Psychology of Yoga and Meditation
12 MAY 1939 Lecture 3 Psychology and Yoga Meditation
We have considered the psychological explanation of the series of symbols, and we paused at the quaternity, this being the synthesis of the four into the quinta essentia which is contained in this magic circle, the mandala.
(5) The circle signifies the encompassing of the individual who, through insight, has found himself to some degree and who has established his perimeter, his wholeness.
This perimeter was also used at all times, when a city was founded, for example.
Such a circle was marked out with a plough, enclosing the boundary of the city’s area and magically demarcating it from the surrounding area.
The practice of beating the bounds that one can still encounter today stems from these ancient customs. Circum ambulatio, i.e., the encircling of an area to be defined.
The concept of encircling always contains the idea of walking round and round.
It is still to be seen today in India where certain god images are really circumambulated.
This can also be found here in our country, e.g., at the ringing of the “Sechseläuten.”
These encircling rites in Buddhism are always executed in a clockwise direction, i.e., the yogi has his left side facing outwards, the right side circumambulating the god.
The divinity being encircled must always be on the right.
The talks of the Buddha repeatedly show this phrase: he greeted him and encircled him towards the right in order to show his veneration.
This division of a circle is not only found in Tibetan symbolism but also in alchemical philosophy where the work is first described as [a] rota (wheel), as a circulating operation or circulating distillation.
Somehow a circle had to be produced in order that, through this, the gold, the primal image of the sun, would be formed.
The idea is that the sun had to circulate the earth over many millions of years and through this the gold was spun in the center of the earth.
This is psychological; it means concentration upon the center, the circular movement actually means the center.
In this center the four are combined.
This corresponds psychologically to a situation where the boundary of the individual has been established through self-knowledge.
One has realized: “I am like this and like that. I am not only a light but also a dark person, with positive and negative qualities.”
This is all combined.
Within hermetic philosophy, the idea of colors belongs to this synthesis of the quaternity.
Cauda pavonis, i.e., the peacock tail, as one calls the stadium. Here unfolds the fullness of colors. These are feeling values.
Whenever colors are used they have a certain symbolic meaning related to feelings.
There are strong and light colors for specific feeling tones, for example, dark to create melancholic moods and such like.
The unfolding of the colors has the meaning that the wholeness of the personality has come together, which takes place through realization.
It is a fullness of feelings not only in a positive but also a negative way.
(6) This wholeness is first understood as a type of intuition about the wholeness of the personality.
We must not imagine anything familiar by this.
Only a small part of the human personality is known to us, and we do not know how far this unconscious expanse of the human personality reaches.
Certain very mysterious things that do not fit easily into a conscious world view.
The unconscious can contain an infinite amount that is not attributed to the human personality from the outset, but that nonetheless does belong to it.
The perimeter of the conscious personality can be determined naturally because we roughly know its scope.
The perimeter of the unconscious cannot be determined by us. We do not know its extent.
If we were to give a complete description of the whole personality we would be embarrassed.
We do not know where things become dark, where we cannot penetrate because of the unconscious.
We cannot ascertain a clearly delineated boundary anywhere.
The wholeness of the personality holds something very mysterious.
If people have an experience of this wholeness, it is usually the case that they experience this wholeness as something mysterious, if not mystical.
In fact this is why all experiences of wholeness known from all parts of the world and all times in history contain this remarkable element of a mystical experience.
That is a suitable word to describe this feeling.
Therefore experiences of wholeness always have a symbolic character.
We instinctively select symbolic expressions for what we cannot grasp with our conscious mind.
This experience of wholeness is a perception or an idea that cannot be sharply delineated, which has a further, portentous connection that one cannot express in any other way than through a symbol.
There is only one intuitive apprehension of totality.
This is the symbol in both the Tibetan and the alchemical series: the lotus, or the golden flower as it is called in Chinese.
This is a living symbolization of the quinta essentia.
