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Jung on Death and Immortality

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• P R I N C E T O N ,



Introduction and Selection copyright © 1999 by Princeton University Press Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 All Rights Reserved This book is composed of texts from the following volumes of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Volume 8, © 1960 by Princeton University Press; Psychology and Religion: West and East, Volume 11, © 1958 by Bollingen Foundation, and ed. © 1969 by Princeton University Press, renewed 1986 by Princeton University Press; The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Volume gi, © 1959 by Bollingen Foundation, new material © 1969 by Princeton University Press; The Practice of Psychotherapy, Volume 16, © 1954 by Bollingen Foundation, © renewed 1982 by Princeton University Press; The Symbolic Life, Volume 18, © 1977 by Princeton University Press; and Alchemical Studies, Volume 13, © 1978 by Bollingen Foundation. Other excerpts are taken from The Collected Letters of C. G. Jung, Volumes 1 and 2, © 1953, 1955, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 by Princeton University Press; Memories, Dreams, Reflections, © 1961, 1962, 1963, and renewed 1989, 1990, 1991 by Random House, Inc. (reprinted here by arrangement with Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc.). Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961. Jung on death and immortality / selected and introduced by Jenny Yates. p. cm. — (Encountering Jung) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-691-00675-X (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Psychoanalysis and religion. 2. Death—Psychological aspects. 3. Immortality. 4. Jungian psychology. 5. Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961. I. Yates, Jenny L. II. Title. III. Series: Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961. Selections. English. 1995. BF175.4.R44 J86 1999 x 55-9'37— dc21 9 The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of ANSI/NISO Z 394 8 "i992 (Rigg7) (Permanence of Paper) http://pup.princeton.edu Printed in the United States of America 10

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CONTENTS Acknowledgements Introduction "The Soul and Death" "Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead" "Concerning Rebirth" Letter to Pastor Fritz Pfafflin "The Psychology of the Transference" Letter to Kristine Mann "On Resurrection" Letter to Margaret Erwin Schevill Letter to Arnim Haemmerli "On Life after Death" Letter to Anonymous Letter to Anonymous Index


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36 68


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!37 160 161


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to thank the heirs of C. G. Jung for approving the publication of his views on death and immortality. A special appreciation also to Deborah Tegarden for the invitation to introduce and select the material. She telephoned the week of Princess Diana's death and the day before Mother Theresa's death. I hesitated at first because I had recently experienced my mother's death, on November 8, 1996. After some research I realized Jung had written on death and immortality coinciding with the death of the most important people in his life. Hence, I agreed and wish to dedicate this book to my mother, Dorothy Fowler Yates. I also wish to acknowledge Pantheon's permission to reprint Jung's chapter "On Life After Death" from Memories, Dreams, Reflections. My thanks also to Barbara Barooshian of Wells College for helping me with word processing. I wish also to thank David Rosen, M.D., for reading the Introduction and offering valuable suggestions as well as inspiration.














INTRODUCTION Death is psychologically as important as birth and, like it, is an integral part of life. . . . As a doctor, I make every effort to strengthen the belief in immortality, especially with older patients when such questions come threateningly close. For, seen in correct psychological perspective, death is not an end but a goal. C. G. Jung, cw 13, par. 68

This epigraph from Carl Gustav Jung's "Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life" (1929), speaks of the birth of

the Self as a diamond body, the incorruptible body sought by alchemists as the philosopher's stone—a symbol of immortality in the face of death. The selections in this volume contain several key themes: the correlation between Jung's writings and the death of significant people in his life; the relativity of space and time in death and the afterlife; synchronicity surrounding death; archetypal parallels between the psychology of transference and death; and the journey of the soul after death. The selections begin with "The Soul and Death," as Jung's earliest thoughts begin with the influence of the dead on the living and the role of dreams about death.


Jung's father died in 1896. Six weeks after his death, he appeared to Jung in a dream in which he announced that he would be coming home after a holiday. Jung pondered over the seeming reality of the dream, and thus began his reflections on life after death. Later, Jung sat in on a medium's seances as part of his continuing interest in how the dead communicate with the living, which also became the subject of his medical school dissertation "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena."


In the context of World War I, Jung wrote "Seven Sermons to the Dead" (1916), noting the correspondence between the world of the dead, the land of the ancestors, and the collective unconscious. In his writings Jung explains how the soul/spirit descends into the unconscious or land of the dead and activates the contents, like a medium, giving those who are dead a chance to manifest. The seven sermons were spoken through the voice of Philemon, a wise old man archetype whom Jung called the two-million-year-old man within. Philemon merged with Jung's dream of Elijah, the Old Testament prophet who raised a woman's son from the dead and who, without dying, ascended into heaven in a chariot. In ig22 Jung's father again appeared to him in a dream, this time to ask about marital psychology; this was several months before Jung's mother's death in January 1923. This dream sparked a creative response; Jung wrote "Marriage as a Psychological Relationship," which was first published in 1925. In this analysis, Jung revealed how the unlived lives of an individual's parents are carried in the unconscious and later activate the choice of a marriage partner. DEATH AND THE RELATIVITY OF SPACE-TIME

There is a correlation between the death of significant people in Jung's life and his essays on death. For example, one year before his sister died, Jung wrote "The Soul and Death" (1934). In a letter dated July 11, 1944, following his own near-death experience, Jung recalled his sister's expression of sublimity a few days before she died. He interpreted this to signify that the meaning of life never becomes more urgent than at the moment of death. In 'The Soul and Death" Jung further reflected on death, both as the end of an energy process whose goal is rest and as the fulfillment of life. One's wholeness is not always attained at the time of death, and thus one has dreams about continuing one's work after death, or about changes of locality, going on journeys, or rebirth. Also in "The Soul and Death" Jung began to articulate a theme that runs throughout his writings on death and immortality—the relativity of the space-time link to the psyche. In a letter dated February 25, 1953, Jung wrote, "[I]t was Einstein who first started me off thinking about a possible relativity of time as well as space, and the psychic conditionality" (Letters, Vol. 2, 108). Einstein and Jung had dinner together on several occasions in the early days of Einstein's work on rela-


tivity. Einstein's physics and Kant's philosophy of space and time as categories of the mind were seminal influences on Jung's thinking. In "The Soul and Death" he wrote: "We are not entitled to conclude from the apparent space-time quality of our perception that there is no form of existence without space and time. . . . The psyche, in its deepest reaches, participates in a form of existence beyond space and time, and thus partakes of what is inadequately and symbolically described as 'eternity'" (CW8, pars. 814-15). In 1935, the year Jung's sister died, Jung wrote the "Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead," a text that gives instructions for the dying and the dead, and the after-death experience. In 1953, the year a close colleague and companion Toni Wolff died, Jung revised the essay for its fifth edition. (This is the same year that Einstein greatly influenced Jung's views on the relativity of space and time in relation to death.) The Tibetan Book of the Dead gives instructions for ridding oneself of karmic illusions; Jung saw this as parallel to withdrawing one's projections. The teachings in this book serve as a guide to clear light or enlightenment during a forty-nine-day period between death and rebirth. One can also make use of the instructions as a guide for a journey into the depths of the unconscious. The ultimate goal of the instructions is to recognize one's Buddha nature, the nature of the Self beyond one's karma or complexes. If one does not recognize the clear light of one's own nature, the karma is recycled on the wheel of time, and one goes around again with the illusory projections. The seeing of the clear light at the time of death followed by a review of one's karma is remarkably parallel to the phenomena related by people who have had near-death experiences. The third stage, if one does not recognize the light or recognize one's own karma, is reincarnation. "Concerning Rebirth" appropriately followed in 1939, first given as a lecture at Eranos (the same year World War II began). In part one, Jung spoke of the link between karma and transmigration of souls, reincarnation, resurrection, rebirth and transformation through rituals such as the Mass and the Eleusinian Mysteries. He explained ritual repetition as a way in which a moment of eternity enters time for the sake of transformation. In part two, in a discussion of the psychology of transformation, Jung noted the parallel between loss of soul and death; the return of the soul or reversal is the realization of the greater or immortal Self, the friend of one's soul, such as Buddha or Christ. A different type of psychological process of transformation is what was once called possession—the taking over of the ego by a dead an-


cestor, interpreted by Jung as a complex taking over the ego. Analysis, which is a form of psychological death and rebirth, involves making the complexes conscious in order to free the immortal Self. The intuition of immortality which makes itself felt during the transformation is connected with the peculiar nature of the unconscious. It is, in a sense, nonspatial and non-temporal. . . . The feeling of immortality, it seems to me, has its origin in a peculiar feeling of extension in space and time. (CWgi, par. 249) This extension of the psyche in space and time was Jung's hypothesis to account for telepathic, extrasensory, and synchronistic experiences surrounding death. In a letter dated January 10, 1939, Jung responded to Pastor Fritz Pfafflin's inquiries about a conversation the pastor had had with his brother at the time of his brother's death, although they were separated by a continent. Jung wrote: "It is very probable that only what we call consciousness is contained in space and time, and that the rest of the psyche, the unconscious, exists in a state of relative spacelessness and timelessness. For the psyche this means a relative eternality and a relative non-separation from other psyches, or a oneness with them" (Letters, Vol. 1, 257). The timeless and spaceless relativity allows the "continual presence of the dead and their influence on our dream life" (Letters, Vol. 1, 257). After a few months this ceases; the danger of lingering too long can lead to dissociation. 'There are experiences which show that the dead entangle themselves, so to speak, in the psychology (sympathetic nervous system) of the living. This would probably result in states of possession" (Letters, Vol. 1, 258).


In January 1944, Jung himself had a near-death experience following a heart attack. On July 11, 1944, he wrote: "What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and our feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it. . . . The dissolution of our time-bound form in eternity brings no loss of meaning" (Letters, Vol. 1, 343). In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung described his out-of-body experience and his vision of the globe with its alchemical silver earth and reddish-gold hue. Jung's near-death experience is in accord with phenomena recently discussed by doctors who have resuscitated patients after they have died (Bailey and Yates, 1996). On February 1, 1945, Jung wrote to Dr. Kristine Mann about his


near-death experience and how it gave him a "glimpse behind the veil." Behind this veil, he wrote, there is a sense of peace and fulfillment such that one does not wish to return. He advised her: "Whatever you do, if you do it sincerely, will eventually become the bridge to your wholeness, a good ship that carries you through the darkness of your second birth, which seems to be death to the outside" (Letters, Vol. 1, 358-59)-


In the autumn of 1945, Jung wrote the forward to 'The Psychology of the Transference," first published in 1946. He amplified the transference process in analysis with parallel alchemical symbols. In Alchemical Active Imagination (1997), Dr. Marie Louise von Franz revealed that alchemy was originally linked to preparing the corpse for life after death. The old alchemists, many of whom were physicians, were concerned with death and immortality. In 'The Psychology of the Transference," Jung used only part one of the alchemical Rosarium pictures; in this part the image leaving the union is masculine. Jung spoke of the birth of the male divine child from the union of the conscious and unconscious. Significantly, he did point out that part two of the alchemical Rosarium text contains the female patterns of individuation. In the mysteries of Eleusis, the divine child was female as was Psyche and Eros' child born after a descent to the land of the dead. When the anima soul in a man or the animus spirit in a woman is withdrawn from projections and reunites with the body, a bridge is formed for access between the conscious and unconscious, leading to the Self. The selections included in this text begin with the union of the King and Queen in the tomb. If the inner union of the masculine and feminine parts of one's Self is projected, one may confuse it with a love affair between mortals. The deeper path of individuation is the king/ animus/spirit in a woman's unconscious united with the female ego in search for the wholeness of the female Self. For the man the union is between the queen/anima/soul and the male ego in search of the male Self. One danger in projection is loss of spirit or soul, the psychic death equivalent. A woman has to take care not to identify with the man's anima to compensate for the lack of female Self symbols. An-


other danger is that, when integrated, the contents of the unconscious may so enlarge the ego that one runs the risk of an inflation. In a letter dated July 25, 1946, to Margaret Shevill regarding her husband's death, Jung referred to the "problem of transference and its importance for the problem of death" {Letters, Vol. 1). He added that he was about to publish The Psychology of the Transference. Jung addresses the idea of the link between transference and death again in a letter to Mary Mellon dated September 8, 1941. Mary had written to Jung about a dream she had had about him. Jung responded: You probably have a very living image of myself and it might keep you too much away from yourself, no matter what I am. . . . There's a living connection through the non-space, i.e., an unconscious identity. Such a thing is dangerous. . . . You know, we have to realize that no matter how much we should like to be able to talk to each other, we shall be separated for a long time, perhaps forever, if such a human concept can be applied to whatever happens after death. You know time and space are only relative realities, which under certain conditions do not exist at all. (Letters, Vol. 1, 303-05)

On November 27, 1955, Jung's wife Emma died. In a letter to Erich Neumann, dated December 15, 1955, Jung wrote of the deep link between husband and wife at death and of the illumination he himself experienced (Letters, Vol. 2). Also in 1955, he published the Mysterium Coniunctionis, in which he spoke of the inner marriage that forms a window to eternity.


Jung continued his discussion of the psyche's transcendence of space and time as a clue to understanding resurrection in an article entitled "On Resurrection," dated February 19, 1954. He placed resurrection in the archetypal context of the dying and rising gods, such as Osiris or Christ, seeing it as making possible a participation with one's god in eternity, a symbol of the wholeness of the Self. Jung wrote the essay in response to a question about what he thought of Jesus' resurrection. He focused on the way in which Jesus makes visible the image of God within all of us, the eternal Self in our psyches (CW 18, par. 1570). Jung's thinking is closer to Platonic concepts of the immortality of the soul than it is to the resurrection of the body.


In a letter to Frau N., dated May 30, i960, a year before his own death, Jung wrote that the psyche exists in a continuum outside space and time. He wrote, we cannot "exclude the possibility that there is an existence outside time which runs parallel with existence inside time" (Letters, Vol. 2). The foundation of this phenomena is synchronicity. He recollected his early 1934-35 essay on "The Soul and Death." In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung wrote about a dream he had in which his wife was continuing her work on the grail after her death (309). In "On Life after Death," recorded in 1958-59, Jung suggested that dreams are a clue to understanding life after death. Jung's last reported dream, a few days before his death, was of the philosopher's stone, the symbol of immortality: He saw a great round stone in a high place, a barren square, and on it were engraved the words: "and this shall be a sign unto you of wholeness and oneness." Then he saw many vessels in the night in an open square and a quadrangle of trees whose roots reached around the earth and enveloped him and among the roots golden threads were glittering, (von Franz, 287)

Jung died on June 6, 1961. Jenny Yates Ithaca, New York July 26, 1998

REFERENCES Bailey, Lee and Yates, Jenny. (igg6). The Near-Death Experience: A Reader. New York and London: Roudedge. Jung, Carl. (i973). Letters: 1906-1950, Vol. 1. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Jung, Carl. (1975). Letters: 1951-1961, Vol. 2. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Jung, Carl. ( i g 6 i ) . Memories, Dreams, Reflections (with Aniela Jaffe). New York: Random House. Jung, Carl. (1976). The Symbolic Life. Collected Works, Vol. 18, trans. R.F.C. Hull. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.


von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1975). Jung: His Myth in Our Time, trans. William Kennedy. New York: Putnam's Sons, for the C. G. Jung Foundation.

