27 January 1932 Visions Seminar, Lecture II
We spoke last time of the return to the Christian form, shown in the vision by the Gothic cathedral, the church triumphant, and we also mentioned the gargoyle.
What was the reason for this Gothic setting? Why should it appear just now?
Miss Hannah: It was because she had become entirely black, having taken on the antique point of view.
Dr. Jung: Exactly. The series of visions before had led us in to a pagan atmosphere, which was also a chthonic atmosphere.
Paganism is not necessarily chthonic, it may be spiritual, but it usually has a chthonic character when it occurs in such unconscious visions, because whatever antiquity produced of spiritual matter was assimilated by Christianity.
The spiritual contents of the cult of Attis, for instance, and of Mithra, and of the Great Mother, were taken over into Christianity.
The Great Mother became first Isis and then Mother Mary.
And Horus, and the old Asiatic priest-kings, and the Roman emperor, were all sons of God; those mystical kings were kings by the grace of God.
The Emperor William was the last to be king by the grace of God, his vanity made him believe that he was a mystical king.
The title of the Emperor of China was the Son of Heaven.
It was an exceedingly spiritual idea which was personified by the typical son-god, as Horus was the son of Osiris, and Christ was the son of the Father.
All those very spiritual ideas have been absorbed into Christianity, but the chthonic elements of paganism were excluded or suppressed, and therefore they are in the unconscious.
Nearly all unconscious products are saturated with chthonic qualities or allusions.
But in this new series of visions a change takes place: the blackness of the earth changes into the spiritual aspect, and this is necessarily Christian, and Gothic in particular, because the essence of real Christianity is the Catholic religion. It is medieval because the patient is a Protestant.
If she were a Catholic, she would have no need of a medieval setting, since Catholicism would then be an up-to-date religion to her.
But to the Protestant, Catholicism belongs to the religious level of about four hundred years ago.
Now we come again to the small grotesque animal like a gargoyle.
Such animals were used, as we said, in the Gothic style for decoration.
Gothic monuments are covered with these little demons or monsters, creeping up the spires, or hidden somewhere in the carving, and they are all indubitably of chthonic origin.
They derive directly from those funny animals of the Norman style, but at that time they were of a more dangerous quality.
They were either fighting with one another or fighting with man, and sometimes overcoming man, which shows that as late as the eleventh or twelfth century those psychological factors were still strong enough to cause a serious conflict or even to destroy man.
But when the Christian attitude became triumphant, in the time of the Gothic style, they could afford to represent them as comical ornaments on a building which was otherwise completely spiritual.
The Norman style is closer to nature, the stone prevails, the buildings are more like caverns-while in a Gothic building one is hardly aware of the nature of the stone because it is transformed into a living tree, it is alive, it is permeated by the spirit.
The chthonic element is only a sort of comical accessory, as expressed by the gargoyle, which is often represented as a little devil-like the famous horned devils of Notre Dame.
The priest who stepped up to the altar was attacked by that little gargoyle, which means that the chthonic factor was asserting itself, though it seemed to be completely overcome by the spiritual quality of the Gothic mentality.
It was not repressed, and it began to disturb the ceremonial; the creature kept clutching at the gold robes of the priest, who tried to get rid of this pagan factor, but was unable to.
Then when the priest was lifting the sacred chalice in the ritual, small animals and frogs jumped out of the chalice.
How would you interpret such an apparition?
Dr. Reichstein: It seems to be a very important moment here. It might be compared to the moment when the Kundalini snake leaps up and hisses.
Dr. Jung: Well, it is quite possible that the patient is alluding to something which she has read, as is often the case in such visions.
Moreover, it is probable that she has seen in my Psychology of the Unconscious the reproduction of a very famous picture of St. John, by Quentin Matsys.
St. John is often represented with a chalice, but this picture is unusual in that there is a little dragon with feet and wings in the chalice.
This refers to a legend that St. John was given a goblet of poisoned wine, but by making the sign of the cross he caused the poison to disappear.
Probably it is a so-called explanatory legend, as legends are often invented to explain something otherwise inexplicable.
It really does not explain this picture, for if there were a snake in the goblet, St. John would have seen it.
The snake must symbolize the poison, but when he takes away the power of the poison, the so-called virtue of the drug, why should a snake or a dragon rise from the goblet?