A living unity, an unfolding of the cauda pavonis. Thus unfolds the lotus and the golden flower.
The gold is an absolutely precious substance, the highest value that one can imagine. The flower is something very beautiful.
The lotus has had a mystical meaning since time immemorial—the plant that arises from the mud and dirty water.
The blossom towers above the surface of the water and unfolds itself onto that surface.
For this reason it is always the seat of the gods. Buddha is always depicted enthroned upon the lotus.
The golden flower or the lotus also represents the circle with an emphasis on the mid-point in which God or the Buddha is seated, who is the symbol of the Self.
Other gods of the Indian pantheon also have their place in it.
Psychologically, the Self is not experienced as identical with the I, which has suffered a heavy defeat through this whole process.
One must concede that there has always been much one cannot always be proud of, that one is not the person one believes oneself to be, that one has a shadow one knew nothing of but about which others perhaps know a lot more.
And one is dejected. It is exactly the same with the reverse exaggeration.
There are people who, being overmodest, always start off putting the wrong foot forward, always living beneath their level.
This appears very modest. But beneath, a great list is hidden.
Within it there is some comfort because it is much more comfortable to be small and to appear insignificant.
One evades many difficulties in this way.
That is why such modesty deserves as much mistrust as megalomania.
Megalomania is also a dubious virtue, since it is absolutely not what it purports to be, in fact even more so over-compensating for certain feelings of inferiority.
The achievement accomplished through the process of self-knowledge—which is this insight into the other who is also me—is in fact an enrichment, although it feels rather unpleasant.
But it is increases the personality, a completion of wholeness.
This entirety that one describes as Self is due to the admixture of the unconscious with its strange contents, not to the I.
The Self is never experienced as the I, but, in the ancient texts as well as in personal experiences, the Self is encountered as being quite other than the I, as something superordinate, in which the I is contained.
We also encounter this idea in India exactly as I formulated it earlier.
But very often this idea is projected onto a divine form, such as Prajâpati, i.e., Hiranyâgarbha or the Buddha.
In the West we have Christ as the comparable form.
You will recall certain texts in the New Testament where these formulations crop up, places that define Christ as the comprehensive being in which we are all contained: “I am the vine and you are the branches.” aul says I live, yet not I, but Christ who lives in me.
I do not live, but what lives is the more expansive: Christ, he is the greater.
Of course when this Self is projected it takes place in a higher form, not an inferior one. This does in fact happen but imperceptibly.
But officially the figure that takes on the projection of the Self is a higher, divine figure.
Then, of course, that means a minus for man since the higher figure is a god; that leads to the medieval idea that all goodness is from God, all evil from man.
While this is an inequitable formulation, it becomes unavoidable if all goodness and perfection get projected onto a figure.
We also meet up with this in Buddhism, where the individual man must be very careful to eschew all malice.
But the great reward, the great virtue, perfection resides in the Buddha.
Nonetheless, as I said earlier, the Self is not always projected onto an exalted figure, for, as the Buddhist text we discussed in the winter has shown, meditation also contracts the Buddha into his personality.
Not that the yogi is transformed into the Buddha, but rather that he transforms the Buddha within himself.
This further step occurs not only occur in Tibetan Buddhism but already had done so in India.
This Self is greater than the I due only to its wholeness and expansive nature, with the consequence that it has often been symbolized, as gods always are, as that circle which alchemical philosophy proclaims as the “Circulus aeternitatis symbolum.”
The circle is a symbol of eternity, synonymous with the indivisible point in the center, the eternal, the indivisible, indestructible, evermore inviolable.
This idea of the qualitative infinite and eternal is always implied.
Saint Augustine defines it in the same way: “Deus est circulus cuius centrum est ubique, circumferentia vera nusquam.”
God is a circle whose central point is everywhere and whose periphery is nowhere.
This definition could just as well be applied to the Self and indeed often has been.
When we experience this intuition of the wholeness of the human personality as a part or a passage of this symbolic process, that is still not yet a reality.