SUGGESTED READING Eliade, Mircea. (1994). Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth, trans. Willard R. Trask. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications. Kubler-Ross, Elisabedi. (1997). On Death and Dying. New York: Collier Books. Sambhava, Padma. (1994). The Tibetan Book of the Dead, trans. Robert A. Thurman. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell. von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1979). Time, Rhythm and Repose. New York: W. W. Norton.


"THE SOUL AND DEATH" From CW8, pars. 796-815 796

I have often been asked what I believe about death, that unproblematical ending of individual existence. Death is known to us simply as the end. It is the period, often placed before the close of the sentence and followed only by memories or after-effects in others. For the person concerned, however, the sand has run out of the glass; the rolling stone has come to rest. When death confronts us, life always seems like a downward flow or like a clock that has been wound up and whose eventual "running down" is taken for granted. We are never more convinced of this "running down" than when a human life comes to its end before our eyes, and the question of the meaning and worth of life never becomes more urgent or more agonizing than when we see the final breath leave a body which a moment before was living. How different does the meaning of life seem to us when we see a young person striving for distant goals and shaping the future, and compare this with an incurable invalid, or with an old man who is sinking reluctantly and impotently into the grave! Youth—we should like to think—has purpose, future, meaning, and value, whereas the coming to an end is only a meaningless cessation. If a young man is afraid of the world, of life and the future, then everyone finds it regrettable, senseless, neurotic; he is considered a cowardly shirker. But when an ageing person secretly shudders and is even mortally afraid at the thought that his reasonable expectation of life now amounts to only so and so many years, then we are painfully reminded of certain feelings within our own breast; we look away and turn the conversation [Originally published as "Seele und Tod," Europdische Revue (Berlin), X (April 1934) and republished in Wirklichkeit der Seek (Psychologische Abhandlungen, IV; Zurich, 1934). A shortened version appeared as "Von der Psychologie des Sterbens," Munchner Neueste Nachrichten, No. 269 (Oct. 2, 1935)- The present version is a slight revision of a translation by Eugene H. Henley in Spring (Analytical Psychology Club, New York), 1945, to whom grateful acknowledgment is made.—EDITORS.] 11


to some other topic. The optimism with which we judge the young man fails us here. Naturally we have a stock of suitable banalities about life which we occasionally hand out to the other fellow, such as "everyone must die sometime," "you can't live forever," etc. But when one is alone and it is night and so dark and still that one hears nothing and sees nothing but the thoughts which add and subtract the years, and the long row of those disagreeable facts which remorselessly indicate how far the hand of the clock has moved forward, and the slow, irresistible approach of the wall of darkness which will eventually engulf everything I love, possess, wish for, hope for, and strive for, then all our profundities about life slink off to some undiscoverable hiding-place, and fear envelops the sleepless one like a smothering blanket. 797 Many young people have at bottom a panic fear of life (though at the same time they intensely desire it), and an even greater number of the ageing have the same fear of death. Indeed, I have known those people who most feared life when they were young to suffer later just as much from the fear of death. When they are young one says they have infantile resistances against the normal demands of life; one should really say the same thing when they are old, for they are likewise afraid of one of life's normal demands. We are so convinced that death is simply the end of a process that it does not ordinarily occur to us to conceive of death as a goal and a fulfilment, as we do without hesitation the aims and purposes of youthful life in its ascendance. 798 Life is an energy-process. Like every energy-process, it is in principle irreversible and is therefore directed towards a goal. That goal is a state of rest. In the long run everything that happens is, as it were, no more than the initial disturbance of a perpetual state of rest which forever attempts to re-establish itself. Life is teleology par excellence; it is the intrinsic striving towards a goal, and the living organism is a system of directed aims which seek to fulfil themselves. The end of every process is its goal. All energy-flow is like a runner who strives with the greatest effort and the utmost expenditure of strength to reach his goal. Youthful longing for the world and for life, for the attainment of high hopes and distant goals, is life's obvious teleological urge which at once changes into fear of life, neurotic resistances, depressions, and phobias if at some point it remains caught in the past, or shrinks from risks without which the unseen goal cannot be attained. With the attainment of maturity and at the zenith of biological existence, life's drive towards a goal in no wise halts. With the same intensity and irresistibility with which it strove upward before middle age, life now descends; for the goal no longer lies on the summit, but in the valley 12


where the ascent began. The curve of life is like the parabola of a projectile which, disturbed from its initial state of rest, rises and then returns to a state of repose. 799 The psychological curve of life, however, refuses to conform to this law of nature. Sometimes the lack of accord begins early in the ascent. The projectile ascends biologically, but psychologically it lags behind. We straggle behind our years, hugging our childhood as if we could not tear ourselves away. We stop the hands of the clock and imagine that time will stand still. When after some delay we finally reach the summit, there again, psychologically, we settle down to rest, and although we can see ourselves sliding down the other side, we cling, if only with longing backward glances, to the peak once attained. Just as, earlier, fear was a deterrent to life, so now it stands in the way of death. We may even admit that fear of life held us back on the upward slope, but just because of this delay we claim all the more right to hold fast to the summit we have now reached. Though it may be obvious that in spite of all our resistances (now so deeply regretted) life has reasserted itself, yet we pay no attention and keep on trying to make it stand still. Our psychology then loses its natural basis. Consciousness stays up in the air, while the curve of the parabola sinks downward with everincreasing speed. 800

Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul. Anyone who fails to go along with life remains suspended, stiff and rigid in midair. That is why so many people get wooden in old age; they look back and cling to the past with a secret fear of death in their hearts. They withdraw from the life-process, at least psychologically, and consequently remain fixed like nostalgic pillars of salt, with vivid recollections of youth but no living relation to the present. From the middle of life onward, only he remains vitally alive who is ready to die with life. For in the secret hour of life's midday the parabola is reversed, death is born. The second half of life does not signify ascent, unfolding, increase, exuberance, but death, since the end is its goal. The negation of life's fulfilment is synonymous with the refusal to accept its ending. Both mean not wanting to live, and not wanting to live is identical with not wanting to die. Waxing and waning make one curve. 801 Whenever possible our consciousness refuses to accommodate itself to this undeniable truth. Ordinarily we cling to our past and remain stuck in the illusion of youthfulness. Being old is highly unpopular. Nobody seems to consider that not being able to grow old is just as absurd as not being able to outgrow child's-size shoes. A still infantile man of thirty is surely to be deplored, but a youthful septuagenarian—


isn't that delightful? And yet both are perverse, lacking in style, psychological monstrosities. A young man who does not fight and conquer has missed the best part of his youth, and an old man who does not know how to listen to the secrets of the brooks, as they tumble down from the peaks to the valleys, makes no sense; he is a spiritual mummy who is nothing but a rigid relic of the past. He stands apart from life, mechanically repeating himself to the last triviality. 802 Our relative longevity, substantiated by present-day statistics, is a product of civilization. It is quite exceptional for primitive people to reach old age. For instance, when I visited the primitive tribes of East Africa, I saw very few men with white hair who might have been over sixty. But they were really old, they seemed to have always been old, so fully had they assimilated their age. They were exactly what they were in every respect. We are forever only more or less than we actually are. It is as if our consciousness had somehow slipped from its natural foundations and no longer knew how to get along on nature's timing. It seems as though we were suffering from a hybris of consciousness which fools us into believing that one's time of life is a mere illusion which can be altered according to one's desire. (One asks oneself where our consciousness gets its ability to be so contrary to nature and what such arbitrariness might signify.) 803

Like a projectile flying to its goal, life ends in death. Even its ascent and its zenith are only steps and means to this goal. This paradoxical formula is no more than a logical deduction from die fact that life strives towards a goal and is determined by an aim. I do not believe that I am guilty here of playing with syllogisms. We grant goal and purpose to the ascent of life, why not to the descent? The birth of a human being is pregnant widi meaning, why not death? For twenty years and more the growing man is being prepared for the complete unfolding of his individual nature, why should not the older man prepare himself twenty years and more for his deadi? Of course, with the zenith one has obviously reached something, one is it and has it. But what is attained with death? 804 At this point, just when it might be expected, I do not want suddenly to pull a belief out of my pocket and invite my reader to do what nobody can do—that is, believe something. I must confess that I myself could never do it either. Therefore I shall certainly not assert now that one must believe death to be a second birth leading to survival beyond die grave. But I can at least mention that the consensus gentium has decided views about death, unmistakably expressed in all the great religions of the world. One might even say that the majority of these reli-


gions are complicated systems of preparation for death, so much so that life, in agreement with my paradoxical formula, actually has no significance except as a preparation for the ultimate goal of death. In both the greatest living religions, Christianity and Buddhism, the meaning of existence is consummated in its end. 805 Since the Age of Enlightenment a point of view has developed concerning the nature of religion which, although it is a typically rationalistic misconception, deserves mention because it is so widely disseminated. According to this view, all religions are something like philosophical systems, and like them are concocted out of the head. At some time someone is supposed to have invented a God and sundry dogmas and to have led humanity around by the nose with this "wishfulfilling" fantasy. But this opinion is contradicted by the psychological fact that the head is a particularly inadequate organ when it comes to thinking up religious symbols. They do not come from the head at all, but from some other place, perhaps the heart; certainly from a deep psychic level very little resembling consciousness, which is always only the top layer. That is why religious symbols have a distinctly "revelatory" character; they are usually spontaneous products of unconscious psychic activity. They are anything rather than thought up; on the contrary, in the course of the millennia, they have developed, plant-like, as natural manifestations of the human psyche. Even today we can see in individuals the spontaneous genesis of genuine and valid religious symbols, springing from the unconscious like flowers of a strange species, while consciousness stands aside perplexed, not knowing what to make of such creations. It can be ascertained without too much difficulty that in form and content these individual symbols arise from the same unconscious mind or "spirit" (or whatever it may be called) as the great religions of mankind. At all events experience shows that religions are in no sense conscious constructions, but that they arise from the natural life of the unconscious psyche and somehow give adequate expression to it. This explains their universal distribution and their enormous influence on humanity throughout history, which would be incomprehensible if religious symbols were not at the very least truths of man's psychological nature. 806

I know that very many people have difficulties with the word "psychological." To put these critics at ease, I should like to add that no one knows what "psyche" is, and one knows just as little how far into nature "psyche" extends. A psychological truth is therefore just as good and respectable a thing as a physical truth, which limits itself to matter as the former does to the psyche.



The consensus gentium that expresses itself through die religions is, as we saw, in sympathy with my paradoxical formula. Hence it would seem to be more in accord with die collective psyche of humanity to regard death as the fulfilment of life's meaning and as its goal in die truest sense, instead of a mere meaningless cessation. Anyone who cherishes a rationalistic opinion on this score has isolated himself psychologically and stands opposed to his own basic human nature. 808 This last sentence contains a fundamental truth about all neuroses, for nervous disorders consist primarily in an alienation from one's instincts, a splitting off of consciousness from certain basic facts of die psyche. Hence rationalistic opinions come unexpectedly close to neurotic symptoms. Like these, they consist of distorted thinking, which takes die place of psychologically correct thinking. The latter kind of thinking always retains its connection with the heart, with the depths of the psyche, the tap-root. For, enlightenment or no enlightenment, consciousness or no consciousness, nature prepares itself for death. If we could observe and register the thoughts of a young person when he has time and leisure for day-dreaming, we would discover that, aside from a few memory-images, his fantasies are mainly concerned with die future. As a matter of fact, most fantasies consist of anticipations. They are for die most part preparatory acts, or even psychic exercises for dealing with certain future realities. If we could make the same experiment with an ageing person—without his knowledge, of course—we would naturally find, owing to his tendency to look backwards, a greater number of memory-images than with a younger person, but we would also find a surprisingly large number of anticipations, including those of death. Thoughts of death pile up to an astonishing degree as the years increase. Willynilly, the ageing person prepares himself for death. That is why I think that nature herself is already preparing for the end. Objectively it is a matter of indifference what the individual consciousness may think about it. But subjectively it makes an enormous difference whether consciousness keeps in step with the psyche or whether it clings to opinions of which the heart knows nothing. It is just as neurotic in old age not to focus upon the goal of death as it is in youth to repress fantasies which have to do with the future. 809

In my rather long psychological experience I have observed a great many people whose unconscious psychic activity I was able to follow into the immediate presence of death. As a rule the approaching end was indicated by those symbols which, in normal life also, proclaim changes of psychological condition—rebirth symbols such as changes of locality, journeys, and the like. I have frequently been able to trace 16


back for over a year, in a dream-series, the indications of approaching death, even in cases where such thoughts were not prompted by the outward situation. Dying, therefore, has its onset long before actual death. Moreover, this often shows itself in peculiar changes of personality which may precede death by quite a long time. On the whole, I was astonished to see how little ado the unconscious psyche makes of death. It would seem as though death were something relatively unimportant, or perhaps our psyche does not bother about what happens to the individual. But it seems that the unconscious is all the more interested in how one dies; that is, whether the attitude of consciousness is adjusted to dying or not. For example, I once had to treat a woman of sixty-two. She was still hearty, and moderately intelligent. It was not for want of brains that she was unable to understand her dreams. It was unfortunately only too clear that she did not want to understand them. Her dreams were very plain, but also very disagreeable. She had got it fixed in her head that she was a faultless mother to her children, but the children did not share this view at all, and the dreams too displayed a conviction very much to the contrary. I was obliged to break off the treatment after some weeks of fruitless effort because I had to leave for military service (it was during the war). In the meantime the patient was smitten with an incurable disease, leading after a few months to a moribund condition which might bring about the end at any moment. Most of the time she was in a sort of delirious or somnambulistic state, and in this curious mental condition she spontaneously resumed the analytical work. She spoke of her dreams again and acknowledged to herself everything that she had previously denied to me with the greatest vehemence, and a lot more besides. This selfanalytic work continued daily for several hours, for about six weeks. At the end of this period she had calmed herself, just like a patient during normal treatment, and then she died. 810

From this and numerous other experiences of the kind I must conclude that our psyche is at least not indifferent to the dying of the individual. The urge, so often seen in those who are dying, to set to rights whatever is still wrong might point in the same direction. 811 How these experiences are ultimately to be interpreted is a problem that exceeds the competence of an empirical science and goes beyond our intellectual capacities, for in order to reach a final conclusion one must necessarily have had the actual experience of death. This event unfortunately puts the observer in a position that makes it impossible for him to give an objective account of his experiences and of the conclusions resulting therefrom. 17



Consciousness moves within narrow confines, within the brief span of time between its beginning and its end, and shortened by about a third by periods of sleep. The life of the body lasts somewhat longer; it always begins earlier and, very often, it ceases later than consciousness. Beginning and end are unavoidable aspects of all processes. Yet on closer examination it is extremely difficult to see where one process ends and another begins, since events and processes, beginnings and endings, merge into each other and form, strictly speaking, an indivisible continuum. We divide the processes from one another for the sake of discrimination and understanding, knowing full well that at bottom every division is arbitrary and conventional. This procedure in no way infringes the continuum of the world process, for "beginning" and "end" are primarily necessities of conscious cognition. We may establish with reasonable certainty that an individual consciousness as it relates to ourselves has come to an end. But whether this means that the continuity of the psychic process is also interrupted remains doubtful, since the psyche's attachment to the brain can be affirmed with far less certitude today than it could fifty years ago. Psychology must first digest certain parapsychological facts, which it has hardly begun to do as yet.


