29 November 1933 Visions Seminar LECTURE VIII
Last time we devoted a great deal of our time to the discussion of ghost stories, and we still seem to be somehow entangled with magic, as I see from three questions on my desk.
So things are getting pretty dark and I should like first to establish a firm basis for our discussion.
You remember the point de depart for all that ghostly stuff was the unfortunate furry man who suddenly appeared upon his horse.
He is of course an animus figure but of a particular kind which reminded us of old Pan,
that heathen god who was half animal, a nature spirit.
The Romans called those wood people sylvani, which leads right over into the Middle
Ages, when that particular species of demon were called incubi and were understood to come from the woods and to appear at night.
The incubi would be the masculine demons, and the succubi were the corresponding
The succubi were a particular pest to pious men, they were female imps who tempted saints and monks.
And the incubi were the ghostly lovers of certain women of an equally respectable and saintly character.
They were both, as I said, derivatives of the sylvani, those elementals that live in woods.
Now that piece of old demonology comes up here, and it is quite indubitable that this sylvan us that appears to our patient is a compensation for her entering New York, a most sophisticated place, exceedingly rational and matter-of-fact; there is nothing particularly magical about it and she would cut a queer figure in New York society if she should begin to talk about her incubus or her old Pan.
I don’t think she would find much sympathy, so it is the more peculiar that such a figure should turn up.
It simply shows the denaturalizing effect of the mere promise of New York; she becomes an entirely artificial being.
For to live in a big town one must have an artificial persona, a mask that fits the occasion; the natural being has no place there.
So the nature driven out of her consciousness constitutes a being like Pan in her unconscious.
The more one is denaturalized in the conscious, the more real such an unconscious figure becomes.
Therefore great cities are breeding places for magic and superstition of all sorts; modern superstition in all its forms starts in big cities.
In the country there is still the old rural kind of black magic, more or less harmless superstitions, but in towns the worst kinds spring up, all sorts of perverted notions.
In the Middle Ages the Black Mass did not grow up out of the ground, it was not started by the ordinary people but by highly sophisticated people-it was the prerogative of the so-called educated class.
The kind of magic which starts in great cities is a compensation for the utterly unnatural life people are forced to lead.
Now that is the situation, and you saw how we got into this discussion as soon as we touched upon the problem of those old superstitions; what we call superstitions then came up as psychological problems.
This theme is continuing. Here we have a question by Mrs. Bailward: “If we are forced to lose our magical powers through the destruction of participation mystique, have the Chinese rediscovered these powers on a higher level, as illustrated in the story of the rainmaker?”
I wouldn’t say that they had rediscovered them-they still have them, as they still are very much in participation mystique with their surroundings.
The rain-maker story shows the true autochthonous kind of magic: it is highly refined but it has grown up from the ground.
There is nothing like the Black Mass or any other perverted form of city magic in the
story of the rain maker, it is the purest kind if it is magic at all.
But that story could also be told as a sort of joke: one could say that he waited as long as there was no rain, wisely enough, and when the rain fell he came out, so he had a perfectly clean sheet; it was the wisest thing he could do and there was nothing to be said against him.
If he had shown himself before, they would have asked: “What about the rain? Are you making rain?”
And he would have been perfectly ridiculous.
To stay at home and wait until the rain came was entirely rational-as he himself said, he did not make the rain.
Yet it sounds funny that he should retire, and that he was so sure that he was wrong when he got into the country that was wrong, and should therefore do something to himself; there one suspects him of working magic.
But one could also defend the point of view that it was not magic at all, he only felt that he needed cleansing-as when you find yourself at a wrong gathering you take a bath afterwards in order to get rid of that influence.
And you had a certain influence on the gathering in that you had a different kind of mind, people were upset and didn’t feel so well in their unnatural ways, so you can say that you also worked magic.
Then people will naturally suspect you of having magical pretensions and they will ask how you have done it, and then you are in for trouble; so for that kind of thing you had better wait for the privacy and stillness of your own house, and if anything happens, well, you have simply waited until it happened.
