The Vision of the Singing Berserker
The text begins:1 ” … and which he knew. And it seemed to him that he saw a
man dressed as a pilgrim.
He carried a staff in his hand and wore a hat tied on and its brim was turned up in the manner of someone who wants to set out on a walk, and he wore a cloak.
And Klaus knew within himself that he [the pilgrim] came from the sunrise or from far away.
Though he did not say so, he came from the place where the sun rises in the summer.2
And upon reaching Klaus, he stood before him and sang the word ‘Alleluia’ three times.
And when he began to sing, his voice echoed and ( the earth and) everything between heaven and earth supported his voice, as the small pipes of a pipe organ support the large ones.
And Klaus heard three perfect words coming from some single source, emerge and then snap back into place, like a spring closing under pressure.
And after he had heard these three perfect words, each word separate from the other, Klaus did not wish to say anything other than that one word.
And when he [the pilgrim] had completed the song, he asked Klaus for a donation.
And he [Klaus] had a penny in his hand and did not know where he had got it from.
And he [ the pilgrim] took off his hat and accepted the penny being placed in it.
And the man [Klaus] had never realised what a great honour it was to receive a donation in a hat.
And the man [Klaus] wondered very much who he [ the stranger] was and where he came from, and the pilgrim said, ‘I come from there: and he would say no more.
And he [Klaus] stood in front of him and looked at him.
And the wanderer was transformed and appeared bare-headed, wearing a robe of blue or grey, but Klaus no longer saw the cloak, and he [ the stranger] was such a noble, well-built man that he [Klaus] could only look at him with yearning and desire.
His face was tanned, which gave him a noble appearance.
His eyes were as black as magnets, his limbs were so well formed that they were of particular beauty.
Although he was clothed, his garments did not prevent his limbs from being visible.
And while Klaus continued to look at him with fixed attention, the pilgrim returned his gaze.
Many great wonders then came to pass: the mountain of Pilatus collapsed to the ground (that is, it flattened itself to the ground) and he [the pilgrim] revealed a view of the whole world so that it seemed to him that all the sins of the world were revealed, and a great crowd of people appeared, and behind the people Truth appeared and truth revealed itself in all their faces.3
And on the hearts of all, there appeared a large growth the size of two fists joined together.
And this growth was egoism, which led the people astray [seduced them] to such an extent that they could not bear to look the pilgrim in the face, just as people cannot bear flames of fire, and they ran terrified back and forth, cursing and swearing, and he watched them run into the distance.
And the Truth that had stood behind them remained:’ 57 As the vision continues, the pilgrim’s face changes to look like a “Veronica cloth;’ and the pilgrim reveals further new aspects of himself to Klaus.
But because of the length of the text of the vision, it seems better to begin our interpretation at this stage.
The biographer, Woelflin, deals with the beginning of this vision only briefly by saying that Brother Klaus, while lost in spiritual rapture, once wandered through lonely areas, far away from human habitation,4 where he saw an old man approaching from afar who was “of noble appearance and well-dressed, and he sang a song for one voice which he developed into three-part harmony:’5
Brother Klaus experienced this as being a lesson in the “indivisible nature of the divine, which is differentiated into three people and yet is in wonderful harmony.”6
Later in the vision, he comes to the palace with the fountain, which, in the original text that has since been found, is described in a similar way.
Here we can clearly see how Woelfl.in already alters the text to fit the conventional Christian standpoint by leaving out many details. 7
88 This wanderer, who comes singing from where the sun rises, once again has characteristics similar to Wotan, both in his clothing and in the manner in which he mysteriously wanders around.
Saxo calls Wotan the “Inexhaustible Wanderer.”8
Wotan’s other names include “Vegtamr” (he who has left), “Gangleri” (he who is tired of the being on the move), “Gangrapr” (he who gives advice while moving from one place to the next).9 Ninck says,10 “There are many stories of how Wotan moves around as a beggar, as a singer, as a stranger who pays visits to kings under the assumed name of ‘Gest; who tells them stories in their halls or at their bedside, who sings them songs and who competes with them in solving riddles … ”
His appearance corresponds exactly to the image of the wanderer.
He wears a coat and a wide-brimmed hat which covers his forehead.11
His cloak is coarse and is blue, with blue-stripes, grey or spotted …. He is tall with a long beard.
He has only one eye which blazes like fire.
