7 June 1933 Visions Seminar LECTURE VI
We stopped last time at the figure of the prostrate primordial man who said to our patient that she should step upon him and go beyond.
I assume from various questions that the meaning of this figure is not quite clear to you.
So I ask you again, what does it mean, to go beyond him? And why is she afraid to step upon him?
Mrs. Sigg: It might be that she fears she has no right to make this gesture. Stepping on somebody means that one has conquered them, and I have a feeling that she is not so sure of having really conquered.
Dr. Jung: That is a very legitimate doubt indeed-whether one has conquered that primordial man or not. It demands great courage to step upon him and go beyond him.
For what would that mean practically?
Miss Hannah: Going beyond God.
Dr. Jung: Well, a very particular god I should say, one cannot just call this prostrate figure God.
You remember he says of himself that he is the crusader, the great philosopher of the East, and Christ, and Ahasuerus.
Among the four attributes there is only one that would be a justifiable reason for calling him God, provided you believe in the dogma of the Trinity.
Mrs. Sigg: In the Trinity there is the belief in the Holy Spirit, and I think she wants to adore God as a spirit and not to go beyond that standpoint.
Dr. Jung: That is quite possible.
As a Christian she would naturally be rather reluctant to see God as something below her feet.
Miss Rogers: Could it be making ideals conscious and concrete? That he is an ideal in the unconscious?
Dr. Jung: I am very doubtful whether one can designate the primordial man as an ideal. He is the whole past of humanity.
I don’t know how much you are acquainted with the ideas in the Cabala, for instance, or
similar systems about the primordial man.
The old man is one of the personifications of the collective unconscious, one divine figure personifying the sum total of human experience and achievement in the course
You see, the past is a living power by the sheer force of inertia.
The power of inertia in man is far stronger than his spirit of enterprise; from time to time somebody has a fit of enterprise and does something, but the world in general exists by inertia.
So the primordial man personifies the enormous power of inertia in the first place, yet within that is a peculiar kind of longing which causes fits of enterprise at times, bringing
about greater or smaller disturbances, and it also causes a certain movement which one prefers to call development or evolution.
But it is very questionable whether there is any such thing as improvement in the world; we can only say there is movement, change.
Sometimes there is complication, sometimes things get simpler, but whether it is really a movement for the better is most questionable.
For the basic predisposition in the human being is that tremendous power of inertia, and the spirit within the inertia is most irrational and fitful; so it is exceedingly
difficult to form a definite judgment about it.
You see, we could not call this primordial man God exactly; we could call him a god in the antique sense of the word.
Or, in the sense of the mystery religions, Adam Cadmon would be another name for him; he is in a way a divine figure like the Purusha, or Prajapati, or the concept of
Yahweh in the Gnostic mysteries, or the Demiurgos; those are all different forms of the primordial man.
It is an essentially human personification of the collective unconscious, an aspect that does not include animals or plants or the earth or the facts of the cosmos, it represents the specifically human experience.
Therefore one finds in those four attributes specifically human qualities.
The great philosopher represents the power of reflection, or the greatness of human thought; the crusader is man on his quest; Christ is he who suffers and dies for his convictions, and comes back and tries again; and Ahasuerus is the man who is eternally
wandering, looking back for something he has lost with the hope of finding it in the future.
Those are all aspects of human life and experience.
It is the man who has never found that complete expression, or fulfilment, which would give him rest.
It is the never-ending striving of humanity.
Now this is something so great and powerful and divine in the antique sense of the word, that naturally one would have a horror of stepping upon it, it seems too venerable, too great.
And to go beyond it would mean to give fulfilment to that craving of mankind, to give a new answer to the old problem of the primordial man, to settle the questions
that he has asked since time immemorial.
Now that is a big thing; to give an answer to the questions that have been asked since millions of years is beyond human power, one could say; to go beyond primordial man
would mean to go beyond our history.
I remember the case of a theologian whom I once treated.
I tried for a long time to bring home to him that his unconscious and his dreams were really trying to give him a different viewpoint, one that would allow him to assimilate the facts of human life in a new form.
