LECTURE IV 3June 1931
Last time we tried to interpret the black head which was contained in the egg, and I read the rest of the vision to you.
We should begin where she ritually kissed the black head and said that the fire from his mouth was going through her.
That is, she was permeated by the particular energy or dynamism contained in the head, or whatever the head means.
We spoke about the significance of the head as a sort of primitive mind, which had been in the egg, or in an undeveloped condition, and is now, when the shell is broken, coming out and taking possession of her.
It was an undeveloped germ contained in the unconscious, which had never before emerged on account of the unfavorable mental or spiritual condition of the time in which she was born.
But after the removal of many prejudices, this head, or mind, has a chance of developing, and it fills her with words of fire, like the tongues of fire in the miracle of Pentecost, when the disciples were permeated by the fire of the spirit.
As soon as she had received the fire, the head broke, which means that that particular form is overcome-exactly as the egg disappeared before-and she is filled with new energy; so we may expect that she will now be moved in a certain way.
That is expressed in the following part where she steps out onto a great plain, which suggests a free course, free movement in every direction.
And the first thing she meets there is a snake.
What would the snake suggest?
Mrs. Crowley: Would it be the Yin side of her nature?
Dr. Jung: But the new mind already contains a lot of Yin.
One doesn’t see why there should be a snake.
I told you in a former seminar that in old civilizations, in Rome for instance, the snake was very often used to signify the necessity of caution, and finally it became a sort of exclamation mark.
I told you of the use of the snake symbol on the Palatine to illustrate that.
When driving a car, one often comes to a certain sign, a triangle with an exclamation mark on it, which is a warning, a danger signal.
And so here the snake seems to be a sort of exclamation mark.
Most probably it simply means: look out, something you do not expect is ahead.
It will be a guide to this woman, because there is absolutely no indication of a road on that immense plain.
She is filled with that new mind and naturally she does not know where it will lead her.
When one gets a new insight, a new impulse in life, it is as if one were setting out for an unknown goal.
That is an archetypal situation which often occurs in human life.
Of course we are very rarely on an immense plain where we need the instincts of an animal to find our way, but in ordinary life we are very often, metaphorically, in a situation where we need the help of the instincts.
We come to places where there is no bridge, to situations which are utterly unhistorical, so that we have nothing for comparison, no analogies, and we don’t know what we are expected to do under such conditions.
Then it happens that useful animals appear; as when the hero in folklore or in a fairy tale is in a somewhat difficult situation, the helpful animal suddenly appears and shows him the way.
Here the snake appears, and it leads her through cool grass beside a river, and there she finds a landmark obviously.
why just a snake? Why not any other animal?
You see, snakes are always the most unexpected and the most startling of animals, and they have the disagreeable quality of being so close to the ground that one is always in danger of stepping on them.
A very primitive instinct makes us utter an exclamation when we come across a snake in the grass-naturally it is startling.
So, as I said, the snake is apt to be a sort of danger signal.
If it were a green snake, one would certainly say: “Now look out, here lies danger, it is perhaps poisonous, one never knows.”
The apparition of a snake since the beginning of the world, has been at least very dubious.
And as a psychological symbol, it always portrays something deeply unconscious, because it is associated with the intestines and with everything obscure in our psychology.
Therefore it is supposed to dwell in the spinal cord, in the nervous system, or in the abdomen.
Or deep under the sea, or in a cave, or underground.
At all events, the snake certainly indicates in this case that our patient should tread warily, she should not go forward heedlessly.
Now she comes to a river. What would that convey?
Dr. Gordon: New country on the other side.
Dr. Jung: You think of crossing the river right away!
Miss Taylor: Bathing.
Dr. Jung: It depends. That might be.
Mrs. Crowley: A river also suggests a snake because it has the same form.
Dr. Jung: Exactly.
There is the analogy, and that is a contribution to the meaning of the snake; as the snake winds along in the grass, so the river winds through the plain.
So we must understand the specific meaning of the river as a parallel to the snake.
What would the river mean then?
Mr. Allemann: The flow of life force, of libido.
Dr. Jung: Yes, or the waters of life.
The snake, particularly the green snake, very often means the path of life, as the river means the flow of life, or the path of fate; it has a source, it follows a potential, and it finally ends in the infinite sea.
