LECTURE VI 24 February 1932
We were speaking last time of the crater of boiling fire, which turned into a green oasis.
Do you remember the reason for that? Why did the scene change?
Miss Hannah: Because she did not identify with it, she kept above it.
Dr: Jung: If she had been identical with it, what would have happened?
Miss Hannah: She would have been destroyed.
Dr: Jung: Yes, but how would she be destroyed? Would she be blasted, or cooked alive?
Dr: Reichstein: She would go back to the unconscious.
Dr: Jung: In what specific form? One can go back to the unconscious in many forms.
For instance, in the form of a regression which might be
symbolized by drowning in the ocean, or losing one’s way in the mist, or in a dark forest, or by being eaten by a monster, or buried under an avalanche, or locked in a dark room.
All these are symbols for getting into the unconscious, but each time it is a specific situation which has meaning.
So falling into the boiling lava of a crater would be what kind
It would not be drowning, for instance.
Mrs. Baynes: It would be going crazy, I should think. Usually when a thing goes up in flames it is a symbol for insanity.
Dr: Jung: Yes, any case of insanity is due to the fact that one is overcome by the unconscious, and it might be such an outburst, when suddenly
the mountain explodes and covers one with ashes and lava.
Miss Taylor: It is that latent fire in her.
Dr: Jung: Exactly, that is the way a psychosis might very well be described.
In a case of dementia praecox the first outburst of the disease may be linked up with cosmic visions of tremendous earthquakes and such things, and these correspond to phenomena which can also be observed in a crater.
The patient might fall into a tremendous emotional upheaval;
these volcanic forces might be the flames of passion bursting
forth, a sort of chaotic, boiling, fiery lava, as if the bowels of the earth were welling up; and in psychological terms that would be insanity, an outburst of madness.
Mrs. Sawyer: Could it not also be the melting pot where things are changed? Or is it on too gigantic a scale for that?
Dr. Jung: That is very possible.
If we only know that she is standing on the edge of a volcano, with nothing else said, we are of course left in doubt whether it leads to destruction.
She is not actually in the fire, but so close that she might be reached.
It has frequently happened on Vesuvius that a tourist was caught by a fiery flake of lava because he visited it
when it was active.
Or a cloud of gas might envelope and suffocate him.
So it is dangerous, it might mean destruction if we had not signs of another possibility.
The hopeful feature is that she is standing on the edge and not in the crater.
As Miss Hannah says, she has not identified with the crater, she is not the crater itself nor is the crater in her, she is standing outside and looking at it.
That she is so detached is a sign of maturity in her, as we said last week.
And another hopeful sign is that the smoke forms the sign of an ankh, or the crux ansata, the Egyptian sign of life.
The smoke rising from a volcano actually does make such a figure, it is seen very frequently in fine weather.
The hot air rises until it cools off, and then it expands into a sort of mushroom shape; it bubbles up in the center and finally makes something like an umbrella.
Thus far it is a real occurrence, and by making the form a little more abstract, it becomes the crux ansata.
So there is something hopeful about this crater.
That sign shows that it does not mean extinction, it means a crater in the old mystical sense of the word, like a baptismal font, namely, the vessel in which the different elements or constituents are mixed, thereby producing something new, a new being is created.
In former seminars I have quoted the letter written by Zosimus, an early alchemist, to a woman friend, advising her to go to the krater.
The krater was either an actual initiation rite, or it was the name of a society.
Since he was an alchemist, one may assume that the krater was the mixing bowl in which the constituents were brought together so that a new being resulted from it; so the
positive meaning of the crater is the mixing bowl.
Dr. Reichstein: You told us about a man who really threw himself into the fire of a volcano to be reborn.
Dr. Jung: That was Empedocles.
There is a Latin verse about him which says that he threw himself into the fire of Aetna because he wanted to become immortal.
He was one of the very early Greek philosophers and a sort of savior.
He had a tremendous following; it is said that when he traveled from town to town about ten thousand people accompanied
him, so he was a very famous man of those days.