There were dreams about non-Christian religions, Buddhism, for instance, which is
also a form of human experience.
From the standpoint of modern people it would of course be ridiculous to hold that all Buddhists were meant directly for hell while we enjoy the true and only manifestation of God; no decently educated man in our day can cling to such a conviction.
Yet this was one of the things that was boiling in that theologian’s unconscious.
Naturally, one cannot fit the Buddhistic conviction, nor the Taoist, nor the Islamic ideas, into the Christian dogma.
If one tries to explain the Buddhist religion as a slight and unimportant variation of
the Christian fundamental principles, it simply creates a hellish wishwash of ideas and nothing comes out of it.
You see, that man’s unconscious tried to give him a universal point of view but he was clinging to his narrow historical faith.
I tried to make him see the really human intentions of his unconscious, and finally I somehow got under his skin, and he exclaimed: “But then you are unhistorical!”
Of course, I said.
For any new attempt, any enterprise, is utterly unhistorical; if it is historical, it is the old inertia that simply keeps on rolling as it always did, always the same.
In order to do anything creative, we must be unhistorical.
Creation begins today, it has no history and no cause, creation is always creation from nothing. To be historical is a sort of sterility.
It is nice to live as the ancestors have always lived, to live in the same house, eat the same food, sleep in the same beds, wear the same clothes.
I have nothing to say against that, it is awfully nice.
But it is an awkward fact that man has at times a fit of enterprise and then he is bound to do something different.
We don’t know whether it is better, but we have to do something about this thing that is bubbling up and wanting to create.
It is most natural, yet to that theologian it was a tremendous thing that anybody should
dream of trying to go beyond history; he was afraid to step on the past and go beyond. For then one faces the great question.
Therefore it needs the philosophy of the East, the enterprising spirit of the crusader,
the longing of Ahasuerus, and the willingness to suffer like Christ.
Christ was utterly unhistorical, he was a rebel, in the eyes of the Jewish law he was most sinful.
And what are the theologians doing about him?
If they want to be true followers of Christ, they shall begin every day anew, they shall not repeat old words, they shall not say: “This is a revelation that once took place and since then God has been unable to do anything new.”
That is not true because the spirit is forever living and forever beginning something new, the spirit is creative.
At times the spirit goes to sleep and there is no tension for a while, but then it gathers up steam and creates an explosion, and that is utterly unhistorical.
So the primordial man presents our patient with a task which is too much for her, and naturally she hesitates; to go beyond him would be to go beyond everything of which she has been hitherto convinced and to find a new way.
Of course that sounds extravagant, but if there were no such extravagant impulses in man, nothing new would ever have been created.
Now in the vision she makes up her mind to step upon him, she says: “So I stepped upon him with my right foot.”
Why just the right foot?
Miss Hannah: The right side symbolizes consciousness.
Dr. Jung: When you are habitually right-handed, your right hand symbolizes the intentions of consciousness, and the left the unconscious.
But with the foot it is different.
Mr. Allemann: It is the right way and the wrong way.
Dr. Jung: The left would be sinister, of evil omen, just as there are superstitions that one must not enter the house with the left foot first.
I had a patient with a compulsion neurosis and when he went into a shop to buy a handkerchief or a tie, if he found he had stepped over the threshold with his left foot, then the whole thing was no longer valid, and he had to go back to his house and start all over again.
And if he had done anything on the way, if he had bought some other part of his personal equipment, for instance, he had to undo the deal, he had to go into the shop and tell the people that, for reasons which he could not explain, they must give back the money and he would give back the goods, but that he would come and buy it again.
The same thing applied to seeing his face on the left side.
When he went into a hotel he used always to peep in and see whether there was a mirror on either side; it happened once that the only mirror was on the left, so there was great danger.
It was the one hotel in the place and it was late, so his only expedient was to walk backward into the lobby.
Mr. Henley: How about people with military training, who must begin with the left foot?-who must realize that the left foot is the right foot?
Dr. Jung: It must be a great conflict, but it is characteristic of the military everywhere to step forward with the wrong foot first.