His hair and his beard are grey with age, but nevertheless “he was so handsome and noble as he sat amongst his friends that it made everyone light-hearted” (Snorri).12
In Klaus’s vision, too, the wanderer is a beggar and a singer and his clothing matches even down to the colour of his coat.
In medieval times, it was Ahasuerus, the eternal Jew, who assumed this role ofWotan.13
In the inner cantons of Switzerland, Wotan’s army is accompanied by delightful music, especially when Wotan makes a friendly appearance.
It is said that “he and his followers approach in a friendly manner surrounded by melodious sounds, as if there were all kinds of stringed instruments playing:’14
In many places, Odin was thought of as being a minstrel with magical powers who wanders around and attracts the living into the land of the dead with his magical sounds.15
It is interesting that this vision is presented as an experience of a “spiritual journey:’ This, too, fits for the Nordic shamans who, along with many primitive medicine men, know of this “great journey” of the spirit during which their bodies most often remain at home, as if they were dead.
This is especially true of those who are possessed by Wotan.16
In the very area from which Brother Klaus comes, stories from the sixteenth century were told of how Wotan removes individuals from one place to another and sometimes carries them off even as far as Milan.17
Apparently, Klaus, too, went on such “spiritual journeys;’ which is strongly reminiscent of the Jungian
method of active imagination.18
The biographer J.J. Eichhorn19 reports a legend in which Brother Klaus was once found by his own people “enraptured, standing upright with his back against the wall of his cell, looking upwards with his eyes rolled back, his mouth open and a (terrifying’ look upon his face.
And when he was himself again, he told those who were present, (My children, I was in the village: This meant, (I visited my friends in spirit:”20
Duerrer interprets this as being an expression of the joy Klaus experienced in contemplation, and he compares it to Brother Klaus’s statement that ((contemplation can be savoured like a dance:’21
These ecstatic journeys, however, are also a special effect which the Tiirst (Wotan) engenders, and furthermore, they belong to the classical practices of shamans and medicine men the world over. 22
90 When, in the inner cantons of Switzerland, the Tiirst (Wotan) makes a friendly appearance, his army of ((blessed ones” play beautiful music, as mentioned above, and he appears as a “mighty lord:’
In Brother Klaus’s vision, however, it is the noble wanderer himself who makes the music23-and the whole cosmos responds to him.
This brings to mind the Hippocratic idea of the Ulomelie, a holistic concord of all things in nature, 24 and in this cosmic ((harmony;’ the wanderer appears to play a key role.
This may indeed point towards the basis of every synchronistic phenomena for we often express the experience we have of things suddenly falling into place with the symbolism of a lock or key; for example, in English “it clicks;’ and in Bavarian, “fetz hots gschnakelt” (“now it’s clicked”).25
The philosopher’s stone, too, was often compared by the alchemists to the ((Key of David which closes and no one opens, and which opens, and no one closes:’26
In a report from Greenland,27 at a so-called Seid (a kind of shamanic meeting) which is conducted by a Volva ( a fem ale seer or shaman), there is a connection between the idea of locking and that of singing.
Before the Volva begins with her magic, she firstly asks for women to be brought to her who can sing the vardlok(k)ur (“the lock of the ghosts”).
This is a wonderful song, which attracts the protective spirits with whose help the seeress, or female shaman, will
be able to answer all questions, do her magic, and reveal what is hidden.
In Brother Klaus’s vision, too, it is after the song of the wanderer that the Truth and the spiritual inner world of man is revealed, and the spiritual inner world of man.
As is told in the Edda, the magical songs which Odin extracted from the giant were previously “locked up”; and a Skalde, Egil, thus sings:28
92 Forth it flows but hardly;
For within my breast
Heaving sobbing stifles
Hindered stream of song
Blessed boon to mortals
Brought from Odin’s kin,
Goodly treasure, stolen
From Giant-land of yore.
93 We still speak of “loosening one’s tongue” and of being “closed:’
But it is the atmosphere that by Wotan creates which unlocks feelings, poetic ecstasy, and clairvoyant trances, which is why the wanderer, too, appears as the lord of this secret. 29
94 The mechanism that snaps closed brings to mind a snap-lock.
Perhaps this is why the idea of a locked-up treasure has a part to play.
It indicates that a strong, autonomous psychic dynamic is involved-a sudden impulse, and at the same time, a “locked” secret.