I don’t know whether the snake thinks it is working magic when it stares at a bird until it flutters down to him, whether the snake wishes that it would come down and finally the bird gives in and falls because in the end it becomes convinced that it is the right time to be eaten.
You get those ideas if someone stares at you long enough. You think: “I had better give in, it seems to be my task, my duty even.”
Then when something goes wrong, you think you were bewitched, you were forced by
God-knows-what kind of spell.
But it is perfectly rational that if you look long and hard at a thing when you want it, it finally might be that the mountain comes to the prophet, and you cannot be said to have worked magic.
I once heard a frog screaming in terrible anguish, and found him in the mouth of a snake; it had him by the legs and was just about to swallow him.
I was sympathetic and interfered with nature, I freed the frog from the snake and threw it into the water to rescue itself.
And then that fool returned again to the exact place where the snake was lying in
wait because it was absolutely convinced that it was the right time to be swallowed.
So I thought I would never again interfere with the play of nature.
You know it really happens, it is no invention that a bird does come down from his branch tremblingly, flutteringly to the snake on the ground; it is simply convinced that it is the thing that has now to be done, and it would upset the order of nature to hinder it.
It seems horrible but one doesn’t know, perhaps he does it with great idealism.
It is like interfering with a man who is sacrificing himself for the welfare of humanity.
You think you know better; because you don’t want to be swallowed by the snake you think the bird doesn’t either, but that is a mistake; if the snake should invite you to walk into its mouth you would perhaps think quite differently.
We admire and praise the heron, but he enters the mouth of the snake-or the dragon-just because it has stared long enough at him, and he finally thinks that is his supreme
You see that is simple autochthonous magic.
When things work out in the rational way, you can call it most rational, or you can call it magic.
As for instance you are not aware of anything magic when you speak of the cause of a thing; you say a certain situation is the cause of another situation, and it never occurs to you that that is in any way a magic effect.
But it is, because you can never prove the causality.
You can establish a certain regularity in the sequence of events, but it is impossible to prove that the cause brings about the event; it is only a sequence of facts, and you cannot say that one fact makes the other.
What we call causality is what we project into things.
So that magic idea is perfectly rational and reasonable, only it has a funny aspect at times.
Chinamen have not rediscovered the occult powers, they are a city invention; they simply think and live along the original instinctive ways, they behave as nature behaves.
Their highest ambition is to be in Tao, which means living according to the law or the way in which things naturally happen.
The rain maker thinks, quite naturally, when he comes to a place where there has been no rain, that it is surely wrong, and being in such a place, he is wrong too.
That is only reasonable, and then he does what one should do to oneself when one feels wrong: he tries to put himself right; that takes him three days-or five or six days-and when he is through the rain falls.
It is not that he made the rain fall, he simply waited until it fell.
That could be said, but the miraculous thing is the way he works truly along with nature.
In the practice of the I Ching, for instance, one is always astonished that the manipulation of the sticks, or the casting of the coins, produces such amazing results-that the hexagram coincides exactly with your situation.
There is no miracle about it, it is most natural that things are what they are in this moment, that is a self-evident truth.
It is no miracle that you are sitting in such and such a chair, or that I am speaking of just
these things, because this is the moment in which these things happen, and they must be what they are now.
The I Ching is only marvellous in that the human mind could interpret it, formulate it; the I Ching oracle is just as miraculous, if you want to call it miraculous, as the feat of the rainmaker.
Here is another question about black magic by Dr. Barker: “Is there any relation between black magic and certain forms of preaching, teaching, criticizing, and gossiping where these are used as surrogates for action?
That is, an attempt to produce a result without the corresponding work, such as a feeling of accomplishment without the labor of accomplishing.
Do they not produce a disintegration similar to that which eventually involves the Black Magician?”
What one calls black magic would be the application of some occult process or power for a power purpose-for the purpose of influencing people, for instance.
If one practices yoga with the purpose of producing a certain result, no matter whether it works for good or evil, it is black magic, it is done with an evil purpose.
It is a power purpose when you want to produce an effect which is really beyond your scope.
If you try to give a better impression of yourself than what you really are which we are always doing-it is a power purpose; any means you may use to produce such an impression is black magic-you pull the wool over other people’s eyes.
