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Lecture 4 Psychological Interpretation of Children’s Dreams (Winter Term, 1939/40)
- General Remarks
Professor Jung: This year I would like to forgo a longer introduction to the technique of dream analysis, and just briefly address a few general questions.
As you know, we apply a structure to the dream, that corresponds to the pattern of a drama.
We distinguish four elements: the introduction often specifies place and time, as well as the actors (dramatis personae) of the dream action.
There follows the exposition, which unfolds the problem of the dream.
It contains, so to speak, the theme, or maybe the question posed by the unconscious. From this arises the peripateia: the dream action leads to increasing complexity, until it reaches a climax and changes—sometimes in the form of a catastrophe.
Finally, the lysis gives a solution or the result of the dream.
As you know, in every interpretation of a dream we first of all ask: How does such a dream come into being? What caused it? What are the experiences of the previous day? What happened? Is there a remarkable situation?
An important additional question is also whether the dreamer is conscious of anything about it; this must by no means be taken for granted.
In the case of children’s dreams as remembered by adults, we are only exceptionally able to ascertain the situation out of which they arose.
And yet we have to try by all means to search for it, and to keep in view the question of causality, even if we cannot answer it empirically for the time being.
We have to reach a point where we can deduce the preceding situation from the dream itself.
Our dream analysis is of value only if we can subsequently detect, from the interpretation, what caused the dream.
Naturally this has to be done with the necessary care, because one can go considerably astray.
In addition, we subject each detail of the dream, its symbolic figures, and the sequence of the actions to a careful examination.
Whenever possible, we take note of the context of each idea or image.
By context, I mean the association material in which the idea is embedded.
When someone says, for example: “I dreamed of a glass,” do we then understand what this means?
We don’t understand anything yet. It could be a wine glass, a beer glass, a test-tube, a bottle, or a window pane.
First we have to know in which context the image “glass” is situated.
So we can’t avoid asking about it, and then, sure enough, we may often hear the most astonishing answers.
In the case of banal ideas—as they so frequently occur in dreams—it perhaps
suffices to confine ourselves to taking note of the context; this will not always be sufficient in the case of more complicated ideas, because often precisely the very important things are held back, as the complexes prevent the person from making the statement.
We also know this from the association experiment.
In these cases, we are forced to delve deeper into gathering information on the context, which I have called amplification.
In the interpretation of children’s dreams, too, we will have to revert to this method.
As I explained last winter, we have always to reckon with the fact that the child cannot provide any associations to the dream.
In addition, precisely the most important children’s dreams are frequently told only much later, so there is no possibility of getting information on the context.
This method of amplification is an expansion, a conscious enrichment.
I make the dreamer focus his interest on the image, and to bring up all associations linked to the image.
This must not be confounded with free association, in which we glide from one association to another, without regard to the initial idea. In doing so, however, we lose the certainty that the final element still has a relation to the initial one.
Of course we encounter complexes, but for that we need no dream, and moreover we don’t want to discover complexes anyway;
instead, we want to know what the dream says.
Freud adhered to this method of free association, and he could do that because for
him the dream is not the essential thing, whereas for me it is.
For him, it is the façade, for me, the essence. In this I rely on a Jewish authority, the Talmud, where it says: “The dream is its own interpretation,” meaning that we have to take the dream for what it is.
We should not see in the dream something different from what it expresses, but we actually have to learn to see differently—that’s the difficulty.
When I analyzed an Asian, I noticed the difference: he had an amazing ability to “smell” his context. Unabashedly, he said out loud what we ourselves would have noticed only with great difficulty.
The natural faculties Asian people show in this respect are astonishing.
They are helped, however, by their language, with its richness of images, in which everything is already given.
On the other hand, they are not used to designating something precisely.
Tell an Asian man, “Please, bring me a blade of grass,” and he will bring you the whole meadow.
We have lost the larger context, because we see only the separate details; Asians, however, always have an overall picture.
William McDougall has something characteristic to say about this.
He had the typical Western mind, stuck on details.
He was interested in Chinese philosophy, and had trouble understanding the notion of
So he asked a Chinese—his pupil—about the meaning of Tao, but did not understand anything of what the Chinese explained to him.
So the latter grew impatient, dragged the professor to the window and asked him: “What do you see?” “Houses, cars, people; and also trees, clouds; it is raining and the wind is blowing.”
And the Chinese said: “Well, you see, this is Tao.”
We have to try to gain such an overall picture with the help of amplification, even in the case of very simple dream images.
So, for instance, what does it mean if someone dreams of a rabbit?
Then we must not look at it separately, by itself, but we have to see it in the field, notice how its fur matches the earth; we must also feel that the
hunter belongs in this context, and the dog, the corn in the field, and the flowers.
Only then will we know what a rabbit is.
In interpreting the single dream elements, I proceed in this complementary way.
Only from this general view do I realize the meaning, and I’ve had quite a few surprises.
If someone dreams of a bicycle, for example, I will ask: “How would you describe it if I had never seen a bicycle before?”
The dreamer has to create an image for me, to write an elementary school composition, so to speak, so that I will know how he sees it.
A downright “myth” of the bicycle can result from such a description.
Perhaps we discover that it is a sun wagon, in which a ghost journey is made.
The primitive mythology of the European may come to light on such an occasion.
In using this method, we are not necessarily bound to the concrete statement of the dreamer, but can amplify the dream images ourselves.
In this, we have to revert to those images we all have in common, namely, the archetypal images of the collective unconscious, as they are found in language, myths, and so on.
So we explain a dream by amplifying the range of the image for each single element, in using all our knowledge.
To verify an interpretation, we must have a look not only at the dream by itself, but maybe also in the context of a whole series.
Then we will often discover that the dreamer had a dream right before or afterward, in which our interpretation is already contained. In a series we can compare dreams with one another and thus eliminate errors.
Let me give you an example for such a verification: I was told a dream in which the patient’s father holds a globe, trying to divide it into two halves, such that there would be exactly the same number of people in the East as in the West.
The dream reminded me of the history of creation in Genesis, in which God also makes a division, when on the second day He divided the waters that were under the firmament from the waters that were above the firmament.
From this I concluded that a process of growing consciousness had occurred in the dreamer, that he had started to think consciously and autonomously.
This hypothesis could later be verified.
This person had already dreamed of the act of creation the night before; he had dreamed that God had created a world with lightning and thunder.
Of this dream, however, I knew nothing.
You see how we can retrospectively verify the interpretation of a single dream image in the context of a dream series.
- Dream of a Ten-Year-Old Girl of a Snake with Eyes
Sparkling Like Diamonds
Presented by Marie-Louise von Franz
Text: A snake with eyes sparkling like diamonds chases me in a forest or in my bedroom.
This dream frightens me so much that I no longer dare move in the bed, because even when awake, everywhere in the room I see the glowing eyes of the snake that wants to bite me.
Ms. von Franz: As is evident from the text, the dream has often recurred.
When a dream appears with such forcefulness, we have to conclude that it will be of central importance for the dreamer’s psychology, indeed, that the situation here depicted will perhaps govern her whole life.
Already among the primitives, recurrent dreams are accorded a very special importance.
Now, the difficulty in the interpretation of this dream lies in the fact that it does not really have a plot or activity, but only contains one single image; therefore, we are not able to apply the usual dramatic schema (exposition, statement of the problem, peripateia, lysis or catastrophe).
In fact, the dream takes the form of a vision, of an apparition, which is also confirmed by the fact that the dreamer still sees the snake “even when awake”—we would say half-asleep.
She does not dare move in the bed, “because even when awake, everywhere in the room I still see the glowing eyes of the snake that wants to bite me.”
Thus, the image appears so intensely that, like a vision in the waking state, it is even able to interrupt the continuity of waking consciousness.
So we have only the image of the snake by which to orient ourselves, an image which, as you know, is so enormously widespread in all religions and myths of the world that, frankly speaking, I was able to draw only very general conclusions regarding the situation of the dreamer.
A few details of the description, however, may perhaps show the path to the particular way in which the dreamer reacted—that is, the emphasis on the gaze of the snake, the eyes, described first as sparkling like diamonds, then, in a gradual increase of its evil character, as glowing, and, by the final sentence, that the snake “wants to bite her.”
As far as the snake in general is concerned, it nearly always belongs to the chthonic-female element of religions, indeed it very often is its embodiment proper.
In dualistically oriented systems, therefore, it often stands in opposition to a bright, male, spiritual world, from whose perspective it represents the demonic-evil.
Through the story of Paradise, the snake has, as it were, taken this meaning for the
whole Christian world.
Philo of Alexandria in particular, probably under Persian influence, contributed to this snake symbolism and to the development of the devil concept.
For him, however, it is at the same time also the most spiritual animal, of a fiery nature and of great velocity.
Through its ability to shed its skin, it is even immortal.
But in other cultures, too, the snake plays the role of the primal enemy of the upper world of the gods: the Midgard snake, together with the Fenris wolf, threatens the gods in Asgard by creating a flood.
In Greece it is Gaia, the earth goddess, who creates half-snakes, the Titans, who storm Olympus and wrestle with Zeus.
Simultaneously, she is themother of Echidna ( snake), of the Sphinx, Cerberus, and others.
Leviathan, too, the antagonist of Jehovah, is a snake, a dragon at the bottom of the sea.
In the Mithras cult, the snake is the animal opposed to life that, together with the scorpion and the ant, absorbs the life-giving effect of the bull sacrifice.
It is the antagonist of the lion, the damp, cold, dark animal in contrast to the animal of the heat of the sun.
It devours the vital force of the sacrificed bull, or it wraps itself around a Kratér (vessel), with the lion facing her.
It stands in a similar opposition to the lion as it does to the eagle, which is the sun-bird and spiritual principle.
Thus, an eagle sits on top of the Germanic world tree, but a dragon dwells below, while the squirrel Ratatwiskr (bearer of discord) transmits mutual insults.
In Indian mythology and in fairy tales, the races of the snakes and eagles are eternal enemies, and seek to destroy each other.
Once, the snakes outwitted the eagles, which then had to serve them, but the eagle Garuda, Vishnu’s mount, stole the soma, the drink of immortality that he was supposed to obtain for them.
A North American fairy tale recounts that a child-stealing witch seizes the hero Tsoavits, but an eagle leads him back again.
At this, the witch seeks help from her grandfather, the giant snake, but is devoured by him on the spot. “Ever since all witches have been snakelike.”
The snake is also closely related to the basilisk or dragon, whose defeat signals the beginning of nearly every heroic legend.
I will mention only Heracles and the lernaic snake, and Siegfried and the Christian St. George, both modeled after him.
In wanting to help the bright upper world to achieve victory, indeed by embodying the new sun himself, the hero stands in opposition to the snake.
It is because of this that two snakes—sent by Hera, the evil Great Mother—already threaten Heracles in his crib; later she sends him fits of madness, during which he even kills his own children.
A snake also steals the herb of immortality, obtained with great difficulty, from Gilgamesh, while he is inattentively bathing in a pond.
The hero Philoctetes, too, a figure identical with Heracles, is bitten by a snake in the foot because of the curse from the nymph Chryse, whose love he did not requite; he slowly wastes away from the wound.
In a very similar way, the son god Re is poisoned, according to an Egyptian hymn, by a venerable worm, formed out of his own saliva and laid in his way by Isis, who is enraged at him.
She then heals him only after he discloses his name to her, but his power remains broken.
Apollo also had to first conquer the python in Delphi before he could create his oracles there.
Strangely enough, such prophetic abilities often arise out of defeating a dragon, just as Siegfried understands the voices of the birds after having eaten Fafner’s flesh.
As far as the especially numerous snake and dragon fights in Greek mythology are concerned, it should be pointed out that matriarchy had ruled in the Aegean culture before the Indo-Germanic populations of the Greeks invaded it about 2,000 B.C., and that the cults of the Great Mother, later worshipped as Cybele, Agdistis, Mountain
Mother, Artemis of Ephesus, and so on, stem from this time.
(As a matter of fact, we know about the free status of women in Crete.)
This Great Mother was often depicted together with a snake.
The shield goddess Athena, too, is pre-Greek, and often the snake is her companion (compare Phidias’s depiction).
Hence, for the Greeks, overcoming the snake means at the same time overcoming the goddess of the ground, overcoming the unconscious reemergence of the pre-Greek layer, which in the postclassical period broke through again in the mysteries of Cybele, Sabazio, the Phrygian Mother goddess, and others, and which has inundated the whole spectrum of Mediterranean culture.
It is quite clear from this compilation of images that the snake symbolizes the vital, instinctual, and drive stirrings in man, his unconscious dark side in contrast to brightness, to the conscious side of his nature.
Scientifically speaking, the snake has only a cerebrospinal nervous system, and so represents all the stirrings originating in this sphere. In various Gnostic systems it is identified with the human spinal cord, proof that already then one was aware of these correspondences.
This is a direct parallel to the Indian Kundalini snake in Kundalini yoga, climbing up and down in the spinal cord.
In the contexts previously described, the snake plays the role of an evil demon, hostile to light, and represents a dark, ambiguous deity of the depths.
But this is only one side of its being; at the same time it is also a god of healing and salvation. In the mysteries of Sabazios it represented the highest deity: according to the testimony of Clement of Alexandria, a snake was pulled through the abdomen of mystics.
Arnobius also testifies that a golden snake was drawn through the clothing of the initiated.
The snake is the oJ dia; covgpou Qeov~, and the ritual signifies the mystical unification with the deity, toward whom the mystic is in a feminine position.
Similarly, the snake is the animal accompanying and, in earlier stages, personifying Asklepios; according to Artemidorus, its appearance in dreams of the sick signals healing and the return of vital power.
A Grimm fairy tale shows particularly well how strongly it is associated with the mysterious vital power of a human being: a child who eats with a snake thrives until his mother slays the snake.
From this moment on the child, too, loses weight and wastes away until he finally dies. Likewise, Porphyry writes in the biography of his revered teacher, Plotinus, that the latter’s disciples had observed by his bedside, a few days before his death, how a snake came out of Plotinus’s mouth and left; the master died shortly thereafter.
For these reasons the appearance of a snake at the sickbed can also mean death.
It was also generally assumed that the souls of the dead would live on as chthonic snake
gods, as inhabitants of the underworld where they became guardians of a treasure.
Thus, snakes were ritualistically worshipped in holes and crevices in the ground in the Asklepieias of Ptolemy and Hygieia.
At the so-called Arrhetophorias, obols and cakes in the form of a snake or phallus were sacrificed in crevices in the ground.
An erect snake made of granite was found in the pits.
Thus the snake becomes the guardian of the secret treasure, and very often also the possessor of the herb of life (compare the Indian fairy tale in which it wants to have the soma potion) with which it can reawaken the dead.
A Greek saga recounts that the hero Glaucus, sitting next to the corpse of his murdered friend Polyeides, catches sight of a snake, which he slays.
Thereafter a second snake appears, fetches an herb, returns, and reanimates its dead friend.
At this they disappear together and leave the herb for Glaucus, who revives his friend Polyeides with it.
This motif emerges in identical form in the Grimm fairy tale “The Three Snake Leaves,” and in numerous other fairy tales.
When the snake, as I mentioned in the beginning, steals the herb of life from Gilgamesh in a moment of inattention or unconsciousness, this somehow belongs to this same sphere.
The snake arrives there, attracted by the scent of the flower that Gilgamesh had fished up from the bottom of the sea along with the herb, and, one is almost tempted to say, takes back what is hers.
Perhaps you recall the dream series that was discussed at the end of last winter, in which a boy dreams that he is searching for a transparent stone and that a lion, also wanting the lapis, appears at that moment—similarly, the snake is also a lover of stone or the herb of life.
(Incidentally, in that series, a white snake with black crosses on its back appears in a dream directly preceding the former, a symbolically depicted soter snake, the serpens mercurii, which dwells in the earth. And earlier still, it was the spring, the water of life, with which it is identical.)
The snake is not only the guardian of the stone or herb, however; it is essentially identical with it, or contains it in itself.
The Indians believe that the cobra carries a diamond in its head; and an Indian fairy tale recounts that a snake daily brings a scholar a gold piece for reading to it from spiritual works in a garden, until the old man’s greedy son hits the snake on the head and breaks the jewel inside; the snake kills the son in revenge and disappears, lamenting: “Woe, who has shattered my jewel?”
The particular reason why I presented this fairy tale is because such an association may resonate in the expression of our dream text: “eyes sparkling like diamonds.”
As already suggested, the snake and its relation to the lapis play an essential role in alchemy.
Thus, a text from the Musaeum Hermeticum says: “A terrifying dragon lives in the forest who lacks nothing; when it sees the sun’s rays, it forgets its poison and flies so dreadfully that no living animal can resist and not even the basilisk is its equal. Whoever knows how to kill it wisely . . . will escape all dangers . . . and its poison turns into the ultimate medicina. Suddenly it
swallows its own poison by eating its own poisonous tail. It is forced to complete all that within itself. Then a magnificent balsam will flow forth from it.”
A thought parallel to this is that the gold is already present in the initial situation, but that it is either old and sterile or compositum; this gold is dissolved in a type of aqua fortis, which corresponds to the snake.
Yet, the whole process is something taking its course within itself, which is why it is also said that a punctum igneitatis exists in Mercury himself through which that (immanent) dissolution happens.
I do not want to go into this alchemical problem here any longer, but to address instead a source of alchemical symbolism, the concepts of the Gnostic sects of the Ophites and Naassenes.
Ophis is Greek for snake. Likewise, Naas is the Hebrew word for snake.
The Gnostics gave themselves these names in saying “that they alone could grasp
the depths of God.”
Thus the snake is the deus absconditus, the dark, deep, incomprehensible side of God.
The so-called Perates, too, especially elaborated on the theory of the snake.
“The primeval power originating from the father, the logos, is a snake; so are the stars, but they are the evil snakes. This is why Moses shows the perfect snake to the children of Israel. . . . Whoever sets his hopes on it will not be destroyed by the snakes of the desert, that is, the gods of creation. This all-encompassing snake is the wise logos of Eva, this is the mystery of Eden, this is the river that flows out of Eden.”
This explains the meaning of the words “and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”
The snake is the “great beginning,” of which it is said: “In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
What is made by it is life. The snake stands for vital power, as we have seen.
Eve originated through it; Eve is life. This Eve is the mother of anything alive.
The evil materia, however, in contrast to the logos, is also, in the final analysis, a snake.
At first, it is the water to the Perates, flowing around the world as in a ring; it is Kronos.
They say of it: “It is a power bright as water, and no creature can escape this power,
Chronos; it is the reason why each creature is doomed to perish; it is the water of Styx.”
One can view the battle of these two snakes in the sky: “The logos is the constellation of the dragon; to the right and left of it are the crown and lyre. In front of the dragon kneels that pitiable man, Heracles. Behind his back the evil master of this world, the constellation of the snake, draws nearer so as to steal the crown from him. The bearer of the snake, however, keeps them together and prevents it from touching the crown.”
Here again, the snake is aiming at what is most valuable.
The main ritual of the Perates, the evening meal, proceeded as follows: they piled loaves of bread on the table and summoned the snake that, as a holy animal, was cared for in a container box.
The snake came near and slithered on top of the loaves.
Through this the breads were consecrated.
Each member kissed the snake on the mouth and prostrated himself before it.
Thus logos is present in the form of the snake at the Lord’s Supper.
It is Christ both as logos and as snake.
The rituals of the Sabazios mysteries, mentioned earlier, also belong to this area; they are the coniunctio with the divine logos.
But in other cultures as well, the snake is the savior of the logos: Quetzalcoatl, the god of the Toltecs, is a winged snake, the son of the “cloud snake,” who appears as the bearer of culture and savior.
Upon Tollan’s fall, he again disappears in a lake in the form of a snake.
According to the Gnostics, the evil snake, too, was not evil originally, but became so as follows: Justinos recounts that on his journey west, Heracles had united with a virgin,
half snake, half human (cf. Herodotus), in order to regain his stolen horse.
Elohim likewise is said to have united with a virgin half-snake and half-human, called Eden or Israel, and to have procreated with her twelve paternal angels and twelve maternal ones.
He then leaves her and returns to the upper, good god.
Out of her sorrow at having been left, she then becomes that evil power, hostile toward God.
Her servant, the angel Naas (snake), later brings about the crucifixion of Christ; Christ, however, left Eden his body on the cross, with the words: “Woman, behold thy son!”
But these are the very words Christ spoke to Mary when he entrusted John to her.
So John is, as it were, the body, the mortal part of Christ!
Strangely enough, in medieval art John, too, has the characteristics of a snake.
In a picture of Quentin Matsys, he holds a communion cup containing a small dragon, which he consecrates.
In the great division of the cosmos, shared by nearly all Gnostic sects, there are three realms, and always right at the bottom there is the snake leviathan, the ouroboros, reappearing in alchemy.
But the latter is Eve, that is, life. Leviathan is the master of this world, of whom it is said in Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Alchemy also knows—besides the tail-eater who unites the opposites in itself—the image of two snakes uniting, a fleeing and a wingless one
(see also the contrast eagle—snake).
I turn now to one last aspect of the snake, actually already contained in the preceding one: the snake as a time symbol.
It is the snake that is Chronos, Greek for time.
It is the ring of coming into being, the en tov pan (one and all). “All cults and mysteries serve it. As Oceanos or Jordan it is the humid substance, and nothing in the world—immortal or mortal—can exist without it. Everything is subject to it, and it itself is good, and, just as in the horn of the one-horned bull (Moses), it embraces the beauty of all other things . . .like the river rising in Eden and dividing itself into four origins.”
Simon Magus, however, says: “And it is always one and the same, that which is living in us, that which lives and is dead, and which is awake and asleep, and is young and old.
When it changes, the latter is the former, and again the former, when it changes, is the latter.”
Meister Eckhart calls this “the river flown into itself.”
Christ was also interpreted in this sense as the great ecclesiastical year; he was the
Zodiacal snake, whose pictures represent the twelve apostles.
The Indian god of creation Prajapati, too, is the world year.
The idea that the snake represents time, the coming into being, and the durée créatrice
is probably connected with the fact that it sheds its skin.
Many fairy tales of the primitives interpret this as a reincarnation, and infer the snake’s immortality from this.
We have also heard that Philo regarded it as immortal. So that is probably also the reason why it is in possession of the herb of immortality.
In Mithraism one has also found the figure of a god with a lion head, on whom a snake winds upward, laying its head upon his.
He is the god Aion or Zervan, the god of eternal duration.
Similarly, in Kundalini yoga the snake, climbing up the spine and touching the various chakras in a temporal development, stands for the vital force by which man is simultaneously put into the course of time.
It stands for nature in contrast to the spirit, yet at the same time it is the principle heading to the lapis, to perfection beyond nature.
It is quite impossible to bring some order into the whole wealth of this material, and still harder to interpret the meaning and the real essence of the snake as a symbol.
When I stressed three main aspects—the snake as earth demon, as savior, and as time symbol—this was just an attempt to organize the many aspects.
When the snake appears in a dream, you basically have to take into account all three
I now come back to the dream to evaluate the remaining details of the description.
The snake appears to the girl either in the forest, or it chases her
as far as into her bedroom.
The encounter in the woods is, so to speak, the more natural place, because the forest stands for the dark, unconscious side, where one meets one’s animals and projections. Initially it looks as if the dreamer came to meet the snake.
But then the situation is reversed; the snake chases the dreamer as far as into her bedroom.
There exists an intense attraction between the snake and the child; the snake becomes active and the child thinks it wants to bite her.
It haunts her with glowing eyes, sparkling like diamonds.
The snake is famed for its gaze, by which it hypnotizes its victims, to devour them afterward; one also says of certain women, the “vamp” type who exerts a kind of terrifying attraction, that they would have that snakelike gaze.
Its eyes sparkling like diamonds could be an indication that the snake does after all possess the diamond, the lapis, carrying it in its head, whereby it would not only have the pure, negative instinctual characteristic, but also, as seems to be indicated, the possibility of higher consciousness.
The glowing eyes are easy to explain.
As has often been said, the snake is connected with the secret fire; it carries within itself the punctum igneitatis of self-destruction; it is also in connection with the fiery lion.
Mercury is the kyllenian fire, and many dragons in mythology are fire-spitting monsters; all of this has to do with the fact that it dwells in the depths of the earth, psychologically
speaking, that it has to do with the sphere of emotional outbreaks, with the drives.
By the way, the motif of the snake’s eyes is sometimes accentuated in other contexts, too.
You may remember the vision of St. Ignatius, from the lecture at the beginning of this summer, to whom a snake with many eyes appeared after rigorous ascetic exercises.
He says that a certain something appeared to him, beautiful and great, greatly comforting him.
Sometimes it would have been a snake full of sparkling eyes, although it was not eyes.
Later he interprets this as a vision of the devil, and wards it off.
Argus, too, is such a dragon figure with innumerable eyes.
This multiplicity of eyes may be connected with the multiplicity of subliminal perceptions: man is, so to speak, more clear-sighted in the unconscious than in the conscious, and, above all, sees into many more directions simultaneously.
Hence the snake’s power of prediction, also bestowing the gift to understand birds’ voices.
The last remaining statement of the dream says: “the snake that wants to bite me.”
It is questionable if this is so objectively.
In any case the child supposes this, because she is frightened.
Because she flees the snake, the latter chases her, for it just wants to get near her.
Obviously, it wants to unite with her in one form or another, and chases her as far as into her bedroom, that is, into her most intimate living space.
The girl rejects it, however, being frightened by its instinctual, negative, demonic aspect. Incidentally, in many Asian fairy tales we find the motif that girls transform themselves into snakes at night, or, conversely, that snakes walk as girls, or one sees how at night snakes glide into a girl’s mouth.
This is interpreted as possession by a demon.
So we might assume that the dreamer has a conscious attitude that cannot accept this power the snake stands for, a so-called Christian attitude, which, of course, can only be the result of the milieu; or else a too orderly, well-behaved, rational scope of consciousness, which naturally provokes, attracts, and at the same time rejects the snake as its counterpart.
The girl being young, the snake might well rather stand for temptations of a worldly nature, that is, for life and “the lord of this world,” whom the snake after all represents.
If she cannot accept it, the snake will probably poison her and create a flood, that is, an inundation of her consciousness with unconscious images.
For the rest, it can be said of the problem that the child faces a rather common situation, which makes a solution more likely.
Professor Jung: In her exhaustive paper, Ms. von Franz has very beautifully pointed out the three main aspects of the snake symbol: the aspects of the chthonic snake, the soter, and the time snake.
You can now picture how ambiguous this symbol is, and how manifold its manifestations are.
The snake touches on the deepest instincts of man, so that from time immemorial one thought it to be in possession of great secrets.
Let us now deal with our dream in detail. It is a snake vision.
The girl is threatened by an enigmatic snake that is very intense and alive.
That it assumes such a concrete form is striking and indicates that it plays an important role in the dream.
Participant: Doesn’t the frequent recurrence of the image also point to its importance?
Professor Jung: Yes, we have to assume that the dream has quite a special importance for the psychic disposition of the child. What follows from the snake’s assuming such a concrete form and from the intensity for the dreamer?
Participant: That the unconscious seeks to forcefully assert itself.
Professor Jung: When is this the case?
Participant: When consciousness is split off from the unconscious.
Professor Jung: Yes, there has to be a strong splitting off of the unconscious, probably having existed for years.
There are many reasons for such a phenomenon of splitting.
As a rule, they lie in the environmental conditions, for example, in the relationship of the parents to each other.
It is not uncommon that the split in the child is a reflection of the conflict between father and mother.
Here we may thus assume that there is a certain tension between the parents, not allowing the child to find herself.
Of course, there are also other reasons for the split that needn’t be related to the parents or other environmental factors, but are determined purely intrapsychically. What could those be?
Participant: Perhaps a psychic trauma?
Professor Jung: That, too, would somehow be determined externally.
Participant: It could be an inherited disposition to anxiety.
Professor Jung: This, too, would follow from the parents’ psychology.
In addition, the fear of the snake cannot be readily explained in the context of inheritance; it is simply there.
Either you fear a snake, or you don’t.
There are individuals for whom a stay in the tropics becomes a perfect hell because of their constant fear of running into a snake.
After all, it is very inconvenient to suddenly discover a snake in your bed, or in your shoes, in your trousers, in the cupboard, or in all sorts of impossible places.
Snakes are always where you don’t suspect them.
The uncanny thing with these animals is that they are completely inhuman; they aren’t in any rapport with human beings.
The snake wardens in the zoos know this.
For some time, the snakes let one do anything with them, and one day they wind themselves around the warden with lightning speed, trying to squeeze him to death.
You can make contact with nearly all animals, but there seems to be no possible psychic bridge to the cold-blooded animals any longer, although they let themselves be hypnotized, as we know.
No “niceties” any longer here.
But now back to our question: What would an inner motive for the split be?
Participant: There could be too great a stress on consciousness.
Professor Jung: But this again would be related to the environment; we have to find an inner cause.
Participant: Maybe the child is strongly determined by the former ages, through the “Bardo,” and has difficulties in developing into reality.
Professor Jung: I am thinking of something else, namely, of cases in which a content emerges from within quite spontaneously, without causal involvement of the environment.
Participant: Could it be a psychic inclusion?
Professor Jung: Yes, that’s what I mean.
I am calling this a psychic teratoma. This is a term borrowed from medicine.
There it refers to a kind of tumor as the result of a developmental disorder, and containing parts of a twin, for example, hair, teeth, finger parts, an eye, and so on.
Teratomas are to be conceived of as an incomplete development of a fetus that is included in the other, fully developing twin.
Something analogous exists in the psychic realm too; though one can’t talk of a psychic twin, but rather of an encapsulated entity of inheritance.