This is why this symbolic process goes further, namely further symbols follow upon the lotus and the golden flower: moon, sun, etc.
We must of course ask what more can we demand than the wholeness of the human personality?
But we must not forget: an intuition is not yet a reality, but only the perception of a possibility.
I might well feel something specific when I observe the summit of the “Jungfrau” with a telescope.
Yet by no means has one climbed the mountain; that is a completely different matter.
So we are in that state that we have described: first we observe and gain an inkling of our wholeness.
The ancient philosophers also observed the same thing, hence this symbol is in the center of the entire symbol series and is by no means the peak experience.
(7) & (8) How can this intuition be brought into reality?
This led to the realization of a new separation (division) under the symbolism of moon and sun, and now it is a question of how the perception of the possibility of a wholeness can be carried over into reality.
For this purpose further levels were formulated according to experience, with one portrayed as moon and the other as sun.
In hermetic philosophy the symbol of the moon coincides with the albedo (whitening) and the sun with rubedo (reddening).
These colors are the classical alchemical colors. What does moon mean? What about sun? Firstly we know: moon is the silver, sun is the gold.
The two are to be united with each other. The moon is doubtless the feminine, the sun doubtless the masculine.
This is not my interpretation, this is the text: the sun is called vir rubidus (the red man), the moon is called femina alba (the white woman).
The feminine refers psychologically to the other, non-masculine side of the man.
There we must distinguish:
Personal Unconscious ♂ ♂ (Shadow)
♂ ♀ (Anima)
The shadow that one casts has one’s own gender.
Alongside this division, however, there is a further division. Here, one has a feminine figure in the unconscious.
This is to some degree one storey deeper.
It is the unknown dark qualities of which one unfortunately is not conscious that one describes as the shadow.
Everything that comes to the light has this shadow.
It is what one detects in another when one has a thorough debate with them, which speaks of one’s own character. In such a conversation, a feminine side need not necessarily make an appearance.
That shows up only with more vehement emotions.
Here a peculiar change of personality constellates, which one can hardly better describe than as a change of gender.
With women, a masculine animus appears, with men it is a feminine anima.
These two personality types reflect a contrasexual personality, namely a behavior like that of a man in a woman and the opposite in a
Now one sees that in the man something like this breaks through in the form of his aroused feelings, of his disposition.
“If a man wakes one morning with worries and feels heavy and depressed, then this is his hui soul, his feminine side,” as a Chinese text says.
He’s in a bad mood and doesn’t know why. For the woman it is reversed.
In this sense women don’t have any moods; they have thoughts.
Something in her has been thought, and then that becomes the source of her bad mood.
For example, the man said something or other six weeks ago. What did he mean? And out of this develops her bad mood.
If one asks the man: what sort of bad mood are you in today?
Then he says: I’m not in a bad mood. And if you press further, then he will become hysterical with outrageous logic.
And if then the woman also thinks logically, i.e., she gets into her animus, then there is the most marvelous thunderous weather that you can ever imagine.
Whipped up like two fighting cocks, these two people would preferably jump down each other’s throats.
You only have to put a man out of his stride so that he gets into a bad state, then you can bet that he will get into this feminine argumentative state.
And with a woman, you only have to make an ambiguous remark, ambiguous not in a malevolent sense, simply to say something that
allows for two interpretations.
Then philosophizing, arguing, and logicizing kick off.
Then comes a discussion in which the masculine in the woman comes to the fore.
One sees this in the course of the lifespan. With increasing age, men tend to become milder.
They show a certain feminine trait for mildness and goodness.
Some older ladies, on the other hand—present company excluded of course—develop facial hair, deeper voices and—one might
rightly assume but I have had no experience of this—also very forceful arguments.
In regular people one can frequently observe this.
If a man aged forty-five to fifty has had a few too many pints, his wife takes on the running of the everyday business, becomes the breadwinner, etc.
He only carries the bucket around, and pushes the broom. This is an age-old changeover.
