Psychological Interpretation of Children’s Dreams (Winter Term, 1938/39) Lecture 3
- Dream of a Five-Year-Old Boy of the Man Covered with Hair Presented by Mrs. Margret Sachs
Text: In the dream, there appears a man covered with hair, who suddenly comes up from the dark basement.
He wants to seize the little boy and pull him down into the basement.
The boy wakes up crying loudly in fear.
Mrs. Sachs: The boy is five years old, at an age when first impressions are still very important, when fast developmental steps are made, but the personal world of consciousness is still very small and strongly under the influence of the collective unconscious, which is still close to consciousness.
A man covered with hair appears in the dream.
Now, what could this mean to the child?
Being an adult, this man is superior to the child. In addition, he is covered with hair.
This man is something that induces fear and terror, of which one is afraid, reminiscent of a giant; we may think of Rübezahl, the bogeyman in the Erzgebirge [Ore Mountains] who carried children away in a sack.
Here in Switzerland, this figure is known under the name of Böölima; in Flanders, he is called Biete Bouw; in Scandinavia, the kids are afraid of the troll, and in the United States of the “man in the woodpile.”
In children’s imaginations, he is always covered with hair and has a long beard.
In the imaginative world of primitives, too, hair and beard play an important role.
In The Golden Bough, by James George Frazer, we read, among other references, about the significance of hair: the chiefs and magicians of the Masai, the African tribe, were afraid to lose their supernatural powers if they let their beards be cut; in many primitive cultures, hair and beard are considered “taboo.”
In order to become immune to danger, they are not cut at all.
The Frankonian kings were not allowed, from childhood on, to cut their hair.
Cutting the hair would have meant relinquishing the throne and the power.
Hair is regarded as a sign of extraordinary power and magical strength.
The young warriors of the Teutons cut their hair and beards only after having slain the enemy.
Samson, too, was deprived of his power after Delilah had cut off his curls.
Cut hairs are kept in sacred places such as temples, graveyards, or trees.
In Swabia, cut hairs are hidden in a place where neither sun nor moon may shine.
Frazer gives a multitude of examples, from the Tyrd in Scotland and Ireland, from Siam, North Germany, Melanesia, and Patagonia, from Tahiti, or from the Solomon Islands.
Everywhere the guiding idea is that there is a sympathetic connection between the cut hair, symbolizing power, and its former bearer, and so it has to be hidden from hostile influence.
This dream is a parallel to another dream discussed earlier.
There it said: “something gruesome came in through the window, no bear, a man, he had those feet and stood on the quilt . . . ”
At the time we put this figure in analogy to a bear. In our dream, too, we can put the man covered with hair in analogy to a bear, which plays a great role in children’s imaginations.
For thousands of years, our ancestors saw the bear as something threatening and dangerous, and it was one of the worst enemies.
These impressions have been kept as such, and have an effect in the collective unconscious.
There is a report about a belief in Scandinavian literature that very old bears had something devilish within them, and that they could not be killed with a normal
shot, but only with a silver bullet.
In this connection we have also to draw attention to the connection between the bear and the Berserker.
The Bear Skinner is a vague allusion to it.
The notion of the soul is connected to the fur, the skin, the shirt, the outer form, for shirt (e.g., the swan shirt) and fur stand for a great potential of transformation in the Teutonic tradition.
Still today we use expressions such as aus der Haut fahren, an allusion to the bear, the skin of the Berserker.
The bearskin was taken off in the evening, when other people slept; it gave an enormous increase in strength, the respective person got beside himself with rage, a raging demon took possession of him.
The heroic song of King Rolf Krake, from the Danish house of Skyoldung, tells of such a berserker gang. In the werewolf legend, too, the pelt of the wolf gives enormous strength.
Summarizing the amplification of the “man covered with hair,” we get the following result: something children are afraid of, an uncanny and colossal power that can overwhelm you and make you so enraged as to lose consciousness; a magic force that overcomes you all of a sudden.
For every child, the dark basement is an uncanny place.
If consciousness is mostly symbolized by a house, then the basement is the unconscious, the place where one loses consciousness, the dark where all those things happen of which we are afraid, and which we do not know yet.
In the child’s imagination all the gloomy, all the undreamed of and mysterious things happen there.
The dark is the place where we feel lonely, where bad dreams come from, and where danger lurks.
We speak about the dark powers, the dark abyss.
The Chthonic Forces rise out of the dark; the Chinese Ying is dark, it is the shadowy principle.
Dark is the night, which devours and eats up the day; at night all things are made anew and are changed while we sleep.
The man covered with hair seizes the little boy and wants to pull him down into the dark basement.
He took possession of him, he let him feel his power.
Here the dream breaks off with the cries of fear of the awakening boy.
The dreamer is not yet overwhelmed completely, not yet deep down in the basement, but there is the danger of an inundation from below, the danger that he will be overwhelmed by a still unconscious instinctual state, by greed, passion, or desire.
He is threatened by an uncontrollable instinctual force, stronger than he, which tears him into the dark and threatens to devour his small world of consciousness.
As we do not know more about the child, we can make only some vague assumptions.
His being overwhelmed and pulled down into the dark womb of the house can be a danger for his psychical development.
Without insinuating conscious sexual feelings in the five-year-old child, we may still perhaps assume that the dream anticipates a later emotional outbreak.
The dream would then anticipate the future.
Professor Jung: I thank you for your paper.
You have taken into account all the important aspects in your discussion of the dream.
I have chosen this case because with its help we can discuss the various possibilities of working with a dream in the simplest form.
As we saw in the last session, in most of the cases the dream is an unconscious reaction—albeit always in a different way—to a conscious situation.
So we always have to take into account the symbolic context of the unconscious as well as the individual psychological situation of the dreamer.
Children still have a vivid memory of that archaic world; it was born with them.
For this reason alone we cannot but notice the collective background of the dream.
The ubiquitous archaic images, the archetypes, play a very important role in the infantile fantasy.
That is why fairy tales in particular make such a strong impression, because they touch on a world related to them.
You have seen in the paper how we approach collective symbols.
This method of treating a dream is not sufficient, however, if a practical decision becomes important.
For practical treatment, it is useless to talk of archetypes and bearskins.
We have to ask more specific questions about the events of the previous day, and in general about the whole individual situation the child is in.
In this case, I do not know the psychological situation of the child.
We can try nevertheless to discuss the possibilities.
Suppose you know only the child’s mother, who presents you with the dream and tells you that the child is difficult.
What would you say? How much could you possibly see in the dream?
Participant: I would ask what the child had experienced the day before, and also, if he is fearful during the day, too.
Professor Jung: Yes, but this is not sufficient when it comes to the practicalities.
Participant: Couldn’t we interpret the man covered with hair as a compensatory figure to the dreamer’s conscious situation? In the paper he was portrayed only as a danger. But perhaps he also points to something positive, which the child still lacks and which would have to be accepted by him.
Professor Jung: This is a correct point of view.
Is he a real danger or, on the contrary, something to be accepted?
If the latter is true—what could we then say with regard to the child’s consciousness?
Participant: It would be too “light,” having too little relation to the unconscious.
Participant: It would be too rational.
Professor Jung: Oh no, no, even with the “best” education, a four year-old child can’t be rational!
Participant: It is educated too well.
Professor Jung: Yes, that’s a possibility.
It could actually be the case that the child is too well educated.
As a consequence, there comes the Böölima, who is bad like an animal.
He can do anything the boy cannot in the house.
In families where the children are too strictly educated, it is as if they were some little devils.
They then create the nicest anxiety dreams.
So the wild, hairy, black man may threateningly appear in an anxiety dream; but it’s only the nasty tricks of the child that he can’t play in reality.
A too-virtuous education causes rebellion, and the children then play the wildest tricks.
Participant: Wouldn’t the fact that the man covered with hair is an adult point into the future of the child?
Professor Jung: Yes, that’s also a possibility. What would it then mean?
Participant: That the child is too infantile.
Professor Jung: Right. Children have to be infantile, because otherwise they wouldn’t be children.
But it may happen that a child is too infantile, for instance, when children were bedridden for a long time because of illness, and are weakened.
Then they talk like little babies, cling to the mother—things they had already forgotten how to do.
They fall into a regression, and then such an anxiety dream can occur.
The dream is the natural reaction of their organism, which defends itself against the ridiculous infantilism.
It is not a moral reaction, but a reaction of nature.
When a seventy-year-old man thinks he could still accomplish the same as in younger years, nature will tell him, too, that he cannot—quite physiologically.
When children regress under a certain level of infantilism, such figures as the threatening, wild man may appear, but this is already an indication of a serious regression.
Here I would much rather assume that this is a well-mannered child who is too much under the influence of the mother.
Some mothers always try to turn their sons into paragons of virtue, who are terribly nice and decent . . . , and then it happens to them of all people that their boys are complete rascals.
That’s how it has to be! It can also be the case, however, that the boy loves the mother,
is very much attached to her, and does not want to cause her distress.
Then what is in him cannot come out; if he waits too long, then it will “happen.”
Participant: The Gilgamesh Epic is a good example of an education that is too good.
Professor Jung: Yes, there you have the animal man Enkidu or Eabani, who is supposed to pull Gilgamesh down, because he is the all-too-perfect son of the mother.
Participant: Don’t we have to take into account both sides of the figure of the man covered with hair, the helpful and the dangerous sides?
Professor Jung: This double aspect is always there.
Not only as a motive of the dream, but also regarding its effect.
Such a dream can have a very destructive effect, because it contains the evil.
When such a dream ends badly, we have an “anxiety child,” who cries every night out of the fear that the dream might recur.
On the other hand, a natural reaction is also possible.
Something in the child can understand: this is “he”!
It very much depends on whether the child has the right instinct or not.
Equally in the adult: the instinct decides whether we understand the dream correctly or not.
We then sense that something is about “so.”
When such a boy gets a bit older, he develops a certain pleasure in this hairy man and imagines all kinds of things he himself could do if he were like him.
Half consciously, half unconsciously, he draws the right conclusions after all.
Here we must trust nature. If the anxiety in the boy is reinforced, however, he is drawn into the wrong attitude, and only the destructive effect is intensified.
Participant: Couldn’t the hairy, wild man also have something to do with the parents?
Professor Jung: A dream need not always be mysteriously related, by unconscious infections, with the parents.
But this, too, is a possibility.
It could be about an ongoing conflict in the parents’ marriage, because the man covered with hair actually is the ape man, the primitive instinctual man.
There could be a connection with the father, or also the mother, most often with only one of the two parents.
As a rule, the situation in a marriage is such that the one sits in the warm nest and thinks that everything is all right.
The one is completely protected and warm, just like in the womb or on the lap of the father.
The other—outside—thinks, however: “This is quite nice, really ideal, if only there would be something that held me also!”
It can be the father who sits on the sill and looks out of the window.
In this case, it is there that the ape man is constellated, of whom he is afraid himself.
Or it is the mother who dances around on the edge of the nest, while the father is sitting inside, smoking his pipe.
So she dreams of a dreadful man of whom she is terribly afraid, while at the same time hoping he would break in sometime!
In both cases, the ape man can enter into the little child.
The more vital this is, the greater its effect.
It is extremely important in education, therefore, for the parents to know what they are doing, to know their problems and not to ignore them; otherwise, the children have to lead a life that is simply impossible.
They are forced to do dreadful things, which are not in their nature at all, but have been taken over from the parents.
Here we find really interesting phenomena.
When we study the history of a family, and investigate the relations between parents and children, we can often see the red thread of fate.
Sometimes there is more than one curse on the house of Atreus in a family.
Participant: Before you rejected the experiences of the previous day. But perhaps such an experience did indeed trigger the dream situation? For example, I know of the case of a little girl who saw her father naked and then dreamed of it.
Professor Jung: In general, being naked does not make an impression on little children. But if a certain kind of education is at work, it can indeed make an impression on the children. I want to give you an example:
When I was a little boy, between five and six years old, an old aunt took me to the museum to show me the stuffed animals.
This interested me very much, and I took a long time.
Then the bell rang; we had to leave.
The aunt could no longer find the exit and came into the hall with the sculptures, with the statues of gods!
She pulled me after her and said: “You naughty boy, close your eyes!” I didn’t even
think of it, because for the first time I saw pictures of gods, and I found them wonderful. That they were naked I only discovered because of the affect of my aunt.
I myself have seen my father naked more than once, and I was not traumatized by it.
It all depends on what soil such an observation falls.
When there is an overly satiated atmosphere, when the children are provoked and fed by unnatural blind affection, when the daughters slip around on their knees before the father, when the mother licks her son, but, on the other hand, everything is suppressed
by “education”—then we have the right breeding ground for neuroses.
When the child then sees the father or mother naked, a trauma ensues.
These natural things are never traumatic; otherwise, the whole of Africa would have a hell of a neurosis, but, of course, it wouldn’t even dream of it.
- Dream of a Six-Year-Old Girl of the Doll and the Monster Presented by Dr. Liliane Frey
Text: When I first dreamed this dream, I was definitely not older than six.
It recurred a couple of times when I was a young girl.
I undressed the doll of my eldest sister and put it into the doll bed.
On coming up again, the doll is sitting fully dressed in its chair.
I undress it again and go downstairs.
A moment later I go up again, curious what might have happened now.
The doll is dressed again. Once again, I undress her and go down the stairs.
But in turning around I’m seeing a monster that did that, and which is now following me on the stairs.
The monster has a very big body, which completely fills up the staircase.
It moves sluggishly and clumsily, with short, nearly invisible paws—meaty. I am terribly afraid.
Dr. Frey: We can divide the dream into the following four parts:
- Locale: Place: playroom, stairs. Dramatis personae: child, monster.
- Exposition: The child is playing with the doll of the eldest sister.
- Peripateia: The game is thwarted three times.
- Lysis: The child meets the monster.
The dream begins with the following sentence: “I undressed the doll of my eldest sister and put it into the doll bed.”
What does the doll mean to the child?
In the form of the butterfly pupa it embodies the transitional stage between a crawling animal, closely nestling against the earth, and a winged one.
In myths and in poetry the butterfly is often the symbol for the psyche.
The soul soars up from the cocoon in the form of a butterfly.
So we might say that the pupa/doll represents a transition between a primitive, earth-bound stage and a freer, disembodied, winged, and elated one.
We also speak, for instance, of “shedding the pupal skin of our heart”
to gain inner freedom.
Dolls have also played a great role in the history of superstition: until the late Middle Ages, they were used to ward off evil spirits or as carriers of certain magical powers, and still today we find the mascot, a lucky magical doll.
There are many examples in the most varied countries, how dolls are brought to life,
and how spirits are laid by being forced to stay in them.
In connection with the motif of bringing a doll to life, I would like to refer to the figure of the homunculus in Goethe’s Faust.
With the help of Mephistopheles, Wagner artificially creates the homunculus in a vial, an artificial little man without soul.
The problem is how to fill him with soul and thus make him into a real human being.
But the vial of the homunculus is smashed to pieces on Galatea’s chariot and pours out into the sea waves, whereupon the homunculus rises again as a living man out of the waters of the unconscious.
But what does the doll in the girl’s playroom mean? What does the doll mean to the child?
It seems that the external form of the doll is not decisive in children’s games.
Aniela Jaffé has observed that children take a bottle of medicine or a piece of wood into bed and play with them as if these were the most beautiful dolls.
Just like a primitive man, the child brings the doll to life with the images of her unconscious, and so animates, “en-souls,” it.
In the hands of the child, the doll is just a receptacle into which the internal potentialities are laid, and through which the child’s world becomes alive.
Quite generally, the doll/pupa is the receptacle, the cover, containing the child’s psyche—the butterfly—as a present and future potentiality.
In addition, for the little girl the game with the doll is also quite specifically a preliminary exercise of later biological functions.
The child plays with the doll of the eldest sister.
The eldest sister or the eldest brother is a theme that appears again and again in fairy tales.
The elder siblings are most often the much-admired, beautiful, proud, seemingly virtuous children, favored by father or mother.
But they often fail precisely when the most difficult task has to be resolved, the treasure that is so difficult to attain has to be obtained, or the prince or princess has to be set free.
Most of the time this is done by the youngest sibling.
In all these cases, the elder siblings stand for the more developed capabilities.
They are mostly examples for the younger siblings.
In our dream, too, there is probably this same relation between the dreamer and the eldest sister: she is the role model for the younger child.
In this part of the dream it further says that the dreamer is playing with the doll.
What does that mean?
It probably indicates that the dreamer tries to live her life, her future potentialities, the way her sister does—which will perforce drive her into one-sidedness and into a crippling of instinct.
Moreover, it is a rule in the children’s room to play with one’s own doll, not with the sister’s doll.
Each child has her own doll, belonging to her and containing her own potential in nuce.
The dreamer, however, plays with the sister’s doll.
This shows us that she does not stand by herself and her own potentialities, but rather she is trying to cope with reality in her elder sister’s way.
She copies her way of adaptation, behaves as she does toward the external world.
The child probably feels that something is not right, because later on in the dream it says that she puts the doll into the bed. What does that mean?
The dreamer is in danger of an identification with the sister.
She sees her as her role model.
That is why the sister’s soul—the doll/pupa—has to be put to sleep.
The sister’s effect should be rendered ineffective. In this way the dreamer tries to get out of the state of adaptation to the sister.
We will see if the attempt succeeds.
After undressing the doll the child goes downstairs.
During her absence something inexplicable has happened, for the doll is dressed again and sits in its chair.
This process is repeated three times.
Each time her playing activity is reversed, made ineffective, during her absence.
The child is shown that something about her attempts is wrong.
Let us go through the individual motifs: the number three, the motif of above and below, and the thwarted game.
Thrice the game is interrupted, thus underlining the gravity of the motif.
The appearance of the three always has a fateful meaning.
In the dream seminar of 1936/37, Professor Jung says: “When trinity appears”—the three Fates, or triads of gods—“this means that a fateful point has been reached, that something unavoidable will therefore happen.”
Here there is no simultaneous appearance of three figures, however, not the motif of
the triad, but the triple repetition of the same process.
We find this theme, for instance, in the triple repetition of the conjuration or invocation.
Conjuring up the evil three times over is found in many legends.
Goethe’s Faust has to call out “Come in!” three times before Mephistopheles enters.
We also find this motif in St. Peter’s thrice repeated denial of knowledge of Christ.
“I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me” (Luke 22, 34).
Or a trial is repeated three times, as in the temptation of Christ by the devil.
Doing the same thing three times is, so to speak, a magic to make something effective, and in many fairy tales it leads to the solution.
Or it establishes the connection with the demonic.
What is most important happens afterward: a destiny is set in motion, the connection with something transpersonal is established.
We can also formulate the idea this way: the number three triggers the number four, causes something that should establish the wholeness of the person. . . .
In the present dream we can clearly see how the process being repeated three times—the undressing of the doll and its being mysteriously dressed again—forcibly brings about the fourth process, setting in with all its might: the confrontation with the monster.
Besides the theme of the thrice-repeated process, another motif is important in that part of the dream, namely, the alternation of above and below.
Each time after having undressed the doll, the child leaves the children’s room to go downstairs.
It is as if she cannot find rest anywhere.
If she is above, she is forced downward, and the other way around: if she is below, she has to go up once again.
Perhaps we may deduce that the child is insecure about the Above and the Below.
This alternation of above and below shows the continued sinking of the child into the collective mythical prehistoric world, into connectedness with the family, or into the mysterious depth of fantasy, into the world of emotions and of the body.
At the same time, the dream shows the thrice-repeated attempt to free herself from this, to go upstairs and to gain a conscious attitude.
The further dream text will show us whether the Above or the Below is “right.”
The third motif is that of the thwarted game.
Again and again the doll is sitting dressed in its chair.
A foreign power forces its way into her game, intrudes, thwarts the goal of her attempts in the game.
The child happens upon an unknown, powerful factor in her life, which prepares for a different direction of her play: the doll is to remain sitting dressed on its chair.
What does this mean for the child, this intrusion of a foreign, superior force into a personal sphere?
The personal activity is made ineffective and included in a transpersonal process.
Whenever this happens, the personal activity is too strongly directed against the original, natural inner destiny of the person, and his nature is oppressed.
We have already assumed earlier that the dreamer is too dependent on others, and imitates too much the mode of her sister’s adaptation.
She tried to free herself by putting her sister’s doll to sleep and thus reduce her sister’s influence on her.
In this context, the thwarting of the game means that this attempt is being stopped, and not accepted, by the unconscious.
Her way will have to be a different one.
In the next part of the dream there are the following motifs: that of turning around and that of the monster.
So when the child looks back, she sees a monster following her.
In fairy tales and popular belief, looking back is always a dangerous thing to do, and strictly forbidden, therefore, in most cases.
According to the Bible, Lot’s wife becomes a pillar of salt because she cannot bear the terrible sight of what is behind her—Sodom and Gomorrah under a rain of fire and brimstone.
On the other hand, back is also the fertile womb; the rocks that Deucalion and Pyrrha throw behind their shoulders turn into the first humans after the deluge.
Probably, however, a very special inner situation of desperation and pressure is necessary to be able to bear the sight.
The child has to turn around.
She has to see what follows her, she has to encounter her shadow.
It is also not without importance that the shadow blocks the way upward.
The girl can no longer go up.
She has to go down, into the dark womb of the unconscious.
She will have to confront the foreign and the dangerous, precisely because anything that is split off from the girl, anything that is a “complex,” and which is now threateningly personified in this monster and persecuting her—because all this, as Professor Jung explained in our next to last meeting, basically wants to come to her in order to become one with her, so that she can become whole.
Before we enter into the interpretation, I would like to quote some more parallels in mythology and literature.
The first example coming to mind is the monster behemoth in the Book of Job. Job, who boasts of his virtuous life, who can say: “My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined” (Job 23:11), Job is humiliated by God and visited by the devil in the form of two monsters, the behemoth and the leviathan.
The form of the monster [in the dream] is described as follows: it has a very big body, it moves sluggishly and clumsily, with short, nearly invisible paws.
When we try to find an animal roughly fitting this description, the hippopotamus would come closest.
As we shall see later, it often appears in connection with evil.
Faust’s poodle also takes on the form of a hippopotamus; it says:
“It’s no doglike shape I see!
What a spectre I brought home!
Like a hippo in the room” —Faust I, verses 1252ff
In view of the monster’s form, particularly the heavy, meaty body, it is suggestive to think of those myths in which the “voracious maw of a fish” appears, for example, the myth of the whale described by Frobenius, or the myths of the dragon that the hero must kill to attain the treasure.
The Lamia, the terrible female ghost who frightens children at night, steals them, and eats them, was originally also a voracious sea fish.
Here we encounter the theme of the monster as the terrible mother, a symbol of death, which has to be overcome.
Now to the interpretation of the monster.
As shown by the analogy with the behemoth, such monsters represent the wild, dreadful side of nature’s abysses, the raw bestial nature of instinct.
As the child is in danger of alienating herself from her nature, as she has lost her body, she has to descend again into these depths, has to encounter this monster in order to attain bodily consciousness.
This bodily consciousness is attained from the instinctual sphere—after all, the monster is an animal.
The child has to regress to a state that she has already experienced earlier.
For we can only progress from a basis we know already.
She should remember that she has a body that is hungry and that she should feed.
This is the meaning of the meaty monster with the fat, rotund body, which grunts and gargles and roots through the mud.
This disgusting animal has nevertheless a beneficial aspect insofar as it wants to unite the child with the split-off parts of her personality.
After all these explanations the meaning of the dream becomes clearer.
This may not only be a dream that prepares the child for the erotic storms of puberty. In addition, the dream seems to indicate a problem of individuation, that is, it “is a process of differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality.”
Professor Jung: Let us once again take a closer look at the basic motifs of this dream! First, the eldest sister.
Simply because she is older, she is a model or an anticipation for the younger sister.
The object of the game—the doll—is the playful preliminary exercise for the future.
The little girl identifies with the doll that belongs to her sister, as if this image of the future, the creative anticipating fantasy of the sister, were her own.
She sheds her own skin, so to speak, and projects herself into the eldest sister with all her vague wishes for the future.
The dream begins with the dreamer undressing the doll and putting it to bed.
What does this mean?
Let us be totally naive, as we have to be in such cases. It is analogous to a mother putting her child to bed.
Why does she do this?
Participant: To make the child sleep.
Professor Jung: Yes, that is also the intention of the little girl in the dream. The doll should sleep. Now what does that mean?
Participant: The anticipating activity of the sister should be put to sleep. It is thus rendered ineffective; it is a secret, somewhat malicious act against the sister.
Professor Jung: Exactly. How children play with dolls appears, so to speak, magical.
It has an effect on the persons who stand in relation to these dolls.
When the child puts to bed the doll of her eldest sister, she insults her.
It is as if she sabotaged a favorite activity.
She sort of tells the doll: “No more anticipating now. Just don’t do anything. You sleep!”
When the doll sleeps, the game between her and the sister stops!
The eldest sister is paralyzed, so that she can take over her functions herself.
We often see such acts of sabotage in children.
For instance, they put on their father’s hat and ruin it on occasion, or they smoke the father’s pipe and let it fall!
What happens in the dream is that the little girl—after a short absence—finds the doll sitting dressed in the chair!
An invisible monster has probably come, a cunning, crafty thing, which has taken possession of the doll and quickly dressed it again.
Whatever it is, the child’s prank is ineffective—the doll is being restored to the “status quo ante.”
The little girl sinks again back into the unconscious state.
She has gone up, has reached the level of her sister—and now everything is as it used to be.
She had not only wanted to take something away from her sister, but also to achieve something for herself in this way, that is, to make the sister’s anticipating fantasy her own.
She repeats the dressing and undressing three times.
This motif of the number three has been quite correctly interpreted [by Mrs. Frey] as a fateful process with a magical effect.
As a matter of fact, the “three” is always dynamics, rhythm.
The dynamism of the world in Hegel’s philosophy is partly based on the three phases or the three stages.
We also find this triad in the development of Goethe’s Faust: the boy charioteer, the homunculus, and Euphorion.
The boy charioteer is the soul-guiding function.
Here we find the motif of “puer aeternus.”
In his book Reich ohne Raum, Bruno Goetz gives an excellent description of this figure.
In it, he has anticipated a process in contemporary history in an interesting way.
The figure of the “puer aeternus” is born, so to speak, directly out of the unconscious.
The second figure in Goethe’s triad is the homunculus.
He, too, is an inner being, seen in a vision.
This figure also appears in Hermetic philosophy.
As you know, there is an idea in alchemy that one could create a wonderful being with godlike qualities in the phial through various procedures.
One alchemist even calls this being “deus terrestris.”
This is a metaphor for the inner experiences of the alchemist, who in his work experiences his own contents in the unknown matter.
The main figure in Hermetic wisdom is Mercurius, the well-known Re-bis (who consists of two things).
