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Visions Seminar

11 May 1932 Visions Seminar LECTURE II

You remember that we spoke last time of the fertilizing effect of contemplation, and I explained the etymology of the German words trachtigmachen or betrachten, as expressing the psychological effect of contemplation upon the contemplated object.

Now I want to show you two pictures out of a series made by a woman who is not in analysis, but who, quite by herself, made drawings which demonstrate very clearly the effect of contemplation.

You know there are certain characteristic moments in the development of the unconscious, when one has the impression of something like a dark wall, together with a sort of exhausted feeling; one is unable to climb the wall, or pierce a way through it, and one cannot possibly know what is behind the wall.

That impression may be symbolized in many different forms; it may be just a blackness, or the surface of the sea, or locked doors-anything impeding or baffling.

And it is at just that moment that one should betrachten, contemplate the thing, fertilize it, so that all the invisible germs of possibilities which are buried in such a situation are warmed up and brought to life, developed to the point that they reach visibility.

(The first picture was of a woman standing in front of a door which she was unable to open.)

You see, that is such a blank wall, such a locked situation where nothing moves.

But the mere looking at it causes the background to reflect her gaze, and then the door opens.

(In the second picture the door was open, and the conventional symbol of an eye was the most conspicuous thing in the background.)

She beholds an eye, which is her own eye really, but the eye, as you know, is the place where things begin, the place of rebirth.

I have told you about the Egyptian autumn festival, the day on which the left eye of the goddess is prepared for the god to enter in order to be reborn.

And that the eye is the place of rebirth is the meaning of the eye of Horus, which plays such a mystical role in Egyptian mythology.

So here we have an example of something dark, locked, inaccessible, suddenly becoming alive through contemplation.

I also want to show you the Chinese sign for Tao.

The sign of the head is this radical sign, and connected with it is the sign of going, which was originally a foot.

But we found that the sign for walking was substituted in our patient’s vision by the symbols of navigation, the head that navigates.

Now here is a question from Mrs. Sawyer: “When the patient found the yellow piece of amber and it began to beat like a heart, and the earth and trees and all of nature joined in the rhythm, you said that was a

moment of Tao. Was it an experience of Tao such as the ‘first opportunity,’ or was it a ‘lesser truth,’ or the happening such as we are coming to now?”

That was an experience of Tao, but one must always keep in mind that these experiences are anticipations of experiences.

This is not real life, this is an anticipation of life.

It is as if one were planning an excursion to the mountains and imagined oneself climbing a mountain and passing a glacier, and then suddenly coming to a crevasse and being thrilled by the danger in mere imagination.

So that first experience with the beating amber would be already Tao in anticipation, and the experience we are speaking of now is also an anticipation of Tao, but it is a bit nearer the actual experience, it becomes more and more real, and it is quite possible that in the course of her development she may reach the moment when it is no longer anticipation or imagination, when it is real.

But you may be sure that there will then be no picture and no text, nothing, and you will never know it; she will know it, but we shall not. Lao-tze says: “Who knows does not talk, who talks does not know.”

We spoke of the last series of events in the vision as a descent from the first light which she was unable to realize.

It was as if the first blinding light were substituted by something seen through a veil, where again the

patient had an opportunity to understand.

But if she does not understand, if she throws away that possibility too, she will come to another situation, which is still more veiled, dimmer.

One could say it was less accessible looked at from the standpoint of the ultimate truth, but more accessible in that it contains more error.

For to people who are incapable of seeing things as they really are, the lesser truth is more favorable because it is easier to understand, a greater admixture of error is needed to make them able to grasp it; one has to use examples or analogies which distort the truth in order to make the truth accessible.

So one sees that the many dogmatic forms of religions are manifold variations of the truth.

Take the examples chosen by Christ to explain the Kingdom of Heaven.

Each example is a sort of splitting, it is never the whole truth, only an aspect of it.

When he says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a precious pearl, the word pearl associates ideas in the

minds of his hearers which have nothing to do with the Kingdom of Heaven, as a matter of fact it might lead them astray.

