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Carl Jung on “North” – Anthology; Quotations


The wood that grows dusky and turns into a primeval forest means entry into the unconscious. The round pool with the jelly-fish in it represents a three-dimensional mandala, the Self: wholeness as the goal to which the “archetic appetite” points, the magnetic north which gives the traveller his bearings on the “sea of the world” ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 208.

After the birth of Buddha, the four genies of the East, West, North, and South come to offer their services as palanquin-bearers. To complete the symbolism, there is in the Buddha myth, besides the fertilization by star and wind, fertilization by a theriomorphic symbol, the elephant, who, as Bodhisattva, begets the Buddha. In Christian picture-language the unicorn, as well as the dove, is a symbol of the spermatic Word or Spirit ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Ser: 1

It is the navel of the world and at the same time hell. Bernard of Clairvaux apostrophizes Lucifer thus: “And dost thou strive perversely towards the north? The more thou dost hasten toward the heights, the more speedily shalt thou go down to thy setting” ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 192.

If we bear in mind the significance of the fish, it is easy to understand why a powerful attraction should emanate from this arcane centre, which might aptly be compared with the magnetism of the North Pole. As we shall see in a later chapter, the Gnostics said the same thing about the magnetic effect of their central figure (point, monad, son, etc.) ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 239.

Armed with rucksack and lute, blond youths, and sometimes girls as well, were to be seen as restless wanderers on every road from the North Cape to Sicily, faithful votaries of the roving god. Later, towards the end of the Weimar Republic, the wandering role was taken over by the thousands of unemployed, who were to be met with everywhere on their aimless journeys ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 373

Wotan the wanderer was on the move. He could be seen, looking rather shamefaced, in the meeting-house of a sect of simple folk in North Germany, disguised as Christ sitting on a white horse. I do not know if these people were aware of Wotan’s ancient connection with the figures of Christ and Dionysus, but it is not very probable ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 373

The thirty-two pulses may conceivably derive from the multiplication of 4 x 8, as we know from experience that the quaternity found at the centre of a mandala often becomes 8, 16, 32, or more when extended to the periphery. The number 32 plays an important role in the cabala. Thus we read in the Sepher Yezirah “Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the living God and King of the world has graven his name in thirty-two mysterious paths of wisdom.” These consist of “ten self-contained numbers [Sephiroth] and twenty-two basic letters.” The meaning of the ten numbers is as follows:


1: the spirit of the living God


2: spirit from spirit


3: water from spirit


4: fire from water


5-10: height – depth; East – West; South – North ~Carl Jung, CW 12 Para 313

Although man and woman unite they nevertheless represent irreconcilable opposites which, when activated, degenerate into deadly hostility. This primordial pair of opposites symbolizes every conceivable pair of opposites that may occur; hot and cold, light and dark, north and south, dry and damp, good and bad, conscious and unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 192

Thus in the love-magic of Astrampsychos the invocation to Hermes says:

Your names . . . are in the four corners of the heavens. I know also your forms, which are: in the East you have the form of an ibis, in the West you have the form of a dog-headed baboon, in the North you have the form of a serpent, but in the South you have the form of a wolf. Your plant is the grape, -“* which in that place is the olive. I know also your wood: it is ebony, etc.’ ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 359

One text says that the “heart” of Mercurius is at the North Pole and that he is like a fire (northern lights).  He is, in fact, as another text says, “the universal and scintillating fire of the light of nature, which carries the heavenly spirit within it.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 256.

In the course of his mystic peregrination Maier reached the Red (“Erythraean”) Sea, and in the following way: he journeyed to the four directions, to the north (Europe), to the west (America), to the east (Asia). Leaving Asia and turning south to Africa, he found a statue of Mercury, made of silver, and with a golden head. The statue pointed to Paradise, which he espied far off. Now because of its four rivers, and because it was the abode of the originally androgynous Primordial Man (Adam), the Garden of Eden was a favourite mandala in Christian iconography and is therefore a symbol of totality and—from the psychological point of view—of the self. If we take the four directions and the four elements (see note 505) as a symbolical equivalent of the four basic functions of consciousness, we can say that Maier had become conscious of three of them by the time he reached Asia.  ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 276

In North Germany there is a sect that worships Christ in the form of a rider on a white horse. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1329

On one side it is white with a black spot, and on the other it is black with a white spot. The white side is the hot, dry, fiery principle, the south; the black side is the cold, humid, dark principle, the north. The condition of Tao is the beginning of the world where nothing has yet begun and it is also the condition to be achieved by the attitude of superior wisdom. The idea of the union of the two opposite principles of male and female, is an archetypal image ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 262

I saw a terrible flood that covered all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. It reached from England up to Russia, and from the coast of the North Sea right up to the Alps. I saw yellow waves, swimming rubble, and the death of countless thousands. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 231.

