1931 16 December Visions Seminar Lecture VI
I find two questions here, so we will deal with those first.
You remember I put Hermes at the top of our scale of the four stages of the animus,
as the supreme form, the equivalent to Sophia.
The question is: “Why did the Hermes Trismegistus, the god of wisdom and science, inventor of writing, etc., change into the god of tradesmen and thieves, as we were told in college the Greek Hermes did?”
The two are not identical.
The Greek god Hermes was really a messenger of the gods, as well as a sort of patron saint of anything that had to do with money matters, exchange, sending and receiving goods, and so on.
But he was originally a sort of influxus divinus, a messenger who came down from Olympus to carry out the decisions of the gods, or to communicate the divine word to mortals; and in that form he has been identified with the Egyptian god Thoth, who was the god of writing, of wisdom and intelligence.
Also he has been identified with Mercury, the Roman god, who has much the same character.
A number of those gods were more or less equivalent.
The old Gallic and Celtic gods were identified with the Roman gods, for instance, so we find Celtic forms of Jupiter, Mercury, and others in Gallia Transalpina.
Then Hermes Trismegistus, the thrice-greatest Hermes, is the designation for an entirely legendary figure, a man, not a god.
That may be a historical fact or, more probably, a legendary fact, like Osiris, who is said to have lived as a real human being; and like the second person of the Trinity, Christ; the tradition is that Christ and Osiris were god-men.
This Hermes Trismegistus, according to the legend, was also a god-man, full of divine wisdom, and the father of the so-called Hermetic books.
This is a particular kind of old Greek literature which is said to have originated in the priestly wisdom of Egypt; examples of it are still in existence.
So the relation between that Hermes, called the thrice-greatest Hermes, and the Greek god Hermes is very remote; they are not identical. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 505
The figure of the Hermes of whom we are speaking here would be more like the old Greek messenger of the gods, whose title was Hermes Psychopompos.
(Pompos means leader and psyche means soul, a leader of souls.)
This is a very important archetypal figure in the unconscious, as the other Hermes Trismegistus would be also; it is the archetype of the old wise man.
The medicine man in primitive tribes is the first form of the leader of souls, and then later on the healer, or the priest, or the analyst.
In modern times every analyst is in the very disagreeable situation of being a psychopompos, or being understood as such even if he is not at all what he seems to be; it is an effect of the transference of that archetypal figure.
One understands at once the importance of such a figure when one has seen it in reality.
For instance, there are usually two conspicuous people in a primitive tribe.
One is the chief, who is usually a warrior or an administrator, a very practical man, and the other is the medicine man, who may be equal to or much more important than the political chief-or he may be less important.
Often the same man fills both positions, or the dignity of the medicine man alternates with the dignity of the chief in the same family.
In the tribe I observed, the son of the chief was the medicine man.
He was then already an old man, and he wore a most impressive ceremonial dress made of blue monkey fur, a very beautiful thing; and he had a long staff, and amulets all over him, round his ankles and everywhere.
As long as things are more or less normal the chief is the important man who directs things, but if anything happens which is too far out of the ordinary, everybody turns to the medicine man.
The nocturnal side of life, all the uncanny things are referred to him.
Or if they are afraid he is angry he must be propitiated in order to ward off evil from the tribe.
Every extraordinary event like birth and death, or illness or bad dreams or spooks, as well as religious ideas, are referred to the medicine man, either as the cause of it, or in order to cure it.
Primitives often assume that an eclipse of the sun or the moon, or an illness of the cattle, or any evil event, has been caused by the medicine man of a hostile tribe, and then their own medicine man must make counter-magic to offset it.
So in the mental life of the primitive the medicine man plays an enormous role, and he is tremendously feared.
I knew an old chief who had been dethroned by the British authorities for misbehavior, and because he had a grudge against the actual chief, his successor, and the medicine man, he told me a number of tribal secrets.
But he was so afraid of being seen talking to me that he brought two slaves with him, who were put out in the bush as sentinels, and finally he found a very secluded spot where I could go to him.
And he was afraid that the medicine man could hear him, for they are supposed to have very long ears, to hear everything.