Indeed, the wanderer does not want to say anything about himself, neither who he is nor where he comes from.
Odin also once said of himself:30 “I have been known by many names since I have been amongst people:’
Nevertheless, we are once again dealing with a Christian motif, for the wanderer sings “Alleluia;’ the word of Christian worship. 31
He praises the Christian God just as an angel or worshipper does, and he is not in any way antagonistic towards Him.
The three complete words which he sings and which, naturally, have always been thought of as being connected to the Trinity,32 also bring to mind the tria verba pretiosa, an Arabic alchemical text of the same title by Calid, in which these three precious words are meant to indicate a progressive process of the four qualities of the lapis becoming one.33
The medieval author of Aurora Consurgens had already made the connection between the triadic division of this motif into the body, soul, and spirit, and the Trinity.34
96 The alchemist Zosimos,35 who was familiar with Christian teachings, said of the lapis:36
97 ((Our stone hath its name in common with the Creator, for it is triune and one” (triunus et unus).
And the Carmina Heliodori37 refer to the stone a ((thrice-blessed source” (or ((one sprout with three faces”).
Despite these parallels, one cannot, of course, ignore these associations to the Trinity as being the most important ones.
As in the vision prior to this one, we are once again dealing with a strange combination of Christian and pagan motifs which would seem to reveal a special tendency of the unconscious, namely, to reconcile the opposites of our chthonic-pagan past and its instinctual basis with the standpoint of our spiritual Christian conscious standpoint. 98 Although the wanderer does not wish to reveal from where he comes, or where he is going, or his name, nevertheless he does, in a manner of speaking, reveal himself indirectly for suddenly he is no longer wearing a cloak and hat but instead has on a blue or grey robe, 38 and he is “so noble and handsome to behold;’ that Brother Klaus “could only look at him with yearning and desire:’
His skin is tanned, his eyes are “as black as magnets;’ and his beautiful limbs are visible through his clothing.
There is a very similar description of the Tiirst (Wotan) in the reports of Renward Cysats, where the Tiirst is described as being a black, slender man with a long nose39 who appears as a “great and powerful lord” or a ”well-groomed” nobleman and warrior.
In the reports of the Icelandic chronicler Snorri Sturluson, it is said of Wotan that he was more distinguished than all the other gods and that it was he who had taught them all their arts and skills.40
In addition, he knew how to change “his skills, his appearance and his form, at wilI:’41
99 Even though in some old Germanic texts Odin is described as being weak-sighted, blind or one-eyed,42 compared to our text in which it is said his eyes are “as black as magnets;’ nevertheless, in some old texts he is called “Baleygr” (“Eyes like Flames”).43
Incidentally, Brother Klaus also had fiery dark eyes.44
100 In Brother Klaus’s vision, the wanderer comes from where the sun rises in summer-which also has to do with the motif of music.
According to Jacob Grimm, the Gothic word swigla (flute) and the old Germanic word swegel (heaven) and swegle (radiant) are etymologically related.
Similarly, our German word hell (bright) is probably related to hallen (resound/ echo) and tonen ( sound/resound).45
From a Christian standpoint, the east is an allegory for the Blessed Virgin Mary or for Christ.
During Advent, the following is sung in church: “0 oriens splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae, veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis:’46
Psychologically speaking, the wanderer comes out of an area of the unconscious where a new “enlightenment” for mankind is being prepared.
101 In the scene which follows in Brother Klaus’s vision, the pilgrim becomes the one truth that reveals all.
Along with other names, Wotan, too, bears the title Sannr ( wahr: true) 47 for he had once received the original truth from Mimir48 and he both possesses and bestows clear-sightedness upon all that is hidden.49
Thus, Snorri Sturluson refers to Wotan as the “songsmith, who, with his songs, can open up earth, mountain and rock and can take what is within:’50
102 In Brother Klaus’s vision, too, the next thing to happen is the decisive peripeteia, that is, the flattening of Mount Pilatus by means of which the pilgrim “opens up the whole world:’ Viewed from Sachseln, Mount Pilatus does, indeed, oppressively block the entire view to the north-west, which is the direction Klaus apparently projected his idea of “the world” onto, for this was the direction he chose when he wanted to leave.