Or take the phrase in the Buddhistic teaching: Om mani padme hum.

They then put the jewel upon the altar and worship the precious stone, which leads directly to idolatry, and that is, of course, contrary to everything the original teaching meant.

Yet it contains a kernel of truth; whether one calls it a precious pearl, or the treasure in the field, or the grain of mustard does not matter, it is one and the same thing behind all these analogies, and if one understands that, one can use them without being misled.

But the simple mind is caught by them; I see that again and again when I try to explain a psychological truth by many examples.

One person is caught by one aspect and another by another aspect, naturally their own erroneous assumptions; otherwise they would have seen the essential thing which is the truth in every case.

Coming down from the original light, then, means the way into error, but the more one is in error, the greater is the chance to discover the truth. It is like providing people with stepping stones or a ladder.

You see, when Christ speaks of precious pearls, everyone knows what they are, and if they are not absolutely blindfolded by their passion for money value, they may understand it as a symbol.

Yet it is also an error to think that the Kingdom of Heaven is the thing of value, or that value is the truth; value is not the truth because it is at the same time something most indifferent, in a way it is also a mustard seed, which is nothing, which has no value at all.

That seems an absolute contradiction, but if one understands Christ’s concept of the Kingdom of Heaven, one knows that it is not a contradiction.

In this woman’s case we see that the first light has been rejected, because she could not grasp it; the second, the tablet that explained Tao, is rejected too; and so she has to go further down, into the absolutely dark hold of the ship.

We might expect to find there a further elucidation of the idea of Tao, but this time still more erroneous, yet just through its misleading character more accessible to interpretation.

It is interesting to watch the unconscious at work, to see what it does in order to bring such ideas to the Western mind.

She says: There (in the darkness of the hold) I saw many negroes in chains. In their midst sat an old man with a beard reading from a great book. At his feet lay a cat.

Now what is this?

Dr. Reichstein: This is the medicine man.

Dr. Jung: And why does the medicine man follow the symbol of Tao?

Mrs. Baynes: He chains up nature, the black men.

Dr. Jung: We might assume that he was responsible for all these chains, though I am rather doubtful.

But first, what does it mean that she comes upon these chained Negroes?

Dr. Ott: They are repressed instincts.

Dr. Jung: Yes, she comes into the region of her own chained primitive tendencies.

And the old man is also a primitive; of course, the medicine man is a very primitive notion.

Now how is he connected with Tao?

Dr. Reichstein: The medicine man is the person who transmits the truth.

Dr. Jung: So she now comes to this figure who is capable of telling her of Tao.

The word Lao-tze means “old man,” it is not his individual name,

it is a title; so she comes from the Tao-teh-king to Lao-tze.

When she does not understand, she would naturally under primitive circumstances go to the medicine man, the sage of the tribe, and he would tell her.

This is a perfectly logical development, but of course it is an error.

What would be the error involved in that movement?

Miss Hannah: She is going back to the animus instead of doing it herself.

Dr. Jung: One could say that, but we must be quite concrete in this case. Suppose she is a primitive woman and goes to the medicine man.

Mr. Allemann: She is only told of Tao, she does not experience it.

Dr. Jung: Exactly. It is the greatest error to think one can be told of Tao; one must experience it to understand.

Yet that is the only possibility now; if she can ever come anywhere near it, it will be through Lao-tze.

But why should she be reminded of the existence of chained Negroes?

Mrs. Baynes: Because she has not found the right relationship to the instincts, they have to remain in this chained form.

Mrs. Sawyer: If the Negroes were not chained she would not be having this experience. It is because they are chained that she has to go there.

Dr. Jung: I think you are right.

She could not possibly experience Tao if the primordial instincts were around loose; a lot of free Negroes wouldbe most distracting.

To dream of a lot of Negroes would mean a very primitive animus all over the place, ten thousand opinions humming in the air around her ears and distracting her on all sides.

So there could be no question of Tao, for Tao is absolutely the opposite; Lao-tze says: “It is so still, so still.”

To have that experience, the instincts must first be chained.