He is also called hermaphrodite because of his male-female double nature, or “lapis philosophorum,” or “lux moderna,” that is, the modern light.
In this latter sense he is viewed as “light of the lights,” a well-known term in alchemy.
The third figure in Goethe is Euphorion. He also is a son figure.
He is the fiery spark created by the unification of the opposites of the male and female, an alchemical figure as well—volatile Mercurius.
The fate of these “puer aeterni” is remarkable.
All three attempts to keep the fire-boy alive fail: the boy charioteer vanishes in the fireworks, the homunculus is smashed to pieces on Galatea’s chariot, and Euphorion runs after the beautiful nymphs and goes up in flames.
Precisely because of their doom, these figures are of importance to us as the devilish ambushes, into which we run in such inner processes, become evident.
This is particularly impressive in the case of the homunculus: he meets Galatea—and the process is already disturbed. “It” has burnt out in him, the lid did not stay on the pot, he is out of steam.
In this respect, women are very dangerous for male intentions.
A beautiful woman comes along—and he’s gone in a second!
There is a similar danger in women when they have to give birth to their inner child.
But in their case this is less transparent than in men. How does the “puer
aeternus” go to hell in her?
Well, the danger is that she meets the “spirit”!
By chance she reads a textbook or a newspaper article, written by a complete nonentity, but “it was written there,” and the steam is gone.
It says in alchemy: “Vas sit bene clausum, ut qui est intus, non evolet.”
Well, three leads to four! It leads to a result. This is a process.
This has already been said in the paper, and it is very important.
What is the fourth form of the “puer aeternus”?
Participant: Faust himself in the “choir of the young boys.”
Professor Jung: So this form is already beyond death.
Faust has arrived in the timeless sphere.
This is the fourth form resulting from the three attempts.
Here, however, we won’t go into that.
In our dream, the three leads to a, so to speak, catastrophic solution.
Being a solution, however, it also has its positive side.
How do you interpret the monster?
Participant: As a figure of the collective unconscious.
Professor Jung: In Egypt there exists such a monster, a goddess of the underworld, a devouring mother goddess—Tefnut.
She is known for always being present in the scene of “weighing the heart” in the
Books of the Dead. She is always standing there.
Should the heart of the dead person be found unworthy, she will eat it.
As a consequence, the dead person is then given over to the chthonic underworld, the cooking pot of creation, to be dissolved.
So the interpretation of the monster is quite correct.
It is a devouring mother, a negative mother, who does not give birth, but devours the creatures herself.
There is, however, also a positive aspect to this devouring: maybe it is the
preparation for a new birth.
How do you interpret the monster’s appearance on the top of the stairs, and not below?
Only when the dreamer goes down the stairs for the third time does she turn back and see the monster.
This is fateful. The three has been fulfilled.
Through the three stages comes the solution: there’s an impact, and something new begins.
Otherwise it would be incomprehensible why she could not see the monster already the first time.
For the monster is actually the soul of the doll/pupa in herself, the primal being, the dark abyss in man, which playfully creates life and creation.
The whole creation is this great primal being’s toy, playing with the doll of the elder as well as that of the younger sister.
It is the unconscious that undresses and dresses the doll, and that is in the way when the child turns back, that is, when she does not look ahead, but back.
Because at the back the sphere of the unconscious begins.
The magical effect comes from behind; that is why the primitives have neck amulets, often hewn out of stone or wood, as a deterrence against the evil eye.
These amulets have strangely rolled eyes: this is the evil eye with which the other’s evil eye is fought, on the principle of “similia similibus.”
So the danger zone is in one’s back.
In looking back the child gains a certain insight into the unconscious, and suddenly becomes aware of what is really at work here.
She gets a terrible fright.
Participant: How would we have had to interpret it if the monster had come from below?
Professor Jung: If the monster had been below, the child in the dream would have fled upstairs.
Then the family uterus would have been in danger.
But in our dream she is invariably driven downstairs:
“Don’t go to the upper floor ever again, don’t play there ever again!”
Participant: The child has made a mistake, and the unconscious reacts to this. Because she made the mistake at the top, the unconscious, too, appears there.
Professor Jung: Yes, wherever something happened that was not right, the hostile effect of the unconscious makes itself felt.
If the child had played the “baby,” had always been within the family, or had identified with the little dog, the monster would probably have come from below.
But it comes from above, because the mistake was made there.
Participant: I notice that the monster is giving orders as if it were a mother.
Professor Jung: Yes, you could well say that.
But what would be the matter with the real mother then, if we linked the monster with the mother?
How would she have behaved in reality?
Participant: She would have held the child too tight and bound her to her.
Professor Jung: No, that wouldn’t have been the case.
Participant: The mother would have looked after the child too little, and so the monster has to behave as the mother should have.
Professor Jung: Yes, the monster has to intervene to keep the child from such tricks.
The dream shows a typical process in the infantile soul that is so subtle, however, that the usual education does not notice it at all.
The child lives the life of the elder sister.
So she herself comes to a standstill in her development, and after some time becomes infantile.
The “nicest” neuroses develop out of such habitual identifications.
This can reach the point that people do not come to themselves at all; they cling to the ground to make sure to evade themselves.
Participant: Doesn’t this repeated pull to the top point to a yearning, an attempt in the child to come to this upper level? But this attempt fails. Does this mean that it is the child’s fate not to belong in that sphere at all, despite her efforts?
Professor Jung: That is a very good question.
This situation is decisive for the child’s soul.
An identification is developing here that has to be stopped immediately.
The unconscious, the independent, autonomous functioning of the psyche, stops this identification because it could become dangerous.
It is stopped at the very beginning.
We can see no reason why this undertaking of the child would be harmful.
We can only understand the whole scenario of the dream, if we draw the most extreme consequences out of the tendencies that are present here.
If the child goes on identifying with the elder sister, she will soon find herself in the situation that she no longer lives her own life, but instead replaces it with the model of “elder sister.”
Her life will then become unoriginal. We can indeed slip into the skin of somebody else.
There are individuals who do not live their lives at all.
They slip into the father or the mother, and then at the age of forty-five or fifty go to a doctor who is supposed to help them.
Such cases are tragic and can end in catastrophe.
There is the most subtle, nearly inaudible allusion to that in this dream.
Such early warning dreams appear because those identifications are so extremely dangerous.
Consciousness knows nothing about such identifications, but nature does.
Just as it reacts to a bodily infection, although consciousness is not aware of it, the unconscious reacts to such identifications.
If you consider this point for a long time, you can draw highly interesting conclusions:
Why, for instance, should it be dangerous at all not to live oneself? Why is nature interested in living itself?
It is an extremely typical infantile dream: the child identifies with the elder sister.
She tries to free herself from this identification in putting the doll of the sister to bed.
She believes she can paralyze her sister in this way, and regain her own creative activity.
But this trick fails. We cannot solve psychic conflicts by acts of sabotage.
The warning to get off the high horse and come down again is repeated three times.
Here you see a mechanism at work that is driven as by clockwork: the triad is fulfilled, and then it happens.
The child turns back and sees the monster. She has to take a look back and register the danger zone.
What will result from this encounter with the devouring monster we do not know.
The child awakens in fear.
- Dream of a Six-Year-Old Girl of the Rainbow Presented by Dr. Emma Steiner
Text: The dreamer says: “There was a beautiful rainbow, rising just in front of me.
I climbed up on it until I came into heaven.
From there I called down to my friend Marietta that she should also come up.
But she hesitated so long until the rainbow disintegrated and I fell down.”
Dr. Steiner: First, let us structure the dream:
The locale shows a natural event: there was a beautiful rainbow, rising just in front of the girl.
The exposition indicates the event: the girl climbs up on the rainbow until she comes into heaven.
The peripateia, or the change, happens through her calling to her friend Marietta to come up too.
But she hesitates to come, and the lysis comes: the rainbow disintegrates, and the girl falls down to the ground.
Let us move on to a broadening of the context, the amplification: the girl dreams of a beautiful rainbow.
Our personal associations to “rainbow” are the following: the rainbow is a wonderful, oscillating bridge; it leads to a castle in the air and from there to the ground.
So the rainbow is a symbol linking heaven and earth.
This unification of heaven and earth suggests a link between above and below, between spirit and matter.
Although the rainbow owes its existence to a pair of opposites, the coming together of rain and sunshine, it is at the same time also a symbol of harmony; for in its magnificent play of colors and its structure according to natural law it is a perfect reference to harmony.
Let us consult the interpretations that popular belief has made of the rainbow since ancient times.
The rainbow as a colorful spectacle has always stimulated the fantasy of all peoples.
The Old Testament sees in the rainbow a symbol of peace.
God sealed his covenant with Noah after the Flood with a rainbow.
Here we see again the connection between heaven and earth, between God and man.
According to the Christian view, the righteous and the chosen ones go on a rainbow to the Last Judgement, while the unrighteous fail in this attempt because the rainbow breaks down under them.
The faithful see in the rainbow the bridge on which the Christ child and the angels float to earth.
According to an old gypsy belief, the man who finds the end of the rainbow at Whitsun can climb up on it and find eternal health up there.
In many instances, powers hostile to man are also ascribed to the rainbow. It pulls anything that comes near one of its ends.
So it pulls ashore the fishes, but also pulls little children into the air.
An old legend from Transylvania says: A shepherd boy was very nosy.
He would have liked only too much to see how the rainbow attracts water.
He was punished by being pulled into the air himself, and now has to tend the sheep in heaven for all eternity.
Here the old wisdom is brought to life that man should not tempt the natural powers, for they are a matter of the gods.
Let us also consult those passages in Traumsymbole des Individuations prozesses
[Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process] that describe the following visual impression:
In our dream, the rainbow is the connecting symbol of the bridge.
The girl climbs on it up to heaven. Heaven is not described in more detail.
For the child it is the epitome of the beautiful, a castle in the air, something magnificent, something inexpressible.
It is probably also the fairy-tale fantasy world of this child.
It is so beautiful up there that the child is completely spellbound and cannot describe it because of its sheer magnificence.
But she would like her friend Marietta to share in this magnificence.
So she calls to her to come up, too.
The friend Marietta is probably not the physical friend of the child, but the other side of the girl, a side she is even more unconscious of, the earthy reality.
Up until now we have learned quite enough about the one side of the girl, that which longs to be in heaven, which builds castles in the air, and paints fantasy forms, the side that she symbolically relives in her walk over the rainbow.
In this call to Marietta, her earth-bound friend, the girl’s ego tries to pull the friend upward to an unreal world.
Professor Jung: In the case of this dream, we are in the same situation symbolically relives in her walk over the rainbow.
In this call to Marietta, her earth-bound friend, the girl’s ego tries to pull the friend upward to an unreal world.
For a moment, the updraft, the current of this unreal tendency, is stronger than the real world personified by Marietta, because it was precisely this updraft that has carried the girl up into heaven.
Let us return for a moment to the actual life situation of the girl, the situation before she had the dream.
On the basis of the dream and the symbolical updraft of its unreal tendency we may assume that in the everyday life of the child, too, there is a (albeit unconscious) tension between her fantasy world and reality, which she calls Marietta in the dream.
Such a tension at that age—the girl is six years old—may well be seen as a typical infantile situation.
There are very many children who are exposed to these tensions between fantasy world and reality every day.
The dream makes this tension acute, that is, a splitting occurs, a distancing from below, a walk over the rainbow, a distancing from Marietta, the reality.
Here we could ask whether it would have been dangerous if the child had succeeded in
pulling up Marietta, the reality. In any case, the child tries to undo the splitting by calling Marietta.
In the dream, however, a different solution occurs.
The splitting is undone by the unconscious, the upward tendency of the unreal sphere diminishes, and earth and reality gain force.
The rainbow vanishes through Marietta’s steadfastness—she hesitates to follow suit into the illusory world—and the child falls to the ground, back to reality.
We do not know about the circumstances in the girl’s life in more detail.
The dream could be a compensation for an all too sober, uncomprehending environment.
But it could also be a compensation for inner troubles of the child.
I would like to view the rainbow dream as an illustration of a typical situation of a child.
There are many children, probably those with a more intuitive disposition, who are, for
this reason, very often exposed to such tensions between reality and the fantasy world, and who are looking for a discharge by way of dreams, such as happened in this rainbow dream.
Professor Jung: In the case of this dream, we are in the same situation one of the most primitive definitions of the soul.
When you hurt the shadow, you hurt the person; when, for instance, you step on the
shadow, it is as if you gave the person in question a kick.
The chief loses his mana when someone walks over his shadow.
It is as if somebody had thrown himself at him and overcome him.
The primitives have another peculiar notion of the shadow: in southern countries, noon is the witching hour.
At noon the shadow is shortest, giving rise to the fear that it might disappear altogether.
This would be uncanny, for then one would have lost the shadow, the connection to the earth; one has suffered a loss of soul.
The shadow is the second person.
It is a personification of what follows behind us, what lies in the shadow of consciousness, and as a rule it also has—except for pathological cases—the meaning of earth.
In our dream, Marietta is the actual, real friend of this little girl. For reasons unknown to us, she has to represent the earth shadow of the dreamer.
It is actually not uncommon that friendships are formed in which one partner is the shadow of the other.
A psychological structure is expressed in this.
The language also refers to this, with expressions such as: he follows him like a shadow, he always runs after him.
In the case of children, we can often observe that one is taller than the other.
Or one is more stupid, the other more intelligent, one comes from a “special” family, and the like.
And yet these are friendships! One of the two has, as it were, accepted the
role of the follower, of the shadow.
In the dream the child tries to climb up from below, she climbs the rainbow bridge. How do we interpret this ascent?
The speaker has quite correctly stated that the motive for walking over the rainbow
bridge into a magnificent other world could be a certain deficiency in the environment, an all too rationalistic attitude in it.
This path is not without danger.
When the child gets lost in fantasy, she is in danger.
In fact, children can really go too far into fantasy, and so be exposed to psychical dangers.
It is possible, therefore, that the dream is based on such a thing.
But I wouldn’t like to attach too much importance to this, as this is certainly not the only possible motivation.
There is a much more general reason for such an ascent.
Participant: The desire to go back, to the collective security.
Participant: So would this dream indicate a regression then? I know children who still at the age of ten have that attitude, who are happy when they are in caves and who build little houses.
Professor Jung: So do you mean that these are regressive fantasies? Are they really regressive fantasies? Is this dream a regressive dream?
With this question we arrive at a very important but difficult problem.
To begin with, in the “climbing of the rainbow bridge” a collective image finds expression.
She repeats something that she could not yet have experienced in her own life.
Because of such archetypal images, children can produce dreams the contents of which they can in no way have experienced.
We can say that the child goes back to archaic ideas, to archetypal forms.
In this respect the dream appears like a regression, but it is a “reculer pour mieux sauter.”
True, she goes back, but only to climb up.
The building of, and living in, caves by children have just been mentioned: if we interpret this phenomenon purely reductively, we will have to understand it as slipping into the maternal womb.
But this slipping is also an isolation, effectively severing the child from his or her environment.
It is an isolation of consciousness.
In building a hut the child, so to speak, says: here we live.
There are also games in which children draw borderlines on the ground: this is my land, this is your land!
All these are personality boundaries; the participation with the environment is ended.
So the walk on the rainbow bridge does not indicate a regression, but a personality development, which happens only partially, however, as one part remains on the ground.
Here we are touching a normal phenomenon, characteristic of this age.
This is the age at which children go to school, and the first contact with the world takes place.
The child is expected to adjust. How does the child achieve this adjustment?
Participant: With consciousness.
Professor Jung: Yes, the child has to learn to become conscious.
For example, children have to know their names and addresses.
That’s what is expected in school.
The children gradually learn that they are not in one big family, but that they are this child of this family.
The child begins to differentiate the world in a different way than before, when there were only parents and servants and children, and perhaps also dogs and cats and cows.
This becoming conscious is an elevation from below to above, an elevation from the dark into the light.
But at the same time this also brings about a danger: whenever a decisive progress in consciousness occurs—not only in children, but also in adults—the danger of a splitting appears.
When someone has a new thought, he simply gets carried away with it.
He is hypnotized and loses consciousness of everything else.
Everything else disappears from memory.
This danger is greater in children because they are extraordinarily impressionable.
Children can easily get into something to make an ascent upward.
We can detect this danger of splitting in our dream.
The ascent happens only partially, because another part of the personality remains in the shade.
The shadow stays down below.
The ascent is a kind of illusion that cannot be maintained for a long time.
There appears a splitting between something too childlike, too primitive, on the one hand, and something already too adult, on the other.
The children then often fall under the control of the fantasy and no longer achieve what they really should.
As such phenomena of splitting can become very dangerous, the unconscious
seeks to put a stop to this process by such dreams.
Dr. Steiner has quite rightly referred to that passage in the Eranos yearbook where a dreamer also wants to go over the rainbow bridge.
This dreamer, in the work mentioned earlier, wanted to solve his problems beyond reality, in the heavenly “skull”—for that’s what heaven really is—and in doing so has left his reality to its own devices.
The dream shows him that the way does not go above, but down below! He has to stay on the earth with his shadow.
This is the typical case of an intellectual, who believed he could somehow “think,” or even un-think, his life.
He seems to have thought he could switch it off, and then it would cease to exist.
In our dream, too, there is a similar situation: the original splitting is done away
with by the little dreamer’s falling to the ground.
The dream very clearly says: This does not exist! You have come back to earth again!
This case wants to stop a progress in consciousness going too far, which would lead to a loss of reality.
The dream portrays the typical situation of a child.
The child goes to school and has to learn to adjust to the world, and to free herself from participation with the environment.
This happens through the development of consciousness—expressed in the dream through the ascent into the magical world.
This brings about the danger of a splitting between presumption, on the one hand, and primitiveness, on the other.
In the dream her friend Marietta, the inferior figure of the shadow, stays down below.
The dangerous walk on the rainbow bridge is stopped—the dreamer falls down to the ground.
Reality is brought back to the child in this way, and what had been separated is united again.
In concluding, we can say that the dream aims at keeping consciousness and shadow together.
At a Later Meeting of the Seminar [6 December 1938]
Professor Jung: Last time we discussed the dream of a child who climbs on a rainbow to heaven, and then falls down again. As a supplement, Mr. Kadinsky will tell you about an analogous case.
Mr. Kadinsky: This is a dream of a feeble-minded fourteen-year old boy: He dreams that he comes into heaven. St. Peter tells him he should go back to the earth. But he does not want to. So St. Peter turns him into a rabbit. Up until his eleventh year this boy could keep up well with the others in school. Then he was no longer able to follow; he was not promoted after the sixth grade. Later he no longer dreamed of going to heaven, but of climbing up to the North Pole. Recently his performance has become better again.
Professor Jung: Here, too, the performance at school gets poorer because the child distances himself too much from the earth.
In both dreams the unconscious tries to stop this process.
First the boy is turned into a rabbit—so his wings are clipped—and then the change occurs at the North Pole. What does the North Pole mean?
Participant: The North Pole is the point around which the earth revolves.
Professor Jung: Where does the North Pole, or the polestar, appear in mythology?
Participant: In Egypt, the polestar played a role in the construction of the pyramids. In the Cheops pyramid, for example, there was an exit on the northern side that, when its line was extended, pointed exactly to the polestar.
Professor Jung: Yes, and what does it say in the Mithraic liturgy?
Participant: Mithras appears as a fiery god, as an adolescent deity. In his right hand he swings a cow’s shoulder. This is the Great Bear, rotating around the North Pole.
Professor Jung: The cow’s shoulder thus represents the connection with the Pole.
With it, the god holds the whole sky and from there rotates the world.
The Pole is therefore a very important symbol, something transcendent.
It is the place where the world axis goes through, it is the center of the world.
The boy’s consciousness evidently knows nothing of this importance.
When a boy dreams of being at the North Pole, he thinks of a mysterious place where nobody except a few adventurers or explorers go.
In the unconscious, however, this is different: if someone dreams of going to the North
Pole, then this is right. It is in accordance with the situation to dream of the North Pole.
As it is, the unconscious functions according to the archetypes.
When it functions correctly, it could lead to the discovery of the world or to the reinvention of world history.
It is not we who have those images, but they are within us, and we are shaped by them.
These are preordained modes of functioning.
The way it happens in us is how it happens in nature in general.
An insect does by itself what it has to do after hatching.
It is not welcomed by benevolent parents or midwives, and all the same it spins its threads correctly.
It flies to the plant where it finds its food, and so on. It just does the right thing.
Similarly, the mental functioning of human beings is not something that each individual has to learn anew for him- or herself.
We do what our ancestors have always done. It is not the school that brings this about.
On the contrary, we have to be careful that the school does not destroy the natural functioning of the psyche.
As we saw last time, the first school years bring about a couple of adjustment difficulties for the child.
The process of the development of consciousness includes the danger that sometimes splitting phenomena between consciousness and the fantasy world occur.
This manifests itself in children’s being “in the air,” unable to pay attention.
They are really devoured by their intuitions.
It is as if they had a leak through which everything leaks out.
These two dreams of the boy also confirm what was explained in the last session: that flying upward, and floating in the air, are a danger.
That is why the unconscious intervenes and tries to stop the process.
It is incredible how fine the nose of the unconscious is!
It produces dreams like that of the ascent on the rainbow, or it gives the child a clue in threatening to turn him into a rabbit.
Or it compensates the child’s attitude by the ascent to the North Pole.
We could ask ourselves why the unconscious did not let this be followed by a warning in the form of falling down.
This is because the archetype of the North Pole has a entering meaning.
For it is, as we have seen, the center of the world, that is, of the unconscious, around which everything revolves.
Our consciousness revolves around the unconscious, not the other way around.
The center of a human being lies in the unconscious.
It was an error of the nineteenth century to say: The center of the world is the ego.
The ego is, so to speak, a clown acting as if it were the leading actor.
At best it wants what happens anyway.
And we are always talking about how we’d want this or were able to do that.
But the conviction “The will can achieve anything” is merely a superstition of the ego.
We want to see ourselves as having supernatural powers.
We think we got unlimited freedom. But there’s no question of that.
Because we forget that again and again, and underestimate the unconscious, such dreams as that of going to the North Pole come up.
Participant: In the Talmud and in the Kabbalah there is a ban on looking at the rainbow, because it would lead to God. It would be an insult to God.
Professor Jung: The rainbow is a numinosum.
It has a divine meaning, as it is an unusual vision. It is a bridge leading into the hereafter.
It can also appear as a circle, as a halo around the sun or the moon.
It contains all colors, which is a special motif. It means: all qualities.
Since prehistoric times, colors, as well as numbers, have had a sacred meaning.
This has even been preserved in the Church colors.
A certain dark yellow is the sacred color in Buddhism.
In China yellow is the correct color, the color of heaven, of the emperor.
Remnants of the original meaning of colors are also found in the paint of the primitives.
Each color that is used for ritual paint also has a magical meaning.
So it is little wonder that the rainbow has a magical meaning also in the Jewish religion.
Participant: In an African myth, the rainbow is a devouring animal. Where it touches the ground, its jaws devour many people.
Professor Jung: This corresponds to the primitive’s fear of the mana.
The mana is believed to have not only positive, but also deadly effects.
As it is, the gods have effects for better and for worse.
- Dream of a Four- to Five-Year-Old Boy of the Robbers’ Den Presented by Dr. Hans Wespi
Text: All of a sudden I was in a dark robbers’ den that was lit only by a fire in a corner.
A couple of figures sat around that fire.
I especially noticed two robbers; one of them was very tall and strong, the other was a
hop pole, thin as a rake, that laughed mischievously.
I was hungry and asked for a piece of bread.
The big one came toward me and scared me with curt words.
Meanwhile the hop pole was slicing little pieces of clay off a big lump of clay that were given to me with a lazy smile.
Both were standing beside me, until I had eaten the pieces of clay.
I was really disgusted by it and woke up from it.
Professor Jung: This dream was dreamed by a boy between four and five years old.
This dream, too, was not told by the child, but remembered by the adult.
As I mentioned in the first session, we are dealing only with such dreams here. Childhood dreams still remembered by adults are not just any dreams, but have been preserved by memory because they completely contain human life in either longer or shorter periods.
When we have a cursory glance at such a dream, at first we do not understand why it has been remembered.
If we are able to trace it back, however, we can in most cases find clues as to why it has gained such importance.
If things have made a deep impression on us in childhood, we may assume that something highly important lies within what impressed us as such, or that a very important event happened in the neighborhood of what we kept in our memory, something which is meaningful for the whole later course of life.
There are such childhood memories: suddenly there is a smell of bread in the air, or of bread or milk, or the memory of a scene when the mother let a plate fall on the ground—all of them seemingly completely unimportant in themselves, but in whose proximity there are events or conditions that are very important for the later development of the child.
If we cannot reconstruct these events with the help of the parents themselves, it is not always possible to verify them.
Even then it is extremely difficult, because these are often things the parents do not want to remember.
Also, often the parents cannot contribute anything because such dreams originate in a
sphere of which they themselves are not aware.
In the case of such material we have to realize right at the beginning that we are not able to tackle the dream with the usual means.
As we have seen in one of the previous sessions, we have to use the ethno-psychological
method with dreams that cannot be solved by personal questioning or personal amplification. Nature itself speaks in such dreams.
The wisdom of the child is the wisdom of nature, and it needs the utmost cunning to follow nature.
You know the saying: “Children and fools tell the truth.”
The truth is hard to understand, for the simple is difficult, and the simplest of all is the most difficult of all.
You’ll have to have studied all there is to study to reduce such a dream to a simple
Let us now have a closer look at the basic motifs of the dream.
There is a robbers’ den into which the boy comes. A couple of figures sit around a fire.
Two robbers in particular stand out, one of them very strong, the other thin as a rake. How would you comment on this?
Participant: This dream reminds me of another one, which we discussed in the seminar of 1935/36, the dream of the two giants who fished from a roof and fell into the water.
Professor Jung: Yes, the analogy is suggestive. Where do you see the similarity?
Participant: We interpreted the dream of the two giants as an anticipation of being adult. The boy dreamed himself into being an adult. It was shown to him that one can fish something out of the unconscious—the value of being an adult—only if one falls into it oneself. Couldn’t this also be the meaning of the eating of the clay? Perhaps
the boy has to understand that he has to eat clay to become an adult.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is a substantial contribution.
You have heard the suggestion to make an analogy between this dream and the dream of the two giants.
It was assumed that the two giants could be anticipations of being an adult.
This assumption is supported by the size of the two figures.
Things have completely different dimensions for a child than for an adult.
When you later come to a place where you were in your childhood, you will be surprised at the proportions of the whole environment which, as a child, seemed so much bigger.
Buildings and streets, too, stretched into infinity for you as a child, but later you see that it’s only a couple of steps.
The same happens to the impression that adults make on children.
They seem like giants to them.
When a little boy dreams of a giant, one may therefore assume that he dreams of being an adult.