Now when our patient stepped on this prostrate figure, she said:
A great heat went through me and when I lifted my foot I saw marked upon the sole, a Chinese dragon twined upon a cross, and above the cross the head of a lion.
What is this?
We must be clear about what happens when she goes beyond history.
Something new is bound to happen, a new enterprise, and here it is: the wave of heat and the symbol marked on the sole of her foot.
How do you interpret this?
Mrs. Fierz: That is her Kennzeichnung. Now she is marked as the man was also marked.
Dr. Jung: Like Cain, for instance. And why was he marked?
Mrs. Fierz: Because he had sinned against God, he did a new thing.
Dr. Jung: What was the new thing?
Somebody with a profound knowledge of the Bible must tell us.
Mrs. Sigg: Abel was the one who sacrificed the animal, and Cain sacrificed the fruits of the earth.
Dr. Jung: Yes, that was the new thing.
Under the particular conditions of the Old Testament, sacrificing an animal would have been more primitive than sacrificing the fruits of the earth.
In old pictures of the two sacrifices, Abel’s fire is always blazing with the smoke rising so nicely to heaven, while Cain’s fire is continually smoking, the smoke is rolling on the ground, which does not please the gods.
Therefore Cain had feelings of inferiority about his innovation, which made him particularly irritable, so he killed Abel, a nice pious boy with no ideas at all apparently, who followed the approved ways.
Our patient is in that same predicament: she has stepped upon the primordial man, she is in the state of going beyond him, and instantly she gets the mark of the innovator, who can even kill his brother, for any innovation is detrimental to the things that are.
The mark that is given her is a Chinese dragon twined upon a cross, and above the cross is the head of a lion.
What do you make of this hieroglyphic language?
Mrs. Baumann: They are all marks that belong to the old man. He spoke of himself as being a Christ, and the dragon was on his robe, and the lion at his feet.
Dr. Jung: Yes, this symbolism was all in the vision before.
The Chinese dragon refers to the Eastern philosophy, and the cross refers to Christ.
But the lion was under the feet of the old man, and here it is on top.
What does this mean?
Mrs. Baynes: Would it not be that her new way is to join the two ways of human experience which before have been split, namely, the West and the East?
Dr. Jung: That the dragon is affixed to the cross instead of Christ would be a union of the two symbols, and it would symbolize the union of the East and the West.
But what about the lion?
Mrs. Baynes: If there is the right union, she gets the power the lion stands for.
Dr. Jung: Yes, and here the lion is on top.
Now what is the significance of the lion besides the idea of power?
Mrs. Crowley: The sun.
Dr. Jung: Yes, the bristling mane of the lion symbolizes the rays of the sun, like the hair of Samson.
And the lion astrologically is the domicilium solis, it is the sign between the 21st of July and the 24th of August, when the sun is at its greatest power.
So this lion can stand for the sun but in the particular aspect of the lion.
For the sun, or whatever the sun means,
can be symbolized in many different ways; if by the lion, it would mean power of a special kind, in the form of a powerful animal, not of a powerful man.
The sun is also symbolized by the face of Moses, with the horns meaning radiation, therefore they would be the horns of power.
And his face radiated such light when he came down from Sinai that only when it was veiled could the people gaze upon it; that would be the sun in the form of enlightened man.
Also the sun is symbolized by the crown of Helios, the sun god, the radiation or the crown of sun rays which the old Caesars used to wear; one sees it chiefly on Roman coins.
There the sun would express the human mind or understanding, or the human spirit, it would be a specifically human quality.
But here the sun is in the form of the animal. How do you explain that?
Mr. Allemann: It is a symbol of fierce impulsive energy. Sekhmet represented the heat of the sun, and she also had a lion’s head.
Dr. Jung: Yes, those of you who have been in Luxor remember that great statue of the goddess Sekhmet.
It is made of the most beautiful black basalt, and she has the head of a lioness.
She personified the terrible destructive power of Ra, or the sun at its height, at the hottest time of the year.
In the former vision the lion under the feet of the primordial man was in the position of the lion in old Lombard churches, in St. Zeno in Verona, for instance; at the entrance crouching lions carry on their backs the two columns that support the porch of the church, or sometimes they are under the pillars supporting the pulpit.