That image means that the animus mind must be chained; otherwise she couldn’t understand or even hear what the old man says.

If that were not done, what would inevitably happen to her?

Mrs. Baynes: His voice would be completely drowned out by the activity of the others.

Dr. Jung: Exactly. Then she would know better-and the old manwould be nowhere!

Now what is the book the old man is reading?

Mrs. Crowley: It would be Lao-tze’s Tao-teh-king.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the book of the five thousand words, which contains the essence of old Chinese wisdom.

It symbolizes formulated wisdom, coined wisdom, the wisdom that can be transmitted.

You know Lao-tze never wrote anything until very late in his life.

The legend is that he withdrew from his public position and went to the western slope of the mountain with a dancer, there to spend the evening of his life.

But when he felt death approaching, he left the mountain in order to disappear, and so had to pass through the western gate of the kingdom; and the officer at the gate would only let him pass under the condition that he would write a report of his wisdom to leave behind him.

It is said that Lao-tze then wrote the book of five thousand words, the Tao-teh-king.

Then he disappeared into the western land.

A book is a great symbol in the West as well as in the East; the sage always writes a book, all the secrets of life are contained in it.

The writings of Hermes Trismegistus, for instance, was a book of lost wisdom which had to be rediscovered; that also contained the great secrets, an attempt at a formulation of the ultimate truth.

There really are such ultimate truths in the so-called tabula smaragdina, the tablet of emerald,

that legacy from Hermes Trismegistus. “As above, so below” is a quotation from it.

Dr. Reichstein: I don’t understand why the Negroes must be chained up if the hold is a symbol of Tao.

These Negroes should be quiet, or die or something, they should not be chained up.

Dr. Jung: The hold is not the symbol of Tao, it only points to Tao.

If she should begin at the bottom, she would first learn that the Negroes have to be chained in order to create a stillness in which she could hear the old man reading from the book of wisdom.

From that she would get a certain knowledge which she would then follow; she would rise to the upper deck, where she would find the tablet and read those symbols which meant navigation with the head.

And the way she would make would be the snake, the right way, Tao.

In descending, she goes back to the truth of the beginning, but it is also error, for the farther it is from

Tao, the more it is error.

If she did not listen to the words of the old man, she would have to recede still farther and fall into more error, into a situation which was utterly unlike Tao.

But if she could follow it up in the right way, she would arrive at Tao.

It is very difficult to explain Tao to a person who has no idea of it.

If you can only be quiet and look at it, you know it is Tao.

But it needs two thousand years of philosophical education for an ordinary man to see things in that way; to the Western mind it is absolutely excluded.

And by explaining it, bringing it down into reality, one leads the Westerner more and more into error, because it is beyond this valid obvious world.

Now we come to a question by our patient: I asked the old man: “Why don’t you free those Negroes of their

chains?” And he answered: “I am reading the illuminated book which shows the way.” I asked: “Why do you read such a musty ancient volume?” He answered: “This is the book of illumination.”

With that, this series of the visions ends, she has come to the culminating point, insight is reached.

We must understand the psychology of this little dialogue.

You see, your question was also on her mind, she naively asks why the old man doesn’t set those Negroes free, showing that she evidently has not understood the picture of the chained Negroes and the old man.

Of course, if they were free, there would be a great turmoil, and she would have no chance at all.

Then the old man answers by saying that he is reading the illuminated book which shows the way.

The wise man here is not concerned about the Negroes. What does that indicate?

Mrs. Schlegel: That he is not human.

Dr. Jung: In a way he is not human, and what more? You see, she is there in order to learn something from the old man. What would it be?

Mrs. Fierz: Something like cruelty.

Dr. Jung: Exactly.

She should learn from him that she cannot attain Tao without having her Negroes chained, and she should not be so concerned about them.

You see, he is absolutely untouched by the whole situation, he even ignores her question, showing that she should learn that attitude; she should be unconcerned about even such a lamentable fact as poor Negroes in chains.

Naturally every human being is trying to do something about those chained Negroes; the general idea is that they must be liberated.

