 5]: “I beheld a face with the eyes closed, I besought the face: open your eyes, look into my eyes that I may behold them.”
She uses biblical language here, showing that these things have a hieratic character for her.
She has tapped a deeper layer of fantasy.
Then the face became very dark and slowly I beheld what no man is meant to see, eyes full of beauty and woe and light and I could bear it no longer.
This is the first vision where she is quite positively stung; she has been more or less sightseeing, but here it gets under her skin.
She made a picture of the face: it is that of an animal, a dark hairy face with the melancholy eye of a beast.
What really happened was that they not only traveled back to ancient Greece but went even farther, the animals led her back into the animal age.
You remember that the purpose of the Dionysian mysteries was to bring people back to the animal-not to what we commonly understand by that word, but to the animal within.
She looks directly into the eyes of an animal, and they are full of woe and beauty because they contain
the truth of life, an equal sum of pain and pleasure, the capacity forjoy and the capacity for suffering.
The eyes of very primitive and unconscious men have the same strange expression of a mental state before consciousness, which is neither pain nor pleasure; one doesn’t know exactly what it is.
It is most bewildering, but undoubtedly here she sees into the very soul of the animal, and that is the experience she should have.
Otherwise she is disconnected from nature.
That is the experience everyone should have in order to find again the connection with the nature within, with one’s own nature and with the god of the primitives.
One could say that these are the eyes of the beginning, of the creator, who was unconscious because in the beginning all was unconsciousness.
One cannot know what it is in itself because, from our standpoint, an animal has no consciousness, it is exactly what we call unconsciousness.
I cannot go into a philosophical discussion about it, but it is quite possible that in what we call the unconscious-the sum of autonomous contents-each of those contents has a consciousness in itself.
Our consciousness is an autonomous complex, and other complexes might each have an independent consciousness; and is it not possible that the sum total of consciousness and unconsciousness has a center to which contents might be related?
That would then be consciousness, because the only definition of consciousness we can produce is an association of things with an ego center.
So wherever there is such a center it is quite possible that there is consciousness; therefore what we call the unconscious would be another form of consciousness of something else in somebody else.
Now when our patient reached the animal level, one could say that she had undergone the essential experience of the Dionysian mysteries, which then forms a bridge between herself and the original primordial man concealed beneath the historical layers of the past.
Now there is a chance that things may come right, because the original pattern is unveiled, the original law is reestablished.
Things take the course they must necessarily take because there is no longer any possibility of a loss of
The break between man and nature has been abolished, there is a bridge once more.
So the possibility of creating dissociated systems in which she might go astray is abolished on principle.
Of course it is still possible to a certain extent, but the possibility of inner guidance is always there, and she will be less liable to wander off in arbitrary ideas or systems.
It is like that girl who wandered away to the moon: by telling me the secret, she cut the thread between herself and the moon, so she could never return there.
Here this woman touches the secret and the connection with the earth is established.
She can no longer go astray in conscious fantasies, the inventions of the conscious mind that have blinded her before, because she has now touched bottom.
This is such a convincing experience, such an astonishing revelation, that one cannot get away from it.
It becomes a truth, but a truth which you cannot prove.
If you said you had gauged the depths of the eyes of an animal, people would say you were mad.
But for the individual it is an uncanny and profound experience which contains absolute truth.
You feel something of that in studying the accounts of the Eleusinian mysteries, the confessions of the tremendous impression people received in those initiations.
That explains why the mysteries lived so long, perhaps fifteen hundred years, till they were finally abolished by a decree of the Byzantine Prefect in the year 622.
It is not certain that they lasted so long in their original form, but they were undoubtedly the most sacred
thing in antiquity.
If a man breathed a word about them, he was liable to be killed instantly, it was even a duty to kill him.
That is the reason why we know almost nothing about them; but the few fragments we possess indicate extraordinary phenomena that were actual experience.
Now this woman’s experience with the animal is of the same nature, and the great emotion she felt proves the reality of it, whatever it means.
We are trying to understand it in psychological terms but naturally it is impossible to realize its profundity without going through it ourselves.
But we can at least imagine that getting as deep as that, down below all history, into the regions of the blood, must be rather an overwhelming experience; for there one enters a mental or psychological sphere that is still at one with nature, and that is an utterly different thing from our consciousness.
Now I will read you the next vision: I beheld a man on horseback riding over a wooden bridge over a
The rider looked down and saw a man baptizing himself in the water below.
He took from his saddlebag a few grains of wheat and threw them down on the water, and the minute that
the wheat fell upon the water it sprang up into fully ripe stalks.
The banks beside the stream became steeper until at last the rider found himself in a narrow defile of rock.
Suddenly he came out into a plain, in the full sunlight, and I saw that the man on horseback was the Indian.
Before him was an ancient city, white, with many domes. The Indian entered the town.
A great crowd was gathered in the square.
The Indian looked up and saw in the sky before him a golden sun.
Then he saw that the crowd was worshipping the sun. There was also a fire and near the fire a fountain.
The Indian dismounted and going to the fire held his face and body over it and then stood up unharmed.
Then the crowd shot arrows at him but without harming him.
Finally an arrow hit him in the left leg below the knee; he pulled it out and blood flowed.
That is not all, it is a pretty long story. The gist of it is that the Dionysian cortege disappears, there is now only the Indian.
The Dionysian cortege was necessary in order to bring her back to the initial experience of the unconscious, the identity with the things below, and that being at the dawn of consciousness, the next move must be forward.
Going back in history means a sort of sacrilege.
It is a sacrilegious regression to dismiss Christianity and pass by the Greek temples.
All that was left behind as if it were nothing, and now she has to come back.
To have touched upon the animal might keep her down, she might be imprisoned by the animal, so she now has to learn the meaning of all religions, all the old cults; she must move up from the beginning of
consciousness to modern times.
She first comes upon a sun-worshipping people.
The animus is being subjected to torture, which points to an early Indian cult.
The vision goes on: He left the city and went alone to a high hill where he wept because he had been lamed.
Then he descended again into the city.
The crowd fell away and stood about him in a wide circle. He cleansed his wound in the fountain and put water on his face.
Then he rode away over the plain in the direction of the sun, till he came to an Indian village where he dismounted.
The Indians said: “Lo, he has returned to us.”
Then all the animals came forth from the wood, and shoals of fishes cast themselves upon the dry land.
This picture explains the situation [plate 6].
The Indian is in the center, the sun above, arrows right and left, and on the left side is the fire and on the right side is the water.
This is obviously a situation characterized by pairs of opposites: hot and cold, fire and water, and arrows
from right and left.
It is a condition of conflict, assault from either side, so the Indian is forced to a middle position and cannot move.
The problem of the pairs of opposites is now appearing, because her movement back into the past, her realization of the animal, has put this woman into a very awkward situation.
On the one hand, she realizes herself as a highly conscious civilized being, and on the other hand she realizes herself as an animal, and she has no idea how to manage the situation.
Therefore the leading role goes over to the Indian, who is always a sort of anticipatory figure that shows her what will happen to herself.
Here he shows her how she can endure the conflict between the opposites with Indian stoicism and with a sort of religious conviction, the relation to the sun being his guiding light.
Finally he is relieved from that torture, he can go back to his own people.
And there the miracle of apokatastasis takes place, which is again an anticipation.
All the animals come out of the woods and all the fishes come up from the sea; it is a great feast of nature where everything is reconciled again, man with the animals and the animals with man, a sort of Paradise condition. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 141-157