If that is done it amounts to a deception.
Of course that does not mean that you should reduce all your means of being pleasant and agreeable; a certain amount of black magic is legitimate, it belongs to our life and really serves the amenities of life, so it is permissible and even necessary.
Otherwise we would not be very nice and we would lose a lot of values.
But if it assumes large proportions it amounts to cheating.
Using means to produce an effect which goes beyond actual reality always contains a little black magic because you reach results which you would not attain by a sober statement of facts.
For instance, in starting a business, if you soberly establish the actual situation, making a statement that is neither enthusiastic nor in any way promising because it merely states the facts, that will hardly win over your partner in the game; you naturally must always be a little optimistic, you promise, or at least hint at favorable possibilities, and that is in a way black magic.
If it assumes greater proportions and you still succeed, you would be called a swindler.
A swindler who cheats people and gets money out of them is a sort of juggler, a black magician.
Such attempts naturally lead to the disintegration of society and the disintegration of
morals in general, and if they were successful as a rule, they surely would be applied very often.
In any inferior society such methods are applied, with the corresponding result, a certain disintegration.
Now we will go on to the questions asked by Mrs. Baumann: “There has been a good deal of discussion about participation mystique and the statement that a conscious person cannot use it to influence others, or if he tried he would go wrong in it. Would it not be right to say that a conscious person who makes a public speech allows the participation mystique of the crowd to work through him? He is not in it completely, but still he influences them through their own participation. In other words aren’t there three stages? In the first, one is identical with others in participation mystique. In the second, one is more conscious, and therefore cut off from participation mystique.
In the third, one is so conscious that one can work through the participation mystique of others without getting identical with it. Wouldn’t the great leaders and teachers come under this heading?”
You see this is a very similar question. Sure enough, there are these three stages.
The first stage is where one is in more or less complete participation mystique with others; that is the best opportunity for working magic.
But it needs a man who is just a little out of it in order to be able to work it.
Therefore the medicine man is the most intelligent man of the tribe, he must know how to pull all the strings, he must have that surplus of consciousness in order to work magic without going under.
The ordinary man has no standpoint outside, but the medicine man must be a bit out of it.
We have a very good example of the medicine man’s psychology in Rasmussen’s account of his expedition to the Polar Eskimos who live on the northeastern shore of Greenland, the farthest north tribes in existence.
Rasmussen once heard a great din in an ice hut there, and peeping in at the door, saw a sick man, and the medicine man with him was making a tremendous noise to drive away the spirits of the disease.
As he put his head in, the medicine man looked up and smiled at him and said: “You see this is all humbug.”
Rasmussen was half Eskimo-his mother was an Eskimo-so he knew that this was the formal greeting between medicine men.
You see, that medicine man understood that Rasmussen himself must be one too because nobody else would have dared to peep in at such a ceremony, the superstition being that if one did, one would fall ill, or be killed on the spot, or be possessed by evil
Therefore the medicine man just grinned at him saying, “This is all nonsense,” and Rasmussen politely grinned back.
The idea seems to be that the medicine man knows he is a gas bag and that the whole thing is bunk, so he just mentioned it to the man Rasmussen in a very superior way to show that they were on an equal footing.
But in reality that is only a form; the medicine man is just as afraid of magic and of spirits as any ordinary man of the tribe, and the greeting is a sort of apotropaic gesture
used within the profession, to make each member of the profession believe that he is superior to those forces and so can deal with them.
Mr. Baumann: It would be like the Augurs in ancient Rome who read portents and made prophecies from the entrails of the sacrificed animals. When they met each other in the street, they smiled as if with a secret understanding.
Dr. Jung: On that higher level it would be cynicism, but on a lower level it would be an apotropaic gesture against the forces with which they were dealing. You know the making of a medicine man is a very painful process, particularly among the Eskimos.
They hang him up by the feet in a leather sack for twenty-four hours, they do all sorts of things to drive him mad in order to force a hole for the unconscious to enter.