The unconscious psyche appears to possess qualities which throw a most peculiar light on its relation to space and time. I am thinking of those spatial and temporal telepathic phenomena which, as we know, are much easier to ignore than to explain. In this regard science, with a few praiseworthy exceptions, has so far taken the easier path of ignoring them. I must confess, however, that the so-called telepathic faculties of the psyche have caused me many a headache, for the catchword "telepathy" is very far from explaining anything. The limitation of consciousness in space and time is such an overwhelming reality that every occasion when this fundamental truth is broken through must rank as an event of the highest theoretical significance, for it would prove that the space-time barrier can be annulled. The annulling factor would then be the psyche, since space-time would attach to it at most as a relative and conditioned quality. Under certain conditions it could even break through the barriers of space and time precisely because of a quality essential to it, that is, its relatively trans-spatial and transtemporal nature. This possible transcendence of space-time, for which it seems to me there is a good deal of evidence, is of such incalculable import that it should spur the spirit of research to the greatest effort. Our present development of consciousness is, however, so backward that in general we still lack the scientific and intellectual equipment for adequately evaluating the facts of telepathy so far as they have bear18


ing on the nature of the psyche. I have referred to this group of phenomena merely in order to point out that the psyche's attachment to the brain, i.e., its space-time limitation, is no longer as self-evident and incontrovertible as we have hitherto been led to believe. 814 Anyone who has the least knowledge of the parapsychological material which already exists and has been thoroughly verified will know that so-called telepathic phenomena are undeniable facts. An objective and critical survey of the available data would establish that perceptions occur as if in part there were no space, in part no time. Naturally, one cannot draw from this the metaphysical conclusion that in the world of things as they are "in themselves" there is neither space nor time, and that the space-time category is therefore a web into which the human mind has woven itself as into a nebulous illusion. Space and time are not only the most immediate certainties for us, they are also obvious empirically, since everything observable happens as though it occurred in space and time. In the face of this overwhelming certainty it is understandable that reason should have the greatest difficulty in granting validity to the peculiar nature of telepathic phenomena. But anyone who does justice to the facts cannot but admit that their apparent space-timelessness is their most essential quality. In the last analysis, our naive perception and immediate certainty are, strictly speaking, no more than evidence of a psychological a priori form of perception which simply rules out any other form. The fact that we are totally unable to imagine a form of existence without space and time by no means proves that such an existence is in itself impossible. And therefore, just as we cannot draw, from an appearance of space-timelessness, any absolute conclusion about a space-timeless form of existence, so we are not entitled to conclude from the apparent space-time quality of our perception that there is no form of existence without space and time. It is not only permissible to doubt the absolute validity of spacetime perception; it is, in view of the available facts, even imperative to do so. The hypothetical possibility that the psyche touches on a form of existence outside space and time presents a scientific question-mark that merits serious consideration for a long time to come. The ideas and doubts of theoretical physicists in our own day should prompt a cautious mood in psychologists too; for, philosophically considered, what do we mean by the "limitedness of space" if not a relativization of the space category? Something similar might easily happen to the category of time (and to that of causality as well). Doubts about these matters are more warranted today than ever before. 815 The nature of the psyche reaches into obscurities far beyond the


scope of our understanding. It contains as many riddles as the universe with its galactic systems, before whose majestic configurations only a mind lacking in imagination can fail to admit its own insufficiency. This extreme uncertainty of human comprehension makes the intellectualistic hubbub not only ridiculous, but also deplorably dull. If, therefore, from the needs of his own heart, or in accordance with the ancient lessons of human wisdom, or out of respect for the psychological fact that "telepathic" perceptions occur, anyone should draw the conclusion that the psyche, in its deepest reaches, participates in a form of existence beyond space and time, and thus partakes of what is inadequately and symbolically described as "eternity"—then critical reason could counter with no other argument than the "non liquet" of science. Furthermore, he would have the inestimable advantage of conforming to a bias of the human psyche which has existed from time immemorial and is universal. Anyone who does not draw this conclusion, whether from scepticism or rebellion against tradition, from lack of courage or inadequate psychological experience or thoughtless ignorance, stands very little chance, statistically, of becoming a pioneer of the mind, but has instead the indubitable certainty of coming into conflict with the truths of his blood. Now whether these are in the last resort absolute truths or not we shall never be able to determine. It suffices that they are present in us as a "bias," and we know to our cost what it means to come into unthinking conflict with these truths. It means the same thing as the conscious denial of the instincts—uprootedness, disorientation, meaninglessness, and whatever else these symptoms of inferiority may be called. One of the most fatal of the sociological and psychological errors in which our time is so fruitful is the supposition that something can become entirely different all in a moment; for instance, that man can radically change his nature, or that some formula or truth might be found which would represent an entirely new beginning. Any essential change, or even a slight improvement, has always been a miracle. Deviation from the truths of the blood begets neurotic restlessness, and we have had about enough of that these days. Restlessness begets meaninglessness, and the lack of meaning in life is a soul-sickness whose full extent and full import our age has not as yet begun to comprehend.



Before embarking upon the psychological commentary, I should like to say a few words about the text itself. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or the Bardo Thodol, is a book of instructions for the dead and dying. Like the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it is meant to be a guide for the dead man during the period of his Bardo existence, symbolically described as an intermediate state of forty-nine days' duration between death and rebirth. The text falls into three parts. The first part, called Chikhai Bardo, describes the psychic happenings at the moment of death. The second part, or Chonyid Bardo, deals with the dream-state which supervenes immediately after death, and with what are called "karmic illusions." The third part, or Sidpa Bardo, concerns the onset of the birth-instinct and of prenatal events. It is characteristic that supreme insight and illumination, and hence the greatest possibility of attaining liberation, are vouchsafed during the actual process of dying. Soon afterward, the "illusions" begin which lead eventually to reincarnation, the illuminative lights growing ever fainter and more multifarious, and the visions more and more terrifying. This descent illustrates the estrangement of consciousness from the liberating truth as it approaches nearer and nearer to physical rebirth. The purpose of the instruction is to fix the attention of the dead man, at each successive [Originally published as "Psychologischer Kommentar zum Bardo Thodol" (preceded by an "Einfuhrung," partially translated in the first two pars, here), in Das Tibetanische Totenbuch, translated into German by Louise Gopfert-March (Zurich, 1935). As ultimately revised for the 5th (revised and expanded) Swiss edition (1953), the commentary was translated by R.F.C. Hull for publication in the 3rd (revised and expanded) English edition (the original) of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or The After-Death Experience on the

"Bardo"Plane, according to Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English rendering, edited by W. Y Evans-Wentz, with foreword by Sir John WoodroflFe (London and New York, 1957). With only minor alterations, it is the translation presented here.—EDITORS.] 21


stage of delusion and entanglement, on the ever-present possibility of liberation, and to explain to him the nature of his visions. The text of the Bardo Thodol is recited by the lama in the presence of the corpse. 832 I do not think I could better discharge my debt of thanks to the two previous translators of the Bardo Thodol, the late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup and Dr. Evans-Wentz, than by attempting, with the aid of a psychological commentary, to make the magnificent world of ideas and the problems contained in this treatise a little more intelligible to the Western mind. I am sure that all who read this book with open eyes, and who allow it to impress itself upon them without prejudice, will reap a rich reward. 833

The Bardo Thodol, fitly named by its editor, Dr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz, 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead," caused a considerable stir in Englishspeaking countries at the time of its first appearance in 1927. It belongs to that class of writings which are not only of interest to specialists in Mahayana Buddhism, but which also, because of their deep humanity and their still deeper insight into the secrets of the human psyche, make an especial appeal to the layman who is seeking to broaden his knowledge of life. For years, ever since it was first published, the Bardo Thodol has been my constant companion, and to it I owe not only many stimulating ideas and discoveries, but also many fundamental insights. Unlike the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which always prompts one to say too much or too little, the Bardo Thodol offers one an intelligible philosophy addressed to human beings rather than to gods or primitive savages. Its philosophy contains the quintessence of Buddhist psychological criticism; and, as such, one can truly say that it is of an unexampled sublimity. Not only the "wrathful" but also the "peaceful" deities are conceived as samsaric projections of the human psyche, an idea that seems all too obvious to the enlightened European, because it reminds him of his own banal simplifications. But though the European can easily explain away these deities as projections, he would be quite incapable of positing them at the same time as real. The Bardo Thodol can do that, because, in certain of its most essential metaphysical premises, it has the enlightened as well as the unenlightened European at a disadvantage. The ever-present, unspoken assumption of the Bardo Thodol is the antinomian character of all metaphysical assertions, and also the idea of the qualitative difference of the various levels of consciousness and of the metaphysical realities conditioned by them. The background of this unusual book is not the nig22


gardly European "either-or," but a magnificently affirmative "both-and." This statement may appear objectionable to the Western philosopher, for the West loves clarity and unambiguity; consequently, one philosopher clings to the position, "God is," while another clings equally fervently to the negation, "God is not." What would these hostile brethren make of an assertion like the following [p. 96]: Recognizing the voidness of thine own intellect to be Buddhahood, and knowing it at the same time to be thine own consciousness, thou shalt abide in the state of the divine mind of the Buddha.


Such an assertion is, I fear, as unwelcome to our Western philosophy as it is to our theology. The Bardo Thodol is in the highest degree psychological in its outlook; but, with us, philosophy and theology are still in the medieval, pre-psychological stage where only the assertions are listened to, explained, defended, criticized and disputed, while the authority that makes them has, by general consent, been deposed as outside the scope of discussion. 835 Metaphysical assertions, however, are statements of the psyche, and are therefore psychological. To the Western mind, which compensates its well-known feelings of resentment by a slavish regard for "rational" explanations, this obvious truth seems all too obvious, or else it is seen as an inadmissible negation of metaphysical "truth." Whenever the Westerner hears the word "psychological," it always sounds to him like "only psychological." For him the "soul" is something pitifully small, unworthy, personal, subjective, and a lot more besides. He therefore prefers to use the word "mind" instead, though he likes to pretend at the same time that a statement which may in fact be very subjective indeed is made by the "mind," naturally by the "Universal Mind," or even—at a pinch—by the "Absolute" itself. This rather ridiculous presumption is probably a compensation for the regrettable smallness of the soul. It almost seems as if Anatole France had uttered a truth which were valid for the whole Western world when, in his Penguin Island, Catherine d'Alexandrie offers this advice to God: "Donnez-leur une ame, mais une petite!" 836 It is the psyche which, by the divine creative power inherent in it, makes the metaphysical assertion; it posits the distinction between metaphysical entities. Not only is it the condition of all metaphysical reality, it is that reality. 837 With this great psychological truth the Bardo Thodol opens. The book is not a ceremonial of burial, but a set of instructions for the dead, a guide through the changing phenomena of the Bardo realm, that state 23


of existence which continues for forty-nine days after death until the next incarnation. If we disregard for the moment the supratemporality of the soul—which the East accepts as a self-evident fact—we, as readers of the Bardo Thodol, shall be able to put ourselves without difficulty in the position of the dead man, and shall consider attentively the teaching set forth in the opening section, which is outlined in the quotation above. At this point, the following words are spoken, not presumptuously, but in a courteous manner [pp. O nobly born (so and so), listen. Now thou art experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality. Recognize it. O nobly-born, thy present intellect, in real nature void, not formed into anything as regards characteristics or colour, naturally void, is the very Reality, the All-Good. Thine own intellect, which is now voidness, yet not to be regarded as of the voidness of nothingness, but as being the intellect itself, unobstructed, shining, thrilling, and blissful, is the very consciousness, the All-good Buddha.


This realization is the Dharmakdya state of perfect enlightenment; or, as we should express it in our own language, the creative ground of all metaphysical assertion is consciousness, as the invisible, intangible manifestation of the soul. The 'Voidness" is the state transcendent over all assertion and all predication. The fulness of its discriminative manifestations still lies latent in the soul. 839 The text continues: Thine own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from tlie Great Body of Radiance, hath no birth, nor death, and is the Immutable Light—Buddha Amitabha.


The soul is assuredly not small, but the radiant Godhead itself. The West finds this statement either very dangerous, if not downright blasphemous, or else accepts it unthinkingly and then suffers from a theosophical inflation. Somehow we always have a wrong attitude to these things. But if we can master ourselves far enough to refrain from our chief error of always wanting to do something with things and put them to practical use, we may perhaps succeed in learning an important lesson from these teachings, or at least in appreciating the greatness of the Bardo Thodol, which vouchsafes to the dead man the ultimate and highest truth, that even the gods are the radiance and reflection of our own souls. No sun is thereby eclipsed for the Oriental as it would be for the Christian, who would feel robbed of his God; on the contrary, his soul is the light of the Godhead, and the Godhead is the soul. The East 24



can sustain this paradox better than the unfortunate Angelus Silesius, who even today would be psychologically far in advance of his time. 841 It is highly sensible of the Bardo Thodol to make clear to the dead man the primacy of the psyche, for that is the one thing which life does not make clear to us. We are so hemmed in by things which jostle and oppress that we never get a chance, in the midst of all these "given" things, to wonder by whom they are "given." It is from this world of "given" things that the dead man liberates himself; and the purpose of the instruction is to help him towards this liberation. We, if we put ourselves in his place, shall derive no lesser reward from it, since we learn from the very first paragraphs that the "giver" of all "given" things dwells within us. This is a truth which in the face of all evidence, in the greatest things as in the smallest, is never known, although it is often so very necessary, indeed vital, for us to know it. Such knowledge, to be sure, is suitable only for contemplatives who are minded to understand the purpose of existence, for those who are Gnostics by temperament and therefore believe in a saviour who, like the saviour of the Mandaeans, is called "knowledge of life" (Manda d'Hayye). Perhaps it is not granted to many of us to see the world as something "given." A great reversal of standpoint, calling for much sacrifice, is needed before we can see the world as "given" by the very nature of the psyche. It is so much more straightforward, more dramatic, impressive, and therefore more convincing, to see all the things that happen to me than to observe how I make them happen. Indeed, the animal nature of man makes him resist seeing himself as the maker of his circumstances. That is why attempts of this kind were always the object of secret initiations, culminating as a rule in a figurative death which symbolized the total character of this reversal. And, in point of fact, the instruction given in the Bardo Thodol serves to recall to the dead man the experiences of his initiation and the teachings of his guru, for the instruction is, at bottom, nothing less than an initiation of the dead into the Bardo life, just as the initiation of the living was a preparation for the Beyond. Such was the case, at least, with all the mystery cults in ancient civilizations from the time of the Egyptian and Eleusinian mysteries. In the initiation of the living, however, this "Beyond" is not a world beyond death, but a reversal of the mind's intentions and outlook, a psychological "Beyond" or, in Christian terms, a "redemption" from the trammels of the world and of sin. Redemption is a separation and deliverance from an earlier condition of darkness and unconsciousness, and leads to a condition of illumination and releasedness, to victory and transcendence over everything "given." 25