Children generally look out into the future. This is quite regular.
The grownup, too, thinks of the future much more often than of the past.
Too much thinking back is neurotic.
We don’t like to swim against the tide, and if we do it, there are specific reasons for it.
For a child, looking backward would be unnatural.
On the contrary, children want to grow up as fast as possible.
Boys want to have long trousers, and girls want to be young ladies. The boys play soldiers and think they are grown up.
When you watch children play you can observe the strangest things, for instance, how enthusiastically they identify with adults.
So we may safely interpret this dream as an anticipation.
Participant: Can we just explain these “giants” by the child’s psychology alone? Maybe we should rather equate them with the giants of the Germanic god sagas?
Professor Jung: We cannot single out a time period in which these forms took shape.
They have always been there a priori! We find them simply everywhere.
In primitive tribes, in their typically childlike mental state, there are already differentiated concepts and images.
So we would have to go back to a mythical prehistoric world in order to see how such forms came into being.
When we find these same ideas in a child, we cannot assume that this child invented them for the first time; they are already there.
Sometimes they are there because the child has been told fairy tales.
Fairy tales are easily absorbed by children.
Perhaps this boy has been told fairy tales about giants.
He gladly takes this in, because it gives him an expression for something that is already active in him.
Children don’t take in anything that does not exactly fit them.
A great deal of ideas are simply rejected, because they do not fit, they do not mean anything to the child.
This is why fairy tales are so important, to give the children concepts for contents that are in them.
The witch, for instance, gives expression to specific psychical facts.
The story of the stork is also much more in accordance with the infantile imaginary world than rationalistic enlightenment about where babies come from.
The latter is often rejected and the story of the stork taken up again.
Children do not believe in a birth by coincidence,
happening on earth, but they believe that we are born in a magical way.
These ideas are expressed in myths: the hero, for example, is a particularly fine specimen, and is never born in the usual way.
If this happens anyway, a second birth is assumed.
The so-called birth chambers in Egyptian temples bear witness to this.
Their walls display events showing how the pharaoh, after being regularly conceived and born by Mr. X and Mrs. Y, is produced once again by the gods: divine coitus, divine pregnancy and birth are presented as evidence that the pharaoh was born twice, as a son of the gods.
In primitive tribes, too, the young men have to know that they are spirits, or sons of the sun.
Only then are they human beings. Before, as they say themselves, they are only animals.
They absolutely need to give expression to these facts.
It is just our rationalism that no longer understands these things, because we think we can live with rational ideas only.
Well, you see how far things have come in the world when we want to live with sheer rationalism.
Then people become crazy, because they have no expression for the things that move them.
Just take a look once at how much ill persons suffer if they do not find expression for their inner contents, and how much it means to them when they find a mythical expression for them.
This is a tremendous relief.
We have to familiarize ourselves with the fact that there is a being within us that is not content with rationalism.
The boy in our dream, therefore, experiences the fantastic story that he falls into the hands of the giants—as if giants still existed!
In the psychical world, however, giants do still exist.
It is completely beside the point whether they really exist.
Primitives are convinced of their existence, because they are within them!
We now have to ask how we should interpret the giants.
Most obviously and most probably the giant is the adult, as we have seen.
Participant: Isn’t it important that the two giants are a pair of opposites? In the other dream of the giants, if I remember correctly, they are completely alike.
Participant: But we have seen that this equation of two figures has a meaning; the meaning being to bring out this figure of the unconscious and to perceive it.
Professor Jung: You will often notice that certain motifs appear in duality, as two identical figures.
This duality indicates that in fact we are dealing with one, which is still unconscious, however, for you cannot perceive something positive, if at the same time you do not distinguish it from something negative.
These are coordinated apperceptions, comparable to a coordinated innervation.
If you want to stretch your arm, you will have to innervate the flexor, and when you
perceive something, you will also always have to somehow negate what is perceived positively, that is, you will have to distinguish, to make distinctions: this or that; this is this, and that is his shadow.
It is impossible to clearly perceive without making a certain criticism of the perceptions, otherwise you will immediately fuse once again with the whole environment.
This is indicated in our language by certain terms for the process of realization, such as “to divide up,” “to crystallize.”
These terms contain a negation.
In the process of realization, we try to separate what we actually want to make conscious from the knot; so, for instance, we say “No” to the knot as a whole, but take something specific out of it—and this will then become knowledge.
Conscious perception is discrimination.
Figures in the unconscious are distinguished from each other, therefore, when they
reach the threshold of perceptibility, and then such a figure presents itself as two, but two completely identical figures, the one and the other, but this before it is clear which is the one and which the other.
Now the reason for this duality can—as in our dream—lie in the fact that the two figures are different; for example, Castor and Pollux: the one is mortal, the other immortal.
Do you know other examples?
Participant: David and Goliath.
Participant: Jacob and Esau.
Professor Jung: In our dream there is a clear distinction between the two robbers; one is an athletically built giant, the other a thin, long hop pole equipped with a malicious mind.
What do these two represent?
Participant: Raw strength on the one hand, and mischievous intellect on the other.
Professor Jung: And what is your opinion on that? What does this mean for the boy?
Participant: These are both qualities that he does not yet possess and that he experiences as something superior to him.
Professor Jung: Yes, these are both the world powers he has already experienced.
The force he experiences through the father, and he can trick his mother out of something with a ruse.
The two figures represent ruse and power.
The thin one is something like the devil, but a very intelligent devil who knows how it has to be done, who understands life.
The thin one gives him the clay to eat!
At a Later Meeting of the Seminar (13 December 1938)
Professor Jung: Last time we saw that the two robbers represent the two world powers of ruse and power.
In mythology there are many examples of this pair of opposites.
Participant: In Greek mythology there are many such pairs. I am thinking above all of the various relations of Odysseus with violent persons. He always represents the cunning one. Ajax and Odysseus, Agamemnon and Odysseus, Diomedes and Odysseus are such pairs. The strong one always commits a heinous crime, and the cunning one is always the one to find out. Odysseus is the typical cunning one. In all cases he meets a violent comrade. After they had been in the underworld and had achieved what they wanted, they fell out with each other again. The same happens with Theseus and Peirithous. The strong one is the victim, and stays in the underworld. The crafty one comes up.
Professor Jung: The strong one remains attached to the rock.
With all his strength, he is eventually taken in after all.
This short overview shows you that the idea of power, on the one hand, and ruse, on
the other, are archetypal ideas that are already found everywhere.
These pairs of opposites are also found in primitive tribes.
What is remarkable in that respect?
Participant: The contrast between the chief and the medicine man. The chief is the executive power, and the medicine man is the shrewd one.
Professor Jung: In the life of a primitive tribe, these two personalities are really the decisive authorities.
The chief is violent; he is the strongest man of the tribe.
The moment he is no longer strong, he is killed on the spot.
In the New Testament there is also an example of the slaying of the former king: Christ is sacrificed, and Barabbas is set free.
This referred to an old custom, namely, that a criminal was allowed, on a certain day of the year, to freely walk around the town.
He could rob everything—provided that he was not caught after sunset, in which case he was killed.
He was a king, and had royal power.
This custom stemmed from the fact that the king has absolute authority as long as he is in power.
The moment he shows a slight weakness, he is finished.
Another example is the Nordic kings.
They were allowed to rule as long as the harvests were good.
If the harvest was bad, however, they were killed, because in that case they had not fertilized the country well.
It was uncomfortable to have been king of the primitives.
The counterpart of the powerful man is the medicine man; most often he is the intelligent one of the tribe.
I myself was able to notice that either he is the crazy one of the tribe, or a man of
superior shrewdness, simply more intelligent than the others, or dangerous because of his cunning.
He has contact with the spirits and receives their revelations.
He can even rule the tribe, over the chief ’s head, through divine revelation.
There is a wonderful example in the book of Rasmussen37]] on the Polar Eskimos: There is a story told about a medicine man who, when his tribe suffered great hardship because of a lack of food, had a vision of a land offering food.
He persuaded his tribe to go with him over the ice of Baffin Bay.
They came to the shores of North America, where they found plenty of food.
One half of the tribe turned back before that, and perished.
The other half went with him, and was able to be saved by him.
He had the inner certainty of a sleepwalker, with the help of which he led his people to the right place.
This is what the medicine man can do.
It need not always be cunning; the idea that will save the situation can also come from the heart, as in this case.
The prophets in the Old Testament also were such medicine men. There often is a conflict between the chief and the medicine man.
The chief is often afraid of the medicine man.
I have experienced such a situation myself.
A chief wanted to tell me something about the medicine man.
Out of fear he took me into the bush with him and posted sentinels.
He only whispered—when I asked him why he talked in such a low voice, he answered: “If the medicine man knew, he would poison me at once.”
In our dream this archetypal contrast, which shows its effect in the life of the adult, is anticipated.
The little boy is able to dream the contrast because he too has these two possibilities within himself, as archetypal images.
This even dawns on him already, because the contrast has come within the scope of his perception.
Let us look further at the dream. What do you have to say?
Participant: I would start with the fact that the robbers are in a cave. Could this perhaps be interpreted by way of the boy’s still being in the uterus, in the bosom of the family?
Professor Jung: The cave is not the uterus.
In addition, it is quite normal that a boy of five years is still feeling secure in the bosom of the family.
In the dream, the boy is coming into the cave, he is not already there.
He came there on his nightly travels, and now he suddenly finds himself in this dark place with the robbers.
He unexpectedly falls into the hands of evil, just like in the fairy tales, for example, in “Little Red Riding Hood,” who is eaten up by the wolf,
or in the tale of “Hansel and Gretel,” who both are captured by the witch.
This evil, however, has got a fire in its center! What is your opinion of the fact that a fire is burning in the middle of the cave?
Participant: I would say that these two robbers hold the Promethean fire for the boy.
Professor Jung: I would not immediately rule out this possibility.
The fire is always a center of life, a place where it is warm and light, a place where people gather.
In this sense it has a positive meaning.
Going back to the original importance of the fire, we can see that the fire is a benevolent power, of greatest importance to primitive man.
You’ll have to experience that yourselves, what it means to come to a wretched place in the dark, wet and cold, not knowing where you are, feeling that anything could happen now—and then a fire is made!
At once people gather round the fire.
You can warm yourselves up, cook something—then you will feel at home even in the wildest wilderness, and feel safe and secure.
So the fire is something positive: it is what gives shelter, provides a home for the stranger, it is the sacred home.
The fire also has an incredibly high capacity to ward off disaster, not only with regard to evil spirits, but also regarding wild animals.
When you stay overnight in a place where lions roam, it is very disagreeable to go to bed; but when you light a lamp, you will feel secure at once.
When you are in the bush and sit by the fire, a leopard can come very close—but it is alright, for you are in the fire circle.
I would lean toward the assumption that in this dream, too, the fire has a positive meaning and stands for a center of life.
The cave is the closed-off place to which the boy came by coincidence.
There the secret fire is found, by which the giants sit.
This is the representation of a thought that could be put into words as follows: in the
dark depths of my unconscious I am finding those figures of the future, the great conditioning powers, in the light of the fire, around which people gather, and where they find shelter and food.
In the dream, the two robbers sitting round the fire try to make the boy accept clay instead of bread, which he had originally demanded.
Admittedly, this is a highly strange idea. Eating clay, as such, is not unheard of.
When still very little, the boy had perhaps also put dirt into his mouth, or eaten earth.
Under which circumstances is clay also eaten?
Participant: During famines.
Professor Jung: Yes, very rich, fine clay was eaten during famines.
During the Thirty Years’ War, peasants were known to eat clay, to get a feeling of satiety in their stomachs and to suppress the agonizing feeling of hunger.
So it does happen that clay is eaten in extreme distress.
But how can it happen to such a boy to eat clay? This must have a special meaning.
Well, you have heard from Dr. Wespi that clay and earth are the food of the underworld.
Excerpt from the paper: What is of special importance to us is the tradition that clay was the food of the inhabitants of the Babylonian- Sumerian underworld. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, too, it is said of the dead: “Dust of the earth is their food, and clay their meal.”
In Babylonian texts we find the idea that the dead eat their own excrement; the dead have to eat the heavy, indigestible clay.
You will find the corresponding notion in the Epic of Gilgamesh: just as the earth eats up the dead, the dead now have to eat earth, too.
The dead eat earth like a sarcophagus.
They have to get the earth into themselves, for earth they will become.
The corpses will become earth, the flesh will become earth.
What comes from the earth will become earth again.
This is the familiar idea from the Holy Scripture: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
There is another passage in the Bible where there is an analogy to eating clay.
Participant: In Genesis, where God curses the serpent: it will have to crawl on its belly and eat dust.
Professor Jung: Do you know yet another parallel to the eating of clay?
Participant: In Faust it says: “He’ll eat the dust, and with an art, Like the snake my mother, known for sinning.”
Professor Jung: Yes, who says this?
Participant: The devil in the Prologue in Heaven. He also mentions it in the talk with the student who waits for Faust: “Just follow the ancient text, and my mother the snake, too: And then your likeness to God will surely frighten you!”
Professor Jung: Yes, these are crucial passages.
The dust that has to be eaten undoubtedly refers to the earth.
In a figurative sense, the dust means: the worldly food, which has to be eaten by man who was born a spirit.
So at which conclusion would we arrive as far as our dream is concerned?
Participant: The wish for a piece of bread is expressed by the little boy; he wants to have his food as he is accustomed, as he received it as a child from the mother. But this is a wish that is not granted as such. It is an infantile wish.
Professor Jung: Which is the infantile wish?
Participant: The wish to be comfortably cared for.
Professor Jung: So you would see it as a regressive factor.
As we have just seen, however, the fire indicates a nourishing situation, building up one’s strength.
Seeing the fire, the thought of eating strikes the boy: now there’s food.
One gets hungry just smelling the smoke.
The boy wants bread, which is normal, but it’s clay he gets.
This is what is new, this is why he has the dream in the first place.
Participant: We have seen that clay is also the food of the dead. Couldn’t we conclude from this fact that the dream has a regressive meaning? The clay would then be the food that corresponds to a state before birth.
Professor Jung: You have to be aware of the mental state of the child.
The giants are the adults.
They force him, his anticipations force him, to grow up into this world.
This is done through eating clay. He is forced to eat earth.
If he does not do that, he will not grow up. This is no regression.
Participant: Any regression aside, doesn’t eating clay in reality come before eating bread?
Professor Jung: Think of certain sayings, such as: “He can do more than just eat bread,” or “Here you’ve gotta do more than eat bread.”
This implies the thought that eating bread is a very simple matter, and that there is still another way of eating that is considerably more difficult.
How is this expressed in history? Where does eating bread symbolically stand for that other way of eating?
Participant: The host is such a symbol.
Professor Jung: Yes, for many it does not mean anything today, it has become worn out and trite, but originally it was a symbol full of life.
In former times such meals were dark mysteries.
The totem meals of the primitives also belong here; they often are cannibalistic.
An enemy is slain and eaten up.
The cousins Sarasin, who explored Celebes, report: A captive is tied to a column in the house of the spirits, then all the men of the tribe come, stab him in the skin, and lick the blood from the knife or the spear.
This is a mysterious, ritual sharing of blood. Eating bread is human.
The other way of eating is no longer human, it is a mystery.
That is why these meals are taboo.
The same is true in the Catholic Church: you must not touch the host.
When it is dropped to the ground, a sacrilege has occurred.
A Spanish Jesuit in the seventeenth century reports the following case: A donna came to church with a little lapdog.
When the priest offered her the host, the dog snatched the host away from her.
The church was closed; the case was brought before the Holy Inquisition.
The women got off with a fine of two hundred Dubloons.
The dog was confiscated and consigned to death by fire because of its obscene,
Here you see the taboo surrounding the holy meal.
This is the other, the very dangerous meal, which is more than just eating bread.
So this is the way I would view the eating of the clay.
I think it has become clear to you why I do not consider this dream a regressive one, but a simple anticipation of what is to come.
We have to take an even closer look, however, at the symbol of eating clay.
We have seen that the symbolic meal is more than the everyday one.
This is about absorbing something strange and different, about incorporating
the other being.
What does this mean for this five-year-old boy?
What does he have to take in, when he is forced to eat clay?
Participant: Up until then he got bread to eat. Now something else is offered to him—heavy clay. Apparently, this is the hardly digestible reality as such, an allegory of reality, which has to be eaten by him.
Professor Jung: That’s it. He who eats the heavy clay will become heavy himself.
This pulls one down to earth.
Because earth food is the food of the underworld, we become mortal.
The idea of eating the world is also found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
The world is eaten, one has to swallow the world as it is.
Viewed from this broad horizon, it is no longer surprising that the boy dreams of this.
He is between four and five years old; he will soon go to school, at least to nursery school.
This world is earthly, heavy, and will pull him down.
And this world he has to eat. He does not want to.
Why not? Shouldn’t one expect a child to desire the world? Why does he have a resistance? And why of all things should it be shown to him by the dream that it is disgusting to eat earth?
Here we are confronted with the strange fact that this dream can be reduced to and summarized by the nearly edifying formula: It is hard to accept this earth.
You really have to eat dust, it is disgusting.
Where does this idea come from?
This is not just a concept like any other, but an archetypal concept. It is the idea that gives expression to all the revulsion the child feels toward matter.
Participant: Perhaps because of a certain intellectual milieu, an ascetic Christian milieu, for instance?
Professor Jung: But couldn’t others, too, have this dream?
Christianity no longer has such influence, otherwise the theologians wouldn’t have to make such an effort.
Participant: Adam and Eve already shied away from worldly reality.
Professor Jung: Yes, they nearly stayed in heavenly paradise.
But Eve gave the apple to Adam, the world, that is, and seduced him into eating it.
Imagine the world of this little boy. He comes into the world of the adults.
This is a mystery for the child. It is a robbers’ den. You do not know what happens there.
There is something fishy about it. Then these devilish powers force you to eat earth.
But what is the resistance of the child based on?
Let us assume that this is not merely something subjective, but a worldwide affair.
Participant: Everybody resists accepting something negative.
Professor Jung: That’s it exactly. We are fooled: “Life is beautiful.
When you are married, everything is just fine. You have a job that of course is fulfilling, and those lovely little kiddies . . . ”
But why, why have people been fooled that marriage is the happiest of all states?
Precisely because life is extremely difficult.
The boy, too, was offered a lopsided image, but he realized what bullshit he was told.
It says in the dream, therefore: “You’ll have to swallow that dirt!”
Why can’t we just accept it as natural that there is pleasure and pain, dark and light, day and night? Where does such a little boy come from?
Participant: From an environment in which up to now he could take the liberty of doing as he pleased.
Professor Jung: First of all, he comes from a milieu of lavish care and attention, surrounded by caring and concerned parents, nurses, aunts, doctors, and grandmothers.
And now the world is coming onto him, and this is revolting.
You can observe this disgust everywhere.
Everything smells right in one’s own family, but other people smell wrong, they are unappetizing and you cannot trust them.
The idea here is: “We are right, but those over there, they are terrible and disgusting,
we can’t have anything to do with them.”
We have revolting images of everything foreign in general. What is foreign is either
fascinating or disgusting.
Children feel a distinct revulsion against anything foreign—the world, that is.
But now they are entering into it, getting in touch with all those strange children. Just have a look at the children, at how shy and frightened they are of strangers!
And why? Because the strange is uncanny, it is repulsive.
They do not accept anything from a stranger, exactly because of this feeling.
Only after they have seen through the trick will this change.
At first everything is disgusting, and so the child, from his sheltered and cared-for
position, in which he experiences nothing but pleasure, has a resistance against the strange life now appearing.
This is where the archetypal symbols appear.
These are helpful images that may orient us about the further development.
A dream may, for instance, announce a difficult situation in the following way: “There are rocks over there, you have to be careful there, they are just closing in behind you, but luckily you are through!”
The fire can also be such a helpful archetype.
Then we maybe dream: “You come into a desolate situation, into despair and loneliness.
With the help of the fire, however, you are able to ward off any danger, you can fight the great danger.
You are consumed by desolation; but then you are making a fire in the dragon’s body, the dragon’s body croaks, there is a hole in its side.
You walk out again and take with you all it has eaten up!”
Such motifs always appear when we are facing a difficult transition.
These images help us to achieve deeds of courage, which otherwise we would never have been able to accomplish.
A clear example of such an archetypal influence is the murder of King Albrecht.
Parricida could already have killed him before.
But only when they were riding into the ford did he summon his courage: “Why should we let ride this Chaib in front of us any longer” (a Chaib is horse carrion), and he drew his sword and killed King Albrecht.
“In the ford” is the archetypal situation in which the murder can be done, in which great danger is threatening and can be overcome.
The archetypal is a powerful emotion brought into its original form.
When someone is able to perform the art of touching on the archetypal, he can play on the souls of people like on the strings of a piano.
In this dream too, then, helpful images appear: the whole dream unfolds in the light of the warming fire.
In it the boy sees the two gigantic figures, the two governing forces of his future, ruse and power.
These devilish powers approach him, the foreign, repulsive world wants to pull him down.
He is forced to eat clay.
He does this with great disgust, but he does do it: he swallows the barely digestible reality, into which he is growing.
He masters the dangers, the evil can’t harm him, for he is in the fire circle!
In concluding, we can say that the dream is an adhortatio, that is, a preview of the world now unfolding, which approaches the boy and which he has to swallow in God’s name.
- Dream of a Five-Year-Old Girl of the Death Masks of Her Parents Presented by Dr. Nothmann
Text: In the first dream I heard my father call.
When I got up and went into the sleeping room of my parents, I saw a pyramid made of ash above each bed, and above each of those the death masks of father and mother.
In the second dream I was standing in a desolate place full of craters.
Far away, too far to reach, my father was standing in one of these craters and called for help.
Dr. Nothmann: To begin with, we will treat these dreams—on which I worked with the assistance of Mrs. Adler and Mr. Kadinsky—according to Professor Jung’s schema, to be able to enter into their special characteristics afterward.
The characters in the first dream are the father and the dreamer; the locale is the parental sleeping room.
The plot (exposition) consists in the call from the father, its thickening occurs when the dreamer enters the parental sleeping room
and visually perceives the situation in it (climax).
No lysis follows after this visual apperception.
The symbols are the sleeping room, the beds of father and mother, two pyramids of ashes, and four death masks of father and mother.
Because of the symbols used alone, the atmosphere in the dream is impressive and gloomy.
But the way they are positioned in the room, too, exerts a strong influence.
When we try to schematically draw the dream image, we see a threefold structure in the vertical line: bed, pyramid, and death mask.
The effect of the powerful symbolic language is increased by the lack of an actual lysis.
Something very gloomy has happened to the dreamer, but she remains untouched and
inactive, although some reaction to the father’s call would be appropriate, a stirring of emotion, and an effort to do something.
Father and dreamer are also the “actors” in the second dream.
The mother, portrayed in the first dream by the bed and the death mask, is here symbolized by the crater.
Again the father calls, but the intensity of the call is heightened to a call for help.
The closeness between father and dreamer of the first dream is gone; there is an infinite
distance between them.
The dreamer has stepped out of her home into the world, into a desolate world full of scattered craters, in which almost nothing living remains.
Indifferently she is standing in it; and what the dream compels the dreamer to do—to come to the help of the father—she does not do, for the deed seems impossible, the distance too insurmountable, to her.
After this short sketch let us go into a discussion of the dream symbols in the first dream.
The father symbolizes the procreative, form-giving figure.
He is the spiritual principle that gives meaning.
He is the one who leads the child [ . . . ] into life.
It is the father who, as pater familias, rules and leads the house, as pope the community of the faithful, as pater patriae the country and his people, and, finally, as God the Father the world.
But there is also a destructive and misleading counterpart corresponding to this procreative and guiding father principle.
This is the case when the child does not succeed in cutting, at the right time, the
spiritual ties linking her to the father and overcoming him.
Then it may happen that someone does not live her or his own life, but that of the father.
Negative qualities, in addition to procreative and guiding ones, are often ascribed to God the Father.
The daily Jewish prayer portrays Jehovah as the one who gives life and who kills. [ . . . ]
Following the call of the father, the dreamer enters the sleeping room of the parents, the place where the child is born and spends, still in complete identity with the parents, the first years of life.
The child is called into this room; here is the nightly resting-place of the parents.
The dreamer sees the beds of her parents.
These are the symbol for sleep, that is, unconsciousness.
The bed is not only the place where the child was conceived, however, but also the place where the parents will die; it is thus the allegory of the eternal cycle as such.
Then the dreamer sees the pyramids.
The symbol of the pyramid we are most familiar with is that in the Egyptian cultural environment and in China.
In Egypt, the pyramids even give a great historical epoch its name, the Age of the Pyramids.
The pyramids are burial sites, tombs of the kings.
For the ancient Egyptians, however, the king was much more than merely a real figure of social life, more than a representative of foreign and domestic politics; he stands in a special relation with the gods.
He is of divine origin, successor to the god Re, who, having grown old and tired, had retired to heaven and given over the reign to the kings on earth.
Frequently the name of the god Atum or Horus was added to his own, and he is often directly referred to as the sun. After death he becomes a god again, namely, Osiris.
There is a spatial connection between his tomb, the pyramid, and the temple in which the god is worshipped; the former is even sometimes directly addressed as Osiris.
The pyramid [ . . . ] is entirely based on the Egyptians’ ideas on life after death: man is composed of at least three parts, the body, the soul (Ba), and the Ka, a being of its own,
for whom it is hard to find a translation.
After death follows the resurrection.
It can take place only if the form of the deceased’s body has been preserved by embalming.
Ba, the soul, often rendered as a bird, has to be able to visit the embalmed body; its way goes through the tomb shaft, situated in the pyramid.
After death, the pyramid itself serves as a home for Ka.
Obviously, Ka is the most important element, an independent spiritual being who has his home in the living individual, guides him through the entire course of life, and after
death continues the life, which the deceased began here on earth, in the grave.
Ka is supplied in the pyramid tombs, therefore, with all the household things that are necessary for his housekeeping after death: food and drink, personal objects, weapons, rouge-pots, mirrors, and so on, even the domestic servants who do the housekeeping for him.
For the resurrection it is also neces
It is either laid over the face of the corpse or is displayed, in the form of a sculpture or picture, in a special place in the burial chamber. [ . . . ]
In the Cheops Pyramid, as well as in the grave of Osiris in Abydos, another characteristic of the resurrection is stressed as important: the burial chamber is subterraneously
connected to the Nile by special channels, through which the fertilizing water of the Nile can find its way into the burial chamber in times of inundation. [ . . . ]
In China, the second cultural environment in which pyramid tombs were erected, the idea of resurrection is symbolically expressed by the choice of the grave site.
It is situated between the mountain and the valley, between heaven and earth, in the Fengshui—that is, in the most favorable geomantic position, where the sun and the
south wind can reach it—and among trees, at the roots of which water pours out of the ground. In all ethnicities building pyramids as burial sites, there exists, according to Baumann, the idea that the process of physical centering is preceded by destruction, only after which can the new emerge in durable forms.