Medicine men are really deadly afraid of the unconscious, those unknown psychical
powers, but in order to give themselves a certain professional feeling about it as if they were able to control those forces, they assume that the whole thing is nothing but bunk, quite easily dealt with.
Yet at the bottom of their hearts they are most hellishly afraid of the whole procedure.
This is merely one way by which the medicine man, by a sort of tour de force, screws himself up above the dangers of his profession.
One sees something very similar frequently in analysis, in the way certain analysts deal with the problem of the transference in Freudian literature, for instance. “Then comes the stage where the transference will be dissolved”-as if it would be.
Whoever has faced this problem knows that is all bunk, it is simply the smile of the medicine man.
We are all quite above that problem: “It is a perfectly simple thing, we just dissolve it, we know the twist, it is only a sort of tour de passe-passe. ”
But that is all simply getting up courage before the other medicine man and oneself.
You see he believes secretly that I can do it, and I believe secretly that he can do it.
It is like the primitives who know that their own medicine man is very ordinary and can do little, so when anyone is seriously ill, they naturally call in the medicine man of the tribe beyond the mountain.
I know of a case where a white man who was inquiring about magic rituals was actually informed by the tribe that they were not good at magic, it was too difficult for them, but on that island over there they knew all about it.
So he went there and those people said the same thing, that the people on the first island were good at it.
And this happens in these most advanced minds of modern psychology, it is still the same old trick; nobody dares to admit how little he can do, and therefore he must say
that he can do quite a lot, that he can even dissolve a transference in order to raise his consciousness above the problem.
But his consciousness is by no means above it, it is in participation mystique, inasmuch as it is not in the least clear to him how it can be dissolved.
He knows very well that the thing cannot be done in the way he thinks it should be done; he simply makes a sort of doctrine about it that will lift his consciousness
just one point above, fortifying it and fastening it there by a certain superior air, in order to defend himself against the difficulties and the dangers of the real problem.
In the second stage where there is more consciousness and therefore less participation mystique, it becomes impossible to work magic because one is no longer in contact with those powers.
That is the case with us, or with any other advanced civilization where people have discovered efficient ways of dealing with the problems of life-with the economic problems, or with disease, war, etc.
hey then develop a sort of quiet certainty of consciousness; they live in an established civilization, where everyone is fairly prosperous and there are no extraordinary situations to deal with, so they allow themselves to be quite rational; and in the course of centuries, through following a certain routine, they really become so.
We discovered that it paid to be rational, so we got into a sort of positivistic and optimistic attitude which was characteristic of the nineteenth century.
Everything was all right, things were generally in a progressive condition, and as we progress naturally from the good to the better, so in the future things would become still better; we should uproot evil in every form, and even improve the criminal.
We aimed at a more or less perfect condition, it only needed time.
This is the unnatural rationalistic attitude which always develops in times when things seem to run smoothly.
But the moment the unconscious was shaken up so that problems came up which we could not deal with, as in the World War, we became uncertain of our ways, we were no longer so optimistic and we did not believe to the same extent in the powers of good.
And the subsequent events have shown us that there are even much greater powers which do not work for the good-the incredible fact of Soviet Russia, for instance; the incredible fact of the National Socialists in Germany; and the incredible fact that, with all nations wanting disarmament, they still could not make up their minds to disarm.
Nothing was done.
Then there is the utterly miraculous fact that people have learned nothing from the war.
They said, “No more war, we shall do something else, we want to be human,” and now look at the damned thing!
We have now had such a series of miraculous experiences that our consciousness is quite different from what it used to be in the nineteenth century.
We begin-of course very slowly-to open our eyes to the fact that there really are powers of evil and that things do not necessarily progress to a better condition-they may regress to hell, and certainly will if we let them go.
So we have attained a higher consciousness, we have scored one point; we are no longer so certain in our convictions, we now allow the deep shadow of humanity to exist, and that means a certain progress; we have at least got our heads above the mist.
That suggests that we should not only manipulate the powers of good as we said before, but we might also manipulate the powers of evil by a superior consciousness, and hereby work some magic.
I do not believe in magic made by man, magic as made in Germany or in Great Britain or in America; it does not work.