Thus far the Bardo Thodol is, as Dr. Evans-Wentz also feels, an initiation process whose purpose it is to restore to the soul the divinity it lost at birth. Now it is a characteristic of Oriental religious literature that the teaching invariably begins with the most important item, with the ultimate and highest principles which, with us, would come last—as for instance in Apuleius, where Lucius is worshipped as Helios only right at the end. Accordingly, in the Bardo Thodol, the initiation is a series of diminishing climaxes ending with rebirth in the womb. The only "initiation process" that is still alive and practised today in the West is the analysis of the unconscious as used by doctors for therapeutic purposes. This penetration into the ground-layers of consciousness is a kind of rational maieutics in the Socratic sense, a bringing forth of psychic contents that are still germinal, subliminal, and as yet unborn. Originally, this therapy took the form of Freudian psychoanalysis and was mainly concerned with sexual fantasies. This is the realm that corresponds to the last and lowest region of the Bardo, known as the Sidpa Bardo, where the dead man, unable to profit by the teachings of the Chikhai and Chonyid Bardo, begins to fall a prey to sexual fantasies and is attracted by the vision of mating couples. Eventually he is caught by a womb and born into the earthly world again. Meanwhile, as one might expect, the Oedipus complex starts functioning. If his karma destines him to be reborn as a man, he will fall in love with his mother-to-be and will find his father hateful and disgusting. Conversely, the future daughter will be highly attracted by her father-to-be and repelled by her mother. The European passes through this specifically Freudian domain when his unconscious contents are brought to light under analysis, but he goes in the reverse direction. He journeys back through the world of infantile-sexual fantasy to the womb. It has even been suggested in psychoanalytical circles that the trauma par excellence is the birth-experience itself—nay more, psychoanalysts even claim to have probed back to memories of intra-uterine origin. Here Western reason reaches its limit, unfortunately. I say "unfortunately," because one rather wishes that Freudian psychoanalysis could have happily pursued these so-called intra-uterine experiences still further back. Had it succeeded in this bold undertaking, it would surely have come out beyond the Sidpa Bardo and penetrated from behind into the lower reaches of the Chonyid Bardo. It is true that, with the equipment of our existing biological ideas, such a venture would not have been crowned with success; it would have needed a wholly different kind of philosophical preparation from that based on current scientific assumptions. But, had the journey back been consistently pursued, it 26



would undoubtedly have led to the postulate of a pre-uterine existence, a true Bardo life, if only it had been possible to find at least some trace of an experiencing subject. As it was, the psychoanalysts never got beyond purely conjectural traces of intra-uterine experiences, and even the famous "birth trauma" has remained such an obvious truism that it can no longer explain anything, anymore than can the hypothesis that life is a disease with a bad prognosis because its outcome is always fatal. 843 Freudian psychoanalysis, in all essential aspects, never went beyond the experiences of the Sidpa Bardo; that is, it was unable to extricate itself from sexual fantasies and similar "incompatible" tendencies which cause anxiety and other affective states. Nevertheless, Freud's theory is the first attempt made by the West to investigate, as if from below, from the animal sphere of instinct, the psychic territory that corresponds in Tantric Lamaism to the Sidpa Bardo. A very justifiable fear of metaphysics prevented Freud from penetrating into the sphere of the "occult." In addition to this, the Sidpa state, if we are to accept the psychology of the Sidpa Bardo, is characterized by the fierce wind of karma, which whirls the dead man along until he comes to the "wombdoor." In other words, the Sidpa state permits of no going back, because it is sealed off against the Chonyid state by an intense striving downwards, towards the animal sphere of instinct and physical rebirth. That is to say, anyone who penetrates into the unconscious with purely biological assumptions will become stuck in the instinctual sphere and be unable to advance beyond it, for he will be pulled back again and again into physical existence. It is therefore not possible for Freudian theory to reach anything except an essentially negative valuation of the unconscious. It is a "nothing but." At the same time, it must be admitted that this view of the psyche is typically Western, only it is expressed more blatantly, more plainly, and more ruthlessly than others would have dared to express it, though at bottom they think no differently. As to what "mind" means in this connection, we can only cherish the hope that it will carry conviction. But, as even Max Scheler1 noted with regret, the power of this "mind" is, to say the least of it, doubtful. 844

I think, then, we can state it as a fact that with the aid of psychoanalysis the rationalizing mind of the West has pushed forward into what one might call the neuroticism of the Sidpa state, and has there been brought to an inevitable standstill by the uncritical assumption that everything psychological is subjective and personal. Even so, this 1

[German philosopher and sociologist (1874-1928) working mainly in the field of




advance has been a great gain, inasmuch as it has enabled us to take one more step behind our conscious lives. This knowledge also gives us a hint of how we ought to read the Bardo Thodol—that is, backwards. If, with the help of our Western science, we have to some extent succeeded in understanding the psychological character of the Sidpa Bardo, our next task is to see if we can make anything of the preceding Chonyid Bardo.


The Chonyid state is one of karmic illusion—that is to say, illusions which result from the psychic residua of previous existences. According to the Eastern view, karma implies a sort of psychic theory of heredity based on the hypothesis of reincarnation, which in the last resort is an hypothesis of the supratemporality of the soul. Neither our scientific knowledge nor our reason can keep in step with this idea. There are too many if's and but's. Above all, we know desperately little about the possibilities of continued existence of the individual soul after death, so little that we cannot even conceive how anyone could prove anything at all in this respect. Moreover, we know only too well, on epistemological grounds, that such a proof would be just as impossible as the proof of God. Hence we may cautiously accept the idea of karma only if we understand it as psychic heredity in the very widest sense of the word. Psychic heredity does exist—that is to say, there is inheritance of psychic characteristics such as predisposition to disease, traits of character, special gifts, and so forth. It does no violence to the psychic nature of these complex facts if natural science reduces them to what appear to be physical aspects (nuclear structures in cells, and so on). They are essential phenomena of life which express themselves, in the main, psychically, just as there are other inherited characteristics which express themselves, in the main, physiologically, on the physical level. Among these inherited psychic factors there is a special class which is not confined either to family or to race. These are the universal dispositions of the mind, and they are to be understood as analogous to Plato's forms (eidola), in accordance with which the mind organizes its contents. One could also describe these forms as categories analogous to the logical categories which are always and everywhere present as the basic postulates of reason. Only, in the case of our "forms," we are not dealing with categories of reason but with categories of the imagination. As the products of imagination are always in essence visual, their forms must, from the outset, have the character of images and moreover of typical images, which is why, following St. Augustine, I call them "archetypes." Comparative religion and mythology are rich mines of archetypes, and so is the psychology of dreams and psychoses. The astonish28



ing parallelism between these images and the ideas they serve to express has frequently given rise to the wildest migration theories, although it would have been far more natural to think of the remarkable similarity of the human psyche at all times and in all places. Archetypal fantasy-forms are, in fact, reproduced spontaneously anytime and anywhere, without there being any conceivable trace of direct transmission. The original structural components of the psyche are of no less surprising a uniformity than are those of the visible body. The archetypes are, so to speak, organs of the pre-rational psyche. They are eternally inherited forms and ideas which have at first no specific content. Their specific content only appears in the course of the individual's life, when personal experience is taken up in precisely these forms. If the archetypes were not pre-existent in identical form everywhere, how could one explain the fact, postulated at almost every turn by the Bardo Thodol, that the dead do not know that they are dead, and that this assertion is to be met with just as often in the dreary, half-baked literature of European and American Spiritualism? Although we find the same assertion in Swedenborg, knowledge of his writings can hardly be sufficiently widespread for this little bit of information to have been picked up by every small-town medium. And a connection between Swedenborg and the Bardo Thodol is completely unthinkable. It is a primordial, universal idea that the dead simply continue their earthly existence and do not know that they are disembodied spirits—an archetypal idea which enters into immediate, visible manifestation whenever anyone sees a ghost. It is significant, too, that ghosts all over the world have certain features in common. I am naturally aware of the unverifiable spiritualistic hypothesis, though I have no wish to make it my own. I must content myself with the hypothesis of an omnipresent, but differentiated, psychic structure which is inherited and which necessarily gives a certain form and direction to all experience. For, just as the organs of the body are not mere lumps of indifferent, passive matter, but are dynamic, functional complexes which assert themselves with imperious urgency, so also die archetypes, as organs of the psyche, are dynamic, instinctual complexes which determine psychic life to an extraordinary degree. That is why I also call them dominants of the unconscious. The layer of unconscious psyche which is made up of these universal dynamic forms I have termed the collective unconscious. 846 So far as I know, there is no inheritance of individual prenatal, or pre-uterine, memories, but there are undoubtedly inherited archetypes which are, however, devoid of content, because, to begin with, they contain no personal experiences. They only emerge into consciousness 29


when personal experiences have rendered them visible. As we have seen, Sidpa psychology consists in wanting to live and to be born. (The Sidpa Bardo is the "Bardo of Seeking Rebirth.") Such a state, therefore, precludes any experience of transubjective psychic realities, unless the dead man refuses categorically to be born back again into the world of consciousness. According to the teachings of the Bardo Thodol, it is still possible for him, in each of the Bardo states, to reach the Dharmakdya by transcending the four-faced Mount Meru, provided that he does not yield to his desire to follow the "dim lights." This is as much as to say that the individual must desperately resist the dictates of reason, as we understand it, and give up the supremacy of egohood, regarded by reason as sacrosanct. What this means in practice is complete capitulation to the objective powers of the psyche, with all that this entails; a kind of figurative death, corresponding to the Judgment of the Dead in the Sidpa Bardo. It means the end of all conscious, rational, morally responsible conduct of life, and a voluntary surrender to what the Bardo Thodol calls "karmic illusion." Karmic illusion springs from belief in a visionary world of an extremely irrational nature, which neither accords with nor derives from our rational judgments but is the exclusive product of uninhibited imagination. It is sheer dream or "fantasy," and every well-meaning person will instantly caution us against it; nor indeed can one see at first sight what is the difference between fantasies of this kind and the phantasmagoria of a lunatic. Very often only a slight abaissement du niveau mental is needed to unleash this world of illusion. The terror and darkness of this moment are reflected in the experiences described in the opening sections of the Sidpa Bardo. But the contents of the Chonyid Bardo reveal the archetypes, the karmic images which appear first in their terrifying form. The Chonyid state is equivalent to a deliberately induced psychosis. 847

One often hears and reads about the dangers of yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed kundalini yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way. It is a meddling with fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the Chonyid state, described in the text as follows: Then the Lord of Death will place round thy neck a rope and drag thee along; he will cut off thy head, tear out thy heart, pull out thy intestines, lick up thy


brain, drink thy blood, eat thy flesh, and gnaw thy bones; but thou wilt be incapable of dying. Even when thy body is hacked to pieces, it will revive again. The repeated hacking will cause intense pain and torture.2

These tortures aptly describe the real nature of the danger: it is a disintegration of the wholeness of the Bardo body, which is a kind of "subtle body" constituting the visible envelope of the psychic self in the after-death state. The psychological equivalent of this dismemberment is psychic dissociation. In its deleterious form it would be schizophrenia (split mind). This most common of all mental illnesses consists essentially in a marked abaissement du niveau mental which abolishes the normal checks imposed by the conscious mind and thus gives unlimited scope to the play of the unconscious "dominants." 849 The transition, then, from the Sidpa state to the Chonyid state is a dangerous reversal of the aims and intentions of the conscious mind. It is a sacrifice of the ego's stability and a surrender to the extreme uncertainty of what must seem like a chaotic riot of phantasmal forms. When Freud coined the phrase that the ego was "the true seat of anxiety," he was giving voice to a very true and profound intuition. Fear of selfsacrifice lurks deep in every ego, and this fear is often only the precariously controlled demand of the unconscious forces to burst out in full strength. No one who strives for selfhood (individuation) is spared this dangerous passage, for that which is feared also belongs to the wholeness of the self—the subhuman, or supra-human, world of psychic "dominants" from which the ego originally emancipated itself with enormous effort, and then only partially, for the sake of a more or less illusory freedom. This liberation is certainly a very necessary and very heroic undertaking, but it represents nothing final: it is merely the creation of a subject, who, in order to find fulfilment, has still to be confronted by an object. This, at first sight, would appear to be the world, which is swelled out with projections for that very purpose. Here we seek and find our difficulties, here we seek and find our enemy, here we seek and find what is dear and precious to us; and it is comforting to know that all evil and all good is to be found out there, in the visible object, where it can be conquered, punished, destroyed, or enjoyed. But nature herself does not allow this paradisal state of innocence to continue for ever. There are, and always have been, those who cannot help but see that the world and its experiences are in the nature of a symbol, and that it really reflects something that lies hidden 2

[Actually from the Sidpa Bardo section (p. 166), but similar torments figure in the "Wrathful Deities" section (pp. 1316°.) of the Chonyid Bardo.—EDITORS.]



in the subject himself, in his own transubjective reality. It is from this profound intuition, according to lamaist doctrine, that the Chonyid state derives its true meaning, which is why the Chonyid Bardo is entitled "The Bardo of the Experiencing of Reality." 850 The reality experienced in the Chonyid state is, as the last section [pp. i43ff.] of this Bardo teaches, the reality of thought. The "thoughtforms" appear as realities, fantasy takes on real form, and the terrifying dream evoked by karma and played out by the unconscious "dominants" begins. The first to appear (if we read the text backwards) is the all-destroying God of Death, the epitome of all terrors; he is followed by the twenty-eight "power-holding" and sinister goddesses and the fifty-eight "blood-drinking" goddesses. In spite of their demonic aspect, which appears as a confusing chaos of terrifying attributes and monstrosities, a certain order is already discernible. We find that there are companies of gods and goddesses who are arranged according to the four directions and are distinguished by typical mystic colours. It gradually becomes clearer that all these deities are organized into mandalas, or circles, containing a cross of the four colours. The colours are coordinated with the four aspects of wisdom:





(1) White = the light-path of the mirror-like wisdom; (2) Yellow = the light-path of the wisdom of equality; (3) Red = the light-path of the discriminative wisdom; (4) Green = the light-path of the all-performing wisdom. On a higher level of insight, the dead man knows that the real thought-forms all emanate from himself, and that the four light-paths of wisdom which appear before him are the radiations of his own psychic faculties. This takes us straight to the psychology of the lamaistic mandala, which I have already discussed in the book I brought out with the late Richard Wilhelm, The Secret of the Golden Flower. Continuing our ascent backwards through the region of the Chonyid Bardo, we come finally to the vision of the Four Great Ones: the green Amogha-Siddhi, the red Amitabha, the yellow Ratna-Sambhava, and the white Vajra-Sattva. The ascent ends with the effulgent blue light of the Dharmadhdtu, the Buddha-body, which glows in the midst of the mandala from the heart of Vairochana. With this final vision the karmic illusions cease; consciousness, weaned away from all form and from all attachment to objects, returns to the timeless, inchoate state of the Dhamnakdya. Thus (reading backwards) the Chikhai state, which appeared at the moment of death, is reached. I think these few hints will suffice to give the attentive reader some 32



idea of the psychology of the Bardo Thodol. The book describes a way of initiation in reverse, which, unlike the eschatological expectations of Christianity, prepares the soul for a descent into physical being. The thoroughly intellectualistic and rationalistic worldly-mindedness of the European makes it advisable for us to reverse the sequence of the Bardo Thodol and to regard it as an account of Eastern initiation experiences, though one is perfectly free, if one chooses, to substitute Christian symbols for the gods of the Chonyid Bardo. At any rate, the sequence of events as I have described it offers a close parallel to the phenomenology of the European unconscious when it is undergoing an "initiation process," that is to say, when it is being analysed. The transformation of the unconscious that occurs under analysis makes it the natural analogue of the religious initiation ceremonies, which do, however, differ in principle from the natural process in that they anticipate the natural course of development and substitute for the spontaneous production of symbols a deliberately selected set of symbols prescribed by tradition. We can see this in the Exertitia of Ignatius Loyola, or in the yoga meditations of the Buddhists and Tantrists. 855 The reversal of the order of the chapters, which I have suggested here as an aid to understanding, in no way accords with the original intention of the Bardo Thodol. Nor is the psychological use we make of it anything but a secondary intention, though one that is possibly sanctioned by lamaist custom. The real purpose of this singular book is the attempt, which must seem very strange to the educated European of the twentieth century, to enlighten the dead on their journey through the regions of the Bardo. The Catholic Church is the only place in the world of the white man where any provision is made for the souls of the departed. Inside the Protestant camp, with its world-affirming optimism, we only find a few mediumistic "rescue circles," whose main concern is to make the dead aware of the fact that they are dead.3 But, generally speaking, we have nothing in the West that is in any way comparable to the Bardo Thodol, except for certain secret writings which are inaccessible to the wider public and to the ordinary scientist. According to tradition, the Bardo Thodol, too, seems to have been included among the "hidden" books, as Dr. Evans-Wentz makes clear in his Introduction. As such, it forms a special chapter in the magical "cure of the soul" which extends even beyond death. This cult of the dead is rationally based on the belief in the supra-temporality of the 5