You all know what an entity of inheritance is, don’t you?
You know, for instance, the peculiarity of the lower lip in the Habsburg family, although it has nothing to do with a teratoma.
Now, if an entity of inheritance simply grows along unbeknownst to the individual, then we are dealing with a kind of teratoma.
It is like the inclusion of something alien that is not properly connected to the surrounding environment.
This creates a character who, on the one hand, may have a normal disposition, but in whom, on the other, something is hidden that doesn’t want at all to connect with the rest of the person.
It’s not always easy to identify a teratoma; when folks say, for instance, “Now that’s a very nice guy; unfortunately he’s inherited that particular family trait that ruins his whole life,” there needn’t necessarily be a teratoma present, but it may point to some manifest feature, such as mendacity, alcoholism, or the like.
If something completely incommensurable is enclosed in the character, however, something that in no way would fit the character or could be derived from his mentality, then we can assume the existence of a teratoma.
When this part of the soul becomes conscious it can cause immense disturbance.
That is why one may touch this encapsulated world only with utmost caution, because otherwise there is the danger that all of a sudden a second personality erupts.
Such cases can be observed in the mentally insane.
Do you think that the present case could point to such a teratoma?
Participant: No, it wouldn’t manifest itself as such a general symbol.
Professor Jung: Quite right.
As I described it, the characteristic feature of the teratoma lies in the fact that it is a pathologically grotesque phenomenon, for example, consisting of only one eye, or two teeth, and so on.
The snake in our dream has no such pathological character at all, but is a general symbol.
So, by no means is it a teratoma.
What then can, on the contrary, be concluded from this universal symbol?
Participant: That the child is not abnormal.
Professor Jung: Yes, that she is quite normal overall.
Only the facts of concretism and the force personified in the snake are striking, both
being strongly accentuated. So where must we locate the reason for the split?
Participant: In environmental influences.
Professor Jung: Yes, very probably there must exist parental influences, affecting an in itself normal disposition of the child, and causing there a split that is an adequate answer to the situation at home.
The cause of the split, with which we are obviously dealing here, is thus clarified.
We now arrive at the question: “How should we conceive the character of the split?”
Naturally, such a disturbance affects the child’s whole behavior.
Don’t forget that this anxiety-triggering figure is very dynamic and contains very much energy.
What does this mean for the consciousness of the child?
Participant: There is a certain paralysis of expression.
Professor Jung: Yes, one could say that.
Participant: The instinct is missing.
Professor Jung: Yes, the instinctive is missing. With what influence on consciousness?
Participant: Problems in adaptation.
Professor Jung: Well, I am thinking of a certain, and quite frequent, form of difficulty to adapt.
The snake represents, as we have seen, the instinctive, unconscious life, which actually contains the complete expression of the unconscious.
There lies in it a blind naturalness closely connected with instinct.
If all of this is unconscious, the conscious personality will lack it.
What impression does it then make?
Participant: An intellectual or not genuine impression.
Professor Jung: That is too negative an expression; I’d rather say: it makes the impression of an artificial personality, imitating what it finds in its environment.
For instance, it lets itself be governed by the opinions in its environment and adapts to these with a minimum of effort. It lacks, as it were, the “real” thing.
A relatively normal person can get away with this attitude for a long time.
Quite a few individuals live with an artificial personality, and they also get away with it—until the point when the function of instinct is absolutely of the essence.
Now, which moment is that?
Participant: When you fall in love or marry.
Professor Jung: Yes, when someone marries, or just falls in love.
Then you are challenged.
Because then you can’t enforce it any longer with the artificial personality, then you have to be connected to the deeper sources.
If the entire snake entity is in the unconscious and therefore invisible, then the conscious personality will be more or less artificial.
But there are cases in which the snake entity is, at least partially, absorbed by the conscious personality.
How does such a person strike you then?
Participant: As very contradictory.
Professor Jung: Yes, these individuals have a double personality.
On the one hand, they are reasonable and adjusted; maybe too much adjusted, you know, just a bit subdued, not very obviously, or yet a bit obvious on the one side, be it intellectually or emotionally, depending on their talents. In the main, the differentiated function will take over and will lead the personality.
On the other hand, this is somebody who is very different.
These cases are very frequent.
There are also children who show this double quality to a more or less high degree; above all, it’s the well-bred children who suddenly play all kinds of mischievous tricks round the next corner.
In the grown-up it often takes just a bit of alcohol to make the other personality come to the fore.
Then you say: “I had no idea you could be like that.”
Often, the person concerned didn’t know it either, until it just happened to him and the other side of his personality broke through.
Such individuals are often the “other” at the wrong place.
It is in this way, as we know, that many things come to light.
In a way, they are committing indiscretions toward themselves.
In the case of these splits, the one personality often has a taste contrary to that of the other.
What will happen then?
Participant: Such a person will, for instance, say at home just the opposite of what he says outside of it.
Professor Jung: Yes, a devil at home and an angel on the streets.
This expresses itself in a child so that at school he shows a completely different character from at home.
This expression is only too well known.
Children with a striking split, for instance, behave quite atrociously toward their mothers, while they are polite and nice with other people, or, conversely, they are lovely and nice at home, and somewhere else behave like the worst street kids.
Such children find special fun in deceiving the adults, and in doing so feel like little martyrs:
“Oh, if you only knew how I really am. You really deserve it that you hurt me.”
They find it extremely attractive to think: “If you only knew how I suffer, but I just don’t tell.”
I remember my own school times in Basel.
There was a kid who had to wear white gloves on Sundays.
Once she came to the countryside; there, she raised her head, marched into the meadow in her white lace, and finally put the excrement found there into her mouth.
Such piggery would never have entered the heads of the village kids.
It is precisely the well-bred children who develop such obsessions.
They think of the oddest things, because these belong to the side of their personality of which they hadn’t had any idea.
When they see something horrible lying in the street, a toad, for instance, they have to eat it.
As a rule, children with such splits really develop two characters.
So, if we know about this split, what would we then tell such a child?
Participant: That he is at odds with himself.
Professor Jung: Yes, one could tell the child that to his face.
You are at odds with yourself; you say “yes,” and it says “no,” or the other way round. The child actually understands such language: You want to obey the parents, and then something happens that comes in between.
You should do your homework, and then you can’t do it.
You also should be nice in school, and then it doesn’t work.
These are opposites in which the split manifests itself, and which the child knows very well.
He will also tell you examples of his own, and then you can quite naturally bring up the question of how all this feels for the child, and how one could possibly address this situation.
Participant: Couldn’t one also ask him how and when he feels best?
Professor Jung: That is too complicated a question. I’d rather ask:
“Say, how come you’re so different at home from at school?” Or: “Really, how come in school you’re so terribly naughty?”
It wouldn’t make much sense just to ask with regard to the school alone, because the school is only secondary to the child, but he may well know to tell a quite different tale about the parents.
Participant: But perhaps the child doesn’t yet know anything about that.
Professor Jung: Perhaps—but a ten-year-old girl usually knows already much more than the parents would guess. In these years the question already arises: “How do I tell my parents?”
I myself have unlearned being naive about children.
I’m no longer naive about a ten year-old girl.
You are pointing right to the center of the problem with all these questions regarding the child’s being at odds with herself.
If you focus completely on this schism, you will understand not only the dream, you will also understand the child.
The dream not only describes the situation of the child, but also allows us to say something about the prognosis.
Which details of the dream could we take as a starting point here?
Participant: The snake wants to devour the dreamer.
Professor Jung: Yes, this stands for an intense relation between the halves split off from each other.
What do you conclude from that?
Participant: That the dreamer wants to assimilate the snake.
Professor Jung: Of course, both attract each other with great force.
The snake wants with all its might to come near her, and she is fascinated.
So you can bet that both halves will come together at some point, that under favorable conditions, in other words, the split will be overcome.
The prognosis of this split is good, because the child and the snake are intensely relating to each other, which, it is true, still expresses itself in the child as strong anxiety.
At that moment the unification of the opposites was quite impossible for the child; but
one may assume that in the course of time the mutual attraction will eventually make itself felt.
Now we still have to deal in more detail with the nature of the snake!
In this dream the eyes in particular are very impressive.
They are described as sparkling like diamonds and glowing.
Ms. von Franz has, therefore, correctly stressed their importance.
The eye really is he seat of fascinating fright; the attraction and the threat come from
A good parallel to this is the snake with the many eyes in the vision of Ignatius.
The stress on the eyes differentiates the snake in the dream from the dim poisonous snake and points to the fact that it contains an inner light and fire.
What would you conclude from that? To what could this point?
Participant: That the snake contains the light of consciousness.
Professor Jung: Yes, that it has a consciousness in it, that it is, so to speak, the second person of the dreamer who, however, has completely merged with the unconscious.
What meaning, then, does the snake have here?
Participant: The meaning of the soter snake.
Professor Jung: Quite so; one could conclude with some certainty from the dream that this snake is a kind of bearer of the light, or at least a bearer of the diamond, the glowing stone.
In alchemy we find the idea that the stone, the lapis philosophorum, can be found in the
brain and is, therefore, also called the brain stone.
The same idea can be found in our dream, too: there seems to be a light hidden in the
brain of the snake.
It announces the capability of an extended consciousness, not yet present at the moment.
For the time being, there is a restricted consciousness, as is normal for the child; at the same time, the possibility that at some later point consciousness can expand is hinted at.
The reason why we may draw this conclusion is that the snake here is a soter snake.
The chthonic snake, with its character of the earth demon, of evil, would not directly lead to a healing outcome, because it is only drive, which, as such, brings hardly any promise with it.
Participant: Could one assume that in life the child is fascinated by precisely those figures in which the quality of light is prominent?
Professor Jung: This is a quite natural conclusion, as the whole religious question is being raised with the image of the soter snake.
The Soter snake has a distinctly spiritual meaning.
That’s why Christ is often depicted as a snake.
Such representations are frequent in the Middle Ages.
The snake is the symbol of secret wisdom and promises
the revelation of hidden things and knowledge.
It offers instinctive, as opposed to intellectual, knowledge. What’s the term for this?
Professor Jung: This is not knowledge, but a perception.
Participant: Inner view.
Professor Jung: That’s right.
Professor Jung: That’s its consequence.
Professor Jung: That’s quite right, but not in the sense we today conceive of belief, as scientia fidei, as science of belief.
What I mean is gnosis.
This is knowledge of an irrational nature, different from the arbitrary act of thinking.
It is an event, a self-revelation, a mental activity, the result of a quite peculiar spiritual situation.
When you study the Gnostics you will find similar ideas.
The Gnostics preach snake wisdom, that is, knowledge coming from nature itself.
There is also a specifically Christian gnosis.
You can barely trace the secret of this knowledge.
Rationally, it can’t be explained at all.
You get an idea of this difficulty when you ask how the dogma of the trinity came into being.
This is gnosis, knowledge springing from inner experience.
Participant: Couldn’t one call this knowledge also mystical knowledge?
Professor Jung: That would be a metaphysical term.
We view this question, however, from the psychological standpoint.
Then we understand that there is still another way of gaining knowledge that is simultaneously a life process.
Naturally, these things are alien to us, but they become more understandable if we make ourselves acquainted with the psyche of Eastern man.
In the East, the intellectual thinking processes recede very much into the background; the whole philosophy of the Upanishads and classical Chinese philosophy, for instance,
stem from life processes whose nature is, at the same time, a process of gaining knowledge.
This is a thinking out of the bowels, out of the depths.
This stands in contrast to the academic intellect that is often empty and, as we know, doesn’t always do us any good.
For women particularly, it has something destructive.
For what basically concerns her is not the intellect either.
What concerns her is gnosis.
That’s why so many women are most deeply disappointed by their university studies, particularly by philosophy, because nowadays philosophy, too, is treated intellectually, in contrast to antiquity, when it was still a life process.
Then it was gnosis, a drive, a fact of nature, an inner need.
It was like water seeping into dry ground.
Gnosis is knowledge stemming from blood.
Thus the alchemists say of the stone: “Invenitur in vena, sanguine plena,” that is, the stone or lapis is found in blood-filled veins.
That’s why it is also called sanguineus, or carbuncle, or ruby.
This form of knowledge is also expressed in the above-mentioned eye snake of Ignatius.
When he strove for knowledge of God, that snake appeared to him, as if it wanted to tell him: “I am the one with the one hundred eyes that see all and are all-knowing.”
eyes are, so to speak, as many possibilities of consciousness, corresponding to decentralized functions of consciousness.
The objects of gnosis are quasi self-glowing, and reveal themselves in their own light.
That is also why this process is so often described as a revelation, as an eruption by which the individual is overwhelmed.
It is always a process reposing in itself.
That’s the meaning of the snake when one experiences it from within.
The image of the many eyes also appears in alchemy.
The alchemists referred to a passage of the prophet Zechariah, where it says that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the whole earth.
They are seven eyes, and according to the testimony of the prophet, they are on the foundation-stone of the new temple.
But the eye is also the self-perception of an unconscious illuminated or capable of being illuminated.
This the alchemists knew and thus they also saw corresponding phenomena in chemical transformations.
They report, for instance, the lighting up of the dark, simmering compound in the flask; they took this to be oriental jewels, which they described as fish eyes; for the so-called piscis rotundus, too, the eyes would have been important: this fish also appears in an Arab legend, where it has only one eye.
It embodies a being living in darkness and possessing, owing to its eye, a peculiar capability of knowledge.
From such inner perceptions stem the images of God.
For everything originating in this inner knowledge forms the basis of such experiences.
The commonness of these experiential processes has also led to the fact that we find concordant God images in the most various places.
We no longer know about these connections and, therefore, think that the God images had been “invented.”
That might be the essence of what one can say about this dream.
There still remain the details of the forest and the bedroom.
The forest is a symbol of the unconscious.
There you can see all kinds of things, but the vision is restricted, just like in water, in which you also can’t look into the depths.
The bedroom is one of the symbols of the unconscious.
But what is the essential difference between forest and bedroom?
Participant: The forest is something collective, the bedroom is a symbol of the personal unconscious.
Professor Jung: Yes, that’s right.
The personal unconscious has an atmosphere one can humanly empathize with; it is personal and intimate.
So we can very well call the bedroom a symbol of the personal unconscious.
Just as the dreamer is displaced from the wide space of the forest into the narrow personal space of the bedroom, so the collective unconscious borders on the personal unconscious.
A process of separation is under way.
This separation is necessary because a clearing of consciousness cannot take place as long as the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious are still undivided.
The personal unconscious is like a laguna that is cut off from the sea by a strip of land, and is forming a little lake or a basin itself.
Just like the latter, the personal unconscious is surveyable, and one can venture out without danger.
Out there, however, is the ocean, the collective.
This difference is crucial for the interpretation of our dream: for when the snake is encountered in the forest, this is more or less a natural phenomenon.
But when it comes into the bedroom, panic arises. Why?
Participant: Because it concerns the dreamer personally.
Professor Jung: In the forest I encounter the snake “by coincidence,” but in the bedroom this goes under my skin, I am most personally touched by it.
This advance of the snake into the personal unconscious is another sign of a good prognosis.
The possibility of a merging of the separated forms is thus hinted at.
Participant: Doesn’t the frequent recurrence also speak for a good prognosis?
Professor Jung: This shows the urgency of the problem that will make itself felt in one way or another.
Participant: But if the importance of the snake is so great, why does the dreamer feel frightened by it?
Professor Jung: It often happens that one fears what has to be, what in the deepest sense belongs to one.
One fears it, and yet wants it at the same time.
One should really press the fear to one’s heart and say: “This is, after all, precisely what I want.”
Participant: Is the fear of being bitten justified?
Professor Jung: Of course, because the snake wants to penetrate her inside, wants to be absorbed in her.
Simultaneously, the poison infiltrates her; the poison, however, that is also a remedy. It is fate, and that’s why one fears it.
In the end, one always fears oneself; I don’t mean the “I,” but fear of the Other in us, the Self. Here, one’s fear is justified, because it is a superior force of which one knows: “It belongs to me, and I belong to it.”
They both belong together. And yet it is terrible.
- Dream of a Ten-Year Old Girl of Sinking in the Water Presented by Margret Sachs
Text: I go from the Bellevue across the Quaibrücke and I’m scared, because I know what will happen.
Suddenly, between Bauschänzli and Quaibrücke, I fall into the water in an upright position. Slowly I am sinking deeper and deeper, until I reach the bottom. I nearly drown. Then I wake up.
Mrs. Sachs: This dream is from the same girl whom we know from the last meeting.
First let us try to structure the dream systematically:
Locale: From Bellevue across the quay bridge; the water.
Dramatis persona: The ego of the dreamer.
Exposition: “I’m scared.”
Peripateia: “Suddenly I fall into the water in an upright position.”
Lysis: The dream shows a possible solution only with the word “nearly.”
So something is there that saves the dreamer from the final catastrophe; some yet unknown eventuality might still occur, a backdoor for an escape has been left open.
The frequent recurrence of the dream—it was dreamed “innumerable times”—indicates its importance and its certainly fateful meaning.
To start with, let us try to have a closer look at the locale: “I go from Bellevue across the quay bridge.”
Zurich seems to be the home town
of the dreamer, so she does not cross just any bridge in some unknown environment, but the dream is situated in her city, in a place well known to her—an indication that the dream also concerns her own affairs.
She comes from “Bellevue,” a beautiful square in Zurich, which is called “beautiful view” to boot.
For a ten-year-old child, the place with the beautiful view—now lying behind her—might be her past childhood, the security she felt within the family.
From there she comes, and now she crosses the bridge.
Although she does not mention that she has to cross the bridge, she wouldn’t do it if it were up to her, because she is scared.
This is probably a process at the mercy of which she fatefully is; her whole behavior in the dream is also completely passive.
She has already left the place with the beautiful view, the place where life and future seemed “beautiful.”
She is already on the bridge.
Three particular characteristics can be found for “bridge”: it connects two banks, two places of solid ground; it forms a secure way across the water flowing underneath it;
and, third, it is not a natural formation, but man-made.
Bellevue, the bygone beautiful childhood, was solid ground for her.
So there would be adulthood on the other side, and the bridge would represent the
transition from childhood to adulthood, namely, puberty.
But Bellevue could also represent any other beautiful point of departure, a secure place, from which she has to move on.
Because of its frequent occurrence, however, the dream can not only stand for a momentary slight difficulty that has to be “bridged,” but has to create an image that throws light on a fundamental situation of the dreamer.
We have to resort to interpretations, therefore, that do justice to the dream’s importance.
For this purpose let us have a look at some examples from history and mythology concerning the keyword “bridge.”
The following examples have been taken from the seminar in the winter term of 1936/37.
It is said that in a text of the Koran a bridge over hell is mentioned, thin as a string and sharp as a sword, which only the righteous can cross.
A Muslim legend further tells of a bridge between the Temple of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, between the East and the West.
Below is hell, into which the unrighteous fall.
From the songs of praise of the later “Avesta,” in the compilation of Schaeder, we quote the passage about the “Chinvat bridge, made by Mazda.”
It is the place of the spiritual deities, the point of transition through the ordeal of fire.
“The comely, strong, shapely maiden drags the souls of the bad and deceiving into the darknesses, and leads the souls of the truthful over the Hara brzati and lets them
cross the Chinvat bridge.
The ‘Good Sense’ rose from his golden throne and said: ‘How did you get here, oh you truthful one, from the sorrowful existence to the sorrowless existence?’”
As you can see, this bridge leads from this world to the nether world.
Life, too, is the bridge between the cradle and the grave, the bridge between the past and the future.
Thus the bridge takes on a cosmic and religious meaning.
In Gnosis, Leisegang gives an account of the ophitic sect of the Perates, whose name means “traversing,” derived from the Greek word peran.
Philo of Alexandria writes: “We alone, who have realized the necessity in creation, and the ways in which man came into the world, have also profoundly learned it—to traverse—and are also able to cross transience.”
It is an interesting fact that the sect of the Perates venerated the serpent as an expression of the Logos.
Thus we have found a connection to the vision of the child with the snake, which, there too, means Logos or soter.
As a result, the problem with which the dreamer will certainly be confronted in the long
term will revolve around “traversing transience” to reach the “sorrowless existence,” revolve around being reborn, not only of water, but also of the spirit, and revolve around the snake of salvation, the soter snake.
Another mythological concept of the bridge is based on the idea that a spirit or a water demon, a bridge ghost, would be underneath it.
By building the bridge we would have escaped his direct influence, but various sacrifices were made to him, human beings at first, and later man-shaped dolls, among other things.
In ancient Rome, in the month of May, a yearly procession led to the Pons Sublicius, the oldest and most famous among Rome’s bridges.
On the way, twenty-four chapels, the Sacella Argeorum, were visited, and from each an Argei, a doll representing an old man, was taken along.
Chanting hymns and prayers, the Vestales threw these dolls into the Tiber.
It is assumed that this is a relic from an older epoch, when old men, who were no longer fit for military service, were sacrificed as a yearly tribute to the river god, who had been affronted by the building of the bridge (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics).
London Bridge is said to have been made durable by being sprinkled with the blood of little children, and legend has it that human sacrifices were made in a bridge building, of the bridge in Arta in Italy, whose pillars collapsed until the bridge builder walled up his own wife in them.
The last relics of these ideas are the chapels built on the former sacrificial sites on the bridges.
On the Spreuer bridge in Lucerne, adorned with pictures of Holbein’s Dance of Death, a sanctuary lamp is still burning today in a small altar niche, built in a little oriel above the river Reuss, and many a passerby raises his hat, makes the sign of a cross, or even murmurs a prayer in passing by.
The bridge phobia is a well-known form of phobia, in which even today people are seized—despite all their enlightenment and all the ferroconcrete—by sudden and inexplicable fears, nausea, and pallor when they have to cross a bridge, because the demons of the depths have come to life again for them.
Let us summarize: the bridge is a place of danger for the deceiving and the bad, because they might fall down; but it also symbolizes the situation of a transgression of transience, the path to sorrowless existence.
Significantly, the Pope has taken over the name of Pontifex Maximus, supreme bridge builder, which previously was carried by the Roman emperors.
In the light of psychology, the bridge represents a dangerous, precarious part of consciousness, a path that offers few possibilities of giving way.
The fact that it is man-made, not a natural formation, may indicate that active forces will have to play a part for the “bridging” to be successful.
The bridge arch, stretching from one bank to the other, from one solid place to the other, can also represent that psychic capability which moves on with certainty, with strength, and with confidence about the unknown, as a movement out of itself, into the future to a new task.
Künkel talks about the “suspense arc” [Spannungsbogen] of children, which must be big and long enough to carry the child from one developmental stage to the other, from one difficulty to be mastered to the next.
If the suspense arc is too small, and is insufficient, the child will shy away from his task, will hole up in previous positions, drop back in his development, fall into a great introversion, or even into a regression.
It is for a very good reason that the primitives have their puberty rites, which help “bridge” the transition from childhood to adulthood, from the security in the ritual house to strife and freedom, from innocent ignorance to responsibility.
The separation from the mother, the fasting of many days’ duration, the painful tattoos, the inflicting of pain, for example, knocking out the teeth, and then the bestowing of a new name, as well as the rituals of being devoured and eaten up, with the ensuing salvation and rebirth, as reported by Lévy-Bruhl, Frobenius, and others, all these symbolize the transition, the passing into a new phase in life.
The performance of these rites of passage helps to safely master the transition into the new life situation.
Although our dreamer is not devoured by a giant monster, only to be dragged out of its belly again, she falls prey to another uncanny element that scares her: the water.
The dream situation shows that for the moment she is stuck in the monster’s belly.
Her psychical abilities of bridging, of walking across, are obviously insufficiently developed.
Her bridge fails, it does not stretch to the other side, and she is afraid, “because she knows what will happen.”
She is in the middle of a process that befalls her with fateful irreversibility, she is at its mercy.
Her failure can either be determined by a lack of vitality, caused by an artificial attitude toward life, a one-sidedly accentuated persona stemming from an incorrect education, or it can be determined by the fact that the child’s problem makes such great demands
that involuntarily she flinches from addressing it, because she is not yet able to cope with it.
It seems that the indication of the soter snake in the child’s vision discussed earlier, symbolizes the problem of growing up, the transition in puberty, and at the same time the religious problem of transgressing transience to immortality, from sorrowful to sorrowless existence, and also being reborn of water and the spirit.
The child is afraid “because she knows what will happen,” the unconscious senses the danger, the inability to cope with the problems she is confronted with.
“Suddenly, between Bauschänzli and the quay bridge, I fall into the water in an upright position.”
F or the dreamer, these are not the bright waters of the river Limmat, but the uncanny floods with their frightening depths and dangers, commonly seen as a symbol of the unconscious.
Like the unconscious, the water is the element of being transported away, of change, of the secret.
It wells from unknown depths, floods with torrential force, possesses overwhelming power, devours its victims and covers them.
Because of its unfathomable depth, the water is a symbol of the unconscious, and a symbol of life because of its flowing changeability.
In this dream, the accent is on its depth; therefore, we may reasonably assume that here it is rather a representation of the unconscious.
The waters of the rivers Styx and Acheron carry the dead to the other side, from the upper world to the underworld.
The dead haunt fathomless lakes, such as the Mumel lake or the legendary Pilatus
According to Virgil, the entrance to the realm of the dead is at the Lago d’Averno.
Poets and fairy tales tell of the dangers of the depths; the Lorelei draws ships into the vortices of the river Rhine, “half drew she him, half sank he down.”
The water is also the place of transformation: Proteus, the water god, turns into a lion, a snake, a tree; Thetis, the Nereid, transforms herself into a bird and a tree while courting Peleus.
As far as the situation of the dreamer at that moment is concerned, it seems as if only the negative aspects of the water would have to be taken into account; for just as she fled from the snake in her vision, she here is afraid of the water and nearly drowns in it.
At the moment it has, just like the snake, a frightening and nearly destructive influence.
If we focus our interest on the possibilities of a later solution of the problem, however, we will have to consider also some positive aspects of the water, above all its changeability and healing power.
In Zimmer’s book Maya we find the following passage referring to this: “The waters are the Gegenwelt [counterworld] to the dry sphere of the waking day, into which the eye looks outward; in them the hidden nature of things is mirrored to the inner view. . . . Down into the water means down into knowledge.
The ageless waters, taking all forms of nature, circulating as its life, know everything, they have been present since the beginning and conserve everything in their liveliness—nothing is forgotten.
Thus Vishnu speaks to the holy Naranda: Immerse yourself in water, and you will know about my Maya.”
In another place he writes:
The waters of life are the womb of all forms of the world, as well as their grave in which they are reborn, they circulate in and build, they carry and dissolve every form, they are the palpable element of the all divine Maya, whose nature the saints and seers tentatively try to grasp.
They hold the secret of this Maya as the force of their own, versatile nature, and do not yield it, but let it be tasted when someone opens up to them.
How the world comes into being, every hour, outside as world gestalt in the flow of coming into being and happening, coming to the fore, as gestalt of the inner world, from the darkness of the unconsciousness into the light of consciousness—all this can be experienced, but how could it be fathomed?
Zimmer also quotes the wondrous motif of someone who immerses himself in water and emerges into a new life, sinking from life dream to life dream in doing so:
The Brahmin Sutapas went into the sacred waters in Benares.
The Brahmin turned into a girl of a Chandala family that dwelled near the sacred bathing place at the mouth of the Koka.
The girl was beautiful, grew up, and was married to an unsightly man.
She bore him two sons, who were both blind, and later a daughter, who was deaf.
Her husband was poor.
The young, naive woman went to the river, and there she always sat and cried.
Once, however, when she had gone to the river to fetch water with her jug, she went down in the water to bathe—and out of the water reemerged that Brahmin Supata, the pious, agile ascetic.
The Chandala came to look for his wife and wept for her; the Brahmin comforted him and taught him also to dive into the metamorphosed waters; he had barely dived into
the water when he was freed of all stigma, thanks to the magical power of the sacred bathing place.
On a carriage of the gods he went heavenward before the eyes of the Brahmin, light as the moon.
The Brahmin, however, full of sorrow, also went into the waters of the Koka, and ascended into the highest heaven, only to come to earth again and live in a middle-class family.
Being ill and suffering, he recalled his former life, went again into the waters of the Koka to ascend into heaven, to be reborn again, and to tell this story as Prince Kamadamana.
The cleansing, healing power of the water is also known in Christianity, as the baptismal water that washes away original sin and admits the baptized child into the Church, the Corpus Christi.
The Jews also baptized, and admitted the proselytes into the community.
The Gospel of John quotes Christ’s words to Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again [of water and the spirit], he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Above all, however, we would like to refer to the Revelation of John: “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal . . . on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month” (22:1–2).
So far the water, into which our dreamer fell, showed only negative aspects for her.
The possibility is open, however, that what she fears will change and bring her salvation.
Between the Bauschänzli and the quay bridge she suddenly falls into the water in an upright position.
We see from this that she crossed the bridge on the right side.
Could this suggest that she has always been conscious of her difficulties and of her failure? Or that her failure lies in the field of outer reality?
It is striking that she falls into the water “in an upright position,” which she expressly mentions.
This can be interpreted in two ways:
it can mean that, despite everything, she “keeps her head held high,” or that the heavy weight that pulls her down is not in her head, but rather in the instinctual sphere.
I do not know if we may interpret that circumstance—her falling into the water in an upright position—in this way.
“Slowly I am sinking deeper and deeper.”
This might symbolize a slowly progressing process of being flooded by the unconscious. “I nearly drown” has a parallel in the story about the vision of the snake:
“I no longer dare move in the bed, because even when awake, everywhere in the room I see the glowing eyes of the snake that wants to bite me.”
