LECTURE VI 14 November 1934 Zarathustra

Dr. Jung:

We were occupied last time with the symbol of the eagle and the snake, and we said that it was rather unusual and a bit abnormal that the serpent should be coiled round the neck of the eagle.

They are usually represented as opponents and the eagle holds the serpent in its claws-it is the general idea of the conflict between Yang and Yin, or between spirit and matter.

And as a rule, during the age of the fishes and perhaps earlier, reaching back to 2000 B.C., the result of the battle is that the serpent is overcome by the eagle: the spirit wins out against matter.

But one learns from Chinese philosophy that that is not always so; it might be reversed.

We are inclined to believe that the spirit is much better than the flesh, and that the flesh or matter deserves to be eaten by the spirit; but one comes across cases where it is rather doubtful whether that is commendable.

One even concludes from certain experiences that it is not really desirable.

I have here two interesting cases where that symbolism of the eagle carrying the serpent round its neck was discovered by other people besides Nietzsche.

The first contribution I owe to Mr. Baumann who is generous enough to let us see some of his pictures, where the fate of the serpent-or the achievement of the eagle-is demonstrated.

It is the story of the relationship of the spiritual and the material principle as a part of the inner development, the drama interieur.

One can call it a sort of initiation process.

Or one can also express it in a reversed way, that all the initiation processes we know from history or by experience are the external manifestation of a natural inner process which is always happening in the mind.

And our dreams are like windows that allow us to look in, or to listen in, to that psychological process which is continually going on in our unconscious.

It is a process of continuous transformation with no end if we don’t interfere.

It needs our conscious interference to bring it to a goal-by our interference we make a goal.

Otherwise, it is like the eternal change of the seasons in nature, a building up and a pulling down, integration and disintegration without end.

No crops are brought home by nature; only the consciousness of man knows about crops.

He gathers the apples under the trees, for they simply disintegrate if left to themselves.

And that is true of our unconscious mental process: it revolves within itself.

It builds up and it pulls down; it integrates and disintegrates-and then integrates again.

It is like the seasons, or the eternal sunrise and sunset, from which nothing comes unless a human consciousness interferes and realizes the result.

Perhaps one suddenly sees something and says, “This is a flower!”

Now we have reached something. But left to itself the process would come to nothing.

You can see that in cases of schizophrenia.

If you follow the dreams of a person who is definitely insane, you see the treasure growing up to the surface, almost to integration, and you realize that if in this moment that fellow could grasp it, or only lift a finger, he would have it and everything would be all right.

But in the next moment it sinks down again for nine years, nine months, nine weeks, and nine days, and it is gone.

Nobody can reach it.

It is exactly the same in a normal person; there are the same revelations without any issue if the conscious doesn’t interfere and grasp the treasure brought up on the wave of the unconscious. [Slides are shown.]

Mr. Baumann has looked in through the window and painted some of the pictures presented by the unconscious.

Here is the eagle with the snake, and the figure of a boy is hovering over the water seeking the heart in the water.

This is of course a particular case; the discovery of feeling in a man is a special problem.

The heart in the water cannot be discovered as long as the snake is also in the water.

To enable the boy to find the heart, the snake has to be brought up into the sky or the air. If the two are together, then the heart is the heart of the snake, the feeling is identical with the snake.

Therefore, Yin must be taken out of its element, the cold, waterlike condition of the unconscious.

Afterwards follows a fight between the eagle and the serpent as of course they are not on good terms with each other.

An almost identical symbol exists in Indian mythology.

Mrs. Zinno was so kind as to call my attention to the myth of the Garuda and the Naga, and I have here a picture of Vishnu enthroned upon the Garuda, the snake-killing bird.

The Garuda is the mind bird, a sort of demoniacal eagle, usually represented with feathers and wings.

The Nagas were probably not only serpent-demons; they may also have represented the snake worshippers, a lower stratum of the population, probably of Dravidian origin, autochthonous inhabitants of India who were uprooted or wiped out by the Aryan invaders.’

The Aryans would be the eagles, the air, heaven people that fell upon the dark colored, rather primitive Dravidic population.

Other autochthonous tribes also have such a chthonic form of worship: the Hopi Indians in America for example, who are not nomadic but town-building, or Pueblo Indians, the forefathers really of the Aztecs.

The Spanish word pueblo means town; it comes from the Latin word populus meaning people, but has changed its meaning and become the name of a place where there are people.

Those tribes are called Pueblo Indians simply because they build the villages in which they live.

And the Hopi Pueblo Indians have such a chthonic cult of snakes.

They even perform their snake dances in the Christian church, for they are also Christians.