Information on this spiritualistic activity will be found in Lord Dowding's writings: Many

Mansions (1943), Lychgate (1945), God's Magic (1946).



soul, but its irrational basis is to be found in the psychological need of the living to do something for the departed. This is an elementary need which forces itself upon even the most "enlightened" individuals when faced by the death of relatives and friends. That is why, enlightenment or no enlightenment, we still have all manner of ceremonies for the dead. If Lenin had to submit to being embalmed and put on show in a sumptuous mausoleum like an Egyptian pharaoh, we may be quite sure it was not because his followers believed in the resurrection of the body. Apart, however, from the Masses said for the soul in the Catholic Church, the provisions we make for the dead are rudimentary and on the lowest level, not because we cannot convince ourselves of the soul's immortality, but because we have rationalized the abovementioned psychological need out of existence. We behave as if we did not have this need, and because we cannot believe in a life after death we prefer to do nothing about it. Simpler-minded people follow their own feelings, and, as in Italy, build themselves funeral monuments of gruesome beauty. The Catholic Masses for the soul are on a level considerably above this, because they are expressly intended for the psychic welfare of the deceased and are not a mere gratification of lachrymose sentiments. But the highest application of spiritual effort on behalf of the departed is surely to be found in the instructions of the Bardo Thodol. They are so detailed and thoroughly adapted to the apparent changes in the dead man's condition that every serious-minded reader must ask himself whether these wise old lamas might not, after all, have caught a glimpse of the fourth dimension and twitched the veil from the greatest of life's secrets. 856

Even if the truth should prove to be a disappointment, one almost feels tempted to concede at least some measure of reality to the vision of life in the Bardo. At any rate, it is unexpectedly original, if nothing else, to find the after-death state, of which our religious imagination has formed the most grandiose conceptions, painted in lurid colours as a terrifying dream-state of a progressively degenerative character.4 The supreme vision comes not at the end of the Bardo, but right at the beginning, at the moment of death; what happens afterward is an everdeepening descent into illusion and obscuration, down to the ultimate degradation of new physical birth. The spiritual climax is reached at the moment when life ends. Human life, therefore, is the vehicle of the highest perfection it is possible to attain; it alone generates the karma that makes it possible for the dead man to abide in the perpetual light 4

A similar view in Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop (1945).




of the Voidness without clinging to any object, and thus to rest on the hub of the wheel of rebirth, freed from all illusion of genesis and decay. Life in the Bardo brings no eternal rewards or punishments, but merely a descent into a new life which shall bear the individual nearer to his final goal. But this eschatological goal is what he himself brings to birth as the last and highest fruit of the labours and aspirations of earthly existence. This view is not only lofty, it is manly and heroic. 857 The degenerative character of Bardo life is corroborated by the spiritualistic literature of the West, which again and again gives one a sickening impression of the utter inanity and banality of communications from the "spirit world." The scientific mind does not hesitate to explain these reports as emanations from the unconscious of the mediums and of those taking part in the seance, and even to extend this explanation to the description of the Hereafter given in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. And it is an undeniable fact that the whole book is created out of the archetypal contents of the unconscious. Behind these there lie—and in this our Western reason is quite right—no physical or metaphysical realities, but "merely" the reality of psychic facts, the data of psychic experience. Now whether a thing is "given" subjectively or objectively, the fact remains that it is. The Bardo Thodol says no more than this, for its five Dhyani-Buddhas are themselves no more than psychic data. That is just what the dead man has to recognize, if it has not already become clear to him during life that his own psychic self and the giver of all data are one and the same. The world of gods and spirits is truly "nothing but" the collective unconscious inside me. To turn this sentence round so that it reads "The collective unconscious is the world of gods and spirits outside me," no intellectual acrobatics are needed, but a whole human lifetime, perhaps even many lifetimes of increasing completeness. Notice that I do not say "of increasing perfection," because those who are "perfect" make another kind of discovery altogether. 858

The Bardo Thodol began by being a "closed" book, and so it has remained, no matter what kind of commentaries may be written upon it. For it is a book that will only open itself to spiritual understanding, and this is a capacity which no man is born with, but which he can only acquire through special training and special experience. It is good that such to all intents and purposes "useless" books exist. They are meant for those "queer folk" who no longer set much store by the uses, aims, and meaning of present-day "civilization."


"CONCERNING REBIRTH" From CWgi, pars. 199-258 This paper represents the substance of a lecture which I delivered on the spur of the moment at the Eranos meeting in 1939. In putting it into written form I have made use of the stenographic notes which were taken at the meeting. Certain portions had to be omitted, chiefly because the requirements of a printed text are different from those of the spoken word. However, so far as possible, I have carried out my original intention of summing up the content of my lecture on the theme of rebirth, and have also endeavoured to reproduce my analysis of the Eighteenth Sura of the Koran as an example of a rebirth mystery. I have added some references to source material, which the reader may welcome. My summary does not purport to be more than a survey of a field of knowledge which can only be treated very superficially in the framework of a lecturer.—C. G. J.


The concept of rebirth is not always used in the same sense. Since this concept has various aspects, it may be useful to review its different meanings. The five different forms which I am going to enumerate could probably be added to if one were to go into greater detail, but I venture to think that my definitions cover at least the cardinal meanings. In the first part of my exposition, I give a brief summary of the different forms of rebirth, while the second part presents its various psychological aspects. In the third part, I give an example of a rebirth mystery from the Koran. 200 1. Metempsychosis. The first of the five aspects of rebirth to which I [First published as a lecture, "Die verschiedenen Aspekte der Wiedergeburt," in EranosJahrbuch 1939 (Zurich, 1940). Revised and expanded as "Uber Wiedergeburt," Gestaltungen des Unbewussten (Zurich, 1950), from which the present translation is made.—EDITORS.]



should like to draw attention is that of metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls. According to this view, one's life is prolonged in time by passing through different bodily existences; or, from another point of view, it is a life-sequence interrupted by different reincarnations. Even in Buddhism, where this doctrine is of particular importance—the Buddha himself experienced a very long sequence of such rebirths—it is by no means certain whether continuity of personality is guaranteed or not: there may be only a continuity of karma. The Buddha's disciples put this question to him during his lifetime, but he never made any definite statement as to whether there is or is not a continuity of personality.1 201 2. Reincarnation. This concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, at least potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences and that these existences were one's own, i.e., that they had the same ego-form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body. 202 3. Resurrection. This means a re-establishment of human existence after death. A new element enters here: that of the change, transmutation, or transformation of one's being. The change may be either essential, in the sense that the resurrected being is a different one; or nonessential, in the sense that only the general conditions of existence have changed, as when one finds oneself in a different place or in a body which is differently constituted. It may be a carnal body, as in the Christian assumption that this body will be resurrected. On a higher level, the process is no longer understood in a gross material sense; it is assumed that the resurrection of the dead is the raising up of the corpus glorificationis, the "subtle body," in the state of incorruptibility. 203 4. Rebirth (renovatio). The fourth form concerns rebirth in the strict sense; that is to say, rebirth within the span of individual life. The English word rebirth is the exact equivalent of the German Wiedergeburt, but the French language seems to lack a term having the peculiar meaning of "rebirth." This word has a special flavour; its whole atmosphere suggests the idea of renovatio, renewal, or even of improvement brought about by magical means. Rebirth may be a renewal without any change of being, inasmuch as the personality which is renewed is not changed in its essential nature, but only its functions, or parts of the personality,


Cf. the Samyutta-Nikaya (Book of the Kindred Sayings), Part II: The Nidana Book, pp.



are subjected to healing, strengthening, or improvement. Thus even bodily ills may be healed through rebirth ceremonies. 204 Another aspect of this fourth form is essential transformation, i.e., total rebirth of the individual. Here the renewal implies a change of his essential nature, and may be called a transmutation. As examples we may mention the transformation of a mortal into an immortal being, of a corporeal into a spiritual being, and of a human into a divine being. Well-known prototypes of this change are the transfiguration and ascension of Christ and the assumption of the Mother of God into heaven after her death, together with her body. Similar conceptions are to be found in Part II of Goethe's Faust; for instance, the transformation of Faust into the boy and then into Doctor Marianus. 205 5. Participation in the process of transformation. The fifth and last form is indirect rebirth. Here the transformation is brought about not directly, by passing through death and rebirth oneself, but indirectly, by participating in a process of transformation which is conceived of as taking place outside the individual. In other words, one has to witness, or take part in, some rite of transformation. This rite may be a ceremony such as the Mass, where there is a transformation of substances. Through his presence at the rite the individual participates in divine grace. Similar transformations of the Deity are to be found in the pagan mysteries; there too the initiate sharing the experience is vouchsafed the gift of grace, as we know from the Eleusinian mysteries. A case in point is the confession of the initiate in the Eleusinian mysteries, who praises the grace conferred through the certainty of immortality.2 2

Cf. the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, verses 480-82: "Blessed is he among men who has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiate and has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead, down in the darkness and gloom." (Trans, by EvelynWhite, Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica, p. 323.) And in an Eleusinian epitaph we read: 'Truly the blessed gods have proclaimed a most beautiful secret: Death comes not as a curse, but as a blessing to men."



Rebirth is not a process that we can in any way observe. We can neither measure nor weigh nor photograph it. It is entirely beyond sense perception. We have to do here with a purely psychic reality, which is transmitted to us only indirectly through personal statements. 38


One speaks of rebirth; one professes rebirth; one is filled with rebirth. This we accept as sufficiently real. We are not concerned here with the question: is rebirth a tangible process of some sort? We have to be content with its psychic reality. I hasten to add that I am not alluding to the vulgar notion that anything "psychic" is either nothing at all or at best even more tenuous than a gas. Quite the contrary; I am of the opinion that the psyche is the most tremendous fact of human life. Indeed, it is the mother of all human facts; of civilization and of its destroyer, war. All this is at first psychic and invisible. So long as it is "merely" psychic it cannot be experienced by the senses, but is nonetheless indisputably real. The mere fact that people talk about rebirth, and that there is such a concept at all, means that a store of psychic experiences designated by that term must actually exist. What these experiences are like we can only infer from the statements that have been made about them. So, if we want to find out what rebirth really is, we must turn to history in order to ascertain what "rebirth" has been understood to mean. 207 Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind. These primordial affirmations are based on what I call archetypes. In view of the fact that all affirmations relating to the sphere of the suprasensual are, in the last analysis, invariably determined by archetypes, it is not surprising that a concurrence of affirmations concerning rebirth can be found among the most widely differing peoples. There must be psychic events underlying these affirmations which it is the business of psychology to discuss—without entering into all the metaphysical and philosophical assumptions regarding their significance. In order to obtain a general view of their phenomenology, it is necessary to sketch the whole field of transformation experiences in sharper oudine. Two main groups of experience may be distinguished: that of the transcendence of life, and that of one's own transformation.

/. Experience of the Transcendence of Life


a. Experiences induced byritual.By the "transcendence of life" I mean those aforementioned experiences of the initiate who takes part in a sacred rite which reveals to him the perpetual continuation of life through transformation and renewal. In these mystery-dramas the transcendence of life, as distinct from its momentary concrete manifestations, is usually represented by the fateful transformations—death and 39


rebirth—of a god or a godlike hero. The initiate may either be a mere witness of the divine drama or take part in it or be moved by it, or he may see himself identified through the ritual action with the god. In this case, what really matters is that an objective substance or form of life is ritually transformed through some process going on independently, while the initiate is influenced, impressed, "consecrated," or granted "divine grace" on the mere ground of his presence or participation. The transformation process takes place not within him but outside him, although he may become involved in it. The initiate who ritually enacts the slaying, dismemberment, and scattering of Osiris, and afterwards his resurrection in the green wheat, experiences in this way the permanence and continuity of life, which outlasts all changes of form and, phoenix-like, continually rises anew from its own ashes. This participation in the ritual event gives rise, among other effects, to that hope of immortality which is characteristic of the Eleusinian mysteries.1 209

A living example of the mystery drama representing the permanence as well as the transformation of life is the Mass. If we observe the congregation during this sacred rite we note all degrees of participation, from mere indifferent attendance to the profoundest emotion. The groups of men standing about near the exit, who are obviously engaged in every sort of worldly conversation, crossing themselves and genuflecting in a purely mechanical way—even they, despite their inattention, participate in the sacral action by their mere presence in this place where grace abounds. The Mass is an extramundane and extratemporal act in which Christ is sacrificed and then resurrected in the transformed substances; and this rite of his sacrificial death is not a repetition of the historical event but the original, unique, and eternal act. The experience of the Mass is therefore a participation in the transcendence of life, which overcomes all bounds of space and time. It is a moment of eternity in time.2 210 b. Immediate Experiences. All that the mystery drama represents and brings about in the spectator may also occur in the form of a spontaneous, ecstatic, or visionary experience, without any ritual. Nietzsche's Noontide Vision is a classic example of this kind.3 Nietzsche, as we know, substitutes for the Christian mystery the myth of DionysusZagreus, who was dismembered and came to life again. His experience 1

[Cf. infra, 'The Psychology of the Kore," and Kerenyi's companion essays in Essays on a Science of Mythology.—EDITORS.] 2 Cf. my 'Transformation Symbolism in the Mass." 3 Thus Spake Zarathustra, trans, by Common, pp. 40


has the character of a Dionysian nature myth: the Deity appears in the garb of Nature, as classical antiquity saw it,4 and the moment of eternity is the noonday hour, sacred to Pan: "Hath time flown away? Do I not fall? Have I not fallen—hark!—into the well of eternity?" Even the "golden ring," the "ring of return," appears to him as a promise of resurrection and life.5 It is just as if Nietzsche had been present at a performance of the mysteries. Many mystic experiences have a similar character: they represent an action in which the spectator becomes involved though his nature is not necessarily changed. In the same way, the most beautiful and impressive dreams often have no lasting or transformative effect on the dreamer. He may be impressed by them, but he does not necessarily see any problem in them. The event then naturally remains "outside," like a ritual action performed by others. These more aesthetic forms of experience must be carefully distinguished from those which indubitably involve a change of one's nature.