I had to put his mind at ease, to assure him that he would not be poisoned or harmed in any way.
It is a fact that the medicine men are often very spiteful and apt to resort to poisons.
That is a picture of the condition in which we lived many thousands of years longer than in our civilized condition, and therefore the imprints of those impressions are very much stronger than any we have experienced during these last few hundred years of civilized life.
When things are left to themselves we always revert to type, to the archetypal form of life.
So we instinctively revert, in any dark and uncanny matter, to the medicine man; our first reaction is to the man who is initiated into the secret knowledge, the man who has access to the dark sides of human nature, to the unconscious.
Therefore the making of the primitive medicine man is a strange procedure, which is designed to open up the unconscious.
They are almost driven crazy.
Many of the adepts are really driven crazy; they hear voices and are subject to all sorts of psychotic
conditions, while others are just the most shrewd and intelligent members of the tribe.
Here is the second question: “In connection with the lion, you spoke of the Yang principle and also human willpower. In this case doesn’t that mean that the lion represents the animus power?
The procession of men led the patient to the mountain top where they left her in cold isolation
to face the lion, in other words, a concentrated manifestation of their own energy, and therefore similar to the giant who blocked her way before.”
The logic of this question is sound.
It is true that after the bull sacrifice, the patient was led by those marching men up to the top of the mountain and there left alone in the snow, and we said that this was a picture of the animi.
So many collective thoughts naturally led her out of the communion with the earth as a sort of compensation, out of the warmth of the blood into the cold snow, just the other extreme.
You see whenever one does something which seems to be wrong, so that one is in extreme perplexity, then in comes the animus most certainly and expresses a traditional opinion-now you have done so-and-so-and up or down one goes accordingly.
That has happened in this case, so she is faced with the lion, an instinctive power which is apparently the essence of the animus, and which also represents willpower inasmuch as one is
the victim of one’s willpower.
That is, the animus-thought that one is in a humiliated condition when down in the earth has a certain power, and if one follows it, one is asserting power over the powers of the earth.
It is as if one were free to say: I don’t want this communion with the earth, it is too barbarous and primitive, therefore I lift myself out of it. That is will to power.
For the real question is: should I be close to the earth, or may I assume such a power as to lift myself out of the laws of the blood and up onto a mountain top?
A will to power brought her up there; yet on the other hand nobody can say that this is wrong, because we have a certain amount of freedom in our choice; we can say: I don’t want to touch the earth, I prefer to stay in heaven.
Of course, it would not be pleasant to stay there long; when she arrived in the heavenly city, she couldn’t stand it and returned to earth.
But now she has gone back to the mountain top.
And she can choose that, but you see in either case it is due to an involuntary swinging to and fro; first she is led by the unconscious down to the earth, and then suddenly she is lifted up again by that instinctive force which is behind the animus, for the animus is based on instinctive force.
All these forces have been liberated by man quite instinctively.
So whether one lives the life of the body, or whether one suppresses the principle of the body and becomes a spirit, has been evolved along the line of instinctive force.
At first we were those laws of human nature, and only afterwards did man give a name to them; only very much later did they evolve into moral or philosophical principles; first they were the
For instance, the repression of sex, which one could call a slogan of our times, is by no means an invention of certain people who wanted to do something evil or good to mankind.
It is a phenomenon of nature, nature herself forces people to it; some interference of other instincts produces such a repression.
One sees it even in animals.
A dog under the influence of a certain instinct will repress all others; he may be quite afraid of something, yet when a certain different instinct is roused he will be most courageous and forget all about his fear.
Then the fear is repressed, but at another time the fear represses his courage.
So the instincts themselves produce repression, it is not an invention of man.
It is a very natural reaction that this woman should be forced out of the earth almost before she went into it.
It is a reaction of the historical powers within her that lift her automatically out of the hole into which she fell.
There we see the eternal up-and-down movement of the wave of the unconscious.
It raises the spring from the depths in winter, and then it buries that whole creation again.
It always moves in that cycle; what we see here is just a part of the oscillating movement; something presses her down into the earth, and then something else comes and lifts her out of it.