And when he was old he climbed Mount Aetna and threw himself down into the crater in order to be reborn.
There we see the double meaning of the crater again in Greek legend.
Then the fact that our patient is able to look on gives her a chance to see the destruction as really positive.
We may lament over destruction and see nothing positive in it, but if we look at it in a detached way, not allowing our emotions to participate in the destruction, we can see that
it has a positive side, that something new might come out of the destruction.
That is why the scene suddenly changes and becomes a beautiful green oasis, a symbol of fertility.
The vision continues: I descended into the crater and walked through verdant grass.
I beheld a woman drawing water from a well.
On her head she wore the Cybele jewel.
She looked at me and said: “You are a stranger here.”
I answered: “Yes, will you teach me?”
She asked: “Have you strength to descend to the very bottom of this well from which I draw water?”
I saw that there were steps leading into the well and I began to descend, down and down.
At length I reached the bottom.
The funnel of the crater, where the fire and smoke and lava poured out, is now the shaft of a well into which she can descend, it is now a place where one draws up water.
Now who is the woman whom she meets down there with the Cybele jewel?
You know Cybele is another form of Astarte or Ishtar, the goddess of love, a goddess of Asia Minor.
And what jewel is it?
Miss Hannah: The jewel in the ice, a red jewel.
Dr. Jung: Yes, and it was a heart, so it is presumably the same here, because the heart is the symbol of love, and it is the jewel of Cybele, the goddess of love.
But who is the woman? Be naive about it.
Mr. Allemann: She might be Cybele herself.
Dr. Jung: Yes, or perhaps a high priestess of Cybele.
The fact that she is down in the crater puts her into a really remarkable position, because at other times it is a volcano where no ordinary mortal could live.
So we must assume that the woman wearing the Cybele jewel is either the goddess herself or the high priestess, who by magic is allowed to dwell in such a place.
We have an analogy for this symbolism in She, who descended
into the crater of life and became the high priestess of Isis
(Ayesha). The life-giving miracle which occurred down in the crater was that she achieved relative immortality by allowing the pillar of life to pass through her body.
And here it is obviously the crater of life, the ankh shows it also. That the Egyptian symbol of life turns up here points to the
probability that the patient was unconsciously reminded of the symbolism in She, but it is not a direct and conscious influence, it is a hidden influence through the meaning.
This analogy indicates that the descent into the volcano is really the mystery of rebirth with the connotation of obtaining immortality; it is not only a psychological rebirth, there is
something more to it, because relative immortality is already divine.
You remember that “She” often appears as a divine person, despite very mortal traits of character.
The Greek deities usually had many traits of mortal
imperfection, so according to Rider Haggard’s conception, “She” was something like a Greek goddess.
There was a man in Greece named Euhemerus, not a very great
mind, yet his name has become immortal because he was the first to invent the theory of reduction.
His theory was that all gods had once been merely famous people, that Zeus and all the Greek gods had been ordinary human beings, perhaps famous kings, and that only through
legend had they become gods.
You see, he was a very critical man.
then one speaks of euhemeristic interpretations.
It was a very rational idea, but it showed that his own mind was characteristically Greek in that he was capable of uniting the idea of a deity with the imperfections of a human being.
Their deities could be explained from either side, and therefore they were so peculiarly divine and at the same time so peculiarly human.
This conception is rather strange to us but it was not at all
strange to antiquity; there is even a suggestion of it in the idea of Christ.
Christ was in a way an ordinary human being who should have had all the imperfections of a human being, and he probably had, yet on the other side he was a god.
Of course the church has done its utmost to wipe out any trace of human imperfection from the figure of Christ, as well as from the Gospels.
Some rather thick lumps were overlooked, however, but parsons never preach about those; one of the biggest was
the parable of the unjust steward. You see, we encounter here the same curious euhemeristic mentality, the gods being both human and divine.
The woman she meets is a goddess, or a figure like “She.”
This is due to the fact that the whole series of these visions, as I said, moves in a sort of antique atmosphere, the atmosphere out of which early Christianity emerged, so they are on the one hand Christian and on the other hand pagan.
