Black Books

For Jung’s commentary on this entry, see LN, pp. 178- 83.

In the 1925 seminar, Jung recounted:

“I used the same technique of the descent, but this time I went much deeper.

The first time I should say I reached a depth of about one thousand feet, but this time it was a cosmic depth.

It was like going to the moon, or like the feeling of a descent into empty space.

First the picture was of a crater, or a ring chain of mountains, and my feeling association was that of one dead, as if oneself were a victim.

It was the mood of the land of the hereafter.

I could see two people, an old man with a white beard and a young girl who was very beautiful.

I assumed them to be real and listened to what they were saying.

The old man said he was Elijah and I was quite shocked, but she was even more upsetting because she was Salome.

I said to myself that there was a queer mixture: Salome and Elijah, but Elijah assured me that he and Salome had been together since eternity.

This also upset me. With them was a black serpent who had an affinity for me.

I stuck to Elijah as being the most reasonable of the lot, for he seemed to have a mind. I was exceedingly doubtful about Salome.

We had a long conversation but I did not understand it.

Of course I thought of the fact of my father being a clergyman as being the explanation of my having figures like this.

How about this old man then? Salome was not to be touched upon.

It was only much later that I found her association with Elijah quite natural.

Whenever you take journeys like this you find a young girl with an old man” (Introduction to Analytical Psychology, pp. 680 – 89).

Jung then refers to examples of this pattern in the work of Herman Melville, Gustav Meyrink, and Rider Haggard, in the Gnostic legend of Simon Magus (see Book 6, p. 217, n. 214), in Kundry and Klingsor from Wagner’s Parsifal (see Book 4, pp. 218ff.), and in Francesco Colonna’s Hypnerotomachio.

In Memories, he noted: “In myths the snake is a frequent counterpart of the hero.

There are numerous accounts of their affinity. … Therefore the presence of the snake was an indication of a hero-myth” (p. 206).

Of Salome, he said:

“Salome is an anima figure. She is blind because she does not see the meaning of things.

Elijah is the figure of the wise old prophet and represents the factor of intelligence and knowledge; Salome, the erotic element.

One might say that the two figures are personifications of Logos and Eros.

But such a definition would be excessively intellectual.

It is more meaningful to let the figures be what they were for me at that time- namely, events and experiences” (introduction to Analytical Psychology. 96- 97).

In 1955- 56, Jung wrote:

“For purely psychological reasons I have elsewhere attempted to equate the masculine consciousness with the concept of Logos and the feminine with that of Eros.

By Logos I meant discrimination, judgment, insight, and by Eros I meant the placing into relation” (Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, § 224). On Jung’s reading of Elijah and Salome in terms of Logos and Eros , respectively, see LN, Appendix B, “Commentaries” (pp. 562ff.). ~The Red Books, Vol. II Page183, fn 183