The lion is an expression of that principle.
I linked it up with the Yang, meaning simply the positive part of the wave.
According to my idea, we had much better understand that lion as a sort of philosophical
principle formulating the rise of the wave, and the going-down of the wave would be the Yin principle.
The lion was the beginning of a new development in the vision, and then came a bird, and after the bird a sphinx, three animals in succession.
She asked the lion: “Why am I here?” and the lion said, “Because you have taken the way.”
This answer shows a connection between her instincts and her quest, one might say.
She obviously does not understand what it was that lifted her up, or what brought her down again, but she feels intuitively that it must have to do with the instincts.
And the lion gives the correct answer-because she has taken the way. How do you understand that?
Mrs. Sigg thinks that she has fitted herself into the rhythm of life, but how did she do that?
Mrs. Crowley: By following and accepting.
Dr: Jung: How could she accept it? We are usually unaware.
Mrs. Crowley: Involuntarily.
Dr: Jung: But how could she fit into that rhythm when unaware of it?
We are only very slightly aware of the up-and-down movement in our moods.
You see, the lion obviously refers to something like a decision in her, the decision to take the way.
Miss Hannah: By drinking the blood.
Dr: Jung: Yes, but the decision to drink the blood is only part of the whole procedure, it was much longer ago that she began to take the way.
The real start was quite in the beginning when she decided to watch the visions; that was her acceptance.
She had dreams in the beginning where the unconscious came nearer and nearer to her, and finally it began to develop a certain autonomous activity; it came into her room once like a ghost through the window.
So when it became perceptible, when she began to see it as an objective factor, she made up her mind to continue to observe the unconscious. It was a sort of hypothesis of how to live.
For you remember there was no possibility of a solution in her case; she did not know what to do with her life or how to continue it, she had run up against an impossible problem.
So she said to herself: There is a possibility, I might follow that road.
The visions are the road, and she has naturally got more and more into the real swing, that eternal up and down, which is a specific quality of the unconscious.
Therefore the lion’s answer: she was up in the snow because she had taken the way.
Then she asks the bird: “Why am I here in the eternal snows? I desire warmth.”
She has just come from the blood and it is already too cold, now it is she who wants to return, she is becoming identical with the rhythm.
The bird says, “Follow me,” and leads her down into the hot desert, and there she comes upon the sphinx.
A part of the descent is accomplished, but it will go still further.
So her life now begins slowly to function in that strange rhythm, while before it was on a level or a straight line.
When she saw something in the distance which seemed to be good, she made for it.
That is the modern way of living, instead of that oscillating way, the snakelike motion, in which nature intends us to live; therefore the snake symbolism in the unconscious of people who live in a straight line.
People living in towns never see a snake but they all dream of them, and particularly those who live in a straight line have dreams and fears about snakes.
So the snake is the symbol of the great wisdom of nature, for it is not the direct way, but the crooked way, the detour, that is the shortest way.
Now what is the sphinx?
Mrs. Sigg: A combination of animal and man.
Mrs. Crowley: It is in three parts, is it not? It is also the spirit, the winged animal. It was the idea of the triad.
Dr. Jung: It is here a duality, a human head and the body of a lioness, and one sees precious little of the spirit when one looks into the face of the sphinx. It is extremely archaic, most probably it was a rock jutting out of the desert.
For in the desert the rocks take on very remarkable shapes from the sand erosions, from storms driving sand against them.
The sand has a polishing effect; most amazing forms are modeled out of the hard stone.
The rock is not so hard near Cairo, so it is still more molded by the corrosive sand.
The sphinx is of an absolutely indefinable age, it goes back to pre-dynastic times; it must be a very archaic monster, and a monster is at least two animals, sometimes more.
The chimaira, a Greek monster, consisted of a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s or dragon’s tail.
In the legend of Parsifal-in the true form, not as Wagner made it-Kundry is a most extraordinary figure.
The old French narrative, Adventures of Perceval le Galloys, tells of “the eyes of Kundry as small as a mouse, the nose of a cat or monkey, the ears of a bear, and the beard of a buck. ”
We must always ask ourselves of what such a monster consists.