It is as if through this process of visions that layer of the antique
mind, from about 100 B.C. to 100 A.D. had been brought up to the surface again; we find many strange instances here of a typically antique mode of thought or conception of things.
Mr. Baumann: You said this going down into the volcano was more than the psychological going down. If this were the picture of being swallowed by a whale, would it be more than psychological?
Dr. Jung: Not in one sense.
Being swallowed by a whale, or submerged in the water, both express psychological processes naturally, and going down into the volcano likewise.
But here we get into a peculiar atmosphere indicated by the presence of that goddess, an atmosphere which would not be found in the bowels of the whale or at the bottom of the ocean. Our patient is getting into a different frame of mind.
It is not merely the extinction of light, being enveloped by darkness, or swallowed by a very primitive unconscious; it is a process which is much higher up in the scale, it is not exactly primitive.
The mentality that fits the character of these visions would belong more to that time just before and after Christ’s birth. You see, the fact that this woman at the bottom of the crater is a goddess, or at all events a person of competence and
authority, is proved by the patient’s attitude.
She asks the woman to teach her, showing that she at once recognizes her superiority; and the woman answers with the question whether she would have the strength to descend to the very bottom of the well.
So she is again going down into the unconscious, but deeper still.
At length she reaches the bottom and she says:
There upon the ground I saw a man and a woman lying as if in the womb and about them was coiled a snake.
I will show you her picture of it [plate 21].
Notice the embyronic position of the bodies.
What do you think about this strange discovery at the bottom of the well? Who are these people?
Mr. Allemann: It is a rebirth but a completer one; until now it was either a boy or a girl reborn. Now it is the whole man.
Dr. Jung: That is possible, but what about the serpent which is coiled about them?
Mr. Allemann: It might be the Kundalini serpent before it stirs.
Dr. Jung: Yes, so that canal or shaft she comes down would be the sushumna, the canal through which the Kundalini rises.
And here we have the remarkable fact that she is coming down. Here we see the tremendous difference between India and the West.
You see, if she tried to go up the sushumna, it would be perfectly unnatural, a merely imaginary enterprise.
The point is that she is already up above, and what she must
establish is below she must come down.
While the East is already below and has to establish a connection with the thing above, because clearness of consciousness does not exist with them, their consciousness is
Therefore the great mistake which Western people make is imitating the Eastern yoga practices, for they serve a need which is not ours; it is the worst mistake for us to try to get higher and higher.
What we should do is to establish the connection between above and below.
But we take eagerly to the practice of yoga, which of course does not work; it has very bad effects because our need is just the contrary one.
Therefore I always warn people not to use this Eastern method, for I have never seen a case which was not applied with the wrong purpose of getting still more on top, of acquiring more power or more control, either of their own body, or of other people, or of the world.
People use it to strengthen their willpower in order to have a hypnotic influence, but that is a dangerous thing to do.
The temptation is very great, but happily enough in the majority of cases it has no effect.
Our patient is now at the bottom of the well.
That would be muladhara in the terminology of the Kundalini yoga system, the root support. And who is dormant there?
Mrs. Crowley: It might be Shiva and Shakti.
Dr: Jung: Shiva and Shakti still together in the intrauterine condition,
in the condition of the beginning. In that system the god is represented by the fertilizing lingam, en coiled by Shakti in the form of the Kundalini serpent.
Here it is simply a man and a woman encoiled by a snake, and
we are uncertain whether they are really Shiva and Shakti.
We shall see how the snake functions.
She says: When I appeared the serpent came toward me and said: “You too will I coil about.”
I said: “But I am all alone.”
Then the snake coiled itself about my body and put its head close to my face.
I saw that it had a crown upon its head and rings of gold around its body.
I looked into the eyes of the snake and, putting my arms about it, I said: “Serpent you are beautiful to me.”
Then the serpent fell away. I ascended from the well.
This shows that the active element down there is the serpent, and the man and woman apparently don’t function at all, they are just there dormant.