//. Subjective Transformation 212

Transformations of personality are by no means rare occurrences. Indeed, they play a considerable role in psychopathology, although they are rather different from the mystical experiences just discussed, which are not easily accessible to psychological investigation. However, the phenomena we are now about to examine belong to a sphere quite familiar to psychology. 213 a. Diminution of personality. An example of the alteration of personality in the sense of diminution is furnished by what is known in primitive psychology as "loss of soul." The peculiar condition covered by this term is accounted for in the mind of the primitive by the supposition that a soul has gone off, just like a dog that runs away from his master overnight. It is then the task of the medicine-man to fetch the fugitive back. Often the loss occurs suddenly and manifests itself in a general malaise. The phenomenon is closely connected with the nature of primitive consciousness, which lacks the firm coherence of our own. We have control of our will power, but the primitive has not. Complicated exercises are needed if he is to pull himself together for any activity that is conscious and intentional and not just emotional and instinctive. Our consciousness is safer and more dependable in this 4 5

Ibid.: "An old, bent and gnarled tree, hung with grapes." Horneffer, Nietzsches Lehre von der ewigen Wiederkehr.



respect; but occasionally something similar can happen to civilized man, only he does not describe it as "loss of soul" but as an "abaissement du niveau mental," Janet's apt term for this phenomenon.6 It is a slackening of the tensity of consciousness, which might be compared to a low barometric reading, presaging bad weather. The tonus has given way, and this is felt subjectively as listlessness, moroseness, and depression. One no longer has any wish or courage to face the tasks of the day. One feels like lead, because no part of one's body seems willing to move, and this is due to the fact that one no longer has any disposable energy.7 This well-known phenomenon corresponds to the primitive's loss of soul. The listlessness and paralysis of will can go so far that the whole personality falls apart, so to speak, and consciousness loses its unity; the individual parts of the personality make themselves independent and thus escape from the control of the conscious mind, as in the case of anaesthetic areas or systematic amnesias. The latter are well known as hysterical "loss of function" phenomena. This medical term is analogous to the primitive loss of soul. 214 Abaissement du niveau mental can be the result of physical and mental fatigue, bodily illness, violent emotions, and shock, of which the last has a particularly deleterious effect on one's self-assurance. The abaissement always has a restrictive influence on the personality as a whole. It reduces one's self-confidence and the spirit of enterprise, and, as a result of increasing egocentricity, narrows the mental horizon. In the end it may lead to the development of an essentially negative personality, which means that a falsification of the original personality has supervened. 215 b. Enlargement of personality. The personality is seldom, in the beginning, what it will be later on. For this reason the possibility of enlarging it exists, at least during the first half of life. The enlargement may be effected through an accretion from without, by new vital contents finding their way into the personality from outside and being assimilated. In this way a considerable increase of personality may be experienced. We therefore tend to assume that this increase comes only from without, thus justifying the prejudice that one becomes a personality by stuffing into oneself as much as possible from outside. But the more assiduously we follow this recipe, and the more stubbornly we believe that all increase has to come from without, the greater becomes our 6

Les Neuroses, p. 358.

' The gana phenomena described by Count Keyserling (South-American Meditations, pp. 16iff.) come into this category.



inner poverty. Therefore, if some great idea takes hold of us from outside, we must understand that it takes hold of us only because something in us responds to it and goes out to meet it. Richness of mind consists in mental receptivity, not in the accumulation of possessions. What comes to us from outside, and, for that matter, everything that rises up from within, can only be made our own if we are capable of an inner amplitude equal to that of the incoming content. Real increase of personality means consciousness of an enlargement that flows from inner sources. Without psychic depth we can never be adequately related to the magnitude of our object. It has therefore been said quite truly that a man grows with the greatness of his task. But he must have within himself the capacity to grow; otherwise even the most difficult task is of no benefit to him. More likely he will be shattered by it. a 16 A classic example of enlargement is Nietzsche's encounter with Zarathustra, which made of the critic and aphorist a tragic poet and prophet. Another example is St. Paul, who, on his way to Damascus, was suddenly confronted by Christ. True though it may be that this Christ of St. Paul's would hardly have been possible without the historical Jesus, the apparition of Christ came to St. Paul not from the historical Jesus but from the depths of his own unconscious. 217

When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, "One becomes Two," and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation. He who is truly and hopelessly little will always drag the revelation of the greater down to the level of his littleness, and will never understand that the day of judgment for his littleness has dawned. But the man who is inwardly great will know that the long expected friend of his soul, the immortal one, has now really come, "to lead captivity captive";8 that is, to seize hold of him by whom this immortal had always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into that greater life—a moment of deadliest peril! Nietzsche's prophetic vision of the Tightrope Walker9 reveals the awful danger that lies in having a "tightrope-walking" attitude towards an event to which St. Paul gave the most exalted name he could find. 218 Christ himself is the perfect symbol of the hidden immortal within the mortal man.10 Ordinarily this problem is symbolized by a dual motif 8

Ephesians 4:8. ' "Thy soul will be dead even sooner than thy body." Thus Spake Zarathustra, p. 74. 10 Cf. "A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity," pars. 2 26ff. 43


such as the Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal. An Indian parallel is the parable of the two friends: Behold, upon the selfsame tree, Two birds, fast-bound companions, sit. This one enjoys the ripened fruit, The other looks, but does not eat. On such a tree my spirit crouched, Deluded by its powerlessness, Till seeing with joy how great its Lord, It found from sorrow swift release. . . . " 219

Another notable parallel is the Islamic legend of the meeting of Moses and Khidr,12 to which I shall return later on. Naturally the transformation of personality in this enlarging sense does not occur only in the form of such highly significant experiences. There is no lack of more trivial instances, a list of which could easily be compiled from the clinical history of neurotic patients. Indeed, any case where the recognition of a greater personality seems to burst an iron ring round the heart must be included in this category.13 220 c. Change of internal structure. We now come to changes of personality which imply neither enlargement nor diminution but a structural alteration. One of the most important forms is the phenomenon of possession: some content, an idea or a part of the personality, obtains mastery of the individual for one reason or another. The contents which thus take possession appear as peculiar convictions, idiosyncrasies, stubborn plans, and so forth. As a rule, they are not open to correction. One has to be an especially good friend of the possessed person and willing to put up with almost anything if one is to attempt to deal with such a condition. I am not prepared to lay down any hard and fast line of demarcation between possession and paranoia. Possession can be formulated as identity of the ego-personality with a complex.14 221 A common instance of this is identity with the persona, which is the individual's system of adaptation to, or the manner he assumes in deal" Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4, 6ff. (Trans, based on Hume, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, pp. 4035.). " Koran, 18th Sura. " I have discussed one such case of a widening of the personality in my inaugural dissertation, "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena." 14 For the Church's view of possession see de Tonquedec, Les Maladies neweuses ou mentales et les manifestations diaboliques; also "A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity," p. 163, n. 15.



ing with, the world. Every calling or profession, for example, has its own characteristic persona. It is easy to study these things nowadays, when the photographs of public personalities so frequently appear in the press. A certain kind of behaviour is forced on them by the world, and professional people endeavour to come up to these expectations. Only, the danger is that they become identical with their personas— the professor with his text-book, the tenor with his voice. Then the damage is done; henceforth he lives exclusively against the background of his own biography. For by that time it is written: ". . . then he went to such and such a place and said this or that," etc. The garment of Deianeira has grown fast to his skin, and a desperate decision like that of Heracles is needed if he is to tear this Nessus shirt from his body and step into the consuming fire of the flame of immortality, in order to transform himself into what he really is. One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.15 In any case the temptation to be what one seems to be is great, because the persona is usually rewarded in cash. 222

There are still other factors which may take possession of the individual, one of the most important being the so-called "inferior function." This is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion of this problem;16 I should only like to point out that the inferior function is practically identical with the dark side of the human personality. The darkness which clings to every personality is the door into the unconscious and the gateway of dreams, from which those two twilight figures, the shadow and the anima, step into our nightly visions or, remaining invisible, take possession of our ego-consciousness. A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps. Whenever possible, he prefers to make an unfavourable impression on others. In the long run luck is always against him, because he is living below his own level and at best only attains what does not suit him. And if there is no doorstep for him to stumble over, he manufactures one for himself and then fondly believes he has done something useful. 223 Possession caused by the anima or animus presents a different picture. Above all, this transformation of personality gives prominence to those traits which are characteristic of the opposite sex; in man the 15 In this connection, Schopenhauer's 'The Wisdom of Life: Aphorisms" (Essays from the Parerga and Paralipomena) could be read with profit. 16 This important problem is discussed in detail in Ch. II of Psychological Types.



feminine traits, and in woman the masculine. In the state of possession both figures lose their charm and their values; they retain them only when they are turned away from the world, in the introverted state, when they serve as bridges to the unconscious. Turned towards the world, the anima is fickle, capricious, moody, uncontrolled and emotional, sometimes gifted with daemonic intuitions, ruthless, malicious, untruthful, bitchy, double-faced, and mystical.17 The animus is obstinate, harping on principles, laying down the law, dogmatic, worldreforming, theoretic, word-mongering, argumentative, and domineering.18 Both alike have bad taste: the anima surrounds herself with inferior people, and the animus lets himself be taken in by second-rate thinking. 224 Another form of structural change concerns certain unusual observations about which I speak only with the utmost reserve. I refer to states of possession in which the possession is caused by something that could perhaps most fitly be described as an "ancestral soul," by which I mean the soul of some definite forebear. For all practical purposes, such cases may be regarded as striking instances of identification with deceased persons. (Naturally, the phenomena of identity only occur after the "ancestor's" death.) My attention was first drawn to such possibilities by Leon Daudet's confused but ingenious book L'Heredo. Daudet supposes that, in the structure of the personality, there are ancestral elements which under certain conditions may suddenly come to the fore. The individual is then precipitately thrust into an ancestral role. Now we know that ancestral roles play a very important part in primitive psychology. Not only are ancestral spirits supposed to be reincarnated in children, but an attempt is made to implant them into the child by naming him after an ancestor. So, too, primitives try to change themselves back into their ancestors by means of certain rites. I would mention especially the Australian conception of the alcheringamijina™ ancestral souls, half man and half animal, whose reactivation through religious rites is of the greatest functional significance for the life of 17

Cf. the apt description of the anima in Aldrovandus, Dendrologiae libri duo (1668, p. 211): "She appeared both very soft and very hard at the same time, and while for some two thousand years she had made a show of inconstant looks like a Proteus, she bedevilled the love of Lucius Agatho Priscus, then a citizen of Bologna, with anxious cares and sorrows, which assuredly were conjured up from chaos, or from what Plato calls Agathonian confusion." There is a similar description in Fierz-David, The Dream of Poliphilo, pp. i8o,ff. 18 Cf. Emma Jung, "On the Nature of the Animus." 19 Cf. Levy-Bruhl, La Mythologie primitive.



the tribe. Ideas of this sort, dating back to the Stone Age, were widely diffused, as may be seen from numerous other traces that can be found elsewhere. It is therefore not improbable that these primordial forms of experience may recur even today as cases of identification with ancestral souls, and I believe I have seen such cases. 225 d. Identification with a group. We shall now discuss another form of transformation experience which I would call identification with a group. More accurately speaking, it is the identification of an individual with a number of people who, as a group, have a collective experience of transformation. This special psychological situation must not be confused with participation in a transformation rite, which, though performed before an audience, does not in any way depend upon group identity or necessarily give rise to it. To experience transformation in a group and to experience it in oneself are two totally different things. If any considerable group of persons are united and identified with one another by a particular frame of mind, the resultant transformation experience bears only a very remote resemblance to the experience of individual transformation. A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology.20 If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone. That is why this group experience is very much more frequent than an individual experience of transformation. It is also much easier to achieve, because the presence of so many people together exerts great suggestive force. The individual in a crowd easily becomes the victim of his own suggestibility. It is only necessary for something to happen, for instance a proposal backed by the whole crowd, and we too are all for it, even if the proposal is immoral. In the crowd one feels no responsibility, but also no fear. 226

Thus identification with the group is a simple and easy path to follow, but the group experience goes no deeper than the level of one's own mind in that state. It does work a change in you, but the change 20

Le Bon, The Crowd.



does not last. On the contrary, you must have continual recourse to mass intoxication in order to consolidate the experience and your belief in it. But as soon as you are removed from the crowd, you are a different person again and unable to reproduce the previous state of mind. The mass is swayed by participation mystique, which is nothing other than an unconscious identity. Supposing, for example, you go to the theatre: glance meets glance, everybody observes everybody else, so that all those who are present are caught up in an invisible web of mutual unconscious relationship. If this condition increases, one literally feels borne along by the universal wave of identity with others. It may be a pleasant feeling—one sheep among ten thousand! Again, if I feel that this crowd is a great and wonderful unity, I am a hero, exalted along with the group. When I am myself again, I discover that I am Mr. So-and-So, and that I live in such and such a street, on the third floor. I also find that the whole affair was really most delightful, and I hope it will take place again tomorrow so that I may once more feel myself to be a whole nation, which is much better than being just plain Mr. X. Since this is such an easy and convenient way of raising one's personality to a more exalted rank, mankind has always formed groups which made collective experiences of transformation—often of an ecstatic nature—possible. The regressive identification with lower and more primitive states of consciousness is invariably accompanied by a heightened sense of life; hence the quickening effect of regressive identifications with half-animal ancestors21 in the Stone Age. 227 The inevitable psychological regression within the group is partially counteracted by ritual, that is to say through a cult ceremony which makes the solemn performance of sacred events the centre of group activity and prevents the crowd from relapsing into unconscious instinctuality. By engaging the individual's interest and attention, the ritual makes it possible for him to have a comparatively individual experience even within the group and so to remain more or less conscious. But if there is no relation to a centre which expresses the unconscious through its symbolism, the mass psyche inevitably becomes the hypnotic focus of fascination, drawing everyone under its spell. That is why masses are always breeding-grounds of psychic epidemics,22 the events in Germany being a classic example of this. 21

The alcheringamijina. Cf. the rites of Australian tribes, in Spencer and Gillen, The Northern Tribes of Central Australia; also Levy-Bruhl, La Mythologie primitive. 22 I would remind the reader of the catastrophic panic which broke out in New York on the occasion [ 1938] of a broadcast dramatization of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds shortly before the second World War [see Cantril, The Invasion from Mars (1940)], and which was later [1949] repeated in Quito.