If it consists of animal only, we know it is a conglomeration of conflicting instincts that are forced together.
If it is part human and part animal, we know it is a combination of the animal and human parts of man.
The sphinx is a combination of animal and human, and inasmuch as the monster is mythological, it is not very real, it cannot live as an autonomous being.
An animal with a human head is an impossibility, therefore it means an attempt to bring humanity and the animal kingdom together, a sort of provisional attempt at a reconciliation between animal
Hitherto in the visions this union has not taken place; there have been various animals and birds but this woman herself is always a detached human being.
You have seen that the rhythm of the unconscious is influencing her, yet she is at variance with it, she cannot accept it; she still wonders why it should not move in a straight line like a human being.
So evidently she is not at one with the animals, and therefore the unconscious at least prepares an attempt at a union, and this is symbolized by a sphinx.
One might also say that the animal was about to transform into a human being as it already has a human head; or one might say just as well that a human being was about to transform into an animal, already shown in the lioness.
But we must understand more about the symbolism of the sphinx, for it is not only a legendary figure, it is also a structure made by man.
What is the peculiarity of the real sphinx in Cairo?
Mrs. Fierz: Is it not a guardian of the dead? It is always connected with the pyramids, which are graves.
Dr. Jung: It is near the pyramids, but we don’t know if it has served in any burial ceremonial, though it is quite possible.
The sphinx is really a sort of dragon-the animal devouring the animal-so it may be a symbol of the great enigma death.
If we were able to solve the riddle of life we would live on eternally, but since we cannot solve that riddle of the sphinx, it will devour us.
But there is something quite tangible which one can really see between the paws in front.
Mr. Allemann: An altar.
Dr. Jung: Yes, a temple and an altar.
The sphinx is a religious object, it is partially a temple, which shows that it is not only a sort of chthonic dragon or a devouring monster, itis also a spiritual fact.
What the strange spirit may be that is contained in the sphinx we do not know, but perhaps we shall find out something in the further elucidation of these visions.
We had better leave the question now, because it is at all events of a nature which can only be understood when that union between man and the lost instincts is established.
It probably has to do with the wisdom of the serpent.
Now our patient very boldly took her stand before the sphinx and said to it: “Render unto me your secret.” What would you say about this remark?
Mrs. Fierz: That it was very impertinent.
Mrs. Sigg: It seems to be an identification with the earth mother.
Dr. Jung: She knows naturally about the Oedipus myth and the mothercomplex, there is nothing to be gained there.
But what does the impertinent remark denote?
Mrs. Fierz: That she feels pretty godlike, very superior.
Dr. Jung: Yes, so we may assume that she is in a state of inflation, and what does that come from?
Mrs. Crowley: It is part of the lion’s characteristics.
Dr. Jung: Yes, but there is another reason.
You see, inflation makes one swell up, one gets balloon-like and rises into heaven.
And why should one inflate oneself to that point?
Well, how does a balloon look that is not inflated?
When a person is inflated like a balloon it is a compensation.
It means that one is confronted with something which is most disagreeable and which one prefers not to touch, one prefers to inflate oneself and look down upon it.
But the sad thing is that no balloon can remain always in heaven, it must descend.
Inflation invariably has the meaning that one is trying to lift oneself up above the difficulties of life, so you may be sure that the patient is trying to get out of something.
Therefore she assumes that godlike attitude.
Then she says: The eyes of the sphinx opened. I saw that they were green and I beheld therein a tree.
The branches of the tree reached up into the white snow.
The roots of the tree reached down into a stream of blood beneath the earth.
Here is the tree again. We last saw the tree on the pedestal where the bull first stood.
And now she sees it again in the eyes of the sphinx. What do you make of this?
And what does the tree mean?
Mrs. Sigg: It is a combination of the flow of blood and the tree, which was in an earlier vision.
Dr. Jung: That is true.
You see, the tree is a combination, or a bridge at least, between the things above and the things below, and the general theme here is to connect those two opposites, the blood and the spirit, or the warmth and the cold.