Her light consciousness of the day is flooded and disturbed by the frightening snake image from the unconscious, so she is deprived of her freedom of movement.
Here, she nearly drowns—the capabilities of her senses are minimized by the unconscious content entering in her ears, nose, and mouth.
She is prevented from seeing, hearing, and speaking, and can hardly breathe at all.
So she is in an extremely reduced state; there is hardly any possibility left to contact the outer world, life.
Psychologically speaking, this could indicate a nearly autistic state, or a very great introversion, which severely restricts the possibilities of her moving or expressing herself.
Without the word nearly (she says: “I nearly drown”) we would have to fear the worst.
This little word, however, extenuates the seriousness of the prognosis a bit—it leaves a door open, and is a mere hint of the possibility of salvation.
We can’t exactly deduce the dreamer’s difficulties from this dream, but it can be assumed that she will have a hard time in her fight against powerful psychical forces, not only as a child, but also in her later life.
The dream indicates, by its frequent recurrence and by the intensity of the images and the danger, that this is not about just a temporary difficulty in finding the way from childhood to adulthood; these elements symbolize the fateful meaning of a great life task, and grave problems that touch on her innermost being.
Her future prospects may well be alarming, being threatened by the archetypal powers of the snake and the water; both of them, however, also hold great possibilities of healing and rebirth.
There is legitimate hope that she will reach the other side after all.
Professor Jung: The dream is of the girl whose snake vision we discussed
Again it is a dream that has a surprising effect in its simplicity.
But precisely these “simple” dreams are not simple at all.
Here we will practice the art of making simple dreams “complicated.”
To do so, we first of all have to take into account the language of the images used in the dream.
We do this with the help of mythological parallels and amplifications, which may sometimes seem somewhat superfluous to us.
We so often believe that children think in a very simple way, but that is precisely the error.
The language used by children is much, much older than they themselves.
The whole mental and spiritual culture is handed down in language, and in language lies the whole prehistory of man.
When we speak in this language, we also speak this prehistory.
So if we do not find out and are not clear about the meaning or the connotations of the images in this language, we won’t be able to approach the meaning of the dream.
It is not always easy to comprehend these linguistic images, the more so as the German language shows a certain primitiveness: its most important terms are ambiguous and fluoresce in all kinds of colors.
You can imagine what happens when these images are dreamed to boot, the various meanings coalesce, and a complex mix-up of images ensues.
So if, for instance, as in our dream, the quay bridge appears, at first it seems natural to us to assume that this is the quay bridge—and nothing else.
But we forget that this is a dream image that emerged from the richness of the unconscious.
This makes even our unpretentious quay bridge a bridge, a bridge of a highly general meaning.
In dreams, that is, in the language of the unconscious, even the best-known
and most mundane bridge, and be it a little footbridge, is after all “the bridge.”
The same is true of many concrete objects we are dreaming of: banal as they may seem, they refer to all kinds of philosophical and religious problems, or to dark places in human nature.
We can observe this phenomenon also in psychopathology; in cases of schizophrenia, psychical problems of a definitely complex nature are often expressed in quite banal images.
The patients can’t help but think that way; they have only their appalling platitudes at their disposal.
If we were able to understand the general meaning of these images, however, we would be able to grasp the meaning of the psychoses.
50 We could even heal a patient if we succeeded in making the general meaning of his images clear to him.
Then we’d have to tell him, for example: “Well, look, this isn’t about this quay bridge at
all, it’s about the bridge as such.”
And what does bridge mean?
This idea refers to a great multiplicity of possibilities of psychic experience.
It can mean: “To get to the other side,” “Crossing the great water,” or “Everything is transition.”
It can contain the simplest meaning as well as the deepest wisdom.
If a general symbol like the bridge appears, we must not let ourselves be misled by any commonplace views.
But then, are we actually familiar with anything else but commonplace views today? Who is crossing the quay bridge, thinking: “Everything is transition”?
In the Middle Ages this was different.
At that time, people still had a relation to the symbol.
So a chapel was built on the bridge, and a sanctuary lamp was put in it.
There was a Saint Nepomuk and other saintly figures who guarded the bridge.
They reminded the people of the fact that each bridge is “the bridge,” that everything is transition.
At that time these things were experienced as real.
They gave the medieval mind a strange aura, which we can no longer completely understand.
Anything banal was, at the same time, also something general, and a part of the whole.
For them, a stone is not just a stone, but it can also be the soul of an ancestor,
ancestors can live in it; and an animal is not necessarily simply an animal, but it is also an ancestor, a totem father.
The whole landscape is like the open book of your unconscious.
Everything is ensouled by the unconscious of the people.
When you walk through the landscape with a Negro, you don’t just take a walk in the “topography,”
where everything is abstract and scientific, but you will experience mythology.
When you climb a mountain or go into the bamboo woods with him, this is no ordinary venture, because you will come into the realm of the secluded spirits.
In the soundless, green silence of the wood we feel as if we were immersed in the water of the sea.
Then there is no more botany; the whisper of the bamboo leaves, the gentle murmur of the wind—these are the voices of the spirits, and they give people the shivers.
This is an awe-inspiring experience.
We all know this magic from childhood, when the world still had a certain golden glow and everything was still very strange.
For the child, the world is mythology, as it is for primitive man, and this is also the
atmosphere out of which dreams have to be understood.
For this reason, I insist that in each dream analysis the whole spectrum of the
linguistic symbol be staked out.
This method is not without danger, because at first it leads you away from the personal psychology of the dream, and we are in danger of going astray.
The wealth of the material can seduce us to such an extent that we no longer know where we are.
We have to be very sure of our ground, otherwise we will become enmeshed in a formidable entanglement of possibilities.
The dream analysis has eventually to come back, after all, to the child Patron saint of Bohemia, a martyr (d. 1393). He is also called John Nepomucen.
He was vicar general of Bohemia under King Wenceslaus IV (later Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslaus).
When the king wished uncanonically to convert an abbey into a cathedral, St. John opposed him, in spite of torture.
The king had him drowned in the Moldava (trans.) who dreamed these dreams in order to assess the meaning of the individual contents.
The particular motivation of the dream cannot be derived from the general spectrum of meanings of the images, but can only be deduced from the personal amplification, from the context, and from the individual situation of the child.
Only if we know the whole psychological situation of the child will we be able to deal with the decision about practical questions.
As I mentioned already, it is only in the most exceptional cases that we are in a situation to ask the child him or herself about the context, considering that we are dealing with a
remembered dream or that the child is still too little to answer.
From a certain age onward, however, children are indeed able to answer.
I once had a consultation with an eight-year-old girl.
She came dolled up like a little monkey with a little purse, and told her dreams with all the tricks of the trade.
With this little girl it was quite possible to have a conversation.
So let us suppose you are told the present dream by the child herself.
What would you say to her?
Of course, you must not disclose your mythological knowledge to her, for these are just your theoretical tools, and the practical side is quite a different thing.
So imagine her to be an intelligent girl. What would you ask the child?
Participant: If she were afraid of the water?
Professor Jung: It would be more to the point if you asked her whether she were afraid of bridges.
Participant: If she had ever nearly drowned, or if she had ever had a frightening experience on the quay bridge?
Professor Jung: Yes indeed, we do have to ask such practical questions.
Often it is only because of dreams that our attention is called to such experiences.
If, for instance, an anxiety dream—and this is a typical anxiety dream—always happens at the same location, we have to ask ourselves why this place is so emphasized, if there is perhaps something special about it.
Let us assume that this is not the case here.
Then our next consideration has to be that the child’s route leads from Bellevue to Bauschänzli.
What questions could be tied to this fact?
Participant: I’d ask where she lives.
Professor Jung: Yes, it would be important to know if she is leaving home or going home.
Participant: Or could one also ask: “Where do you actually want to go?”
Professor Jung: Yes, this could make her recall special experiences.
But we don’t know anything about all that.
So we can’t ascertain the specific meaning that the dream had for the child at the time.
Something else can probably be stated about the dream, however. With what justification?
Participant: The dream recurred repeatedly, although the specific situation was different each time.
Professor Jung: Yes, we have to conclude that there is an inner constellation
that did not change over the years.
When a dream recurs so frequently, I usually refrain from searching for the specific motives.
Moreover, I quite generally take the view that a neurosis is not of traumatic origin, that is, that it can’t be traced back to a singular frightening experience; I try to understand it in the context of its present meaning.
For what lives and takes effect today is also recreated today, again and again.
I also relate frequently recurring dreams to what is currently going on, therefore, and to what is recreated over
and over again, and not to something that lies many years back.
So this dream, too, refers to an inner constellation, which has not changed over the years.
We already know from the previous dream that there exists a certain splitting in the dreamer, that is, that consciousness and the unconscious are split off from each other. We further saw that the unconscious and consciousness even attract each other, as expressed in the threat that the snake poses to the dreamer.
This dream goes a step further than the mere threat; the danger becomes manifest: the dreamer falls into the water, in which she is, so to speak, completely swallowed by the monster of the unconscious.
We have to take into account a peculiar detail, the fact that she falls down in an upright
This is very unusual, because usually one falls sideways one way or the other.
When someone, as in this case, falls down with the hands on the body and with the feet first, this expresses a certain stiffness, as if one were enclosed by something.
The feeling of suffocation the dreamer experiences when sinking also points to this tight enclosure.
It is as if she were pulled into the mouth of a monster and swallowed.
Myths express the sucking and suffocating aspect of water by populating it with monsters, dragons, or other water creatures.
Many primitive heroic myths also tell the story that the hero is devoured by the dragon, complete with his ship.
In the monster’s belly he is pressed to such an extent that, so as not to be crushed, he pushes the remains of the ship against the walls of the stomach.
The experience of being pressed is a very important motif.
In our dream it also finds expression in the feeling of suffocating.
To what does this refer?
From where do we have such a direct experience?
Participant: From birth.
Professor Jung: Although the newborn is not consciously aware of it, the nervous system registers these events.
Dreams that refer back to birth, and seem to be based on a perfect knowledge of anatomy, are not infrequent.
This led Rank to the assumption, for instance, that all neuroses can be traced back to the trauma of birth.
Birth is indeed a trauma, an impressive moment, and it is also possible that such an impression continues to have an effect throughout life, especially if there were complications at birth.
But we must not generalize this fact.
Participant: Is this dream not about a “reversed” birth?
Professor Jung: That’s right, it is like a retrogressive birth, a going back into the womb, into the prenatal state.
This immersion into the unconscious actually represents a figurative death, a frequent motif of the transformation process, standing in close connection to the symbolism of rebirth.
This is not at all evident from the dream at first sight, but we may add it from our knowledge.
The dream itself describes only the danger; it shows that in each transformation, and whenever a transition occurs, the ground may cave in, so that we fall down into an unconscious state.
When are there such transitions in practical life?
Participant: At the beginning of school, at the development from childhood to adulthood, at the beginning of professional life.
Professor Jung: These are transitions, transformations in life, in which we change from one state into another, from a previous situation into a new one.
This we can only achieve if we are at one with ourselves.
A split personality will have difficulties in all these transitions, comparable to a sinking in water. What does this mean in concrete terms?
Participant: That we are in over our head.
Professor Jung: Quite right.
We also say: “I can’t keep my head above water,” or “In such a situation you’ll go under.”
The difficulties may vary greatly, it could be overwhelming affects, or experiences we can’t cope with, but these are always very deep experiences into which we sink, so to speak. It is a fact, by the way, that persons with splits are particularly destined to have such very deep-going experiences.
Participant: So that the split may be overcome.
Professor Jung: Yes, fate imposes hard experiences on them, to hit them in their innermost being, where they are still at one with themselves, that is, in the instinct.
With their split, such persons will always blunder into split situations.
They will have to endure things that stand in sharpest contrast to each other.
So, for example, they will have friends of completely different characters.
In all these cases, those persons never know who they actually are.
They don’t know: Am I white or am I black?
I’m actually both, because I’m the friend of A and of B.
Something is bound to happen here.
This situation downright invites fate to intervene with a blow, so that deep regions are touched and may grow again as a unity.
Split persons always generate split situations, conflict situations.
To such persons in particular, to those who do not know who they are, it happens that they are particularly confronted with decisions, whereas other people can go on living in their unambiguous situations.
The treatment of such split persons is not easy.
We often simply do not manage to reunite the halves, which have come apart, into a whole.
We can only say:
Hopefully something really overwhelming will happen to them, so that they realize who they are.
So this dream points to the fateful necessity of having ultimate experiences, so that the point is touched where the person is still one.
Such a person has to be completely torn apart at first to recompose himself anew.
This last unity has to be found, and this will happen only if the person is wounded in his innermost being, most often by someone chosen by fate to be the hammer, because as a rule he can’t do it on his own.
- Dream of a Five- to Six-Year-Old Boy of a Pyramid and a Glass House Presented by Aniela Jaffé
Text: I see a pyramid in front of me.
On its top there is a house made of glass. There is somebody in it.
As I come nearer, I realize that it’s me.
Mrs. Jaffé: In this dream we have to distinguish between a vision, as also stressed by the introductory words (“I see . . . in front of me”), and an action, which confines itself to seeing—approaching—realizing.
The locale of the events is not specified.
Certainly a strange or remote place is implied, because pyramids are quite unfamiliar in the boy’s environment, and still completely unknown to him at this age.
The dreamer and his ego.
Exposition: “I see a pyramid in front of me. On its top there is a house made of glass. There is somebody in it.”
Peripateia: “I come nearer.”
Lysis: “I realize that it’s me.”
If we let ourselves be affected by the dream image, we will get the feeling that nature somehow speaks with friendly irony here.
Seen from an inner perspective, that is, from how the little dreamer experiences
it, something extremely important happens to him: he encounters himself; he sees himself far away, at the top of an immense edifice, and, moreover, in a glass house, a veritable castle in the air—and yet at the same time he is standing below.
From an outer perspective, that is, from a reflective or critical observer’s view, the
image of the little “Johnny Look-in-the-Air” gives us the impression of a little helpless child, who will perhaps soon trip over some minor obstacle, with his eyes astray up on high.
And when this same little child is simultaneously enthroned on top of the pyramid, even
as if imprisoned in a very transparent, though not fully comprehensible glass house, we can leave aside the seriousness of the events for the moment, and take pleasure in the serenity of the image, the meeting of the great and the little, of the above and the below.
Obviously, this vision of himself is meant to convey to the dreamer in insight into his own nature.
This image seems to tell him: This is you. Leaving aside all amplifications, the image and the language say something like this: You are sitting up there, high in the sky, and it’s
terribly difficult, perhaps even impossible, to come up and reach you.
It is also doubtful if you yourself can come down; you may be doomed to stay up there forever in your proud solitude, and to spend your life in this all-too-bright little attic room.
In addition, you are imprisoned in a glass cage, which protects you from all direct contact; but woe betide you if you move too suddenly in it, or, as boys do, throw
stones—everything will go to pieces.
When the sun shines it will probably get unbearably hot in your hothouse, and you will start to sweat and suffer.
Certainly you can look far into the distance from up there, and no light will be able to conjure up your shadow on the walls of your castle; and should it appear far down below on the ground, you will probably not be able to make it out.
It is beautiful and important to live on top of this mysterious giant edifice, and yet it is remote, lonely, and enigmatic.
And, on top of all that, you must not forget that you are actually standing down there, helpless and little.
But now the uncanny question arises: where is reality to be found here?—So that’s what the image and the words seem to suggest.
Now I would like to come to the amplifications.
We are dealing with the symbols of the pyramid, the glass house, and the encounter with oneself.
Let us deal with the pyramid first.
In the dream text it only says: “I see a pyramid in front of me”—no further details about
its form or dimension are revealed.
But we will hardly prejudice the meaning of the dream if we assume that this is a building of immense proportions—there is room for a whole house on its top, and in most cases the term pyramid generally indicates, in common usage, a high building that rises above a quadratic base.
In addition, most often there is still another qualification: a pyramid as it is found in Egypt is a tomb of a Pharaoh.
Pyramids as sacred buildings, however, have been erected not only in Egypt, but also in Mexico, China, and Java, in completely different cultural environments.
They are an expression of an archetypal image.
Of the many observations that have been made on the construction of those pyramids, so mysterious to this day, I would like to single out only those that seem to be important for the understanding of the dream, acting on the assumption that this is about the Egyptian pyramid.
It has been observed that the pyramids, in whose interior the mummy of a Pharaoh was conserved in a burial chamber, had a glossy, polished, and reflecting surface.
The rising triangular areas acted like gigantic mirrors that during the day reflected the sunlight onto the land like a gigantic cone of light, and at night showed the stellar constellations.
The hieroglyph for certain pyramids, therefore, means source of light, and various inscriptions indicate its light symbolism.
Something very strange or even contradictory seems to lie in the fact that these of all buildings symbolize light and radiance, because with all the impact of their completely
unstructured, immense surfaces they seem to represent the impenetrability of stone and the epitome of structured matter.
This double aspect is also expressed in the composition of the form: with their
greatest width, the surface areas solidly rest on the ground, and then narrow more and more toward the top; they seem almost to dematerialize.
Finally, coming from four sides, the surfaces meet in one single point of no square dimension at all.
This point has always been considered the crowning feature of the whole edifice, however, its most sacred and mystic place.
Often the tops of Egyptian pyramids were gilded or made of a specially gleaming stone. It was assumed that after the Pharaoh’s death his soul, that is, his image, the Ka soul,
would travel through the underworld and then be transformed into the god Osiris, or rise to Atum, the highest god of light, exactly at this top of his grave.
In the pyramid of Borobudur in Java, the picture of Buddha is clearly visible on the lower terraces, surrounded by scenes from his life.
On the middle terraces it stands alone, without any narrative framework.
Higher up still, its portrayal is hardly visible any longer, and finally completely eludes the human eye on the uppermost terrace.
The pyramids are huge central edifices rising above a quadratic base, with a strong emphasis on the top as the actual center of the towering rock mass.
Such a central edifice is a body mandala, that is, a sacred area that offers not only protection, but also a place in whose center the god is born or has his home.
These royal tombs, deliberately built for eternity in the third millennium B.C.
(the Cheops pyramid was built around 2800 B.C.), make an immense, if remote, impression even today; they are perfect and inaccessible at the same time, and, like something final or absolute, extend from the dim and distant past into our age.
In such a perfect form, which cannot be surpassed in its simplicity, there is no twilight zone in which fairy tales or legends could emerge.
As if in awe, neither language nor popular belief have taken possession of these monuments, and dealt with or shaped their meaning.
With great aplomb, however, Goethe wrote to Lavater in 1780, at the age of thirty one: “the desire to acuminate the pyramid of my existence, whose base was given to me as a foundation, as high up into the air as possible, prevails over everything else, and makes immediate forgetting nearly impossible.
I must not tarry, for I am already far advanced in years, and perhaps fate breaks me in two in the middle, and the Babylonian Tower will remain blunt and unfinished.
At least it should be said: He was of audacious design; and if I live the forces shall reach, God willing, up to the top.”
To conclude, the symbol of the pyramid provides the following indications for our dream: it is an archetypal image, a body mandala, in whose depths the body of the king rests as a mummy, and at whose summit the glorification of the soul takes place.
The composition of the form displays how matter becomes dematerialized, and the
arrangement of the reflecting surfaces shows how mass reflects the Eternal Light.
Before I consider the psychological conclusions for the dream or the dreamer’s personality, I would like to say a few things about the house of glass on top, because this house will not alter the meaning, but only reinforce what has been found out so far.
Referring to the eternal Jerusalem, lying quadratically on top of the mountain, it says in the Revelation of John: “and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were, transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21).
As Professor Jung told us last year, this corresponds to the alchemical idea of the vitrum aureum, the golden glass, by which the lapis, the eternal stone, was meant.
We remember that the tops of the pyramids were gilded in antiquity, or made of a gleaming stone, and we are surprised that a child’s unconscious puts the glass house of the eternal city at the one and only correct place.
Just as the enormous mass of the pyramid leads up to the highest point, whose nature was experienced as spiritual, there occurs the slow transformation—as we learned last year—of the heavy, dark earth into the diamond, which in its transparency and invariability stands for the true nature of man, his eternal home and his boundary, his self.
Seen as a whole, the pyramid and the glass house with someone in it on top become a symbol for man in his uniqueness.
I envisage it as follows: deep down, far below the burial tomb of the king, there is a cistern, remotely connected to the river that bestows growth and life upon the land, following the changing rhythm of the river’s rising and sinking—an image of man’s deepest roots in the unconscious, which also connects him with transhuman life, far beyond his personal boundaries.
Above this there rests the body of the king, man’s image of his ancestors, of his totem that is indestructible and lives within him like the mummy.
The externally visible edifice rises in four planes (corresponding to the four functions) that eventually come together at one point at the top—an image of the bodily here and now, of daily material existence which, however, reflects the sun, the light, and the stars as a medium, thus bearing witness to them.
The point at the top has no dimension, and yet it is of the hardest, indestructible quality, a crystal, a glasshouse, both an expression for consciousness of individuated man in its most developed form.
By its astronomical orientation the edifice of the pyramid is set in time, yet its five-thousand-year old existence seems to transcend time and announce eternity.
This image also roughly corresponds to the developmental line that Professor Jung mentioned in his lecture: the pyramid rises as a mountain, or as the world mountain Meru, from the quadratic base that corresponds to the division into four quarters.
On its top there is again a rectangular base, the quaternitas, the glass house, the monastery, in which there lives the child of the union, the living being, the “someone” of the dream.
But now back to the dream text, in which it says: “as I come nearer, I realize that it’s me.”
What occurs here is the following: what up to that moment had been intuition, a vision of someone, of homo, now suddenly concerns the dreamer directly.
It is no longer a general problem, but his own.
Simultaneously, the image changes in that it no longer represents something absolute, or some final state, but is subject to the dynamics of life and of change.
To understand this image better, we have to revert once again to the meaning of the glass house. It is not only the eternal house in celestial Jerusalem or the lapis, but also means—as in the developmental line I just mentioned—the vessel, the vas, the retort, in which the transformation of man happens.
In fairy tales this vessel also appears as a glass casket, in which the soul slumbers, waiting for salvation (Snow White in the casket of glass).
In the Visio Arislei, an alchemical text, a triple glass house is the place where the heroes are condemned to death in great heat, only to find new life again.
This vessel corresponds to the uterus, the place of realization, in which the homunculus, the light man, is created, and which is often depicted at the center of a mandala.
In the language of symbols, triangles standing on a base—in our case, the surfaces of the pyramid that rise from a broad base up to the glass—are licking flames; and thus the vision says that flames erupt from the earthen depths of man, giving birth to the spiritual body, to what is eternal within him.
For the child, this image seems to be like something that points to his own future.
A comparison with the suffering of the heroes in the glass house of the Visio Arislei shows how much pain and sacrifice of light day consciousness this process will cost.
Another parallel may confirm this.
The Aztecs had the following custom: a man had to slowly climb the steps of a temple pyramid, symbolizing the slow rise of the sun.
Once he reached the top, however, he was sacrificed: the sun begins to set.
With the insight in the dream: “I realize that it’s me,” the problem of the dreamer and his double also arises, and with it, finally, the whole spectrum of questions concerning the current situation of the child and the dreamer’s peculiarities and difficulties.
As Professor Jung explained to us last winter, in the first years of life the child still lives in a very close relation to the prenatal stage, the Bardo life.
The child is, so to speak, not yet fully born into reality, but still much closer to the primordial ideas than the adult, the realistic person.
Invasions of the unconscious may happen, and images or symbols may appear, which far exceed the comprehension of infantile consciousness—like the image of the vision of the pyramid in our example.
As we heard last winter, because of the great susceptibility of children, such invasions of the unconscious always represent a grave danger of splitting and of disintegration.
The child is so fascinated by the archetypal image that hardly any other reality can exist beside it.
If looking into a mirror appears in a dream after such archetypal images, in most cases this will signify a way of rescue, leading into reality.
The mirror is the rational intellect, which clarifies and structures the seemingly overwhelming situation; when you look into it, you will have to believe in your own existence and will no longer be able to lose yourself.
It seems strange that in this dream the healing look at oneself looks like an enormous split, so that doom and salvation coincide, so to speak.
This may be due to the following: although the child below sees his ego far removed from himself and at a very great height, this ego is in a very special place, namely, at the center of a mandala, which not only offers protection, but—similar to the North Pole in a dream discussed in the last seminar—also has centralizing power and thus averts the danger of splitting, although it may not eliminate it altogether.
But what does this image mean, the image of the child appearing at the top of the pyramid while simultaneously standing on the ground?
We are reminded here of the Germanic figures of the Fylgjas, the “following spirits” that accompanied a person either as his double, or sometimes in the form of an animal, and which protected him or warned him of danger; we are reminded of accounts of witches who slept in their beds at night, yet were seen to ride to the Brocken; of appearances of persons who in reality were somewhere else entirely; and of reports of persons living or dead.
The idea of a double ego is not alien to children; when they illustrate their dreams, for example, they often draw themselves not only in the dream scene, but also a second time on the side as they sleep in the bed.
The Egyptians, according to whose belief the soul consisted of about fourteen parts or forces, know a part of the soul they called the Ka soul.
It was immortal and its body, conceived as half physical and half spiritual, was absolutely identical with the person, even after his death. It was his double, his Doppelgänger.
The hieroglyph for Ka shows the hands raised in prayer, which perhaps already indicate the desire for height and light with their movement.
Paracelsus, too, hypothesized another body besides the physical one, called the sidereal body by him, a half-material body that represented the reversed image of its counterpart.
In De lunaticis, he writes: “so there are two bodies in man, one composed of the elements, the other of the stars; therefore, these two have to be well distinguished from each other.
In death the elementary body is buried together with its spirit, the ethereal ones are consumed in the firmament, and the spirit of the God-image goes to Him of which it is the image.”
Paracelsus assumes that even after death a person’s sidereal body will roam, and simulate the appearance of the dead person.
It is like the inner mirror image of man, a body whose flesh is, in his words, subtle flesh, and which does not depend on doors or holes, but walks through walls without breaking anything. Long after the dissolution of the elementary body in the earth, this sideric body will be slowly consumed by the stars.
The alchemists also knew about this second body, the incorruptible body, which is taken out of the physical body in the opus and transformed to perfection.
Here I would like to quote a passage from Professor Jung’s “Representations of Redemption in Alchemy.”
There it says: “Ruland says, ‘Imagination is the star in man, the celestial or supercelestial body.’
This astounding definition throws a quite special light on the fantasy processes connected with the opus.
We have to conceive of these processes not as the immaterial phantoms we readily take fantasy-pictures to be, but as something corporeal, a ‘subtle body,’ semi-spiritual in nature.”
And later it says about this imagination, according to an alchemical text: “since divine wisdom is only partly enclosed in the body of the world, the greater part of it is
outside, and it imagines far higher things than the body of the world could conceive (concipere). And these things are outside nature: God’s own secrets. The soul is an example of this: it too imagines many things [ . . . ] outside the body, just as God does.”
And, finally: imagination is, therefore, not “a question of actualizing those contents of the unconscious that are outside nature, that is, not a datum of our empirical world, and therefore a priori of archetypal character.
The place or the medium of realization is neither mind nor matter, but that intermediate realm of subtle reality that can be adequately expressed [only] by the symbol.”
When we apply this to our dream we could say that the Ka soul, the sidereal or subtle body of the child, sits on top of the pyramid: in general terms, the desire for perfection and boundlessness, for salvation and immortality, embodied in the dreamer.
But let us not forget that at the same the child is still standing on the ground, in all the reality of his little helpless body, looking up at himself.
The result is an image of the insoluble tension between limitedness and eternity, reality and dream, actuality and ideal, body and soul, mortality and immortality.
From time immemorial the motif of man’s encounter with himself has existed, of the fateful and ominous appearance of the Doppelgänger.
While the dual motif, for example, of the Dioscuri or the two friends in the Upanishads, also expresses this dichotomy, these myths also give an indication of how the conflict
can be sustained, even show that the two poles actually belong together, and that the two can form a unity only with each other, despite their dissimilarity.
Both unite their forces in a joint act, in which each of them does what he can do best, and the two complement each other.
Together the Dioscuri fight for the cattle herds, and despite all vicissitudes evoked by their past, Zeus grants them the final victory.
In the Upanishads, for example, the two connected friends embrace one and the same tree; one eats the berries, while the other just looks down, to experience the tree in that way.
It is different if the problem is expressed by the double; this always indicates that the problem is experienced in all its tragedy, nearly without a possible solution: the person who encounters his own ego no longer actually knows where his own reality is, but tries to identify first with the one ego, then with the other, only soon to experience the painful disappointment that he is at home neither here nor there, neither above nor below, neither within nor without.
It is probably no coincidence that in Romanticism a great number of stories about doubles came into being. Tieck, Jean Paul, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Chamisso, and Heine write about this topic as an expression of the suffering from outer reality, which stands in a seemingly irreconcilable contrast with the experienced inner world.
Unfortunately, it would lead too far to list all the Doppelgänger motifs here, and to give an account of the partly comical, partly tragic experiences and entanglements of the heroes and their mirror-egos, shadow-egos, or wax figure-egos.
I would just like to mention that there was a renaissance of the literature on the Doppelgänger or double ego around the turn of the century; Dostoevsky, Oscar Wilde, Stefan George, later Franz Werfel and, in modified form, also Herman Hesse and Hofmannsthal wrote about this topic.
While the romanticists seem to have identified rather with inner reality, the turn of the century was a time when the development of consciousness “peaked” (to stay in the image of the vision), when one was about to tackle the solution to the riddles of the world with the intellect, and the intellect only, and when man, blinded by the results, identified only too readily with this efficient consciousness. In such one-sidedness, however, the double appears and will again have to lead man to the other side, which lies in the shade, in the night, in the unconscious.