They have Christian Spanish names and receive the Catholic baptism.

But they always retain their Indian names as well, which are important on account of their mystical meanings.

So something similar may have been the case in India; those Naga people were probably snake-worshippers.

But the myth is of course purely psychological.

It is the struggle between the air principle-the strength which is in the air, light, and wind-against the chthonic Yin principle represented by the serpent.

The Garuda is said to have extinguished all the Nagas except one, which he put round his neck and wore as a neck ornament.

You see, in this case it would not be an encumbrance, nor would it be a sign of particular friendliness.

It would simply be a sign of his victory over the serpent.

Now, it is a curious fact that the ladies of old Rome really used to wear in hot weather a living snake as a neck ornament-of course a harmless snake.

The neck was cooled by the body of the snake, and the snake loved to be coiled round the neck of its mistress because her skin was warm.

So the idea of the neck ornament was also a sort of fashion, and I can easily imagine that Rome was not the only place in the world where snakes were used for that purpose.

You know, children like to carry their pets around with them in just such a fashion.

Now we will continue.

In the last part of Chapter 10 he says: “More dangerous have I found it among men than among animals; in dangerous paths goeth Zarathustra. Let mine animals lead me!”

This shows that he is not going in the path of the animals, which he thinks would be less dangerous, but means to go amongst men.

His enterprise is of course dangerous, because through Nietzsche’s identification with

Zarathustra, he is lifted up out of his element into the world of the spirit.

If we forget that we also consist of living body, and try to live in an entirely spiritual medium, the body is going to suffer; and inasmuch as the body suffers the mind will be affected too.

It is a terrible strain on our minds when we are not right with our bodies.

The mind then becomes as overstrained as the body.

So though he hopes that his beasts will guide him, it is very questionable whether they will.

We often express such wishes when we are at bottom quite doubtful whether they will be granted.

He would surely need the helpful animals in his enterprise.

When Zarathustra had said this, he remembered the words of the saint in the forest.

Then he sighed and spake thus to his heart: “Would that I were wiser! Would that I were wise from the very heart, like my serpent!”

You see, he suddenly remembers the old man in the wood who doesn’t believe so much in spiritual enterprises, and has therefore withdrawn to the woods, which means to the animal, the Yin principle.

Zarathustra doubts his way here. He feels that it is not particularly wise.

It would need a great deal of wisdom in order to make it a safe way.

He would need the wisdom of the serpent, the chthonic wisdom of the earth, but that he cannot contact when he is out of his body; when he is going with the Garuda bird he is necessarily hostile to the serpent.

Therefore, quite logically after Mr. Baumann’s picture where the bird is apparently carrying the snake in that friendly fashion, a very bad fight takes place between them, for they are like dog and cat.

Of course there are certain examples where a dog and a cat have become friends, but those are domestic miracles; and a wild bird like an eagle and a wild animal like a serpent are never domesticated and no such miracle can happen.

They are on different planes altogether and therefore hostile to each other.

Now, with this pious wish the introductory chapter ends, and we come to the real text of Zarathustra.

Mrs. Baynes: May I just ask why Nietzsche identified pride with the eagle?

Dr. Jung: It is always a symbol of pride, but here it is a sort of interpretation.

He was worried with that symbol of the eagle and the serpent.

That came out of the original stuff in him, just as Mr. Baumann chose the symbol of the eagle and the serpent to express his inner experiences, as one would-as always has been done-therefore, the identity of these symbols.

When Nietzsche is faced with such a problem he quite naturally will choose that symbolism.

The serpent creeps on its belly in the dust, and the eagle flies on high, very marvelous and imperial, like the Prussian eagle for instance; so it is of course a symbol of pride.

But that is psychologically absolutely insufficient.

If he had gone further, he would have struck upon the problem of the relationship of

spirit and matter, and then his Zarathustra would have taken an entirely different turn. He would have given body to Zarathustra.

But it is just his peculiar attitude which doesn’t allow him to take that experience of bird and snake seriously.

You see, you only begin to think decently about such symbolism when you ask yourself, why the devil a snake and a bird?

Why not anything else?

But he was so overcome by it that he didn’t even wonder about it.

We are all like that. There is a Christmas tree on the 25th of December.

Of course! We all have Christmas trees.

It is what one does at Christmas to give pleasure to the children.

You simply float along on the Christmas mood.

You wear a Christmas face and you have a Christmas tree because one has a Christmas tree: you are identical with that mood.

But if you really ask yourself why the devil just a Christmas tree, you suddenly discover that this has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

There were no pine trees in Palestine, and there is not one single thing about it which has to do with Christianity.