So the legend is merely a sort of analogy, because the snake and poison are more or less identical.
But what about the dragon? One would not symbolize poison by a dragon.
So it probably has very much more to do with antique symbolism, since in early Christianity many motifs were taken over from the antique way of thinking or antique illustration.
The very early Christian illustrations, the illuminated books, were modeled after Greek or Roman books and manuscripts, or taken from pictures in the temples.
Cumont mentions a famous case: in the early medieval representations of Elijah’s ascent to heaven, the design is practically the same as in the representations of the god Helios taking his daily flight over the sky.
One recognizes the curve of the leaping horses and the chariot, and the position of the god, and usually in the free space below the hoofs of the mounting sun-horses there is a reclining figure with the lines of conventionalized water, which is Oceanus, the god of the ocean-out of the ocean rises the chariot of the sun.
Now Elijah has nothing to do with the chariot of the sun, nor with Oceanus; therefore it must have been an imitation of those very famous Mithraic representations which were practically everywhere, since all the larger towns in the later Roman times had a Mithraeum.
So many legends of the old gods, or the old symbols of the gods, were directly taken over into Christianity.
A number of the saints either had qualities of the antique gods or were the antique gods.
There is a famous book by Usener, a German scholar, about St. Tycho, a most objectionable old saint, showing that he was really Priapus, the phallic god of fertility.
And there are still chapels in the South of France which are dedicated to a patron saint called St. Phalle-Saint Phallus.
So we are quite safe in assuming the possibility that the chalice in the vision is really an antique symbol which originally looked a bit different, perhaps-like this chalice and with the snake.
Do you recognize it?
Remark: It looks like the amphora in the Mithraic symbol.
Dr. Jung: No, the Mithraic amphora is more like this: the serpent is on one side and the lion on the other.
The serpent is often quite close to the amphora, trying to get in, but it never succeeds, the lion always prevents it, so the sacred vase remains in the center.
But that has an entirely different meaning; there the vase has a very central meaning, while here the serpent is probably putting a drop of poison into the goblet which contains the medicine.
The serpent was the sacred animal of Aesculapius, the god of the doctors, who had a famous clinic for all diseases at Epidaurus.
There a huge serpent was kept, and in the time of the great pestilence, when Diocletian was the Roman emperor, they brought that serpent-it was not a mythical serpent, it was a real snake-from Epidaurus to Rome as a sort of apotropaic charm.
Probably the chalice has to do with that serpent.
You see, the idea of the antique symbol is the bowl or the goblet which contains the medicine, but in order to make the medicine mana and powerful, to give it really healing virtue, it needs a drop of poison, it needs the addition of the serpent.
One could say that the serpent was the familiar daemon of Aesculapius who was a sort of god-hero; he was the mediator, a pagan Christ, a Messiah figure really, and he had, as all those old heroes had, the soul of a serpent.
In Northern mythology it was said that one could recognize the hero by the fact that he had snake’s eyes; the expression in the eyes of the hero was not human, it was snakelike.
This was not in any way derogatory, it simply denoted his divine character.
For snakelike means animal-like, and animal-like meant divine.
It was not human, therefore it was represented as divine, as the Holy Ghost was represented by a dove, or the Evangelists by their animal emblems, only one of which was human.
So the serpent is a soul demon, and the idea is that when the doctor prepares his medicine it is human work, and it is quite nice, perfectly all right, yet it has no virtue-until the doctor’s soul demon puts at least a drop of that poison into it; then it works, then there is magic power in it.
That is an extremely modern conception.
When the doctor’s medicine is nothing but routine which he draws from a book about pharmacology, sure enough there is no juice in it, it lacks the real kick; but when the soul demon is in it, it works.
Then there is a peculiar sort of participation mystique inasmuch as the serpent, as a soul, represents the lower strata of the human personality, the cold-blooded animal, the animal of the darkness, of the spinal cord, and of the solar plexus.
The solar plexus has been associated with the sympathetic nervous system since times immemorial.
It is the sym-pathein which means to suffer with; sym means with, and pathein means to suffer.
Now in a most contradictory way-for it is quite inside, it has no eyes, no ears, no sense organs and no brain, and is represented by the serpent, the cold-blooded animal-it is through the sympathetic nervous system that one feels most, because that psychical system is deep in the unconscious within, by which one is in participation mystique.