Prof Demos: Is that the danger which the snake indicates, the river of life?
Dr. Jung: Yes, because she is approaching the river of life, things are getting a bit ticklish.
Prof Demos: Like the snake in the Garden of Eden. The snake meant the danger of life for Adam and Eve.
Dr. Jung: The real trouble began with that snake in Paradise, and there also they were approaching the river of life.
The river of life sounds very hopeful, very optimistic, but it is always a little uncertain; therefore most people try to remain upon the bank or even farther away if possible.
It is all very nice for other people, but for us it is not quite the thing, we might be drowned; it rushes along and might carry us away, so we think how we could quickly get over it as one steps over a snake.
If you have traveled in primitive and undeveloped countries you know that fording
rivers is generally rather unpleasant, particularly when there are animals in the river, crocodiles and other nuisances, or when it is deep and fast.
When at the end of a day you approach a river, you think, “Oh, here is a lovely river where we can camp”; but instead, you must cross the river at once, however late at night.
For you never know when there will be heavy rainfalls, the river might rise, and you might have to wait two weeks for it to go down.
So it is a principle when traveling in primitive country to cross the river as soon as you get to it and not to waste any time there, for it is better to have a high river at your back than in front.
Therefore the crossing of a river, or a ford, always symbolizes a typical danger in folklore; and dragons are supposed to live near the fords, or they are guarded by snakes.
There is a very interesting case, not in folklore but an actual experience, in Talbot’s book, In the Shadow of the Bush.
He tells of a ford which was supposed to be haunted by demons in the form of snakes.
He was traveling in Nigeria, and when he came to that ford he really met a snake, a cobra.
It went across the path between himself and his wife, who was preceding him. He shot the beast and it jumped into the air and hit him on the cheek, it might easily have bitten him.
He relates the story to show that Negro myths or legends are suggested by the real character of the situation.
He visited all the places that were supposed to be of bad omen or haunted and found that they were definitely uncanny, but on account of quite reasonable peculiarities.
Certain caves and rivers and fords were very dangerous.
I felt that uncanny quality myself.
The bamboo forests are the most feared, and they are the most uncanny places you can imagine, because one usually has to walk on rhino paths which are like tunnels, so there is no escape.
One moves furtively along, all bent over, and always looking ahead because the rhino might be round the next bend.
He charges at sight and there is only a minute to save oneself; the only thing to do is to
jump aside when he is about two yards in front because he shuts his eyes before charging.
But one is walled in by the bamboo trees; moreover, the ground is covered deep with leaves-it is liie walking in a swamp-so one is simply lost.
Now I don’t know whether snakes are especially apt to infest fords, but snakes and dragons are associated with them; and difficult places, like mountain passes, ravines, or lonely water holes in the desert, are generally supposed to be haunted by evil spirits or monsters, personifications of fear.
So a river may be a most serious obstacle when you have to cross it, or on the other hand, it can carry you along on a raft or boat.
But it is a bit doubtful in itself; it is not quite certain whether the way ahead is favorable
And that is so with the current of life.
When you trust yourself to it, you can never tell where it is carrying you, you never know what the goal of that winding river may be.
One of the reasons for our fear is that we do not like a crooked path, and it is quite right and reasonable to want to see ahead.
We need to see ahead; that is why consciousness was invented.
But the river of life has the disagreeable quality that we can never see round the bend, so we never know where we shall land eventually.
And yet we cannot avoid trusting ourselves to the current at timesfor a certain length of the way at least-and especially must this be so when we have to launch something new into life.
When a new fact in the unconscious is disclosed that needs to get into life, then you must trust yourself to the course of events; then you must plunge in and swim, or use some other contrivance that carries you.
Now in the river our patient sees the form of a man, which of course refers to her real problem, the man who is the stumbling block in the personal story.
And it means that in the river of life, in the course of events, that image will come up and she has to meet it.
Here you see something concerning that piece of the primitive mind which she discovered in the egg.
It says to her: Now this is your touchstone, this is the thing which you must eventually face.
But why should it be brought down to such a test?
People often ask me: Why should things get into reality, why could we not be satisfied with just a thought?
Af,r: Schmitz: It would be lifeless, it would be mere theory, and we cannot live on theories.