Yet we think it is the most Christian symbol.

To this extent do people never think, never question themselves as to why they do such things-why that hell of a nonsense, the Easter hare and the colored eggs, and so on.

In making a Christmas tree, one is not one but many.

The mother who makes the Christmas tree is an eternal mother who for centuries has done that.

Formerly, of course, they made something else I suppose, but always with the same feeling of the eternal figure.

It is such a wonderful moment because it has always been so; you are in the olden time again.

The great lure of the archetypal situation is that you yourself suddenly cease to be.

You cease to think and are acted upon as though carried by a great river with no end.

You are suddenly eternal.

And you are liberated from sitting up and paying attention, doubting, and concentrating

upon things.

When you are once touched by the archetype, you don’t want to disturb it by asking foolish questions-it is too nice.

We are all like Parsifal when he sees the Holy Grail.

It is too good, too marvelous-why should he spoil the situation by asking questions?

The suffering of the old man is all right, as it ought to be.

It is so good to be in the miracle; don’t spoil it. So you become identical, naturally.

And that is the way Nietzsche becomes identical; to encounter the old man, perhaps to be the wise old man, is such a great discovery and so sweet, that he doesn’t stop to ask questions.

He just slips into it and is gone without noticing it.

When the archetype comes up and touches you, you are gone in a wink. You become eternally valid.

You can act and perform and it just goes on by itself.

I always quote the story of King Albrecht who was murdered near Zurich at a ford where the river Reuss empties into the Aare.

His suite, his nephew and several other knights, had made a conspiracy to kill him.

They were riding behind him, deliberating whether they should do it or not, and they could not decide, for it was a crime, parricide.

But the moment the king rode into the ford, which is the archetypal place of danger, the nephew pulled out his sword and said, “Why let that carrion ride before us?” And they fell upon him and killed him.”

It was the archetypal situation, and therefore there was no hesitation.

Then you can act, no doubts any longer.

Then you are the dragon, and the murder must happen there; killing is indicated.

Either you are the victim or you are the killer.

So when the old wise man touched Nietzsche, he did not bother when the animals came up.

The Hamsa comes with soft wings and lifts one up and one doesn’t notice it and then one is gone.

But then naturally the animals are there; one becomes conscious of the presence of instincts which would inform one that the Hamsa is a bird, not a man, and the snake rises and cries: “He is my enemy.”

And they could be helpful.

Nietzsche could disidentify from the wise man if he listened to the cry of the eagle. That was a cry of warning.

But being the wise old man, he knows all about it of course, and he interprets the eagle as his pride, and the serpent as his wisdom-it is like the Christmas tree.

So the bird and the snake are no longer valid.

They are interpreted according to what the old wise man might say about them.

Through the identification with the archetype one falsifies the archetype and then it is no longer reliable. It is only reliable when one separates oneself, when one resists that temptation to the uttermost.

That is the meaning of Jacob’s fight at the ford with the angel of God.

He fought against God in order not to identify with him; in that way only could he bring out the real meaning of the whole situation.

To identify with the archetype is unavoidable under certain conditions, however; and Nietzsche’s case was unavoidable.

He did not know; it was his fate.

In reading Nietzsche, one must always keep in mind that he was also a victim, and inasmuch as he was a victim he falsifies the true function of the archetype.

The old wise man never would have talked in this way if Nietzsche were not mixed up with him.

There is a lot of unrealized sexuality in Nietzsche.

He was taken out of his body and had not lived a proper life.

Mrs. Baumann: In the last line, isn’t the word folly one of those twisted, uncertain places where he could have had a hint of his situation?

Dr. Jung: Ah yes, because he really understands that his enterprise is folly-that is the wise old man.

But Nietzsche himself does not sit up and say, “Why do I say ‘folly’? Is it because I am going on a fool’s errand with that book?”

He plays with that word; it is a Christmas tree.

If I had written such a passage I would have asked myself, “Now come, folly! What does that mean? Am I going to do something foolish?”

I would have spoiled, of course, the whole joy of the ride, sure enough.

But I am a doctor and that makes a difference. I am too little a poet.

Mrs. Sigg: I think behind the picture of the eagle and the snake there is really another picture which has a near relationship with it, the vision the lunatic saw which you have mentioned in your books, the sun disc with a pipe hanging upon it. That is quite a dangerous symbol, and it seems to me that it has something to do with this because Nietzsche said the snake was hanging onto the eagle, and Nietzsche was really identified with the sun in the beginning of Zarathustra.

Dr. Jung: No, I would not make that analogy.

The vision of the lunatic is utterly different and has to do with this only in a very remote


That has to do with the generative meaning of the sun.