But I firmly believe in the natural magic of facts.
I believe in the rain maker of Kiao Tchou-that one should do the right thing to oneself and by oneself, and wait until the rain falls.
Perhaps when that process of doing the right thing in an individual case has been repeated often enough and by as many people as possible, the rain will actually fall, a
result will be reached which could not be reached in any other way.
Then another miracle might happen, disarmament might become possible.
But such a thing will never come to pass as long as one tries to work black magic, to pull the wool over one’s eyes.
Then you cannot help believing that somebody else is doing it to you, for you could never be so foolish as to think that you are the only intelligent gambler in the world;
there will be another one on the other side and he will be afraid too.
So when England or France play a game at Geneva, they know very well that other fellows are playing the same kind of game, so nobody trusts anybody and naturally they have to keep up their cannons and ammunitions and poison gases, in case it should become clear that the other ones want what they themselves are after.
The mere thought that one could raise oneself above humanity and pull strings is a black-magic thought which I would utterly discourage.
Put yourself below humanity, and see whether you are just as wrong as mankind in general; do the right thing by yourself and then something can happen, then the rain can fall.
That would be the right procedure according to my conviction.
We will now go on with the vision.
Our patient says: He caught me up ( the furry man on the horse) crying: “Why walk? I
will show you the way.” I tore myself free and seizing the bridle of the horse I gave it a gigantic wrench. The horse and rider fell to the ground. The man freed himself from the horse. As he approached me he turned into a little black dwarf.
A transformation has taken place through her intervention.
It is clear that the demon tried to run away with her.
This would correspond to a certain attitude; that is, meeting that demon would have a certain effect upon her mental attitude if she should give in to his intention.
What would that effect be? What would happen entering New York harbor in her situation?
Mr. Baumann: She would be possessed by collectivity, she would lose her own direction. She is no longer directing the horse.
Dr. Jung: Yes, she would be simply carried away like a bundle by thedemon, she would be possessed.
But how does that show?
Dr.: Reichstein: It would be a kind of falling back into an earlier stage when she was in the power of this collectivity.
Miss Hannah: Wouldn’t she be possessed by the animus and see everything just wrong?
Mrs. Sigg: She would go from the unnatural to the much too natural.
Mrs. Fierz: I had the same idea. She must make connections, but she would try to make them from a much too primitive basis, fall in love and have a sexual relation perhaps.
Dr.: Jung: There are great differences of opinion as to what would happen if one were possessed by that incubus.
Miss Howells: I think she might become quite hostile to the people, because she is at one with the furry-animal animus, a much more primitive animus than is known to them.
They are living on a plane of more collective adaptation than this animus would allow her; therefore she would be doing things quite contrary to the expectations of the crowd, and would be hostile because she would be different.
Dr. Jung: Well, if anybody is in the position of being con trolled by such an imp or incubus, one simply cannot foretell what is going to happen; he may arouse the worst scandal, or he may join up with the Methodist church, or the Salvation Army, or the Oxford Group, whatever suits the imp.
Women who are possessed by such an imp are unaccountable, they may do anything, and it will always be done in the way of a possession.
So it is quite impossible to deduce from such a fact what this woman will do next.
To know what the probable outcome will be, we should know more about the intention of her nature devil, that elemental force that is controlling her; we cannot know what the ultimate tendency may be since we are not of the same nature, we are human.
Also we are not informed about her condition. But two things might happen.
She might be completely unconscious, simply follow the next intimation and slip down into some unconscious situation; or she might compensate that thing by a panic fear
and cling to something very obvious like the Salvation Army or any substitute for that, in order to be protected against the possible onslaught of this nature devil.
Of course in both cases she would be possessed, but in the one she would be unconsciously identical with it, and in the other case there would be a vestige of consciousness left, just enough to fight desperately against the possession.
She would then simply replace one possession by another; instead of a nature demon, an institution or a creed or an “ism” would take possession of her.
So one often sees that the people who are in leading positions in such movements are possessed by an imp or an incubus of a very inferior kind; they prefer an “ism” or an idea, and make a panacea of it for protection; and if it is taken away from them they slip
without any resistance into that elemental being.
