Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group

Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 1932-1958

Pauli’s Observations on Cosmic Rays [Handwritten note from Pauli, undated]


I have long been familiar (U-15 years) with dreams in which other physicists (usually experts in the field of cosmic rays) conduct experiments with these rays (reflection, dispersion of rays, and similar things) .

Frequently, the rays are described as “dangerous; in that they can all cause “bum wounds” (like radioactive rays) .

As a protection against this, the physicists in the dreams indicate “asbestos sheets” (to insulate the body) or a “spin factor” (spin meaning “rotating on its own axis”; “spin factor” here being similar in meaning to “circumambulatio”).

The “cosmic rays” in the dreams are not the real cosmic rays of physics.

They are actually supra-personal (archetypal) contents but not yet made
more specific.

The dreams under consideration seem to correspond to a relatively early stage of the confrontation of consciousness with other-as yet unknown-contents of this kind.

Let me give one example.

It contains a very favorable indication namely, the “fine structure” of the second line.

What this does is to indicate the beginning of an assimilation of an unconscious content into consciousness.

Example: Dream 7 October 1949

“The physicist H. is present and says that his father is conducting experiments with cosmic rays. They will be made visible by having objects put in their way as obstacles. My wife and I are looking on. Lines appear on a photographic plate, more or less like this: My wife says that she finds it very interesting.”

Comment (made at the time):

It is as if “contents” had been sent to me but ricochet off me (scattering), possibly to reappear elsewhere. ~Wolfgang Pauli, Atom and Archetype, Page 210