To conclude, I would like to try to draw inferences from the dream image regarding the personality of the dreamer and his problem situation.
As the dream recurred repeatedly, we are justified in assuming that something of special importance to the dreamer’s life is expressed in it, something that the unconscious repeatedly shows him by this.
This importance is further underlined by the location where the child has the vision in the dream; although it is not specified, it is surely a remote and alien place, where important and meaningful things happen.
I have tried at first to draw conclusions from the image of the vision alone, without any amplifications, regarding the child’s personality and his difficulties.
This could be summarized as follows: this is a child who is up very “high,” in the glass house, meaning he is not yet fully in reality, but still very close to Bardo life.
He is, so to speak, still in a supernatural uterus, with the possible effect that he lives in his fantasies and intuitions.
To his environment the child will perhaps not let show too much—in the dream he is also standing on the ground.
Basically, however, his adaptation to reality is only superficial, a pseudo-adaptation, because his soul is somewhere else entirely.
But this inhibits the whole development of the personality, so that the child seems infantile.
Being enclosed in the glass house intensifies the importance of the isolation.
He will have difficulty getting in touch with other children, and he will radiate a chilly atmosphere, which in turn will make it difficult for others to reach out to him.
Naturally the child will suffer for it, but in a way he will also feel important.
He may be one of the many children who believe that they secretly descend from a royal couple, which gives them an inner feeling of superiority.
The glass house could also indicate that the enclosure was reinforced by the parents’ spoiling the child, by an all-too-pointed education, which spoils the child—the glass house is also the hothouse—and produces a delicate, shrinking violet, instead of letting the child see the world of street life early enough.
Soon enough the fear of his own evil will rise in the dreamer; for in his glass house he can be seen from all sides, he is under constant observation, and he does not have that wonderful place where children keep their secrets.
This is his actual poverty.
From the frequent recurrence of the dream we may probably conclude that the tension between the two egos, between inner and outer reality, expressed therein, will still remain the problem of the grown man in much later years.
When, in the development of this child, the great amnesia will have obscured the Bardo world with its primeval images, such a dream will shine like a spark from the lost
paradise, and remind him that he, who lives down on earth, also has an immortal, versatile soul of divine nature.
From the image, in which he sees this soul out there, far away, split off from him, and
nearly unreachable, we might conclude that later on in life he will identify too one-sidedly with the conscious ego.
Then, in the revealing look up to the high ego on the pyramid, however, he will be fascinated like a Narcissus by his own mirror image and by inner reality, blinded by the boundless possibilities of the soul.
In fantasies and daydreams he will, for instance, climb heights that are denied to him by reality.
Such a superior, light, and yet outwardly experienced image of the inner ego, however, will act as a frightening and ever-present demand for perfection, that is, to adjust to his height as well as possible.
Each deviation from that will be experienced as a painful disappointment, through which the remoteness and dreamlike unreality of the ideal will be felt again and again.
The results will be a feeling of his own inferiority and fear of life.
This image of the oppositeness of inner and outer reality, of ego and double-ego, however, also expresses the dreamer’s potentiality to reach greater consciousness despite all the dangers.
Novalis says that no one knows himself if he knows only himself, and if he is not also somebody else.
As Professor Jung said at the last meeting, each creation is preceded by being split in two.
Here the dream has portrayed the soul in its two great opposites and, in addition, has indicated the way to change.
Thus we may hope that this tension between the two souls will lead the dreamer—or has led him already—to the place where he will be able to tolerate the dichotomy, that is, to himself.
Professor Jung: The dream was told by a man whom I came to know when he was between forty-five and fifty years old.
He was a man who had been on the “quest” all his life, and in the course of this search finally had come to me.
Already when he was a child he was unable to take the world as completely real, but was eccentric and dreamy.
Later he had difficulty in choosing a profession; he finally chose jurisprudence, but only half-heartedly, and only because he had to do something, after all.
He then was a judge in the colonies for a couple of years, and worked in this capacity after a fashion and with more or less success.
He greatly suffered in this life, because basically he was not interested in his job.
He did not want to accept that being a jurist or a judge, with more or less chance of promotion, would be the great thing about life.
So he never put his heart and soul into it.
It was as if he had more than one string to his bow.
After much hesitation, he married; the marriage was not a good one, however, but full of difficulties.
But then he only put half his heart in it, and who knows where he put the other half.
Generally, deep down he was unconscious of this whole other side.
Only sporadically he had some little philosophical adventures, in which he looked for what his profession did not offer him.
On one of these occasions he came across one of my books, which made a great impact.
So then he came to me.
The dream clearly shows the other side of his nature.
He himself, however, never made the connection to his state.
From this you can see the extent of his split.
With one foot he seemingly stood in eternity, with the other in reality.
As the dream recurred many times, we may assume that it was very important to him and quite characteristic for the course his life took.
It is actually a vision that contains, similar to the dreams already discussed, something completely unchildlike.
The dream is very abstract and of a very general and extremely typical character.
What do you think this implies for the dreamer?
Participant: That he has a normal constitution.
Professor Jung: Yes, that is correct.
Or, in case there should be a neurosis, it would certainly not be serious, because the vision is not chaotic at all.
On the contrary, the archetype is expressed with remarkable precision.
But what is the difference from the previous dream of the bridge, which also was of a general nature?
Participant: Here the connection to everyday life is missing completely.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is an image you won’t encounter in reality; it is completely unreal, as opposed to the image of the quay bridge, which in its entirety is taken from the experiential sphere.
The vision of the glass house is taken from a completely different experiential world, and even appears to be fabricated.
If I hadn’t known the man personally, I’d be in doubt whether the image hadn’t been invented.
Participant: Does the dream perhaps stem from such a deep psychical layer that it is hardly possible to link its images with the outer world?
Professor Jung: Yes, the dream is a pure product of the prenatal psyche, and belongs, so to speak, to a virginal layer that hasn’t had any contact yet with the outer world. In such cases the images persist in their original form.
This glass house does not correspond to any experience; otherwise, the dreamer might perhaps have rather talked of a “lantern,” and then tried to make a connection between this strange object and some known form.
Here, however, it remains completely unreal.
Even if he had once seen a pyramid, there certainly was no glass house on top.
During this winter term we will deal with some more of those abstract dreams.
The dream in which four gods rise from the four corners also comes from layers that had not been in touch with the world before. In all these cases with such remote images, we have to consult an extremely multilayered symbolism to reach an understanding.
Let us only add some few remarks to the exhaustive paper of Mrs. Jaffé.
It was mentioned that the glass house standing on top of the pyramid represents its center.
We also find this idea of the vessel as the center of the pyramid elsewhere, for example, in the Maya culture.
During the excavations of the great pyramid, a lime vessel was found beneath the altar inside, there where the ancient temple had stood.
It contained a wonderful work of art in the form of a mandala, made of about three thousand small turquoise stones.
It portrays four snakes aligned in such a way that they point to the four world regions.
The vessel also plays a crucial role in alchemy, where it appears in the most varied forms.
As you have heard, it can also be a glass house, the domus vitrea.
Often an old man sits in it, the senex, sweating, for the glass house is a sweat house.
In the Visio Arislei,64 the king’s daughter and son are imprisoned in the triple glass house under the sea.
It is unbearably hot there.
In this heat the transformation of the dead prince takes place.
To perform such transubstantiations, the alchemists often used round glass bowls, called uteri, whose roundness indicated perfection.
A beautiful parallel can be found in the Mountain Chant of the Navajo Indians.
It is a healing ceremony to which they subject themselves when they have had a bad dream, for instance, or do not feel well for some other reason. In this ceremony, a circle of about 650 to 1,000 feet in diameter is staked out.
In the center of this circle, which represents a mandala, there is the medicine lodge with the sweat lodge at its side.
The latter is a little round hut built of branches and earth.
Often the rainbow goddess is drawn with colored sand on its top, leaning over the hut as over her own uterus.
The hut is heated up and the man to be healed crawls into it and starts to sweat.
Do you know of a parallel in the heroic myths?
Participant: The night sea journey in the womb of the whale.
Professor Jung: Yes, there the hero sweats so much that he loses all his hair and reemerges bald-headed, like a newborn child.
As a matter of fact, he is reborn indeed.
In India the sweating corresponds to the tapas.
This is a kind of self-brooding.
By the concentration of the soul powers on this one point, on the central point of the self, it is hatched like an egg.
One is enclosed in it oneself, as in the retort or in the uterus.
Where do we find similar ideas on transubstantiation?
Participant: In the Christian church, in the ritual of consecrating the baptismal water.
Professor Jung: Yes, this ritual of the benedictio fontis was performed on Holy Saturday.
It goes back to the seventh or eighth century and is full of mysterious things.
The regulations for this ritual are laid down in the Missale Romanum.
After certain preparations of the water, for example, separating the water in the form of a cross, exorcizing, and benediction, there follows the fertilization with the help of the Paschal Candle.
It is thrice dipped into the baptismal font, which contains the sacral water, the third time down to the fundus, the bottom of the font.
This imparts the facultas regerandi to the baptismal water, the power to give new birth to man.
Man is reborn into a new childhood through being touched by this magic water and is completely purified.
This fertilization of the uterus ecclesia is a veritable coniunctio, because the candle represents Christ Himself, and the baptismal water the mater gratia, the Mother of Grace.
In this union the transformation of the water to the aqua permanens occurs, the
eternal divine water, as it is called in alchemy.
So here, too, we find that wondrous vessel in which a transformation
Do you know of another parallel in the older literature?
Participant: The kratér of Zosimos.
Professor Jung: Exactly, we find this vessel of transformation in the writings of Zosimos, an alchemist of the third century a.d. It probably
goes back to the fourth tract of the Corpus Hermeticum, in which it is said that God had sent a vessel from heaven to earth, in which the humans could submerge in order to reemerge renewed in the state of ennoia.
A medieval variation of this kratér is the Grail.
It is a miraculous bowl from which Christ is said to have taken the Last Supper.
Another legend says that Joseph of Arimathea had collected Christ’s blood in it.
It is also a blood vessel, filled with the blood of Christ, with the spirit of God.
The power of giving man new life by filling him with its spirit is inherent in both the kratér and the Grail. Wolfram von Eschenbach brings another version of the story of the
Do you know about it?
Participant: He talks about the Grail as a stone.
Professor Jung: Yes, for him it is a stone. Wolfram von Eschenbach quotes a very strange expression in connection with the Grail, namely, lapsit exillis.
Now this is bungled Latin; he himself did not understand Latin. Philologists have tried their hands at its interpretation in all kinds of ways. One of them interpreted it as “ex illis,” “from those” (i.e., “from those eternal stars”); another as “ex coelis,” “from the heavens.”
In my view, however, this “lapsit exillis” could refer to the lapis.
There is evidence for this.
Arnoldus de Villanova, a doctor living around the year 1250, left some alchemical texts, in which the stone is called “lapis exilis” in a hexameter, meaning that the stone is one that can be had vili pretio, cheaply.
It is found everywhere, in the streets, in dung, in toilets.
An alchemist held that people would sell it at a quite different price if they only knew its value.
This stone is, of course, the cornerstone that was discarded by the builders, and that is an allegoria Christi.
The Christian Church also knew about the secret similarity between the stone and Christ.
In the ritual of striking fire, the new fire, which is an image of Christ, is struck out of the
cornerstone, the lapis angularis.
In 1330, Petrus Bonus for the first time expressed the idea that the stone was an allegory of Christ.
So this enigmatic expression, “lapsit exillis,” can be interpreted as “lapis exilis,” that insignificant, unimportant stone, to which nobody pays attention, although it is the greatest treasure.
Do you know about a passage in the Old Testament where the stone plays a role?
Participant: The rolling stone in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel.
Professor Jung: Yes, that dream speaks about a great, tall, and bright image of a terrible form.
It was made of four different materials—gold, silver, brass, and iron—and its feet were of clay.
While the king looked at the image, a stone rolled down the mountain and smote the image upon its feet, so that this great being collapsed.
The strange thing about it is that the stone broke away from the mountain “without hands,” without being touched by anybody.
In the Book of Daniel this stone became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
Daniel’s prophecy that this stone will smite and destroy all kingdoms, but shall stand forever itself, might well have been why Christ was compared to it in the patristic literature.
Where else does the mountain appear in connection with the precious stone?
Participant: In your lecture you mentioned that the city of Meru is on top of the mountain.
Professor Jung: Yes, this connection is found in the Indian Shri-Chakra-Sambhara Tantra. We also find it in alchemy, where the city, the vas hermeticum, is lying on top of the mons.
Often the image of the vitrum aureum, the golden glass, appears in connection with the idea of the eternal city.
As you have heard in the paper, it says in the Revelation of John: “and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass” (21:18).
What does this glass indicate?
Participant: Something hard and indestructible.
Professor Jung: This is characteristic not of the glass, but of stone in general. The wondrous thing about glass is the diaphanitas, its transparency.
One has also tried to express the spiritual nature of the stone or the vessel with the help of this characteristic.
The same is true when we talk about the lapis spiritualis, the lapis invisibilitatis, or the lapis aethereus, or about the diamond stone light as water.
All these expressions are meant to illustrate the spiritual existence of the stone; they are about an object that is a body, yet at the same time transparent.
The glass house in the present dream also points to this spiritual existence.
Mrs. Jaffé quite correctly interprets the Doppelgänger in the glass house as corpus subtile, as a subtle body, a spiritual mirror image, so to speak.
One creates oneself in this transparent vessel; the double in the glass house is like a second one, who is also there, and who awaits his preparation there.
This is a vision of what we have to call the Self.
There the transformation to one’s own self occurs, the other within us is consolidated there.
This other has miraculous qualities:
he is transparent and has a subtle and incorruptible body.
For the time being, he is still in a suspended state; he has not yet become.
Through the union with the human being, he is clothed in matter, thus acquiring actual existence in actu and is saved from his potential existence.
This idea is also at the base of the homunculus, that miraculous being that, so to speak, creates himself in the stone.
In the dream, the glass house is on top of the pyramid, and so there is also a connection between the double and the king, resting in the tomb as a mummy.
The lapis is thus related to the grave, to death.
Do you know anything from alchemy about this?
Participant: Before the lapis comes into being, the old king, the old sun, has to die.
Professor Jung: What does that mean—the old king, the old sun?
Participant: The prevailing opinions have to be overcome before something new can be adopted.
Professor Jung: Yes, what has ruled until then has to die and be buried so that the lapis can come into being.
A basic idea in alchemy is expressed therein: the ruling principle, that which had been sun, consciousness, the aurum vulgare, has to sink like the grain of wheat in the earth, so that it will be transformed into the eternal substance, into the incorruptible body.
This suffering ruling principle is very often personified in the king, who, for example, calls from the depths: “Help me!”
Often he greatly suffers from water, be it that he suffers from dropsy, or be it that he lies half-drowned in the sea.
How do we have to conceive this state in psychological terms? When are we saturated with water to such an extent?
Participant: When we are unconscious.
Professor Jung: Yes, when we have sunk completely into the unconscious we suffer from “dropsy.”
It can also happen that somebody sort of drowns himself by drinking a vast quantity of water.
This happened to the king in the Aenigma Merlini, for example.
Before he rode into the battle, he drank so much water that he dissolved himself.
Afterward he was put together again by Egyptian doctors.
These are illustrations of the fact that what rules has to go under, to make room for a different, renewed consciousness.
As we have seen, this other consciousness is personified by the double, enclosed in the glass house.
As you know, it is crucial that the dreamer unite himself with this corpus subtile.
What does the dream tell about that?
Participant: The child stands on the ground beside the pyramid, so he is far away from it.
Professor Jung: Yes, there is a split.
The dreamer has never really known who he is, where he actually belongs.
You will find such a doubleness in those numerous people in whose soul prenatal remnants still exist.
These may rise in visions or dreams, but mostly sink back into the unconscious again.
It is only in a psychological treatment that these images are again remembered.
The dreamer told me the dream more or less as a curiosity, but I could infer the core of his whole life from it.
He lacked precisely this self-realization, the spiritual existence.
His change subsequently showed that this was exactly what he had needed.
The proof was that he then became a contented man.
When he was told the meaning of the dream, both currents flowed together.
Up to then they had never come together, and he had never really known: am I in this one or in the other one?
Now he became a whole. He had found his soul.
The two halves that were united were the man of consciousness, the ego, the mortal being, so to speak, and that other side, that complex of emotional values and
attributes which accompanies us as a vague anxiety as long as we have not extracted the eternal being, the spark, the spinther in it.
Such a dream can be an experience of the greatest importance for somebody.
If he grasps its meaning, it will become an experience for him that he will value more than all the kingdoms on earth.
These are experiences we cannot rationalize.
Neither can we argue about them, just as we cannot argue about Paul and the great vision he had on the road to Damascus.
The transformation occurs when that inner growth, with all its original values and implicit meanings, enters into the empirical world.
The experience of this wholeness can be so allembracing that it has actually been called the medicina catholica, the panacea, the alexipharmakon, the antitoxin against all toxins.
The highest attributes have always been ascribed to this idea, not out of rational consideration but because it expresses the deepest inner experiences of man.
- Dream of a Five-Year-Old Boy of the Beloved Girl Presented by Dr. Emma Steiner
Text: He sees a girl in the toilet, washing her hands.
He loved her very much, but was very shy. He feels a pain of separation.
The dream recurred again and again until his thirtieth year.
Dr. Steiner: This is not an actual dream, but a vision.
Let us make a note of the fact that the dreamer himself only watches, that he is passive.
This passivity will be the starting point of our interpretation in the second part. The dream has no lysis, therefore, and that is probably the reason for its perpetual recurrence.
Locale: The toilet.
Dramatis personae: The dreamer and the girl.
Peripateia: The dreamer watches the girl wash her hands.
Let us proceed to the amplification. In the toilet:
Even if we have to assume that it is a modern, hygienic, sparkling restroom, the place is still somehow suspect.
The toilet has always been considered a gloomy and uncanny place, full of dangers, full of uncanny events.
This is one of the reasons, apart from the obvious hygienic ones, why our ancestors did not include the toilet in the main house; a separate small hut, the Hüsli, was erected in the yard.
Gradually, the toilet
was built nearer and nearer to the house, until it became an annex.
But even so, the toilet was considered a haunted place, where ghosts and devils were up to their tricks, and which one did not dare to enter alone at night.
In Iceland, Scandinavia, Germany, and Arabia, too, to mention only a few examples, the toilet is seen as the place where the spirits of the dead and the devils appear.
In an Irish monastic regulation the toilet is described as such a place, and the monks are given a blessing formula that they have to speak when entering it.
This concept of the toilet as an ominous place can also be found in various Nordic myths.
In the saga of Thorstein, King Olaf expressly
warns his guest against going to the toilet alone at night.
Thorstein does it nevertheless and has to survive a dangerous adventure with a devil, who reveals himself as the spirit of a dead knight fallen in battle.
Thorstein is saved only by the fact that at the last moment the church bells begin to ring.
In a Sigurd legend, too, the shadows of death spirits appear in the toilet.
The same idea—that this place is full of spirits—is widespread in Germany.
A report by Thietmar von Merseburg tells how uncanny demons rose from the toilet in the sickroom of a monastery, much to the horror of a gravely ill man.
In the Canton of Aargau, people often say that if you let the child sit alone in the toilet, the Hoggema will come and get it. Healing magic and popular medicine also have often made use of the toilet.
But let us come back to our modern [German] word Toilette.
In German it is synonymous with Abort, while in French it has a different meaning.
Toilette is derived from toile, a small linen blanket, which originally probably covered the lady’s dressing table and referred to her dressing room.
Despite the modern term used by the boy, and despite the sparkling hygiene associated with the word today, this place is still taboo for us.
Even today, refined and enlightened persons who otherwise speak quite explicitly about biological processes talk in paraphrases or enigmatic abbreviations about this place.
There are the elegant foreign words Toilette and water closet, there is the flüsternde
Örtli, the Locus, or, in the mysterious language of runes, the WC or the AB, still whispered today like the blessing formula of the Irish monks.
So even today this place is something suspect, mysterious, taboo, forbidden, a secretive place one avoids mentioning by name, because it serves the lower needs of man.
What does the boy see in the toilet? He sees a girl.
He does not give more details about the girl in the dream, in this vision, but the context and the explanations the young person later gives about the girl show that he sees a specific type of girl before him.
She is a girl with dark-brown hair, with a tinge of red, with a skin and blood complexion that is characteristic of certain Englishwomen, and considered, I dare say, the ideal by the average Englishman.
A person from the continent knows this type from the illustrations by Rackham, and also from the portrayals by the Pre-Raphaelites, in which this type tends to have decadent features.
So what the boy sees is not an everyday figure, but a kind of fairy-tale creature, an elfish being.
According to Jung, these elfish beings are a preliminary stage of a magical female being that we call anima.
Elfen, or Elben in Middle High German (from the English elf or ælf) are often creatures of the light with both human and divine features.
According to Grimm, the blessed virgins can be classified in this category, the wise women who sunbathe, comb their hair, and bathe; the Lorelei, the Greek Sirens, the mermaids and fair water beings who are in need of salvation.
These elfish beings, these elevated fair ones, however, have nothing to do with the fairy figures that rather indicate a mother symbol.
The word Fee (fairy) is derived from feie, fine; fata, fate.
These are goddesses of fate, the Nornes, who hold the life string in their hands.
Our elves, however, are beguiling, enchanting beings who often dance at night in a clearing in the woods, moving seductively to a sweet melody, beguiling young people, pulling them toward those light regions where there is neither death nor sin.
Certainly these beings are very often able to change; the fascinating attraction emanating from this light creature can give way to the lamia, to the empusa, to those man-eating monsters, to those succubae who consume men from within and put
straw and wood in place of their hearts.
With this description we have at the same time characterized the archetype of the anima; it is not identical with the dogmatic notion of soul.
Soul, in Gothic saivalo, is movement and oscillation par excellence, in short, everything that constitutes life in all its aspects.
It is this moving and lively force in its roguishness and artfulness that drives man, and this mixture of wisdom and roguishness appears, to quote Jung, as one and the same in the elfish being.
We have shown the connection between the nature of the girl and the elves.
Elves don’t have souls. In her playful way, the girl now does something very significant: she washes her hands.
Washing one’s hands has always been connected with a great and magnificent ceremony.
At first, washing one’s hands was probably done out of politeness and custom, but it is also a symbolic act.
Thus the priest in Catholic mass prays for moral lustration during the washing of hands, the introductory part of mass.
In Matthew 27:24, there is the well-known passage: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
Something similar is found in Deuteronomy, where the following is demanded after a manslaughter:
“And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands” (21:6).
In Cornwall, according to the biblical tradition, washing one’s hands was the sign of innocence of a certain crime.
An Icelandic prayer says: “I remove my enemies and adversaries from me by washing.”
In this context let us also remember the statement of Lady Macbeth: “A little water clears us of this deed:
How easy is it, then!”
Who can forget the scene in which Lady Macbeth enters the hall after the bloody deed at midnight, watched by the doctor and the gentlewoman: “Look, how she rubs her hands—It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands.”
In ancient customs, too, washing one’s hands is considered necessary in extraordinary circumstances, for example, in Silesia, one has to wash one’s hands after a burial to avoid dying or losing one’s teeth.
In the Rhineland, you should wash your hands after a sudden fright to prevent lasting harm.
In Southern Germany and in Switzerland, special blessings by washing the hands are customary, which impressively show the importance of this act.
In all cultures, washing one’s hands is a symbolic act, an integral part of the ritual.
The Egyptian priest, for example, is called uibu, the washed one, or uibu totui, the clean one with both hands.
In alchemy, too, we know of the ablutio, when the pure white color emerges after the nigredo, the blackness.
The boy felt a pain of separation.
This pain felt in separation is not an unambiguous feeling, because one would like to, indeed would have to, separate from such an elfish being—this would be the quite appropriate, instinctive feeling of the dreamer.
At the same time, this pain of separation generates a half-lustful, half-world-weary feeling, and a wish to remain in this state.
In contrast to the previous dream of the pyramid, this dream absolutely corresponds to the scope of the boy’s personal experiences.
Seen superficially, this is nothing but a very banal vision, explicable by the boy’s personal unconscious, but the enrichment of the dream material should disabuse us of this assumption.
Despite its banality—“washing her hands in a toilet”—this dream reaches far down into the collective unconscious.
For one, it was shown that the girl in her elfish nature is an instinctual, preliminary stage of the anima; and this playful, elfish being does something very meaningful, symbolic, and ritualistic: she washes her hands, and she does so in a somewhat suspect place, in a forbidden place, for which we may substitute the unconscious here.
This place, where the lower functions of human life happen, is taboo.
What we have here is also a pair of opposites:
black–white; the haunted place where spirits and devils dwell, where black demons rise, on the one hand, and the light figure, the elf, who washes her hands with an ironic smile or in a gesture reminiscent of Pilate, on the other.
We now come to the interpretation of the dream.
To begin with, we have to ask why it recurred so often.
For one, the dream does not have a solution, and is dreamed again and again to demonstrate to the dreamer that he should finally deal with his anima.
This the dreamer does not do; he remains in his passivity, and this passivity gives us the key to understand the vision.
There can be no solution in this vision because the dreamer does not confront the elfish girl, his anima; thus, the archetype of the anima becomes autonomous.
What is fascinating in the elf—to fascinate derives from fascere actually becomes a decisive factor.
Metaphorically speaking, the oscillating, elusive, effortless quality turns into something beguiling, a lamia, a fiend, an empusa.
To stay in the picture: it turns into the succubus that sucks the marrow out of the young man’s bones, or, to put it psychologically, the anima turns into an autonomous being that exercises an absolutely dominating influence.
Professor Jung: The dream is of an approximately five-year-old boy.
It has recurred for a long period of time in one version or another, and the cause for these recurrences was always the motif of the separation pain.
This went on until about the thirtieth year.
Then something happened that we could have guessed already from the dream itself: he fell in love with a girl who absolutely resembled the dream figure.
This love affair dragged on for quite some time, up and down, back and forth, with great indecisiveness.
One moment he thought he should marry her, the next he shied away from this thought.
She was a fairly enigmatic girl, and he could never find out any actual details concerning her family and her background.
Eventually it all ended with a break-up after all.
He suffered greatly from this fascination, and the relationship gave him many a sleepless night.
She also caused him great difficulties with his parents.
This girl resembled the above-mentioned English type.
Such girls usually radiate something fairylike or elfish, that certain something that makes a man feel at a loss.
To characterize this type I’d like to tell you a story: A Danish pastor once went across the moor; there was only one path leading through it, and whoever deviated from it woulddrown in the mud.
He had a long way to go across the country, because he had been called to a dying man.
When he was on his way back in the middle of the night, he faintly heard some music, and wondered: “What is this?”
Then he saw two little figures coming toward him on the moor, going where no human being would have been able to.
When they stood in front of him, he realized that they were elves.
They asked him who he was. He answered: “The pastor.”
They asked what a pastor was. “Someone who has to pray with the people so that their souls are saved.”
They moaned that they had no souls, to which he replied that he could not help them; they would have to ask God to give them immortal souls.
He wanted to teach them how to pray and said to them: “Our Father which art in heaven . . .”
They said, however: “Our Father which art not in heaven . . . ”—They simply could not repeat it otherwise. So he had to dismiss them again.
And that is why they never received immortal souls.
We have to imagine the girl in the dream as such an elfish being.
In contrast to the dream discussed in the previous session, this is not an image, but a vision; because a vision usually has a synthetic character and is a kind of composition.
Each part derives from the other, so that all of them together form a complete synthesis.
The present dream, however, is essentially composed of material drawn from experience, which stems from the most varied sources, and is not connected by inner evidence.
It does not follow at all from the character of the dream image that the girl necessarily had to be in the toilet.
We can distinguish three elements in this dream: first, the memory of this girl who historically is not linked with the toilet at all.
She had made a deep impression on the boy, and had perhaps for the first time aroused a certain feeling in him—the pain of separation.
This emotional situation is repeated in the dream: the dreamer does not approach the girl, but, if there is movement at all, this movement is nipped in the bud, and, therefore, he experiences the pain of separation.
The second element is the toilet with all its concomitant associations.
It is a place around which the erotic fantasies of the boy revolve.
This is quite normal, because the beginnings of sexuality lie in the cloacal area.
These two sources, the memory of the girl and the toilet, originally have nothing to do with each other, because the dreamer did not associate any sexual fantasies with this girl until he was an adult.
So we have to state that it was not the girl who was the object of his sexual fantasies, but the toilet.
It is very important, therefore, that these two elements appear together in the dream.
The third element is washing the hands.
The girl washes her hands because she has used the toilet.
This is a completely natural activity, appropriate for this place.
It shows that a functional relationship has been established between the anima and the toilet.
For the time being, we are not able to give more details about this, but instead will deal more closely at first with the dream.
The toilet is a very meaningful place, and I am glad we can once seize the opportunity to speak about it.
True, it is not a very savory subject, but it is of great importance to children.
That place is always haunted because the functions that are exercised there are the natural functions par excellence.
In every place where humans are natural, and can’t help but be natural, the ancient natural demons are also still nearby.
It is quite understandable, therefore, that the toilet becomes the taboo place par excellence, in which obsessions, phobias, and a plethora of neurotic symptoms have their origins, because it is precisely the natural functions that are disturbed in the neurotic.
The fascination of this place is also immensely increased by the fact that the first beginnings of sexuality are linked to these functions.