That the serpent is divine is evident from the gold rings and
Such decorations give a particular emphasis to a symbol, so it
must be a very unusual serpent.
Therefore we may assume that it is the chief divinity, and the man and woman have not that quality.
If we were in India they would be Shiva and Shakti, but since this is, a Western mind, they are not; the emphasis is on the serpent, and it is doing to her exactly what it did to the couple. What is the meaning of this?
Why does the serpent coil around her?
Mrs. Fierz: Are they not just an example? Is it a glimpse of what will happen to her?
Dr. Jung: Well, the patient says, “But I am alone,” as if the serpent would then reply, “Oh well, in that case I won’t coil about you because I am only coiling about couples.”
But lo and behold, the serpent coils about her as if she were a couple.
Mr. Allemann: The serpent takes the place of the man.
Dr. Jung: But the man and woman are in the same situation.
If it had been only a woman and a serpent, we could say the serpent was the man.
Mr. Baumann: Is it that the serpent encoils the male and female parts in herself?
In every beginning there are always these two parts, and they
are still in her now.
Dr. Jung: Well, we may assume that that pair has been there since eternity, a sort of eternal symbol of what the serpent coiling about the image of the male and the female really means.
So it would be just a suggestion that she is made whole by that embrace, the compression by the coils of the snake, that the male and the female are thus united into one.
It is only obvious symbolically.
You see the essential function of the crater, its lifegiving
magic quality, consists in that serpent lying dormant at the bottom of it, and whoever is encoiled by the snake is made into a whole, the male and the female there come together. Something like that is hinted at in She, when “She” tries to make Leo enter the pillar of life with her.
But he doesn’t trust the thing, chiefly because she wants to acquire personal power by that means; she wants to be immortal and to bestow immortal life upon him, but in order to rule the world.
That is a similar idea of the union of the male and female, but here there is no idea of power connected with the situation, it is simply a mysterious procedure.
It reminds one a little, also, of the rite in the Eleusinian mysteries, in which the initiate had to kiss a snake, which meant a sort of union.
Or there was another rite where the union was represented by passing a golden snake down through the collar under the garments of the initiate and taking it out again below, symbolizing the complete penetration of the initiate by the divine serpent.
It was assumed that he was then begotten or generated as a twice-born man, having thus obtained immortal life.
Exactly as baptism in the primitive church was assumed to be a second birth, through which one was made over into an immortal being.
Therefore in the Catholic rite the priest gives a lighted candle to the godfather and says: Dono tibi lucem eternam, meaning, I give thee eternal light.
So this ceremony down at the bottom of the well is the union of the divine principle, represented by the serpent, with the patient.
And one could say that the divine serpent functions here as if it were Shiva himself, for the Kundalini serpent is merely the active emanation of the phallus that represents Shiva.
Shakti is at first entirely identical with Shiva, and then the activity, or power, of Shiva becomes manifest in the form of Shakti; this snake is Shakti or the divine power of Shiva.
Our patient is for a moment in the god’s possession, she is the lingam encoiled by the serpent. In his novel, The Golden Ass, Apuleius mentions such a moment during his initiation into the Isis mysteries.
It is only a slight allusion because he was not allowed to betray the mysteries, but we learn that at the end of the ceremonial the initiate was decorated with a crown, the celestial robe, etc., and placed upon a pedestal, and there he was worshipped as Helios.
So here this woman is in a position as if at the eternal origin of things, she is Shiva himself encoiled by the Shakti, again the male and the female in one.
Mr. Allemann: Then that going down would be the right way only for rational people?
Dr. Jung: It is the Western way in general, not only for rational people, because irrational sensation or intuitive types are just as much above in the conscious sphere as rational people, just as much detached from the soil, as it were.
That is in accord with all that I have found in practical analysis; in every case, without exception, it must be a descent because it is typical of the Western mind that it moves in a conscious world.
Dr. Reichstein: Was it not also a point in the Christian idea that Christ should first descend?