It is as if one were connected with everybody through this famous hypochondriacal region.
In books by old German physicians, like Justinus Kerner, or Passavant’s book about magnetism, the sympathetic system plays a very great part and particularly the hypochondriacal region.
That is the triangle just above the stomach, and behind that is the region of the plexus solaris.
So Kerner’s patient, Frau Hauffe, the famous seeress of Prevorst, used to emphasize this region; she used to put everything she wanted to read or to understand upon this place, as the most sensitive spot, in order to get into sympathetic contact with it.
Now applied to our symbolism, that would mean that the doctor’s medicine is only good or helpful if the serpent has put a drop of sympathy into it-of participation mystique-and you can understand the extraordinary wisdom in that.
Why St. John should be equipped with such a symbol I cannot tell you.
St. Luke is said to have been a doctor, so such an emblem might very well have applied to him; but one can only speculate as to why St. John figures in that symbolism.
The Christian interpretation is, of course, quite simple: the chalice contains the wine or the blood, it is the pharmakon athanasias, the medicine of immortality, and the wine is only good and strong if it is the blood of Christ.
But it only becomes the blood of Christ by the grace of God; that is, through the intercessus divinus in the sacrament, in the rite of transubstantiation.
So Christ would appear in the form of the serpent.
It is a Gnostic idea that Christ was the healing serpent.
His blood is the essence of his life and the healing poison for the world.
Only when Christ puts that magic drop of his essence into the chalice is the wine the blood, only then is it magic, the medicine of immortality.
I have told you in former seminars why Christ was supposed to be the serpent.
Curiously enough, there is no trouble in identifying the dragon or serpent with Christ, even within the Christian iconography; for what one usually sees in the chalice is the Host like the rising sun, and the Host is the body of Christ-it is Christ in the chalice.
So when one finds the dragon or the serpent there, one can be quite certain that it means Christ.
The Gnostic interpretation was taken over, more or less unconsciously, by the early church-at the time, for instance, when there was a very important movement of the Marcionites who were persecuted by the church as heretics.
But always the persecutor cannot help taking into his psychology a part of that which he has overcome.
So just as much was absorbed from the heresies in the church, or even more, than from antiquity.
Now where do those frogs and other little animals that leap from the chalice really come from, psychologically speaking?
What is the enchantment of the facts?
We must see where certain symbols start, for there is a sort of transformation which begins somewhere and ends somewhere; it is not merely a disconnected series of pictures, there is an inner causal connection.
Mr: Allemann: It comes from the chthonic element which was in her, and which then went into the gargoyle, and from there to the serpent.
Dr: Jung: Yes, the gargoyle is that serpent.
The gargoyle keeps clutching at the priest’s robes, he cannot get rid of it, and in the sacred ceremonial in comes the gargoyle too, it even creeps into the chalice and reappears transformed-though not much transformed because the frog and other small animals are very similar.
Then that very probable memory in the background of our patient’s mind of the picture in Psychology of the Unconscious shows clearly that the creatures which come out of the chalice are in this case very much like the gargoyle, though they are less grotesque and now consist presumably just of cold-blooded little animals.
The only thing she really saw clearly was a frog jumping out. That is very modern symbolism.
I cannot give you an antique parallel to this invention, yet it is apparently an exceedingly important idea.
Dr: Reichstein: In alchemistic pictures one sees the dragon that is afterwards transformed into a frog. It comes out of the mouth of the dragon.
Dr: Jung: That is true, in alchemy one finds a similar series of events.
And the frog also appears there in the form of a toad; they did not pay much attention formerly to small zoological differences, so we must throw them into one, it is called by both names.
Another very curious connection, which is also found in alchemy, is that between the virgin and the toad.
Do you know anything about it?
Dr. Reichstein: The toad drinks her milk.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the toad drinks the milk from the breasts of the Virgin.
I remember a fountain in Nuremberg where the water pours from the breasts of women into the mouths of frogs.
Also, the toad is a medieval symbol of the womb.
And another analogy is the very beautiful fairy tale of the frog and the princess: A princess was playing with a golden ball which fell down into a well where she could not recover it.
But there was a frog in the well who said he would bring it up to her if she would promise to fulfill
his conditions, namely, that he should sit at her table that he should eat from her dish, and that he should sleep in her bed.