But then they get into what condition?

Miss Hannah: The condition of the eleven thousand virgins.

Dr: Jung: And that is what?

Answer: Collectivity.

Dr: Jung: The special term participation mystique is better.

When you spread your problem out over eleven thousand virgins, when you are concerned with what they ought to do to solve their problems, it is no longer your own problem.

Solve your own problem and don’t be concerned with theirs.

Otherwise it becomes participation mystique which spreads out all over the world; you infect everybody with your own inferiority, your own defects, and it does no good whatever.

You can do very little good to others.

That you do people good by giving, for instance, is a delusion; by giving you spoil them, you are only pleasing yourself.


think you are marvellously generous, and you never think of the poor victims of your generosity.

You are kind to people, never asking whether they deserve it or not.

Certain people deserve that you shall not be kind.

You are indulging your own autoerotic pleasure, warming yourself by the thought of your wonderful kindness, but you are wronging those people, you are leading them more into error.

So you need a certain amount of cruelty.

Those Negroes are murderous devils, who might kill other people as well as yourself, so why should they be free?

They had far better be chained.

And so it is with all the virtues you waste on other people; it is only to please yourself.

Real kindness asks: “To whom am I giving a hundred dollars?”

You can give a hundred dollars or a great deal more, but give it where it means something, where it is deserved.

Otherwise it is indiscriminate love and kindness, which is just viciousness.

Our patient ought to learn a withdrawn attitude here.

One may say that is quite inhuman, why should she be withdrawn? But why is that wise old man withdrawn?

He is withdrawn for a certain purpose, not to treat other people kindly but in order to improve, to complete himself, or even to perfect himself.

You don’t know how grateful people will be if you remove yourself; numbers of people will thank God that you are not pestering them.

And what a hope for the future!

You will come back nice and complete, whilst before you were something awful, a leech, a pest.

When somebody withdraws, one is glad, he will be cured.

Or perhaps he is dying, vanishing, but better that he vanishes than that he goes on pestering people.

So if she learns withdrawal from the old man, she will come to herself; then she will understand herself and improve, then there is a chance that she will attain the way.

The old man tells her this very clearly: “I am reading the illuminated book which shows the way.”

The book evidently contains illumination. What is that?

Dr: Reichstein: It is a kind of truth which does not come through the intellect, but out of the unconscious and out of nature.

Dr: Jung: Yes, and it also means images, illustration; that book contains pictures which demonstrate things in a simple way, speaking to the eyes, to the senses.

Such pictures come up quite naturally from the unconscious, from the nature within as well as the nature without.

They are not directed thoughts and abstractions constructed by a purposeful mind, they are revelations of nature.

As this woman’s pictures of her visions are also filled with the revelations of nature and not with purposeful conscious thoughts.

This refers to her own book, you see, which she writes and illustrates from her own experiences.

Then what is another meaning of the word illumination?

Mrs. Schlegel: To throw light on things.

Dr: Jung: Yes, it is also, as Dr. Reichstein says, a spiritual concept, the book contains spiritual light, enlightenment, so it is really a book of wisdom.

But she asks why he reads such musty ancient stuff, showing that she takes it for something that is past, that has no actual living value.

And he simply repeats that it is the book of illumination, again not answering her silly question, but insisting this time on the spiritual meaning of illumination; it means more than an illuminated book, it is the book of enlightenment.

So the book he is reading is a parallel to this book she herself is writing.

It is the old man within her that is writing the book of her own illumination, it is leading her up to the illumination of Tao.

Mr. Baumann: What does the cat mean?

Dr: Jung: Oh yes, I quite forgot about the cat. What are cats usually?

Answer: In such stories they are usually connected with witches.

Dr: Jung: If the old man were a witch, the cat would be in the right place, but it seems quite out of place here.

Answer: It is her own cat.

Dr: Jung: Yes, for cats are always female; cats are the wives of dogs, as cows are the wives of horses.

The cat is within her.