Dr. Jung: It is possible, though I never thought of that parallel; after his death he is supposed to have descended into Hell, so it was a very thorough descent.
But one does not find that in the East, there it is always the ascent of man. It is quite possible that this would be nticipatory
Now do you understand the value or meaning of being encoiled
by the serpent?
Are you clear about the logical sequence of the events?
Mrs. Baynes: I thought I was until you raised the question. I thought it
was just an acceptance of the chthonic principle which she descended to meet.
Dr. Jung: It was not that alone, because she has accepted that already.
Being coiled about by the serpent is a particular situation.
You see, the setting is very unusual.
Before, it was the visit to the earth mother, or the ritual drinking of the blood of the bull, or the worship of Pan, etc.
She was more active herself, but here something is done to her.
Dr. Ott: Has it not to do with individuality if it is making her a whole and uniting the opposites within?
Dr. Jung: Quite so, it is making her a whole, but the meaning of this symbolism is also indicated by the fact that she is doing nothing herself.
Usually she is active, but here she is quite passive, and the serpent is the active one.
Mrs. Sawyer: Has it not to do with accepting the divine principle? That part about being asleep in the womb might be connected with faith in the divine principle. Can you connect the snake with the river of life?
Dr. Jung: There you are on the right track.
The particular point of this symbolism is her passive attitude. She is equivalent to that couple, dormant as if in the womb, meaning that she surrenders herself completely to that strange milieu down below.
And when she is absolutely inactive, the unconscious assumes the activity-acting for her or to her-and that is represented by the serpent coiling itself about her.
Here she is quietly undergoing the effect of the unconscious. Don’t forget that this series of visions began with the danger of a psychosis, the volcano, and here she trusts herself completely to the volcano’s activities.
This is emphasized by her gesture, she puts her arms about the serpent and says: “You are beautiful to me,” not horrid or terrifying, but beautiful.
She accepts the serpent, which shows that she is making friends with the element which threatened her before with complete destruction.
When she is capable of doing that, she will receive a very peculiar effect.
Therefore I made that parallel with the Eleusinian mysteries where the initiate had to kiss the snake, which is loathsome and terrifying.
Yet it was done because it was supposed to be the union with the serpent, and that meant the entrance of the god.
The god entered the body of the initiate who was then called entheos, meaning the god within.
One of the titles of Dionysus was Enkolpios, meaning in the vagina; that is, Dionysus entered the initiates as if he were the phallus and each initiate were a vagina; he was then contained in the initiates, his followers, and as such he was called Enkolpios.
It represented the complete union of the divine with the human.
From this sequence we see that the madness which threatened our patient in the beginning was really a panic caused by the immediate vicinity of the god.
So one could understand the madness as a misfiring of the conubium of the god in the divine cohabitation.
It would be a sort of mistake.
It might take the form of a neurosis also, or a terrible emotional
upset, inasmuch as one emotionally participates in such an out-
burst. In other words, if one is identified with the emotion, one is simply blasted to bits, and the connection with the god does not come off.
But if one can detach oneself from this panic, if one can stand it, one can go down into it, and then the god enters the initiate. Then the emotional power becomes the Kundalini serpent, and one has control over the emotion.
That is the origin of the idea of the power to be got through
One might consider doing such a thing in order to learn self-control, but that aim is much too human, much too personal, too small.
And it would not enable one to cope with the tremendous power of such an emotion; it is overwhelming, and whoever has touched upon it knows that no personal aim or pretext would make one capable of dealing properly with it.
Therefore our patient is shown here in a passive attitude, surrendering completely and accepting the activity of the unconscious that coils about her like a serpent.
This in itself is really a terrible moment, nothing could be more terrible than to be attacked by a python, one might die of fear. And she has to endure that supreme moment when the fear
itself, the serpent, coils about her, without her lifting a finger against it.
Now if she is capable of doing that, she will be able to stand fear, and thereby she will gain a good many advantages.
For to stand the onslaught of such a mad panic is really a supreme moment, and it is the way in which she might overcome the danger which was threatening her in the beginning.