Our patient obviously feels the danger of the situation and by a tour de force she forces the furry man off the horse; that is, she de-possesses her horse, so she herself has a chance to control the horse again, her own libido.
Then immediately the demon changes his form, he is now a little black dwarf. What does that mean?
Mr. Baumann: It is much less dangerous and more useful; a dwarf usually does some rather inferior but useful kind of work.
Dr. Jung: They are indifferent, one could say; they work both in favor of man and against him, they are imps but of a less demoniacal nature; one would not apply the word demon to a dwarf.
A dwarf is a subordinate power, symbolizing also a subordinate fact in human psychology, while a demon is supposed to be almost paramount to man.
A demon fills one with panic, while a dwarf is only an autonomous complex in
one’s unconscious, which can be held in check.
Now because she has shown some pep in the situation, because she has interfered and has not simply accepted the fact of a demon controlling her libido, she reduces him to the size of a dwarf.
So this transformation of the powerful form of the animus into a subordinate form brings the hope that this power will not necessarily control her or work against her interests; it is much more manageable, it might even work for her interests.
But then he said to her: “You have pulled me from my horse but I will torment you though I am dwarfed. I will tear at your garments.”
So the dwarf is very resentful, he doesn’t like being depotentiated, and in a rather weak way intends to have his revenge.
What does that mean? It is a sort of metaphor.
Mr. Baumann: He is tearing at her persona.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the attitude by which she tries to adapt to her collective conditions, and he will prevent that. How will it show? Can you give me any examples where a dwarf disturbs the garments of a lady?
Dr. Reichstein: She wants to have an attitude of responsibility but the dwarf will turn it into something quite different.
Dr. Jung: Yes, when she wants to show dignity, something happens that upsets that attitude completely.
But I want to hear of a specific case, no generalities.
Mrs. Zinno: If she played strip poker!
Dr. Jung: I never played poker, but I know it is a game that is chiefly based on bluff.
One must have a poker face, which means a face which does not betray what cards you are holding.
An imp would surely disturb an attitude which depended upon the control of one’s face, he would betray one.
Mrs. Zinno: It is worse than that, you have to take off a garment with every hand that you lose. You bet your clothes instead of money and therefore it is called strip poker.
Dr. Jung: That might be more disturbing to other people than to oneself!
But what is one of the ordinary ways in which the dwarf manifests tself?
Mrs. Fierz: Mistakes in speech.
Dr. Jung: Of course. If you want to express your sympathy to a bereaved family, you say, I congratulate you-such things.
The devil puts the wrong words into your mouth and you create an awfully disturbing situation.
Or you may give the wrong medicine to a sick man.
You have friendly intentions, but if such a demon is about, he will surely insinuate the wrong thing. In friendship and love relations he plays a tremendous role.
You probably remember many examples from your own experience, doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, having the wrong feelings.
Or he may act as the enfant terrible, that is well-known impish symptomatology.
People become quite desperate over it, they say: “What is the matter with me?
Everything is spoiled because I am always doing or saying the wrong thing.”
There is a little southern German folk song about a girl who, whatever she does, wherever she goes, has always that little hunchback behind her.
Well, our patient has now only succeeded in reducing the demon to a malevolent dwarf that threatens to destroy or at least to upset her persona.
The presence of such a dwarf shows also in a very embarrassing disarrangement of one’s clothes that makes one appear ridiculous.
But she again puts him right by force.
She says: “Stand up and assume your proper shape. You have the stature of a man. Your horse is down.
You will walk now and you will show me the way down into your country. I have been long away.”
You see the dwarf is almost invisible, a ghostly presence that is not under her control.
But if the animus should assume a human form, the stature of a man, that would be something visible and human with whom she could establish a certain communication or relationship.
“Your horse is down” means that he no longer has her libido, but he has his own libido
and his own dignity, and can walk as she walks.
He must be on equal terms with her and show her the way down into his country.
It is plain that being an ordinary man means being an ordinary mind, her own mind which she can control and which is coordinating with her.