It will be objected to this essentially negative evaluation of mass psychology that there are also positive experiences, for instance a positive enthusiasm which spurs the individual to noble deeds, or an equally positive feeling of human solidarity. Facts of this kind should not be denied. The group can give the individual a courage, a bearing, and a dignity which may easily get lost in isolation. It can awaken within him the memory of being a man among men. But that does not prevent something else from being added which he would not possess as an individual. Such unearned gifts may seem a special favour of the moment, but in the long run there is a danger of the gift becoming a loss, since human nature has a weak habit of taking gifts for granted; in times of necessity we demand them as a right instead of making the effort to obtain them ourselves. One sees this, unfortunately, only too plainly in the tendency to demand everything from the State, without reflecting that the State consists of those very individuals who make the demands. The logical development of this tendency leads to Communism, where each individual enslaves the community and the latter is represented by a dictator, the slave-owner. All primitive tribes characterized by a communistic order of society also have a chieftain over them with unlimited powers. The Communist State is nothing other than an absolute monarchy in which there are no subjects, but only serfs.


e. Identification with a cult-hero. Another important identification underlying the transformation experience is that with the god or hero who is transformed in the sacred ritual. Many cult ceremonies are expressly intended to bring this identity about, an obvious example being the Metamorphosis of Apuleius. The initiate, an ordinary human being, is elected to be Helios; he is crowned with a crown of palms and clad in the mystic mantle, whereupon the assembled crowd pays homage to him. The suggestion of the crowd brings about his identity with the god. The participation of the community can also take place in the following way: there is no apotheosis of the initiate, but the sacred action is recited, and then, in the course of long periods of time, psychic changes gradually occur in the individual participants. The Osiris cult offers an excellent example of this. At first only Pharaoh participated in the transformation of the god, since he alone "had an Osiris"; but later the nobles of the Empire acquired an Osiris too, and finally this development culminated in the Christian idea that everyone has an immortal soul and shares directly in the Godhead. In Christianity the development was carried still further when the outer God or Christ gradually became the inner Christ of the individual believer, remaining one and the same though dwelling in many. This truth had already 49


been anticipated by the psychology of totemism: many exemplars of the totem animal are killed and consumed during the totem meals, and yet it is only the One who is being eaten, just as there is only one Christ-child and one Santa Claus. 230 In the mysteries, the individual undergoes an indirect transformation through his participation in the fate of the god. The transformation experience is also an indirect one in the Christian Church, inasmuch as it is brought about by participation in something acted or recited. Here the first form, the dromenon, is characteristic of the richly developed ritual of the Catholic Church; the second form, the recitation, the "Word" or "gospel," is practised in the "preaching of the Word" in Protestantism. 231 f. Magical procedures. A further form of transformation is achieved through a rite used directly for this purpose. Instead of the transformation experience coming to one through participation in the rite, the rite is used for the express purpose of effecting the transformation. It thus becomes a sort of technique to which one submits oneself. For instance, a man is ill and consequently needs to be "renewed." The renewal must "happen" to him from outside, and to bring this about, he is pulled through a hole in the wall at the head of his sick-bed, and now he is reborn; or he is given another name and thereby another soul, and then the demons no longer recognize him; or he has to pass through a symbolical death; or, grotesquely enough, he is pulled through a leathern cow, which devours him, so to speak, in front and then expels him behind; or he undergoes an ablution or baptismal bath and miraculously changes into a semi-divine being with a new character and an altered metaphysical destiny. 232 g. Technical transformation. Besides the use of the rite in the magical sense, there are still other special techniques in which, in addition to the grace inherent in the rite, the personal endeavour of the initiate is needed in order to achieve the intended purpose. It is a transformation experience induced by technical means. The exercises known in the East as yoga and in the West as exerdtia spiritualia come into this category. These exercises represent special techniques prescribed in advance and intended to achieve a definite psychic effect, or at least to promote it. This is true both of Eastern yoga and of the methods practised in the West.23 They are, therefore, mechnical procedures in the fullest sense of the word; elaborations of the originally natural processes of transformation. The natural or spontaneous transformations that occurred earlier, before there were any historical examples to fol2S

Qf "The Psychology of Eastern Meditation." 5O


low, were thus replaced by techniques designed to induce the transformation by imitating this same sequence of events. I will try to give an idea of the way such techniques may have originated by relating a fairy story: 233 There was once a queer old man who lived in a cave, where he had sought refuge from the noise of the villages. He was reputed to be a sorcerer, and therefore he had disciples who hoped to learn the art of sorcery from him. But he himself was not thinking of any such thing. He was only seeking to know what it was that he did not know, but which, he felt certain, was always happening. After meditating for a very long time on that which is beyond meditation, he saw no other way of escape from his predicament than to take a piece of red chalk and draw all kinds of diagrams on the walls of his cave, in order to find out what that which he did not know might look like. After many attempts he hit on the circle. "That's right," he felt, "and now for a quadrangle inside it!"—which made it better still. His disciples were curious; but all they could make out was that the old man was up to something, and they would have given anything to know what he was doing. But when they asked him: "What are you doing there?" he made no reply. Then they discovered the diagrams on the wall and said: "That's it"—and they all imitated the diagrams. But in so doing they turned the whole process upside down, without noticing it: they anticipated the result in the hope of making the process repeat itself which had led to that result. This is how it happened then and how it still happens today. 234

h. Natural transformation (individuation). As I have pointed out, in addition to the technical processes of transformation there are also natural transformations. All ideas of rebirth are founded on this fact. Nature herself demands a death and a rebirth. As the alchemist Democritus says: "Nature rejoices in nature, nature subdues nature, nature rules over nature." There are natural transformation processes which simply happen to us, whether we like it or not, and whether we know it or not. These processes develop considerable psychic effects, which would be sufficient in themselves to make any thoughtful person ask himself what really happened to him. Like the old man in our fairytale, he, too, will draw mandalas and seek shelter in their protective circle; in the perplexity and anguish of his self-chosen prison, which he had deemed a refuge, he is transformed into a being akin to the gods. Mandalas are birth-places, vessels of birth in the most literal sense, lotus-flowers in which a Buddha comes to life. Sitting in the lotus-seat, the yogi sees himself transfigured into an immortal. 235 Natural transformation processes announce themselves mainly in 51


dreams. Elsewhere I have presented a series of dream-symbols of the process of individuation. They were dreams which without exception exhibited rebirth symbolism. In this particular case there was a longdrawn-out process of inner transformation and rebirth into another being. This "other being" is the other person in ourselves—that larger and greater personality maturing within us, whom we have already met as the inner friend of the soul. That is why we take comfort whenever we find the friend and companion depicted in a ritual, an example being the friendship between Mithras and the sun-god. This relationship is a mystery to the scientific intellect, because the intellect is accustomed to regard these things unsympathetically. But if it made allowance for feeling, we would discover that it is the friend whom the sun-god takes with him on his chariot, as shown in the monuments. It is the representation of a friendship between two men which is simply the outer reflection of an inner fact: it reveals our relationship to that inner friend of the soul into whom Nature herself would like to change us—that other person who we also are and yet can never attain to completely. We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. The transformation processes strive to approximate them to one another, but our consciousness is aware of resistances, because the other person seems strange and uncanny, and because we cannot get accustomed to the idea that we are not absolute master in our own house. We should prefer to be always "I" and nothing else. But we are confronted with that inner friend or foe, and whether he is our friend or our foe depends on ourselves. 236 You need not be insane to hear his voice. On the contrary, it is the simplest and most natural thing imaginable. For instance, you can ask yourself a question to which "he" gives answer. The discussion is then carried on as in any other conversation. You can describe it as mere "associating or "talking to oneself," or as a "meditation" in the sense used by the old alchemists, who referred to their interlocutor as aliquem alium internum, 'a certain other one, within.'25 This form of colloquy with the friend of the soul was even admitted by Ignatius Loyola into the technique of his Exercitia spiritualia,16 but with the limiting condition that only the person meditating is allowed to speak, whereas the 24

Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, Part II. Cf. Ruland, Lexicon (1893 edn.), p. 226. 26 Izquierdo, Pratica di alcuni Esercitij spirituali di S. Ignatio (Rome, 1686, p. 7): "A colloquy . . . is nothing else than to talk and communicate familiarly with Christ." 25



inner responses are passed over as being merely human and therefore to be repudiated. This state of things has continued down to the present day. It is no longer a moral or metaphysical prejudice, but—what is much worse—an intellectual one. The "voice" is explained as nothing but "associating," pursued in a witless way and running on and on without sense or purpose, like the works of a clock that has no dial. Or we say "It is only my own thoughts!" even if, on closer inspection, it should turn out that they are thoughts which we either reject or had never consciously thought at all—as if everything psychic that is glimpsed by the ego had always formed part of it! Naturally this hybris serves the useful purpose of maintaining the supremacy of ego-consciousness, which must be safeguarded against dissolution into the unconscious. But it breaks down ignominiously if ever the unconscious should choose to let some nonsensical idea become an obsession or to produce other psychogenic symptoms, for which we would not like to accept responsibility on any account. 237 Our attitude towards this inner voice alternates between two extremes: it is regarded either as undiluted nonsense or as the voice of God. It does not seem to occur to any one that there might be something valuable in between. The "other" may be just as one-sided in one way as the ego is in another. And yet the conflict between them may give rise to truth and meaning—but only if the ego is willing to grant the other its rightful personality. It has, of course, a personality anyway, just as have the voices of insane people, but a real colloquy becomes possible only when the ego acknowledges the existence of a partner to the discussion. This cannot be expected of everyone, because, after all, not everyone is a fit subject for exercitia spiritualia. Nor can it be called a colloquy if one speaks only to oneself or only addresses the other, as is the case with George Sand in her conversations with a "spiritual friend":26" for thirty pages she talks exclusively to herself while one waits in vain for the other to reply. The colloquy of the exercitia may be followed by that silent grace in which the modern doubter no longer believes. But what if it were the supplicated Christ himself who gave immediate answer in the words of the sinful human heart? What fearful abysses of doubt would then be opened? What madness should we not then have to fear? From this one can understand that images of the gods are better mute, and that ego-consciousness had better believe in its own supremacy rather than go on "associating." One can also understand why that inner friend so often seems to be our enemy, z6

* ["Daily Conversations with Dr. Piffoel," in her Intimate Journal—EDITORS.]



and why he is so far off and his voice so low. For he who is near to him "is near to the fire." 238 Something of this sort may have been in the mind of the alchemist who wrote: "Choose for your Stone him through whom kings are honoured in their crowns, and through whom physicians heal their sick, for he is near to the fire."27 The alchemists projected the inner event into an outer figure, so for them the inner friend appeared in the form of the "Stone," of which the Tractatus aureus says: "Understand, ye sons of the wise, what this exceeding precious Stone crieth out to you: Protect me and I will protect thee. Give me what is mine that I may help thee."28 To this a scholiast adds: "The seeker after truth hears both the Stone and the Philosopher speaking as if out of one mouth."29 The Philosopher is Hermes, and the Stone is identical with Mercurius, the Latin Hermes.30 From the earliest times, Hermes was the mystagogue and psychopomp of the alchemists, their friend and counsellor, who leads them to the goal of their work. He is "like a teacher mediating between the stone and the disciple."31 To others the friend appears in the shape of Christ or Khidr or a visible or invisible guru, or some other personal guide or leader figure. In this case the colloquy is distinctly one-sided: there is no inner dialogue, but instead the response appears as the action of the other, i.e., as an outward event. The alchemists saw it in the transformation of the chemical substance. So if one of them sought transformation, he discovered it outside in matter, whose transformation cried out to him, as it were, "I am the transformation!" But some were clever enough to know, "It is my own transformation—not a personal transformation, but the transformation of what is mortal in me into what is immortal. It shakes off the mortal 27

A Pseudo-Aristotle quotation in Rosarium philosophorum (1550), fol. Q. "Largiri vis mihi meum" is the usual reading, as in the first edition (1556) of Ars chemica, under the title "Septem tractatus seu capitula Hermetis Trismegisti aurei," and also in Theatrum chemicum, IV (1613), and Manget, Bibliotheca chemica, I (1702), pp. 4ooff. In the Rosarium philosophorum (1550), fol. ET, there is a different reading: "Largire mihi ius meum ut te adiuvem" (Give me my due that I may help thee). This is one of the interpretative readings for which the anonymous author of the Rosarium is responsible. Despite their arbitrariness they have an important bearing on the interpretation of alchemy. [Cf. Psychology and Alchemy, par. 139, n. 17.] 29 Biblio. chem., I, p. 430b. 30 Detailed documentation in Psychology and Alchemy, par. 84, and "The Spirit Mercurius," pars. 278ff., 287ff. 31 "Tanquam praeceptor intermedius inter lapidem et discipulum." (Biblio. chem., I. p. 430b.) Cf. the beautiful prayer of Astrampsychos, beginning "Come to me, Lord Hermes," and ending "I am thou and thou art I." (Reitzenstein, Poimandres, p. 21.) 28



husk that I am and awakens to a life of its own; it mounts the sun-barge and may take me with it."52 239 This is a very ancient idea. In Upper Egypt, near Aswan, I once saw an ancient Egyptian tomb that had just been opened. Just behind the entrance-door was a little basket made of reeds, containing the withered body of a new-born infant, wrapped in rags. Evidently the wife of one of the workmen had hastily laid the body of her dead child in the nobleman's tomb at the last moment, hoping that, when he entered the sun-barge in order to rise anew, it might share in his salvation, because it had been buried in the holy precinct within reach of divine grace. 32

The stone and its transformation are represented:

(1) as the resurrection of the homo philosophicus, the Second Adam ("Aurea hora," Artis auriferae, 1593, I, p. 195); (2) as the human soul ("Book of Krates," Berthelot, La Chimie au moyen age, III, p. 50); (3) as a being below and above man: 'This stone is under thee, as to obedience; above thee, as to dominion; therefore from thee, as to knowledge; about thee, as to equals" ("Rosinus ad Sarratantam," Art. aurif., I, p. 310); (4) as life: "blood is soul and soul is life and life is our Stone" ("Tractatulus Aristotelis," ibid., p. 364); (5) as the resurrection of the dead ("Calidis liber secretorum," ibid., p. 347; also "Rachaidibi fragmentum," ibid., p. 398); (6) as the Virgin Mary ("De arte chymica," ibid., p. 582); and (7) as man himself: "thou art its ore . . . and it is extracted from thee . . . and it remains inseparably with thee" ("Rosinus ad Sarratantam," ibid., p. 311).



I have chosen as an example a figure which plays a great role in Islamic mysticism, namely Khidr, "the Verdant One." He appears in the Eighteenth Sura of the Koran, entitled 'The Cave."1 This entire Sura is taken up with a rebirth mystery. The cave is the place of rebirth, that secret cavity in which one is shut up in order to be incubated and renewed. The Koran says of it: "You might have seen the rising sun decline to the right of their cavern, and as it set, go past them on the left, while they [the Seven Sleepers] stayed in the middle." The "middle" is the centre where the jewel reposes, where the incubation or the 1

[The Dawood trans, of the Koran is quoted, sometimes with modifications. The 18th Sura is at pp. 89-98.—EDITORS.]



sacrificial rite or the transformation takes place. The most beautiful development of this symbolism is to be found on Mithraic altarpieces2 and in alchemical pictures of the transformative substance,3 which is always shown between sun and moon. Representations of the crucifixion frequently follow the same type, and a similar symbolical arrangement is also found in the transformation or healing ceremonies of the Navahos.4 Just such a place of the centre or of transformation is the cave in which those seven had gone to sleep, little thinking that they would experience there a prolongation of life verging on immortality. When they awoke, they had slept 309 years. 241 The legend has the following meaning: Anyone who gets into that cave, that is to say into the cave which everyone has in himself, or into the darkness that lies behind consciousness, will find himself involved in an—at first—unconscious process of transformation. By penetrating into the unconscious he makes a connection with his unconscious contents. This may result in a momentous change of personality in the positive or negative sense. The transformation is often interpreted as a prolongation of the natural span of life or as an earnest of immortality. The former is the case with many alchemists, notably Paracelsus (in his treatise De vita longa5), and the latter is exemplified in the Eleusinian mysteries. 242 Those seven sleepers indicate by their sacred number 6 that they 2


Cumont, Textes et monuments figures relatifs aux mysteres de Mithra, II.