The attempt was made to find that union on the level of the human being and the animal, but in the eyes of the sphinx she sees something which seems to be very real, and a better connection, the tree. Here we should speak once more of the general aspects of the tree.
Its special aspect is that it connects the opposites above and below, as I just said. But what is its general meaning?
Mrs. Crowley: It is the rhythm, or the curve, of plant life.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the seasonal growth of plant life.
You see the growth of the animal is to a certain extent in connection with the seasons; the procreation of animals has very much to do with the seasons, they naturally live in that rhythm.
Yet being detached from the soil, having feet, being able to run away, they are less identical; so the emotions of animals-like fear and anger-are tremendously variable, up and down.
But the plant is identical with the basic laws of nature because it is entirely rooted in the earth; it is a helpless victim or absolutely at one with nature.
An animal has the faculty of moving away and seeking its own place, it is literally less attached to the laws of the earth.
And the life of man is detached to a very high degree; we have produced an artificial world for ourselves that is very far from the laws of nature, and it has an entirely different rhythm.
Therefore the plant would be the demonstration of a principle of life which is far more identical with the laws of the earth than even the animal.
Now that is what our patient sees in the eyes of the sphinx, and the sphinx is here no longer the temple or the monument in the desert, made of stone; it is a living being.
And what does one see in the eyes of the living being?
Mrs. Crowley: The soul.
Dr. Jung: Yes, so the tree is really the soul of the sphinx, and it is that thing which solves the riddle of the sphinx.
It is the union of opposites which is interrupted in a way in animal and human life, but which is expressed by the symbol of the tree.
And what is the tree psychologically?
Mrs. Fierz: The yoga tree.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that is the way which opens up the possibility of living the life of a tree.
Man’s best attempt is the sphinx and that is a monster, but the plant is humble and the way of the yoga tree is humble.
The way of yoga is compared to plant life, because it is not always running towards a certain goal, devouring whatever seems good; it is a very silent growth and in absolute submission to the laws of the earth.
Yet the tree may attain a very great height.
Therefore the tree appears as a symbol wherever it is a matter of that spiritual development which is needed in order to reconcile pairs of opposites, or to settle a conflict.
Mr. Baumann: You remember the question the sphinx asked Oedipus, referring to man’s way of moving, via youth and adult life and old age. But that refers to animal life rather than to plant life.
Dr. Jung: Well, it refers to human life in general.
First to the course of life-youth, the adult, and age-and then it refers in particular to movement, the ability to move.
To the primitive man, movement is always a symbol of life.
Therefore even in their language, they often add a suffix which means moving, to express the living thing.
The idea is that anything which is able to move is alive, as we often speak of a charged electric wire as a live wire and of the element mercury as living because it is always moving.
So the particular reference in this riddle is that symbolism-movement as an expression of life and the detachment from the soil, exactly the opposite of plant life.
The riddle of the sphinx and the crux of our problem is that the merely animal principle of our
life is to be compensated by a different type of living; and that is symbolized by the plant because it is the only example we have.
Therefore any different way of life, like the yoga in its widest sense, is a plant, a tree.
It seems terribly far-fetched to say this is the yoga tree.
But when one follows up the symbolism, understanding the problem of our patient, and
remembering the former occasions on which the tree has appeared, one sees that it is invariably the symbol of the way she should take in order to reconcile the pairs of opposites and to settle the impossible problem of her life, with which she is still confronted.
Mrs. Sawyer: Is there not a connection between the snake and the tree in the Kundalini yoga?
Dr. Jung: Oh yes. The Kundalini yoga is the form of yoga that deals quite directly with the snakelike movement, in opposition to the growth of the tree. Kundalini yoga is a sort of taming and transformation of the Kundalini serpent; it means the ultimate transformation of the Shakti,
the serpent, into pure light, when the Shakti becomes one with the god Shiva.
The intervening part, the movement, is the animal part.
In the beginning, in the root center or muladhara, the god and Shakti are together, they are only intellectually differentiated as the lingam and the snake dormant; that is the state of origin, and then separation follows.