Is that clear?
You see, if she were capable of realizing this vision, she would acquire a sort of magic protection; everybody else might be upset but she would be as if coiled about by the serpent so that
nothing could upset her again profoundly.
Things could still get at her, sure enough, but she would be still deeper than the deepest depth of an emotion.
Now after this she says: I ascended from the well.
The sky became dark with heavy clouds.
Skeletons on horseback galloped by. (Again a sort of mad vision
The clouds turned to smoke and streams of boiling water began to flow past me.
I knew that the eruption had again begun.
I sought to escape from the crater but could find no way to
Then I called out that I was lost and would be burned alive.
The crescent moon swung down low to me.
I caught it with my hands and it lifted me out.
I walked down the side of the volcano and came to a village in the valley.
I said to the people: “What do you call the mountain?” They answered: “The Great Mother.”
“But your Great Mother is a destroyer.” They answered: “She only smokes.”
I said: “See my clothes are charred and torn with the fire.”
They answered: “You went too near. We only behold our Great
Mother from our valley here below.”
Here we have an interpretation of the volcano.
It is called the Great Mother, and if one doesn’t go too near, one won’t be burned.
Our patient went too near.
So that emotional world of panics, of ferment and tumult and profound passion, is called the Great Mother.
And that region is located in the abdomen according to the Kundalini system; the third center, corresponding to the plexus solaris, is the fire center, the crater.
Still deeper than the fire center is the water region, and down
below that is muladhara.
She has been through the three lower centers; the deepest, muladhara, would be the place where that couple was encircled by the serpent; then in coming up, she passed through the water region again, where she noticed that the water was beginning to boil; and then up through the crater where she was again in the fire zone and therefore in great perturbation, almost overcome, but the moon was
very helpful in that case.
Here you see what she has gained through her experience with the snake; she is now apparently on very good terms with the moon, it helps her out of the embarrassing situation of being at
the bottom of a volcano in action.
But where did she get her connection with the crescent moon?
Mrs. Crowley: From the goddess in the well?
Dr. Jung: Yes, Cybele is the moon, the crescent is her emblem. So she received divine help down below, she made friends with the gods.
Therefore when she is almost a prey to panic, something happens that pulls her out.
That Luna herself descends to take her out of danger is very
fantastic symbolism, but psychologically it means that through her complete surrender to the unconscious powers she made them into friends; the unconscious then develops a helpful function and produces a miracle in her favor.
The Western mind can never accept the possibility that the unconscious can do anything but cause a stomach neurosis, or a
heart neurosis, or bad dreams, or some other nuisance.
People think that anything entrusted to the unconscious is either nonsense or a terrible nuisance.
They never assume that the unconscious might behave
And the East is convinced that the unconscious consists of
nothing but sense, which is going a bit too far in the other direction.
Therefore they have to work for consciousness, while with us it is just the reverse.
For it is really true that if one, creates a better relation to the
unconscious, it proves to be a helpful power, it then has an activity of its own, it produces helpful dreams, and at times it really produces little miracles.
It is funny to see how people, when they start their analysis, are
terribly intelligent and know all about the world, and there is no help for anything, no loophole for any god to perform a miracle; and then after analysis they are as superstitious as witches.
They say they have not yet dreamed about any matter in question, they must wait until they have a suitable dream about it.
Now who are the people who live in the village at the foot of the mountain?
Miss Taylor: Those who repress their emotions.
Dr. Jung: I don’t think they repress their emotions particularly. They are very hopeful people, you know; they never go too near the fire, they are just the ordinary people to whom the world means nothing in particular.
To them that mountain is entirely harmless.
It is called the Great Mother only because it is rather bulky in form; and the volcanic activity counts for nothing, it is the old grandmother smoking her pipe; naturally one gets burnt if one goes too close, “we never go there.”
You see, they are the ordinary people to whom the world is nothing to marvel at, the history of the whole world is a ”.just so” story to them.