They symbolize paganism, or heathen Rome, overcome by Christianity.
In Christian art the lion is often depicted holding a shield in the coat-of-arms of a knight; and a little lion is sculptured at the feet of the prostrate figure of the knight on his sarcophagus, as a sort of foot rest.
That position symbolizes the instinctive form of energy overcome by the human mind or
by human power.
But in this vision the animal energy is streaming up from below; the moment she steps upon the primordial man and goes beyond him, a great wave of heat is released-the heat of the lion or the sun-which rises through her feet, permeates her whole body, and becomes the sun overhead crowning the cross.
And by that she is marked.
No sooner do you go beyond history or tradition than you are permeated by that fierce energy of the animal.
Now the cross is always like a human figure standing with arms outstretched.
What does that gesture denote?
Mrs. Crowley: Not exactly resignation but acceptance.
Dr. Jung: Yes. When someone asks you for the impossible-when someone asks me for an appointment, for instance-this gesture denotes a sort of acceptance non-acceptance, or a declaration of utter impossibility.
It means, there is nothing to be done, also defenselessness, resignation, and acceptance.
And in this position she is permeated by the wave of heat of the lion.
I once showed you a picture of a woman in this position, with flames springing up around her from below, she is completely permeated by fire, there is nothing to be done about it [plate 2 7].
Now can you imagine what happens when you go beyond history, when something new begins?
Ms. Baumann: l think that heat is the instinctive fire that will make her go ahead, and the reason why it is over her head is that it is her guiding principle.
Dr. Jung: That is a nice theoretical explanation, but I want to know how that thing feels, to bring it down into the human sphere.
Mrs. Rey: l think she has stepped beyond the civilization that man
represents, and is going to get into the animal world.
Dr. Jung: Well, when you step beyond the law, you get into an unlawful condition, when you step beyond the truth you fall into error, and if you step beyond the historical condition, you get into an unhistorical condition.
But what exactly would happen if you take that step beyond history?
Dr. Gordon: You would have to pay something for it.
Dr. Jung: Yes, in the long run and very dearly.
You see, if you are in a historical condition you are in a definite form, in a sort of cast, and if you go beyond it you fall into a thing which has no shape, and among powers which are under no control.
In civilization-or in the historical condition-you live in a settled state where just the forces symbolized by the lion are chained, and if you go beyond you unchain them, they will be set free.
The historical condition is a sort of building erected for the purpose of pacifying the disturbing forces, so that you can direct yourself, help your life along; but beyond, you get immediately into the turmoil, you get out of the most human condition into a primordial condition where nothing has been shaped or domesticated; and naturally you experience the whole shock of the limitless blindness of the great urge
to live, which is identical with the sun.
Our life springs from the sun, so that is forever the symbol of the urge to live.
In that condition there is no “Thou shalt,” there are simply many ways, thousands of ways perhaps, or no way at all; it is a perfectly new experiment and you don’t know where to begin; what the ages have built up.
You may deny it, as if you knew better, but as a matter of fact you don’t know better, you simply go ahead like the pioneer in uncivilized country; and then you come to the bush where primitive people and wild animals live, and to the forces of the elements.
So you are like man at the dawn of history and the only thing you can rely upon is blind instinct; you are reduced to the state of an animal that has to find a way in the unknown, simply urged on by blind unforeseeing instinct.
That often happens, and that is what causes panics, sort of psychological stampedes; for when people suddenly discover that certain sacred laws or prejudices are not valid, that they do not count any longer, they lose their heads completely and go mad in no time, they simply cannot stand a world which does not roll on rails.
Most people understand the world as a sort of mechanical device with everything
moving on rails, and finding it otherwise, they react with a stampede, like animals when something untoward happens.
So this mark which our patient bears is like the mark of a criminal, an innovator, one
who commits the crime of being unhistorical.
Mr. Allemann: Does it not also symbolize the awakening and rising of Kundalini?
Dr. Jung: Yes, but that is far away.