If her mind should have unbridled power, it would be due to the fact that her libido had migrated into the animus; she would have made an animus out of her mind. Her mind is a function in herself, but when there is too much libido it becomes an animus-it is inflated and gets autonomous and so has her in its power.
But she is now on an equal level with her own
mind, it can function; she is trying to use her own mind as her guide.
And what is the country of that normal mind?
Mrs. Fierz: Reality.
Dr. Jung: Reality as it is, the reality from which she has been long away.
That has nothing to do with the unconscious.
If there were an animus his country would be the collective unconscious, for the animus is normally a function; one could call it the semiconscious fringe of her mind by which she perceives the collective unconscious.
Mrs. Baumann: You mean this figure is no longer an animus?
Dr: Jung: It is now more her own mind. It is also possible that this part of her mind is projected into a real man.
Dr: Adler: It becomes then what you call the transcendent function?
Dr: Jung: Yes, the animus would carry the transcendent function, it would be a sort of psychopompos, because the animus and the mind of a woman are those functions in which the data of the unconscious and of the conscious can be united.
Therefore the Logos element would carry the transcendent function in a woman, as the Eros would function in a man; his Eros, his personal relatedness, together with the anima, carry the symbol which unites the data of the unconscious and the conscious,
and thus makes the transcendent function possible.
The situation, then, is this: she has made up her mind to tackle the problem of America, she wants to play the game and be reasonable about it and avoid all sorts of possessions, she has the best of intentions not to be animus-ridden.
The next series of visions is called “The Rising of the Serpent,” and it is a continuation of the same scene.
She says: The creature became a man. He no longer had the black hair of an animal. After I had spoken I saw appear upon his breast and arms a jagged bloody wound in the shape of a cross. Tears streamed down his cheeks. He bowed his head and walked ahead of me to lead me down the black and rocky path. The man went on ahead of me.
What does that wound in the form of a cross mean?
Miss Howells: It means that she has undertaken the completeness of psychic growth. The cross with its four arms would imply the four functions, and now she has enlisted the human animus, her own mind, in the work of making herself a complete human being. And he naturally weeps because this is an extremely difficult undertaking, and the pain is registered in this mind which is her less conscious part.
Dr.: Jung: That is quite right. This passage confirms what we were saying, the mind and the animus together carry the symbol.
The symbol here is the cross, and it is marked on his breast: her mind is marked by the symbol.
This is a painful condition apparently, for carrying the symbol is a sort of transitus.
The concept of the transitus is part of the mystery rituals, it means the carrying of the symbol or the carrying of the god.
Christ carries the symbol in carrying the cross in the Passion.
And Attis carrying the pine tree is also the transitus.
Attis was a god of Asia Minor, a dying and resurrecting god, like Christ; in a peculiar rite he was represented by a pine tree to which his image was fastened, and the tree was
cut down and carried into a cave; this was evidently a mother cult.
It is like the descent of Christ from the cross; the tomb and the resurrection are the same idea as carrying the body into a cave for rebirth.
The renewal of Attis was supposed to take place in the cave, or in the mother.
There is a similar transitus in the cult of Mithra: the bull is the typical animal that is killed by the hero, who is then represented as carrying the heavy weight of the bull that also is the transitus.
Transitus means the passing over or the change from one condition to another by carrying out a difficult task.
It is therefore comparable to the heroic deeds of Hercules, who had to accomplish twelve iithla.
An iithlon is the trial or work of the hero, and is often compared to the ritual acts
which the mystei had to perform in order to attain to a higher degree of initiation.
In primitive rites these trials were exceedingly painful, the trial of water, of cold, of fire, of starvation, and so on; we have particularly interesting references concerning them from the American and Mexican Indians; there is an old Mexican Indian document, the Popol Vuh, which represents such a way of initiation; it is a sort of textbook of their mystery teaching, which was derived from the classical Maya Quiche culture.
The carrying of the symbol, then, is always a painful transitus from one condition to another, and obviously this going down into the world has here the value of a ritual act.
Mind you, I don’t say that the return of this woman into the real world, her own reality, was a ritual act-far from it.