From then on the anxiety toward the terrible event that stood directly before us kept coming back. Once I also saw a sea of blood over the northern lands. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Page 231

3, AUTUMN 1913

Vision of the sea of blood covering the northern lands.

Norway is the northern country, i.e., the intuitive sector of the mandala. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 448.

Although since 1918 I knew that a terrible fire would spread over Europe beginning in the North East, I have no vision beyond 1940 concerning the fate of Europe. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 285.

Jung always went to America, in fact, wherever he went overseas, by ship. Air travel was of course much less usual in those days than now, and although Jung once—I think it was in 1935 —flew back from England, he never liked the idea of flying, for he felt one got there too quickly, thus leaving pieces of one’s psyche behind!

He even advised his pupils much later, in the fifties, when flying had become cheaper and much easier, on no account to go to America by air, for they would find they had left bits of themselves behind and would be unable to be fully present during their lectures and seminars. So the Jungs embarked on a large North German Lloyd steamer and thoroughly enjoyed the voyage. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 170

On the contrary, still more German troops were concentrated on the Swiss border and it was afterward revealed that had France not crumpled so quickly, Germany would have tried to attack her through the comparatively level northwest of Switzerland. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 193

Thus, we would do better to say, not that the inhabitants of North America exhibit Indian traits, but that when the Europeans were transplanted to America, the change of habitat bestowed on them a different physiognomy. ~James Kirsch, Jung-Kirsch Letters, Page 15

In primitive legends the old mother in the West is often a sort of cannibal, and primitive man eats the flesh of the dead.

He celebrates cannibal feasts as a sort of sympathetic magic, he does what the earth does in order to increase fertility.

That is still practiced in our days.

Just recently there was a case in north Kenya.

They ate a grandmother who was particularly beloved.

You see, they had a grandmother in the family whom they worshipped, so they gave her very good food, they fed her well till she grew quite fat, and when she died the family ate her.

Then all the fools were disgusted and horrified at such a terrible thing, but they ate her in the end out of sheer love in order to give her continuation of life.

It was a supreme act of devotion; they continued her life by embodying her body in theirs, really a very touching idea.

One should not disturb people in such acts of devotion, it is very foolish, it destroys their morality completely. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 517

As for North Africa, I had never had the opportunity there to talk with a person capable of putting his culture into words. In India, however, I had the chance to speak with representatives of the Indian mentality, and to compare it with the European. ~Carl Jung, Jung by Gerhard Wehr, Page 280

I saw a monstrous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect our country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood. ~Carl Jung, “Jung” by Gerhard Wehr, Page 167

It became clear to me that this study had been not so much an objective scientific project as an intensely personal one, and that any attempt to go deeper into it touched every possible sore spot in my own psychology. I had to admit to myself that it was scarcely the Wembley Exhibition which had begotten my decision to travel, but rather the fact that the atmosphere had become too highly charged for me in Europe. Amid such thoughts I glided on the peaceful waters of the Nile toward the north-toward Europe, toward the future.  ~Carl Jung, “Jung” by Gerhard Wehr, Page 243

Onkel went on to say that all Italians were against the War because they were losing business. He said that Mussolini garbled all their prospects, and that Milan and the whole north of Italy is in upheaval. Italy will suffer the fate of Rumania, for the Germans have rushed a lot of troops to Italy. ~Katy Cabot, Jung My Mother and I, Page 321