The medieval philosophers said that every man carries his Eve hidden within him.
Now we encounter precisely this psychological peculiarity in this confrontation of sun and moon.
Alchemy says that the work should be undertaken in the shadow of the sun. That is the moon.
The work must be done out of the sun and the moon, which psychologically means that consciousness and unconscious are yet to be combined.
We were of the opinion that they were already combined, but that supposition is merely an intuition.
That is not effective, not yet brought together, since it is not reality. So at this point, the work is not yet complete.
If the masculine conscious is not yet combined with the feminine unconscious, a composition must be completed, the coniunctio.
It is an interesting fact that many medieval philosophers are very unclear about the nature of the coniunctio.
Many of them need it for the unification of sun and moon. Some use the expression in order to demonstrate the synthesis of the quaternity.
These thinkers too have experienced the composition of masculine and feminine in the course of their work.
Why is the act of synthesis not completed through perception alone?
It is as if the connection of the conscious with the unconscious personality is not yet complete.
One can say that the man and his shadow are already combined but not yet the man and his deeper unconscious.
The reason for this is that the unconscious is always projected.
Hence the feminine in the man is split off and projected onto a woman.
Through this process, we do not yet have any insight into the deeper things.
Because of it no man thinks that he has anything feminine within him, and the same is correspondingly true for the woman.
For it is the ambition of the man to be a whole man and for the woman to be a real woman.
But when you consider that only the majority of masculine genes anatomically differentiates the man, then where are the feminine genes?
They too are also in the masculine organism.
So both are present in both. Yet this is not recognized.
And since women are always available, he projects his anima onto the woman. That’s why he says to her: “What’s the matter? What’s the
matter with you?” “Yes it’s you!”
It is immediately carried over into the other. That’s the projection no one escapes.
And that’s why the combination of masculine and feminine is so difficult.
The man cannot meet the other part of himself because it is always projected into the object.
A man will admit all his faults to you after all: “Well, that’s just how I am.”
But that he is moody, feminine, mostly a bit hysterical—that he cannot admit, it’s always attributed to his wife.
In consequence, the combination of masculine and feminine is a particular difficulty.
For this to happen the feminine must first be released from the projection. Otherwise it cannot be combined.
A man cannot combine it by marrying his feminine.
There are such cases: he knows at first sight that she’s the right one, he marries her, and then it doesn’t work out because it was just his projections.
Goethe gave voice to this in his poem to Charlotte von Stein: “From an old existence we were sharing? You’re the wife, the sister I forgot?”
One has this primal kinship only with one’s own feminine, which the man projects into every active love story.
By virtue of this status every man accepts that his wife naturally shares his state.
There are people who have been married for thirty years but who have not yet seen each other as each really is, only ever through the lens of the anima or the animus.
So obstinate are these projections.
So if an inner combination is ever to happen at all, this projection must be withdrawn, i.e., one must know that everything that one has until now attributed to the object is in oneself and in a form that is very difficult to see. Only when this process is completed can a man possibly accept his feminine side.
This process absolutely cannot happen outside analytical psychology. You may seek it in vain in a handbook of logic or pedagogy.
There it is assumed that one knows everything about oneself.
But we really ought to know that a quite substantial part of our personality regularly
lives in unconscious projection.
This enormous task today is entrusted to the specialists. What I’m describing to you is not generally known.
So I would like to give you an understanding of this psychological insight. which the ancients already had in the Middle Ages, and in India, and also the Chinese.
But it was not known to us. For us it is only the specialists who possess this knowledge again.
(9) & (10) This crystallization of the feminine out of projections is described in alchemy as extractio. An extraction, a withdrawal is made.
The feminine is sort of reconstituted.
A woman is made: in alchemy the femina alba (white woman), the anima or soror mystica, in the Tantric text in the form of the yoni.
These extracts of both the masculine and of the feminine are put together, and out of this emerges a true wholeness. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Yoga Meditation, Page 198-207