So we are able to deduce death and resurrection, the destruction of the one personality and the building of a new one, from the symbol of the old pyramids.
The pyramids in the dream are made of ash: ash, the residue of combustion, can take on different meanings.
Some primitives, for example, use it as a means of protection again demons, by spreading it on the forehead of the newborn as a protection against the evil eye.
In particular, ash is used as a protection against the spirits of the dead.
[ . . . ] We still have to deal especially with ashes as the product of cremation.
All cults of cremation have an idea in common, to assist the dead person on his way to the hereafter, that is, to assist in resurrection by freeing the soul through destruction of the mortal remains: the soul can thus float into the next world, into heaven.
The custom of simultaneously cremating his possessions, even his wife, with the dead person, is connected with this idea.
This concept is very clearly expressed in an Indian prayer, which the man conducting
the funeral addresses to the dead person during cremation: “[ . . . ] move on, on the old paths on which our forebears passed away. [ . . . ] Join the fathers there in the highest heaven [ . . . ] leaving behind all that is imperfect, assume a new body, aglow in beauty.”
The phoenix’s ashes have become the epitome of the symbol of the resurrection of the dead; that miraculous bird which, coming from Arabia, flies to Egypt after having lived for five hundred years, where it sets itself on fire after self-laceration, to give birth to itself out of its own ashes.
But the flight to Egypt is the flight to Heliopolis, where the old phoenix is buried as a god.
So the ashes and the pyramid are both symbols of the resurrection of the dead, although they belong to different cultural environments. [ . . . ]
Above the pyramid there are the death masks: in order to understand them, let us start from the notion of the mask. [ . . . ]
A special, and the most frequent, form of the mask is the death mask.
We have already talked about the Egyptian death mask.
It can be effective in resurrection only if it is portraitlike.
Death masks are still in use today: on tombstones, often in an artistic form—let me remind you of Italian cemeteries—they show a portrait of the deceased as true to life as possible, and so keep his memory alive for the bereaved.
Death masks are frequently used by primitive peoples in puberty rites, those dramatized representations of the process of puberty, of the
death of the infantile personality, and the rising of the adult personality.
[ . . . ]
Now let us try to discuss the second dream according to Jung’s schema. In it, too, the father and the dreamer are the actors.
As in the first dream, the father calls, but he calls for help.
The dreamer is called on to help the father, but the help does not come.
Instead of an action, there only remains a resigned “It-doesn’t-work,” “It-is-impossible.”
[ . . . ] Compared with the first dream, the atmosphere is even gloomier, the cosmos of the outer world has been torn apart, and there is a discrepancy between the distress in which the father is caught up and the complete passivity of the child who is called on to
help. [ . . . ]
The location of the dream process is a place full of craters.
The motif of the crater appears in multiplicity; the Earth’s crust is full of holes.
Regarding this multiplicity, I would like to bring some examples of dreams from psychopathology. Jung tells of dreams in which the “room is full of mice or cats.”
In dreams for which I have to thank Dr. Meier, the dreamer dreams of “a pool, in which many corked bottles float, each of them containing a message.”
In another dream there is “nothing but broken window panes.”
The most far-reaching analogy, however, can be found in the following dream, for I which I also have to thank Dr. Meier: I am on a street which, however, consists of nothing but deep holes.
They are open manholes. There are no drain covers anywhere.
I have the impression that the holes communicate down below, and in a way form an
Perhaps, to make progress, I will have to go down after all.
The motif of multiplicity indicates a splitting of the soul.
We find this motif particularly often in the dreams of schizophrenics.
So we find the dreamer in a desolate, split world, in which there is only one being, but that is split off, far away in the distance, too far to reach, standing helpless in a situation of introversion, unable to move forward or backward.
This part, split off from the rest of the personality,
is the father, the spiritual principle. [ . . . ]
Our dreams are characterized by a progressive development from the first to the second dream.
In the first dream there is still the trace of an action, missing completely in the second dream.
Something has happened to the dreamer, which she can only counter with a resigned,
In the first dream there is still the sleeping room of the parents, even if it is darkened by collective symbolism.
In the second dream, however, the world has been cosmically destroyed (by an explosion from within).
In the first dream there is still the attempt of the dreamer to respond to her father’s
calls, but in the second dream there is an infinite distance between the split-off spirit, captured in introversion (the father), and the rest of the personality.
And this second dream ends without even the trace of a turning back, of a return to life, to the living.
The world remains bleak and torn apart. [ . . . ]
The present dreams come from a woman who consulted me at about thirty years of age, in a very difficult situation, shortly before the outbreak of schizophrenia.
She writes that these two childhood dreams have haunted her throughout her whole life.
They are the first dreams she can remember.
We must assume that they have made a special impression on her.
When you hear such dreams, you naturally have to be ready to use your intellect.
But sometimes it is much more important to consult your feeling function.
You cannot do psychology with an excellent intellect alone.
You also have to identify the feeling values, not only the meanings.
In the case of a dream such as the present one we can, without any special gift for fantasy, put ourselves into its atmosphere.
The fact alone that the father calls, at night, is something exciting and frightening.
The father doesn’t call at night! It is the child, at most, who calls at night.
If the father calls at night, there is something wrong!
Imagine lying in your bed at night as a child, hearing the call of the father—something terrible has happened.
So, consequently, the child gets up in the dream; she breaks into the room of the parents, and in this place, where otherwise the parents are, the warmth of
parental love, open arms ready for her—in this place she sees two heaps of ashes and death masks above them!
This really is a catastrophic impression.
The frightening call of the father is also repeated in the second dream.
Out of the depths of the crater he is calling for help.
When you hear such dreams, and feel what they mean, you can approach them intellectually and ask, for heaven’s sake, what do these horrible-looking dreams mean.
To begin with, let us apply our schema to these dreams!
In the first dream, the child and the father are the dramatis personae, the location
is the sleeping room of the parents, it is night.
The exposition is the call from the father. This call contains the problem.
The climax of the dream, the peripateia, consists in the child’s getting up, going
to the sleeping room, and making the horrible discovery, which mounts until the sight of the parents’ death masks.
And there follows no lysis.
In the second dream, the locale is the earth, a desolate landscape, full of craters.
We are overcome by a feeling of being lost and lonely.
There is little development in this dream, still it comes to that climax (peripateia), when the father calls.
It is a call for help from far away. Again the lysis is missing!
Now I know from experience that dreams of such a horrible nature, if they don’t have an outright catastrophic meaning, usually end with a lysis. In such a case, it could have said at the end of the second dream: “I went to his help as best I could, and did all I could to
If the dream had ended this way, we could say: “Well, there is something the dreamer can deal with. She can at least try to do something.”
As examples, let me tell you two similar dreams of a child, who died shortly thereafter from spinal muscular atrophy.
When the child had the dreams, the diagnosis was still doubtful.
I let the dream be told to me because I wanted to see what the unconscious
had to say about the illness:
The first dream: The child comes home. He is living on the fifth floor. It is dark already. There is a cold draft. The doors and the windows are open; the child enters, the door to the living room is slightly ajar. He opens it and sees the mother swinging to and fro on the chandelier.
Here you have again the growing suspense, until the feeling of horror, and no lysis.
There is nothing that would indicate a salvation.
The second dream goes as follows: The child is at home; there is some horrible
He sees that a wild horse is shooting around in the hallway. All of a sudden, in one leap the horse jumps out of the window.
The child hurries to the window sill. The horse lies shattered on the ground.
Here, too, the ending is nameless horror.
These are dreams without lysis; they are simply catastrophic.
From the fact of the missing lysis I deduced an unfavorable prognosis.
It is dangerous when nothing like a solution is presented.
The solution could, for instance, also consist in waking up from the anxiety dream
with the feeling: “It’s only an anxiety dream.”
A typical solution is also when the danger cannot reach you at all, because you wake up
before that happens.
Usually we can still see something conciliatory somewhere. In times of old, therefore, the doctors observed dreams and made their diagnoses accordingly.
Let me remind you of Artemidorus.
He mentions the dream of a man in which he sees his father in a burning house.
A few days later, the dreamer himself died from a feverish illness.
Participant: What sense does it make to dream dreams of a purely catastrophic nature?
Professor Jung: This is the secret of dreams—that we do not dream, but rather we are dreamt.
We are the object of the dream, not its maker. The French say: “Faire un rêve.”
This is wrong. The dream is dreamed to us. We are the objects.
We simply find ourselves put into a situation.
If a fatal destiny is awaiting us, we are already seized by what will lead us to this destiny in the dream, in the same way it will overcome us in reality.
One of my friends, who was attacked by a mamba (cobra) in Africa, dreamed of this event two months in advance in Zurich.
The snake attacked him in the dream exactly in the way it later did in reality.
Such a dream is anticipated fate.
Participant: So we cannot always assume that the dream wants to make something conscious?
Professor Jung: No, not at all. This is anthropomorphic thinking.
We can only try to understand what the dream offers.
If we are wise, we can put it to use.
We must not think that dreams necessarily have a benevolent intention.
Nature is kind and generous, but also absolutely cruel.
That is its characteristic. Think of children.
There is nothing more cruel than children, and yet they are so lovely.
If I had such a dream, I would naturally react differently from the woman in question.
But as I am a different person, I also have a different dream.
So that’s not how we should think. We can only compare.
The hopeless case has the hopeless dream, the hopeful one has the hopeful dream.
Participant: Is it possible to understand all dreams? Isn’t it already in the nature of such a dream that it cannot be understood?
Professor Jung: If the dreamer had had it in her to understand this dream at some point later on, there probably would have been a suffix of hope added to it.
There would be a ray of light at the end, which would give the doctor a hint.
He could then say: “You have had a very alarming dream.”
And the patient would perhaps understand him.
If she understands the dream, she will be on her way to integrate the pathological part.
With this patient, I had talked about dreams. Interestingly, she did not mention these dreams.
But when she was gone, they came to her as an esprit d’escalier.
She then told me about them in a letter.
If the dreamer had actually told them, I would have been even more scared.
I had seen her a couple of times, but had not come far enough to identify the content of her peculiar disturbance.
She did not come into a mental institution, but hovers above the ground as a shadow.
Right before she came to me, she had undergone a psychotic phase.
She came to me during the downhill phase of a psychotic interval.
You can see which fate the two dreams from childhood have anticipated.
Participant: Couldn’t there come positive dreams again later on, which would lessen the uncanny aspect?
Professor Jung: Positive dreams may well follow, but none of them have the importance of the childhood dreams, because the child is much nearer the collective unconscious than the adults.
Children still live directly in the great images.
There are high points in life—puberty, midlife—when the great dreams appear again, those dreamed out of the depth of the personality.
In the life of the adult, dreams mostly refer to personal life.
Then the persona is in the foreground, what is essential in their personality has long emigrated, is long gone, perhaps never to be reached again.
Participant: Does the dream not always have a compensatory meaning?
Professor Jung: Here this connection is destroyed, as it is; it functions only to a limited extent.
So the lysis is missing. It is actually a dream that stops with the peripateia, we could say: the catastrophe is anticipated, and no lysis occurs.
A couple of years ago, a participant in our seminar developed a schema of the dream process, based on a discussion of symbolic processes in the English seminar.
I would like to ask Mr. Baumann to give you a short exposé of the rhythm of the symbolic process.
Mr. Baumann: In studying the dream process, I was led to differentiate between phases, which can best be visualized [in the illustration].
The various phases show certain situations, named A, B, C, D by me.
This sequence is repeated again and again (A1, B1, C1, D1).
A stands for the unconscious or approaching the unconscious.
B stands for the archetypal situation, caused by the sinking into the unconscious, that is, a regression, the experience of the past, archaic situations.
C stands for consciousness, the generalization or broadening of a psychological situation, an overview of the latter.
D stands for progression, hints, directions, ideas, and so on, resulting from the overview given in C.
I have tried to define the various situations in our two dreams.
They run analogous to each other, as follows:
Dream 1 Dream 2
A1 State of sleeping A2 Desolate place
B1 Call of the father B2 Crater
C1 Pyramid of ashes, death masks C2 Call of the father
D1 Progression missing D2 Progression missing
Professor Jung: I am convinced to a large extent that symbolical processes run like this.
This is in accordance with their inner nature.
These are no logical thought processes, but irrational processes, the unfolding of actions.
Symbolic thinking is thinking by doing, and, therefore, always follows a regular sequence that somehow has to do with the sequence of life.
You can also find this regularity in both our dreams.
Mr. Baumann talked about the archetypal situation caused by sinking into the unconscious.
You can clearly see this descent into the unconscious.
The first dreams starts with the child sleeping in a room.
This is an absolutely clear situation. Suddenly the father calls.
Now this is the descent into the unconscious, because in reality the father did not call at all.
The child follows the call: as you can see, the descent into the unconscious immediately draws after it the remains of consciousness.
The dream leads us into an action, into an experience, that no longer corresponds to conscious experience.
When we submerge into the unconscious, we again live in that kind of instinctual experience that is characteristic of the nature of unconscious activity.
We experience archetypal situations, that is, situations that humankind has experienced from time immemorial.
These are situations that always repeat themselves, in various forms.
We experience them as we have experienced them at all times.
The descent into the unconscious is always dangerous.
It can be visualized as being devoured by the whale-dragon, as going down into a dark cave or into the castle of the evil magician.
We go there to get something.
As a rule, it is a valuable treasure or a marvelous precious stone.
Or it is a virgin who must be saved. In each case, this is about bringing up an archetypal value.
At first, this is done in a certain degree of unconsciousness.
We do not know exactly what we caught fishing in the depths.
Subsequently, however, we again come up into the world of light, and there the brought-up content mixes with the conscious contents.
It is compared with them, or it can be realized—undoubtedly an acme, a climax.
Or there follows a frightening insight into a certain situation, or also a positive insight.
And then there follows the lysis, leading us back to the point from which we started.
At the beginning there is the conscious problem with which somebody is burdened.
He then slips into the unconscious background, comes into the instinctual life, and brings up an archetypal form that enriches him.
This is also the reason, for example, why we like to sleep on a problem that is still unclear to us.
Even if we do not have a dream, something can become clear during sleep, and the answer may come to mind in the morning.
During sleep, we enter the natural previous life, where we find the helpful archetype, always there, in every dangerous situation.
We find a way out, because the archetype is that form of the process that makes the eternal melody of all life possible; it blends melodically into a solution, into another
form, with no consideration for the life or death of the individual.
When somebody reaches the archetype in a dream, he has, so to speak, found the treasure, the key with which the closed door can then be opened, or a magic with which the dangerous situation can be exorcized.
This fact was already known to the ancients in prehistoric times.
They gathered for incubation sleeping states in underground caves or in temples.
In Hal Saflieni, in Malta, there is such a neolithic temple, twenty-five meters below ground.
Sleeping in the temple was used in order to dream of the right diagnoses or remedies.
The people fell asleep with the problem.
In diving into the stream of the never-ending activity of life, they were seized by archetypal figures and they found a salutary saying or image.
At a Later Meeting of the Seminar [24 January 1939]
Professor Jung: Let us now enter into a detailed discussion of the symbolism.
In the case of such a dream, which, as it is, is quite lacking in events, we have to take a very close look at each detail.
First of all, the sleeping state of the dreamer is mentioned in the dream.
This underlines, “You are in a sleeping state, you are unconscious.”
Then we come into the sleeping room of the parents.
This room is what is closest to the child, her earliest and most intimate reality.
So the dream shows that this is about the most intimate reality of the dreamer.
Now comes that image of the pyramids of ashes with the death masks. Dr.
Nothmann quite correctly interpreted this image as a cremation grave.
These are really the ashes of the parents, perhaps also of the bed, the household effects, the pile of wood, on which they were cremated.
One single person does not leave so many ashes.
This is an image of a death that has already happened, that is, there has already
been a burial, a cremation.
The beds of the parents, too, have turned to ashes.
We also find this idea among the primitives, the idea that persons should not be buried alone, but together with their household effects.
Everything that belongs to them should fall victim to destruction. Do you know for what purpose?
Participant: So that they can find these things again in the next world, in the form of astral or smoke images.
Professor Jung: Yes, that is correct.
The smoke rising into the air contains, so to speak, the spiritual substance.
The subtle images of the objects are sent after the subtle bodies of the dead into the semi substantial world of the spirits.
The objects are burned or simply broken into pieces.
In Africa, I saw how water jugs, axes, cooking pots, and also jewelry were thrown together in a heap and broken into pieces there.
It all remained lying there for two months, and then it disappeared.
It is touched by nobody for as long as the excitation has not subsided.
There is no ban on it, but it simply is not opportune to take away these things earlier.
It is unhealthy, the spirit could accompany them, and therefore one does not do it.
Participant: In the I Ching, too, the bed stands for the intimate situation. It says in one oracle (number 23, Splitting Apart): “The leg of the bed is split—the bed is split at the edge—the bed is split up to the skin.”
Professor Jung: This is a very good parallel: the bed as a symbol of the inner situation.
The oracle points to the fact that the dissolution reaches the unconscious.
There are signs of a complete dissolution of consciousness.
The example was taken from the I Ching, a work of Chinese philosophy from the second millennium B.C. The version as it is available today was written around 1190 by King Wen and Prince Chou.
They were imprisoned and passed their time by observing how outer events corresponded with psychical situations.
This is a highly peculiar problem, which seems strange to a Western man or woman.
We have seen that the pyramid of ashes is a burial ritual.
Now we have to ask ourselves, however, what this archetypal burial, this death, means.
We have to take the dream text literally, just as it reads.
We have no right to assume that something is incorrect or forged.
After all, there is no one there who would manipulate it.
The dreamer does not manipulate. She sleeps.
The Talmud states quite correctly: “The dream is its own interpretation.”
We can’t do anything but amplify and enrich the dream.
So we may ask ourselves, with regard to this elaborate mountain of ashes and the death masks put above them, where similar ideas are found in the mythological experience of peoples.
And it may come to mind that the same idea is found in Egypt, the idea of the burial chambers, above which there is the Ka, the semimaterial soul of the Egyptian.
This Ka keeps the likeness, not to be lost, so that the dead person, when looking for
his body, is reminded of what he actually looked like.
The dead person was, for instance, also given little ladders into the grave, so that the Ka could climb up into heaven; or there stood twelve identical portrait statues in front of the Ramses temple, so that the king would not lose his identity.
It was assumed that through embalming, the body kept his identity, his Ka, his living image, so that he remembered his appearance.
For when he dies and becomes a spirit, he might possibly forget who he was.
The dreamer has made a quite correct burial according to the archetype.
She has seen to it that the parents do not lose their identity.
If you remember the schema of Mr. Baumann, you will notice that this burial rite is the archetypal situation, brought up from the unconscious.
Experience shows that we should now expect something helpful to happen.
Usually a helpful image appears at this point. Here this is not so.
What could have been that helpful something in this dream?
If, for example, someone carrying a different destiny in himself had had this dream, there could be a hint of a possibility to understand the meaning of these identity masks.
After all, they are there for the destroyed parents to remember who they actually were.
The parents could be restored again, and life would go on.
So the masks are there to remember, as a provision for a possible rebirth.
The dreamer could be reconceived and reborn.
This possibility is not effective here, which is also evidenced by the second dream.
What is remarkable in the second dream is that a five- to six-year-old
child dreams of a crater landscape.
This is not childlike. Probably the child did not even think of the word crater.
We must not forget that the dream is a remembered one, and so there are expressions
coming from adult language.
Obviously, the child must have dreamed of a ground full of holes, constituting a counterpart to the pyramids of the first dream.
The crater is a hollow, corresponding to the towering pyramid.
Such a correspondence can be found in reality.
On the occasion of excavations in the Canton of Aargau from the Neolithic period, the corresponding holes were found in addition to the cumuli.
So what we see in our dreams is at first what has been piled up, then what has been hollowed out, its negative.
These are burial holes, later called craters by the fantasy of the dreamer that did not
quite know what to do with this image.
We should not go too far, therefore, in the interpretation of the term crater.
I should be cautious with interpretations such as “explosion” or “eruption,” although the
idea of danger is always associated with the idea of hollowed-out ground; because when someone digs up the ground, we come into the underworld, into the prehistoric world, into that aljira.
I already talked about. Often aljira is even thought of as being in the ground.
It is told that the ancients had withdrawn after time had come into being and humankind had been created, and they had sunk into the earth.
It is not always dangerous to dig up the ground, however, and to come into the aljira, but it can also be an advantage.
For when we find our forebears again, we come to the source of life.
This is the reason why we dig for treasure, for the precious object, and bring up water; this is why the primitives make holes in the ground, which are then fertilized.
Symbolically, we have to conceive of this as fertility magic, because these holes are the entrance to mother earth.
The womb of the earth is opened up.
We still we have to deal, however, with the meaning of these burial holes, which correspond to the piles in the first dream.
Participant: The crater landscape is reminiscent of a lunar landscape, and this makes sense, because the moon is the first place souls come to after death.
Professor Jung: From where does the child know what a lunar landscape looks like?
These are all adult terms.
It seems much more reasonable to suppose that the child had open graves in mind.
Sometimes, however, children also happen to have quite strange dreams with extremely odd features.
I will leave the question open.
When we think about these phenomena, we arrive at very strange things.
Let us leave this in suspenso.
Participant: When the dreamer uses the word crater when telling the dream, supposedly she has to associate this with a feeling of anxiety— otherwise she could have used the word funnel.
Professor Jung: Yes, quite right, but do we know if the child did already have this corresponding feeling?
Yet, I don’t want to say yes—and I don’t want to say no!
For the moment, let us pursue the idea that the crater landscape is reminiscent of the lunar landscape.
There is such an idea in mythology, namely, that the moon is a landscape of graves.
The moon actually is sometimes the place of departed souls, absorbing the souls.
If it abs orbs many souls, it is said to become humid.
The psyche is, after all, the humid breath—“psychros” is cold, and is related to “to blow.”
In Heraclitus we find the idea that the souls turn into water.
In recent years, one Gurdjieff claimed that the moon was so fertilized by the many souls of soldiers killed during the last World War that a green spot appeared on it.
But we are still dealing with the question why a pyramid is piled up in the first dream, while there is a corresponding cavity in the second dream.
Participant: The mother is no longer present in the second dream.
Professor Jung: What importance would you attach to the fact that the mother is no longer present? Which of the dreams do you find more uncanny?
Participant: The second dream.
Professor Jung: Yes, by all means, and we have the proof that the second dream is more dangerous. What proof?
Participant: The cry for help.
Professor Jung: This wouldn’t be a positive fact.
Participant: The multiplicity of the craters?
Professor Jung: No.
Participant: The devouring aspect of the earth.
Professor Jung: Yes, the earth is opening up her mouth.
She is the great ancestress, opening her mouth.
Participant: In contrast to the first dream, the second one no longer has a ritual aspect, and thus also lacks anything human.
Professor Jung: This is quite crucial. The earth is simply naked cosmos.
This is the nothingness, the eternal emptiness.
We have such a feeling when we stand in a part of nature untouched by human beings,
the feeling of which Nietzsche says: Crimen laesae maiestatis humanae.
Nature doesn’t give a damn about man.
This is expressed by the absence of the mother, as just mentioned.
What does the mother mean for this child, or for a girl in general?
Participant: The body, the reality.
Professor Jung: Yes, one’s own feminine nature, the basis, nature, life.
All this is associated with the mother.
Hence that known disorder when the relation with the mother becomes negative.
Then a disorder within the feminine nature occurs.
So the absence of the mother means that human nature has been lost.
There is no longer a basis for the child in the human world.
Such a being is living “on the moon,” to take up again the previous comparison between the lunar and the crater landscape.
The notion of the moon brings to mind another terrible aspect.
What does the moon mean?
Participant: It can also mean mental illness.
Professor Jung: Yes, of course.
Think of the French lunatique, or of our mondsüchtig.
Such a person is in that landscape that corresponds to the moon.
Human nature has been lost, the mother is no longer there.
There is only the spirit of the father left.
Because the real father is dead already. A spirit is calling her.
What happens when a spirit calls?
Participant: In fairy tales, the spirit lures us away to lead us into the world of the dead.
Professor Jung: The call of the spirit, being addressed by a spirit, is an uncanny experience.
It means an invitation to come into the realm of the dead.
The primitives have a very pronounced fear of this.
I myself have seen this quite often: most often the paths leading into the village are protected against the spirits that might come back to the village at night, to get their next of kin.
For this purpose, and because the spirits exert such a strong influence on the living, spirit traps are set, or medicines are hung up, that should stop them.
This goes back to the idea that one falls under the shadow of death when one loses a close relative.
Then the level of the will to live is somewhat lowered.
We are partly drawn into the grave.
This can cause far-reaching damage, neuroses, and outbreaks of illnesses.
Or the whole personality may change.
These changes are caused by the dead person’s entering into the living one, and living on in him.
They will be of a positive nature if the dead person has had a positive influence.
But even then there is something alarming and uncanny. [ . . . ]
It is always uncanny if someone dead still goes on having an effect.
You may now be better able to empathize with the situation of our dreamer, and feel her horror when she is addressed by the spirit of the dead father.
The father spirit is present at the beginning of the first dream, and is still there at the end of the second dream—as the only living being!
What conclusion would you draw from this? What does this mean for the dreamer?
Participant: The father stands for spirituality; maybe this spirit could guide the child through the dangerous situation.
Professor Jung: But he is helpless in these dreams; it is as if he were captured; obviously, he can’t do anything.
But still, what might this mean for the future?
Participant: It could bring about an insight into the situation.
Professor Jung: So does she have a view of it?
Participant: No, the father does.
Professor Jung: Yes, the father knows it. Suppose you were in that situation.
Nothing would be left but the voice of the father, the spirit of the father.
What effect would this have?
Participant: This would indicate that one would function with paternal thinking only.
Professor Jung: Yes, one would live only in the spirit of the father, of the symbolic father, that is. What is that called?
Professor Jung: Not necessarily. We needn’t go that deep into the metaphysical.
This is called animus, the male spirit!
So we might assume that this woman, if she can somehow keep herself, will to a large
extent get under the influence of the father, of the personal father perhaps or, more likely, of a general, symbolical father.
This might take the following forms: intense religious possession, religious delusions,
or a ruthless intellectuality, as seen in the reading of various textbooks of philosophy. It could also be a mental illness—which one?
Participant: A paranoid form of schizophrenia.
Participant: But the crater is completely burnt out already.
Professor Jung: But that’s it exactly.
There are people who are burnt out completely, and for this reason are completely intellectualistic.
Participant: Could it not be the case that this animus could again establish contact with the unconscious, as an intermediary?
Participant: But then he wouldn’t call for help.
Participant: Couldn’t it also have the effect that such a woman would live completely in the spirit of the parental home?