Pilatus, with its three peaks, is not only the numinous and dominating mountain of this area, but, according to a local legend, it is also the place, par excellence, where “Wuott ins Heer” (Wotan and his army) haunt most often,51
especially on a bare quadrangular rocky place on its summit. 52
This is why Nin ck describes Pilatus as being the real Odinsberg (Odin’s Mountain).53
In old chronicles, the name is interpreted as meaning mans pileatus, the mountain with the magical hood. 54
Thus, the disappearance of Pilatus is easy to explain for it becomes invisible, so to speak.
Another name for Pilatus was “Fracmont” (Freckmund-Cheeky Mouth), which comes from fractus mons,55 (Brochen Birg-Fractured Mountain). 56
The material mass which blocks the view disappears and thus the world opens up, i.e., the nature of the world is revealed, and, as is shown, the inner workings of the human heart also become visible, and the human failing of egoism becomes apparent.
Just as people run from fire, in this vision, they scatter in all directions when confronted with the “Truth:’ Like Wotan, this pilgrim also knows how to magically open mountains and rocks, 57 but, more than this, he also reveals the inner world and the egoism in the hearts of people.
For the god Wotan, too, selfishness is indeed the most repulsive of faults, for he is the god of emotions, of love and of unconditional surrender.58
103 As Jung has shown,59 Wotan is “a god of rage and frenzy, who embodies the instinctual and emotional aspect of the unconscious.
Its intuitive and inspiring side also manifests itself in him, for he understands the runes and can interpret fate.
The Romans identified Wotan with Mercury, but his character does not really correspond to any Roman or Greek god, although there are certain resemblances.
He is a wanderer like Mercury, for instance, rules all the dead like Pluto and Kronos, and is connected with Dionysus by his emotional Frenzy:’
According to Jung, a further parallel would be the Greek god of revelation, Hermes, who, as Pneuma and Nous, means wind. He would be the bridge to the Christian pneuma and to the descent of the Holy Ghost at the miracle of Pentecost. As “Poimandres;’ Hermes, too, is capable of “seizing” men.60
One could interpret the wanderer in Brother Klaus’s vision as being a “spirit of Truth;’ who, however, has retained the original emotional components of Ergriffenheit ( of being deeply moved)61 more strongly than is usually associated with the Holy Ghost.
Thus, he would be a “spirit of Truth” who does not descend upon mankind “from above;’ but rather rises up out of the depths of his instincts.
The wanderer asks Klaus for a donation, and in the vision, he finally reveals himself as being the one who arouses love and is, indeed, the secret of love itself.
Thus, the wanderer speaks to an ecstatic feeling that any narrow-hearted selfishness stands in the way of.
Then the face of the pilgrim is transformed into a face “like a Veronica;’ and, once again, he takes on a new form-Wotan is also known as “Wotan Svipall” (‘Wotan, the Changing One”) or “Wotan Grimmir” (“Wotan, the
Masked One”) and “Wotan Tveggi” ‘Wotan, the Twofold One”),62 and all these names relate to his ability to change form.
104 The vision continues:
And the pilgrim’s face changed <like a Veronica’ and he [Brother Klaus] had a great longing to look at him further.
And Klaus saw him again as he had seen him earlier, but his clothes were different and he stood before him wearing pants and a coat over which there was a bearskin that was sprinkled with gold.
But Klaus readily recognised it as being a bearskin.
The bearskin suited the wanderer particularly well, and Klaus saw that the pilgrim looked particularly handsome in it.
And as he stood in front of Klaus and allowed himself to be looked at in his noble bearskin, Klaus realised that the man wanted to leave.
Klaus said, ‘Where do you want to go?’
The pilgrim answered, ‘I want to go up country More he would not say.
As the pilgrim left, Klaus stood gazing after him.
Then Klaus saw that his bearskin shone as though one had passed a shining weapon over it, the glitter of which one could see upon a wall.
And he [Klaus] thought there might be something that was being hidden from him.
And when the pilgrim was about four steps away, he turned round and he had his hat on again and he lifted his hat and bowed to Klaus and took his leave of him.
Then he [Klaus] knew such love for him [ the pilgrim] that he felt quite at one with him and he realised that he did not deserve this love but that it was within him.
And Klaus saw in his spirit that his face, his eyes and his whole body were filled with loving humility, like a vessel filled with honey which could hold not a single drop more.
Then he could no longer see the pilgrim but was so sated with him that he desired nothing further of him.
It seemed to Klaus that he [ the pilgrim] had made known to him [Klaus] everything that was in heaven and on the earth:’
10s Exactly what is meant by the phrase “like a Veronica” is rather uncertain.