But I say it should be so; such a going down into reality should be understood in that light, astonishingly enough.
It is usually supposed to be quite simple-nobody would think of making a ritual act of it-but according to the unconscious reflection it would be right if it were.
Then the vision, in the moment when she is about to enter her reality, again says this is a transitus.
So she should apply a ritual as mankind has always done when dealing with a difficult thing.
When you are not sure that the gods are favorable to your enterprise, you perform the sacrificial ritual, or an invocation or any other act of propitiation, because you don’t
know how things will work out, and you try to make sure when dealing with powers which you cannot control.
In all ordinary cases, when you think you control things-possess them or do them easily-you would not dream of such a thing; even the old Romans did not.
You would not perform a religious ceremony before shaving, for instance, or before
going to your office; only exceptional people are as pious as that.
But if you have to pass a state examination, or are to have a particularly difficult and disagreeable conversation with someone, or have to deal with any uncontrollable power, you certainly say a prayer before you enter the house, a prayer or any equivalent of it.
Dr. Escher: When you go to declare your taxes, for instance.
Dr. Jung: Yes, because you don’t know what you will look like when you
come out, like a hen without feathers perhaps.
Or instead of a prayer you may develop certain compulsions, or certain superstitions.
To make sure that things are all right in an important situation, you are very careful not to put on the left shoe first, or you are scrupulous about your clothing in order not to offend you do not know whom, like children on Christmas Day in order to make sure of getting their presents in the evening. Now those things are quite involuntary.
In cases of compulsion neurosis, you see that they handle people and things with an absolutely immoral recklessness, and therefore they develop compulsions and are
dependent upon ritual to a ridiculous extent.
Our patient’s transition into reality looks to her conscious like a matter-of-course and very simple event; it consists of saying, how do you do, haven’t seen you for a long time, isn’t it fine weather today.
But if she takes it as simply as that, she will be the victim of it in no time, she will
become quite unconscious and will be swallowed by collectivity.
Then the whole thing has to be done over again; all that she has accomplished will have been in vain, it will be sucked under and she must begin once more at the point where she left America.
Therefore she must retain consciousness of what she has learned in the meantime-or had a chance to learn-in order to be up to this great monster of collectivity, and then she will understand that going down is exactly like going down into the collective unconscious.
For it is the collective unconscious; whether it is outside or inside is the same.
In each case you need a ritual, a certain attitude.
So she should feel the pain of that mark, the cross she is carrying in her mind, and if she forgets about it, she will have lost her values, she will have lost the symbol.
Then her life will be merely an arbitrary choice on the one side, and on the other side perfectly incidental, mere chance.
But with the symbol she unites the conscious and the unconscious so that her life is significant, she feels it to be just the thing she should live, which is far more satisfactory than when it is au fond completely meaningless.
She ought to carry the symbol, but it means all the labor and the pain of the transitus, since it is exceedingly difficult to hold such a conscious condition against the remendous
weight of the power of collectivity.
So her readaptation to human society, or to her own reality, ought to be done in a ritualistic way, with a specific attitude, as you must take the communion, for instance, in a certain spirit, a certain attitude, knowing what you do.
That is a compensation for a sort of casual attitude, as if she were seeing the whole thing in a flippant mood; whereas she should be very serious about it, as if it were the communion.
You see that would guarantee a higher state of consciousness.
If you have to do something which means nothing, you have very little consciousness of it.
But in the ritual act you are supposed to be fully conscious of what you are doing, more conscious than of anything else.
For instance, you can eat a piece of bread and drink a little wine with a very low level of consciousness, almost in a dream; but you cannot take the communion in a dream, you
must be conscious; otherwise it has a very bad effect.
Think this over for the next time, it is very important symbolism. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1197-1212
3 Popol Vuh, book of advice, or collection of the council, tr. D. Goetz and S. C. Morley
(1950), a document written in the Quiche language but in Latin script shortly after the
Spanish invaded Mexico in 1519. It is the chief source of information on ancient Mayan
religion and mythology. See also Maud Oakes, The Two Crosses of Todos Santos (B.S. XXVII, 1951).