Now, there is always a close relation between instinctual processes and the collective unconscious, which reaches deep down into our nature and offers a view, so to speak, of our primordial nature.
So we are completely justified in calling the toilet the collective unconscious, as Dr. Steiner has quite correctly interpreted.
Now we also understand that the anima, that enigmatic figure of the unconscious, just
like a spirit, a devil, or a fiend, is up to her mischief in exactly this place.
Are there other places where one is afraid of apparitions?
Participant: The cemetery.
Professor Jung: Yes, cemeteries are classic haunted places, because death also is part of the natural, irrevocable processes.
This is also the reason why dying is accompanied by fears and psychical phenomena.
There, too, nature simply forces its way, and we cannot avoid it, just as we can’t avoid dealing with all the other natural bodily functions.
Do you know in which cases the dream language makes use of these processes?
Participant: In case of natural necessities.
Professor Jung: Yes, if we dream, for example, that we have to pass water in the company of other people, or that we have to get up immediately and go to that place.
This means that nature cannot be stopped. It must get out after all.
If, for instance, someone constantly avoids talking about certain things, about which he should talk, he will perhaps have such a dream sometime, in which he suddenly has to go to the toilet or something like that.
In alchemy, too, the toilet plays a not inconsiderable role, insofar as the prima materia or the lapis can also be found in the privies or in excrement.
Meyrink reports on one of his own alchemical experiments in the translation of a tract that has been attributed to Thomas Aquinas.
For this purpose he had bought an old privy, had it emptied, and put the base, the “peculiar juice,” into an alchemical pot.
On this he applied a coat of clay and sealed it “hermetically”—obviously quite well, because when he slowly heated the pot over the fire, the lid of the pot all of a sudden blew up.
He claimed that a strange, yellowish matter had formed in it.
The experiment still did not convince him that one couldn’t make gold out of the sediment of a sterquilinium after all!
When we study these things we shake our heads and think: there has to be something in it after all, if people are so fascinated by it unconsciously.
We have to consider the claim, therefore, that the prima materia, that earth of paradise, that primordial chaos, is hidden in the fecal matter, as a significant contribution to the psychology of this place.
In our dream the anima appears in the toilet, in precisely that taboo place. Is this alright? Does it fit?
Participant: Perhaps it does after all, because the toilet represents the unconscious.
And the anima mediates between consciousness and the unconscious.
Professor Jung: But doesn’t it strike you as extraordinary or strange that the anima appears in this of all places?
Participant: That’s all right as it is, but it still seems to me that the anima belongs more in nature, while the toilet is like a distortion of nature, which gives the situation a moralistic aftertaste.
Professor Jung: Let us disregard the unpleasant and repulsive character of this place for the moment, and focus on the fact that it represents the unconscious.
We can then simply state that the anima is in the unconscious. Is that abnormal?
Participant: On the contrary, it is the place of creativity, where something is created.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is quite in order, or at least it can be in order, because the toilet isn’t just “nothing but,” but, on the other and, it also has the meaning of a creative place.
As a matter of fact, something is really created there. Children know this very well.
One of my children once stayed in the toilet for a long time.
When my wife asked: “What’re you doing in there?” a voice answered: “The carriage and two ponies!”
You probably know the so-called Dukatenscheißer.
The relation between the absolutely worthless and the absolutely valuable is, as we already saw in the previous meeting, a basic idea in alchemy: it is the thesaurus thesaurorum, and at the same time the cheapest of all objects that you can find even in the street.
If we keep this in mind it is not surprising that we come across the anima in this place of creativity and of the unconscious, because the anima is a figure of the collective unconscious.
It is the soul image of a man, that inner personality that is compensatory to the
As long as it remains unconscious—as it usually does until the second half of life—it is experienced in projection only.
But how is it experienced by the child?
Participant: The child at first projects the soul image onto the mother.
Professor Jung: Yes, the mother is the female figure that plays the greatest role in the lives of children.
Children project their unconscious onto her.
But as they are still completely living in the collective, they cannot experience the mother as real, but above all as an archetype, by which she gains that superhuman, fateful importance.
She can become the witch, the demon, the all-powerful, all of which she is not in reality; or also the all-loving and all-understanding mother.
In dreams she often appears as someone menacing and uncanny, as a ghost or some other monster.
Naturally, it may also be the case that projections of such archetypal images are facilitated by the psychical structure of the mother.
I remember the case of a mother driven by instincts, who could not understand her children at all.
She was infatuated with both her daughters, and the daughters adored her.
But at night they had terrible nightmares in which the mother appeared as a witch, a persecutor, or as an evil animal.
The younger girl once told her fourteen-year-old sister about it, who confessed
to having similar dreams of their mother.
Later it turned out that these dreams did not come out of the blue, but were in fact related to the mother’s psyche.
In menopause she fell ill with a depression with fugue states, in which she turned into the same wild animals the children had dreamed of!
She crawled on all fours and accused herself of being a wolf, a bear, and so on.
So the dreams of the children had been a reflection of the mother’s instinctuality, which she would have to realize.
The mother had been too much “up there,” and had played the role of saintly motherhood.
Her daughters had reinforced the mother’s attitude.
The depression was meant to bring her down to earth again.
But even if the dream figures were facilitated by the mother, we must not overlook that they belong to the archetypal world of the children; they are their own archetypes, and must not be taken away from them.
In the present it is not the mother, but a girl who appears.
Why is the anima shown as a girl here?
Participant: Because the anima already appears in connection with sexual fantasies.
Professor Jung: Exactly.
What consequences does the emergence of the sexual fantasies have for the relation of the boy to his mother?
These sexual fantasies separate him from the mother, because he cannot approach her with them.
Professor Jung: Yes, otherwise incest would be the result.
But why can’t he simply have an incest fantasy? Why can’t we commit incest?
Participant: Perhaps the father prevents us from committing it?
Professor Jung: No, for one, the father isn’t always at home.
One could commit incest twenty times if one really wanted.
Incest is something quite doable, and it does happen.
But why should it not be committed? What is the reason?
Participant: There is the incest taboo, isn’t there?
Professor Jung: Of course.
Where does this incest taboo, which has been there for thousands of years, come from?
It cannot be observed, as such, in animals, but it exists in all kinds of variations in humans.
The main reason is a psychological one, because this is a highly symbolic matter.
If it were possible that a man could commit incest just like that, he’d have everything at his fingertips and would never leave his home. His initiative would be completely paralyzed, and a psychical incapability would be the result.
The primitive, of course, does not have such considerations.
His own nature stands in the way of incest.
The attraction of something new is so overwhelming that it will always chase him out of his cramped nest.
Primitive man created his marital laws and customs out of his inner needs, such as the marriage castes, the custom of abducting the women, and so on.
We can assume that in children, too, such instinctual forces are effective, so that they do not become involved in incest.
How does their sexuality normally develop?
Participant: It is transferred to a person who does not belong to the family.
Professor Jung: Yes, this also happens with our dreamer.
He had seen this girl in reality, she made a strong impression on him, and in the dream he then brought her up in connection with the toilet, with his cloacal, sexual fantasies.
This helped him circumnavigate the dangerous cliffs of incest.
This connection is only correlative, however, not interdependent.
The latter would have to be expressed by a movement toward the girl.
In the dream the boy feels only separation pain with regard to her, because his sexual fantasies are still attached to the toilet, and will remain split off from the girl for some
time to come. Why?
Participant: Because he is still attached to his mother.
Professor Jung: For such a child the mother is not real at all, as we have seen.
She is the bearer of the soul image, she is anima.
So we have to investigate the question why the boy splits off his sexuality on the basis of the psychology of the anima.
Participant: Perhaps another girl is the reason.
Professor Jung: No, these things pose many riddles.
I have to point out that we have to be very cautious in the case of little children, when we think in terms of the personality and try to find a rational explanation.
We must never forget that the infantile soul is no tabula rasa—this would be the greatest misconception—but we always have to keep a door open—to what?
Participant: To the collective unconscious.
Professor Jung: Yes, quite right.
This is also the reason why the anima does not unite with the cloacal fantasy.
Can you tell me why?
Participant: Perhaps the dreamer is too self-centered?
Professor Jung: He certainly is.
The toilet represents his autoerotic attitude. Like so many children, he is curious what adults do in the toilet, and this arouses distinct sexual feelings in him.
But this merely confirms that he got stuck in his cloacal fantasies and was not able to reunite them with the anima figure.
Participant: Would it have been alright for him to link the sexual fantasies with the girl?
Participant: No, because the anima is a figure of his soul.
Professor Jung: Yes, this girl has actually all the advantages of a soul image, and the noblest feelings have been associated with her.
So it was impossible for him to associate her with the other side—his anima image would have been soiled.
This is also the deeper reason for the anima to wash her hands.
She shows him that she cleanses herself of all impurity.
It is as if she said to him: “Your sexual fantasies are about unclean things, with which I don’t want to have anything to do.”
Naturally, this also throws some light on the dreamer’s sexuality.
We have to conclude from his behavior that the image of the anima is, a priori, such that it does not want to merge with the other side, that is, with his budding sexuality.
This actually causes the beginning of a split between the lower and the higher spheres in him.
He has to part with what is high and pure, and it is because of this separation pain that he remembered that dream.
Why is this separation necessary?
Participant: Because otherwise he would never be able to approach the dark side.
Professor Jung: What would happen if he could not separate from the girl?
He would for ever have remained the little boy in whom an image lingers on, and his instinctuality would remain completely undeveloped.
He has to be separated, therefore, from the anima image.
In the dream it is the anima herself who keeps the distance. She actively intervenes.
We must not conceive of the anima as a passive image that the dreamer could control as he wishes; she is autonomous to a great extent.
When she appears in the projection, she is usually extremely overpowering, and the man in question falls prey to her hook, line, and sinker.
Rider Haggard clearly saw this: “She that must be obeyed.”
The anima can be a terrible tyrant!—Pierre Benoit has also described this anima type in his Atlantide.
In a woman, the analogous figure is the animus, which can dominate her and completely
bring her to ruin.
The fatefulness of the soul image announces itself very early.
Whenever the anima figure appears in a boy’s dream we have to be careful, because she represents life as such: that which moves herself as well as the dreamer.
In the present dream, the anima washes her hands, which psychologically means that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with sexuality, but wants to preserve her purity.
This attitude of the anima has played a great role in the later life of the dreamer.
The ensuing split between sexuality and the anima is, by the way, frequently found
in men, and often manifests itself as a neglect of Eros, which is the essence of the anima.
Men are rarely split off from sexuality, because it is too evident for them, but what they lack is Eros, the relational function.
Men often think they can replace the relational function with reason.
They are proud that they don’t let themselves be controlled by affect, because this would be womanly, tantamount to weak.
No Eros, for God’s sake!
This lack is what women most complain of in marriage, and is what so disappoints them.
For what they seek in a man is the Eros, the capacity to relate.
This is exactly what is missing in our dreamer!
The anima withdraws; she does not want to mingle with the unclean place, does not want to enter into the instinctual turmoil.
But then this is a quite natural attitude for someone whose sexuality is still bound to the
At this age it is not yet possible to have a different attitude; sexuality cannot but develop out of this cloacal sphere.
It is the place in which it originates, in which man is born. “Inter faeces et urinas nascimur,” as St. Augustine put it.
For the boy, sexuality belongs in this region, and he should not feel otherwise because then he would be in danger of becoming obsessed.
Participant: By the soul image.
Professor Jung: Yes, precisely by the anima.
And this would have the psychological consequence that he would remain the cute little
boy, tied to his mother’s apron strings, a nice kiddie who never gets into mischief, and to whom the mother says: “Promise that you will never hurt your mommy and kiss a girl.”
Then the little boy is a puppet on the anima’s strings.
This is the sweetness we have to renounce over and over again.
The result would be that sad, nice boy who is good for nothing, whose sexuality is repressed and therefore remains confined to the privy pit.
These are men who foolishly might be taken in by prostitutes, maybe even acquire syphilis. And why?
Because they didn’t notice anything and have never developed out of this toilet into the world.
Then they cannot distinguish between what is dirty and what is clean.
Doctors see all kinds of things in this respect.
Homosexuality plays a great role in these men, because a homosexual is identical with the anima, which brings about his aesthetic femininity, with all of the virtues of the feminine.
He sees a heterosexual relationship in the light of the aspect that exists within himself, which is that undeveloped sexuality—and acts accordingly.
I saw a typical case, a very refined, cultured, amiable adolescent, who was identical with his anima.
Of course he was affectionately attached to his mother, who had taken him on her lap too much when he was a child.
Unfortunately he agreed to undergo a treatment, lost his homosexuality, and wanted to be a “real man.”
But what did that get him into?
He fell for a terrible woman, a potential whore suffering from lues, who was afflicted with a bone syphilis in the nose, a syphilitic ozena, a “stinky nose,” that suppurated all the time.
This was the “toilet” alright, and this was the woman he married and had a child with, who then suffered from hereditary syphilis.
These terrible things could happen because this boy suddenly fell out of the perfumed atmosphere of the mother—she herself an anima child—and into his undeveloped toilet-manliness.
His wife reeked of the stench that had fascinated him.
It is part of the normal instinctual development of man that it begins in the cloacal sphere and has to pass through this dark valley.
The instinctual development is a development “per vias naturales.”
If it only concerns sexuality, however, without the inclusion of Eros, this will be the source of the most bitter disappointment in women.
Most men, however, are not aware of this.
So when the anima says in our dream: “I’m not coming with you,”
this means that the dreamer has to develop into the world.
Fortunately, he cannot give up the toilet fantasies, and fortunately he cannot transfer them onto the anima figure.
Unfortunately, he later succeeded in doing so, leading to bitter disappointment.
Life had to demonstrate to him that he must not transfer sexuality onto the anima.
In falling in love with the anima, he forcibly tried to circumvent the laws of development.
This was a concession to his mother complex.
He was not man enough to withstand seduction, partly due to the fact that he also had a father complex.
His father never allowed him to assert himself against him.
The father was too powerful and did not leave enough room for the son to develop into a man.
As a consequence, the latter was forced to that side of his feelings where he fell victim to his own weakness, and no longer had the strength to escape the anima.
A man proves his moral strength by running away from the image of his anima.
When he falls prey to the anima, he has lost a battle.
This is also the reason why most normal men flee the anima by marrying a woman who does not correspond to that type.
The constellation of this anima type always entails the risk of a concession to the mother complex, but it also brings about the danger that the anima itself will violate its bounds and come out of the unconscious to enter into the world.
The relational function with the unconscious must not be transformed into a relational function with the conscious world!
The anima must always establish the relation with the unconscious, even when the man begins to consciously experience it as a function.
If it tries to represent the relation to the world of consciousness, however, the person concerned will become effeminate.
Unfortunately, their insecure social status forces many men today to function via the anima, that is, to use the anima as a relational function with the environment.
An employee has to know about the whims of his boss, know what to say to him, and so has to acquire quite feminine traits.
Such a man has to become a nice “office sissy”!
This femininity is of no advantage to him, but secures his existence.
That’s the reason why so many men are so unconditionally enthusiastic about the war, because finally they can—“thank God!”—swear, hit, and be real men.
For how can one be a man in a pussyfooting, moralistic society?
Vice versa, the same is true for today’s woman, who is often forced into an animus adaptation.
She would prefer to be feminine, and not to take possession of the world head first.
For the boy, the whole extent of the anima problem is hinted at in the dream, but of course his consciousness at that age is not capable of understanding the problem.
The dream image does evoke a certain feeling, however, leaving at least an emotional imprint: here my toilet fantasy and the attached sexuality, there the beautiful child
from whom I have to separate.
Let us return to the previous question: why this separation pain?
Why does his anima indicate from the very beginning: “Alas, I have to leave you?”
The moment he has discovered her, he has to leave her again. What is the reason?
Something must have happened before, something occurring entirely in the unconscious, which might provide the explanation for why he has to take leave from this figure.
Participant: He has the inner conviction that the anima is too grand.
Professor Jung: Yes, that’s what I meant.
The first anima experience of the boy is a very high idea, something incomprehensibly grand and beautiful.
It is so beautiful that he just knows that he can only lose it.
It is like the farewell to paradise, that wonderful thing, just beginning, filled with the pain: it is lost!
This is connected with those golden memories, those prenatal images, which are still sensed by the hild.
The boy’s separation pain shows that he is attached to those magical images, that he comes from that world which, however, he has to leave behind.
The dream shows him that now he has to choose the dirty path, just as eating dust comes after the loss of paradise.
It is outright dangerous to remain attached to this lost world, because in that case one refuses to get in touch with the earth—and will never be born.
Quite recently I met such an unborn man, who constantly had to dream of his own birth.
He had got stuck in his anima.
Such people give the impression of a strangely arrested development.
They cannot touch the world and take it into their hands—but if we want to live we have to take hold of it, and not be anxious about getting our hands dirty.
The world isn’t clean.
Our dreamer has the greatest difficulties imaginable in touching the world, because he has been fascinated by the anima over and over again.
This arrested his development and he became inefficient.
He couldn’t take the dream’s repeated warning to heart.
Participant: It is not clear to me why the girl is a collective figure.
Isn’t she rather a personal figure?
Professor Jung: Yes, it is a girl he knows.
However, she has certain traits of the Anglo-Saxon race and, therefore, represents a type that he will frequently come across in his later life.
This is crucial in this case.
Women, as it is, like to act a type, for instance, that of the coquette; in this respect, one woman is like another, they are interchangeable.
This is only possible, however, if it concerns the man’s anima, and not the woman as a personality.
Men with some insight into their eroticism can easily tell what their anima looks like.
The can say: this is she, and nobody else.
It is strange that there are not many kinds of anima in a man’s soul, but only one anima.
Women, on the other hand, have a multiplicity of animuses.
Often they appear in combination.
There is an excellent description in the book by H. G. Wells, Christina Alberta’s Father.
There a whole “court of old men” is concerned with the moral behavior of the young woman.
The same phenomenon is described in the occult literature.
Among the spirits of William James’s well-known medium, Mrs. Piper, there was a special group of controls, called the “Imperator group” by her.
The animus very often appears as a power animus. In contrast, the anima is essentially a unity, at least in a man whose development proceeds normally.
Such a man will get married and have sexual relations with his wife.
In addition, he will perhaps have the image of a woman whom he adores from a great distance.
If his quiet course of life is unsettled, whether by inexplicable mood swings or by external events, doubt about the past will arise.
He is thrown back onto himself, and has to try to solve the conflict within himself, meaning that he has to establish a relation to his unconscious, and this is only achieved if the anima becomes conscious.
The result of its becoming conscious is that distinctions are being made: the paradoxical and, as it were, completely amoral anima has to be split, because otherwise it would remain inexplicable and not comprehensible for consciousness.
Then it occurs that the man experiences the white and the black anima, the saint and the witch or the evil Circe.
The anima is an absolutely paradoxical being which, however, is basically always one and the same.
It is precisely her ambiguous nature that fascinates man, attracts him until he perishes, and that he has to escape.
Read the novels of Rider Haggard and you will get an impression of what the anima is.
Once he met her in South Africa; he was so impressed that he had to write a large number of books about her.
He accurately sensed that a supernatural being is concealed behind this phenomenon, and that it radiates that strange and powerful magic that also was effective in the
These divine figures live on in the anima, with all their attributes of motherhood and pleasure, as well as with all their demonic features, their depravity and magnificence.
Participant: Does the anima remain the same throughout a man’s whole life?
Professor Jung: No, the anima is by no means unchangeable.
If the individuation process sets in, for instance, the anima, too, is subject to a change.
She is a personification of the unconscious and consequently modifies her character when the conscious attitude changes.
Participant: Does this change of the anima coincide with the climacteric period, the age between thirty-six and forty?
Professor Jung: This is indeed so, or, I’d better say this would normally be the case, if only the transformation processes were uncomplicated.
In the primitives, these processes are made much more concrete, so that they can be read, so to speak. I’d like to tell you an example from the Indians.
A very bellicose chief dreamed in his fortieth year that he turned into a woman, and had to dress in women’s clothes and eat their food—in our eyes an absolutely ridiculous transformation.
But he followed the dream’s command and nonetheless remained as respected in his tribe as before, enjoying the reputation of being surrounded by magic.
It was a great dream, a dream of being called. Old men are considered sages by the primitives.
They are the guardians of the teachings of the tribe, of the great secrets that alone
make the existence of the tribe possible.
If this wisdom is lost, the tribe will dissolve.
Old Jews had a similar position. In the Old Testament it says: “Your old men shall dream dreams.”
They had a wise anima who could open their inner ears.
You see what natural forms the inner transformation assumes in the primitives. In our own case, this is usually much more complicated, because we are no longer able to make the inner processes as concrete. The reason for this lies partly in the fact that the cultural process inhibits natural development, causing certain shifts.
This has the effect that we cannot live what we would have long lived already under primitive circumstances.
Thus a man of fifty or sixty may have to make up for what he should have experienced at the age of twenty-eight.
Then highly infantile things come to the fore in an unnatural way; these are, so to speak, worn out children’s shoes—all this because conventions prevent a natural realization.
Then such belated developments happen.
As you can see it is difficult to lay down the general rule that this change is always linked to the turn of life, as it can also happen much later or not at all.
In the case of a highly civilized man in particular, it is possible that he goes on leading an absolutely abstract, unreal existence, and that the whole development takes place in the unconscious.
This nevertheless makes itself felt in consciousness, for example, in the form of a nervous breakdown or of depressive phases.
It can also have the effect that such a person goes under, becomes demoralized, a snivelling woman, full of resentment and with all the symptoms of “female logic.”
He then is nothing but anima.
In creative persons we can observe changes in the form of their creative production during these phases.
Nietzsche, for instance, had the dramatic Zarathustra experience at the age of
thirty-eight, which stood in remarkable contrast to his previous intellectualistic manner.
True, it is hard to find the female element in Zarathustra, but if you read the work with a critical eye, you will discover the anima at the end.
This experience, however, led him into insanity.
All his anima eroticism is contained in the texts that were found in Turin by Overbeck, and were burned by Mrs. Foerster-Nietzsche because she found them too unsavory.
From a psychological viewpoint, it would have been extremely interesting to learn
something about his development in precisely this period.
The Gnostics already knew about the transformations of the anima.
In their writings we find a kind of development of the anima, from its most primitive stage up to wisdom.
The most primitive anima is Chawwa, the earth.
She is Eve, who represents the all-motherly and the receiving.
At this stage, the anima is still a purely sexual being, a kind of earth goddess in a nearly prehuman developmental form.
A further stage is Helen.
According to a Gnostic legend, Simon Magus discovered a girl in a brothel in Tyrus (Phoenicia), in whom he recognized a reincarnation of Helen of Troy, and whom he therefore named after her.
Helen of Troy was an adulteress and the lover of many a hero of those times.
She was actually the type of the “femme qui se fait suivre.”
The link between these two women is that both of them carry a light within them, regardless of their bad reputation.
Helen of Troy means beauty to the man, the Gnostic Helena ennoia (consciousness).
At this stage, man still experiences the anima as a collective figure, but a certain concentration on the one woman has already taken place.
This is a very human stage, partly conducive to cultural development.
The next stage of the anima is Mary, who was also an extraordinary person.
She was the lover of the Holy Spirit and so become the mother of God.
The humiliation by illegitimate motherhood is compensated by the symbolism of her being the mother of God.
Although this stage still bears human traits, it already points to the spiritual.
For the Gnostics, the highest developmental stage of the anima is Sophia.
She is one-half of the divine syzygy (Greek, “pair,” “yoked together”; conjunction and opposition of sun and moon).
She is the most spiritual form of the universal mother.
Any human or personal aspect has disappeared.
The anima as a friend or soror mystica has always played a great role in history.
In the cours d’amour of René d’Anjou she even takes precedence over the wife.
The term maîtresse actually means mistress or master.
In the Middle Ages, for example, the worship of the anima led to courtly love, in which the knight was committed to his lady and was at her service.
In later history we know of women such as Madame de Maintenon, Ninon de Lenclos, or Madame de Guyon.
The latter was a woman of the highest spiritual eroticism and of a strangely deep wisdom.
She deserved being called a saint. It is no sign
of culture if a woman is only a daughter, or only a pregnant mother, or only a whore.
The primitives and also the apes do act out this onesidedness.
But should she become the femme inspiratrice, oscillating between goddess and whore, representing all the doubtfulness and diversity of life, the highest skills and the highest Eros are called for.
Such women are manifestations of a much more developed culture, and this was known in the Middle Ages and also in Greece in its heyday.
You know, of course, about Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles and of many cultured men of her time.
Participant: Is it a specific quality in a woman that makes such relationships possible at all?
Professor Jung: Many anima types have something masculine about them. But then, it is after all the soul image of a man.
It is probably the unconscious feminine side in man which, however, does not completely lack maleness.
That’s why a man projects his anima onto a suitable woman who shows some male characteristics.
For then she can also be a friend; the relationship is not just a heterosexual experience, but also friendship, and this is very important.
Participant: But then we cannot say in general that it is a sign of strength if the man flees the anima.
Professor Jung: No, this only refers to the young man.
He has to flee this type, so that he may develop into the world. The real confrontation
with the anima is one of the problems of the second half of life.
What was right before now dies down; the former ideals are burned.
This is also how we have to understand Nietzsche’s dictum of the revaluation of values: man destroys the values of his youth and prepares his own descent.
- Dream of a Seven-Year-Old Boy of a Dead Girl in the Water Presented by Mrs. A. Leuzinger
Text: I went to the lake to the steamboat jetty.
There two tree trunks were rammed into the ground to moor the ships.
I had already fished at this place.
When I looked into the water, I saw a schoolmate, on whom I had a bit of a crush, in the water.
She lay dead in the water. Her face was still completely fresh.
She was dressed in a red and white checkered apron.
When I kept on looking, I saw that her face disintegrated. It got criss-crossed with wide red cracks.
I didn’t have an uncanny feeling at all, as I later had when I dreamed of corpses.
Mrs. Leuzinger: The dramatic structure of this dream is as follows: the beginning indicates the situation and the locale: the lake, at the steamboat jetty.
The persons are the dreamer and the girl in the water.
The exposition shows the dreamer’s activity and the topic: earlier the topic had been fishing, now it is looking into the water.
The peripateia: the face disintegrates, there are wide red cracks in it.
The lysis is contained in the sentence: “I didn’t have an uncanny feeling at all, as I later had when I dreamed of corpses.”
The dream could also be divided into two halves or dream images: in the first part, the dreamer stands on the steamboat jetty, looking into the water.
In the second part, the focus shifts from the dreamer to the girl in the water; the dreamer becomes only an onlooker.
Some of the symbols, for example, the steamboat jetty and the girl, come from the dreamer’s personal experience and state of consciousness.
Around the eighth year there is a transition to ego consciousness, as we have already seen in previous children’s dreams.
The child breaks away from the extremely close relatedness with the familial milieu; he has already acquired a certain experience of the world, and the libido, which had up to then been tied to the parents, detaches itself from them and often is introverted.
In our dream there are already some indications of this experienced reality: the girl in the water is a schoolmate—the one he’s got a bit of a crush on.
The steamboat jetty is a place known to the dreamer, where he had already gone fishing.
Seen from the perspective of consciousness, the steamboat jetty is a place that exerts a great attraction for boys at the age of seven or eight in their first school years; it has a touch of life in foreign countries and adventure, ships moor and cast off, fishermen cast out their lines or prepare their nets.
It is also possible to stand there oneself with a fishing pole and fish.
There are also other strange and exciting things in the water at the steamboat jetty: bicycles, old tires, things made of tin or iron, sometimes there are also dead fish at the bottom; in short, for an enterprising boy who seeks his first adventures, the steamboat jetty exerts a great attraction.
In the dream, the boy goes to the lake, to the water.
The lake or the water are among the most common symbols for the unconscious.
So I would just like to mention its two main aspects: first, the destructive quality of water—we can sink and drown in it; second, the aspect of healing and salvation, of transparency and spirituality, culminating in the rebirth out of water.
The dreamer approaches the water, but stays at or on the steamboat jetty, as can be deduced from the fishing.
The steamboat jetty has some similarity with the symbol of the bridge, with which we have dealt in detail in one of the previous children’s dreams.
If the bridge stands for the continuity of consciousness, however, the steamboat jetty indicates a certain state of consciousness: while the bridge connects two sides, the steamboat jetty abruptly ends in empty space.
The only possible further connection is by boat, with which one can travel the waters, the unconscious depths.
The steamboat jetty that ends in empty space is like a still isolated fragment of consciousness, which could be flooded by a wave of the unconscious, just as the pier could be flooded in a storm by the waves of the lake.
The steamboat jetty is a much less secure place than the bridge; we also say: on shaky ground.
It is suspended between the sky and the water, one no longer has firm ground under
one’s feet, but stands above the water in a slightly elevated position.
It is a place in consciousness from which one can easily sink into the unconscious.
The steamboat jetty is a kind of link between the ground and the water.
All this leads to a kind of suspended situation, which beautifully illustrates the psychological situation of the dreamer.
A child at his age is indeed suspended between consciousness and the unconscious;
he does not yet have a firm foundation of consciousness.
The child is still rooted in the unconscious, just like the pilings of the pier that are rammed into the bottom of the lake.
What Professor Jung said about consciousness in the primitives is also true for children: their consciousness is still insecure and rests on shaky foundations; it is still childlike, having just emerged of the primordial waters.
A wave of the unconscious can easily run over it.
The dreamer is a contemplative onlooker, which is in perfect line with his uncertain, suspended situation.
The actual drama, the action, begins in the water, in the unconscious.
This time the dreamer does not fish, but looks down into the water, that is, he immerses himself in the unconscious, being attracted by the depths of his own unconscious.