Stockli believes63 that the wanderer has adopted a facial expression “like the one on Christ’s sudarium [ sweat cloth]:’
This, in my view, fits, and is even likely as, in this area, there was a legend which connected the shape of Mount Pilatus with the sudarium of St. Veronica.
A handwritten document from the fifteenth century tells64 “how Veronica came to Rome and how Pilate came to Rome via the Tiber and to Rotte (Rhone) and to Freclunund (Pilatus) :’65
The story tells us that after the death of Christ, the emperor Tiberius fell ill with leprosy, so he sent his servant, Albanus, to Jerusalem to find a good doctor (possibly Jesus).
Albanus sought out Pontius Pilate, who, however, kept him waiting, for he feared the discovery of Christ’s killing. But the people sent Albanus to a pious woman called Veronica who told him what had happened to Jesus.
She also told him that she had wanted to have the face of Jesus painted onto a cloth so that she would have a memento of him.
But then Jesus himself suddenly approached her “and then Jesus Christ our Lord took the cloth out of my hand and pressed it to His holy and divine face and gave it back to me.
And there on the cloth was His holy face in all its original colour and detail.
Thus the cloth with the imprint of His holy face and its characteristics was called a Veronica, after my own name:’66 Thereafter, the cloth became a “sacred relic” with which one could heal the sick.
Albanus then takes Veronica with him to Rome, and she heals Tiberius.
Pontius Pilate, however, whose offence became known in this way, was summoned to Rome, had to stand trial, and then committed suicide.
But wherever his corpse was thrown, terrible storms arose so that his corpse had to be retrieved out of the River Tiber and later out of the River Rhone, near Vienne, where it had been brought. Finally, his corpse was put into the lake on Mount Pilatus.
Ever since, he has often appeared in the company of a horse-shaped demon.
He sits upon a throne, and his hair and beard are ice-grey.
Brother Klaus probably knew of this legend, and it is therefore likely that when he said the face of the pilgrim was transformed into “a face like a Veronica:’ he meant that it looked like the face of Jesus on the cloth of St. Veronica.
In art, it is portrayed as the face of one who is being tortured-a face that is in pain.
This would fit with what happens next in the vision for, in his newly transformed state, the divine visitor now appears in a splendid bearskin sprinkled with gold.
Thus, he is a Beri-serkr (a Berserker), a Barenhiiuter (one who wears a bearskin).
This type of transformation, this so-called “going berserk;’ is a quality that belongs to Wotan whereby, in moments like this, his body was as still as death while he moved around in the form of an animal.
Thus, he could “visit” distant countries and perform great deeds.67
Not only could Wotan do this, but his followers.
This Berserker-nature was often hereditary in respectable families.
The “seizure;’ or “fit” would begin with a feeling of restlessness or drowsiness.68
Then the hero would leave as a bear, a wild boar, or as a wolf’s soul and would kill its enemies, 69 though sometimes, in a blind rage, he would kill his own family by mistake.
After such a fit, the one who had “gone berserk” would be weak and easy to overpower.70
But while having the fit, he could bite the edges of shields, swallow burning coals, and even walk through fire.71
Behind this state is a mood called “gramr” or “grimr;’ a word which means the same as “anger” and,
simultaneously, “sovereign lord” or “prince:’72
(In the case of Brother Klaus’s vision, this establishes a connection between the one who goes berserk and the motif of the nobleman!)
It is this “holy rage” of Wotan that ensures victory.
The old Norse expression for “going berserk with rage” means literally “to change form” or “to change one’s coverings:’
This refers to a psychic predisposition to leave one’s body in a transformed shape which is called “hamfong:’73
The root of the word “ham” also means skin, shadow, form, protective spirit, and it also appears in the word “hamingja” ( tutelary spirit, or good fortune),74 which is how the Germanic people referred to the anima.
As the state of “going berserk” does, in fact, begin with suffering, to say that the pilgrim’s face looks “like a Veronica” fits very well, for it is precisely after this that he appears as the Berserker.
That mention is made here of a covering which, according to a local legend, was said to be a sacred relic, is not out of place but rather points to the fact that the pilgrim represents something like a Hulle (a covering), a Hamr (the soul), i.e., the protective spirit of Brother Klaus.