Dr. Jung: Yes, if the thing remained a mere thought, then the egg would not contain life; it would be an empty shell practically.
Then the game would not be worth the candle, it would not be worthwhile to
open the egg or to bother about such fantasies at all.
But we have to bother about them because they really contain those germs of life without which that particular life would remain mutilated or sterile; it only becomes living and real through the admixture.
Therefore when she opens the egg, when that head speaks to her, when the fire enters her, she will inevitably be confronted with reality.
So you understand why the snake appears as an exclamation mark. Look out!
Things are getting real.
Now she enters the water, she trusts herself to the course of events and follows after the man.
We have seen before that the animus usually precedes her in any situation where things are obscure and she does not trust herself, anticipating her or performing the rite de sortie.
That is what the primitives do before they go hunting or before they start out on the
warpath; they dance hunting or war in order to prepare themselves psychologically
for the real thing.
Here is something similar.
The animus assumes again the role of the leader of souls, the Hermes psychopompos.
He takes her by the hand, leaves the river, and enters a temple which is on the bank.
That is like part of a ritual; the leader of souls is now taking her into the temple.
We have no particular associations here, no material which would tell us, but how would you translate this temple psychologically?
Prof Eaton: There is an opposition between the idea of the temple and the river. The temple is static; it is a place where one worships or where rites are performed.
Dr. Jung: You establish a sort of contrast between the temple and the river, but there is one other important aspect in contradistinction to the river.
Prof Eaton: It is the difference between the flux and what is permanent.
And the temple is of human make.
Dr: Jung: Exactly, it is made by man, while the river is just a fact of nature.
The first part of the new development is that she has to trust herself to the natural course of events, to the potential, so she is led by the psychopompos or the animus in vias naturalis, following the natural flow of things.
And then he suddenly leaves it when they come to the temple.
Now the temple is made by man; it is static in contradistinction to the flowing river.
Also it is a place of seclusion, a sanctuary, and it is apt to be surrounded by sacred precincts, by a temenos; usually there is a walled-in place round the temple.
It is like a monastery or a church, a sort of refuge where the usual laws or forms of life come to an end and where there is a haven of rest.
Formerly refugees of war found shelter in sanctuaries against the violence of their enemies.
People protected themselves thus against the wear and tear of the ordinary worldly life,
against the fire of their own desires, and the deception of their own illusions.
They were sheltered under the wings of recognized and traditional truth against the dissociating influences and all the confusing possibilities of natural life.
You see, there have always been, and always will be, people who lose themselves in the river of life, who are dissociated and eaten up by their own desires and illusions.
A temple, or a sacred place which is cut off from life, is absolutely right for such people,
at least for a time until they are able to pick up the real thread of their lives again.
Unfortunately these sanctuaries hardly exist any longer in our modern world.
If you are a believer in any of the existing religious forms, with the exception of Protestantism, there is still a chance; if you are a Catholic and believe in the dogma, you can be well sheltered in a monastery or a nunnery.
Or a Buddhist would also have that opportunity.
But for the really advancing part of mankind there is no such possibility; we are in the river whether we know it or not.
People who defend themselves against this fact are merely neurotic, and those who
don’t are gliding on, they don’t know where, and are often the victims of ten thousand opinions and illusions.
So this woman is afraid of losing herself in the river of life, she does not know where she eventually will land, but here is a guide, the psychopompos, who leads her to a safe place.
I don’t know for how long, but it is sure that rites will be performed, because a temple is a place for that purpose.
That conviction is not due to any personal knowledge, it is simply archetypal.
There have been certain spiritual places where magic rites were performed since time immemorial; that belief is in the blood of human beings, an ineradicable fact in our psychology.
You only need to say the word temple, and there is the whole archetypal situation with
hymns and magic rites and everything in full procedure.
She is led into the temple, and at once she does what people have done for ages past when they came to the sacred place; she seeks a cure, she wants to be healed of the thing which is bothering her.
That torturing thing is the fire within, which she has received from the black head,
so she says: “Expel the fire from me.”
Now she demands this of her psychopompos.
Here again is a fact of which one is usually not aware: when you get into a disagreeable situation where you see no opening, no direct path, you assume that you are quite alone with yourself.
In a way it is a very good thing that you think so; otherwise you would never make up
your mind, you would remain merely a child.
