There is, however, one very common misunderstanding which I feel I ought to point out to the reader.
The copious use of comparative mythological and etymological material necessitated by the peculiar nature of the Miller fantasies may evoke the impression, among certain readers, that the purpose of this book is to propound mythological or etymological hypotheses.
This is far from my intention, for if it had been, I would have undertaken to analyse a particular myth or whole corpus of
myths, for instance an American Indian myth-cycle.
For that purpose I would certainly not have chosen Longfellow’s Hiawatha, any more than I would have used Wagner’s Siegfried had
I wished to analyse the cycle of the younger Edda.
I use the material quoted in the book because it belongs, directly or indirectly, to the basic assumptions of the Miller fantasies, as I
have explained more fully in the text.
If, in this work, various mythologems are shown in a light which makes their psychological meaning more intelligible, I have mentioned this insight simply as a welcome by-product, without claiming to propound any general theory of myths.
The real purpose of this book is confined to working out the implications of all those historical and spiritual factors which come together in the involuntary products of individual fantasy.
Besides the obvious personal sources, creative fantasy also draws upon the forgotten and long buried primitive mind with its host of images, which are to be found in the mythologies of all ages and all peoples.
The sum of these images constitutes the collective unconscious, a heritage which is potentially present in every individual.
It is the psychic correlate of the differentiation of the human brain.
This is the reason why mythological images are able to arise spontaneously over and over again, and to agree with one another
not only in all the corners of the wide earth, but at all times.
As they are present always and everywhere, it is an entirely natural proceeding to relate mythologems, which may be very far apart both temporally and ethnically, to an individual fantasy system.
The creative substratum is everywhere this same human psyche and this same human brain, which, with relatively minor variations, functions everywhere in the same way. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Forwards, Page xxviii