She promised everything because she was so grieved at the loss of her ball, so the frog brought it back to her.
Then of course she wanted to forget all the conditions.
The frog had constantly to remind her of her promise, and each time she obeyed with great reluctance because the frog was so terribly slippery and cold and repulsive, and of course the more she had to fulfill the conditions the worse it became.
To be in the same room, yes, but to eat at the same table and from the same dish!
Then the last condition that the frog should sleep in her little bed was simply unheard of and she would not allow it.
Nevertheless the frog forced himself into her bed, whereupon she seized him and threw him against the wall.
And in that instant the frog fell away and out came the prince.
The golden ball is the sun which represents our libido.
The libido of the princess runs away, so the poor girl has a depression, she loses her joy in life.
She doesn’t know where it has gone and she wants to recover it.
Then the voice from the depths says, if she will fulfill all those conditions she will get back her pleasure in living.
In other words she must assimilate that cold repulsive thing.
If she is capable of doing so, she will recover her joy, her prince will appear.
This is an eternal truth, and it is at the same time wisdom of very practical application.
I have to say pretty much the same thing at least three or four times every day.
Moreover, it is great religious symbolism: the sun, the light of the day, disappears into
darkness; our highest value-the golden ball is our highest value disappears, and we don’t know what to do; we are in utter darkness, in the sadness of despair.
Then we listen to the voices of the depths, and they make conditions which we don’t like at all.
But if we are able to fulfill these conditions, the light of the divine sun will return, the superman.
For the Prince Charming is always a superior man, a wonderful paragon of all virtues, and he represents man’s renewal, his own resurrection.
The idea here is rather similar; that is, the frogs which appear do not mean a defilement of the sacred chalice, they mean the healing substance or the healing symbols that emanate from the womb of the chalice.
That is the connection between the virgin and the chalice: the virgin is the vessel, the vas insigne devotionis, as she is called in the Lorettanian Litany, the excellent vase of devotion, the vase into which is poured the devotion of believers.
And the virgin is at the same time the astrological sign Virgo, meaning the earth, so the earth is the cup, or the receiving or conceiving vessel from which issues the saving symbol.
In the one case the virgin produces the Prince Charming, which means the superior man, the beautiful youth, a sort of mediator of pagan quality (fairy tales are thoroughly pagan), or the most beloved spiritual king, Christ.
And in the other case the virgin gives birth to, or nourishes, the toad or the frog. So the frog is a peculiar symbol.
If you think of the transformation of the frog into the Prince Charming, and of the frogs fed by the milk of the Virgin, or the Virgin bringing forth a frog, you realize that it is simply another analogy; it is an animal symbol of the child.
Mrs. Sawyer: It is the thing that Nietzsche couldn’t accept.
Dr. Jung: The “ugliest man” in Thus Spake Zarathustra was the thing he could not accept.
Nietzsche went a similar way, back to the Dionysian experience, and out of that followed the idea of the ugliest man-after many detours, a serpent-like movement of the symbolism-and the book ends with the idea of the superior man.
He refused to accept the other side because it was too repulsive, and because it became associated with his phobia: he suffered from the idea that he had to swallow a frog or a toad; whenever he saw one he had a compulsory inclination to swallow it.
This appeared in a dream that a toad was sitting upon his hand; it referred to his syphilitic infection which he really could not accept, it was his clash with the earth, there the earth got him down.
But that is a side question.
The frog as a general symbol is pretty clear.
Princess v. Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen: It is sexuality.
Dr. Jung: Well, inasmuch as sex is understood as an ugly and repulsive thing, which is not necessarily the case; though I admit that it is so in most cases.
There is a sexual implication, but in the first place the frog means something quite different, as I just said.
Dr. Reichstein: It is a symbol of transformation.
Dr. Jung: Yes, but in itself the frog symbolizes a transitory stage which is impersonated by very definite beings.
There are probably quite a number of them among us, only they are not recognizable-children, of course.
You may never have realized that the frog is the first attempt of nature to produce something like man, an animal with two legs and two hands but no tail.
You know when mothers are bathing their babies they call them little frogs or tadpoles in the water; also one calls a dwarfish child, or a little guttersnipe, a little toad; and here in Switzerland we call a flapper a little toad.