Professor Jung: You mean that such an individual could live at home, possessed by the spirit of this house—in a word, crazy.
There are such cases of schizophrenia, which are inconspicuous.
Also, in many offices there are crazy people who calmly carry out their duties, and nobody knows that they are absolutely crazy.
We cannot tell how this animus, who alone has stayed alive, will function.
We know only that the animus will remain in the end.
There will, therefore, be spirits in the air.
How this will show itself in life cannot be inferred from the dreams.
I will tell you what happened later on: this woman married a completely bizarre man.
Nobody would have expected her to choose such an impossible man.
The marriage was not good, steadily declining in the following years.
Then a man came into her life “who had fabulous ideas.”
He was a man of inferior thinking, who built castles in the air and examined and twisted words down to the last detail.
She thought he was the savior and was taken in by him.
All this led to great complications, resulting in a depression.
She had to be hospitalized in a sanitarium, where I was consulted.
She slowly recovered, and was discharged as fairly socially adjusted.
Essentially nothing had changed. What happened from there?
She has withdrawn from all friends and acquaintances, living in a romantic house in the country.
Together with her husband, who is a complete nonentity, she leads a life full of appearances and deception, full of the most absurd philosophical ideas, in a ghostly and unreal world.
This is anticipated in these dreams.
There is no hope left; there is nobody who could help.
For a moment, this animus slipped into me, and then I was the savior, but soon enough I was it no more—and then nothing happened any longer. Are there any more questions?
Participant: Does a dream in which such a cosmic emptiness appears always have such a catastrophic meaning?
Professor Jung: It depends on the dream as a whole!
If, for instance, a favorable afterthought is added to such a situation, it might not be
In this dream this would almost have been possible, because there still is a living spirit present.
If only the mother were still alive, there would be a receptacle to contain the father spirit.
But there is no receptacle.
Anyhow, you should not get stuck on single dangerous symbols and conclude from them that things look completely bad. It depends on what context these symbols stand in.
It is always best to get fully into the spirit of the dream situation.
When you touch a dream with feeling and carefully measure the feeling values, you will see at once if the dream is favorable or unfavorable.
In this dream we realize at once: there is a hole!
Put a bit of your heart into the dream, and you will already have done half the work.
There is an “intelligence du coeur,” of which the brain knows nothing.
- Dreams of a Four-Year-Old Girl of the Wedding Carriage and the Little Angel
Presented by Cornelia Brunner
Text: 1. “The shutter of the one window very gently rises, and I see a wedding carriage on the gravel path in the garden, turning round the corner of the house.
A wedding couple is sitting in the carriage, with the devil on the box as coachman.
All of a sudden the carriage is ablaze, and disappears in the rising flames. I am very scared.”
- The dreamer stands in the bathroom of her parents’ house and looks at herself in the mirror.
In the mirror image she sees that, very slowly, wings grow out of her shoulders, so that she looks like a little angel.
Mrs. Brunner: It seems that the two dreams belong together in a double sense: in a way, the second dream of the little angel shows the lysis of the first one, but at the same time it could also be the first dream’s starting point and cause—opposite motifs are radiating from their shared center, and there is the possibility of a sudden change from one pole to the other.
The question arises whether the disappearance of the carriage may be interpreted as lysis, or whether—because of the anxiety interrupting the dream process—this is a dream without lysis.
We can structure the dream as follows:
Locale: Situation of the dream: in the sleeping room.
Situation of the action: in the garden of the parental house.
Dramatis personae: wedding couple, devil.
Exposition: Entry of the carriage.
Peripateia: Burning of the carriage.
Lysis: Disappearance of the carriage in the rising flames.
Let us now have a look at the individual symbols. The wedding carriage: a carriage is a man-made means to move things or persons from one place to another.
Its wheels go back to the sun wheel, thus to a mandala.
We use a carriage when we have to cover long distances, or when an important transition, as for instance a marriage or a burial, is approaching.
We find remnants of a ritual carriage procession in the Sechseläuten, or in the carnival parade.
The wedding couple: Tacitus relates the journey of Nerthus: each year in winter a priest leads the goddess Nerthus—Mother Earth—to the humans in a carriage drawn by cows.
Then come peaceful times and happy days.
Nerthus is the Ur-mother of humankind.
In Sweden, the god Frey takes her place, called the “light one” in the Edda.
In winter he drives through the country in a wagon with his priestess.
People believed that he was being married to her.
The wagon journey and the marriage of the divine couple anticipate, in the form of a ritual, future events. In Nerthus’s case, the fertility of the approaching spring should be furthered; in Frey’s case, the return of the light.
The high-spirited frenzy, reigning in winter and spring festivals up to this day, is meant to call on life, frozen in ice, to new procreation.
One of these festivals is the Walpurgis night, in which (according to De Coster) King Lenz (King Lucifer), together with his sweet and fair wife, frees life from the bonds of the winter giant.
This leads us to the devil: our concept of the devil has developed out of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and, above all, the later Christian dogma.
In the Old Testament, the devil pales beside the almighty Yahweh.
In the Book of Job he is still listed among the “sons of God.”
By his association with the Persian Ahriman he acquires Persian traits.
Ahriman is the antagonist of light; he means darkness and death; he comes from heaven in the form of a serpent.
Philo was the first, following the Persian view, to make the serpent of the Hebrew Fall of Man the Satan and the image of evil lust.
In the New Testament, the devil fights, as the lord of this world, against the kingdom
of God. Consequently, he not only becomes the master of all evil, but also of what could have endangered the spread of the Church’s power: the Church saw Gnosis and Reformation as temptations by the devil.
In the Gnosis, several pairs of gods, none of whom assume a material form, stem from the highest god.
From Sophia, the divine wisdom, a relatively ignorant being is born, the Demiurge, who creates the world.
Later, the Church Father Irenæus replaces the Demiurge with Satan, the fallen angel of pride.
The notion of the fallen Lucifer means that a being of the light has fallen under the law of gravity, that it has assumed a material body. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Lucifer, with his three heads in the earth’s deepest abyss, is the counterpart to the Holy Trinity.
In the New Testament, the devil is still rather shapeless.
He became the devil incarnate only through ideas introduced by non-Jewish
converted and subjugated peoples, whose gods had been degraded to devils by Christianity.
To the saints, the devil appears in his incarnate form, so, for example, to St. Simeon in the form of the man on the cherub carriage telling him: “Come, get on the carriage, so
that you may receive your crown.”
To St. Paternian the devil appears in the form of a girl.
When his voluptuousness is aroused by this, he recognizes the Tempter and remembers that all who soil themselves with wantonness will be punished in the fire.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the belief in the devil reached its climax.
Misfortune, illness, blasphemy, passion—all these were attributed to the devil and his sorcery.
Pagan magic and rituals were revived in the belief in witches, particularly in its feminine and natural aspects.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, belief in the devil decreased.
The devil was rationalized and depersonalized.
He was no longer the evil power at whose mercy mortals lived, but he became the evil instinct within man’s heart—egotism.
The vital symbol was reduced to a pale allegory.
Let us summarize the most important characteristics of the devil concept: the devil is the black one, the opposite of light.
When he appears red, he is of a fiery, that is, passionate nature, and causes wantonness, hate, or unruly love.
As the “green one” he is related to vegetation and nature.
He appears as a goat, snake, cat, or poodle; he is seen with a cloven hoof, filthy and with a tail.
He is living in the earth, and represents the earth power of the Titans and man’s being
bound to the earth. He stands for our animal nature.
As a wild hunter and heir to Wotan, he is the spirit of eternal unrest, who storms through the skies on his horse.
His wings point to his relation to the thinking function.
As Mephistopheles, he is arrogant, egomaniacal, cunning, and eager to draw man into dust and matter.
Finally, as Lucifer, true to his name, he is the bearer of the spark of light, who descended
through the planetary spheres from the highest light down into matter, seeking to liberate it as a work of salvation.
Filthy and rough like a tomcat below, but more brilliant than the sun above—that’s how a judge of the witch trials described him.
He who becomes slave to the devil has to burn in the fire.
who have not been redeemed by Christ on the cross, the fire of hell
will be eternal agony.
As Purgatory, it has the effect of purification by
which man attains sight of the face of God.
Frazer offers a great deal
of evidence for fire’s power to purify and to promote light and fertility.
In all cultures, fires were, and still are, lit on the eve of great feasts
and great changes, as in the Walpurgis night, at midsummer celebrations,
at Easter, and so on.
The old god, or his earthly representative, is burned in the new fires.
Cremation should enable rebirth in the next world.
The prophet Elijah went into heaven on a fiery wagon.
According to Heraclitus, the world was created in fire, and will perish in fire.
His fire is the power of God.
Similarly, Simon Magus sees the dynamis of the fire at the origin of the cosmos.
It is logos; it is the primeval unity and it is the root of the cosmos.
Fire has a double nature, a hidden and a visible side.
In the hidden fire above heaven, all things are preserved.
Through fire, which consumes the material form, the soul becomes the pure image, godlike and immortal.
In alchemy it says: In this fire, which God created in the earth, just as he created the Purgatory in hell, God Himself is glowing in divine love.
And Jesus Christ says, according to an apocryphal word of the Lord: “He who is near me, is near the fire.”
So the savior is of a fiery nature.
In the Krishna legend, however, the savior is born to a parental couple, at whose wedding the carriage is steered by evil demons.
Now let us have a look at the second dream of the little angel,
which can be structured as follows:
Locale: Location: bathroom in the parental house.
Dramatis persona: the dreamer.
Exposition: She sees herself in the mirror.
Peripateia: The growing of wings.
Lysis: She looks like a little angel.
In the mirror we see our true nature, the image of our soul; reflection brings about insight and knowledge.
The bathroom is the place of cleaning.
A wing carries the bird into the skies. Homer compares the wing to a thought.
The angels are the light counterpart to the devil.
The mediating function of the angels is most beautifully expressed in Jacob’s [dream of the] Ladder.
I have tried to interpret the dreams, first as a collective time problem, then as a transition in infantile development, and finally as a midlife problem.
The symbolic connection indicates, in all its details, a transition.
“The shutter . . . very gently rises, and I see a wedding carriage on the gravel path . . . turning round the corner of the house”: still unconscious and sheltered herself, the little girl sees something that comes from the outside, from the collective world, into her garden.
In the carriage there sits a wedding couple: this is the god and his Shakti, his female power, from which couple a world is created; or these are the opposites, pertaining to all materialization of matter, and which have to be melted, so to speak, to make room for a new order.
The carriage as a symbol of going from one place to another indicates the transition to something new.
Just like the Ark of the Covenant, it is a receptacle created by human beings to contain the divine forces.
It might perhaps be seen as the ritual in which humans call the gods.
The lead, however, was not taken by the gods themselves, but by their negative side, the devil.
Beelzebub drives the horses, the instincts, across the earth, so full of arrogance as not to acknowledge any master, any law, above him.
He uses the wagon of the prevailing views to pursue his own goals: he wants man to eat dust; he evokes unbridled hate, unbridled love.
The passions erupt in a hell fire, a primeval element, unruly and destructive as ever.
In the rising flame vanish carriage and gods, the traditional laws, rituals, and sacraments.
The flames consume the mortal remnants, thus separating the matter from the idea, and carrying the purified spark of light into the skies.
In the flame Agni ascends to the gods.
So the fire joins, as a fourth element, the trinity that the devil formed with the wedding couple.
Nebuchadnezzar threw three men into the oven, and in the fire he saw a fourth man, “looking like a son of the gods.”
The prevailing Weltanschauung is melted in the fire of the emotions,
and its quintessence is to be brought out of the embers of illumination.
This interpretation leads far beyond the infantile world.
Regarding the little dreamer, the dream wants to tell her that she will have to take part in this collective process of transition, instigated by “Part of the power that would always wish evil [and always works the good]”—“I am very scared,” it says at the end of the dream.
The encounter with the arch enemy and the flaring up of archaic emotions are reasons enough to frighten the dreamer.
The four-year-old girl should free herself from the realm of collective images.
She is still identical with the little angel, she grows wings herself, while the devil is the evil coming from the outside.
The dream has to remind her of the devil, because her consciousness identifies with a little angel. In the unconscious, the devil takes the lead.
To begin with, he will bring the “little angel” down to earth, ensnare her in guilt and agony, and burn her up in the fire of passions.
In addition, the fire dream prepares for a change in the child’s development.
The announced emotional eruption should liberate the strength for some spiritual development.
With this, her view of evil should also undergo a change. The devil is the seducer.
For the dreamer, however, sin is linked to the wedding couple, that is, to the problem of instincts and relations.
When this problem approaches her in later life, the fire, the uncontrollable power of god, will erupt from the unconscious.
And if she lets herself be seized, and suffers the fire’s heat, the soul will be formed out of the unconscious body and spirit, the soul that is able to float, as the body’s essence of light, between heaven and earth with the wings of the spirit.
The carriage, too, the thing made by the hand of man, is dematerialized by the fire.
Its archaic image, the four wheels and the square, is “preserved in the hidden fire, in the eternal place.”
Dante sees the three wheels of Trinity in the light of the beyond.
With the carriage, the fourness is completed, with it the divine mother, the light, who had been with the devil, came back to the father.
And so the same that happened to Dante can happen to the dreamer in her midlife.
Dante’s Divine Comedy ends with the words: “Tanto ch’i’ vidi de le cose belle che porta ‘l ciel, per un pertugio tondo. E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle” [Till I beheld through a round aperture / Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear; / Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars].
Professor Jung: After this splendid paper, let us come back once again to the starting point: the dreamer is in her sleeping room.
This is the location of the action.
The shutter gently rises—the shutters represent the eyelids, as it were.
When they open, we discover a part of the world.
So here, too, something is being prepared, a vision, so to speak. This is the exposition.
The dreamer sees a wedding carriage with a wedding couple—the plot thickens already, and immediately we come to the acme of the story: the devil appears; this is the peripateia.
There follows the catastrophe of the burning, and the lysis is the dissolution in the fire.
The whole goes up in smoke.
We might ask ourselves if this is actually a lysis. The speaker doubted it.
It would not be a lysis if the child herself sat in the wedding carriage.
Then she would end up in the catastrophe herself.
But as she is not sitting in it, and as the whole image is only a seen image, we have to deal with the image itself, which, as a matter of fact, really represents a lysis.
The whole beautiful image is destroyed by the fire.
There is an emotional tension that goes up in the fire.
You will find that relieving and freeing effect of the fire in religious cults and also in poetry.
Think of Goethe’s beautiful poem “The God and the Bayadere.”
When the Bayadere wants to follow the god into death, he lifts her up into heaven with fiery arms.
There, the rising of the smoke and the fire are definitely felt as a lysis.
This is in accordance with an ancient tradition: consigning the sacrifice to the fire is a religious lysis for all present.
The same idea is also found in the Indians of the southern states in Mexico: a down feather is held above the abyss, and is carried upward at the rocks by the breeze.
The event in the dream can be compared to a ritual action in which God is killed and eaten.
These are rites leading to a lysis.
In the Christian mystery, the painful death of the Lord as well as the redemption his sacrifice signifies are described.
In our dream we are, so to speak, right in the middle of this kind of experience.
The image, of course, is appropriately childlike.
A child takes delight in a beautiful wedding carriage and a wedding couple, for children enjoy splendor.
Here in these parts, they also get sweets that the wedding couple throws them.
This, after all, is a child from this country.
She is four to five years old, and since she is obviously a bright child, such impressions are already definitive experiences.
She knows, of course, what a wedding is. She also knows about the devil.
He is mentioned in many sayings, and also in fairy tales.
It makes a big impression on the child to hear, for the first time, about a being that she can’t simply encounter on the street.
She tries to incorporate this figure, but also other motifs from fairy tales, into a game.
If the devil takes down with him the whole thing in the dream, however, this far exceeds the child’s consciousness.
The smell of a catastrophe suddenly intrudes into the thoughts of the wedding party.
It is a frightening experience, and in the dream the child also does not know that this is only a vision, so to speak.
Naturally, she is seized and experiences the whole action, happening before her eyes, as a real experience.
She is separated from this action, however, by the window. This is often the case.
We are safe, the dangerous situation happens somewhere out there, and we have just seen it.
Whenever this occurs in a dream, this means: not that I am in that situation, but it is such a situation.
Now this can refer to events of contemporary history, or to a collective event in general, of no personal concern, but a shared destiny.
At that moment, in any case, it does not refer to the dreamer.
So we may call it a kind of vision of the future.
The child anticipates her future life, which naturally appears kind of absurd in light of er
We don’t understand that children can have such visions—as a matter of fact, they really shouldn’t happen to them!
The proverbial innocence of the children is in our way.
But we have to get used to the idea that, especially in early childhood, we have dreams or visionary experiences that are simply not childlike, whereas they would be quite appropriate in adults.
A girl of sixteen who, in the first blossoming expectancy of the upcoming feast of life, is seized by a gloomy premonition of the hellish fire into which she will draw her husband—this we can understand.
Sure, she is cute, with innocent eyes, full of expectations, and she is walking on cloud nine—but it is entirely possible that she will get a premonition of who she is, who she is as a shadow, and that she will know: “Once I’ll have a man, I will show him what I’m capable of.”
The moment she does have him, all hell breaks loose.
Unfortunately, this is no uncommon experience; it is as if a woman would only wait until she has her man—and then she shows him what she’s capable of!
We have to be particularly wary of altruistic personalities!
We are no gods, after all; we have a shadow, and we have some dark premonition that
something is somehow not right behind our back.
Sometimes it takes fifty years to realize this.
Let me tell you an example: I knew an American man; he was a very respectable person.
From his fortieth year onward he became gloomier and gloomier.
Before that, he spent much time in clubs and societies and got along well with other people.
Then he became a moralizer, however, sticking his nose into other people’s affairs, which became increasingly unbearable to his wife.
He chastised everybody in his overblown moralistic attitude.
He looked after all kinds of things, was churchwarden, and read the lesson in church on Sundays.
Gradually, this developed into a very dark situation; everybody feared and hated him.
All of a sudden, at the age of fifty-five, he sat up in his bed at night, and said to his wife: “Basically, I’m a scoundrel!” No sooner said than done.
From that moment, until his death, he squandered all his assets.
He no longer gave a damn about anything.
It was only in that moment that he discovered he had a shadow.
Not everybody takes that long to discover his or her shadow.
A child nearing the age of puberty can already have a dark premonition of something evil, something fiery, as can even a little child hardly out of her cradle, as evidenced by our dream.
Even if we can hardly understand it, the child did have this dream, and the whole twaddle about the innocence of children is completely useless.
This child dreamed that the devil had got hold of the wedding couple and that all went up in flames.
Basically, in its crude form this tells us enough.
It tells everything: that the wedding feast, the beautiful feast, stands in relation to a terrible moral catastrophe, obviously connected to the fire—with instinct.
When instinct emerges, so does evil! And itis also obvious that the wedding feast has to do with instinct.
If a child can have such a dream, we will have to assume that something in her knows about this process.
We can hardly suppose that her mother had told her, “When once you marry, the devil will get you”—because in that case she wouldn’t have had to dream this.
She would have known it already.
So we are forced to assume that this knowledge, which is in her in potentia, is a knowledge born with her, a knowledge she brought into the world with her.
Where does she have this knowledge from?
It is in nature, in the make-up of her brain.
She is born with a complete brain, in which there are prototypes of all the processes of human life, and which, therefore, will function in this typically human way.
And these processes will occur, as they have always occurred in human life: death will come, or evil, or both.
This is a form of human life, a form repeated millions and millions of times over; it is a typical process.
Educational matters can change nothing about this basic fact.
On the whole, it does not matter if the child has had this or that education, or was exposed to this or that influence.
In a way, there is no development of the personality.
It has always been there, only not in an empirical sense, but invisible, as a potentiality.
Education can do little more than polish the surface, or also change it a little bit, but the
basic nature is not touched by it.
We cannot add to it or take anything away from it.
Education is nothing but a differentiation to a specific goal; it can make us wash our hands, brush our teeth, or put on a certain collar.
But “education of the personality”—now what should that be? Has anybody seen that yet?
Human life simply takes its course in the way a human life takes its course in general, and it will obey the laws characteristic of human life.
If we may assume, then, that human dispositions are there in prototypical form, we are free—indeed it behooves us—to prove that these are ideas and images that can be found throughout the whole history of mankind.
The wedding couple in our dream, the carriage and its ritual use, the devil—these are ideas, images, which have had their clear impact on the history of peoples, and which are present again in potentia in every child.
They are particularly vivid in children, because children are still nearer the collective unconscious.
The mental state of the first years of life does not differ from the collective unconscious; it is a world rich of images.
There is nobody to look at them, because no consciousness exists.
It is a world ocean full of the strangest figures. The child emerges from this sea.
Later in life, people sometimes still have a faint memory of this golden background.
The more memories of what had been exist, the more difficult the adjustment will seem.
This can even have the effect that no real interest in questions of the present can be summoned.
It can also lead to the fact that such children do not really get into their bodies, that
many body zones are not cathected at all.
They know the body only from looking at it, they themselves are not in it, so as to feel through it.
The breathing teacher then says: the breathing does not go through at all.
They are incapable of completely inhabiting the body.
This can be seen in the clumsy and stiff posture of such persons.
They walk around as if they pulled themselves on strings.
These are effects of the past that still projects out [into the present]. It is still too strong. “That life which was before, and which is different from the life we are leading now”—this is a theme you will encounter more than once in the history of peoples.
The best example is the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo Thödol.
The Bardo lifespan is forty-nine days.
The souls live, so to speak, in a collective world, and are confronted with spirits and other images of life, “images of all creatures,” as Goethe says in Faust.
There are still other examples of this prehistoric world. Do you know any?
Participant: The concept of a paradise without time and space.
Professor Jung: The whole legend about the Golden Age in general, the idea that in prehistoric times there was golden glory, and that subsequently the world became more and more evil.
This world of wonderful things, which once was, is the aljira mentioned earlier.
In the aljira myth it says: In primordial times, when there was no time, there lived the half-animal ancestors, the great creators.
Everything was wonderful, everything was done by enchantment.
All things were created very wisely.
Then these aljira gods or heroes sank into the earth and were no longer seen, but they did leave traces.
These traces are now objects of ritual worship.
During cults we remember what had been before.
So when the primitives, for example, perform dances, they make strange patterns in the sand, which are beautiful to look at.
This is something the ancestors did in ancient times.
When it is repeated, the ancestors are still alive. The ancestors make life beautiful again.
They lead a part of the underworld upward again.
If you give that mythical material to the child, you will give her back a part of the glorious life she had before.
For some time, she will then continue to live in that world, whose memories she sheds only with difficulty.
Participant: Actually, the beginning of many fairy tales—“once upon a time”—also refers to these primordial times.
Professor Jung: Yes, of course. I also found this attitude among the primitives.
When the rice does not want to grow, you have to tell it how it used to grow originally.
Participant: Couldn’t it also become harmful to give oneself over too much to these inner images? Couldn’t they also become too powerful?
Professor Jung: Yes, this is quite possible.
In mental disorder, for instance, you have to start by strengthening the ego.
Sometimes it is necessary to say with vigor: “Come on, that’s just a fantasy.” First of all, the fantasy is devalued by this, the ego and the vision are torn apart, a distance is put between them.
Sometimes you have to take very drastic measures to bring about the differentiation.
So it can be necessary to shout at somebody to wake him up, when he is drifting into a kind of collective sleep, or to grab hold of people and shake them, so that they know who they are.
A slap or a shove can work wonders, so that the person feels: “This is me.”
There are circumstances when a good smack, morally or physically, is the most effective
way to counter the great fascination of the images.
The child has to step out of this primordial world, to be able to really enter into life.
There is a Gnostic myth that after God had created the world, he spread a general ignorance, a general forgetting of what had been before.
This is a precise description of this primordial state; first there are the “images of all creatures,” then comes the great forgetting, and only then does human life begin.
This transition of the child, however, from the Bardo time, from the prenatal psyche, into ego consciousness, is a critical transition.
So it sometimes happens—as in this dream from early childhood—that quite unchildlike things are seen, stemming from that collective region in which all of human destiny is present in images.
This is what happened to this child.
When I deal with such a dream, I offer as much mythological material as possible, so that this collective content can be incorporated into conscious life.
This is also why religious rituals have a healing effect.
One is reminded of what had been long before.
In this way memory is transformed into graphic images.
This is also how we want to approach our dream now, trying, to begin with, to understand the symbols of the dream out of the ideas that humankind has created about these processes.
Let us first deal with the symbol of the carriage: the comparison of the carriage with a mandala is correct.
You will better understand the meaning of the carriage and of the wedding couple if you consult some parallels in ethno-psychology.
In India, for example, the gods are drawn in big rectangular carriages with eight wheels, built in the form of a mandala.
On each of these carriages full of woodcarvings there stands a pagoda, in which the god or the divine couple is sitting under a baldachin.
So the deity is at the center of the mandala.
The form of the mandala indicates perfection: this is hinted at by the roundness of the wheels as well as by the fact that there are four corners.
The fourness stands in relation to the four horizon points and the four seasons.
The roundness is complete fulfillment.
The divine couple in the carriage is also a symbol of completeness: the feminine and the masculine are together.
In Tibetan tradition, the gods are depicted in sexual union, in eternal cohabitation, or even as hermaphrodites.
This idea reemerges in the Occident at around the end of the fourteenth century, in Hermetic philosophy, which proceeds from the assumption that the perfect being is hermaphrodite: every Adam would carry his Eve within himself.
The idea of the divine couple, in the form of the divine marriage, the coniunctio, represents a climactic point in life, which will, however, soon fade.
The revelation of the deity is immediately followed by an enantiodromia, in the former of utter destruction.
Life cannot pause on the climactic point, it has to continue to reach the opposite to come to a new climactic point again.
This is the cycle of existence of the so-called samsara, the eternal up and down, ascent
and descent of the gods.
In this context it becomes understandable that the carriage is a symbol of transition.
You will find it closely linked to the transitus of the gods.
This is clearest in Egypt, although there the god does not use a carriage, but a boat.
We talk about the culte de passage.
The god is taken for a trip to the West on a barque.
This transitus portrays the ecliptic of the sun across the sky.
It is the cycle of rising and setting.
In other places, these transitions take place in a carriage.
Processions in which images of God are drawn on carriages have the same meaning: the gods are walking.
On a primitive level, this turns into the roaming of the ancestors, the totemistic ancestors, the half-animals, who walk the earth and create everything.
In our regions, it is the devil who represents the remnants of those times of the aljira; he is half-animal, with a cloven hoof and other animal attributes.
You find the walking up and down of the gods also in Germanic sagas and poetry, for example, in Spitteler’s Olympischer Frühling [Olympian Spring].
There, too, a walk in the distant sky is described; one moment the planet gods are visible, the next invisible; the subject of the whole epic is the eternal cyclical motion of the events.