You must believe that you are practically alone.
But you may find yourself in a really tight place where you can’t get out, where you are helpless.
Then you recognize that you are not alone, because such an absolute impasse is an archetypal situation, and an archetypal figure becomes constellated, a fact in your
psychology, a potential, and so you are up to the situation.
This has repeated itself innumerable times in history, man has again and again passed through such situations and has a psychological method of adapting, the thing to do in such a case.
For by his consciousness alone, particularly the dim consciousness of early ages, man was quite unable to invent such a thing; to primitive man everything was revealed, he invented absolutely nothing, he could not think, it thought.
So it is the totality of the psyche that functions in that way; the psyche produces a double, it brings up another figure; that is a psychological fact.
The psychopompos is this second figure; you can call it the daimon, or the shadow, or a god, or an ancestor spirit; it does not matter what name you give it, it is simply a
helpful figure; it might even be an animal.
For in such a predicament we are depossedes, we lose the power of our ego, we lose our self-confidence.
Until that moment, we were willful or arbitrary, we had made our own choice, we had found out a way, we had proceeded as far as this particular place.
Then suddenly we are in an impasse, we lose faith in ourselves, and it is just as if all of our energy became regressive.
And then our psyche reacts by constellating that double, which has the effect of leading
us out of the situation.
That has happened here.
This woman does not know what is ahead of her, she simply accepts the fact that she is entering the water, and the psychopompos then takes the lead, he performs the rites, and she asks him to expel the fire from her.
She is filled with the fire from that head, but simply does not know how to apply her new acquisition.
That is the usual occurrence; people discover something in their unconscious and immediately ask: “But what shall I do with it?”-a question which I hear every week at least a dozen times.
I say: “I don’t know, nobody knows, it has to be found out, perhaps you will have a dream about it.”
So they instantly refer to number three, the double, and I sincerely hope that the double
will produce a dream; otherwise we are in a complete fix.
Once I was in the exceedingly disagreeable situation of seeing that a patient was becoming insane.
He was a colleague of mine, a very normal man.
But one should not trust normality too far; when people are very normal it is often a compensation-they are concealing insanity.
There was a latent psychosis which I did not know when he came.
He was normally married, had two normal children, he was concerned with normal politics, normal business, he was treating his patients normally by hypnosis, and he wanted to study psychoanalysis with me. It was many years ago.
I was quite innocent, I did not expect that things could go wrong with such a normal being, and it was three weeks before I saw from a series of dreams that the fellow was going crazy.
It came nearer and nearer and already he showed all the signs of catatonia, the dilated pupils and the livid skin.
I had told him an analysis would take at least two months and I could not tell him to stop after three weeks, because he would ask why, and I could not say it was because he was going crazy.
If a person asks why the police have brought him to the asylum, and he is told it is because he is crazy, he goes up into the air and there is hell to pay; then he becomes definitely insane.
I have seen quite a number of cases where the very mention of their disease was enough to drive them mad.
So we were in an impasse, and I sincerely hoped that the double would do something about it.
When he came the next time he looked absolutely mad, the real paranoiac look.
He himself was frightened out of his wits but he could not see it, and I could not tell him he was frightened, for he would ask of what.
So I kept as cheerful as possible, but I was not very cheerful inside; it was a very ticklish situation.
I asked him if he had dreamed anything, and he had had two dreams, but I will tell you
only one of them; as a matter of fact the two were practically identical.
He dreamt he was in a Swiss village in the mountains.
It was winter, and he saw a beautiful snow-clad peak which he thought he would climb,
but he would need a guide.
So he looked over a group of Swiss guides and saw a big fellow who he thought looked particularly trustworthy and asked him to accompany him, and it was arranged that they should go the following morning.
They climbed for a long time till they reached a shoulder of the mountain which was jutting out about halfway up, and there the guide said: “Now we are on top of the mountain.”
The man thought it was impossible, but certainly the guide must know, he was such a reliable fellow.
So they went down again, and he woke up.
The next dream was almost the same, but it was a deep valley.
Again the guide said: “Now we are down in the valley,” when they hadn’t gone at all, they were back in the village.
And again the man thought the guide must know better.
He asked me: “What do my dreams convey to you? To me they would mean that our analysis is at an end.”