And then the movement begins; with the first hissing of the serpent, when Kundalini raises its head, the separation of the pair of opposites begins, and that strange movement starts to operate.
The two lines that lead up from muladhara to the highest center represent the progress of the snake.
So the tree of the Kundalini is the particular yoga that deals with the assimilation of the Kundalini serpent, and the ultimate reunion of the god with the Shakti that in the intervening space were separated into creator and created, into the creative god and the phantasmal illusionary world.
That the two come together again is an expression of a psychological process within.
Dr. Reichstein: You said the patient asked the sphinx in an impertinent way, but it seems to work well because the sphinx opens her eyes and shows her secret.
Dr. Jung: That is perfectly true. It works, and of course it is not easy to explain why it works; one would assume otherwise.
What do you think about it?
Dr. Reichstein: Because it was just the right way.
Dr. Jung: To deal with what? What is the sphinx psychologically?
Mrs. Fierz: The unconscious.
Dr. Jung: Exactly. You see, it would be most impertinent if the sphinx were Mrs. Smith; it would be impossible to step up to Mrs. Smith, saying: “Now render up your secret!”
It wouldn’t do at all.
But in dealing with the figures of the unconscious-those phantasmal veils-you must play the role, no matter how inflated.
If you are inflated to the size of a god, well, step into your unconscious as a god and you are a god.
But you can only know god on that level, and to Mrs. Smith you are no god.
People sometimes carry their inflation into the social world which is quite wrong.
A woman possessed by her animus sometimes carries it into her social relations, and it is always a mistake; as it is a mistake, also, when a man transfers his anima into the world.
This looks like an inflation, because in comparison with the symbols we are dealing with our patient is just nothing.
But she can be a part of the mysteries, as, for instance, Mr. Smith can mount a pedestal and be worshipped as Helios, although he is only a little wine merchant at the side gate and a cheat at that.
So in the inside world one has to play the part in which one finds oneself; when one steps into such a fantasy one must assume the role to which one seems to be assigned.
Therefore this is really not an inflation; it only sounds so if it is translated into an ordinary social situation.
Since one cannot entertain any social relations with the sphinx, it has nothing to do with the outside world, and we only have to explain why she takes such an important tone.
The tone is right because she is in that role, she has to play it until somebody pricks her balloon, and then she will collapse; that will follow, sure enough.
Now the vision continues:
The sphinx spoke saying: “Woman, the way is twofold.” Then the eyes closed. I besought the sphinx again to speak to me but it remained silent. I leaned against it, wondering.
That is a very cryptic reply.
The sphinx evidently alludes to that remark of the lion that she has taken the way. And what was the patient’s question then?
Mr. Allemann: Why am I up in the snow and down in the heat?
Dr. Jung: Yea, why should these extremes be?
That is the great question, and why does the sphinx answer that question of hers by “the way is
Mr. Allemann: It is the snake movement.
Mrs. Crowley: The opposites are there to be lived.
Dr. Jung: Exactly, the way of life is twofold; it is this side and that side, and so obviously one has to live in the two extremes; like the snake, up and down, right and left.
One cannot take the road of life without taking the two sides of it, because the one side would lead to a standstill.
If one wants to live, one must stand the opposites because the way is twofold.
Obviously this woman does not understand the deep meaning of that question.
You must keep in mind that when she had these visions she was not at all aware of what I am telling you now.
There was such a flood of them, one every other day at least, and it would have taken an enormous amount of time to analyze them with her; she had dreams and conscious problems besides, so it was impossible to deal with these fantasies to any extent.
She felt that this thing or that was important somehow, but she did not understand what it all meant.
So when she says, “I leaned against the sphinx, wondering,” it is merely a statement of fact; she was puzzled and did not know what it was all about.
Now she continues: “A snake came to me, saying: ‘Follow me and I will show you something strange.’ I followed the snake.”
Where would you expect her to go now?
Miss Taylor: Down below. ·
Mrs. Sigg: The middle way.
Dr. Jung: She is already on the middle way, she is on the surface of the earth in the desert, so Miss Taylor is right in assuming that the snake would lead her down below.