It is the sun generating the word in man, the birth of the soul from the sun; it is really a sort of antique vision like the analogies in the great magic papyrus, the so-called Mithraic liturgy, which is very clearly of antique origin.

It is a concretization of the beginning of the Evangel of St. John, where it is said that the word is the light which shines into the darkness, the Logos.

We would go pretty far astray if we considered this a parallel.

That was a case of dementia praecox where one cannot expect very modern symbolism; usually such people, particularly the uneducated ones, start from a medieval Christian level of consciousness and simply fall into the collective unconscious which then has a chiefly historical character, as our unconscious has when we first contact it.

The unconscious first produces aspects of the historical symbolism which becomes modern or advanced, or anticipates the future through the interference of a definite consciousness.

Mrs. Durer: I want to ask about the very last word. Why does he not say going upwards instead of “down-going?”  Is it a premonition?

Dr. Jung: There may be a sort of premonition in it, but all through the introductory chapters he describes his movement towards the world as his down-going, his Untergang, which of course is also spoken out of the archetype, because the Hamsa is the bird of the great heights.

And when the spirit comes into the world, it comes down.

The Logos comes down from heaven to earth, and God descends upon the earth in order to be born. Yang is sun or light and is always above; if a reconciliation is attempted, the Yang principle comes down to matter, because matter cannot rise.

And then it lifts matter up.

In Christian symbolism this would be the transfiguration of Christ.

He was in a state of levitation, thus showing how the spirit overcomes matter, how matter can be completely undone.

You know, our mind begins with the downfall of antiquity, and it was first a theologically speculative mind, scholastic philosophy.

We were all up in the air.

We thought up the most abstruse things, absurd things really.

We were only concerned with unempirical problems.

Then, very slowly we began to discover nature.

Albertus Magnus, although a Scholastic, made observations on nature in the early thirteenth century; he was interested in botany.

And through alchemy, chemical interests came in.

Towards the sixteenth century such interests developed rapidly, and at the same time the Gothic style, where everything was vertical, began to spread out, and there was a sort of regression to antiquity because antiquity was nature.

The horizontal movement began and they discovered the way round the world. India and America were discovered, and so on.

It went on in this way until in the nineteenth century our whole point of view became realistic.

That means that the light which was in heaven and a god on earth then went into the earth, into matter.

One could say that Christ was then buried in the earth.

Our mind, our whole mental development, wound up with complete materialism.

The celestial world entirely disappeared and only a few idealists were left crying for help, for support for their shaking ideals; and with the war the whole thing tumbled down for good.

But now we make an extraordinary discovery. What has the mind done in the ground?

Mrs. Baynes: The new physics has turned the ground into spirit.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the new physics has done the trick, exploded matter altogether, and the most recent development is reported in an article by a very modern physicist, in which he shows how modern physics becomes psychology; they climb in at the bottom of the collective unconscious.”

Mrs. Baynes: How did they get into the collective unconscious?

Dr. Jung: Through the fact that when you observe the phenomenon of the interior of the atom, you find that your observation disturbs the thing you observe; and if you go on observing, you observe the thing that disturbs, you discover the psyche.

They are now dealing with the telepathic phenomenon, namely, the fact that the collective unconscious-what I call the collective unconscious-is a factor which is not properly in time and not properly in space.

Before long you will read that article on these questions in a very scientific paper.

So the spirit that descended into the earth has exploded matter, and comes up again in the form of psychology.

That is what the Garuda has done.

The thing has happened which is always foretold in Chinese philosophy: Yin increases till it overcomes Yang.

Yang disappears into utter darkness. It is completely gone.

But then Yang is seeking the heart of darkness and overcomes the darkness from within, and suddenly out of the power of Yin appears the Yang again.

That transition is also in the time calculation of China.

In the time when everything consists of whole lines or Yang lines, suddenly towards the end of that period we get a new picture.

Here we have full light, it is all Yang.

Then the first line of darkness appears in the next sign:  and so on: until there is complete darkness: == I And then it begins again, the Yang comes up: -==-== You see, we have reached that stage where everything is a derivative of matter, the Yin condition.

But now physics has done the trick.

The Yin condition is exploded and the first Yang line is appearing.

There is no return to material matter now, no chance. It is completely gone.

For the last thing you really can observe is the mind.

You disturb whatever there is by means of your mind, and what you are able to disturb, you can observe: you can perceive your disturbance.

As when you look into a black hole where you see nothing, after a while you see yourself.

That is the cognitional principle of the Yoga: you create the void and out of the void comes the beginning of all knowledge, all real understanding. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 236-245