Looking into the water is equivalent to going to oneself.
Professor Jung has elaborated on this process at length; let me quote the relevant passage here:
True, whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. . . . The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one’s own shadow.
The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well.
But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is.
For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad.
It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living, begins; where I am indivisibly this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me. . . . Our concern with the unconscious has become a vital question, a question of spiritual being or non-being.
All those who have had an experience like that mentioned in the dream know that the treasure lies in the depths of the water and will try to salvage it.
As they must never forget who they are, they must on no account imperil their consciousness.
They will keep their standpoint firmly anchored to the earth, and will thus—to preserve the metaphor—become fishers who catch with hook and net what swims in the water. . . . Whoever looks into the water sees his own image, but behind it living creatures soon loom up; fishes, presumably, harmless dwellers of the deep—harmless, if only the lake were not haunted.
They are water-beings of a peculiar sort.
Sometimes a nixie gets into the fisherman’s net, a female, half-human fish.
Nixies are entrancing creatures.
According to Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, the mermaid is a magical water creature that has much in common with wood nymphs, elves, water and fountain ghosts, Mrs. Holle, sea nymphs, virgins, and so on. As is shown in many fairy tales (of the water nixie, the nixie in the pond, the little mermaid, the beautiful Melusine, etc.), these are all creatures in need of salvation.
The nixies appear as they sit in the sun, comb their long hair, and with the upper part of their bodies—which is of great beauty—rise out of the water.
When they go ashore, they are dressed like human maidens; they can be recognized only by the wet hemlines of their skirts or the wet tails of their aprons.
Like the siren, the nixie draws the listening youth into the depths with her singing.
According to German fairy tales, children who fall into the well fall into the hands of the water nixie, and have to spin matted flax as in the fairy tale of Mrs. Holle.
But nixies also appear as helpful beings and accompany the drowned humans into
the home of the water nixie.
Characteristically, the nixie beguiles man with her singing, fascinates him with her beauty, renders him weak-willed, and pulls him down to her.
Something iridescent and seductive is inherent in the nixie, as was convincingly portrayed by Böcklin in his Mermaid of the Calm Sea.
Professor Jung defines the nixie in the Eranos Yearbook of 1934: “The nixie is a still-instinctual stage, a preliminary stage of a magical female being, which we call anima.”
This nixie-elf-anima represents the soul in its entirety, uniting the good and the bad; it is moving, iridescent like a butterfly.
The soul is a life-giving demon, and plays its elfish game beneath and above human existence.
So what the boy sees at the bottom of the lake, and what fascinates him so much that he loses himself in it, is his unconscious soul, his anima.
Before this sight he stands as if spellbound.
It would only be natural for him to try to rescue and pull this girl up to him, this girl who is his classmate and with whom he has an emotional bond, his “crush.”
But he remains as if paralyzed, unable to actively intervene—a motif often found in dreams.
Nevertheless, he registers the details of her appearance: the still fresh face and the red and white checkered apron.
The apron is a somewhat strange dress for the anima, who otherwise prefers ancient dresses.
Moreover, it is the girl’s school apron, a somewhat dowdy piece of clothing.
It is an exquisitely feminine piece of clothing, designed to protect one’s dress.
In popular superstition (according to the Handbook of German Superstition), the apron has various meanings: on working days it is worn as protection, on Sundays as an adornment.
The color of the apron is not without significance: in many regions girls, brides, wives, and widows are distinguished by the color of their aprons; in Upper Austria, bride and bridesmaids are dressed in white aprons as a sign of their innocence.
Very often the apron has a distinctly sexual meaning, as in the case of the “pubic cover,” called Skamskyte on the Swedish island of Öland.
The loss of the apron means loss of virginity; that’s why we talk of a “skirt chaser,” who is after the skirts like the devil.
The apron has become the attribute of the feminine as such.
Sometimes the apron has a protective and exorcizing function.
According to an Upper Austrian legend, the Holy Virgin catches the pilgrims who fell in the Danube in her apron, so that only one soul is left for the devil who had made the whirl.
When people, and in particular little children, fall down somewhere without getting hurt, the Magyars say that they had fallen into the apron of the Virgin Mother; such an apron is called the “lap of the Virgin Mother.”
The apron is also the place of transformation: in fairy tales it often turns leaves and wood, which had been carried home in it, to pure gold.
In the apron of St. Elizabeth, the food for the poor turns into roses.
The apron is also the place where girls hide something.
I remind you of the dream of the little girl who rode on a lion and had the magic mirror hidden in the pocket of her apron.
On that occasion Professor Jung called the apron the region of the Muladhara, the dark
instinctual region, the lowest psychical center.
The Schürze [apron] is also a synonym of Schoß; in dialect we call the Schürze “d’Schoß.” Schoß—lap or womb—has a maternal meaning.
“To rest in the womb of the earth” is an expression we use for the earth as the Mother of All Living Beings.
So a maternal secret is hidden in the apron.
In summarizing, we can say that the apron has a protective and transforming meaning that refers to the female sex.
The color of the apron is also important in our dream; the girl wears a red and white checkered apron.
White and red are a pair of opposites.
The queen in “Little Snow-White” wants to have a child white as snow and red as blood. White symbolizes innocence, red instinct and passion. In alchemical symbolism, white means the feminine, the femina alba; red means the masculine, the servus rubeus.
In our discussion of Peucer, we came across a dream from antiquity in which the pair of opposites white/red appeared.
An old woman, a Sibyl, who kept the old religious sacrificial laws, had to be found between a yew (taxus), which has red berries, and a myrtle with its white blossoms.
The maternal secret lay hidden between the pair of opposites.
I think that the apron in our dream, checkered red and white, refers to something similar.
Checkered red and white means that the red and white lines intersect, so that the pair of opposites of male and female is united in these crossing lines, so that the opposites are united in a center.
In this unity there lies the secret of the maternal womb, in which all new life has its origin.
The dream continues: the girl, the classmate, lies dead in the water, but her face is still completely fresh.
Through the transparency of the water, the dreamer looks at the bottom of the lake, where the girl is lying like Snow-White in the glass coffin, of whom it is also said that after three days, “she still looked as if she were living, and still had her pretty red cheeks.”
But whereas Snow White lay in her coffin for a long time without decaying, in the dream there is a sudden change:
“When I kept on looking, I saw that her face disintegrated. It got crisscrossed with wide red cracks.”
Here something starts in the dream that Jung calls enantiodromia, the fact that the events take an opposite course. In the philosophy of Heraclitus, this term signifies the play of opposites in an action, the assumption that everything that exists will turn into its opposite.
What lives will become dead, what is dead will live, what is young will become old, the old young, what is awake will sleep, and what sleeps will awake.
The flow of creation and destruction never ends.
One moment the face of the girl was fresh and her colored apron glistened in the water, the next her face starts to disintegrate, and there are wide red cracks in it.
Disintegration is an eerie process.
Children generally dread these processes of decay and dying.
The cracks in the face remind us at first of old paintings with their cracks and tears; these, however, are wide red cracks, rather reminiscent of the stigmata of saints, which are linked to suffering and death.
The cracks, signs of disintegration and decomposition, bring the process of dying as it were to life and make it observable to us.
Dying means to pass from the living state into the dead state.
The dead body unites the opposites of life and death in itself.
In popular belief, the corpse still shows signs of life; there are still connections between the living and the dead, which are only severed as the dead person undergoes several transitional stages.
In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, this transitional stage is expressed by the symbolic
forty-nine days, which is the period of time between death and rebirth.
It is significant that the greatest chance of salvation occurs in the direct process of dying.
So here we have to conceive of the dead body as the direct expression and the symbol of the magical transformational capacity of the soul, the anima.
This leads us to the actual meaning of the dream.
The steamboat jetty portrays the psychical situation of the dreamer.
Looking into the water is his approach toward the unconscious.
The figure of the girl on the bottom of the lake means that the dreamer’s anima is entirely situated in the unconscious.
The attribute of the apron signifies that, with regard to the figure of the girl, the emphasis lies on instinctuality and sexuality.
This is also the reason why the anima has been separated from the mother and transferred onto the classmate.
As Jung has explained in the definitions in Psychological Types, the soul, our inner attitude, is represented in the unconscious by certain persons who show the characteristics that are commensurate with the soul.
The character of the soul would in general complement the outer character and contain all those attributes missing in the conscious attitude.
In his consciousness the dreamer has “a bit of a crush” on the girl, thus something entranced and ethereal; the unconscious, however, shows him exactly the instinctual, sexual side of this figure.
Jung says that the personification of the anima (here represented by the classmate) psychologically always denotes a relative autonomy of the personified content.
Such a content spontaneously either reproduces itself or withdraws from consciousness.
Such a split may develop if the ego and a certain complex are incompatible.
Experience shows that this split often occurs between the ego and the sexual complex.
In the case of a seven- to eight-year-old boy, this will probably not concern a repressed content; the boy was not yet consciously aware of the content at all, and the content now confronts him for the first time in a different form, the form of the anima.
The present dream could be seen as complementary, because it stresses the other side.
The dream brings to light a very specific aspect of the unconscious, the instinctual character of this anima—in this sense it is probably a direct expression of the opposition between the dreamer’s ego and his instinctual nature.
The anima makes the dreamer look down into the water, where the unconscious reigns, and where human consciousness wanes like the notion of time in the realm of the water spirits and nixies.
Here a natural process—dying—takes place; viewing it in this light, we could also characterize this dream as a process in which something is partially brought into consciousness, as the nixie/anima is hidden wisdom and secret knowledge.
One moment the girl, with her fresh face and the red and white checkered apron, has all the attributes of freshness and liveliness; the next she turns into a corpse and disintegrates and decays.
This dying is not a completed process, however, but a transition and a transformation,
and also includes the possibility of a rebirth.
This is why the nixie/anima of the dream also has the aspects of life and transformation; her element, the water, is at the same time the element of rebirth.
The disintegration and death of the anima demonstrates that what had been valid before—the old still-infantile position—is now dying to be changed into something new.
The dream represents the tensions between the opposites of above and below—between the dreamer’s ego, which stands above on the steamboat jetty in a somewhat insecure and precarious state and is threatened by the danger of the unconscious, and the anima, which haunts the bottom of the lake and leads her own spectral life there.
By looking into the depths and approaching himself, the dreamer has probably chosen the right path, although, like so many heroes in fairy tales, he stops halfway, entranced by the all-powerful anima.
When he says of his dream: “I didn’t have an uncanny feeling at all,” he obviously sees the process of dying as something natural and inevitable.
For the time being, he remains observant and assimilating in his attitude, and does not interfere.
His problem, in all likelihood the confrontation of his ego with his instinctual nature, as it is represented by the anima, is actually not tackled and solved, so the later dreams of corpses are much more threatening.
Professor Jung: In the paper we have heard about interesting mythological parallels to the single symbols.
The real message of the dream, however, seems not to have become entirely clear yet in my view.
What might the message of the dream be?
Participant: The boy is told that his little friend is dead.
Professor Jung: At least you have to say: “Well, something has happened.”
You have to imagine the situation: the boy has a crush on somebody.
He has the first presentiments of tender feelings, and now he discovers his little friend dead in the water.
This should actually frighten him, and the astonishing thing is that this is not so.
Isn’t it a bit suspicious when he states that it made no impression on him, because especially when they were scared shitless, boys usually say: “Oh, that was really nothing.”—But the dream shows us that a little drama actually happened, and that the girl lies half-rotten in the later.
What does that mean?
You’d best approach this dream with as little prejudgment as possible, and ask yourselves: what does the dream tell?
What it says is: wherever you may go fishing, you will discover that the girl whom you love is lying dead in the water.
That is the message, but how do we interpret it? The dream is like nature: it puts a bug in your ear, but you just dismiss it—“Yuck, that’s a bug!”
And you forget how complicated this actually is.
Just try once and exhaust all the secrets of a bug!
We will never understand this secret of life and this cosmos, it is much too complicated, and the same is true for dreams.
They fall like nuts from the tree of life, and yet they are so hard to crack.
So in order to understand the meaning of this seemingly simple message, at first we have to take a look at each detail.
Let us begin with the locale of the events.
The steamboat jetty connects the firm ground with the water.
The former is the place where we feel that we are standing on firm ground, and where we can see and breathe.
The fact that the boy is on the steamboat jetty in the dream means that he approaches the border between consciousness and unconsciousness.
What does this mean for the dreamer in reality?
We have to keep it very simple and stick to the image: he is on the land and comes to the brink of a large lake or the sea.
What will happen if he keeps on going?
Participant: But he can’t go further.
Professor Jung: Well, but if he went further anyway?
Participant: He’d come into a new world.
Professor Jung: You call that a new world when someone falls into the water?
He comes into the beyond.
There is a danger, and therefore the dream says: here you’re coming to the edge, to an end.
Now it’s getting hot and you’ll have to be very careful.
Here the risk begins, the uncertain element of water.
This is the first statement in the dream.
But then he stands on a jetty on which steamboats can land, which adds a new twist to the situation: it contains the possibility of leaving, of traveling the unsafe waters and of cruising the lake.
This is the primordial image of the courageous venture.
For the dreamer this implies that he must do something.
He has come to the edge of the steamboat jetty, in other words, to the edge of his consciousness; just as we say that we are on the “brink” of something.
At that very moment, what was common and usual ceases and an adventure starts.
What has he done so far?
Participant: He went fishing.
Professor Jung: And what does this mean for a little boy?
Participant: He hauls out images of the unconscious.
Professor Jung: At this age, fishing is more like a game, it is a game and nothing professional.
Up to that moment he has played with it, and in doing so has hauled out various objects, various possibilities, from those vague and indefinite regions.
Fishing, and also hunting, are old symbols of a more or less playful involvement with adventure.
This continues until it gets serious.
Do you possibly know an example where hunting went wrong and became serious?
Participant: The story of St. Hubert.
Professor Jung: Yes, this gives you an idea.
It is the story of a hunter who on a Sunday sees a white stag, which he wants to bag by all means.
All of a sudden he perceives a shining crucifix between its antlers.
This is a prey he hasn’t dreamed of: it is the Holy Spirit itself whom he meets in the forest.
The same story is told of St. Eustace, another Hubert, so to speak.
Many people interact playfully with their unconscious.
They are like fishermen who daily fish in the unconscious and even “nourish” themselves on it: they take all kinds of good and evil things from the treasure of the unconscious, they can have a cultured conversation about them, can philosophize this or that and even write newspaper articles about them.
One day, however, it happens that they catch a golden fish, just as in fairy tales.
What can that mean?
Participant: It could be the anima.
Professor Jung: Yes, it’s the old story of the nixie or the mermaid who gets caught in his net. It is the being that has no soul and therefore strives after it.
And that’s where the problem begins.
In the dream, too, the boy’s fishing is a playful occupation with something of which he is not yet aware that this is an adventure and involves danger.
At this moment the dream tells him: “Attention!
Today you won’t catch any fish, today you will see something for a change, something wonderful.”
What can we see in the water that is so fascinating?
Participant: We can see ourselves.
Participant: When we look into the water we see our own images.
Professor Jung: In hydromancy, for instance, a dark bowl filled with water is used, as is still today the custom in India.
Little boys have to look into a water bowl, whereupon they fall into a trance and report
what they see.
A similar fascination can be observed in looking into a crystal.
There is a parallel to this self-mirroring, the strange vision in the Gnostic myth of nous and physis.
Nous is the divine spirit that comes from above and looks down into the mirror of physis.
He sees his own wonderful picture in it; at that moment physis clasps him and does not let him go, he is captured in her.
The physis is like the mirror of the water, into which he looks.
She is the waters with the thousand arms, the danger of the unconscious.
Now our dreamer does not see his own mirror image in the water, but the girl on whom
he has a crush.
With that the water reveals its secret; the girl is the physis that wants to pull him down with a thousand arms.
But the girl is dressed in a very rustic apron. What kind of apron is this?
Participant: A cooking apron.
Professor Jung: Yes, the cook at home probably has such an apron.
But why does the girl wear the apron of the cook and not, say, of the mother?
What is the cook in contrast to the mother?
Participant: She is the counter mother and subordinate to her.
Professor Jung: Yes, she is the one at whom the boy’s affection is directed.
She secretly gives him the forbidden candy that the mother wouldn’t give him.
As Wilhelm Busch has put it: “Each young laddie will get hooked on the beautiful kitchen cook.”
The cook is a subordinate woman who can on certain occasions perfectly correspond to the anima.
The cook also prepares the food in the kitchen, and this is the place where everything is prepared in mysterious ways.
It is the uterus, the place of coming into being, which is often brought into connection with cooking, baking, or roasting in folkloric tradition.
Just think of the oven or the cooking pot in which the little children are made!
So the cook is a maternal figure, who can represent the anima figure to the boy at a certain age.
At our last meeting we saw that the mother is the bearer of the soul image.
Normally she remains so until the beginnings of sexuality make themselves felt, and the boy has to go down a step.
Then he will often go into the kitchen, because there he finds something more appropriate, something which corresponds to his level of relationship.
He finds it easier to deal with the cook than with the mother, because there is no incest barrier.
As a result, however, the mother is more and more elevated, until she rises into heaven, so to speak.
But the boy also looks for someone less difficult to deal with—no education, for God’s sake!
It is extremely convenient for the boy to be spoiled, but not educated, by a woman.
That’s why boys get so easily attached to the kitchen personnel; the kitchen is le lieu de raccrochage for them.
Later, of course, it is the school; there are female classmates among whom one can find a suitable one.
The figure in the water was also a little schoolgirl who, moreover, wore the kitchen apron as a distinction.
With the apron she also possesses the whole secret hidden behind it.
But the child is dead.
We might therefore say that this whole hopeful development breaks off.
What does this mean?
Participant: It is like in the previous dream: the dreamer has to separate from the anima.
Professor Jung: Of course, it’s exactly the same here.
The previous dream gives us the key to this dream.
In both cases, the dream is about the farewell to the anima.
In the previous dream, the dreamer had to separate from the anima he met in the toilet.
This is even farther down than in this dream, which is about the kitchen.
From a certain, perhaps more liberal, viewpoint we could consider this development of such an anima relation as something desirable.
Exactly this development is stopped, however, and a strangely longing atmosphere ensues.
The image of the dead girl seems to tell him: “The sweetest dream of your life” is lying down there and is shattered.
The girl wears that mysterious kitchen apron, checkered white and red. Mrs. Leuzinger has rightly traced the meaning of these two colors.
Red and white are a union of opposites.
Among others, they are the symbol of the medieval mystical marriage, which represents a union of these two, of the white and the red.
There are alchemical tracts in which this union takes place in the depths of the water, for example, in the Visio Arislei.
There the couple, Thabritius and Beya (that is, the red slave and Albeida, the white one), are locked into a triple glass house on the bottom of the sea.
It is terribly hot, and they sweat profusely.
This is done with the help of Arisleus, the ancient natural philosopher (Arisleus is Archelaos, the disciple of Anaxagoras), and his companions, who are also locked in the glass house.
They have to bring the couple to life again.
The philosophers describe consciousness, which activates the latent opposites in the unconscious and leads them toward the mystical union.
As a place of rebirth, the glass house is a symbol of the uterus.
To understand the colors white and red, we also have to take into account something else: they are also the colors of the underworld, as we know from the so-called Apocalypse of Peter.
In the Mabinogion, there are white dogs with red noses and eyes in the underworld.
Just like the uterus, the underworld is also a symbol of the unconscious.
Both indicate a state of unconsciousness that, however, simultaneously represents a potential state—in utero—before birth.
The dichotomy of the two colors is contained in yet another detail in the dream, namely, in the peculiar disintegration of the corpse, in which red cracks appear.
This is a very graphic image: the white skin dissolves, and the red flesh appears.
We might say that the whole girl herself becomes that apron, representing the dissolution of the opposites.
She returns to the state of dissolution and is now herself like a white and red being of the underworld.
This process of decay also occurs in alchemy, where putrefactio leads to rebirth.
Putrefaction is linked to nigredo, blackness; like the darkness of the underworld, it is a state of complete unconsciousness.
If we apply this to the dream, we could say that the girl simply dissolves into the unconscious.
This seems to be a negative ending but, quite to the contrary, this end means something positive: it is only by this that the dreamer can sepduring the intercourse, and dissolves into atoms in her body.
Separate from the attachment to the anima. Why did he have to have such a dream?
Participant: Because he was in danger of being possessed by the anima.
Professor Jung: What would that have meant for him?
Participant: He would have got stuck in the anima image and he would not have developed into the world.
Professor Jung: From what does the boy suffer so that he has to receive this message?—It is a mother complex; he is still much too attached to the image of the “mother.”
This is a typical dream of a boy with a mother complex. It could lead to the strongest anima possession.
The more somebody clings to the “mother,” the more dependent he is on the processes going on in his unconscious, the stronger their archetypal power and their demonic power will become.
In girls something analogous happens.
In their case, however, it is the father who can become such a demonic power, while the mother plays a different, although not unimportant, role.
For a woman the mother is not the anima—for the anima is always the object of longing
desire—but actually the sexual organ, the uterus. In the case of a negative mother complex in a woman, there often are various disturbances of the sexual function, for instance, menstrual disorders and similar disturbances.
In our dream there is too much of the mother in the anima.
The boy has “too much mother.”
For him to be able to distance himself from the “mother,” the dream has to tell him:
Now you’re coming to the edge.
Now comes the adventure of life, with which you have just played so far.
Now it could be expected that this would cause him great pain.
But we should not be surprised that this is allegedly not so; as we have already remarked, many boys won’t admit—God forbid!—that they were impressed by something.
Participant: But if the mother is meant, why does the classmate appear in the dream?
Professor Jung: This is due to his age. I have shown you how the anima gradually becomes this classmate.
For certain reasons, the mother can no longer represent the anima figure; the cook takes her place, or any other female being wearing an apron, thus also that girl.
As a representative of the mother, she has to die.
And this is desirable.
If it were not for that apron, that ridiculous detail, we might well doubt whether this lysis is desirable.
Then we could ask ourselves, if it hadn’t been preferable that the boy had fallen into love with this little girl after all, and if it weren’t sad and alarming that such a normal expression of love had been cut off.
This would truly be a problem—if the girl did not wear this apron!
The apron reveals the secret connections, reaching to the mother via the cook.
Obviously, the girl is his anima, and this constitutes the difference from a normal relationship.
An anima relationship is never a normal relationship, but always something fantastical.
A man sees his female face in the anima, and that is dangerous; the anima transforms everything it touches.
Wherever it is active, it visualizes one’s own image, a man’s own image, and this is his female being, an invisible minority that he carries inside himself.
- Dream of a Three-Year-Old Girl of Jack Frost Presented by Dr. Waller
Text: Jack Frost is coming. She is scared. He pinches her everywhere in the belly.
She awakens and realizes that she has pinched herself.
Professor Jung: This dream is connected to early masturbation, which already started at the age of three, but then stopped again soon afterward.
The dream was dreamed by a three-year-old girl and is the earliest to be remembered.
There are some medical questions involved.
The dreamer has a strong hereditary taint. An aunt suffered from schizophrenia.
Her own psychosis remained latent for many years, and first surfaced in the form of a severe obsessional neurosis.
An obsessional neurosis is one of the most distinct phenomena of dissociation we know of.
It can mean a complete split of the personality, in which one part wishes as passionately to stay healthy as the other wishes to remain ill.
The dramatic structure of the dream has been described quite correctly, but the question of the lysis has not yet been cleared up.
Can we speak of a lysis here?
Participant: Perhaps it lies in the fact that the dreamer wakes up from pinching herself.
Professor Jung: No, because this no longer belongs to the dream action.
Participant: Is it the anxiety the child feels?
Professor Jung: No, because this would mean the exact opposite of a lysis.
The final thing the dream expresses is just anxiety, and surely anxiety can’t represent the solution of the problem.
Moreover, it is nothing extraordinary to wake up from a dream in a state of anxiety.
Many anxiety dreams can have an actual lysis; often, however, it is only hinted at, for instance, if in the dream we know that it is an anxiety dream.
But sometimes the lysis is completely missing, and this is the case in this dream.
Do you remember what we said about dreams without a lysis?
Participant: They point to an unfavorable prognosis.
Professor Jung: Yes, but we must not generalize this.
Not every dream without a lysis has an unfavorable prognosis, for instance, if the danger does not reach you in the dream, or if there is something like a comforting allusion.
But why do we have to suspect an unfavorable prognosis here, after all?
Participant: It is a dream from earliest childhood.
Professor Jung: Yes, and it has been remembered throughout her whole life.
If such an important dream has no lysis, we will have to be attentive, because then a vital problem of the dreamer has found no solution.
Naturally, a dream without a lysis always gives an unsatisfactory impression, particularly if it is of a catastrophic character.
When we hear such a dream, we are actually frightened and would like to maintain silence.
In the last seminar on children’s dreams we discussed two such dreams, and I also told you about two catastrophic dreams of a fifteen-year-old girl that ended without lysis.
In all these dreams, the climax, the catastrophe, coincided with the end.
In addition, the present dream seems rather unremarkable, and such meager dreams often have an unfavorable prognosis.
But we must not avoid such examples, because they do happen in reality.
When you ask: “What kind of a lousy dream is this?” you have already noticed something important.
Then, however, you have to go on asking: “Why is this so?”
Only if we take the simplest things seriously will we have the key to wisdom.
A dream is like a piece of nature, and of course we have to react to it.
So we may well swear now and then and say: “Such a piece of shit of a dream. That’s really pathetically poor; such poverty is enormously saddening.”
We have to let this poverty of nature affect us. Dreams are not always full of fancy details.
If a rich fantasy had blossomed, we could say: “All hell broke loose.”
Here nothing broke loose, which confirms the unfavorable prognosis.
The dream contains hardly any possibility of appropriately reacting to it.
It is much too meager compared to its importance.
The figure of Jack Frost appears in the dream.
He is a figure from English folklore, and there are similar figures in German popular belief.
There is St. Nicholas, the icily gray and cold one; he is the old man symbolizing the beginning of winter.
St. Nicholas, however, is a benevolent figure. Why?
Participant: He’s like the Erinyes, who are evil and benevolent at the same time.
Professor Jung: Yes, often a good name stands for an evil cause.
Participant: St. Nicholas is also split into two figures.
He usually is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, who represents the devil.
He comes with a rod and a sack, in which there are the children he has already taken.
Professor Jung: Where does he carry the bad children?
Participant: Into the forest.
Professor Jung: Yes, into the forest. And what happens there? What is the forest?
Participant: It is a dark place, full of dangers.
Professor Jung: You know the saying “To hell with him!”
This means that the devil takes you to the place of darkness and terror, actually to the place of the dead.
St. Nicholas, too, takes the children to the place of darkness.
As the gray one, who appears at the beginning of December, he is also death, who takes man into the world beyond.
He is a kind of judge of the dead, who punishes the bad and rewards the good, similar to Osiris, the judge of the underworld.
So a very serious meaning is concealed behind the figure of St. Nicholas.
Jack Frost corresponds to St. Nicholas, although he is much less incorporated into folkloric culture.
He, too, appears at the beginning of winter and represents coldness, which implies a memento mori.
A white ghost, he seems to be covered by the shroud of snow. What does Jack Frost in our dream signify?
Participant: Death wants to get to the dreamer.
Professor Jung: Yes, it is not yet spring, and winter is here already.
Participant: Do we have to see the figure of Jack Frost in such a negative light? If he wants to take the dreamer into the forest, this might perhaps only mean a state of introversion, out of which a new content could arise.
Professor Jung: Such an optimistic interpretation is not appropriate here.
We must not forget that the dream has no lysis, and that it is extremely meager.
It is impossible to conceive of the figure of Jack Frost, therefore, as positive.
Even if the Samichlaus appeared in his place, it would be misleading to think of a joyous children’s party or any other merry event.
We have to try to grasp Jack Frost in his ominous meaning, as the one who freezes all life.
We also have to stick to the dream, in which the child does not experience joy, but fear of the ghost of coldness.
And this figure touches her!
Participant: This increases the negative effect of this figure. It is similar to the Erlking.
Professor Jung: Yes, the Erlking is also such a ghost.
In Goethe’s poem the increasing anxiety of the child is beautifully expressed, until the moment where he says:
“Dear father, oh father, he seizes my arm! The Erlking, father, has done me harm!”
Then the child dies.
Participant: It also seems very dangerous to me that Jack Frost touches the girl on her belly.
Professor Jung: Yes, the belly is the kitchen, the stove, radiating warmth.
In the belly we are sheltered as long as we are embryos.
If we are cold, we’d like to crawl into our own belly to warm up.
This place of warmth is also the origin and the center of all life; this is expressed in the word “liver,” the main organ in the abdomen.
It is “the liver,” he who lives.
Participant: Can we see from the dream if this is about a psychical or physical death?
Professor Jung: This is not easy to see.
Let us assume that the child told this dream at the age of ten, that is, at a time when there was no
visible sign of a neurosis yet. In this case, I would really have been in doubt whether it referred to a physical or a spiritual death.
I would have been able to say only that the dream indicated something extremely alarming, but I would not have been able to decide if this would later lead to an obsessional neurosis, to a psychosis, or to suicide.
But then the dreamer took her own life at the age of thirty-six in a mental institution!
The psychosis began with extreme anxiety states that intensified until the fatal end.
The dream does contain a detail that could point to the suicide.
She herself intervened in her life with a cold hand.
Participant: Was this the reason why she escaped into masturbation? Was it an attempt to keep herself warm?
Professor Jung: Yes, for her it was a defensive move, an apotropaic magic, a stress on life in aspectu mortis, just as people may become sexually aroused when they are in mortal danger or confronted with hopeless, life-threatening situations.