So the frog is a sort of child; it is a childish attempt of nature to produce something like man on the level of the coldblooded animals, it is a cold-blooded little man.
One could call the frog.
in the fairy tale a sort of embryonic man in which the beautiful prince is not yet recognizable.
This fairy tale is in a way very profound: it is really a metaphorical or plastic demonstration of that wonderful verse by Angelus Silesius, the German mystic:
Willst Du den Perlenthau der edeln Gottheit f angen,
So musst Du unverruckt an seiner Menschheit hangen.
That means literally: If thou willst catch the noble godhead’s pearl dew, then thou must cling to its humanity imperturbably.
You see the deeper idea is that the frog prince is man.
Man as he is, is the frog form of the superior man to be, of the beautiful being that is in man but that has not yet revealed itself.
We are the ugly repulsive husks that surround the golden kernel, the divine soul of man.
This little fairy tale is really a great myth, a sort of initiation myth, and perhaps derives from, or is the mother of the ancient myth that through a violent intervention man is able to break through the husk and become the superior being.
Therefore when the frog appears in dreams or visions or fairy tales, it means man under his chthonic aspect, his “nothing but” aspect.
Our consciousness of what man is, of being human, is the frog; it means man looked at as a mere biological being.
But that is only the outer shell of something very much more beautiful and perfect inside, the shell
that will be broken through and cast off, either by death, when the beautiful superior man is liberated, or by the intervention of the mystical rite in initiation.
That is the reason why certain Negro tribes call those members of the tribe animals, who refuse to be put through the cruel initiation rites.
They have not been liberated from the husks of the animal, they are still cold-blooded frogs living only partially on land, and still partially immersed in the primeval unconscious condition.
They have not yet attained to the warmth of the divine sunlike being.
For man is a warm-blooded animal, he is on a higher level, already more sunlike; therefore the inner man is always understood to be the son of heaven, or the son of the sun.
Here, then, the frog appears from the chalice like the mediating and healing serpent, and it expresses the same function: the frog as a healing symbol.
And that means man as he is, is a healing symbol, because that is the thing which has not been accepted, the thing which has been suppressed or avoided.
Just that is the stone cast away by the builders, which becomes the cornerstone; or it is the shoot that grows in dry and sterile soil where nobody would expect any life to appear.
You see, these are the messianic prophecies of Isaiah.
But the frog, symbolizing man as he is, can only attain to the dignity of a healing symbol when it is compensatory; that is, when it meets an audience, an individual or a public, that identifies with the superior man within.
For if we, in the form of frogs, identify with that beautiful Prince Charming, we necessarily suffer from inflation, and then we are one-sided and unnatural, because we cannot possibly be that superior man.
We know how Nietzsche tried to be, and he overdid it altogether and was threatened with the ugliest man; that is the reason why he broke down, and the reason why we break down when we assume a quality which is not ours.
Therefore it is redeeming or healing for us to accept ourselves as we are, instead of always wanting things to be different.
We say: He would be very nice if only he were not so-and-so, or: I could really accept myself if I were not what I am.
We not only want other people to be different, we always want to be different ourselves.
But wisdom begins only when one takes things as they are; otherwise we get nowhere, we simply become inflated balloons with no feet on the earth.
So it is a healing attitude when we can agree with the facts as they are; only then can we live in our body on this earth, only then can we thrive.
No field could thrive if we assumed that the oats we sowed were wheat, nor could our dog thrive if we took it to be a camel, and so it is unfair to our friends and unfair to ourselves to assume that we can be supermen.
Just the thing that is ugly and repulsive is the thing that leads to redemption, just as the princess got her Prince Charming out of the skin of the frog.
So the idea in the vision is that the medicine of redemption, which issues from the sacred chalice, is merely man as he is, incomplete, a first attempt of nature and a very embryonic attempt at that.
You see, when frogs were made man had not yet appeared; they are a sort of incipient attempt on a low cold-blooded level at the warm-blooded man-to-be.
And why should man be the last idea of the Creator?
Man may also turn out to be a very ridiculous attempt of nature, for we are really perfectly
absurd, very ugly, in a way we are failures.