I said: “Exactly, your dreams say you have learned enough.”
And you should have seen that man! He became human and normal again.
I followed his further development indirectly for about ten years.
He never touched analysis again; when analysis was mentioned he did not hear, he did not listen, he never told anybody that he had touched it, he kept entirely away from it and continued with his old technique, hypnotism.
Mr. Schmitz: And he did not get crazy?
Dr. Jung: No, he did not, but that was a tour de force on the part of the unconscious.
I could give you names of famous people with latent psychoses,
and their chief topic of conversation is normal living.
Generally they are reformers.
Well, we have now to explain the rite which follows and which should serve the purpose of fulfilling her request that the fire should be expelled from her system.
But why does she want to have the fire expelled?
Dr. Gordon: You cannot live on fire.
Dr. Jung: On the contrary, it makes you live like anything!
Prof Demos: Did not the river put out the fire?
Dr. Jung: Unfortunately not, that is the drawback of watering places, they don’t help very much.
No cold-water cures help here.
Prof Demos: Heraclitus says the soul is made of fire, and water quenches it, so there is really an opposition between fire and water.
Dr. Jung: Yes, there would be, but this is the kind of water which is akin to the fire.
To interpret such a thing we must again take it quite naively.
Naivete is a vice in ordinary life, but in psychology one cannot be naïve enough, because these things are based on the primitive mind.
So to know what fire is psychologically, one must know what fire means to the primitive man.
Of course, fire is helpful at a certain distance, exceedingly useful, but when it comes anywhere near one, when it is in one’s system, it is almost insupportable.
It symbolizes that this woman is in great danger, in a condition where immediate help is necessary; it is an urgent problem.
We have a proverbial expression in German, that fire is burning under a person’s nails, which you can imagine to be most upsetting.
Prof Eaton: The expression in English for a person who is easily enraged is a fire-eater.
Dr. Jung: Yes, we use fire in many metaphors in the sense of an immediately urgent and insupportable factor.
So when our patient drank the fire from that head, she was filled with the realization of something that was unavoidable, which could not be postponed any longer or avoided by any pretext.
She realized that the thing lived, it was not a mere fantasy, that it really contained fire from the eternal fires.
It is quite obvious that the river cannot quench it because the river is another symbol with the same meaning, the two have a common life.
It is the life of the snake and the poison of the snake, it is the river and the flow, and it is the flame.
You remember, for instance, that Heraclitus called the principle of life and existence, pur aeizoon, which means fire eternally living.
Therefore the water of the river cannot quench it.
On the contrary it increases it, for the more the fire mingles with the river, the more it will be in the movement that is identical with the leaping of the flames.
Dr. &ichstein: Is that the meaning of baptism?
Dr. Jung: Baptism does not mean quenching fire, but bestowing fire.
Therefore it is said in the New Testament, not baptism by water but by fire.
Water is supposed to be life-giving, it is mana because it apparently produces life.
When it rains in the desert vegetation suddenly springs up, so the naive assumption was that the water fecundated the earth and life burst forth.
Through baptism the priest confers life upon the initiate.
The miracle of Pentecost was a sort of baptism; tongues of fire descended upon the disciples, as the Holy Ghost descended upon Christ in the form of a dove.
These are all analogies for one thing, the life-giving mana, the spark of life.
Now this is of course an impossible concept, entirely irrational, it is hopeless to try to discuss it intellectually.
We can only describe it metaphorically.
To say a thing has a sharp edge, a sharp point, something piercing, for instance, would express about the same idea; or to realize a thing so that it clicks; or when a thing comes to a climax, when it penetrates, when there is no gainsaying it-these all express something of the idea.
It is a particular psychological experience for which we have no word.
The primitive can designate such things in a marvellous way, they have wonderful terms to characterize indescribable situations.
Take, for instance, the concept of Tao.
I said in one of my books that there is no word in European languages to express the concept of Tao, yet we can know what it is by experience.
But since then I have been told by a Swede that there is an old word for it in his language.
The word is lagom. Apparently the om is a suffix, despite the fact that in Swedish there are no suffixes as far as I know.
Lag means law; the Swedish royal law is Riechs lag.
And lagom means just right, not too much of this and not too much of that, neither too big nor too small, it designates just the middle ground.