She says: “I followed the snake, who led me down to a black cavern deep in the earth.”
But this time much deeper, mind you.
The bull sacrifice took place on the surface of the earth, but this time she goes much deeper down into the earth.
She says: “There I beheld the mummy of an ancient king encrusted with gold.”
She has obviously descended to a great depth, and that means into the chthonic side of human nature, and it also means going back in time.
For the further back, or down, one goes into the body, the older the layers of the nervous system.
If one literally could go from the brain down through the spinal cord and follow the fibers which lead from the spinal cord, one would come to the ganglia of a nervous system which is much older
than the spinal nervous system.
There one gets into the life of the insect and the cold-blooded reptiles, the invertebrates, a very ancient form of life.
So she is going down into history, and of course one can go any length.
You remember she went back till she reached the animal end of our existence.
But here the way leads only into the tomb of an ancient king. What does that mean?
Mr. Baumann: Would it correspond to the Great Mother, but a masculine way?
Dr. Jung: I suppose you refer to the former vision of the initiation ceremonial with the Great Mother.
I will show you that picture again to stimulate your imagination [see plate 13].
Before that was the vision which Mrs. Sigg was referring to, where this woman was swimming in the stream of blood [ see plate 11] .
And we first saw the yoga tree when she was out of the stream of blood and was rising as a tree to the sun [see plate 12].
The sun was born out of the branches of the tree, the typical motif, as Mithra or Ra were born out of the top of the tree.
She reached the height of the sun, so the next thing was the descent into the earth where she found the Great Mother.
We have here decidedly a parallel, again the same setting.
We have the symbol of the blood, and rising out of the blood, and the tree again, and now we have the descent which follows, through the medium of the sphinx, the mother symbol.
She isentering the womb of the earth, and the womb of the earth is here a grave.
For the Great Mother is not only the mother of life, she also takes it away; she is at the beginning of life and at the end, she gives birth in the beginning, and devours life in the end; she is the sarcophagus. (Sarx is the Greek word for flesh, and phagos means the one who eats, the devourer, so the sarcophagus is the flesh-eater.)
In primitive legends the old mother in the West is often a sort of cannibal, and primitive man eats the flesh of the dead.
He celebrates cannibal feasts as a sort of sympathetic magic, he does what the earth does in order to increase fertility.
That is still practiced in our days.
Just recently there was a case in north Kenya.
They ate a grandmother who was particularly beloved.
You see, they had a grandmother in the family whom they worshipped, so they gave her very good food, they fed her well till she grew quite fat, and when she died the family ate her.
Then all the fools were disgusted and horrified at such a terrible thing, but they ate her in the end out of sheer love in order to give her continuation of life.
It was a supreme act of devotion; they continued her life by embodying her body in theirs, really a very touching idea.
One should not disturb people in such acts of devotion, it is very foolish, it destroys their morality completely.
They did not kill her, they fed her very well, and when she died they gave her a very decent burial in their stomachs.
There is a similar story of a cow and her calf that had been born up in the mountains.
One Sunday tourists came up, and the calf, having never seen such a thing, asked: “What are those?” And the mother cow said: “Those are our cemeteries.”
The parallel between the earlier visions and these is evident as you see, but here we have, not the Great Mother, but the mummy of an ancient king.
Our patient was initiated by the Great Mother into the female kingdom, spiritual and physical, but the Great Father did not exist, so it was a parthenogenesis, a birth out of the virgin.
That the Great Father was not present is naturally a grave omission, and really what has troubled
her ever since; therefore she has to descend again to find what she has lost or not realized.
This time in her descent she discovers the ancient king, who symbolizes not the human father but the divine father, the father of mankind, a sort of creator.
We shall see whether that is confirmed by the subsequent development of the vision.
But this father is dead, he is a mummy.
Here again is an Egyptian connotation, for she knows something about Egyptian mythology. Who would the father be?
Mrs. Fierz: Osiris.
Dr: Jung: Yes, Osiris is the god that is chiefly worshipped in the form of a mummy; being the king of the underworld, he attained his greatest power only through his death.
