Symbolic Life

We are in a new world with that; we are exactly like primitives.

When I went to East Africa, I went to a small tribe in Mount Elgon and I asked the medicine-man about dreams.

He said, “I know what you mean; my father still had dreams.”

I said, “You have no dreams?”

And then he wept and answered, “No, I have no dreams any more.” I asked, “Why?”

He answered, “Since the British came into the country.”

“Now, how is that?”

He said, “The District Commissioner knows when there shall be war; he knows when there are diseases; he knows where we must live—he does not allow us to move.”

The political guidance is now represented by the D.C, by the superior intelligence of the white man; therefore, why should they need dreams?

Dreams were the original guidance of man in the great darkness.

Read that book of Rasmussen’s about the Polar Eskimos.

There he describes how a medicine-man became the leader of his tribe on account of a vision.

When a man is in the wilderness, the darkness brings the dreams — somnia a Deo missa—that guide him.

It has always been so. I have not been led by any kind of wisdom; I have been led by dreams, like any primitive. I am ashamed to say so, but I am as primitive as any nigger [fn 11], because I do not know!

When you are in the darkness you take the next thing, and that is a dream.

And you can be sure that the dream is your nearest friend; the dream is the friend of those whoare not guided any more by the traditional truth and in consequence are isolated.

That was the case with the old alchemical philosophers, and you read in the Tractatus Aureus of Hermes Trismegistus a passage that bears out what I said about isolation.

There you read: “(Deus) in quo est adiuvatio cuiuslibet sequestrati” (God, in whom is the help of all who are lonely).

Hermes, at the same time, was a real leader of souls and the very incarnation of inspiration, thus representing the unconscious manifest in dreams.

So, you see, the one who is going alone and has no guidance, he has the somnia a Deo missa; he has no D.C.

Of course, when we have a D.C. we do not need a dream, but when we are alone, that is something else.  ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 674

Footnote 11: 11 [This offensive term was not invariably derogatory in earlier British and Continental usage, and
definitely not in this case.]