One can say of a man that he is lagom, which means his attitude is just right.
Or one can say of a soup that it is lagom, not too much salt and not too little.
Another example is a word in a Red Indian language consisting of about fourteen syllables (I knew it once but I have forgotten it) which designates an exceedingly typical situation: people sitting together and looking at one another, expecting that the others would dare to say or
do what one does not dare to say or do oneself.
It is a very familiar experience to us all; go to any dinner and you will often find everybody looking at everybody else with just such expectation.
All that is expressed in one word of fourteen syllables.
The primitives have a word for it because they catch such moments.
So the spark, or the immediate urge, has been understood by the primitive, and he calls it mana.
A modern German explorer translates that as the “concept of extraordinary efficacy,” which renders more or less the meaning of it, but one could go much further.
People have made a lot of fuss over it, because they try to understand it with their intellect, but it has nothing to do with the intellect.
It is an intuitive moment of extraordinary effectiveness.
For instance, something can be mana at one moment and the next moment it has gone.
In a flash it is there, and then it is not.
A chief may be mana for fifty years, but one day it so happens that someone inadvertently steps over the sleeping chief in the night, and the next morning he no longer has mana; because he has been overstepped the charm, the fascination has disappeared.
Or a thing may appear to you dull, more or less indifferent, and then suddenly
you become aware of something in it, and then it has a sharp edge, or it stings you, it becomes an immediate realization, and that is mana.
I have told you repeatedly about the African tribe for whom the sun, just at the moment of rising, was mana, but a bit above the horizon it was not mana at all. I did not understand it.
I thought the sun was mungu or God-we have used the word mungu to translate God-but it does not mean what we understand by God; it means the spark, the divine moment, or the numinosus.
That Latin word numinosus is again such a term, it is the same idea; it means a sign or hint of light or power.
For instance, supposing upon entering a temple, the statue of the god, consisting of cold marble, suddenly winks at you; that is numinosus, that is mana; it fells you, it strikes you, you know that the image is alive.
And that may be in one moment, and then in a flash it is gone.
You see that is the fire, the spark, and if a thing has that fiery quality, it cannot be escaped or denied, and you must do something about it.
The thing, whatever it is, takes possession of you and is like an arrow sticking in your flesh.
Now, our patient wan ts to get rid of the spell which has been cast upon her by the fire from the head, and the psychopompos tells her to kneel by the altar and gives her water to drink.
Here is the idea of quenching the fire by water, but she said: “The fire within me still burns.”
You see the water does not work, despite the fact that it is a sort of charm by analogy:
as water quenches fire, so this water should also quench this fire.
That would be a true animus operation, for the animus is always full of all sorts of little pieces of advice as to how to deal with all sorts of situations, but in this situation he is singularly inadequate.
No traditional means can do away with that fire, or even the charm by analogy; it must be something of equal mana in order to help.
Anything else would be like, say, a philosophical consideration about which there is no urgency.
Disraeli once said: The great thing to know is that the important things are not so important, and the unimportant things are not so unimportant.
Something like that is supposed to quench the fire, a compromise by reason, but there are certain predicaments where reason does not help.
She confesses that the fire is still burning, so she forces the double to do something more about it.
Then he strikes the walls of the temple with his sword so that with a noise of thunder they crumble to the ground.
What is happening here?
Miss Taylor: He is taking her away from her shelter, the time of rest is over.
Dr. Jung: He doesn’t turn her out, but he destroys the sacred precincts, the walled-in place of rest, so that all the surrounding country can come in, as it were.
The sacred place is no longer sacred, it is now profane, and of course the effect would be that she would be put back into the river practically.
That is very important.
He tried first to quench the fire by the usual means, by getting her out of life into a secluded space where she was sheltered by thick walls and by the mana of the sacred place; and now he understands that that will not work.
No holiness, no sacredness, can quench that fire; something else must be done.
Therefore he opens up the place to profanation.
And then the man puts his hands upon her forehead and says: “Woman, you are forgiven.” Of what does that remind you?
Mr. Schmitz: They are the words of Christ to the adulterous woman who was brought by the Pharisees to be condemned.
Dr. Jung: Is there any other possibility?
D1: Martin: It was the woman who touched his garment.