You remember in the ancient Egyptian world an attempt was made against the life of the great god Ra; Isis concealed a poisonous worm in the sand which poisoned his heel when he walked on it.
She cured him again but, alas, he was no longer the same, he was too tottery, so he was doomed to retire from the government.
And about the same thing happened to Osiris, he also had to die; he was dismembered by Set and put together by Mother Isis, but he was a ghost and particularly his phallus was lacking.
He was able, however, to generate as a ghost-spiritually-and so she conceived and brought forth Harpocrates (the Egyptian form of the name is Heru-p-khart), who was described by Plutarch as weak in his lower limbs.
He had lame legs on account of the fact that the father was not a real human being
but a ghost.
Now Harpokrates is practically synonymous with Horus, who had a strong body; he is a sort of shadow of the young son, yet under a very different aspect.
All these strange myths show a tendency in the unconscious mind to dethrone the obvious god of the world, the visible principle of physical existence that is, and to substitute it by a spiritual
principle-sometimes a principle of the underworld that can only thrive in darkness or in secrecy, safely hidden away from the eye of the sun, having really more to do with the moon.
That comes from the fact that the spirit of man is not masculine, it belongs to the kingdom of the mother, to the unconscious female side.
Man wishes that were not true, and therefore he always tries to make something intellectual and masculine of the spirit.
But the spirit in its original form is always female, it comes from the Great Mother.
Here the myth of Osiris comes again into play in the idea that Osiris only became a spirit by dying, that one must first die in order to be free or develop spirit.
This is the essential principle of the Christian religion; only through death can one obtain immortality, either through a figurative death or a real death.
That was the reason St. Augustine admonished his catechumen to die in the arena in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Also the voluntary seclusion of the hermits in the desert was a mystical suicide which excluded them from life so that they might attain to spirituality.
Now she meets that ancient king who has died; he is a mummy and has not yet been transformed into the spiritual principle, he remains in the frame of Osiris.
The point of this part of the vision is the resurrection of the dead [plate 19].
Dr. Reichstein: He already has the golden garment.
Dr. Jung: That the mummy is covered with gold indicates the very precious royal character of the mummy; royal mummies were often contained in golden sarcophagi, as the discovery of Tutankhamen has shown.
She is now looking at the coffin and she says: Slowly it opened and I heard a voice saying: “Unwrap the linen winding sheet.”
This I did, and there appeared a strange creature, half animal, half man.
This is a man, mind you, not a woman, like the sphinx.
“Who are you?” I asked. It answered: “I am he who dwells beneath the sphinx itself. Though you wind me with linen you cannot kill me for I am within you where I grow.”
Now that is obviously a principle which she tried to keep under restraint.
She herself gave the service to the corpse, winding it with those longlinen bandages with which the mummy is dressed.
That is, she is in the role of Mother Isis who brought death to the sun god, and who is now giving him a decent burial and preparing him for a new life.
This binding with bandages has something to do with the binding or dressing of a little child.
Also the mummy case is a sort of maternal form.
Therefore one sometimes finds representations of the Great Mother inside of the sarcophagus; at the bottom of the lower part of the wooden sarcophagus, a woman is painted with outstretched arms holding the sun.
So the dead man is really lying in the mother.
The Etruscans had a similar rite where the ashes of the dead were poured into an amphora and put
inside the clay statue of the mother.
And the Christians in medieval times put their dead inside the church as the mother, the baptismal font being the womb.
They were placed inside the church, in holy ground, in order to give them a chance of resurrection into eternal life.
So here that strange being, half human, half animal, that Osiris man, is buried in the mother and prepared for the final resurrection.
And this is the moment of resurrection.
Of course, nobody would expect that mummy to be half animal and half man.
One might think that she had read of it perhaps in Egyptian mythology, but it is quite genuine because one cannot find such a thing in Egyptian mythology.
That Osiris was half animal, half human is an entirely new idea.
This is a representation of the spirit, as it appears to a woman in its genuine living form: she sees it
as half animal and half man. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 505-519