In this cycle of rise and fall, the end of the world is, as we know, depicted also as a fire ending.
For Heraclitus, life itself is a flow of fire, the “everliving fire.”
The fire thus becomes a basic symbol of life.
The godfather is given a burning candle at christening, therefore, as a symbol of illumination and vitalization, and of spiritual life.
Fire is always a coniunctio.
Something spiritual and male, the oxygen, combines with something visible and female, the wood.
In the act of this combination in fire—for example, in the Vedic tradition—the underlying piece of wood is female; the rotating wooden stick is the corresponding male part.
Together they produce a spark. When the marriage takes place, the fire flares up.
The eruption of the fire is the actual union, the union of two opposites.
The union of the Two produces the Three, and out of the Three develops the Four.
This is the Witch’s Tables [Hexeneinmaleins].
This progression is an old axiom of alchemy, the axioma Mariae, a Jewish philosopher of the first century, from whom a text of doubtful authenticity is extant.
This axiom is also found in fragments by the Byzantine alchemists, for example in Christianos.
So it is as follows: the One is the unconscious; everything is still unseparated.
The Two is the appearance of the opposites, of male and female.
The Two creates the son, the child, and this is the fiery spark.
We mentioned already that the climax of life is a moment that turns into its opposite.
Wherever there is the Three, there always is the devil, too.
So the divine spark already contains the burning.
As we know and have discussed earlier, the figure of the son in Faust also perishes in the fire.
This burning leads from the Three to the Four, to the whole.
This desired state, however, is at the same time the original one. Why?
Participant: When all is burnt, all is unseparated again.
Professor Jung: But then what is the difference between the original and the final states? What happens when the things are burned? What happens, for example, according to the primitive view?
Participant: The things go up in smoke and rise with the smoke.
Professor Jung: The smoke carries the images, the subtle bodies of the things, up again to the seats of the gods.
This means: what was created by the transformation of the Original One is transported back again into eternity in the form of images.
All that happened is elevated to an image and returns to the seat of the gods.
But the original and the final states are not the same.
In the original state we are victims of the events, we are not detached from them, we do not have any vision.
In the end, however, the images, the whole richness of our experiences, returns in the smoke to the gods.
The view of the Catholic Church on unbaptized children is also based on this idea.
What does the Church say about them?
Participant: That they do not have eternal souls.
Professor Jung: No, not that. All men have living souls.
Participant: They are excluded from the redemption through Christ.
Professor Jung: That’s clear anyway.
But the crucial point is that they are deprived of the Visio Dei, of seeing God.
A very little child who dies before baptism is not condemned, not stigmatized as some hellish brute, but simply deprived of the Visio Dei.
It is up to the mercy of God what to do with this unfinished soul. Seen from our context, this is absolutely consistent.
It has not experienced the images of life, and the images of life are, as it were, the fiery images that come from the original fire, and contain, so to speak, the core of life.
The things have to be purified before they can rise to the gods and be offered as an earthly sacrifice to the spirits.
This happens, as we have seen, in the fire, and the fire, therefore, also has the meaning of purification.
It enables differentiation, a disintegration into separate figures.
The ashes fall down to earth, and the purified subtle body rises into the heights.
This purification process, which consists in the separation of heavy and ephemeral bodies, is possible only when things have a body.
When something disintegrates, there always is a body.
When things do not have a body, they are not separated.
Where there is a body, there always is fusion with matter—and consequently a sacrifice of matter is also necessary.
Participant: “Carrying earthly remains / Is hard to endure.”
Professor Jung: Those who are not yet completely redeemed are afflicted with earthly remains, which then have to be burned out.
This is very beautifully expressed in Dante, in the transition from Purgatory into Heaven.
There Virgil has to turn back, because as a heathen he is not allowed to go through the flame of love.
Dante goes through the flame, in which all of his impurity is burned out.
This is the only way he can get into heaven.
In the mysteries, too, purification plays a role.
The mystic is portrayed as somebody in need of purification; he has to cleanse himself of the blackness of his sins to receive, in a purified state, the teachings of the mysteries.
In our dream, all these ideas appear in a very simple form and extremely condensed.
What caused the contamination, making a burning necessary?
Participant: The devil.
Professor Jung: The influence of the devil has, as it were, caused the contamination.
The devil is the blackness; the evil is the blackness.
The pure innocence of the joy of marriage is darkened.
The divine spark between the opposites has hardly flared up before the evil, the devil, interferes in the form of instinct, of the physical body.
This is the admixtio diabolicae fraudis, the admixture of diabolical fraud.
It becomes evident that there is no such thing as complete purity, that things are mixed with the impure, with matter, and that, therefore, the burning ensues.
The purification occurs in the fire, so that the pure being may rise into heaven, while the ashes fall down to earth.
We may assume that in this dream there is an admixture of evil in the dreamer’s nature, which she unconsciously experiences as a contamination.
The question now is how the dreamer will deal with this evil, in what way she will free herself of the contamination.
The whole thing is a vision in which the dreamer herself is not involved.
She is standing behind the window and watches, sheltered in the warmth of the parental house.
The factor of purification is in the foreground of the second dream.
The dream begins with the child in the bathroom of the parental house.
The bathroom is very often mentioned by patients in precisely such a context.
The consulting room of the physician is often portrayed as a bathroom, if not an even more intimate place.
The ablutions, the ablutio, are a famous motif in alchemy.
There the ablutio regularly follows the so-called blackening, the nigredo.
The blackening is often identical with the prima materia, which is black or lead-colored.
This color has to be washed off.
So in this room of ablutions the dreamer looks at herself in the mirror.
The mirror is a frequent allegory of self-reflection.
The attention is directed to oneself, one “mirrors oneself.”
Schopenhauer says we should “hold up a mirror” to the blind (unconscious) will, so that it will recognize its face and then negate itself.
So the mirror is an instrument for looking at oneself, for self-reflection.
You find this same connection between ablutio and self-reflection in the beautiful legend of St. Ambrosius.
Ambrosius was addressed by a young knight, who asked for instruction.
Thereupon Ambrosius told him: “Your face is black; wash it first.”
Then he ordered him to look at himself.
In our dream, self-reflection is on an appropriately infantile level, and hence has to be interpreted in a completely primitive sense: “Look at yourself in the mirror, and see who you are.”
This is of special importance.
To understand this completely, we have to go back to the preceding dream, because it is connected to it.
The preceding dream represents a manifestation of the collective unconscious.
Experience shows that in such archetypal situations a danger often arises.
What is the danger when an archetype manifests itself?
Participant: One is devoured.
Professor Jung: Possibly. But there is a much more common and typical occurrence.
Professor Jung: This too is being devoured.
Participant: Ego-consciousness is dissolved.
Professor Jung: Yes, but how is it dissolved?
Participant: A splitting occurs.
Professor Jung: Yes, disintegration, dissociation. Then we no longer know who we are.
This is a typical phenomenon that occurs when an archetypal situation becomes overwhelming.
When an archetype is constellated, there is always the danger of an assimilation into the archetype.
One doesn’t know this experience before one has had it.
If this has never happened to you, you won’t realize at all what kind of danger this is.
Those who come into such a situation usually don’t realize it at all.
We see this most clearly in people in panic, or in a great mass of people that is moved by some common idea or emotion.
The individual does not know that he is in a state of dissolution, although he has lost his head just like everybody else.
This approaches us stealthily.
We are dissolved from within, and all of a sudden we are something else and do not even know it, and this is what is so uncanny in this phenomenon.
Consciousness is simply depotentiated. At least we still have a certain protection.
There is still just one moment left to say: “Hey, stop, so that’s what it is!”
If you realize this just in time, you are already protected against it.
But if you don’t know any longer that you have been touched, you are already in a state of dissolution.
When a person is in danger of dissolution, it is necessary that he look at himself, in order to reestablish identity with himself.
I had a patient who was, so to speak, in a state of habitual dissolution.
When she came to see me, she did not know what to talk about.
Whenever she came, she just babbled along.
Once she was late, apologized, and said: “Let me just quickly do something.”
She took out her pocket mirror, looked at herself in it, and remarked:
“I’ve got to do this to know who I am. Otherwise I wouldn’t know what to tell you.”
This is the identity that has to be established.
In everyday life, too, we are constantly concerned about our identity.
When you go to some festive event, for instance, you ask, “Do I look alright?” or “Am I ok?” or something like this.
One is perhaps inclined to rationalize this, but on a deeper level it is always a reassurance about our identity that we seek.
We would like to have it confirmed that we are really in one piece.
It is a rudimentary rite d’entrée.
Before going out hunting, the primitives put themselves into the mind of the hunter.
The identity with the role has to be determined beforehand.
In a way, these are rudimentary remnants from a time in which consciousness was not always at our disposal, and when we couldn’t simply bring ourselves to do something.
Central Australians even have a rite of getting angry; otherwise they could not rouse themselves to get really angry, and would not do anything.
Looking in the mirror in our dream is a direct answer to a preceding, dangerous intrusion of the unconscious.
When a child has such an anachronistic dream, it is always a reasonable assumption that the necessary separation from the collective unconscious—in which she is originally rooted—is not proceeding quite correctly.
The prenatal state is still very powerful, and the child does not want to enter into reality.
Therefore these rites d’entrée are necessary to put such a child into her individual reality.
In this sense, looking at herself in the mirror happens at the absolutely right time, because this sets something in motion.
A process ensues, reaching a climax: she grows wings!
This is the result of the self-reflection.
What does it mean that she grows wings? What could come to her mind with regard to what will happen?
Participant: She could ask herself if she would like to stay on earth at all.
Professor Jung: Yes, if she wouldn’t rather depart at once and fly into heaven.
But something else could be the case when someone grows wings. Who else has wings?
Participant: The devil.
Professor Jung: Yes, she could also have dreamed of getting bat’s wings.
She could also have turned into a devil.
So it is expressly stated that she turns into a little angel.
We must not completely leave aside Mrs. Brunner’s assumption that she may perhaps fly upward as a little angel.
There is actually a well-known expression in our colloquial language; we call a child a “dear little angel.”
Perhaps we may suppose her to be an absolutely nice and pure child, no longer with the least stain of an admixture of the black.
Still, I would like to put a question mark after that.
There is still another possible interpretation of the little angel.
It is also possible that she is still a little angel, because she has not yet become a human being.
It would be possible that an early manifestation of “evil” was so completely washed off her that she did not have any chance at all to sever herself from the collective nconscious.
In this case, she would not have got a human body yet, basically, would not have been completely born yet.
I would like to read to you a report about the dreamer, so that you can judge for yourselves.
She is a medical student of very delicate features, very shy and highly sensitive, so that she hardly dares touch the patients, out of fear of hurting them.
She has religious and philosophical interests, and takes part in the Oxford movement.
You see that the dreamer, now twenty-three or twenty-four years old, still has the attitude of the little angel.
She is encapsulated against the world, won’t let the world come into her.
She is really still in the egg.
Well, there are some occasional little outbursts of defiance.
She naturally tries to tear herself away from the mother, makes feeble attempts at getting out of her cover, like the little chicken that pecks at the eggshell, very modestly.
So in this way she tries to come out of the primeval state.
This example gives you a clear picture of how such dreams anticipate the later personality.
- Dream of a Five-Year-Old Girl of the Fairy and the Snakes Presented by Walter Huber
Text: A good fairy protects me. She is all-powerful. She leads me into a big house with endless corridors and many doors. Finally we come into a room, and there are three snakes in the center, coiling around in a circle. The fairy steps into the center, and a fire flares up, into which she disappears. I’m at a loss and I know that I can’t find the good fairy again, and I run back through all the rooms, and after a lot of searching I manage to find a way out. Finally I come to the street, where I meet a playmate from nursery school. The fairy is also standing there and takes me under her protection.
Professor Jung: Don’t you notice something?
Participant: As in the last dream, fire plays an important role.
Professor Jung: As a matter of fact, here, too, something that was good burns up in the fire.
There it was a wedding carriage, here it is a fairy. I did not have this parallel in mind when I chose the dreams for our discussions, but it is really a similar motif.
Mr. Huber gave a quite exhaustive account of the fairy myths.
Let us try to find an approach to this fairy in which she is not seen from too great a mythological distance, in which she would be intangible.
So what would be a good fairy for a little child?
Participant: The mother.
Professor Jung: Yes, this seems the most reasonable assumption.
We’d first think of the mother.
For a little child, completely in the mother’s care, the mother is the figure who appears at the right moment, from whom everything good and loving comes, who wonderfully provides for everything the child wants.
So well-meaning people are inclined to suppose that a child, who dreams of a good fairy, is dreaming of the mother.
But, for heaven’s sake, we have to go a bit further for scientific reasons, and to take into consideration the fact that the child could easily have dreamed of the real mother as well.
Why did she have to turn the mother into a fairy, an illusory being nowhere to be found?
The dream gives no indications for that.
We can just state that the dream prefers to speak of the mother by presenting
her as a fairy, to make the fairy, not the mother, real.
It translates the mother into a fairy, so to speak.
What are the grounds for the child’s need to translate the mother figure, so near, so much more important and powerful, into something as distant as a fairy? Why can’t the child just dream: my mommy protects me, she is omnipotent, she leads me into a big house, and so on?
Participant: To deprive her of her actual importance; it sort of reduces her potency.
Professor Jung: With this you are going too far already.
You consider the effect of the translation.
Before doing that, we want to have a closer look at the phenomenon itself.
Participant: We have to assume that it is not the real mother who is meant.
Professor Jung: Yes, we have to arrive at that conclusion.
In such cases we can say: “We don’t know why this is so.
It is only clear that the unconscious has an urgent, inexorable need to say ‘fairy,’ not ‘mother.’”
Participants: Archetypes are more graphic than reality.
Professor Jung: Yes, we always forget that in a dream archetypes are stronger than outer reality.
This means, in this case, the fairy is stronger than the mother.
This seems irrational to us.
But when you go back in the history of mankind and investigate the psychology of
the primitives, you will find similar phenomena.
You will see that the primitives talk precisely about those strange figures that run counter to all experience.
None of them has ever seen such a creature, half man and half animal, but it takes hold of them much more than anything rational.
Participant: Isn’t the mother also a powerful archetype?
Professor Jung: Of course the mother is a powerful archetype.
Originally, for the child, who is completely living in the collective, the only archetype at all is that of the mother.
This archetype she projects onto the real mother, or to another person who takes her place.
For the originally existing unconscious there is nothing but the archetype of the motherly woman, no real mother yet at all.
This brings about strange complications.
Then the mother often assumes a superhuman, demonic character.
She can become a witch or a snake, a wicked wolf, a cat—anything people with a negative mother complex project onto the mother: that she secretly mixes poison, that she is threatening, that she has any other evil influence.
The comparisons drawn in these cases of a negative mother complex would be much more appropriate for a mythical being than for the real mother.
The original disposition of the child is a mythological one.
When the dream says “fairy,” not “mother,” it expresses precisely this mythological
quality. If it said mother, it would mean, not the archetypal, but exactly the concrete form.
From the view of the child’s consciousness, we could well say that it means the mother, as the mother
is still of a mythological character.
So the dream interprets the mother as a fairy. If we reduce this archetype to the mother, the whole projection will fall onto the real mother.
This would have the consequence, for instance, that the child might make the mother responsible for a negative content.
She would, from then on, ascribe any demonic effect to the mother’s influence.
The archetype belongs to the child, and must not be taken away from her.
If one pointed out early on to the child, for example, that the fairy were not the mother—I for one wouldn’t tell her, but let’s just assume it—it would be possible that the child could ascribe the characteristics of the motherly quality to the fairy, and form a relationship with the mother that would be reduced to an infantile level.
When the unconscious says: “It is a fairy,” then please stay with it.
Archetypes are extremely powerful; they assimilate reality.
When people make an archetypal assumption about somebody, they won’t let themselves be persuaded to give that up; they are possessed by it.
The archetype hypnotizes, it takes possession of you, and you will be captivated by it.
So when the child tells us such a dream, we had best tell her something about the good fairy, so that this mythical being will come alive in her.
If we are asked who this fairy really is, however, we will have to know a bit more about her.
We can’t just repopulate the world with fairies.
Perhaps in Ireland that’s still possible, but not in the Canton of Zurich.
Here it is out of the question. So we have to bring the fairy home somehow.
Now what does the fairy mean in the child’s imaginary world?
Participant: She is a powerful and wise figure.
Professor Jung: Yes, she is powerful, wise, has wonderful qualities, which are all things the child has not.
Participant: She is a guiding figure, a kind of female guide.
Professor Jung: Yes. In a man’s case, this would be a superior man.
Just think of Goethe/Faust, Nietzsche/Zarathustra, Dante/Virgil!
Participant: The guiding figure corresponds to the figure of Hermes, the guide in the spiritual world who guides the philosophers.
Professor Jung: Yes, Hermes Trismegistos is the initiator, the psychopompos, and the fairy is his female counterpart.
She is that wondrous figure of the grown-up woman, the woman the child is not yet, a being naturally surrounded by miracles, magnificence, and power for the child, a superior figure, her own inner superiority.
It is the anticipation of what the child will perhaps become herself later on.
But that must happen before? The dream tells it.
Participant: The fairy has to go up in flames.
Participant: There is a very similar figure in the visions of Zosimos, a figure of a priestly guide, who goes up in flames.
Professor Jung: The parallel with the visions of Zosimos is quite convincing.
We are talking about an image seen by Zosimos, a philosopher and alchemist in the third century.
Its main feature is that he encounters a strange figure, the figure of a little old man, an
anthroparion, a homunculus.
The little old man is sacrificed by a priest, or he is himself the priest who transforms himself in the fire, devours, and then spits himself out, being cooked in the bowl-shaped altar.
He is the illuminating guiding figure, a psychopompos.
The image of the fairy burning herself is something we have to ponder for a long time and look at from many angles, in order to become reasonably clear about it.
This is highly remarkable symbolism.
The ceremony itself is significant. What does it tell us?
To begin with, we have to look at the whole situation from the child’s viewpoint.
One of these fine days, the good fairy takes the child with her, as if she’d said to her: “Come with me, my little girl, we are going into the big palace; I’ll show you something there.”
She leads her into the big room, and there is a demonstration of a burning.
The fairy is not burned completely, because at the end she appears again.
It is like a magical trick to frighten the child.
Nothing bad happens; in the end everything is as it was in the beginning.
The strange ceremony, which happens here, surprises us.
There is a complete restitutio ad integrum.
The fairy reappears as if nothing had happened.
This is the central problem of the whole dream.
The dream is a kind of sketch of the future.
The fairy demonstrates something, she shows what the child will have to go through herself sometime in the future.
In the visions of Zosimos, too, the philosopher is only a bystander, watching.
,too, the figure of the guide burns himself, to show the alchemist the way.
The soul guide appears in the dream and shows him: this will have to happen to bring about what you are looking for.
What he is looking for is the hydor theion, the divine water, the secret, the means
to make incomplete bodies complete.
It is identical with Christian baptismal water, which is made in a very similar way.
In a complicated ritual, the baptismal water is composed of exorcized water, exorcized
salt, oleum unctionis (the consecration oil), and Chrisam, the oil of anointment.
This ritual is one of the ceremonies performed at Easter.
The instructions for the preparation of baptismal water can be found in the Missale Romanum, the Roman Missal.
The consecration of the water is performed on the eve of Holy Saturday.
The hydor theion, which had been prepared in advance, is fertilized by the immersion of a candle, so that it may give birth again to man in the uterus of the Church.
It is an extremely meaningful rite, a kind of hierosgamos.
Modern priests are quite unfamiliar with these things; the average priest usually does not know about it.
It is one of those secrets that constitute the power of the Catholic Church over the unconscious.
This dream is about something similar, only it is expressed in a simpler form.
Without doubt, the fairy is the superior, enigmatic, magical being, a kind of helpful spirit.
Fairies, like elves, are beings of nature; they do not have Christian souls, but are beings of nature who come from nature and live in nature.
This means: in our own nature, in the unconscious, in the natural soul, there is such a figure, and it is clearly expressed in our dream.
But why does the fairy disappear in the fire?
Participant: This is a revival of the fairy.
Professor Jung: There is nothing in the dream to indicate that the fairy had been revived.
There are some parallels to the process of burning that may be of help here, for example, in a story of Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride.
Isis got herself employed as a nanny by the king of Phoenicia.
The child’s mother catches her holding the child right above the fire until it burns.
The queen shrieks with fright. Isis takes the child out of the fire and says: “Now everything is in vain. If you had not shrieked, I could have given the child immortality.”
Participant: The symbol of the phoenix also belongs here.
Professor Jung: Certainly; the phoenix achieves a new existence by burning itself.
Every five hundred years it burns itself with incense and other fragrant wood.
Do you know other examples?
Participant: Heracles also burns himself, and then rises to the gods.
Participant: Achilles, too, is held right above the fire by Thetis to immortalize him in this way. But then the father happens upon the scene and prevents the completion of the task. That is where Achilles’ vulnerable heel stems from.
Professor Jung: So burning oneself means immortalization.
The fairy in our dream goes through this process of change.
She transforms herself in the fire and thus assumes a fiery nature of an eternal quality, just like gold, which no longer changes in fire.
This is also the meaning of the visions of Zosimos—that fire bestows immortality.
Here, too, as in the previous dream, fire stands for a purification from all corruptible substances, a disintegration of the body.
We have to go through the fire, therefore, to be freed from this imperfect matter, to
rise to heaven, so to speak, as a spiritus, a spirit, a subtle being.
Because the pure form has been established forever, we assume immortal nature.
But fairies are not subject to the law of mortality, they no longer have a carnal body, they are spiritual beings removed from the corruptibility of matter.
So what the fairy does can have no meaning for herself, but the ceremony must have a meaning for the child.
The fairy is the omnipotent, all-protecting, powerful being who has taken the child by the hand and reveals a secret to her.
This is an obvious anticipation, a symbolical preparation for what is to follow.
The guiding element, the adult element within the child, experienced by her as something extremely powerful and omnipotent, tells her: “Look, this is how it happens, this is how it is done, how you can change.”
And what should the child learn from it?
Participant: It could mean: “If you encounter a situation such as this circle of snakes, do not stay away. Go into the center, just like the fairy, and then you will go up in the flames and escape from the danger.”
Professor Jung: You see, we have to bear in mind that the situation is absolutely frightening for the child.
A place where snakes are coiling in a circle is a place you’d better avoid.
So the child does not go into the center herself, but the guide does, meaning: “Do not stay outside, step into it, whatever will happen; you will be consumed by the fire. You will turn into smoke, and then you will be here again.”
What does that mean? We can relate this to other things already discussed. Do you remember what we previously said about fire?
Participant: That it is related to the affects.
Professor Jung: Yes, in the dream of the wedding couple and the devil, too, the couple is consumed by fire.
Fire is an emotional outbreak, an outbreak of the libido.
That is why the libido is always compared to fire.
So this means: “The libido will come to you, and you will be burned by it.”
But what does the magic circle, which is described here, mean?
Participant: Aren’t these snakes chthonic figures? And isn’t this circle the unconscious itself into which the child has to go?
Professor Jung: Well, I wouldn’t just say “the unconscious.”
I don’t believe that children have the task of getting closer to the unconscious, because they are not far removed from it anyway.
The dream would express such a thought differently.
We have to pay very close attention to the form, the Gestalt, we encounter here.
There is talk about a circle; this is circularity, a sign of wholeness.
So this is a situation referring to wholeness. Circularity is a very primary vision.
It is the oldest symbol of mankind, already found in paleolithic rock drawings in Rhodesia.
This most ancient symbol of circularity can be found from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, and up until the present.
It has always been interpreted as a sun wheel [see illustration].
This is one of the most archaic forms, however, found before wheels existed at all.
It is completely out of the question that this is just a wheel.
More likely it could be a portrayal of the sun, but then the drawing is not realistic enough for that, because paleolithic drawings are incredibly true to nature.
Animals, for example, are drawn without feet, because the feet, standing in the grass, are invisible.
These very early paleolithic artists saw nature in absolutely clear perfection and with unsurpassed realism.
They did not make symbolic drawings, except when they depicted visions.
And this drawing of a circle is a vision rather than reality.
It can be found in the most inconspicuous places, for instance, in Ignatius of Loyola, who describes this in his autobiography.
He had frequent visions of a golden circularity or a big golden ball.
It hovered in front of him and filled him with a wonderful feeling.
I do not know what it meant to him.
You also find the symbol of circularity in the Ecstatic Confessions, in the confession of the theologian Symeon.
He describes how he searched for God, traveling everywhere without finding Him anywhere, until He rose in his heart as a little round sun disk.
Circularity is a primeval vision.
Participant: Hildegard von Bingen also describes such a vision.
Professor Jung: Yes, you will find this vision everywhere.
In Buddhist meditations it also says: “Be round and round.”
The roundness has to be reestablished; this symbol has appeared again and again since primeval times, and has always had this same meaning of wholeness, of rotundity, of rounding off, and of completion.
So the circle of snakes in our dream means: “If we encounter a situation that requires our wholeness, and fail in this situation, we will have forfeited the wholeness.”
For we have to put ourselves completely in it, at the risk of being consumed by the fire.
The further course of the dream shows that the burning did no harm, because the fairy is there afterward as she was before.
The transformation did not adversely affect the fairy.
The core problem of the dream is this demonstrated transformation, which occurs in a person who moves into the roundness, despite the potential danger represented by the snakes.
After all, the snake is first and foremost an anxiety symbol.
Monkeys and horses are also instinctively afraid of snakes.
When you see a circle of three snakes you will take good care not to step into it.
You will experience anxiety.
Should you step into it nevertheless, the transformation, meant to create the immortal being, will follow.
The fulfillment of the meaning of life is linked to the idea of immortality.
This does not tell us anything about immortality, as such.
We only state that human beings have this emotion, and therefore talk about such problems.
It is simply a psychological fact. In all of life’s highest points in which we face life completely, we also have the feeling of the meaningfulness of life, and this feeling is always linked to the feeling of eternity. In alchemy, for example, the roundness that is manufactured is the lapis philosophorum, the philosophers’ stone.
It is the incorruptible object, the corpus glorificationis, the body of completion and perfection, or also the body of the Resurrection with which we are clothed, so to speak, on the Day of Judgment.
The roundness in our dream, however, is a circle of three snakes.
From the psychological point of view, we’d find four snakes much more appropriate, don’t you think?
Participant: No, the Three is exactly right. Cerberus and Hekate also have three heads. The Three symbolizes male sexuality, the demonic sexuality.
Professor Jung: This is about emotionality, not only about sex.
The other seven devils are implied too: wrath, concupiscentia, avarice, envy, hate, in short, all the devilish things.
That’s what the Three is!
We have to form a very concrete picture of this in the case of our child! It is a child, after all, whose body is still growing.
The whole libido and the vital spirit are actually absorbed by this development; the body has to be built, and therefore plays a very great role.