Dr. Jung: Those are two possibilities, but I think the adulterous woman is a closer analogy with this case; there was the scarlet garment, you remember.
And here the Hermes psychopompos develops a bit further; he assumes the role of Christ, and the assumption is, through the analogy with the story of the adulterous woman, that he will now quench the fire.
For quenching the fire means to create a psychological situation which allows the contrast between the nature of the fire and the waterlike condition of the tissues to blend.
That is, you feel something burning you when it is incompatible with your previous system of adaptation, but if you change that system, the fire might enter without destroying you.
If you leave it as it is, either the fire will be put out, or your flesh will be burned, and it would be a terrible wound which would leave a corresponding scar.
So that rite in the temple should serve the purpose of uniting the two things which hitherto were incompatible.
There is an idea of adultery in this fantasy, which ought to be accepted into the whole of her system without burning it.
She cannot destroy the whole idea, because that is life from the eternal fire; therefore she must change her system.
That is what Christ did for the adulterous woman and, as he was the son of God, it worked.
He changed her so that she could accept it into her system, so that she could stand herself and no longer be morally destroyed by it.
You see it is tremendously important that people should be able to accept themselves; otherwise the will of God cannot be lived.
They are sort of cramped or blighted, they don’t really produce themselves as the whole of the creative will which is in them, they assume a better judgment than God himself, assuming that man ought to be so-and-so.
In that way they exclude many of their real qualities, with the result that they are like the apple tree that produces carrots, or the famous good tiger that eats apples, which surely is not the original meaning of God.
Now to bring forth what the original will intended is really the task of a whole lifetime, a very serious undertaking.
And for the poor adulterous woman in the New Testament to solve the question of how to be decent and at the same time a prostitute was a pretty stiff dose for her little bit of wits; naturally she felt unequal to it and became indecent, and then she had feelings of inferiority.
So what the Lord did for her was to change her system so that she could accept the fact and still feel redeemed.
You are not redeemed by repentance, you remain the same old Adam, because by repentance you are not changed; you may get baptized, but that is not a real change.
It must be a complete change of the system, an acceptance of the things that were unacceptable before.
When you accept the fact of your inferiority, it lives with you; you are it too, but not exclusively.
You are not only white, one part is black, but both make the whole man.
It is not wiping out the white substance when you accept the black-on the contrary; it is only when you can’t that things go wrong, when there is nothing but white and nothing but black.
That is simply neurotic. So the evangelical cure is a very wise one.
Christ helped the woman to accept herself as she was, and that is what the animus is doing here when he assumes the gesture of Christ.
Now we will see the effect of the cure. He says: “Arise and hold communion with the people.” What is the meaning of this?
Prof Eaton: It seems to be a symbolical representation of the theory of inferiority.
By removing the feeling of inferiority, she can now get on better with other people.
Dr. Jung: Exactly, but it means even more.
Miss Sergeant: She can commune with the mind of the people.
Dr. Jung: That is not exactly the meaning-to hold communion. That is too religious.
Dr. Barker: To get a good relationship?
Dr. Jung: Well, that would be something.
Mr. Allemann: She is just the same as other people.
Dr. Jung: Exactly.
Prof Eaton: As when you accept yourself, then the world can accept you.
Dr. Jung: Yes, it is just that.
You see, people who have feelings of inferiority are not accepted because they do not accept themselves.
If you want to be appreciated or loved, appreciate yourself, love yourself, do right for yourself, and everybody will do the right thing to you.
To people who say: “Oh, I am very much interested in people, I love them, but I hate myself,” I always reply: “Nobody can stand you because you bring with you the stench of your stables; go first and clean your stables, and then we will accept you as a clean human being; then we will like you if there is anything likable.”
That is what they always forget, which comes from our wrong kind of Christian education.
Miss Taylor: And if you don’t find anything?
Dr. Jung: Then seek until you find something. You mean if you find nothing wrong in yourself?
Miss Taylor: No, nothing good.
Dr.Jung: Oh, that is the animus prejudice.
Since you are alive, there is something good in you, there is the Self in you.
That is the greatest treasure.
Miss Taylor: I didn’t mean to be personal, but there are people who go and look and can find nothing in themselves.
They need help to find it.
Dr. Jung: It is obvious that we need help; otherwise we would not have analysis.