My dear Peter This is the fateful year for which I have waited since more than 25 years. I did not know that it was a such a disaster. Although since 1918 I knew that a terrible fire would spread over Europe, beginning in the North East. This year reminds me of the enormous earthquake in 26 B.C. that shook down the great Temple of Karnak. It was the prelude to the destruction of all temples, because a new time had begun. 1940 is the year where we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius. It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age. Up to the present moment, Bollingen has escaped, together with Switzerland – the general destruction, but we are in prison. You don’t see the walls, but you feel them. The newspapers are hushed and one hardly cares to read them, except for doubtful information about the war. For a while, just when I started your book, I went with all my grandchildren to the West of Switzerland, because we expected an attack. Afterwards I was very busy, because all doctors were with the army. It is awkward to write as the censor reads the stuff. But I must tell you how often I think of you and all my friends in England. I often complain that Mr. Chamberlain has not read my interview with Knickerbocker [an American reporter]. Your book is quite interesting and it seems as if your interpretations were hitting the nail on the head. Certain points would need some discussion. But one should talk, writing is too clumsy. It is difficult to be old in these days. One is helpless. On the other hand one feels happily estranged from this world. I like nature but not the world of man or the world to be. I hope this letter will reach you and convey to you all the wishes the human heart can’t suppress, despite of censors. They are human too, after all. In autumn I resume my lectures at the E.T.H, about the individuation process in the Middle Ages! That’s the only thing with me one could call up to date. I loathe the new style, the new Art, the new Music, literature, politics and above all, the new man. It’s the old beast that has not changed since the troglodytes. My dear Peter, I am with you and with old England. 311-312

It was as I imagined one of the circles of Dante’s Inferno to be. I had read that the ancient Peruvians had buried their dead along this coastal desert north and south of Lima. ~Maud Oakes, The Stone Speaks, Page 4

Prophetic dreams, which represent a lower level of conscious clairvoyance, also belong in this category. One special form is the “second sight” of the Scots, a gift that actually afflicts vast numbers of people on the solitary isles of northern Scotland. ~Carl Jung, Zofingia Lectures, Para 134

Later Pauli recalled that in Jung’s books, particularly Aion, he had mentioned that magnets were often considered a source of magical power, in that they contain opposite poles, north and south, in a single object. ~Arthur I. Miller, Deciphering the Cosmic Number, Page 177

Meier, “on the verge of a lawsuit” with Hillman over the Northwestern book, had told him that Reverend V. was regularly forwarding him copies of all correspondence with the Reverend’s lawyer. ~Dick Russell, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Page 323

Heinrich-Karl Fierz, a long-time Institute professor and medical director of the Zürichberg Clinic that Meier had founded in 1964, sent a registered letter about Hillman’s editing of the Northwestern Series and purportedly “stealing books from Meier and Jacobi” as being “uncollegial” and having violated statutes. ~Dick Russell, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Page 335

Jung had some powerful experiences: on June 27, 1917, he wrote to Emma Jung that three days prior, he was on Pointe de Cray (a mountain just northwest of Chateau d’Oex), “It was a glorious day. On the summit I had a wonderful ecstatic feeling. Last evening I had a most remarkable mystical experience, a feeling of connection of many millennia. It was like a transfiguration. Today I’m probably going down to hell again for this. I want to cling to you, since you are my center, a symbol of the human, a protection against all daimons.” This letter underscores the centrality of Emma Jung in his life. ~The Black Books, Vol. I, Page 68-69

In the North you can still find these matriarchal traces, but not by a long stretch to such a degree, because the North has been strongly penetrated by Islam following the Mogul invasion. But in the South it is practiced much more.  ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 114

There is an exception in the South, where one can penetrate into this mandala symbolism, and where men in fact still practice it. That’s more to the North, in the region of Bengal, where one finds quite a few followers of a certain yoga practice more closely linked to Tibetan yoga, namely Tantric yoga, laya yoga or kundalini yoga.  ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 115

North=white West=green East= yellow South=red

These four different colors also occur in the Bardo Thodol, the four paths to salvation via enlightenment. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 126

Love is warm, otherwise, as is well known, it is not love (South). Sensation has to do with the green earth; it perceives the actual being (West). Thinking is cold and white like snow (North). Intuition is yellow, luminous, radiant, through the sweepingly immediate perception one encounters with this function (East). ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 127

The four functions are described as horizon lights. These exist in all religions. In Islam these are the angels of the North, South, West, and East. Here it is the essential components of the all-Buddha. ~Carl Jung, Psychology of Yoga and Meditation, Page 151

I should like to attempt here to make a comparison with the ancient Chinese way of thinking (communicated to me by R. Wilhelm), in order to express what I cannot yet grasp in exact concepts: the two signs of the I Ching, Yang (male) and Yin (female), originally signify a mountain in the sun (south side) and a mountain in the shade (north side).

In Africa the medicine man called him brother; New Mexico a Navaho chief was his friend; in India a Tibetan lama in the far north and a Brahman priest in the south, both accepted him as one of themselves, an enlightened one, and spoke to him freely of the sacred mysteries of their religion. ~M. Esther Harding, A Memorial Meeting, New York Dec. 1, 1961, Page 7