106 The rage of the Berserker is always also a condition of ecstasy and of being in a frenzied state, a state in which the one who is ; =~””‘”cPci can, amongst other things, have an uncanny spiritual effect on people anu L: .. :.u;: from afar.75
107 As Jung wrote in a letter to Fritz Blanke,76 the bear represents the theriomorphic characteristics of the greater personality.
“On his spiritual pilgrimage and in his instinctual (bear-like, i.e., hermitlike) subhumanness, Brother Klaus recognises himself as Christ. …
The brutal coldness of feeling that the saint needed in order to abandon his wife and children and friends is encountered in the subhuman animal realm.
Hence the saint casts an animal shadow.
. . . Whoever can suffer within himself the highest united with the lowest is healed, holy, whole. The vision is trying to show Klaus that the spiritual pilgrim and the Berserker are both Christ, and this opens the way to forgiveness of the great sin which holiness is. (Sine peccato nulla gratia.)
He is frightened to death by God’s wrath because this wrath is aimed at him, who has betrayed his nearest and dearest and the ordinary man for God’s sake:’
Brother Klaus’s vision continues: “The bearskin shone as though one had passed a shining weapon over it, the glitter of which one could see upon a wall:’
And Brother Klaus thinks that there might be “something that was being hidden from him:’
This mysterious shining is not mentioned by chance for it indicates that the one who wears the bearskin is a divine being.
The words ((Ziu” ( a Germanic name for god), the Latin word ‘(deus” (god) and the ancient Indian word ((deva” (god) share an etymological root which refers to the brightness of the daytime sky.77
The divine is a brightness, a shining, and its shine shows its ((mana:’ The association to a polished weapon is also not irrelevant. Old Germanic names for swords were, for example,78 “the Glowing One:’ “the Shine of Victory;’ “the Flickering Shine:’
And when Wotan was entertaining guests one evening in Asgard, he asked for swords to be brought into the hall “which were so highly polished that they shone and no other lighting was needed throughout the entire banquet.”79
Furthermore, expressions for “honour” and “one’s standing in the world” in Old High German are nearly all related to a root word which means brightness, light, clarity: Swedish: “tir” (to light up); Old High German: “toerr” (pure, clear); Old Norse: ”teitr” (happy, beaming) which is related to “tfr” (adornment), which is used by Brother Klaus to describe the shining of the bearskin.
109 Psychologically speaking, the shining of the bearskin has to do with divine “mana:’ and thus it is understandable that Brother Klaus experiences this as something being “hidden” from him, that is, as a fascinating secret. 80
110 After the wanderer has left, a strange feeling of love (Minne) for him suddenly wells up within Brother Klaus, and he feels sated with love, like a honey-pot filled to the brim.
This love (Minne) which suddenly lights up in the man with the bearskin (Barenhauter) is the form of love, or Eros, which belongs to Odin in whose honour the so-called “Minnebecher” (cup of love) was drained at banquets.81
And, as Ninck emphasises, “Minne” is a word which means much more than the word “love”: It means an intensely loving way of thinking82 that establishes a spiritual connection from afar with those who are travelling and with the dead.
It is a deep fervour and, simultaneously, a devoted way of caring while in a state of rapt contemplation.
It was out of this Minne amongst men that the Germanic practice of swearing allegiance arose.83
Such feelings of love for another man is indirectly hinted at here when Brother Klaus experiences “desire and yearning” when he is permitted to see the noble form of the pilgrim.
Thus, it almost looks as if the Berserker wants to seduce him into swearing his allegiance in the Germanic sense. 84
In addition, Brother Klaus’s simile of the vessel filled with honey is pertinent if one thinks of the Minnebecher (cup of love) of the ancient Germanic people, for honey is an essential ingredient in the mead of poets, a drink which induces ecstasy, 85 and honey is to be found in nectar, the drink of immortality.86
According to Paracelsus, honey means ((the sweetness of the earth;’87 which makes it an image of Minne, of immortality, 88 of an eternal bond, 89 and of ecstatic inspiration.90 ((Drink milk and honey before sunrise and there will be something divine in your heart” was written on an ancient Papyrus on magic.91
Honey is also the food of the gods.92
In India, honey, strangely enough, is also a symbol of the contact of all beings in the universe with the Self, the Anthropos purusa”.