Of course, in itself it is an archetypal figure which belongs to the whole world, but the cat here is a hint of something like a witch belonging to her own conscious world.

For if she should not realize the old man, if the same thing should happen again-and it almost happens-if she should pass the old man without understanding, what would be the next move?

From that we might see what the cat portends.

If a woman should acquire the old man, assimilate that figure unconsciously, so that he is merely a sort of sous entendu within her, what would be the effect of it?

Mrs. Fierz: She would be possessed by a kind of natural snake.

Dr. Jung: Yes, by the natural mind, the wisdom of the serpent, and then she would descend to the animal world, she would be a witch.

One could say the witch was like an intellectual woman.

Of course, she is not really intellectual, it is nature’s wisdom within her, it is not her property, it speaks through her.

It speaks in the way of the serpent, in a doubtful, a most insinuating way, and helps things along which should not be helped along.

It touches upon people’s sore spots, it cleverly says things which should not be said.

If she touches upon sore spots at all, it should never be without preamble; she should be very careful in introducing the whole matter, she should never mention them in a careless haphazard way.

The whole field should be outlined first, premeditated, so that the person to whom she speaks may be aware that she is conscious of what she is doing.

Only through consciousness can she limit the possible evil after effects; consciousness is a certain shield against them.

If she simply blurts things out without knowing what she is doing, it means that she is in the state of the witch, and it has a most blinding and confusing effect; it is then like working black magic.

For the archetype of the old man is exceedingly powerful, as wisdom is powerful.

Knowledge means power, and if that knowledge remains unconscious, it operates in the way of nature, and nature is cruel, perfectly regardless of the human being.

Nature simply seeks the shortest way, as water never considers whether its course is opportune; it chooses its own way just there whether one wants it or not.

And so the serpent’s wisdom takes its course, never asking whether it is suitable or not.

So if this woman had rejected the hint of Tao, in the next move she would have been in the position of a witch, or would have been confronted with a witch-a milder way.

Then she would have been absolutely in the air, because the witch creates illusions, leading people on

the wrong tracks; there seems to be no evil tendency, but it is as if the words were twisted in the air when spoken with the witchlike voice, or that one hears something else than what is said.

Anyone in the witch state is like the two elves who attempted to learn the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

They were quite willing to repeat the words taught them by the priest, but they somehow always said: “Our Father which art not in Heaven.”

They had the best of intentions, they meant to say the words correctly, yet each time they tried, the words were twisted in the air, so they never could acquire immortal souls-and ever since, elves are elves and have no immortal souls.

Dr. Reichstein: I think the cat means also a kind of instinct, but a domesticated part; the Negroes have to be chained up, but the cat need not be.

Dr. Jung: That is quite right.

You see, the cat is female instinct, and it is not chained, it is free, meaning that the female instinct is absolutely at peace with the old man; while the Negroes have to be chained up, because they are wild masculine powers which would overwhelm the female if set free.

They represent the mental power of the animus, while the cat is female instinct which accords with wisdom.

Wisdom and the instincts are forever the same; every word of wisdom is the truth of the instincts, it simply reveals the image which is buried behind the instincts.

Instinct is the dynamic side of the images.

Mrs. Crowley: But has not the cat symbolized thought in the past? In Egypt the cat was a symbol of great consciousness because it had the power of being able to look at the sun.

Dr. Jung: It symbolized more a divine quality.

The cat was an incarnation of Bastet, the goddess of Bubastis. It was also sometimes regarded

as a personification of the sun, because, like the eagle, it showed its divine quality in the fact that it could look straight at the sun.

But consciousness did not come into consideration in old Egypt, there was only the consciousness of the pharaoh and of nobody else, because he was the only individual.

Mrs. Crowley: Yes, but I meant as we interpret the sun as consciousness, thinking of it symbolically.

Dr. Jung: The cat should never be taken as a symbol of consciousness.

But the sun could be the symbol of infinite wisdom, and the cat as mirroring the sun, an eternal relation between the cat and the sun.

For the sun was really the visible god; at the mental stage of sun worship there was nothing behind, the god was the actual sun.