Our eyes are opened by outside causes, or we would be like old Baron Munchhausen, who tried to pull himself out of the swamp by his own boot straps.
To hold communion with the people means: recognize that we are all just the same, we all suffer from the same problems.
Then you are no longer isolated, you are human among human beings.
That is, of course, a tremendous asset which removes this woman’s feelings of inferiority; she is accepted, she is in mankind, she stands upon the soil that is common to all living things.
She is then just one tree among many which has succeeded in taking root, there is no feeling of inferiority.
Animals never have feelings of inferiority; it is only the mind that causes such feelings.
Our minds make that tremendous and blasphemous assumption that we know better than the will within us.
Then she beheld many people about them and she says: “I walked to them and they touched me with their hands.
At last I said: ‘The fire is no longer within me.'”
You see the fire is quenched, she has been made whole by the truly Christian gesture of the psychopompos.
This is analogous to the cures made by the old Egyptian priests.
We have some knowledge of Egyptian medicine from ancient papyri.
They followed a queer method: they made an incantation on the disease by giving names to it and by telling the story of that particular ailment.
The cure consisted in what the doctor said, not what he did.
That was tremendously important, they made a particular point of it.
A case is described of a patient who had a dangerous carbuncle on the neck.
The priest said: “Thy neck is smarting, thy neck is hot, it is swollen, it is painful”; he talked in that way, formulating it for the patient, painting a picture of his illness, and then he usually read the corresponding text.
Another example was a man who was bitten by a poisonous snake.
You remember how Ra was bitten by a snake and what Mother Isis did in
order to cure the poisoned god.
That was read to the sufferer, with the assumption that it would help him by speaking the suitable word, reminding him of the holy legend of the god, exactly as a priest would now point to the suffering of Mary and Christ: “What is your suffering in comparison with all that? Their suffering has redeemed us from our pain.”
And that is exactly what is happening here, only it happens in a way which is not very obvious.
It is an effect which takes place in the darkness; also the analogy is not too clear.
You see, if it were exactly what the Bible or any holy legend said, up would come the resistance of the conscious, saying, “Ah, we know that, it is the same old story which does not work.”
So there would be no effect.
But since it happens in such a concealed way it can work; she cannot interfere because she does not recognize it.
From that we can draw the conclusion that we should learn not to interfere in order that the thing may work.
If only we could learn the art of not interfering!
We hinder ourselves most by that intellectual interference, always knowing better; that is the stumbling block.
What we have to do in analysis is to remove those conscious opinions, to help nature along, so that she can work in her quiet way through her symbols, without our obnoxious intervention.
You see this magic rite has now worked.
The fire is quenched and she confesses: I am purified, as if confessing in the true antique style: I am reborn.
Through acceptance not by cutting away the thing that does not help-she is purified and
brought back into the lap of humanity.
Then she says: “I lifted up my arms to the sky while the rays of the sun descended upon me.”
She is now on the earth and the light can descend upon her.
When she is human, when she holds communion with mankind, she can receive the
blessing of the sun, which is of course a religious experience.
Only those people who can really touch bottom can be human. Therefore Meister Eckhart says that one should not repent too much of one’s sins because it might keep one away from grace.
One is only confronted with the spiritual experience when one is absolutely human.
The German mystic Angelus Silesius put that into a very beautiful verse: “Willst
Du den Perlen-Thau der edeln Gottheit fangen, So musst Du unverruckt an Seiner Menschheit hangen.
“That means literally: if you want to catch the pearl-dew of the noble Godhead, you must cling imperturbably to his Lmankind.
And God’s mankind, his human children, is this same idea: commune with the people and the rays of the sun will descend upon you.
A good deal of old religious truth is put here into very unusual form, which is the reason the patient does not recognize it.
That is very helpful, for so she cannot destroy it.
Nowadays the unconscious comes to our aid in that way.
We are too rational, not naive enough, and therefore the truth is hidden from our eyes.
For our evil eye cast upon that delicate material destroys it and destroys its helpful effect.
But here is a beautiful example of an eternal truth stealing into the system of our patient when she is not aware of it, and so it can work.
Later on she must go so far as to see it and not destroy it by the poisonous evil eye, by wanting to know better. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 379-394