This patient was astonished that there were such people, that they were allowed to exist without getting neurotic, and I remember saying to her:
“But you should not be astonished, in a way you are a crank, you are different from other people; you are outside the usual order of the world, so you will have certain peculiar experiences; therefore you must know a bit more about the inside of that mountain.”
Other people don’t know it because they encounter nothing in their lives which would force them to know it; they are within an everyday world where nothing extraordinary happens. Naturally there is the other danger that one says: “Oh yes, I
admit that I am a crank, but I am a very divine crank.”
That is a great mistake, for we are living in these villages of normal people, and to be even a divine crank doesn’t go at all in one’s ordinary existence.
There is absolutely no reason for any inflation, and one had better keep it all away from the so-called normal people, because it is at all events something which is not understood. Now we come to the next series of visions:
I stood on the shore of the water. A fish cast itself out of the water at my feet. I picked it up, put my hand in its mouth and drew forth from its mouth a black rough stone. I rubbed the stone against my breast and it turned to amber. Within the amber I saw a face of suffering. I put the amber in my robe against my breast and walked away.
What is this? One must always keep in mind the end of the vision before to give one the clue for deciphering the next one. She has come down into the village of the normal people, where the world is a ”just so” story, and after that experience she is probably quite bewildered and doesn’t
know whether they are crazy or she is crazy. For after a while she has to admit that when one looks at the volcano from the outside, it is indeed only a big mountain which smokes, and if one doesn’t go too near, one won’t be burned, so one can just leave the thing alone.
That is the situation in which the new fantasy begins.
She is now standing “on the shore of the water.”
Dr. Reichstein: The fish brings her the stone, and that will again be a jewel, so she realizes the fact that she herself has not been one of the ordinary people, she has indeed won something.
Miss Wolff: She is able to work a sort of magic apparently; by rubbing the stone she can see something in it.
Dr. Jung: But why does the fish bring the stone?
Remark: It is like the ring of Polycrates that was brought back by the fishes.
Dr. Jung: But it must have been lost since the fish brings it back. How was it lost?
Miss Taylor: When she had been with the ordinary people a while she lost her belief in those experiences.
Dr. Jung: Exactly, that is what happens.
You see, people may have most extraordinary experiences in the course of analysis, but when they go out into the world they forget all about them.
The further they get away from that mountain the less impressive it seems, it just smokes, so they forget the experience.
What they have gained is lost in the ocean, like the ring of Polycrates, which would have been lost had the fish not
brought it back.
Under the influence of these village people, this woman
has lost that precious experience, which really forms a treasure if duly kept in consciousness as such.
So she is rather forlornly standing on the shore of the great waters, and the fish brings her the jewel again, but this
time it is a black rough stone, not like a jewel at all.
It looks like any stone, one would never notice it.
Apparently the blackness comes from the volcano, and she doesn’t see that it is a jewel until she has rubbed itagainst her breast, so filling it with her own libido again; when she begins
to realize what it is, she puts it against her heart, and the jewel is the heart.
So it turns to a precious substance, amber.
And how does the amber differ from the black rough stone?
Mr: Allemann: It is transparent.
Dr: Jung: Yes, suddenly the stone clears and becomes transparent.
And what can one see inside of amber occasionally?
Remark: Plants and little insects, as if floating about in the water.
Dr: Jung: Yes, amber is a most preservative substance; even the most tender algae, or the organs of the most microscopic insects can be preserved in it.
So it means that a sort of reminiscence of millions of years
ago is marvellously preserved inside.
And there she sees the suffering face. What is that?
Mrs. Sawyer: Her own. .
Dr: Jung: It might be her own, the memory of her own suffering.
We shall see. She says:
Then I felt the amber beating with a strong pulse and I felt tired
and lay down on the ground.
There it beat like a great heart and soon the ground and the trees about me beat also.
I began to feel the pulsation everywhere.
You see it is very much a heart, and a very peculiar heart in that it is beating not only in herself but also outside, it fills the surroundings withits pulsation. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, 24 February 1932, Lecture VI, Page 594-607