Mrs. Sawyer: The cat is really the most undomesticated of the domestic animals. It is free in its nature and goes where it pleases. It simply cannot be chained, but it is at home both in the woods and in the household.

Dr. Jung: Yes, and that is absolutely in accordance with a woman’s nature.

A woman is less domesticated than a man.

If she succeeds in seeming domesticated, it is just a lie.

The dog is far more domesticated than the cat.

Mrs. Sigg: It is characteristic of the cat that it can see in the dark.

Dr: Jung: That is according to the old truth too, that when man’s wits are at an end they call in a woman.

You remember in L’zle des Pingouins by Anatole France, the fathers of the church, with all their marvellous

scholastic reasoning, could not make up their minds whether the penguins had acquired immortal souls by being baptized.

So they called in St. Catharine, who said of course she had not the learning of the Fathers, but it seemed to her that since an immortal soul was acquired through baptism, the penguins must have acquired immortal souls.

Yet it was equally true that animals could not have immortal souls; therefore, she said, “Donnez-leur une ame immortelle, mais petite.”

And so the problem was solved.

Now we will go on to the next series of visions.

Having acquired a certain idea of Tao in this series, one is rather at a loss to imagine what the next sequence could be.

Perhaps you have an intuition.

Dr: Reichstein: I think there will be opposites again.

Mrs. Crowley: Would it be an attempt at reconciling those three ways that you spoke of, the experience, the formulated truth, and the lesser truth?

Dr: Jung: That is a possibility too.

She says: I beheld a knife lying upon the ground. I picked it up and descended a long path down a mountain side. I arrived at a town at the foot of the mountain.  I walked through until I came to a house on the door of which was the sign of the cross written in blood.

What about this knife?

Mrs. Sawyer: Doesn’t it mean that she must sacrifice something?

Remark: I thought of cutting a knot.

Dr: Jung: With what mental function does one cut a knot?

Answer: The intellect.

Dr: Jung: Yes, the mind is discriminating, cutting, and is therefore symbolized by something like a knife or a sword.

The knife is on the ground, and afterwards she descends a long path down a mountain side.

Again a downward movement, so the ground, the earth, is emphasized, and the question is whether a sacrifice it to be expected, or whether the knife her discriminating mind-is to be used in cutting or dissecting something.

The mind is male in a woman and instruments are always male.

I had a wise old uncle who used to say to his women folk, “Oh, you would not even have invented a spoon, you would still be cooking with a stick; only men are able to invent.”

At the foot of the mountain there is a town through which she walks until she comes to a house.

Civilized man lives in the valley, so she is coming down to human habitations obviously, as we have no hint here of the metaphysical meaning of a town.

What would that mean in relation to the general situation?

Mrs. Fierz: Is it not an analogy to the former situation when she came to the crater? After having seen the metaphysical truth, she again had to look at it from the collective side?

Dr. Jung: Yes, this situation is analogous to that former one.

She has reached a certain understanding of Tao, a certain insight-this is suggested by the height, she was on top of the mountain-and now there is again that movement from the light above to the things that are below.

It simply means that she now comes again to collective life as it is in human habitations.

Then there is a special house, on the door of which the sign of the cross is written in blood.

That is rather unusual.

Mrs. Sawyer: That is why I thought the knife would stand for sacrifice.

Dr. Jung: Yes, it is a Christian symbol and it means sacrifice, so this is the house of sacrifice as well as, most probably, a Christian house.

What does the cross written in blood on the door remind you of?

Remark: It is like the Passover in the Old Testament.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the doorposts smeared with blood was an apotropaic charm against pestilence; by that mark the angel could see that the house should be spared.

And so the sign of the cross written upon the door was always an apotropaic charm against evil spirits.

Or during a time of great danger, certain houses were marked, that people might know whether enemies or their own people lived in them.

So this must be a place that is marked by the idea of sacrifice.

She says: I touched the door with my knife and the door opened. Within was a dark room.  In the corner burned a fire. I beheld in the fire the charred bodies of many small snakes.