The instincts, which have built the body, will get ever stronger in the course of future development, and will burst to the surface in the form of emotions such as sexuality, envy, hate, anger, ambition, avarice, and so on. It is like a hellish fire.
The child had another dream: She opens a door and sees the glow of a fire in the room. She knows: “This is hell.” Then she leaves.
She looked for the way to heaven, and saw hell! She was absorbed by it.
This hell is the hell of instincts.
The child had a premonition of the instinctual hell into which she will enter.
In alchemy, this state of instinctual hell is represented as a snake with three heads, the so-called serpens mercurii.
It leads the soul into the afterworld, and is identical with the Gnostic Nous, which had originally come down from above and combined with matter.
In other words, the divine Nous is also present in this instinctual phenomenon, this instinctual hell.
Through the agony of the fire it then turns into the corpus glorificationis, into gold, into that which is eternal and unchanging.
So, in a way, these three snakes symbolically represent the hell of instincts, and that is also why the child is afraid of it. In this fire one has to stand in order to be changed.
Who never has been changed by the fire of passion is only on the run from himself, is merely a deserter from life.
The three snakes, or the snake with three heads, can also simply stand for Satan.
Where is he described as having three heads?
Participant: In Dante.
Professor Jung: Yes, Satan has three heads in the Inferno.
Participant: He is the counterpart of the upper Trinity.
Professor Jung: Yes, he is simply the counter god in the depths.
Now what can be said about this trinity, be it of hellish or divine authority?
Participant: The Three is permanent unrest, the flame that flares up, the dynamic force.
Professor Jung: In our regions and in the Near East, the Three is a sacred number.
This is not so everywhere; for the Indians, for instance, it is the Four.
For them, the Four stands for everything beautiful.
A prayer has to be said four times, for example.
Participant: When the call has been repeated three times, something will happen.
Participant: It is the ever-renewed synthesis of the opposites, which never stagnates.
Participant: The three Fates represent the coming into being and the fading away of what happens.
Professor Jung: In Mahayana Buddhism, you will find the Three as the center of the carnal world: a cock, a snake, and a pig.
The cock is lust, the snake envy, and the pig ignorance.
These three are the roots of the world, these are the three causes of what happens in the world.
This can be found in the so-called Kilkor Mandala, which has these three figures at its center.
At Friday’s lecture you heard about the visions of Mahasukha, and that he had three eyes to see the past, the present, and the future.
This shows that the Three stands in connection with time.
The Three is time, and time is always identical with the flow of energy.
We can conceive time only on the basis of movement.
There must be change to make time possible. Proclus says: “Wherever there is creation, there is also time.”
The Neoplatonic god of creation is Chronos, that is, time.
This is the original form of Bergson’s idea of the durée créatrice.
Time has these two aspects: that which lies behind us, and that which lies ahead. Certain [American] Indians have only one word for time: day.
Pointing forward means tomorrow, pointing backward yesterday, and a movement downward today.
Threeness designates the course things take. Time is identical with the course things take. Time, as such, does not exist at all.
There is only the course things take, which we measure with the notion of time.
For primitive man, who is close to nature, the course of time is no abstraction.
For him there is only a then, a now, and a before.
He doesn’t have a watch, does he, on whose numbers he could read the time.
He completely exists in that stream of events, which is permanently flowing into a dark hole, which comes to us from a dark future, which flows through us, and sinks into eternal darkness behind us.
Primitive man has no history; there is no history before the grandfather, prehistory lies only about three generations back.
The primitive is most deeply impressed by this strange stream of events, however,
coming from the tomorrow, flowing through the today, and sinking into the yesterday.
For him this is a directly experienced fact of life.
This continuity of events is also at the basis of the Chinese concept of nature, according to which everything happening at a given moment is happening exactly as it has to.
You will find this idea in the Book of Changes, the I Ching.
When I throw a handful of peas, they will roll in all directions.
Try to interpret this, and you will understand the importance of the moment.
If you practice such a method to some extent, you will see how remarkably well the meaning of the I Ching matches the psychological situation.
It is more than a façon de parler.
It is a highly remarkable fact that can also be proven by data from astrology—which is not just superstition, provided you have the necessary experience.
Astrology has to do with stars only insofar as the course of events is measured with the help of them.
Telepathic experiences also belong here.
Some smart alecks say it’s all nonsense, but most often they have never heard of such
experiences, simply because this does not fit into their worldview.
All these phenomena of synchronicity—which are really striking once we pay attention to them—only mean that corresponding things are happening at the same moment.
This points to the substantiality of events in time.
It is an archaic experience such as that of expanded space.
We have seen that time has three aspects: past, present, and future.
The three snakes in our dream are probably a reference to time.
Originally time itself was depicted as a snake, as in the Zodiacal snake.
Religious heroes were often portrayed in connection with time.
In the Upanishads, too, Prajapati is the year, is Chronos, the creator of the world. Christ is also the ecclesiastical year; in certain early Christian drawings he was depicted as a snake carrying the stars on its back—twelve stars representing the twelve disciples.
It is the time, the year with its twelve months.
Time symbolism also played a great role in the Mithras cult.
The figure of Aion usually stood at the main altar of the Mithras cult—he is a man with a lion’s head, enveloped by the Zodiacal snake, Zrvan akarana, meaning “boundless time.”
As you can see, there is ample evidence for the snake as a symbol of the passing of time.
In our dream, the child is told to go into this circle of snakes to transform herself.
The transformation is inevitable because she is stepping into the fire with the corruptible body.
In our rational thinking this would equal self-destruction, but the irrational meaning is: transformation to immortality.
Participant: How should we interpret the playmate in this so very archetypal process?
Professor Jung: The playmate is very important. Why?
Participant: Because she belongs to her reality as a child.
Professor Jung: This is correct.
She reestablishes the connection to her age.
When the child goes with the fairy, it is as if she were drawn into the beyond.
The typical threat a constellated archetype poses is to temporarily draw the person into unreality, into prenatal psychology.
The dream counters this threat with the figure of the playmate.
Her importance lies in reconnecting the child to her childlike reality.
- Three Dreams from Adolescence (Fifteen-Year-Old Boy): Of the Tiger, the Snakes, and the Magic Herb Presented by Professor Jung
Texts: 1. I’m lost in the desert, wandering around and thirsty.
The sun burns down mercilessly, and I’m about to die of thirst.
The moment I’m starting to collapse I see an oasis.
As I crouch to quench my terrible thirst,
I see to my great horror a giant tiger, preparing to leap to kill me.
Its eyes have a reddish glow, and I feel paralyzed.
I t crouches, ready to jump; I’m covered in cold sweat from every pore, and I wake up.
- Again I’m in the desert. The sun is not shining, but still it’s unbearably hot.
I’m wearing high boots so the snakes can’t harm me.
The sand is teeming with snakes, and I just don’t understand where all those wild animals come from.
Suddenly, a terribly big boa appears; it is white as snow and her back is full of black crosses.
At first the snake doesn’t seem to pay attention to me, but then it turns around, spots me, and already I’m under its spell.
Very slowly she curls around my legs, then winds around my neck and starts to strangle me.
I can already hear my bones cracking, then I wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach.
- I’m looking for a certain herb on the prairie.
It’s supposed to grow under a nearly transparent stone.
The moment I think I’ve found that stone—I see it right in front of me—a mighty lion appears before me that also eagerly heads for that stone and the magic herb.
I feel I have to retreat, but still manage to shout a spell-word to the lion, which can either destroy or rescue me.
The lion is so puzzled that it calmly lets me reach for the stone, but then it seems to come to its senses, my magic call fades, and the blood-thirsty lion comes nearer.
In ultimate desperation, I call out for my mother; she comes with the bicycle, takes me with her, and we are rescued.
Professor Jung: These dreams are from a fifteen-year-old boy; they are typical adolescent dreams.
I would like to use them for comparative reasons, because we can note some interesting differences from childhood dreams.
To begin with, it will be useful to make some general introductory remarks on puberty, because the psychological situation at this age is completely different from that in childhood.
During puberty, the ego is already more or less independent; it has already freed itself of the phenomena of the collective unconscious.
The child has grown into a specific human world, into the world of the family and the world of the school.
There already exists a certain personality that, however, is now suddenly exposed to the shock of sexuality.
It goes without saying that this destabilizes the standpoint gained so far, sometimes
in an outright catastrophic way.
A remarkable change of the personality, therefore, takes place at this age.
It is also possible that mental disorders become manifest at this age, under the influence of that fateful power which is sexuality.
Something completely new is befalling the person here, and it hits an ego that is not yet prepared for this at all, because it has only known the infantile instincts, which, thanks to education and the training the child has had in school,
have been more or less integrated.
All this is now suddenly knocked over by the invasion of sexuality.
This is what the dreams talk about.
These are the only dreams the dreamer wrote down during his adolescence.
Obviously, that was a phase in which he himself noticed that something of very special importance happened.
Let us now try to understand the dreams in detail.
In the first dream the situation is very clear.
The dreamer wanders around in the desert. How do you interpret the desert?
Participant: As an isolation.
Participant: It is a dangerous place.
Professor Jung: Yes, it is the place of fear and danger.
We must not start out from the locals’ view of the desert.
This is not an Arab child but a European.
The desert is a place of horror, the loneliness in the desert is always filled with ghosts.
Those wonderful wadis in the desert are populated by devils called djinns.
For the dreamer, who presumably lived with his family here in Zurich, the desert is something new and adventurous, which naturally also suggests the idea of loneliness
So the dreamer is in, and completely at the mercy of, a peculiar psychological situation.
What does it mean that he is thirsty, but not hungry?
Participant: The fire, his own instinctuality, is burning in him.
Professor Jung: Yes, it is very hot, that is, the situation is very hot,
and so naturally this makes you thirsty rather than hungry.
The boy is about to die of thirst; he is now seized by a desire, a need, that is alien to him.
This is precisely what he is helplessly at the mercy of.
Now comes the complication, the drama: the moment he starts to collapse, he discovers an oasis.
something helpful is occurring at this moment.
Iis the old story that someone, lost in the desert, dreams of an oasis: he sees a Fata Morgana, the well-known pool of water in the desert, always around noon, valleys with wonderful blue lakes, where before there had been nothing but desert.
These are well-known phenomena.
So the oasis is a helpful place, where there are palm trees and other plants, and naturally also water.
What does this oasis indicate—if we don’t directly interpret it as a wish fulfillment?
This would be way too cheap anyway.
The oasis has to mean something, because otherwise it would be equally possible that someone came with a jug of beer or water.
Participant: There is ground water in the oasis; therefore, there is a contact with the unconscious.
Professor Jung: Exactly; wonderful, clear water is flowing there.
In psychological terms: salvation is coming to the surface, which could quench his thirst and solve his whole complicated situation all at once.
This has to be a revelation of the unconscious.
What it means still lies in darkness, so let’s leave it open for the moment.
First, there comes the tiger ready to jump.
What does the tiger mean?
Participant: Because the unconscious comes closer, it is its instinctual aspect that first comes to the surface.
Professor Jung: Yes, the tiger, just like the bull, is always a personification of the instinct that is directed against us.
So, for example, when you dream of an evil animal chasing you, of an evil dog or a
wild bull, you can always be absolutely sure that you are somehow separated from instinct and have reached a contradictory situation.
You are not at one with the view taken by nature, and hence nature turns against you.
Then nature approaches you in the form of an animal image. You meet your animal.
Being chased by an animal does not necessarily have an unfavorable meaning.
It just says that you are hostile toward it, and so it assumes a hostile attitude toward you.
Then you ought to make the gesture of politely taking your hat off and asking: “So what do you want of me?”
And you will see: the animal has something to tell you.
Of course, the boy is against instinct, because it is that alien and uncanny thing that put him into a completely new environment.
It now confronts him and becomes a danger for him.
This is a typical motif found in many myths: the dragon or the snake that guards the hotly desired magic well.
Sometimes, also, an evil spirit or a witch guards the well.
The well is always guarded by the evil that wants to come to us.
This being would like to seize us, it is what we have abandoned, what is in us and from what we have run away.
That’s why it is against us.
If we want to reach the fountain of life again, the place, that is, where we no longer have to die of thirst, we will have to face the danger of meeting the evil being there, the evil because of which we went into the desert in the first place, in order to escape from it.
We search to escape from it, and, therefore, it comes after us.
So, the dreamer must get into this danger here, because, if he wants to find the fountain of life within himself, he has to be reached by instinct.
Basically, this double aspect of the source—oasis and tiger—is one and the same.
Participant: We find similar ideas in astrology, too.
Under the constellation of Virgo there is the water serpent.
This is the same image as above: the virgin as the fountain of life, and the dragon who guards her by her side.
And above the source there are the heroes who make the descent: Heracles brandishes his club, and Ophiuchos brings the snakes under control.
Professor Jung: Yes, this parallel is very interesting.
Here, too, the way to the fountain of life leads through the evil animal, through instinct.
Now let us see how this development continues.
In the second dream the dreamer is in the desert again, and it is unbearably hot; but there is a difference from the first dream—the sun does not shine.
What does it mean that the sun no longer shines?
Participant: That one no longer sees the reason for the difficulty.
Professor Jung: What does this mean, if the sun is the source of the difficulty?
Participant: The sun has to do with consciousness.
One could say that the difficulty lies in consciousness.
Professor Jung: The sun always means “day.”
Consciousness and sun are identical. If the sun shines in a dream, this means clear consciousness; only that consciousness, of course, which is at the disposal of the dreamer.
It is this consciousness that causes the terrible thirst and the danger of dying of it.
He went away from the fountain of life because it was guarded by the tiger.
To escape this danger he fled into consciousness, because he felt: “It is terrible down there, and man should not tempt the gods.”
So if the sun no longer shines in the second dream, this indicates that he has already come nearer to the unconscious.
He is also already protected against the danger in an interesting way: he is wearing high boots.
I do not know if the boy had heard about this, but his associations about the boots suggest that he had read that one has to put on boots to protect oneself against snakes.
One might happen to step on a sand viper, and this is a nasty animal.
You’d better wear boots in that case, because even tropical snakes can’t bite through such a thick material.
Now there are a great number of snakes in the dream.
What does the snake mean?
Participant: Psychologically speaking, it is a chthonic form of instinctuality, one is in the power of the uncanny.
This can easily happen in the desert, where one is exposed to many dangers.
There instinctuality appears as the epitome of the transpersonal and the uncanny.
Professor Jung: Yes, snakes are uncanny; we are afraid to step on snakes.
When the dream says that the ground, the sand, is teeming with snakes, this means that the desert is coming to life, so to speak.
Being alone then objectifies the inner state.
These things really happen when we are alone—when you are alone for a long time, you may hear voices, somebody calling your name, for instance.
There are actual visions and auditory hallucinations caused by solitude.
When somebody with an animate unconscious—it needn’t even be that animate—gets caught in solitude, all kinds of strange things may happen to him.
When you are alone in your house, or when it is dark, or when the moon shines, you may think you’ve seen something.
We also know this from the lives of the saints and the hermits, who actually often suffered from such experiences caused by solitude.
These are exteriorizations of inner processes.
If there is a discrepancy between consciousness and the motoric and instinctual systems—that is, the cerebrospinal system with the exception of the cortex—snake
symbols will appear.
Basically, the snake always means the cerebrospinal nervous system.
These are simply the centers of the low instincts or functions, with which we are no longer in accord.
The stranger the unconscious content, the more it will be exteriorized, then occasioning these visions and auditory phenomena.
This can also lead to phenomena such as ghostly apparitions, as can be well observed in such cases of exteriorization.
You should consult the literature on this topic sometime.
There is an interesting book by Albert de Rochas, L’extériorisation du Sens, in which such phenomena are described, not in the light of psychology, but from a merely factual standpoint.
There is mention of crashing noises in pieces of furniture, of “raps,” and so on.
The whole of spiritualism lives on such phenomena.
We must not easily dismiss this by saying, “This is all chimera!”
Naturally, one always tries to rationalize such phenomena, but if we study them closely, and under what psychological conditions they happen, we will discover that there is somebody close to the scene having an exteriorization.
Such exteriorizations happen when we stand in contradiction with ourselves, that is, with our instinctual system.
The exteriorization occurs when the conflict is about to become unbearable.
It then shows itself to us from the outside, so to speak.
These phenomena also happen to the mentally ill, in huge numbers.
You may have walked through life for thirty years without taking anybody into your confidence, and then the secret exteriorizes itself: the whole town will know it, it will be everybody’s secret, the record player will play its tune, and everything will leak the secret.
There is a tragic, yet also grotesquely comic, story: An old governess had had a love affair in her youth, thank God she once did have one!
She then bottled it up, sat there in her digs, old, sour, and retired, brooding over it.
She began to notice that the people on the floors above and below “electrified” her.
Finally the people in the street shouted after her: “Mademoiselle Desfleurs!”—the deflowered damsel—so it was already all over the town.
This was a typical exteriorization.
Participant: Is this a hallucination?
Professor Jung: Yes, it is an acoustic manifestation of the most intimate thoughts, for instance, of those we never wanted to admit.
This is the reason why in severe cases the voices tell you the most horrible things, the most embarrassing secrets, and it gets more and more obscene—and then you can talk about it less than ever.
I once treated a young girl in the clinic. She was twenty years old.
She was in a state of excitation, and just said out loud everything she’d ever heard.
The results were the most incredible obscenities and dirtiest stories.
I’ve heard quite a few things, but this terminology—a coachman would be no match for her.
The young girl, who had been brought up and always lived protectively, just sputtered these things.
Somewhere she had picked them up in passing.
Her sister was very shocked and asked me: “For Heaven’s sake, where did the child pick up that language?”
The unconscious had swallowed it with great pleasure, and then, instead of thinking those things, she pushed them aside, and that’s why they had to be said out loud.
But by then it was too late.
We must not entirely hide this side of life from children, even if there is the difficult pedagogical question of how to break it to them.
It would be much better if we could just tell them: “Basically, you’re all pigs!” Then many difficulties would disappear, but I don’t know how we could break it to children, for we are no longer primitives.
It makes no sense to harbor illusions about the human condition.
I am all for sending kids to public elementary schools, therefore, by no means to exclusive private schools, so that they can ingest the necessary dirt.
Private schools, with their cute kids and friendly teachers, are not healthy, because we are living on this earth, which simply is not clean.
The many snakes in our dream are such an exteriorization, an animation of the environment colored by anxiety.
The snakes could, after all, come to you, and the strange and uncanny could penetrate
This fear is particularly strong when you are alone in the hot desert.
Participant: At first the sand is teeming with snakes, but then something crystallizes. The chaos becomes concentrated in a primeval being, the white snake.
Participant: The multitude means disintegration. It is condensed in the image of the boa.
Professor Jung: Yes, now comes the really great danger, the terrible white boa with a number of black crosses on her back, a bit like an adder. What does that mean? What is the white snake?
Participant: Now the source and the tiger, the double aspect of the unconscious, are united into one image.
The snake is white and black, it is the Mercurial water, but still has a dangerous side.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is very important; the snake has to do with the water, and because it is white and black, it is really a unification of the opposites.
It is as if the dreamer had had the idea that tiger and oasis are one and the same.
This unification is possible because the sun no longer shines, because his conscious attitude is already shaken.
This conscious attitude is somewhat darkened by the admixture of the unconscious.
The dreamer has already been overcome by the tiger, and has been brought nearer to the unconscious of nature.
It is an abaissement du niveau mental, absolutely necessary for viewing the opposites together.
There is no way we could unify the opposites with clear, conscious reason—tertium non datur—but in reality there is always a third, because otherwise we would eternally be stuck in the contradiction.
Practically speaking, we are able to bring the Yes and No together, only we must not look too closely and be so terribly precise, just look the other way a bit.
In this way the source has merged with the evil animal and has now become the boa, a white snake, to be precise.
Participant: White animals are those animals that don’t live in the daylight, that are always underground. This clearly points toward the unconscious.
Professor Jung: Which animals are white?
Participant: The white horse in folklore, fairy tales, and myths. It also appears in a book by Kubin, Die andere Seite.
Professor Jung: Kubin’s book is actually quite silly.
It was written by a modern artist keen not to think anything, in contrast with the artists of the Renaissance.
He gives a description of the unconscious tel quel [as it is], pure raw material, a reproduction.
It features a crazy horse that thunders through the vaults of the underworld.
So this is such a white animal, but in this case it is a mythological one.
Such animals also exist in reality.
The Proteus in the karst caves is white, for example, because it needs no color.
Participant: Worms and cockchafer grubs are white, too.
Professor Jung: Yes, all intestinal worms, tapeworms, and the like, and in general many animals that live in the dark, are white.
These are animals that symbolize the unconscious, the source just coming out of the womb of the earth.
This is one of the reasons why the boa in our dream is white.
But then it is not completely white, but has black crosses.
This indicates that it is not just a cave tapeworm, but that its white color has still another meaning, derived from the contrast with black.
What does “white snake” mean in a positive sense? Where does it appear?
Participant: In fairy tales.
Professor Jung: How does it appear in fairy tales?
Participant: Doesn’t it have something to do with divination and premonition?
Professor Jung: It is, of course, the magic serpent; it reveals a secret, and usually appears with a little golden crown on her head to indicate that it is the queen serpent—a doctor snake.
It brings wisdom and revelation, it knows about the secret treasure and the secret path.
It is a helpful animal.
Thus the white color is also a favorable color, obviously a color of enlightenment.
Participant: In old dream books, white animals are also favorable.
Professor Jung: Which corresponds with the fact that black animals are unfavorable.
Now there are black crosses on the snake. What does that mean?
Participant: The unification of the opposites, of white and black.
Professor Jung: So the snake is of a contradictory nature: white on the one hand, black on the other.
If we call to mind that the snake represents the cerebrospinal nervous system, it follows that a symbol of this other, uncanny, contradiction and strangeness is expressed by this image.
A psychical content is expressed through it.
The snake is not just a natural animal, but also a mythological animal.
It not only stands for instinct, but also has a symbolic quality.
We must not forget that sexuality is not just sexuality, but also a psychical experience.
It has a psychical quality; it is somehow symbolic and magic.
It never appears in its essence as such, therefore, but is always also a strange psychical state at the same time.
Actually, the crosses don’t really belong in nature; they look artificial.
Participant: Don’t they actually mean a sacrifice of the natural?
Participant: According to an Orphic view, Hecate wears a cross on her head and is also accompanied by the snake.
Professor Jung: We have already mentioned that the symbolism of an idea adheres to this snake, that is, it is a symbolic snake.
The cross as a symbol is very frequent in all kinds of ethnicities.
In this case, of course, we have to think of the obvious, of Christian symbolism.
One might speculate even further, that it could be a soter snake, a salvation snake, which has a connection with Christianity, just like the source.
For Christ is the fountain of life, the water of life.
This snake simply replaces the source; it symbolizes the water of life.
It is an alchemical idea that dragons or serpents—serpens mercurii—live in the middle of the earth, the imperfect metal, and are, so to speak, the anima, the soul of the metal.
They are lured to the surface and then rise into the clouds, to come down again as rain; they are again absorbed by matter, and heal it.
They come down as a medicine, a transforming tincture, as saviors of the being bound by the chains of imperfection, saviors not only of matter, but also of man.
At a Later Meeting of the Seminar [28 February 1939]
Professor Jung: Last time we talked about the symbolism of the snake. What did we find out about the psychological meaning of the snake?
Participant: The snake is, in general, a personification of instinct, instinctuality, of the transpersonal and the uncanny. In our dream, however, the snake not only represents instinctual nature, but is also a symbolic animal. It is white and has black crosses on its back. As a condensation of the multitude of snakes into one giant being, it also
represents a synthesis of the many to the one.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is important.
An example of this is the metal snake in Numbers 21:6–9.
There you find the many snakes that bite the Israelites on their journey.
Jehovah tells Moses to make a serpent of brass and to set it upon a pole, and whoever looks upon it will be protected against the snakes.
For if you fall prey to the many, you will be dissolved.
There is always the danger that an instinctual process will bring us down, and then we are dissolved in the multiplicity.
We have lost the unity of the personality.
If we are at one with ourselves, the other will face us.
Participant: Therefore, Christ is the One.
Professor Jung: Yes, just as Moses exalted the snake on the pole, Christ was exalted on the cross.
That’s why the Ophites said: Christ is the snake of salvation, the soter snake.
This idea persisted far into the Middle Ages.
Maybe you have seen it: it is the cross with the serpent [see illustration].
You find this symbol in alchemy and in many other places.
In an Indian royal palace from the fifteenth century I found a bedstead made of ebony, and there was that symbolic image, with many birds around it, and above there hovered a pelican.
This piece was made by an Italian master in the sixteenth century.
He depicted alchemical symbols on it, among them that snake, which can also be found n the famous book by Abraham le Juif.
Just as the one snake in the desert overcame the many, Christ, so to speak, overcame the autonomous instinctual forces, that is, the evil, and so he is the snake of salvation, the soter snake.
Let us now proceed to the third dream.
The locale of the dream is the prairie. What do you think of it?
Participant: In contrast to the desert, the prairie is already a bit milder; there is already vegetation.
Professor Jung: Yes, the prairie is a bit better than the desert.
Grass grows there. How come the dreamer now comes into the prairie?
Think of the sequence of the dreams, which is simultaneously a causal sequence!
Participant: In the preceding dream the oasis and the white snake hint at something positive.
Professor Jung: Yes, the white snake is the first positive image that approached him.
And because it is symbolic, a relationship with the person ensues.
As a symbolic snake it is much less dangerous than if it were real.
The phenomenon has been psychified, so the desert is no longer a desert, but becomes a prairie.
There he is looking for a very specific herb. What about this herb?
Participant: In the Friday lecture there was mention of a mountain with the herb lunaria or lunatica.
Participant: This herb is also found in fairy tales, where it brings life back.
Participant: The herb is also the alchemical medicine, the alexipharmakon, the antidote.
Participant: The expression “There’s no herb for it” also contains the idea of the herb as a medicine.
Professor Jung: Yes, the idea of healing is linked to the herb.
The quality of healing already appeared with the boa, which actually is a snake of salvation or healing.
If we can accept this snake, healing will follow.
But as we have seen, the dreamer cannot yet accept it, although an idea of healing develops in him, by which he lets himself be led. He is looking for a better medicine.
Participant: One that he can assimilate.
Professor Jung: Yes, he could still be devoured by this giant snake, but the herb he can eat himself.
This magic herb also plays a role in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is seized by the fear of death, and seeks immortality by walking the path of the sun and going through
the gate of the Scorpio giant.
This is the [astrological] autumnal equinox of the Taurus age.
Here we have a portrayal of the zodiacal signs through which the point of the vernal equinox went in historical times.
As you can see, from the fourth to the second millennium B.C. the point of the vernal
equinox went through the sign of Taurus, and then entered the age of Aries.