The cross is often represented as a human figure, or sometimes there is a black cross, with a black animal, an archaic black crocodile or snake, crawling up on it, rising towards the light; that would be the Kundalini.
Mrs. Sigg: The theologian Fischer says that the mark made on Cain was the mark of the cross, and that when Yahweh said, “Whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him,” it was rather a sign of reconciliation; it meant that he would make a covenant with Cain, Yahweh himself would avenge Cain if he were slain.
Dr. Jung: I remember that book by Eberhard Fischer.
The cross may also mean reconciliation, of course, as in Christianity it means reconciliation through the sacrificial death.
Also, it is used in mathematics as the plus sign.
Then the word crossing is used when two animals are mating, or when two races are mixed; there it is also a symbol of reconciliation.
But the cross here obviously symbolizes Christianity, and the dragon is not the sign of Yang as it is in China, it merely symbolizes the Eastern mind.
The Kundalini serpent corresponds to the dragon, but with us it would be the devil because we consider the thing coming up from the earth as chthonic, as spiritus immundus, an unclean spirit.
Therefore in the Catholic church all the things used in the ceremonials, the wax and the incense, the water and the oil and the salt, must be cleansed from the admixture of these elemental or chthonic spirits.
The old rite of exorcism runs like this: “Exercizio te, creatura salis, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that thou becomest salt free from evil spirits, for the salvation of believers, and that thou givest health of soul and body to those who take thee.
And wherever thou art sprinkled, all evil fantasy or diabolical fraud shall disappear, and every unclean spirit.”
The serpent belongs to these material spirits, so it is identical with the devil.
Now the state of things in this vision, the lion’s head on top and the dragon below on the cross, is a very special condition: it is the condition of the beginning, where things are still in the unconscious form, not yet made or realized consciously.
Do you recognize that symbol?
Dr. Reichstein: It is a Gnostic symbol.
Dr. Jung: Yes, there is a very significant Gnostic symbol, where the lion’s head is on top and the snake underneath.
It is the sign of the Demiurgos, also called Iao or Abraxas, that last name indicating the
number principle of the Demiurgos; the sum of the numerical values of the Greek letters in the name Abraxas is 365, the number of days in the year; it symbolizes the identity of creative energy with time.
Abraxas is usually represented with the head of a fowl, the body of a man, and the
tail of a serpent, but there is also the lion-headed symbol with a dragon’s body, the head crowned with twelve rays, alluding to the number of months.
The English word dragon comes from the Greek drakon meaning serpent, so in the old texts the words are used interchangeably.
For instance, there is a mystery verse: “The bull is the father of the dragon
and the snake is the father of the bull.”
In the cult of Mithra we have a similar figure in the deus leontocephalus, the lion-headed god.
He has a human body with a lion’s head, and a snake encoils his body and puts its head on top of the lion’s head.
This god is called Aion, meaning a long duration of time, an aeon.
He is practically identical with the Persian god Zervan Akarana, also meaning an immeasurably long duration of time.
It is again the concept expressed by the duree creatrice of Bergson’s philosophy that creation and time are identical; in the long run things come to pass, for in time everything changes, new things come, time and creation are the same.
Therefore the old Neo-Platonist Proclus said: “Where there is creation there is time.”
And the creative god of the Stoics was called Chronos, meaning time.
Then the serpent also symbolizes the way of the sun through the zodiacal signs, and Christ has been compared to that zodiacal serpent, the zodiacal signs being the twelve disciples; therefore they are represented on early Christian sarcophagi each with a star on his head; they are the constellations and Christ is the great serpent that carries the
twelve disciples or the twelve zodiacal signs upon his back.
The saying of Jesus: I am the vine and ye are the grapes, is a parallel.
Just as the grapes are attached to the vine, so the disciples are attached to his body; in
other words, they are mere manifestations in time, they are created by the long drawn-out snake of time.
All this early symbolism-which I do not exhaust by far-occurs in this symbol in our fantasy; we have again a deus leontocephalus, a god not with a human mind but with an animal mind, not conforming to our spiritual expectations but to our worst fears.