What kind of atmosphere do we meet here?

Mrs. Fierz: It is the witch’s house, showing that after all her insight was only partial.

Dr. Jung: Exactly, she got wind of it, but not the thing itself, so we get into the witchlike atmosphere afterwards.

The knife seems to be magic, for when she touches the door with it, the door opens.

That is like another magic means, the mandragora root, which opens all doors; if you touch the lock with it, the door opens.

Being equipped with a magic knife, she might already be characterized as a sort of witch; she uses magic means to enter the house, and within is a dark room.

The sign painted in blood on the door is very uncanny, and those charred bodies of snakes in the fire also suggest witchcraft; burning up the bodies of little animals, like toads or snakes, belongs to the witchcraft ceremonial.

Apparently there has been a sacrifice, but a sacrifice of snakes.

Mrs. Sawyer: Has it anything to do with the phoenix bird that rises out of the ashes?

Dr. Jung: One immediately thinks of that.

We know that snakes in primitive times were supposed to be immortal, and the souls of the dead were

projected into them; snakes were the incarnated spirits of dead heroes.

Serpents have always had something to do with spirits, so burning up snakes would mean what?

Mrs. Schlegel: It would be to renew them.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the spirit of the deceased is thus liberated from the snake form, so the spirit can rise.

The phoenix legend is an age-old magic ritual of rebirth.

Burning up the bodies of human beings has the same meaning: they are given birth in the smoke that rises from the pyre.

The soul rises to heaven in the smoke as the subtle body, it is thus offered up to the god.

Burnt offerings are the subtle bodies of the animals or the fruit that are sacrificed; the sacrificial offerings rise as smoke and as smell to the upper atmosphere where the gods are supposed to dwell.

This idea is so much a part of our very tissue that one finds it again nowadays with spiritualists.

There is a very interesting theory in Sir Oliver Lodge’s book, My Son Raymond.

The boy was killed in the war and appeared afterwards as a ghost, manifesting through different mediums.

He answered all sorts of questions from which they concluded that there must be houses in the land of the hereafter, and that they seemed to be made of bricks, but everything was a bit thinner.

He said that they have drinks and cigars, that a man had recently rushed in saying he would die if he did not have a cigar; he had not known that one could smoke there, but there was fortunately a man in the next house who was fabricating cigars.

The theory is that what is called matter there consists of molecules exhaled by the stuff on the earth.

A certain warmth causes a movement of the molecules, which are exhaled into the atmosphere like

smells; one can smell a brick, for example, as one can smell a cigar.

These molecules are taken up to the thinnest atmosphere and there they are collected, raked up by the ghosts, and their houses are built up of brick smell in the same form again.

Clothes are fabricated from the smell of the material, and cigars are made of cigar smell.

The boy said that, of course a cigar did not give quite the same satisfaction, and therefore most people ceased smoking after a while.

He ate his three meals until he found out that it made no difference.

You see, the ghosts have the same age-old theory of man, that souls are subtle bodies which are smoke-like or smell-like.

In the same way the gods get the smell-souls of things, they live by the smells of the sacrificial food which is sent up by the burning process.

And as the dead were burned in order that their souls might rise to heaven, so the vessels of the dead and all their belongings were either buried with them, or broken and left about.

When a woman died, in the part of Africa where I was, her cooking vessels and cooking stick, whatever implements she had used, and all her jewels, were placed before her hut, and there they were left for about two months; nobody touched them until the soul had gone to heaven.

Everything is broken up because the vessel has a soul which goes to heaven when they break it, to meet the dead and to serve them again.

That was the origin of those terrible human sacrifices when one of the prehistoric kings of Ur died.

They discovered, in excavating, about fifty corpses of soldiers, women of the court, and slaves, who were killed in order to accompany the soul of the dead king.

The kings of the Huns were always accompanied by soldiers, slain with their horses, and buried near the king.

In Egypt human sacrifices were substituted by ushabti, small clay figures of workmen.