About from 600 to 350 B.C. there were the light stars of the head of Aries.
It is the age of the great philosophers all over the world: Heraclitus, Empedocles, Thales, Buddha, Lao Tse, and Confucius.
Around 125 B.C., the age of Pisces began, coinciding with the beginnings of Christianity.
As early as the first century, the concept of the Antichrist also came into being, referring to the second fish.
Our age falls in the era of the second fish, it is the anti-Christian age.
The time of the French Enlightenment coincides with the beginning
of the second fish.
Voltaire’s écrasez l’infâme is characteristic of that time.
Between these, there is the so-called commissure.
The Renaissance falls into that transitory period, the expansion of the conception of the earth, the discovery of the earth.
America is discovered, a Reformation is made, the power of the Church is shaken by
the great schism.
This is the first blow to the specifically Catholic attitude, although that era is still under the imprint of Christianity until the Enlightenment.
From the Enlightenment onward, the erosion of Christianity as such starts, and the goddess of reason is enthroned.
Now the Antichrist threatens to invade the cultural world.
These zodiacal signs are symbols that have been projected onto the sky from times immemorial, and probably reflect the structure of the unconscious.
The saga of Gilgamesh still stems from the end of the Taurus age, and was only later cast into a literary form.
It was found in the library of Sardanapal, or Ashurbanipal (668–627 or 626 .), B.C.25 written on brick slabs.
It is the myth of the natural hero who takes the path of the sun to unearth the secret of immortality.
He goes through the columns of Heraclitus, and in the land of the West finds the old ferryman Utnapishtim, who had traveled the waters of death, and, therefore, came to live among the immortals.
He tells Gilgamesh the secret.
“Gilgamesh, you have struggled hard and suffered many a hardship. What can I give you so that you can return to your land? I will tell you a secret, of a hidden magic herb I will talk to you. The herb looks like boxthorn and grows deep down in the sea, its thorn is like the spine of a porcupine, it blossoms in the freshwater sea far away. If you can lay your hands on this herb and eat of it, you will find eternal youth and life.”
This is a wonderful description from ancient times.
So here you have the magic herb.
It is an herb with healing powers, a power that will heal forever.
It is the so-called panacea, a cure-all, the elixir vitae, the quinta essentia.
At the same time it is also the herb that helps the adept to produce the lapis philosophorum.
The herb is called lunaria or lunatica; it grows on the mountain Mambracus or Mambraces, like the stone for which one should also always look on high mountains.
Participant: Does it have a meaning that the magic herb of our dream is growing on the prairie?
Professor Jung: Yes, there is a connection between the herb and the prairie.
The prairie is the desert that starts to turn green.
Where the son of the gods, or the daughter of the gods, touches the earth, so to
speak, the earth becomes green.
That is why the verdant prairie indicates the imminent appearance of healing; and the green, the benedicta viriditas appears.
What would you say about that herb? What does it mean to the dreamer?
Participant: An herb has grown that bails out the dreamer.
Professor Jung: His mood is desperate. He is overwhelmed by the snake; it entwines him and threatens to asphyxiate him.
It is constantly demonstrated to him that he is completely powerless.
Now the dream says: “There is a magic herb, a medicinal herb.”
As we can see, it is no coincidence that the herb appears in this third dream.
It is connected to the snake that appeared before.
The snake is the healing snake that prepares for the idea of healing.
In the second dream, we have related this snake to the Mercurius of the ancient alchemists.
The serpens mercurii is the demon living in the middle of the earth.
By the transformation, this serpens mercurii is turned into the magical herb, or the herb transforms him; he then becomes the green lion in which Mercurius disappears. The lion represents the solution in the divine water.
This is also the healing water.
In our dream, the medical herb grows under a stone that is, so to speak, transparent.
According to the alchemical sources, one of the constant qualities of the stone is the diaphanitas.
What does that mean?
Participant: The stone is hard and transparent. Doesn’t that stand for indestructible consciousness?
Professor Jung: As a matter of fact, it does have something to do with consciousness.
Could you give more details about it?
Participant: The transparent stone refers to the diamond. It is refined earth, the epitome of refined earth. The earth is dark, gloomy, nontransparent, and starts to become transparent in the stone. Although the stone is earth, hardest earth, it assumes the character of transparent water. We speak of a diamond “of the first water.” Because
of its transparency, the philosopher’s stone is also called vitrum aureum (the golden glass) or vitrum malleabile (the malleable glass). In The Book of Revelation it says that the streets of the new Jerusalem were like golden glass.
Professor Jung: So it is the same idea as in alchemy—that the earth had been transformed into a transparent, waterlike, yet hard and imperishable, incorruptible structure.
Therefore, the philosopher’s stone is the expression of the highest perfection of the earthly body, and, therefore, you also find the idea that the lapis philosophorum is
man himself, that is, his corpus glorificatum, his body at the Resurrection.
This immortal body is the subtle body that had left the physical body and is beyond corruption.
The diamond, the hardest mineral, is synonymous with the lapis philosophorum.
This is ancient metaphysics, old speculation in symbolic form.
What does this mean psychologically?
It was mentioned that the diaphanitas and the stoniness, the inelasticity, could have to do with the nature of consciousness.
You can find this connection in the old texts of alchemy, the idea, that is, that the stone is the product of a mental operation, the equivalent, so to speak, of enlightenment.
Therefore the stone says in a Hermetic text: “I create the light, the light that is greater than all other lights in the world.”
So what is actually meant is a phenomenon of consciousness, a product of human effort, and at the same time a donum gratiae, a gift of God’s grace.
It is always stressed that it is impossible to do it on one’s own, it can only be given per gratiam dei, but man still has to make the effort to make this structure.
It originally was a head, that is, a consciousness that was in the head. It is symbolized as the head of Osiris that was washed ashore from the sea and venerated by the women of Byblos.
This severed head, the so-called round element, is the epitome of perfection.
A consciousness has crystallized that is imperturbable, a detached consciousness, characterized by wholeness (represented by roundness).
Participant: In the legend of Perseus, too, we find this idea, in the severed head of the Gorgon. Here, roundness is linked to the mortificatio of the mother.
Professor Jung: Yes, quite right. In the stars you find the constellation of Perseus with the Gorgon’s head above the sign of Taurus.
The great Gorgon’s head is the horrible face entwined by snakes; it is the face of the past in front of which we are petrified.
The fear it provokes can be traced back to the fear of the devouring mother, the horror of this; for this face can turn you into dead earth again.
This danger was averted by Perseus by cutting the Gorgon’s throat with a fiery sword,
a diamond sword.
This would mean that the danger is averted by the intervention of consciousness, of thinking; because it was an act of consciousness that detached him from that horror.
When the flood of blackness is later inundating him again, he can free himself from it, because he cut the head of the horrible mother.
You find a similar standpoint in the philosophy of the Upanishads; the knowledge about Atman liberates from the law of the earth.
So the head is that round thing, originally hidden in matter, that Zosimos called the
Omega element (W).
That’s why the ancient philosophers called themselves “children of the golden head.”
This was the opposite of the caput mortuum or caput corvi, which is the sediment that precipitates, or the opposite of nigredo.
This caput aureum, however, is the end product of the process.
It is also round, it is the wholeness, and it is a transparent stone.
Which consciousness is like this, inflexible, hard, detached, immortal, and can no longer be changed?
Participant: Individuated consciousness.
Professor Jung: Yes, we could say that if it is detached and no longer touched by the earth.
This is consciousness attained in Buddhistic yoga, it rests, completely detached, between heaven and earth.
In The Secret of the Golden Flower you find the idea of detached consciousness,
which is like the moon, eternally untouched, and which will no longer change.
We could compare this state with a firm conviction or, even better, with a final psychic state that can no longer be changed.
One simply has become like that.
This is the effect of the individuation process, and it occurs when the flow has reached the valley, when the potential has been spent.
Then a lake comes into being, which is still and mirrors only the sky.
Apart from that, it does nothing. And there are also fish in it.
The symbols of the present dream have nothing to do with all that.
What is interesting here is that the dreamer has an important competitor in his search for the stone, the lion.
We have to try to understand this lion psychologically.
Why does the lion also want to have the stone? What does that mean?
Participant: There is yet another possibility to get to the herb.
Professor Jung: This thought is absolutely correct, only you must not say “another possibility,” but name which possibility!
Participant: Because it would be much too easy if the stone fell into his lap just like that.
Professor Jung: Yes, of course.
If he succeeded in getting the stone just like that, he wouldn’t need the whole life, his instinctual life.
That’s why the lion appears. It is a transformation of what?
Participant: Of the snake.
Professor Jung: There is a description of this transformation of the snake into the lion. Do you know where?
Participant: In the scene of Mithras’s sacrifice of the bull.
Professor Jung: Yes, this scene is often depicted with a Kratér below, and above it a lion on one side, and a snake on the other.
This Kratér is contemporary with the famous Kratér of Zosimos.
There is an oft-quoted passage in Zosimos, a passage where he writes to his soror mystica.
What does he say there?
Participant: “Go down into the Kratér.”
Professor Jung: “Hurry down to the Shepherd of Men (Poemandres), dive into the vessel [Kratér], and hurry up again to your kind,” to your genus, to your lineage, to your relatives, that is, to what one actually is.
This whole idea of the Kratér refers to a doctrine of the so-called Poemandres, which obviously already existed and was current then.
This is the Hermetic doctrine found in the Corpus Hermeticum.
Unfortunately these things are virtually unknown; they should be known much better, because they are very beautiful.
In the fourth tract it says that the Demiurge created the humans as only half-conscious beings, and that he made a vessel (Kratér) to help them, filled it with Nous, that is, with spirit, and sent it to earth.
Those humans who aspired to achieve broader consciousness—that is, salvation—could dive into this Kratér to regenerate themselves and become énnooi there, because they were in the state of anoia, of nonconsciousness.
The Kratér is the wonderful vesselthat later became, in poetic adaptation, the Grail cup.
In alchemy the vessel is also known as vas Hermetis.
It is said to be made of water: Vas Hermetis est aqua.
Now the lion is simply another form of the snake.
In the Mithras cult it fights with the snake over the vessel, that is to say that the vessel, at that stage, is not yet with man, but still in the unconscious.
It is filled with fire, and the two stages, the stage of the snake and that of the lion, are still at odds with each other.
What’s the difference between them?
Participant: The lion is a warm-blooded animal.
Professor Jung: Exactly, that is the difference.
The lion is the snake, but on a much higher level.
It is the fight between cold and warm blood, but it still takes place below consciousness.
Participant: In the Aion leontocephalus, snake and lion are also depicted together.
Professor Jung: Yes, but there they form a unity.
Participant: It is the unity of the opposites.
Professor Jung: It is the statue of a human body with the hands resting on it. In the museum of Arles there is a wonderful Leontocephalus, also in the British Museum.
He is lion-headed; a snake entwines him completely and lays its head on his head.
Here lion and snake are identical.
So this is man in the state of his spinal cord: it is unconscious man, strangely enough in no visible connection with the Mithras sacrifice.
He assists, so to speak, in that act of salvation in which Mithras kills the bull.
The bull is Mithras himself; he is sacrificing himself.
It is a simple variant of the Christian idea, but Mithras is older. It is a pre-Christian idea.
At a Later Session [7 March 1939]
Professor Jung: Last time we talked about the symbolism of the lion.
I already told you that in medieval philosophy the lion very frequently appears as a transformation symbol, namely, in the alchemical process.
There it represents a stage of the transformation process, not quite the first, but rather a middle stage.
The first stages can vary, depending on the starting point of the operation, but then comes the stage in which the lion appears.
I will present a few examples in medieval philosophy to you, from which you can see what role the lion plays there.
Because it is a kind of transition point, it is, like any other part of the transformation, also called lapis.
The lapis is at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end.
At the beginning it is the prima materia, related to chaos, then it is the green lion, later it is the eagle, then the philosopher’s gold.
All that is the stone [lapis].
One alchemical passage reads: “In this way the stone has been compared to the animals, because of the blood being their life substance, for the soul of each animal is in the blood.”
The author goes on to say that the name lion was chosen because of the soul substance, and that dog or camel could have been chosen just as well, just as any other name of an animal, simply because it represents that living being which is drawn out of the first matter.
It does not become clear, however, why it should be precisely a lion.
The other animals to which he refers appear much less often, with the exception of the snake or the dragon.
That the lion is a dynamic phenomenon is evident from The Book of Ostanes.
It is an Arab text going back to an ancient Greek-Persian source.
An Aristotle is quoted in the book—a pseudo Aristotle, of course, as it was common to use the names of the old masters.
He tells the story of a man who wanted to put saddle and reins on a lion, but the lion did not obey, so he took a whip and humiliated the lion.
This worked, and he was able to ride it. This is an allegory for the transformation process.
It follows that this is the stage of unbridled instinct or untamed power, which is called lion in the alchemical process because of its inherent instinctual force.
It was hardly possible to translate this into the chemical terminology of alchemy.
These contents can barely be conceived chemically, unless we think of an acid that is keen on attacking a base, for instance, hydrochloric cid and marble and such, which, by the way, the alchemists actually did.
Hydrochloric acid corrodes lime.
We also say that the lime has been “bitten into,” as if the lion had attacked it with its teeth.
The acidity of the acid is often stressed by the alchemists; that’s also why they talk about the “most acidic vinegar.”
This would correspond to the lion: a devouring, penetrating affinity that takes possession of the object.
Another ancient author is Senior Filius Hamuelis who, however, cannot be traced back to antiquity.
The original language he wrote in was probably Arabic or maybe Hebrew, but his work is extant only in a Latin translation from the early Middle Ages, around the eleventh to twelfth century.
In this source there is a passage where the stone speaks: “It is through me that the secret of secrets is generated.
When I recover from long illness I have the life of the roaring lion.”
So this expresses the fact that after a longer process, in which the prima materia suffers, the lion—that is, a wild desire—is the result. Psychologically this would mean: there is a state of suffering, and out of this suffering comes roaring passion.
This is a formula that can be corroborated by the alchemical texts.
Another alchemist also says that the philosopher’s work begins with melancholia and ends in pleasure and joy.
This initial state—the nigredo and the tenebrositas are also called melancholia—is a state of depression, which then emerges as desire.
This is the libido, which had sunk into the unconscious during the state of depression, so that apparently there is gloomy apathy.
If this state is dissolved, the libido comes to the surface in the form of desire—which, of course, is not yet a healed state, but an animal one, a state of the raw material.
This same author, Michael Maier, conceives the earth of chaos or paradise as the initial state, as a substance that still contains the divine seed, and where all creatures come from.
He writes: “Others have called this earth the green lion, strong and valiant in war, or the dragon that devours its own tail.”
We see that the lion is a synonym of the dragon devouring itself; obviously it represents a similar state.
Now, the dragon devouring itself is a form of libido, which runs in a circle within itself and bites into itself.
The dragon forms a circle with itself, bites into nothing but itself, and even fertilizes itself in doing so.
Experience shows that the libido, when it comes out of the state of depression, bites into whatever is there at the moment.
What then occurs is called transference.
The libido does not necessarily bite into itself; that is why one alchemist says that the lion or the dragon had to be kept in a sealed vessel, otherwise the locked-up content, and thus the whole [alchemical] opus, would blow up.
The lion has to devour itself. It is stewed in its own juice, for the greatest desire, the greatest passion, does not seek the other, but itself.
This is the final goal, as the ancients understood very clearly.
And so this same author states, “The green lion is the medium to unify the tinctures
between the sun and the moon.”
Tincture is simply an essence, an extract of the sun and the moon; this is the classical description of the male and female.
The idea is that the lion actually unites the essences of the male and the female, which are the primordial opposites.
The essence is not the male or female in corpore—that is, in its actual form—but it is a fine subtle body, an extract, that is, of the male and of the female. It is not the man and the woman that are unified, but the male and the female, in a subtle, psychical form.
This is the way in which the ancients did psychology. They expressed themselves substantially.
Instead of speaking of a psyche, they talked about the humidum radicale, something humid and rooted.
When we use the term psyche we think we have said something with that, but
actually we don’t express more with it than the ancients—something cool and humid, a humid breath.
In this breath it is possible to keep the male and the female together.
In other words, consciousness and the unconscious have to be kept together in the hermetic vessel so that both will merge into each other.
This is the goal of the process: both should function together, instead of one functioning alone, while the other is not seen or is suppressed, for example, when the head is cut off so that it floats in the air on its own, and we can no longer make use of the body at all.
That’s how today’s eccentric psychology is; people believe anything could be done with the head.
This unification of the male and the female happens, as we have seen, in the lion.
The wild desire, the greatest passion, expresses the wholeness of the human being (expressed in the symbol of the ouroboros).
Although the lion is a roaring monster, a voracious wild animal, it loves the light, the sun.
Another ancient author, a Jesuit of the sixteenth century, talks about the lion as a friend of the light, which is also how it is described in alchemy.
In astrology, too, we find this connection between lion and light or the sun.
The zodiacal sign of Leo is the domicilium solis, the house of the sun, for Leo is the transition point of the sun between July 21 and August 21, and this is when the heat of the sun is greatest.
In this sense the lion takes on a sunlike meaning.
In the alchemical process the lion is also called aes hermetis, for example, in the Consilium coniugii.
It is said to be nothing else but the sol inferior, that is to say a light, a day star, which
is, so to speak, beneath our feet; an enlightenment coming not from heaven, but out of the earth.
Thus the lion is that enigmatic earth containing the seed of light.
In psychological terms this would say: this devouring desire contains light in itself.
It is not completely dark, but light can evolve from it, that is to say, enlightenment, expansion, intensification of consciousness.
Self-knowledge, for instance, can evolve when the lion devours itself.
If the desire is kept within the vessel, if it is not diverted outside onto some object, but kept within the person, a light will arise.
A depression can change only if we are able to endure and accept it.
We can change nothing if we haven’t accepted it. If we resist, it will only get worse.
In accepting the depression, we are no longer able to hold the whole world responsible for it, and then it can change.
But then heat, wild desire, evolves from it.
If melancholy is reversed, it will become wild concupiscentia [concupiscence].
That’s why melancholics are such terrible egotists.
The source of warmth and light is said to go bad from meat, which itself is said to be of a lunar quality.
And then it is added that the meat will go bad and be eclipsed.
So the sun suffers an eclipse, caused by its meat.
Now we can understand that old phrase of the alchemists that the philosopher’s gold is made ex sole et umbra eius.
It is explained that the shadow is nothing else but the moon.
The moon, however, represents the female; the female in the male, that is, the admixture of the unconscious to consciousness, is the reason why the sun is darkened.
The text says, therefore, that consciousness would go bad and be burnt together with the perishable body.
This is the end of the lion, when it devours itself.
It is transformed by it, and the transformation is caused by the so-called warming, or breeding warmth, as the alchemists call it.
It further says in this source: “This is the reason why our ore, the enigmatic substance, is called lion, because—just like the roaring lion wakes the dead children by breathing life into them—the dead body of the ore is resurrected.”
This passage is somewhat cryptic.
In this connection we have to know that there is an ancient legend according to which the lion gives birth only to dead children, which it then brings to life by roaring at them.
This idea of the lion with its four children, whom it had brought to life by roaring, is a portrayal of transformation, of the resurrection of the dead.
This means: In the original matter, the prima materia, the dark chaotic substance, there
lie sleeping seeds of life, which are brought to life by intense desire, that is, by the lion’s roar.
Another alchemist, Dorneus, says in his speculative Philosophia that the lion is power; and in the Congeries: “You should look for your lion in the east, and for the eagle in the meridian.”
The eagle symbolizes the stage that comes after the lion.
The lion turns into a bird, into something winged, into something psychical and spiritual.
The lion is, so to speak, the beginning of positive life, and the eagle is the meridian, where it reaches the highest heights.
In light of all this, we are no longer surprised to hear that the church fathers also mentioned the lion, albeit in a quite opposed manner.
Gregory the Great calls Christ catulus leonis, the lion kitten.
St. Augustine speaks of agnus et leo, of the lamb and the lion.
These, of course, are opposites—the lion mauls the lamb.
What is meant is that Christ carries both opposites within himself.
As lion, as animal of the light, he is the rex gloriae, the glorious king, and as lamb he is the victim.
This same Augustine, however, uses the lion also as a simile for the devil: “In his impetuousness he is a lion, and a dragon in his insiduousness.”
Here we find again the double aspect, namely, the purely beastly aspect of wild desire, and simultaneously the love of light hidden in it.
This is the lion in alchemy. From this lion the dreamer shies away.
You can temporarily repress your passion, but it will rise again.
The same thing happens with the lion; it reappears. In utter despair, the dreamer cries for his mother.
The mother comes and saves him with the aid of a bicycle.
This is a very modern, strange ending. What is your opinion? What does the mother mean in this case?
Participant: The escape to the mother is a regression. The dreamer wants to revert to the mother, wants to be a child. He wants to revert to the time when there was no sexuality yet.
Professor Jung: The mother saves him with the aid of a bicycle.
Now, I beg your pardon! Why, of all things, with a bicycle?
Participant: It is a mechanization of movement, as opposed to walking on foot, which one does all by oneself.
Professor Jung: Yes, the bicycle is indeed a mechanization; it is a factory-made object.
You can get bicycles by the dozens. What does that mean?
Participant: It indicates something very collective, because all the others do likewise.
Professor Jung: That is to say, in an economical and efficient way.
Naturally, one advances much faster with a bicycle than by walking on foot.
One follows a formula that is universally present and available everywhere.
One is the nice boy, the dear mother’s darling; just the way one does it.
One becomes like the others. One forgoes becoming what one is oneself.
This is the bicycle!
- Two Dreams of a Girl of Geese and of a Locomotive Presented by Hans Baumann
Text: 1. Seven white geese go along the street; all beings that they pass drop
dead to the earth on the spot.
- A locomotive comes down the street. It kills, not by running people down, but merely by going past them.
Professor Jung: Mr. Baumann has assembled the archetypal material with great care, and has made very important contributions to the interpretation of the number seven.
The number seven has indeed that temporal character, as also already implied in the dream by the sheer movement of the geese.
Picture a march of geese; this is rhythm.
We find the motif of movement also in the parallel dream of the moving locomotive.
Usually there are a couple of carriages behind the locomotive. It is a train.
We also say that the geese form a line.
Anything passing with a certain rhythm is a train, something going by.
This is even suggested by the street; the street on which the people walk is an extension, in a way also a going by.
The basic idea is obviously this going by. It is the nature of time to go by.
It is said to go by quickly.
There is an inscription on an old wooden bridge in the hilly region of [the Swiss Canton] St. Gallen: “Everything is transition,” with its double meaning: transition over the river and transition of time.
There is a nice Arab story of a bey in Tunis. One day a question crossed his mind.
He sent for the vizier and asked him for the word that changed pleasure to pain, and pain to pleasure.
If he did not find out the word within three days, his head would be laid before his feet.
The vizier consulted the Koran, he visited the doctors and the sages, and none of them knew the answer.
Finally, he was told that if there were anybody at all to know it, this would the
marabou on the border of the desert. This was far away.
He had the fastest camels saddled, and sent his servant to the marabou, with the instruction to obtain the word.
The marabou said: “Alright,” took a ring off his finger, and told the messenger: “Bring this to the vizier!”
The vizier in turn brought the ring to the bey, and there was written on it: “Everything passes.” Time itself is passing, life as movement is passing.
Participant: Why are there precisely seven geese? Couldn’t the number twelve also express time?
Professor Jung: That it is seven is related to the fact that the ancient time is a moon time, not a sun time.
In the lunar year the months have twenty-eight days.
The number seven goes back to the seven lunar days.
The number twelve is a solar term for time, which we encounter only in later, more developed cultures, while lunar time is natural time.
The moon is the natural clock; you can deduce the lunar time from the fullness of the moon.
Thus you will often find lunar calculations in primitive cultures, and not solar ones.
The core of the dream is actually a vision. It is as if the child’s eyes had been opened.
She was shown that picture: “Everything passes.”
Everything is transition, here the geese passing by.
This is nature, these are animals, the animal life. It passes by.
The locomotive is cultural life, spiritual life, man’s invention. It also passes by.
And everything passes, and the people drop dead.
They wither away like grass as time passes. They all drop dead.
This dream has no lysis, because it is a dream vision, not an acted dream.
Why should the child have this vision? What is the one and crucial reason?
Here you have to take into account what I told you about the psyche in early infancy.
Where does infantile consciousness come from?
Participant: From the collective unconscious.
Participant: From the golden age.
Professor Jung: From a time when there was no time, from the aljira.
Consciousness, time consciousness, grows out of the aljira.
The child doesn’t know time yet; neither do the primitives.
And so you find that wonderful, extremely impressive phenomenon among the primitives that a child is nothing but a child, an adult nothing but an adult, and an old man nothing but an old man, and he has been it forever.
He has the absolute style. Look at an old man in Arabia: he has got the absolute style of an old man, who has always been an old man, has been it for millennia, because he has never completely left timelessness.
Only the cultured man has a pocket watch.
He has the notion of time, he has become all time.
This is what the child has to learn: that everything passes.
I would gather from the lapidary character of the vision that the child is healthy.
This lapidary vision contains a colossal synthesis.
In a few words a profound truth is expressed, which scares and confronts the child, and which it cannot grasp for a long time.
Therefore she has to dream this truth repeatedly.
It simply says: “You are coming from timelessness.
Here, however, in this world, there is time.” Unfortunately, we are living in time.
We are no longer in the aljira, where there was no time yet.
I would say: this is a naive child, who does not come from a cultivated family, but is a bit primitive.
Naively she faces the phenomenon of the world, and possesses no real basis, so she tends to fall back into that primitive timelessness, into that dream of life, in which life is not a somnium breve, but a somnium longe.
The life of the primitives is actually eternal.
They all behave as if they could waste thousands of years.
There they sit, years go by, and seemingly nothing happens.
Just try to live for a day as if you could waste thousands of years! You feel like a king.
There is no hurry, no inferiority feelings. You simply are.
For this is the highest art: to live as if we were eternal, without hurry, without nervousness: “What’s the time? Is it too late? Or too early?”
All this is unknown to the primitive, accounting for the natural beauty of primitive life.
The primitives do not know time.
Then the white man comes, and all hell breaks loose; then time is there.
Of course they also know that they get older, that there is death, but it is all a bit shadowy.
He who dies, dies with the right gesture.
I remember the following episode: two Europeans sought shelter in a Negro hut.
They entered, and there sat an old man, he sat there and looked odd.
All the Negroes left, and one of them said: “He is dying.”
The old man had sat down alone to die, as if he had been told: “Now it’s time to die.”
This is style, this is poise. However, they do it unconsciously.
We have to fight for heroism, to acquire that style to know that now it is time to
die, and to die in the right way, the way it simply has to be done.
And thus the primitive can live and die, for he has no time. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 104-236