That is, if anybody should be permeated by that released wave of heat, he would feel that absolute blindness, that lack of direction, that chaotic lack of form and definition;
he would present a picture which can only be paralleled by the mental picture of the world today.
We have lost our direction completely, we are not sure of anything, there is only a blind urge, but to what we do not know.
So this symbol not only fits one particular case, it is a symbol for our time as well.
And, mind you, that was the symbol of the first three centuries in Rome when the great disorientation began, when people lost their values and direction and an entirely new world was beginning; these deities are also characteristic for that period of time.
Mrs. Sigg: I should like to know whether the symbol in the center of muladhara, the little human figure fastened to the lingam with the snake laying its head on the head of the lingam, is a parallel to this one.
Dr. Jung: Well, it is of course an eternal symbol, but this would not be the central symbol of a system like the Tantric yoga.
That figure in muladhara is an aspect of energy in a dormant condition.
This is really by no means the same, this is the symbol of a most active condition, like our actual time; there is no leader really, nobody knows where things are going, but they are simply rushing on like a roaring lion or a roaring fire.
Question: How does the spiritual life come into that life? I mean, it seems to me quite animal, man is thrown back to the animal condition, and how does the spiritual come into that?
Dr. Jung: Ah, that is the great question.
We cannot say how the spirit will come in this particular case, but we can take that as a general question: How is it that spirit can come into such a condition at all?
Humanity has been plunged many times into a disorientated state, and a spirit came in from somewhere.
The early church, for instance, wiped out the confusion of those days; that showed a divine spirit. What spirit is in itself I do not know and cannot know.
That is metaphysical, and I can only know what spirit means psychologically.
In the case of such a lionlike condition, the greatest need is to have a certain attitude; the question is, what is your attitude in such a turmoil? What attitude do you choose to
help you through it?
A man who has been hit very hard by the actual political conditions asked me recently what attitude I had toward the things that are happening in the world.
It does not matter what my attitude is, but the question showed that he was looking for an attitude.
Otherwise one is absolutely lost in the turmoil; one must take these chaotic conditions in a particular way.
Now that is spirit; if one has a certain attitude one can use the word spirit.
For instance, one acts according to a certain spirit, one chooses one’s principles in a certain spirit, and that means a sort of attitude which can be formulated by a principle, say, or a philosophic formula.
This has always been done, the spirit or attitude has been symbolized.
So the spirit is a symbol.
For example, the symbol in the old church was the Creed; that helped people to conquer the animal-like bewilderment of the world, the great stampede.
If you believe in that symbol, it means that you apply that kind of spirit.
Such a symbol is not only an intellectual fact, it is also an emotional fact.
Therefore spirituality has to do with breathing.
In any state of emotion the breathing is disturbed, you are strongly ventilated when you are agitated, the breath is moving through your body, you are filled with the wind of
Pentecost; the Holy Ghost is a strong wind that fills the whole house, you pant with excitement.
That is the emotional aspect of the spirit, a certain emotional dynamism due to a particular mental attitude.
Your belief or conviction is by no means any thing cold; it is fiery, it is moving, and it moves you, you are gripped by it, you are drunk with it like the disciples at the descent of the Holy Ghost.
It is at the same time an emotional phenomenon.
That is spirit understood in its psychological phenomenology.
Therefore alcoholic drinks are called spirits; they make you drunk, they alter your system, they lift you up, as it were-they raise your spirits; of course, it is a low kind of spirit, but even there you apply the word.
And Dionysus was the god of enthusiasm and of wine.
So any enthusiastic and passionate attitude would be a spirit that helps one to conquer the chaos of the world.
This is the next transformation of the lion, the flame of the lion is always seeking a form in which to express itself.
Probably this is the explanation of the symbolism in the Mithraic cult which was also a sort of nature cult.
The lion is usually represented there in connection with the amphora.
Out of the amphora rises a flame, and a lion is depicted on the one side, and a snake on the other, and both are trying to get into the amphora.
What that meant in Mithraism is completely dark, but the amphora is a vessel of a certain form, and a chaotic condition is like a shapeless liquid; the liquid held in the amphora form might therefore symbolize the desire of man for definite orientation-it might mean the specific reaction of man’s attitude against chaos.