They assumed that the pharaoh would not suffer from hunger in the land of the hereafter if he had workers for the fields, so they put hundreds of those little clay figures into his tomb; they were usually bluish green, the color of the underworld.

That idea must be coming up here, because it is a magic procedure.

An attempt has been made to burn up those bodies of snakes; evidently spirits that had been in the form of snakes are thus liberated.

Now she says: I took some of the ashes of the snakes and rubbed them on the palm of my left hand. I put the knife in the fire until it was red hot. Then I touched the roof of the house with the knife and the entire

house fell away. I stood alone upon the desert at night with the fire burning beside me.

The meaning of this is very dark.

Obviously, the ashes of the snakes are a magic substance, the result of the magic nature of the fire and of the serpent, and it must have a certain magic effect, for she rubs it on the palm of her left hand.

Mrs. Crowley: It is as if she were invoking this power, or the spirit of the serpent, trying to take it into herself.

Dr. Jung: We must think in a very primitive way here.

To the primitive mind the magic quality is very real, like a sort of substance that is inherent in a thing. So the fire has an inherent magic quality.

That kind of thinking lasted a very long time. The fiery phlogiston in early chemistry was that idea.

And in medicine, there was the old doctors’ question: “Why has opium a narcotic effect?”

To which the pupils answered: “Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva, “because the narcotic virtue is in the opium.

You see, the virtue or the power is almost like a substance; therefore the idea of extracting the virtue from a thing-extracting that substance, that magic effect.

The snake is certainly magic, it has a particular ghostlike spirit quality; and the fire is spirit too because it is the particular quality of fire that it transforms things in a most miraculous way; it makes a gas out of water, for instance, or it transforms stones and minerals.

Things were not heated just in order to make them hot, they were exposed to the fire in order to give them the magic quality of the fire.

Therefore the idea of a fiery spirit that came out of things; the volatile body was due to the exceedingly volatile nature of the fire.

So the spirit is a peculiar mixture of the heavy substance, and the volatile subtle substance of the fire.

Here the snake life is mixed with the fire life, and the result is the fiery soul that evaporates into the air.

The witch is naturally not concerned with the fiery soul but with the burned remains.

Ashes play a great role in magic performances, because the magic quality is still in them.

Now our patient is imparting this fiery spirit to her left hand by rubbing it with the ashes.

What does the left hand mean?

Mrs. Crowley: The unconscious.

Mrs. Sigg: It is the weaker hand,

Dr. Jung: But the weaker is sometimes the stronger. What is the path of the left hand?

Remark: It is the sign of darkness.

Dr. Jung: It is the black-magic side.

The path of the left hand in India would be expressed in the Tantric Shakti worship; it is something doubtful and ambiguous if not actually evil.

So this woman’s dark side is brought to life, or given renewal. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 675-689


1 Literally: “the jewel of the body of all Buddhas in the lotus.” Esoterically it is a Buddhist

mantra packed with meaning and connecting the reciter with the Bodhisattva of

complete compassion and radiant light, Chenrizig (Avalokiteshvara). Each syllable connects

with one of the realms of life. See Bokar Rinpoche, Chenrizig, Lord of Love (San

Francisco: Clear Mt. Press, 1991).

4 The seat of the pharaohs from the Twenty-First through the Twenty-Fourth Dynasty (1070-712 B.c.). Bastet, a local cat deity, grew to be honored throughout Egypt as a representation of the Great Mother in her more gentle aspect, denoting joy, and sexual and maternal love.

s “Give them each an immortal soul, but a little one.” Anatole France, Penguin Island, tr. E.W. Evans (New York, 1948).Jung tells the same story in Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 227; CW 11, par. 835; and in Dream Analysis, p. 488.

6 Raymond, Or Life and Death, With Examples of the Evidence for Survival of Memory and Affection after Death (New York, 1916). Lodge (1851-1940) was a physicist who worked to reconcile religion, science, and parapsychology. Cf. Dream Analysis ( p. 639), where it is noted that Sir Oliver Lodge was a member of the Society for Psychical Research, a group to whichjung lectured on “The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits” (CW 8, pars. 57off.) ·