Thus, it is said in the Brha-danyaka-Upanishad II, 593 ((This self is honey for all beings. And all beings are honey for this self. And in this self which is made up of the energy of light, from which the deathless purusa is made, and which is made up of Atman, i.e. which is made out of the energy of light, from which the deathless purusa is made, is the original atman of the deathless, of the Brahman.
That is the cosmos:’
In this text, too, honey is an image of the loving contact of all living creatures within the Self in its form of the macro cosmic Anthropos (purusa).
112 Seen from a psychological standpoint, the Minne in Brother Klaus’s vision is, so to speak, the positive aspect of that threatening red colour which frightened Brother Klaus so terribly in the Liestal episode.
For, as Jung wrote in “The Philosophical Tree:’ 94 the “colour red” or “red tincture” of the alchemists psychologically represents a specific form of Eros, of being related through one’s feelings, in which understanding is combined with love.
This is in contrast to the collective, conventional Christian approach of loving one’s neighbour as oneself, for it symbolises a more conscious, more individual and deeper relatedness between people, something which other mystics were seeking to develop at the time Brother Klaus lived.
We can surmise that upon the pilgrim’s departure, Brother Klaus was left with a peculiar feeling of happiness.
We are told: He felt so completely sated, that he desired nothing further, and that it seemed to him that the pilgrim had made known to him everything that was in heaven and on earth.
It seems that the Berserker had about him a sphere of “absolute knowledge” which pointed towards a cosmic Ulomelie in which everything is connected to everything else.95
Indeed, as Jung writes in his essay “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle:’96 it appears that the archetypes of the collective unconscious have a psychoid aspect to them which can also appear in physical events as ordering factors.
The common denominator of both inner psychic and outer events is meaningful coincidence.
The Chinese concept of Tao gives expression to this aspect of reality.
Ch’uang-tse says of this,97 “Outward hearing should not penetrate further than the ear; the intellect should not seek to lead a separate existence, thus the soul can become empty and absorb the whole world.
It is Tao that fills this emptiness:’ And, to have insight, “you use your inner eye, your inner ear, to pierce to the heart of things, and have no need of intellectual knowledge:’
As Jung points out,98 “this is obviously an allusion to the absolute knowledge of the unconscious, and to the presence in the microcosm of macrocosmic events.”
[This is] “not a knowledge that could be connected with the ego, and hence not a conscious knowledge as we know it, but rather a self-subsistent (unconscious’ knowledge which I would prefer to call (absolute knowledge:
It is not cognition but, as Leibniz so excellently calls it, a (perceiving’ which consists-or to be more cautious, seems to consist-of images, of subjectless simulacra.
These postulated images are presumably the same as my archetypes ….
Expressed in modern language, the microcosm which contains (the images of all creation’ would be the collective
Contact with the latter often involves an experience of illumination in which a simultaneous, rather than a rational, realisation of all the world’s secrets is conveyed.
Such considerations, which at first might seem peripheral, must be taken into consideration in our interpretation of Brother Klaus’s
114 vision because the pilgrim in the bearskin is, without doubt, an archetypal image which, psychologically speaking, must be seen as a personification of the Self.
The latter is, however, the central content of the collective unconscious.
Thus, it is obvious that the appearance of this content constellates, among other things, something of the “absolute knowledge” of the collective unconscious, which explains why Brother Klaus’s experience of his encounter with
the pilgrim is equivalent to the instant revelation of all that exists between heaven and earth.
Naturally, this pilgrim, as an image of the Self, is also a parallel figure for Christ100 but one which completes, so to speak, the figure is of Christ by including the lowly realm of the animals, along with the vastness of nature, thereby adding characteristics which the figure in the dogma does not possess so explicitly-at least not yet.
The image of the pilgrim includes Minne, the secret power of the instinctive world and the above-mentioned element of “absolute knowledge:’
To some extent the Berserker has become incarnate in Brother Klaus for he himself wants to reveal the egoism in people, like “the spirit ofTruth:’101 and Brother Klaus often emphasised this ecstatic feeling of divine love which, apparently, he had inwardly experienced.
For indeed, as he told a youth from Burgdorf who asked for his advice on meditation, 102 God knows how to make
contemplation as appealing “as if one were dancing:’ and conversely, He can make it seem “as if one had to struggle with an adversary:’
Indeed, one of Klaus’s prayers which has been handed down to us points in this direction:103
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
116 My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you. ~Marie Louise von Franz, Niklaus von Flue and Saint Perpetua, Page 67-86