It could easily be demonstrated that man is a failure, so many things in his structure and disposition are utterly foolish and unsuitable, not only in his body but also in his mind. It is quite possible that in the far future, say a hundred thousand years hence, mankind will look back and say: “But that was not a man, that was a beast!”-as we look back to the Pithecanthropus, who, if he thought at all, and perhaps he did, may also have assumed that he was really on top of creation.
I doubt it, however; that hubris seems to be a rather modern disease.
You see it is out of this recognition, out of the worldwide feelings of inferiority, that we identify with the very beautiful thing; we have glimpses of it and think we are already there, that we are really good, for instance.
Whereas we are not good, more than half belongs to hell. Look at our ideas and our conditions.
Everything is desperately embryonic, and we are only just beginning to be aware of it.
Before the War nobody would have listened to such an idea, they would have said, “Oh, that is just a good old sermon about the sinfulness of man.”
Nowadays some of us begin to open our ears-but very few!
We are not even ready for a disarmament conference.
The whole world wants to reduce the preparations for war to a reasonable size; why not reduce the whole thing twenty-five percent?
Everybody wants it but they cannot do it. Is it not amazing?
We are just like a swarm of tadpoles.
Each tadpole wants to do something, but because it is a mob of tadpoles we can do nothing; for a mob has no brain, and the so-called leaders are identical with the mob psychology.
From such facts we may conclude as to the exceedingly embryonic state of man, and the superior man can never develop as long as the tadpoles decide that they are not tadpoles but something far more wonderful, when they deny that they have tails or gills, or when the frogs pretend that they have warm blood and beautiful singing voices.
First we must accept the fact of ourselves, what we are; then we can develop.
In accepting ourselves in our embryonic condition we receive ourselves, like a mother a child in her womb, where the child is fed and develops.
If one can really accept oneself, one can feed and develop oneself, otherwise it is like expecting a child that has been cast off to thrive.
Therefore that the symbol of the frog issues from the chalice instead of the serpent means that it is here the redeeming symbol; it is the spiritual counterpart of Christ on the cross.
The frog is not on the cross because it has nothing to do with the spirit, the frog has to do only with the body, with the imperfection of man.
Not the perfection of man but the imperfection of man is the idea here.
The text continues: The priest knelt, chanting: “Forgive us, oh Lord, for we have sinned.”
A snake with a black hood over its head silently glided up the steps to the altar and wound itself upon the cross [plate 20].
I went up to the snake and asked it why it was there.
The snake answered: “I am he who has taken the place of Christ.”
I have been saying that the frog was in a way a redeeming symbol, but it is not one frog here, there are many, and presumably other little animals of the same order.
This accentuates the fact that the frog is not a central symbol.
That it is here a multitude suggests a multitude of human beings; as a multitude of frogs issue from a pool after the transformation through the tadpole stage, so from the chalice issue, one might say, symbols for many people, and for the individual inasmuch as it is part of a multitude.
Then when everyone has accepted his individual imperfection, the serpent appears and coils itself into the place of the Redeemer, meaning that the serpent is the equivalent of the Redeemer.
This is again that extraordinary Gnostic idea of Jesus as the serpent in Paradise, which was considered heretic and utterly rejected by the early church.
But it never really died, it has come up again and again.
It is the Kundalini serpent, and the Kundalini is identical with the agathodaimon, the serpent of Egypt and of the later Hellenistic syncretism of the first century before and after Christ.
Moreover the serpent is the antichrist, the brother of Jesus, according to a legend which reaches back into the first century; and the antichrist was expected to appear soon after Jesus.
It was thought of as a rather immediate future because it was then understood that Jesus would return before the last of his disciples or his living witnesses had died, and it was assumed that even before the reappearance of Christ, his brother would come, and he was a serpent.
The legend was that he also was born in Palestine and worked miracles in Jerusalem, everything an exact analogy to the life of Christ, but everything evil, black magic.
That shows that in those days the idea of the savior was felt to be checked within by a counteracting power.
Because the attempt of Christianity was entirely spiritual, everything chthonic had to be called evil, in order to have the necessary moral force to repress it.
The chthonic reality, inasmuch as it was opposed to man’s spiritual effort of that time-the attempt of Christianity to spiritualize itself-was necessarily diabolical.
Diabolos means one that causes resistances, that interferes, that throws things in between; it comes from the Greek word ballein, meaning to throw, and dia, meaning between.