Now the spirit does not come in through the chaos, the lion alone does not make spirit.
The spirit must be postulated as a principle reacting against the dynamism of man; the mere dynamism of man is always bringing out a spiritual reaction.
But without this lion condition there would be no experience of the spirit; as long as things are rolling on rails it is impossible to experience it.
So the spirit can be defined as an immediate reaction against the fire of the animal condition; without that tremendous conflagration one can have no idea of what it is.
For the phenomenon of the spirit is only generated in the moment of almost complete destruction.
The next vision is rather unexpected.
Have you an intuition about the theme? What would be the next move after such a evelation?
Dr. Bahadurji: I would say what you said in your last line, that exactly in this animal condition would come the reaction towards the spirit.
Dr. Jung: That is what I would expect-but in a very peculiar form.
Mr. Henley: A regression to collective values?
fr,: Jung: That might happen, sure enough.
Dr. Reichstein: A more real explanation of this symbolism might come, to show her the situation more clearly, for I don’t think she will understand what it means.
Dr. Jung: Of course not, we are moving now in a field where she has understood almost nothing.
She had these visions after she left here, and I have never had a chance to talk with her about them.
It is utterly improbable that she could have understood this.
The whole thing develops in the unconscious with no interference from the conscious.
The next move will impress you with its simple logic.
The title of this new series of visions is: “The Pit of Onyx.” You know that onyx is a semi-precious stone of beautiful colors, usually rather dark.
Many precious vessels made of onyx are preserved from antiquity, particularly small
vessels for ointments, or little tear jugs for funerals.
She says: The narrow path opened into a circle. I saw a round pit of onyx which went down into the earth like a cone.
What do you make of the first sentence?-“the narrow path opened into a circle.”
Mrs. Crowley: It looks like a mandala of some kind.
Dr. Jung: It is surely a mandala, and that always means a protective circle against the surrounding fire, against that thing which mixes one up with worldly events or with the bewildering facts of one’s surroundings-which sweeps one along in a stampede, for instance.
And what makes one fall into such a chaotic condition?
Mrs. Crowley: Emotion.
Miss Hannah: Participation mystique.
Dr. Jung: In a state of participation mystique one always projects emotion, but that emotional condition is brought about, according to the Buddhist teaching, by what?
Mrs. Bailward: The flames of desire.
Dr. Jung: Yes, by desire you are bound to things, and when they become chaotic you are drawn into the chaos.
Now against this desire which is always trying to tear you to bits, to pull you hither and thither, the best means is to draw a magic circle round yourself, so that nothing can escape and nothing can come in; that is the first attempt at an attitude.
And in the center of this circle is that round pit of onyx going down into the earth like a cone.
What is that thing for? What will happen
when she approaches the center of the circle?
Frau Stutz: Either she will fall in or something will come out.
Dr. Jung: Yes, and this situation would be like the lion making for the amphora.
The pit of onyx would be the amphora, and onyx is a precious substance out of which vases are made, so she is seeking a particularly precious vessel in which something is contained, out of which something might come, or into which she might get-we don’t know.
She might fall in, we must see what follows.
But inside this magic circle she would be protected against the surrounding flames, the desire and the panicky condition.
Now she looks down into the pit, and says: “At the bottom I beheld an old Indian woman holding in her arms the Mexican image which seemed alive.”
We assumed that that Mexican image must be a spiritual symbol because it was in the sky, in the kingdom of the air.
So at the bottom of the pit of onyx, the mandala, she beholds a symbol of a peculiar kind of spirit.
Why should it be Mexican? And why an Indian woman?
Mrs. Baumann: She is an American.
Dr. Jung: Yes, these are her ancestors who are connected with the soil, and soil is just matter, the absolute opposite of the spirit, yet it contains the spirit.
Without encountering the soil one would never realize the spirit; it needs that resistance of matter in order to reveal itself.
So she comes back to her primitive Indian ancestors, her spiritual ancestors, and the old Indian woman is holding that spiritual Mexican image which seems to be alive.
The symbol of the spirit has gained life. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1033-1046