There was ample evidence of this desperate eroticism in the earthquake at Messina.
It is as if the life instinct asserted itself, and as if life tried to affirm itself in a quandmême.
So, you see, the dream is very tragic. I would not hesitate to make a connection between the fact that the dreamer pinched herself and the suicidal outcome. Any more questions?
Participant: You mentioned that the dreamer at first fell ill with an obsessional neurosis, which masked a latent psychosis. How did the psychosis become manifest?
Professor Jung: Behind each classical obsessional neurosis a psychosis is hidden.
In the dreamer the mental illness broke out when the voices began to become audible.
From then on the process could not be arrested by anything.
Participant: Doesn’t emotion also originate in the belly?
Professor Jung: Yes, of course, it is the seat of the solar plexus, where the psychical and the physical are still one.
But you must not conceive of the belly as too complicated. It is merely the center of
warmth, the seat of life.
Because the psychical and the physical are still one in it, it is hard to tell if it was a physical or a psychical illness that prematurely destroyed the dreamer.
The unconscious actually does not seem to care one way or the other.
Moreover, the unconscious has a different relation to death than we ourselves have.
For example, it is very surprising in which way dreams anticipate death.
Often this does not happen the way we look at death, but in a completely different manner.
You will find something analogous in astrology or also in chiromancy and other ancient “mancies,” in which the indications for death are also very questionable.
It is as if death was something other than what we think.
That is, approximately, how we could put it. It might be linked to the fact that the unconscious has a different relation to time than we have.
In the unconscious there exist, so to speak, an elastic space and an elastic time.
It seems as if these deeper layers of the psyche were characterized by particularly strange features, and this, of course, is also expressed in dreams.
So I would not have dared to predict from the dream’s character if a physical or psychical death was implied.
Participant: Wouldn’t it have helped the dreamer if she had later gone to a female analyst? What she missed was probably primitive, vital warmth.
Perhaps she never received enough maternal love; moreover, the dream expresses a very negative attitude toward men.
Professor Jung: If we are dealing, as in this dream, with such deep-reaching and life-threatening affairs, the sex is no longer of importance.
In these cases, a physical force has to intervene, a force that pulls the person out of the predicament and saves her from drowning, so to speak.
These fine details no longer play a role, and it doesn’t make any difference at all if it is a man or a woman who tries to come to the rescue.
- Dream of a Ten-Year-Old Girl of a Transparent Mouse Presented by Cornelia Brunner
Text: The Transparent Mouse. In the dream I imagined a mouse; once worms came into it, and the mouse turned gray, then snakes, and it turned red, then fish, and it turned blue, then people, and it turned into a human being itself.
That’s how all men and women develop.
Mrs. Brunner: This is an extraordinary dream, seemingly childlike at the beginning, and then purely archetypal.
The details, seen for themselves, could be based on day residues; the context and the structure, however, do not correspond to any experience of the outer world, but, down to the last detail, to experiences of the inner world.
This “development of man” cannot be the phylogenetic development, because the sequence—mouse, worms, snakes, fish—does not correspond to the biological line of development.
Biologically speaking, the fish would have to appear before the snakes, and the mouse afterward.
Let us try to structure the dream:
Locale: In a world of envisaged images.
Time: Once (as in fairy tales, “once upon a time,” thus again in the realm of the prenatal imaginary world).
Dramatis personae: Mouse, worms, snakes, fish, humans, one human being.
Exposition: “In the dream I imagined a mouse.”
Peripateia: Animals and people enter into the mouse.
Lysis: The transformation of the mouse.
Final realization: “That’s how all men and women develop.”
So it actually is a drama in four acts, with a prologue and an epilogue.
I will now provide the amplifications to each single dream phase, and then try in each case to deduce the meaning of the respective dream part.
Regarding the fourth act, in which the dream deals with man, I will be very brief, but instead provide a few parallels to the whole of the dream, by which the meaning of “man” will be circumscribed.
The girl gave the dream the title “The Transparent Mouse.”
This mouse awakens a special emotion in us.
Mouse is a highly suggestive name for a little girl.
Many mothers involuntarily use this term of endearment.
It seems to me that this is a name for a certain kind of child.
Mouse suggests the image of delicate, gray little fur, of a dainty, swift little creature, which scurries past before disappearing into a corner again, of a friendly, warm, and lovable being, shy toward strangers.
That’s how I imagine the little dreamer.
Now to the amplifications: Brehm calls the mouse the most faithful companion of man, which follows him to the farthest north and to the highest Alpine huts.
He describes it as charming, amiable, also curious, crafty, and very skillful.
It runs, jumps, and climbs even on a blade of grass.
It can even run on two legs like a human.
It is very fertile; each year it gives birth to about thirty young, and a newborn female casts its young already after forty-two days.
Young mice are extremely small and nearly transparent, says Brehm.
According to Schrader, the word mouse is derived from an ancient Indian word, mush, which means “to steal.”
Vice versa, mausen means “to nick” in our dialect.
As to the mythology: it says in the Handbook of German Superstition that dwarfs and elves often turn into mice or slip into mouseholes.
Earth-, mountain-, and house spirits help man in the form of mice, and guard treasures.
Bewitched virgins or wise women sometimes appear as mice.
The transformation into a mouse is often a punishment, for instance, because of a fondness for sweet things.
Peucer saw the devil in the form of a mouse, running back and forth underneath a woman’s skin. Witches try to escape from the fire by turning into mice.
While the girl witch is dancing with Faust on the Brocken, a little red mouse jumps out of her mouth.
Innocent children’s souls and the souls of the just appear as white mice, those of the godless as red ones.
The souls of unborn children, too, appear as white mice.
There is a very widespread notion that the soul leaves the human body during sleep in the form of a mouse, sometimes to quench its thirst, sometimes to cause nightmares in people, animals, and trees—in that case, it is usually the soul of a girl.
If the mouse does not return, the girl will die.
To whistle after mice means to lure the souls into the afterworld. Mice are often signs of death.
Gray and black mice generally indicate disaster.
They spread the Black Death and other diseases.
The white mouse appears as a fever demon but, on the other hand, also attracts fever.
It is said that mice are created out of earth or putrefaction, or are made by witches.
Because of their gray color they are seen as tempest animals, coming from the clouds or the fog, or being brought by the wind.
The Teutons, Greeks, and Romans named the muscle after the mouse—mus.
The uterus is called mouse sometimes.
There are also etymological links between mouse and girl.
Now let me try to interpret: the mouse is a soul animal, an image of the psychical reality that is difficult to grasp (it disappears into holes).
It is a form of the soul closely connected with muscle, flesh, body, sexuality and fertility, and the devil.
This is probably the reason for the extraordinary fear and excitement it arouses in many women.
As a transparent mouse, it has obviously just been born, something still very little and clumsy.
Let me also give you the amplifications to “transparency.”
When we talked about the glass house on the pyramid, Professor Jung mentioned that transparency would be the expression of a spiritual being, of a disembodied, spiritual existence, of the subtle body in a still unmaterialized state.
In India, the subtle body is represented by the lingam, the phallus symbol.
Thus the mouse, in its meaning as a uterus, is also an analogous female symbol
of the subtle body.
We may probably interpret the transparent mouse, therefore, as the subtle body of the dreamer.
The girl sees her own, still hardly born soul. Transparent brings to mind glassy.
The transparent mouse probably corresponds to the glass vessel in which the homunculus, the little man, is to come into being, “the Tom Thumb who dwells in the hollow of the heart.”—The fairy tale “The Glass Coffin” tells that the servants of the bewitched princess are captured in glass vessels as blue smoke or as colored spiritus.
“Once worms came into it, and the mouse turned gray.”
Worms represent one of the lowest possible stages of animal life.
They are segmented and their nervous system consists only of chains of ganglia.
They impress us as a bunch of muscles with a mouth and intestine.
We can hardly feel into such a low stage of nervous life.
They blindly devour the fertile ground, in which they originated, and probably know, besides that greed, only a vague feeling of life and movement, and a blind feeling of being confronted with the resistance of matter.
Worms are found in dead bodies, in putrefaction and decay.
African myths explain that the soul stays in the body until the first worm, the soul worm, comes out of it.
As to the interpretation: for a naive observer, the worms eat earth and transform earth into life, into movement, into greed.
They transform matter into soul. They are life originating in death.
Worms symbolize the first, unreflected movements of the soul—contents that are still colorless, still completely undifferentiated and incoherent, without feeling, without reason, the stirrings of the blind life instinct.
Worms are the most primitive forms of psychical reality, hidden in matter.
They belong to an unconscious level, in which the soul is still completely projected onto the outside, onto objects, and in which we experience the world only by blind devouring, by the resistance of the matter, and by involuntary innervation.
Soul is here still little more than a physical-chemical substrate.
The entering worms are the soul of the matter; they take their lement, matter, into the transparent mouse.
This means that the soul, driven by greed, begins to “eat the world,” to get entangled in the world. The subtle mouse becomes a real, gray mouse.
Darkness, impurity, the gray shadow enter into the pure vessel.
“Then snakes came into it, and it turned red.”—The snakes are hermatocryal, scaled reptiles; they breathe with their lungs and have a cerebrospinal nervous system.
According to superstition, “a man’s marrow, especially from the backbone, turns into snakes.”
When someone makes a fire at night in places with many poisonous snakes, he will soon experience how the snakes will be attracted by the fire and come crawling from all sides, so that he will have his hands full for hours fending them off.
Snakes feed almost exclusively on living animals, which they attack and devour in toto.
Snakes are of various colors and markings: green, yellow like sand, depending on their habitat.
Those living underground are often characterized by a beautiful metallic luster.
The Teutons used the same word, ormr, for worm, snake, and dragon.
In the primitive view, the snake is a bigger worm, which creeps out of the earth toward the fire.
Regarding the appearance of the snake in mythology: you remember what Ms. von Franz told us about the snake as an earth demon, as soul of the dead or the heroes,
as a dark god of the Ophites, as the snake of the river bed, as movement, as vital force, as time, and as the snake of salvation.
Philo says of the snake that it would be the most spiritual among the animals, that it would move with exceptional speed, and that its nature would be that of fire.
Ninck points to the fact that the expression, “sparkling snake,” is often used for the eye of the hero.
He says of the dragon, “that fire sparkles out of its eye and mouth.”
The dragon blood has the properties of fire: weapons melt and steel is hardened in it.
The mouse turns red because of the intruding snakes.
Red is the color of fire, of blood, of wine, the color of embers and of inebriation.
In the Handbook of German Superstition, red stands for life and death, for fertility and danger.
According to the Hermetic tradition, red is the color of the spirit, of gold, and of the sun.
Let me again try and interpret: snakes force their way into the gray mouse.
Where life stirs in the dark womb of the earth, it will soon come to the light of day and assume a color, that is, the psychical stirring assumes a certain emotional color, which will at first still be identical with the respective environment, just as snakes show the color of their environment.
The snakes force their way from the outside into the mouse.
It is as if it were attacked by the instinctual stirrings that seem to intrude from the objects into the being in the retort.
What comes into being feels attacked, assaulted, devoured, and, at the same time, invaded by sudden, forceful impulses, by sudden wishes and compulsions.
It has no wishing and feeling of its own, but rather wishes and compulsions that attack it from the objects.
These wishes and compulsions finally reach consciousness, because the snakes open up, with their cerebrospinal system, the possibility of a connection between the sympathetic nervous system and the brain.
A knowledge about the wishes is added to the wishes as such.
The more snakes intrude, that is, the more instinctual wishes are accumulated in the retort, the hotter it gets in it.
The black mouse turns red, the blood warms, the fire of passion erupts.
Here alchemy speaks of the “red slave,” and rightly so, because the being in the retort is at the complete mercy of the heat; it does not yet have a counter-magic with which it could fight or control the fire.
Erupting passion calls for action, for attack, assault, and devouring, snake-wise.
The snake symbolizes the freeing of the energy, the aim at an object, aggressiveness, and drive.
The turning red of the mouse shows that the heat of the soul develops out of the material soul, so that passionate wishing is no longer experienced as imposed by the outside, but as an inner compulsion.
Before, the shadow entered into the mouse, now the animus is revived; the male instinctual force is awakened, which wants to conquer the world to possess it.
And each new conquest feeds the fire and the heat.
“Then came fish, and it turned blue.”—Fish are cold-blooded vertebrates with a barely developed cerebrum, but with gill breathing.
Brehm says that fish perhaps surpass all other animals in their endurance.
Salmon can cover a distance of twenty-six feet in one second, and up to 15.5 miles in one hour. It can cut like an arrow
through the water. Most fish are predators, voracious, and audacious.
When they rest—the state corresponding to our sleep—their lidless eyes never cease to be receptive to the environment.
The fertility of fish is enormous.
A codfish lays up to nine million eggs.
Fish change their color according to their psychical processes; when sticklebacks, for instance, get enraged or want to conquer a position with regard to the females, they change from a greenish, silver-speckled, matte coloring to a crimson to reddish-yellow and shiny green color.
The habitat of fish is the sea, down to the deepest depths, from the Pole to the equator, and up to the mountain rivers and lakes.
Let us have a look at their mythology: In the fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife,” the flounder appears as a wish-fish.
It fulfills all the wishes of Ilsebill.
But when she wants to be God Himself, she plunges back into her old misery.
In Hofmannsthal’s Woman without a Shadow, seven little fish are the souls of unborn children.
The little children, who are gotten out of the well, live as little fish in it.
Three wise women dressed in blue coats appear to an Icelandic wife of a count, and order her to go to a nearby river, to lie down and drink, and to take the trout she will see into her mouth, and then she will become pregnant.
During the Annunciation, Mary is described as fetching water from a well, or as eating a fish.
The fish is Christ, so called after the constellation of Pisces, in which the vernal equinox entered after the beginning of Christianity.
In the mystical epitaph of Bishop Aberkios, there is a passage: “Belief (impersonated as a woman) always went ahead of me and gave me a fish to eat from a well, a gigantic, pure fish that a holy virgin had caught.
This fish she always gave the friends to eat, with well-watered wine, together with bread.”
Aberkios speaks about the Last Supper or about the fish meal on Fridays, an ancient custom that In the fish sanctuaries of Western Asia, the fish were kept in sacred ponds, sometimes adorned with golden jewelry, on which formulas or whole poems were engraved.
A Babylonian god was called fish as well as “writing stone of Bel.”
In an Irish myth, the “salmon of wisdom” plays a great role.
He who eats it will become the wisest seer in the world.
To this day, Irish peasants say: “They will not be able to do justice to the cause unless they have eaten from the ‘salmon of wisdom.’”
The Greek alphabet was ascribed to the mythical Orpheus, whose name is translated as “fisherman” by Eisler.
In a Merovingian liturgical manuscript we can see how the thoughts are held by letters in the form of fish.
The mouse turns blue because of the intruding fish.
The pure clear water is blue, the mountains are blue, the sky is blue.
Romantic longing searched for the “Blue Flower.”
The little boy described by Maeterlinck searches for the bluebird and finds the way to the primordial images.
Blue coats are worn by the wise women who, as swan virgins, are linked to the water, to the mist, and to the sky.
Mist rises from the
water, rises up into the blue sky, to fall back on earth as rain.
In alchemy and tarot, blue is the color of the moon, of silver, and of the soul.
Now to the interpretation: fish come swimming, they surface and disappear, effortlessly they float in the waters and slip away, fish of all colors and forms; inconceivably fantastic are the creatures of the deep sea, enchantingly beautiful in their colors, fabulous the goldfish; some of them shine, others are transparent like glass, others dark
and dangerous, silent, lively images that chase one another, devour one another, playing in the boundless element.
They bring their coolness, the diversity of the various colors and forms, the unborn
potentialities, into the red-glowing mouse.
Thoughts emerge, ideas, premonitions, and feelings, hard to grasp, vague in their origin and where they go, one idea devours another, new ideas emerge, enormous sowings of clearly contoured images in the indeterminate, undulating change of the spiritual element.
And the voraciousness of the fish?
How easily an impression, a feeling, is swallowed by another content, how easily we ourselves fall prey to an “ism,” an ideal, a primordial, overwhelming image.
The blue, cool flood flows into the mouse with the fish swimming toward the light and with the “salmon of wisdom.”
It turns blue, blue glass or ice, a sapphire, a cleansed mirror of life.
Where previously wanting and compulsion reigned, now the wish and the idea emerge, where the impetus was caused by and directed to the outside, now the nature and the action of the environment intrude, the imaginary world of the unconscious, the thinking that is in the air.
Feeling is no longer bound to the environment; it now becomes a living form of the content, a psychical expression.
Where previously there was fighting and activity, now there is also feeding and passivity.
In the blue mouse the soul becomes the anima, which mirrors the contents.
Life flows in and assumes a solid form. The thoughts become cool and clear.
“Then people came, and it turned into a human being itself.”—Now what shall I tell you about the humans, about the species homo?
That they have an erect posture and thus display their double relatedness, to above and to below?
Or, as Pico della Mirandola says: “So he is free to sink to the deepest layer of the animal world. But he can also rise to the highest spheres of God.”
And which of the myths is the right one here?
In legends, the hero kills the dragon and wins the virgin; frogs, lions, and bears turn into
Deer and swans turn into virgins, fish into nixies, and then new complications arise, bringing suffering with them and calling for decisions.
What is it that distinguishes man from animals? Is it his reason that makes him tell right from wrong? Is it his eros, his potential for faithfulness and loyalty, or for unfaithfulness and treason? Is it the freedom of will that makes him say yes to all that wants to exist? Is it consciousness that experiences: all that is, and I am——? And the one human into which the mouse is transformed?
To begin with, let me give you some parallels to the gradual structure of this dream.
You will then understand that I have little to say about this final, most crucial transformation.
First, an Australian myth: The ancestor of the Unmatjera tribe was a lizard.
He was lying in the sun, stretched his legs, and as he looked around, there was a second lizard beside him.
Surprised, he called: “But this is my spitting image!”
And again he was lying there, and again he looked around, and again there was a new lizard.
In this way he multiplied his existence by watching.
They all came out of his body without his realizing it.
And as he was again lying still, he became a man.
The myths of the Zuni Indians are more elaborate.
They know of four cave worlds, lying on top of one another, through which the humans
climb up on a plant from the dark to the light of day, in order to take off their slimy and scaled clothes.
In one version, these worlds have the following names: the inner world of raw dust, the inner world of soot, the inner world of mist, and the inner world of wings.
I think there is a very elaborate parallel in Tantric Yoga.
This visualizing yoga knows seven mandalas, situated one above the other, which correspond to certain body parts, and which are successively to be awakened and meditated by the ascending Kundalini serpent.
The lowest of these mandalas is the earth lotus.
It corresponds to the gray mouse. It is the place of the world-bound souls.
In its center there is the lingam, colored like a fresh sapling, perhaps reminiscent of a worm.
Coiled around the lingam, the Kundalini serpent sleeps.
In it sleeps the essence of the highest experience.
When it awakens, it ascends, passing through all lotuses to bring them to life.
It is the driving force, the compulsion to become conscious.
The animals in our dream can be seen as a transformational form of the Kundalini.
The dragon in the second lotus corresponds to the snakes in our dream.
Above, there is the fire circle, the center of emotions.
This is the navel lotus, in the region of the solar plexus.
The fish correspond to the heart-lotus, with a fleeing antelope.
Nearby there is the place of the “divine wish-tree.” In this lotus thinking begins.
Then follows the ether airspace or firmament-lotus, which reveals its connection with the blue mouse by its blue ovary and by its name, “circle of purification and ablution.”
Above, in the two-leaved, winged circle of knowledge, there are no longer any animals.
There the yogi sees the highest, eternal god, the incarnate, primordial man.
And finally, in the highest, thousand-petaled lotus, the yogi receives the “knowledge of one’s own self.”
The name of this place is “eternal blessedness,” and some call it salvation, Atman knowledge, or knowledge of existence itself.
Another parallel is given by astrology, in the sequence of the historical ages.
About six thousand years ago, the first historical written records were made in the Age of Taurus.
The earth element is assigned to the constellation Taurus.
In ancient Egypt, the spirit found its expression through the medium of matter, the stone, and the earth.
Two thousand years later, the vernal equinox entered the constellation Aries.
With that, a fiery age began, as witnessed by Moses, when he sees God in a fiery bush, or when God appears to His people as a pillar of fire.
Around the birth of Christ, there follows the Age of Pisces. Pisces is a water sign.
That is probably why we have to look for the spirit in the water, in life’s flow of images, and in the unconscious.
And now we are on the threshold of the sign of Aquarius.
The air element is assigned to it, and it is symbolized by an angel or a human being, instead of an animal.
Here the spirit is meant to become something subtle again, and man to become who he is.
This juxtaposition shows what is meant by man in general and by the one person in our dream.
These final stages correspond to the lotuses of Atman-, Purusha-, or God-knowledge.
It is a union with Christ and an experience of the self, or an anthropogenesis that will
be fully realized only in the coming Age of Aquarius.
I am not able to make this reaching of the final stage clear to you.
Let me quote instead from Meister Eckhart’s sermons.
You surely know the words of Meister Eckhart: “All nature means man.”
And another one: “All creatures feel an urge to rise from their lives to their inner nature. All creatures carry my reason within themselves, so that they may gain reason in me.
I alone again prepare all creatures for God!” (All creatures—thus also man!)
And about the final transformation: “When the soul has to realize that no creature at all can come into the Kingdom of God, it begins to feel itself, goes its own way and no longer seeks God. Only then does it die its highest death.
In this death the soul loses all desire, all capability of thinking, all form, and is deprived of all essence.
Now at last it finds itself in the highest primordial image, in which God lives and is active, where He is His own kingdom.”
Here the soul has found out that it itself is the “Kingdom of God.”
That is why the Church Fathers particularly stress “that the humanness of Jesus must not be just adored separately from the deity, but both have to be worshipped together in one single act.”
Now let us consider what the dream wants to tell the little girl.
Look, it says, look at this little mouse, this little, subtle, fragile being.
This is the origin of all humans.
This is not about the growth of the body, because it does not start with the parents.
Neither is it about the “Spirit from Above,” because the image of God does not stand at
What it is about is something very little, the mouse, that elusive, pilfering, devilish little animal.
And for a long time it goes through many transformations.
At first come the worms, disgusting and voracious.
Through greed the soul becomes entangled in the world, it becomes earthen, dark, and evil.
It is touched by the objects and the humans, and everything is gray and dark.
Then come the snakes, uncanny and dangerous.
Fast as lightning they dash forward, devour their victims and disappear in the fire.
Possession by the instincts, obsession, and heat of the blood lead to fiery desire and fervent compulsion.
And now the magical beauty of the playing fish, colorful, shining, transparent, veiled.
They bring the blueness of the sea with them, the feasts of heaven.
Endless are the possibilities of being, the varieties of wishes.
Whence they come we do not know.
Accept them, for they bring coolness, clarity, knowledge, and wisdom. And then the humans: young and old, men and women, ancestors and grandchildren, each burdened with his or her experience, fate, and cross.
Take them into your experience and behold, this becomes the one, the all-encompassing, the all-representing human being.
So this is a reversed Bardo Thödol, beginning with what is lowest and smallest, to bring all creatures home to the blessedness of the soul.
The Tibetan teachings about the dead, however, incessantly remind us: “Realize that you are looking at yourself. This is you. Everything depends on your reality and that image becoming one.”
We know that the little girl died one year after this dream.
The dream does not reveal anything pathological to me, it has a lysis.
Although all the animals that appear in it are considered souls of the dead, they stand in logical connection with the inner development.
What is alarming is only the absolute completeness of the archetypal vision, and this at an age when the archetypal images should be covered and suppressed by her own perceptions and experiences.
This openness to the invasion by the unconscious indicates that she is endangered, that the infantile consciousness was profoundly shaken for reasons we do not know.
In our amplifications to the mouse we have heard that the soul leaves the body at night in the form of a mouse, to quench its thirst; it is said that in most cases this is the soul of a girl, and that if the mouse does not come back, the girl will die.
In our dream, the girl sees her soul mouse, but it does not turn toward her.
None of the animals comes to her; all pass by as in a film, and in no instance is she
addressed directly or involved in an active way.
On the contrary, it is as if everything living left with the animals for an afterworld of images; thus a process takes place that is appropriate for old age, not for this early childhood.
We can perhaps draw only one conclusion from the amplification for the inner situation of the girl: that her soul is thirsty—thirsty for living water.
And this dream originates in the living water, only she is not able to grasp it.
That is why she confides in the father: maybe he can grasp it.
Dream Psychology Tantrism Astrological Age glass mouse (lingam) worms germ
gray shadow world circle Taurus, earth snake dragon red animus fire circle Aries, fire fish gazelle blue anima firmament circle Pisces, water ablution humans circle of knowledge seeing Purusha the human self thousand-petaled Aquarius, air being circle knowledge of (human being, Atman angel) vision of one’s own self
And when we look at it now in retrospect, we are most unsettled by what she conveys with it: “Father, here you have your little mouse.
I am going to the beyond of the images, and I am leaving you this dream so that you know what happens and how it happens.
I am becoming a subtle vessel, your point of crystallization.
It is still only a pending possibility, but death and dissolution can make real what is only imagined now.”
At a Later Meeting of the Seminar [5 February 1940]
Professor Jung: This dream was dreamed one or two years before the death of the child.
I have chosen it from a series of twelve dreams, and we will hear about still another dream from this series.
All of them are extremely peculiar; I have come across only a few such dreams, and was surprised when I read them for the first time.
At first I did not know at all what this might be about.
We have to go through such dreams very thoroughly and carefully to find out pproximately what they might tell.
For this, the only appropriate method is amplification, because nothing of relevance can be deduced by reduction from the relatively meager visual language of the dream.
This Freudian method would lead nowhere; we would finally arrive at some banal conclusion, perhaps something generally known.
Some little misery or other would come to light.
If we conceive of this dream as a message of the unconscious, however, made in an oracular language, so to speak, we make a certain presupposition: we assume that the dream has a meaning.
But as we cannot easily make a coherent whole out of the few visual notions, this
meaning remains hidden to us for the moment.
So it will not be immediately evident to us that this dream of the transparent mouse refers to the development of man, although its meaning seems to be expressed in the final sentence: “And that’s how all men and women develop.”
At first this ideational connection strikes us as very strange.
If we did not know anything about the child, it would be hard to realize that there lies a destiny behind this dream, and that the dream does indeed refer to the end, which has already cast its invisible shadow.
I saw the child myself at that time.
She looked fragile, but was in no way ill. I would have never guessed at the time that an exitus letalis might happen in the near future.
The only thing I can say is that the child impressed me as a bit precocious.
There was no neurosis, no hereditary taint by mental illnesses.
I know the father and the mother and practically all the details about the family, so that I can exclude such a possibility.
In the case of such strange dreams it is by no means absurd to think of a schizophrenia and to inquire after the hereditary taint; in any case this is a sign to be careful!
Such dreams, which surprise us by their strangeness, also occur in other cases, namely, in children who have a touch of genius themselves or come from families of geniuses.
But in that case the dreams are of a different kind, and show a greater richness.
The series from which this dream was taken, however, is not characterized by a very powerful fantasy; every
single dream is actually meager and not drawn from the abundant wealth of the unconscious.
It rather seems as if the child had sunk into the unconscious with a part of herself—perhaps favored by her weakness—and was subsequently permeated by thoughts and images that she then could grasp only in her childlike language.
In this dream, the essence is expressed in the final sentence: “That’s how all men and women develop.”
This is the leitmotif of the dream, so to speak.
Without any doubt this is a general idea, a conclusion that the dreamer herself draws.
We now have to ask ourselves:
What does it mean for the child when such an idea rises from the unconscious? What psychical state does this imply?
Participant: Perhaps the child’s development did not proceed undisturbed, so that it has to be brought to her attention somehow.
Professor Jung: At first we have to take the generality of the idea as our starting point, and disregard the particularity of the development for the moment.
Obviously, it is the dream’s tendency to acquaint the child with the general idea that all humans develop.
What does this mean for the child’s consciousness?
Participant: The dream sounds like a primitive myth.
Professor Jung: This is correct, but this refers to the “how” of development, and not to the fact that development, as such, takes place.
What could this mean: “That’s how all men and women develop”?
What meaning does this have? What does it imply?
You always have to imagine a dream as like a conversation you overhear on the radio or the phone.
Somebody says something, you hear a sentence of conversation, then the conversation breaks off again, and now you should reconstruct what had been said.
That’s how you should think of dreams.
It is always a “listening in.”
You just overhear something for a moment.
Something becomes clear subliminally.
You wake up with a sentence on your lips, but perhaps you’ve even forgotten the dream, too.
We have to try to understand such a dream as an answer to the conscious situation of the child. What question may have preoccupied the child? Perhaps she asked herself: “How do people actually come into being?” Do you think that this is the question here?
Professor Jung: Why not?
Participant: Because the sequence of the images in the dream is no biological developmental line.
If this were the question, the dream would have to start with the parents.
Professor Jung: Yes, this is not about the question: where have I come from?
The dream does not show a biological, but a completely different developmental line.
At first we have to clarify the psychical situation of the child, because none of all that existed in her consciousness.
Participant: It seems as if she hadn’t had the time to wait for the real development.
Participant: Perhaps the child felt she was somebody special, so that she had to be told: “You, too, are just one of all those.”
Participant: Often persons whose death is imminent undergo an accelerated development. A whole life unrolls in a very short time. So it could be that the dreamer has experiences that anticipate her development, because she is marked by death.
Professor Jung: I have already mentioned a couple of times that we cannot apply our notion of time to the unconscious.