The antichrist legend was therefore a true expression of the spirit of that time.
It was also expressed in the astrological symbolism, for that was the time of the beginning of the sign of the Fishes.
According to the actual position of the astronomical constellation of the Fishes, one fish is
upright and the other fish is horizontal, and between is the commissura, a sort of string from tail to tail.
(Note that the vertical and horizontal lines indicate a cross.)
The upright one would be the Christian fish and the horizontal one the anti-Christian fish.
Therefore Christ was called Ichthys.
He is the one rising to heaven, the head pointing to the summit, while the antichrist never leaves the earth, it is the ugliest man, the devil.
So this Christian psychology belongs to the time of the fishes and we are still there, but our present psychology is nearing the head of the horizontal fish.
In about 1940 we shall be approaching the first stars of the next sign, Aquarius.
Of course there are no definite lines in the sky which would indicate the exact borderline but in 1940 / 1950 we shall be in the vicinity of Aquarius.
We shall be getting to that point in a time when we may expect another change, as in the time of the first fish.
The second fish is not like the traditional astrological symbolism, heading in exactly the opposite
direction; the antichrist is not contradictory, it is only horizontal, and one cannot see why that horizontal fish should be so evil.
It is only evil because it doesn’t rise to heaven, it remains on the earth. That is the chthonic man.
So the result has been that the redeeming symbol developed farther and farther away from the spiritual hero, and the humanity of man was emphasized.
Therefore when the spring point was in the middle of the commissura, it was the year 1500, the time of the Renaissance followed by the Reformation.
And we entered the tail of the horizontal fish in about 1720, when the French Enlightenment began, when Christianity was overthrown and the Goddess of Reason was enthroned in Paris instead.
The dividing line is just in the middle of the commissura; from that time on we have the humanists and an entirely new point of view.
It is as if the tremendous heights of the Gothic times were collapsing, sinking down to earth, and as if man were reaching out, instead of reaching up to heaven like the first fish.
Energy was no longer heaped up, it extended horizontally; man then discovered the earth.
That was the time of the great voyages and great discoveries, and the growth of natural science, when man became all-important.
Now we have developed so far on that line that there is nothing but man, even the heavens have become entirely depopulated.
As a crazy patient once said to me, “I have disinfected the whole heavens with chloride of mercury and I have not found a god there.”
You see, the man had been a doctor with a very good scientific education.
That expresses it exactly; we have disinfected the heavens with mercury (the astrological sign for mind) and nothing has been found, so we are left entirely alone with a tremendous inflation; for since that time all those hierarchies of angels and archangels, with God himself, have entered man.
I quoted last term a passage from Synesius, Bishop of Edessa, who really was half heathen, he certainly was not very Christian, and he was also a poet.
He said that the spiritus phantasticus, which is really human imagination, can even enter divinity.
And that is exactly what St. Paul says-that through thinking we can know God.
But in that form it will have to sustain or to suffer the divine punishment, dismemberment-the human mind will be dismembered.
This is of course a destructive process, the dismemberment of all that we had heaped up in the first fish, the whole spiritual point of view dismembered by that extraordinary horizontal extension, that following of the earth.
Man has covered the earth, and everything is subservient to him.
But we are still under the influence of the first fish, we have not yet accepted the earth, we are like spirits hovering over the earth and above ourselves.
And now we have to accept ourselves.
The complete acceptance of man as he is would be the necessary conclusion of the age of the Fishes.
Since man thinks himself divine and behaves as if he were divine, he shall eat himself, he shall become acquainted with himself.
But it proves to be a hell of a shock when one becomes acquainted with oneself.
A new book by Graf Keyserling will appear very soon, in which he will show you how he, as a Christian spirit, met the impact of the earth, and how it got him.
Nietzsche avoided it, he didn’t dare look at the thing.
That acceptance of man as he is, is the psychological, or, if you like to call it so, the spiritual or religious problem of today; that is exactly what we are up against now.
But the vision goes on and says that when that happens, the serpent will take the place of the Redeemer on the cross.
That means the antichrist.
What would seem to us the principle of evil, will be the redeeming symbol.
Then again a cycle will be completed, and we shall be as if back at the first century A.D. when they discovered that the serpent was really the Redeemer.
You see, then something new may begin. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 536-550