Our consciousness can conceive of things only in temporal succession, our time is,
therefore, essentially linked to the chronological sequence.
In the unconscious this is different, because there everything lies together, so to speak.
To some extent, in the unconscious we all still live in the past; in a way we are still very little children, and often only very little is needed for the “child” to come to the surface.
At the same time, we are standing in the shadow cast by a future, of which we still know nothing, but which is already somehow anticipated by the unconscious.
So if the child is going to leave this world in the relatively near future, it is conceivable the unconscious has already in some way anticipated death.
We can assume that the closeness of death has already cast its shadow on the soul of the child, and has raised questions in her such as: “Why did it come into being in the first place, if it will end anyway?” Or: “Why did it come into being? For what reason?”
It must have been a philosophical question, because the answer is also philosophical.
It is a question that we ask before we die: “Now what was this really all about?”
Like the question that Newton himself answered on his deathbed—he said that he had played on the beach with the other boys, and had found a shell more beautiful than those of the others.
This is such a philosophical answer to a philosophical question.
The dream, too, also leads a kind of philosophical conversation, and the philosophical answer is: “That’s how all men and women develop,” meaning: “That’s how humans, as such, come into being.”
If we apply this hypothesis to the other dreams of the series, we will realize that actually each of the dreams is of a philosophical nature and contains the answer to a philosophical question.
There is a dream, for example, that the dreamer titles “Heaven and Hell,” which goes as follows:
Once I went to heaven with a man.
There were people there who danced heathen dances.
Then we went to hell. There were angels, who did all the good.
This dream contains the idea of the relativity of good and evil.
In a similar manner, this peculiar philosophical character recurs in all the dreams of this dream series, so that we find confirmation of our assumption that the present dream contains an answer to a philosophical question.
The single dreams of a series are logically linked to one another, they express a common content and refer to one and the same psychical situation.
When we have the key to one of these dreams, we will usually understand the whole series.
What is surprising in this series is the strangely impersonal character of the individual dreams.
The events are observed as from a distance of a million light years.
It is very hard to feel into this; but then the dreams are so instructive precisely because they demonstrate man’s existential questions without any reference to the ego.
This is especially clear in the dream titled “The Evil Animal,” which we will discuss in our next meeting.
Also the dream called “The Island” by the dreamer has this strange, objective character:
Once I was on an island, and it was full of little animals that crawled in all directions.
This really scared me.
Then they got terribly big, and one sassy bastard ate me up.
In all these dreams, the dreamer states quite matter-of-factly that that’s how it was.
But the situations are such that we would have to expect a much stronger emotional reaction, if, that is, there had been a connection to ego-consciousness.
How does the present dream portray the way men and women develop?
It gives a description as we might find in the tribal lore of the primitives.
A primitive cosmogonic fairy tale could sound quite similar.
The dream is along the lines of ancient patterns, and, therefore, Mrs. Brunner has quite correctly traced these correspondences.
Four different forms of transformation are distinguished, to which different colors are attributed.
They correspond to a certain sequence of stages from animal to man.
Here these stages are characterized by the gray mouse with the worms, the red mouse with the snakes, and the blue mouse with the fish; the final stage is man, to whom no color is assigned any longer.
This sequence is quite imperfect, and seems to be a bit contradictory at first sight.
So the stage of the fish, for example, comes after that of the snakes.
What might be the reason for that?
Participant: For children and primitives the worms and the snakes belong together.
Professor Jung: Yes, of course.
In former times the snake was also called worm, as, for instance, in blindworm.
Certain superficial similarities may have been the reason for this: they are of similar shape, they creep in the earth and in secret holes.
Both are chthonic animals.
Their equation is an expression of a very primitive view, however, because the anatomy of the snake is much more sophisticated than that of the worm.
In phylogenesis, the snakes come after the fish, in accordance with their more highly developed nervous and respiratory systems.
The transformational forms of the mouse imply the idea of different worlds: the worms live in the earth, the fish in the water, and man actually belongs to the air world, because he carries his head in the air (what is missing, however, is the world of fire).
Man’s erect posture has already given rise to many philosophical reflections.
It is not easy to classify the snakes in this context.
Apparently, they did not always creep with their bellies on the ground, but were only later cursed to do so, as it says in the Bible: “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:14).
But why is it the mouse, of all animals, that is the medium of the development?
We cannot give any compelling reasons for this, but Mrs. Brunner has given you enough evidence that the mouse is a soul animal. She has also quite correctly pointed to the transparency of the mouse and interpreted it as spirituality.
Transparency is a criterion for the spirituality of matter.
So the lapis philosophorum is also called vitrum (glass), precisely because it is of a spiritual nature, or lapis aethereus.
So we have to imagine that the mouse, by virtue of its transparency, can form the spiritual vessel, in which the various transformations from animal to man take place.
The starting point of this development is the gray mouse.
The gray mouse is, as Mrs. Brunner has mentioned, an animal that stands in connection to the darkness of the soul; it represents that fleetingly glimpsed, dark nature of man that makes itself unpleasantly felt from time to time, above all at night. Mice are also allegories of gnawing thoughts, therefore, of pricks of conscience, that haunt us like spirits at night.
These are chthonic animals with a certain relation to death.
As deathly animals, they are brought in connection with Apollo.
The Greeks worshipped Phoebus Smintheus, that is, the Mouse-Apollo, in whose temple
mice were kept under the altar.
There they were looked after and cared for, and in a way this had the meaning of apotropaic magic.
We might ask what, for heaven’s sake, Apollo, the sun god, should have to do with mice.
Now we know that Apollo is not only the god of light, but also the bearer of death, because his arrows can bring the plague, which is an illness that is spread by animals such as mice and rats.
The mouse in general is an uncanny, deathly messenger.
A great mouse plague is an evil omen for a country.
This is understandable, because there were times when veritable mice epidemics broke out, when they multiplied in great numbers, destroyed all the crops, and caused famine and illness.
Participant: In Faust the mice also appear as spirits.
Professor Jung: Where?
Participant: When the pentagram prevents the devil from crossing the threshold.
Professor Jung: Yes, there Mephistopheles calls his assistants, the rats and the mice, that they should gnaw through the pentagram:
“The Lord of Rats and Mice,
Of Flies, Frogs, Bugs, and Lice,
Summons you to venture here,
And gnaw the threshold here.”
Participant: The gray color of the mouse is also the color of the spirits.
Professor Jung: Yes, it is the color of darkness and of the spirits.
So, you see, for all these reasons we may understand the mouse as a dark and enigmatic starting point of the development.
In Greek antiquity, for example, the mice that crept out of graves were considered the
spirits of the dead, and were, therefore, taken care of and fed.
The same was true of the snakes.
If such a snake from the grave came into the house, the whole family moved out, because the spirit of the dead had taken possession of the house (the same can also be
found in certain primitive tribes!).
In their capacity as spirits of the dead, snakes were even publicly worshipped in Greece.
The snake that was worshipped in the Erechtheion on the Acropolis was considered to be the spirit of King Erechtheus or Erechthonios, who was buried there.
Usually the living spirit of the dead was fed by sacrificed food offered to it through burial holes.
The snake cult also had an apotropaic meaning, because snakes are animals that suddenly appear out of the darkness and, therefore, frighten people.
Moreover, man is incapable of establishing a rapport with them.
They are as enigmatic and frightening as the unconscious, so, since time immemorial, man has protected himself against them as he has done against the unconscious.
Primitives, for example, wear amulets on each joint, and their whole life is completely regulated by an immense number of practices governed by fear.
They live as if imprisoned within walls they have erected out of fear of their unconscious, for it might well play a sudden trick on them.
Snakes, and particularly red ones, are not only spirits of the dead, but can also represent emotional states, as you have heard in the paper.
They stand for the heat of the soul, the fire of passion, and thus represent a more intense stage of development.
The fish, the next transformational form of the mouse, represent the water element.
Here the chthonic quality recedes into the background, and the spiritual begins.
Mrs. Brunner has quite correctly pointed out that fish are like thoughts and premonitions that rise from the unconscious.
There is an analogy in alchemy: when the primordial water, the humidum radicale, is sufficiently heated up, something like fish eyes (that is, steam bubbles) appears in it.
This is what is most precious in fish, that which is capable of being illuminated.
We may here interpret the fish, therefore, as the transition into spiritual element, into the air.
In creation there was only the primordial water at first, which also contained the air.
Then, it says, God divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.
The lower waters border the underworld, but the upper waters are the spirit.
According to alchemical philosophy, the spirit of life becomes visible here, the Holy Spirit.
The upper waters form the body of the pneuma and are a kind of corpus spirituale, or a spiritus corporalis, a subtle spirit.
At the final stage, humans come into being.
As we have heard, different colors correspond to the four stages.
We mentioned already that the color gray is the color of ghosts.
Gray is a combination color; it is semidarkness, in which light just starts to emerge from complete blackness.
In alchemy, nigredo is the initial state, in which death reigns, absolute unconsciousness.
Then follows the albedo, that is, whitening.
The alchemists call it the rising sun that brings the morning and the crack of dawn.
In this respect there is a certain analogy to the stage of the gray mouse.
In alchemy, red comes after white: after dawn comes sunrise, and after sunrise the full sun. In Greek alchemy, the complete constellation is called the “midday position of the sun.”
When the sun reaches its zenith, the meaning of the day is fulfilled.
What has been prepared during the night has now reached its highest perfection.
In other contexts, too, the finished body is called rubinus or carbunculus in alchemy.
It is a more intense state than albedo.
Red, as it is, is an emotional color and stands for blood, passion, and fire.
The blue color is assigned to the following stage.
Blue stands in stark contrast to red and indicates a cool and calming state.
Blue is the color of Mary’s mantle in heaven.
She is the womb in which Christ was born, and has always represented the symbol of a spiritual vessel.
Blue is also the color of water and can thus represent the unconscious:
just as we see the fish in the clear blue of the water, the spiritual contents contrast with the darkness of the unconscious.
The color blue cannot be found in alchemy, but it is found in the East, where it takes the place of black and actually represents a color of the underworld.
In Egypt, too, Osiris in the underworld is portrayed in black or blue.
It is more a bluish-green color that characterizes not only the underworld (Osiris as the “Master of Green”), but also the water world.
This world corresponds to the “lower waters,” in which the animals live as disembodied spirits.
Thus blue is also the bluish green sea that houses the spirits of the dead.
The fourth stage is man, to whom no color is assigned.
So the development occurs in four stages, and this is no coincidence.
This is the most frequently found structure, as, for instance, in a basic law of alchemy, according to which the process of transformation occurs in four stages.
This gives expression to the idea that everything human develops out of something divided into four.
In the legend of paradise, the river that flows out of the Garden of Eden parts and becomes four riverheads.
This image has been taken up by the Gnostics to illustrate the development of the inner human being.
According to Simon Magus, paradise is the uterus, and the Garden of Eden the navel.
Four flows emanate from the navel, two air- and two blood-vessels, so to speak, through which the growing child receives its food, the blood, and the pneuma.
In antiquity, the world was classified into four elements, to which also four temperaments corresponded.
Four reemerges in the work of Schopenhauer in the theorem of the Fourfold Root of
the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
In Christianity, the division into four is expressed by the symbol of the cross.
Where else does the division into four appear in Christianity?
Participant: In the benedictio fontis.
Professor Jung: Yes, in it the priest divides the water in the form of the cross, he seemingly divides it into four parts.
In this way he repeats the beginning of creation.
By this act the water becomes the mysterious, eternal, and divine water, by which man is cleansed of all sinfulness and impurity.
The ablution, as it were, puts him back into the primordial state of innocence.
Apart from the four there are, of course, still other sacred numbers, but in each case of totality quaternity plays an important role, be it about the most primitive or the most elaborate ideas.
The four always expresses the coming into being of what is essentially human, the emergence of human consciousness.
Thus, the alchemical process also begins with such a division into the four elements, by which the body is put back into its primordial state and so can undergo transformation.
- Dream of a Ten-Year-Old Girl of the Evil Animal Presented by Dr. Jolande Jacobi
Text: The Evil Animal. Once I saw an animal in a dream, and it had very many horns. With these it gored other little animals.
It coiled up like a snake, and was up to its tricks.
Then blue smoke came from all four corners, and it stopped eating.
Then came the Good Lord, but actually there were four good gods in the four corners.
Then the animal died, and all the eaten animals came out alive.
Professor Jung: As you have seen, this dream is rather difficult and, given the young age of the dreamer, really remarkable.
It is a product of the unconscious such as we rarely come across.
As in the dream we discussed last time, the expression is basically simple.
But that is precisely the astonishing thing.
At first glance we are nearly unable to form a picture of what it might mean.
Initially one does not have the courage to draw such far-reaching parallels as Dr. Jacobi, and to assume the presence of such fundamental problems of the history of mankind in a child’s mind.
But there’s absolutely no way around it, because we can be sure: the simpler a dream is, the more we are confronted with general and fundamental problems.
For it is only a deceptive simplicity, due to the fact that the dream, despite the importance of its content, has not found enough substance to express itself.
We could compare it to a framework of archetypes, for which there is already a disposition at the beginning of life, and which is gradually filled with substance in the course of development.
If a primordial image forces itself onto consciousness, we have to fill it with as much substance as possible to grasp the whole scope of its meaning.
Basically, in our dream only axes are hinted at, which express the core content of the image in a very general way.
The poverty of the composition strangely contrasts with the importance of the content.
At first there is a horned animal, a kind of dragon, which gores all the other animals.
It is a destructive monster that brings death to all living beings.
We could say: this is death.
Then the deity appears, actually divided into four gods, and reverses the whole process.
The monster dies, and the little animals can come out alive again.
This is a typical enantiodromia, which is already contained in nuce in the two extreme figures of the deity and the dragon.
This is about the age-old confrontation of man with god and devil, these two poles of the world into which he is put.
It is a deep-rooted dream of mankind, which reaches down into unfathomable depths.
Here it could not assume a more complete form, however, because there is still too little experiential material in an infantile mind.
We could ask ourselves: How come a child has such a dream?
It is a completely pagan dream, whose symbols can barely be still detected in Christianity.
We do find such images in the apocalypse, but there they are in such a complex context, and in such cryptic form, that today we are hardly able still to understand them.
So we may assume with reasonable certainty that the child did not get these images from the New Testament.
Moreover, she grew up in a family that did not attach much value to religious education.
The ancient historical images, so immensely attractive to children’s fantasy, no longer play any role at all today.
This is a loss for our souls, because we don’t give the soul a language to give expression to its contents.
In religious instruction, we more and more refrain from making children acquainted
with these images, and instead offer them moral teaching, in which the devil is ignored altogether.
But as this dream concerns an evil animal, which obviously represents the devil, we can be rather sure that the child did not get this image from school.
So we may probably exclude an influence on this picture from the outside.
The infantile soul
is no tabula rasa at all, as presumed by modern psychology, but the ancient images are always already there a priori.
Mrs. Jacobi has assembled excellent material, which enabled her to give a nearly complete explanation of the images.
I have nothing basically new to add, and would just like to make a few amendments.
What is remarkable is that the dream is divided into two parts.
We can distinguish a first, “descending” part from a following, “ascending” one.
These two parts correspond to the earlier-mentioned polar structure of the dream.
The dragon as representative of the first part symbolizes the organism in its two aspects of life and destruction.
It represents the being that in China is expressed by the yin principle.
The ascending part, in contrast, leads into the blue smoke, into the air, which by its nature corresponds to the yang principle.
It is the smoke that rises from the earth, and which contains the gods as spiritual beings or smoke figures.
Through them rebirth takes place.
The primordial image of the division into two, preceding each creation, is also found in Genesis; there, the darkness of the depths—the lower waters—is incubated by the spirit of God hovering above it.
Thus they are impregnated, and the creatures of the world emerge from them.
The first, descending part of the dream takes place, so to speak, in the lower waters, that is, in the unconscious.
The dragon gores the many little animals, so they are doomed.
The feature of multiplicity, here in combination with the animals, is an essential characteristic of all inherently unconscious life processes.
This phenomenon is also frequently found in illnesses that are on the border between the psychical and the physical, for instance, disorders of the sympathetic nervous system or also states of intoxication.
In the hallucinations during a delirium tremens often a great number of mice, insects, or also people, appears.
This multiplicity is closely connected to the nature of the sympathetic nervous system, because its function is neither centralizing nor unifying, but branching and disseminating into the individual life of each cell.
The image of the many little animals that are devoured thus indicates a dissolution and a destruction of organic life in this child.
A death is taking place, so to speak.
This process of destruction, by the way, is also hinted at in other dreams of this series, in which there is also a mass of animals, as in the dream entitled “A Severe Illness” by the child.
It goes as follows: Once I dreamed that I had a severe illness. Suddenly many birds came out of my skin, and they all sat down on my legs and on my whole body.
The phenomenon of multiplicity does not necessarily appear only in the case of an organic problem, as in this case, but can also indicate a dissolution of the person, the individual, into the collective environment.
Multiplicity, as such, is characteristic of any inherently unconscious life process.
The more unconsciously a process takes its course in a person, the stronger it is dissolved in the sphere of multiplicity, in the region of the many, of the others, of the mass, of the collective.
In these cases it is often difficult to prove that such a process still belongs at all within the sphere of the individual.
It is rather as if it were “in the air” and belonged to the many; therefore, it is also represented by the many.
I would like to illustrate this with a typical dream:
Someone dreams that he comes to me in my practice.
On the way, he meets lots of acquaintances and relatives, which annoys him.
Now everybody knows that he is going to Dr. Jung.
Then he enters my room, and again there are lots of people, so he can’t speak.
Here the unconscious state of the dreamer is hinted at by the multiplicity.
He is “scatterbrained,” not centered, that is, not brought together into one.
When someone is in such a state, every psychological process is contagious and leads to peculiar phenomena of participation.
On the one hand, deep psychical stirrings in the individual may then affect the whole environment, and, on the other hand, the individual is carried away when the environment is seized by some psychical momentum.
When you are in a crowd that gets agitated you will be infected, even if you do not share the people’s conviction.
You can’t do anything against it, because nothing is passed on more easily than emotions.
It goes straight into the unconscious, and then it is nearly impossible to hold out as an individual.
This is also how religious collective experiences work, in which each individual at the same time experiences the many, the others.
All are united with one another, and in all the same state of multiplicity predominates.
There is something destructive in this multiplicity; it turns against the unity of consciousness and dissolves it.
Wherever the multiple occurs, there is a conflict between the unity of the ego and the multiplicity of the persons in the environment.
The person is, in other words, under too much pressure from the environment, from the opinion of other people, and from what is written in the newspaper.
It can very frequently be proven that “the many” represent as many resistances and prejudices, which thwart the unity of the individual.
So in the dream some aunt may say: “Oh dear, now what are you doing, going to Dr. Jung?”
Or the father and the priest raise their objections.
The psyche will then be decomposed into many single units, and we actually will have to put the person together again so that he regains his unity.
So there is a great deal of collective psychology in the motif of the many little animals.
Thus our dream not only concerns the soul of this single child, but it pertains to much more, namely, to her parents, siblings, and the whole environment.
I have to add that the child is from a German family, and that the father was very active politically.
So there is no doubt that there is a great emphasis on the environment, and when exciting things happen there the child will be forced to take part in the emotional state of the family.
The first part of the dream represents the dissolution of the individual into multiplicity; the second part shows the complete reversal of the process: the dissolution is followed by the synthesis.
It occurs in the upper layer as represented by the blue smoke.
It says in the dream: “Then blue smoke came from all four corners,” and then:
“Then came the Good Lord, but actually there were four good gods in the four corners.”
The deity is something like vapor or smoke, rising into the air from below.
Simultaneously the principle of fourness appears: it is the tetras, the quaternity, which is always the symbol of composition, of bringing order into the chaos.
We saw already last hour that dividing the chaos into the four elements is the primeval
act of the seeing spirit; it is the attempt to bring order into the chaotic plenitude of phenomena.
The division into four is a principium individuationis; it means to become one or a whole in the face of the many figures that carry the danger of destruction in them.
It is what overcomes death and can bring about rebirth.
In our dream, the appearance of the four gods causes the death of the evil dragon animal, by which life can begin again: the many little animals all come out again.
The dragon as the dominating power in the first part of the dream prepares for the advent of the deity.
It is the devil, the devouring animal of the underworld that swallows everything.
But when it has devoured enough, it will have eaten its way into its own demise.
Events turn, and the second phase reestablishes order.
Thus the devil is a preliminary stage of individuation, in the negative it has the same goal as the divine quaternity, namely, wholeness.
Although it is still darkness, it already carries the germ of light within itself.
Its activities are still dangerous and deadly, but at the same it is like the darkness of earth in which the seed germinates.
In the dream it is, therefore, followed by the blue smoke, which rises from the depths
in the four corners, and in which the divine quaternity, the wholeness, becomes visible.
The fact that deity and devil belong together also plays a great role in alchemy.
There the devil appears in the form of the serpens Mercurii, which, however, is at the same time the serpent of the Nous.
For the Naassenes, too, the nachash, the serpent, is the Nous, or the Logos.
Psychologically speaking, the fact that the Logos at first manifests itself as a poisonous snake means that whenever a powerful content emerges from the unconscious, which we cannot yet grasp with our consciousness, there is a danger that the whole ego-consciousness will be pulled down into the unconscious and dissolved.
This introversion process can eventually lead to mental illness.
Consciousness is completely emptied, because its contents are attracted by the unconscious as by a magnet.
This process leads to a complete loss of the ego, so that the person in question becomes a mere automaton.
Such a person is actually no longer there. He makes the impression of a piece of wood that lets itself be pushed around.
He has completely lost his initiative and spontaneity, because his consciousness has been dissolved by a content of the unconscious.
In the process of individuation, too, new contents can announce themselves in this devouring form and darken consciousness; this is experienced as a depression,
that is to say, as being pulled downward.
As the unconscious has a tendency to project itself into the outer world, there is a danger that one might get dissipated in the environment, instead of staying with oneself.
That’s why the alchemists stress again and again that the alchemical vessel has to remain hermetically closed during the opus.
If the lid springs open, vapor will escape and the process will be disrupted.
Only when we bear our situation and accept our depression will it be possible for us to change internally.
Then the devouring animal will be deprived of its power, and the new content can be grasped by consciousness.
In the dream, the dragon animal appears as a horned figure, although the child does not specify the number of horns.
The image of the horned serpent is very frequent in mythology.
Seven horns stand in connection with the seven days of the week, to each of which a planet is assigned; in seven days the moon completes one phase (one week), and in four times seven days queen Luna, accompanied by the seven planets, wanders across the sky.
The idea of the seven planets also plays a great role in alchemy.
There they sit together in a subterranean cave; they are the seven that are hidden in the womb of the earth. Here the seven are representatives of the metals.
When the dragon has twelve horns, this corresponds to the twelve months or the twelve signs of the zodiac.
So we can say: the animal in the dream carries on its head, like a diadem or a crown, either the hebdomas, the seven planets, or the dodekas, the twelve signs of the zodiac.
In antiquity the image of the horned serpent was projected onto the sky.
It appears in the well-known image of Draco, which meanders as a shining ribbon of stars, as sky serpent, between the Great and the Little Bear and, while always visible, moves around the pole.
The world fire burns in this place, and, therefore, it is also called the fire pole.
There the dragon rotates, eternally watching the objects in the sky.
Now, we must not think that the ancients actually saw bears and snakes in the sky; this is a mythology inherent in all of us, which everybody can, therefore, reproject onto the sky.
Thus our science has started with the stars.
There our world consciousness came into being, and from there we took our science.
Our deepest inner layers are hidden in the stars.
When it is said that old Aratus interpreted the constellations mythologically, this is nonsense.
He did not interpret anything, but everything has always been as it is.
This sky serpent, the Draco, is the reproduction of a primeval image within ourselves.
Later, at the begin of the Christian era, Gnostic natural philosophers tried to incorporate these projections of the serpent into man, and to conceive of them as a part of the human structure.
The body of the serpent became the spinal cord, its head the brain.
This anatomical localization of the archetype contains an excellent interpretation,
insofar as the lower psychical centers of the spinal cord In astronomy, the constellation of Corona (crown) is not directly above the head of Draco, but this is irrelevant for the mythological interpretation.
are without doubt the seat of the unconscious.
Already the sky serpent, which winds around the mysterious North Pole, was based on
the idea of the serpent as the seat of the unconscious.
It revolves as if around its own center.
The world axis goes through the pole; it is in some sense the center of the world, but also the center of the unconscious around which everything revolves.
There the deity, the ruler of the pole, moves the whole firmament as if he had it on a handle.
The same idea can be found in the Mithraic liturgy, in which God swings the shoulder of a cow in his right hand.
This is the Great Bear, which rotates around the pole like the dragon.
A similar image of rotating serpents is found in the so-called Tantric Yoga, in which
the Kundalini serpent winds three and a half times around the lingam, the phallus of Shiva.
So if we take a very close look at the dragon with its mysterious horn, we will see that it also represents the deity, only in a different, dark aspect.
In the dream the dragon is followed by the blue smoke, rising out of the four corners, and thus being divided into four.
It represents the positive aspect of the deity.
To conclude, I would like to make some additions to the important notion of quaternity.
We often find it portrayed in Christian images, although it actually does not belong to the dogma; the latter is the Trinity, the threeness.
Quaternity is basically a pagan notion and much older than Christiantiy.
Originally it goes back to Pythagoras, who saw in quaternity the root of eternal nature.
It is a number that expresses the inner essence of nature.
This meaning has remained preserved through all times.
In Christianity, for example, we have the picture of the rex gloriae, the triumphant Christ, who sits enthroned amidst the four Evangelists.
Frequently their animal symbols are found instead of the Evangelists; three of them are symbolized by an animal, and only John, the fourth Evangelist, by an angel.
There are pictures from the Romanesque age, in which the Evangelists are portrayed with the heads of their respective animals: Mark with the lion head, Matthew with the eagle head, Luke with the head of a calf or an ox.
The four symbols of the
Evangelists have also been condensed to one animal, so that a tetramorphous emerged, a fourfold being, which served as the mount of the Church.
In the Gnostics, too, we find a portrayal of the Son of God on a platform on four pillars, the tetrapeza.
The four legs are the four pillars, which represent the four Gospels.
The Gnosis is rich in portrayals of quaternity.
You know, perhaps, the Gnostic “Anthropos,” the primordial man, who is symbolized by the city with the four gates.
He is the Autogenes, the one who gives birth to himself.
He is also surrounded by two parental couples, that is, four persons.
Moreover, in Irenaeus we find the idea of the upper mother (Anometer), the Barbelo.
She is the female appearance of the deity. Her name is interpreted as “in the four there is God.”
In numerous Gnostic systems there are such and similar ideas,
sometimes in the form that three further principles are deduced from a basic one.
Or the ideas are more Aristotelian, meaning that originally there are four elements, and the fifth, the quinta essentia, is their center.
For Aristotle this is the ether.
So the four is thought of as 3 1, or simply as 4, or as 4 1. In the latter case, however, the result is not the five—which would be an expression of the state of unconsciousness—
but the quinta essentia, which is always the extract or the origin of the four.
In alchemy, the idea of a month is a basic principle.
It is also called the prima materia, and the four elements develop out of it.
Out of these, in turn, the monas develops, which represents the spiritual unity of the four.
Here, too, quaternity is the unfolding of the one; it becomes a system of orientation for consciousness.
An example is the division of the horizon into four parts.
In addition, the four elements provide a first orientation in the world, and the four temperaments are an orientation in the chaotic psychical nature of man.
In accordance with these, the principles of human life were localized in the body in a
kind of system of chakras, namely, in the brain, in the heart, in the liver, and in the genitalia.
So, amongst others, reason and the sanguine temperament were associated with the brain, courage and the choleric temperament with the heart, the warmth of life and the melancholic temperament with the liver.
In alchemy, the division into four plays a very special role insofar as the nature of Mercurius is the cross.
In his fourfoldness he expresses the unity of the opposites.
Mercurius is the most peculiar and paradoxical being imaginable; he is also called the servus or cervus fugitivus, he who can never be caught and who runs through the fingers like quicksilver.
Mercurius is composed of four mercurii; their names are:
- mercurius brutus, the brute Mercurius, that is, common quicksilver (mercury);
- mercurius sublimatus, Mercurius as a spiritual being;
- mercurius magnesiae, magnesium as the vera alba, the pure substance, the shining wisdom, and the great light;
- mercurius unctuosus, the unctuous Mercurius, which gives expression to the darkest darkness that we find in the interior of the earth and of matter.
It is thought of as slimy, gooey, viscous, unctuous matter.
This Mercurius divided into four parts is in accordance with the idea of Mercurius as a hermaphrodite.
For he is the Re-Bis, the malefemale, who holds the new light. In the Middle Ages we find the idea that the unharmed virgin, who in turn is Mercurius, is living in the interior of the earth.
The alchemists were convinced that God had put a spiritual substance into the world, so that it would be transformed by man into the substance that brings salvation.
Regarding the polar appearance of the deity, there is a parallel in the meditations of Przywara, in which God appears as concurrence of the opposites.
When He manifests Himself, this happens in a conflict on the cross.
Here you can see the whole symbolism.
The conflict situation seems to have been the origin out of which consciousness developed, and still develops anew again and again.
We still witness this nowadays, day after day.
Nobody will ever become conscious if he does not hit his head on something.
Now why should the child dream of such problems?
This I don’t know. We can only state that this is what happened.
The child has been told a truth, the absolute, basic truth of humankind, for which there is no proof, of course.
The proof lies in the truth itself.
It is expressed by the soul and by what human beings have thought since time immemorial. These are the truths that live forever. ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dreams Seminar, Page 236-378