Cf. especially the crowning vision in the dream of Zosimos: "And another [came] behind him, bringing one adorned round with signs, clad in white and comely to see, who was named the Meridian of the Sun." Cf. 'The Visions of Zosimos," par. 87 (III, v bis). 4 Matthews, The Mountain Chant, and Stevenson, Ceremonial of Hasjelti Dailjis. 5 An account of the secret doctrine hinted at in this treatise may be found in my "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon," pars. i6gff. 6 The different versions of the legend speak sometimes of seven and sometimes of eight disciples. According to the account given in the Koran, the eighth is a dog. The 18th Sura mentions still other versions: "Some will say: 'The sleepers were three: their dog was the fourth.' Others, guessing at the unknown, will say: 'They were five; their dog was the sixth.' And yet others: 'Seven; their dog was the eighth.' " It is evident, therefore, that the dog is to be taken into account. This would seem to be an instance of that characteristic wavering between seven and eight (or three and four, as the case may be), which I have pointed out in Psychology and Alchemy, pars. 2ooff. There the wavering between seven and eight is connected with the appearance of Mephistopheles, who, as we know, materialized out of the black poodle. In the case of three and four, the fourth is the devil or the female principle, and on a higher level the Mater Dei. (Cf. "Psychology and Religion," pars. i24ff.) We may be dealing with the same kind of ambiguity as in the numbering of the Egyptian nonad (paut = 'company of god'; cf. Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, I, p. 88). The Khidr legend relates to the persecution of the Christians under



are gods,' who are transformed during sleep and thereby enjoy eternal youth. This helps us to understand at the outset that we are dealing with a mystery legend. The fate of the numinous figures recorded in it grips the hearer, because the story gives expression to parallel processes in his own unconscious which in that way are integrated with consciousness again. The repristination of the original state is tantamount to attaining once more the freshness of youth. 243 The story of the sleepers is followed by some moral observations which appear to have no connection with it. But this apparent irrelevance is deceptive. In reality, these edifying comments are just what are needed by those who cannot be reborn themselves and have to be content with moral conduct, that is to say with adherence to the law. Very often behaviour prescribed by rule is a substitute for spiritual transformation.8 These edifying observations are then followed by the story of Moses and his servant Joshua ben Nun: And Moses said to his servant: "I will not cease from my wanderings until I have reached the place where the two seas meet, even though I journey for eighty years." But when they had reached the place where the two seas meet, they forgot their fish, and it took its way through a stream to the sea. And when they had journeyed past this place, Moses said to his servant: "Bring us our breakfast, for we are weary from this journey." But the other replied: "See what has befallen me! When we were resting there by the rock, I forgot the fish. Only Satan can have put it out of my mind, and in wondrous fashion it took its way to the sea." Then Moses said: "That is the place we seek," And they went back the way Decius (c. A.D. 250). The scene is Ephesus, where St. John lay "sleeping," but not dead. The seven sleepers woke up again during the reign of Theodosius II (408-450); thus they had slept not quite 200 years. 7 The seven are the planetary gods of the ancients. Cf. Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, pp. 23ff. " Obedience under the law on the one hand, and the freedom of the "children of God," the reborn, on the other, is discussed at length in the Epistles of St. Paul. He distinguishes not only between two different classes of men, who are separated by a greater or lesser development of consciousness, but also between the higher and lower man in one and the same individual. The sarkikos (carnal man) remains eternally under the law; the pneumatikos (spiritual man) alone is capable of being reborn into freedom. This is quite in keeping with what seems such an insoluble paradox: the Church demanding absolute obedience and at the same time proclaiming freedom from the law. So, too, in the Koran text, the legend appeals to the pneumatikos and promises rebirth to him that has ears to hear. But he who, like the sarkikos, has no inner ear will find satisfaction and safe guidance in blind submission to Allah's will.


JUNG ON DEATH they had come. And they found one of Our servants, whom We had endowed with Our grace and Our wisdom. Moses said to him: "Shall I follow you, that you may teach me for my guidance some of the wisdom you have learnt?" But he answered: "You will not bear with me, for how should you bear patiently with things you cannot comprehend?" Moses said: "If Allah wills, you shall find me patient; I shall not in anything disobey you." He said: "If you are bent on following me, you must ask no question about anything till I myself speak to you concerning it." The two set forth, but as soon as they embarked, Moses' companion bored a hole in the bottom of the ship. "A strange thing you have done!" exclaimed Moses. "Is it to drown her passengers that you have bored a hole in her?" "Did I not tell you," he replied, "that you would not bear with me?" "Pardon my forgetfulness," said Moses. "Do not be angry with me on this account." They journeyed on until they fell in with a certain youth. Moses' companion slew him, and Moses said: "You have killed an innocent man who has done no harm. Surely you have committed a wicked crime." "Did I not tell you," he replied, "that you would not bear with me?" Moses said: "If ever I question you again, abandon me; for then I should deserve it." They travelled on until they came to a certain city. They asked the people for some food, but the people declined to receive them as their guests. There they found a wall on the point of falling down. The other raised it up, and Moses said: "Had you wished, you could have demanded payment for your labours." "Now the time has arrived when we must part," said the other. "But first I will explain to you those acts of mine which you could not bear with in patience." "Know that the ship belonged to some poor fishermen. I damaged it because in their rear was a king who was taking every ship by force. "As for the youth, his parents both are true believers, and we feared lest he should plague them with his wickedness and unbelief. It was our wish that their Lord should grant them another in his place, a son more righteous and more filial. "As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city whose father was an honest man. Beneath it their treasure is buried. Your Lord decreed in His mercy that they should dig out their treasure when they grew to manhood. What I did was not done by caprice. That is the meaning of the things you could not bear with in patience."


This story is an amplification and elucidation of the legend of the seven sleepers and the problem of rebirth. Moses is the man who seeks, 58


the man on the "quest." On this pilgrimage he is accompanied by his "shadow," the "servant" or "lower" man (pneumatikos and sarkikos in two individuals). Joshua is the son of Nun, which is a name for "fish,"9 suggesting that Joshua had his origin in the depths of the waters, in the darkness of the shadow-world. The critical place is reached "where the two seas meet," which is interpreted as the isthmus of Suez, where the Western and the Eastern seas come close together. In other words, it is that "place of the middle" which we have already met in the symbolic preamble, but whose significance was not recognized at first by the man and his shadow. They had "forgotten their fish," the humble source of nourishment. The fish refers to Nun, the father of the shadow, of the carnal man, who comes from the dark world of the Creator. For the fish came alive again and leapt out of the basket in order to find its way back to its homeland, the sea. In other words, the animal ancestor and creator of life separates himself from the conscious man, an event which amounts to loss of the instinctive psyche. This process is a symptom of dissociation well known in the psychopathology of the neuroses; it is always connected with one-sidedness of the conscious attitude. In view of the fact, however, that neurotic phenomena are nothing but exaggerations of normal processes, it is not to be wondered at that very similar phenomena can also be found within the scope of the normal. It is a question of that well-known "loss of soul" among primitives, as described above in the section on diminution of the personality; in scientific language, an abaissement du niveau mental.


Moses and his servant soon notice what has happened. Moses had sat down, "worn out" and hungry. Evidently he had a feeling of insufficiency, for which a physiological explanation is given. Fatigue is one of the most regular symptoms of loss of energy or libido. The entire process represents something very typical, namely the failure to recognize a moment of crucial importance, a motif which we encounter in a great variety of mythical forms. Moses realizes that he has unconsciously found the source of life and then lost it again, which we might well regard as a remarkable intuition. The fish they had intended to eat is a content of the unconscious, by which the connection with the origin is reestablished. He is the reborn one, who has awakened to new life. This came to pass, as the commentaries say, through the contact with the water of life: by slipping back into the sea, the fish once more becomes 9

Vollers, "Chidher," Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft, XII, p. 241. All quotations from the commentaries are extracted from this article.



a content of the unconscious, and its offspring are distinguished by having only one eye and half a head.10 246 The alchemists, too, speak of a strange fish in the sea, the "round fish lacking bones and skin,"11 which symbolizes the "round element," the germ of the "animate stone," of the filius philosophorum. The water of life has its parallel in the aqua permanens of alchemy. This water is extolled as "vivifying," besides which it has the property of dissolving all solids and coagulating all liquids. The Koran commentaries state that, on the spot where the fish disappeared, the sea was turned to solid ground, whereon the tracks of the fish could still be seen.12 On the island thus formed Khidr was sitting, in the place of the middle. A mystical interpretation says that he was sitting "on a throne consisting of light, between the upper and the lower sea,"13 again in the middle position. The appearance of Khidr seems to be mysteriously connected with the disappearance of the fish. It looks almost as if he himself had been the fish. This conjecture is supported by the fact that the commentaries relegate the source of life to the "place of darkness."14 The depths of the sea are dark (mare tenebrositatis). The darkness has its parallel in the alchemical nigredo, which occurs after the coniunctio, when the female takes the male into herself.15 From the nigredo issues the Stone, the symbol of the immortal self; moreover, its first appearance is likened to "fish eyes."16 10

Ibid., p. 253. Cf. Aion, pars, 12 Vollers, p. 244. " Ibid., p. 260. M Ibid., p. 258. 15 Cf. the myth in the "Visio Arislei," especially the version in the Rosarium philosophorum (Art. aurif, II, p. 246), likewise the drowning of the sun in the Mercurial Fountain and the green lion who devours the sun (Art. aurif., II, pp. 315, 366). Cf. "The Psychology of the Transference," pars. 46yff. 16 The white stone appears on the edge of the vessel, "like Oriental gems, like fish's eyes." Cf. Joannes Isaacus Hollandus, Opera mineralia (1600), p. 370. Also Lagneus, "Harmonica chemica." Theatrum chemicum, IV (1613), p. 870. The eyes appear at the end of the nigredo and with the beginning of the albedo. Another simile of the same sort is the scintillae that appear in the dark substance. This idea is traced back to Zacharias 4:10 (DV): "And they shall rejoice and see the tin plummet in the hand of Zorobabel. These are the seven eyes of the Lord that run to and fro through the whole earth." (Cf. Eirenaeus Orandus, in the introduction to Nicholas Flamel's Exposition of the Hieroglyphicatt Figures, 1624, fol. A 5.) They are the seven eyes of God on the corner-stone of the new temple (Zach. 3:9). The number seven suggests the seven stars, the planetary gods, who were depicted by the alchemists in a cave tinder the earth (Mylius, Philosophia reformata, 1622, p. 167). They are the "sleepers enchained in Hades" (Berthelot, Collec11




Khidr may well be a symbol of the self. His qualities signalize him as such: he is said to have been born in a cave, i.e., in darkness. He is the "Long-lived One," who continually renews himself, like Elijah. Like Osiris, he is dismembered at the end of time, by Antichrist, but is able to restore himself to life. He is analogous to the Second Adam, widi whom the reanimated fish is identified;'7 he is a counsellor, a Paraclete, "Brother Khidr." Anyway Moses accepts him as a higher consciousness and looks up to him for instruction. Then follow those incomprehensible deeds which show how ego-consciousness reacts to the superior guidance of the self through the twists and turns of fate. To the initiate who is capable of transformation it is a comforting tale; to the obedient believer, an exhortation not to murmur against Allah's incomprehensible omnipotence. Khidr symbolizes not only the higher wisdom but also a way of acting which is in accord with this wisdom and transcends reason. 248 Anyone hearing such a mystery tale will recognize himself in the questing Moses and the forgetful Joshua, and the tale shows him how the immortality-bringing rebirth comes about. Characteristically, it is neither Moses nor Joshua who is transformed, but the forgotten fish. Where the fish disappears, there is the birthplace of Khidr. The immortal being issues from something humble and forgotten, indeed, from a wholly improbable source. This is the familiar motif of the hero's birth and need not be documented here.18 Anyone who knows the Bible will think of Isaiah 53:2!!., where the "servant of God" is described, and of the gospel stories of the Nativity. The nourishing character of the transformative substance or deity is borne out by numerous cult-legends: Christ is the bread, Osiris the wheat, Mondamin the maize,19 etc. These symbols coincide with a psychic fact which obviously, from the point of tion des anciens alchimistes grecs, IV, xx, 8). This is an allusion to the legend of the seven sleepers. " Vollers, p. 254. This may possibly be due to Christian influence: one thinks of the fish meals of the early Christians and of fish symbolism in general. Vollers himself stresses the analogy between Christ and Khidr. Concerning the fish symbolism, see Aion. 18 Further examples in Symbols of Transformation, Part II. I could give many more from alchemy, but shall content myself with the old verse: 'This is the stone, poor and of little price, Spurned by the fool, but honoured by the wise." (Ros. phil, in Art. aurif., II, p. 210.) The "lapis exilis" may be a connecting-link with the "lapsit exillis," the grail of Wolfram von Eschenbach. 19 [The Ojibway legend of Mondamin was recorded by H. R. Schoolcraft and became a source for Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha. Cf. M. L. Williams, Schoolcraft's Indian Legends, pp. 58ff.—EDITORS.]



view of consciousness, has the significance merely of something to be assimilated, but whose real nature is overlooked. The fish symbol shows immediately what this is: it is the "nourishing" influence of unconscious contents, which maintain the vitality of consciousness by a continual influx of energy; for consciousness does not produce its energy by itself. What is capable of transformation is just this root of consciousness, which—inconspicuous and almost invisible (i.e., unconscious) though it is—provides consciousness with all its energy. Since the unconscious gives us the feeling that it is something alien, a non-ego, it is quite natural that it should be symbolized by an alien figure. Thus, on the one hand, it is the most insignificant of things, while on the other, so far as it potentially contains that "round" wholeness which consciousness lacks it is the most significant of all. This "round" thing is the great treasure that lies hidden in the cave of the unconscious, and its personification is this personal being who represents the higher unity of conscious and unconscious. It is a figure comparable to Hiranyagarbha, Purusha, Atman, and the mystic Buddha. For this reason I have elected to call it the "self," by which I understand a psychic totality and at the same time a centre, neither of which coincides with the ego but includes it, just as a larger circle encloses a smaller one. 249

The intuition of immortality which makes itself felt during the transformation is connected with the peculiar nature of the unconscious. It is, in a sense, non-spatial and non-temporal. The empirical proof of this is the occurrence of so-called telepathic phenomena, which are still denied by hypersceptical critics, although in reality they are much more common than is generally supposed.20 The feeling of immortality, it seems to me, has its origin in a peculiar feeling of extension in space and time, and I am inclined to regard the deification rites in the mysteries as a projection of this same psychic phenomenon. 250 The character of the self as a personality comes out very plainly in the Khidr legend. This feature is most strikingly expressed in the nonKoranic stories about Khidr, of which Vollers gives some telling examples. During my trip through Kenya, the headman of our safari was a Somali who had been brought up in the Sufi faith. To him Khidr was in every way a living person, and he assured me that I might at any time meet Khidr, because I was, as he put it, a M'tu-ya-kitabu?1 a 'man of the 20

Rhine, New Frontiers of the Mind. [Cf. also "Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Princi-

ple."—EDITORS.] 21

He spoke in Kiswahili, the lingua franca of East Africa. It contains many words borrowed from Arabic, as shown by the above example: kitab = book.



Book,' meaning the Koran. He had gathered from our talks that I knew the Koran better than he did himself (which was, by the way, not saying a great deal). For this reason he regarded me as "islamu." He told me I might meet Khidr in the street in the shape of a man, or he might appear to me during the night as a pure white light, or—he smilingly picked a blade of grass—the Verdant One might even look like that. He said he himself had once been comforted and helped by Khidr, when he could not find a job after the war and was suffering want. One night, while he slept, he dreamt he saw a bright white light near the door and he knew it was Khidr. Quickly leaping to his feet (in the dream), he reverentially saluted him with the words salem aleikum, 'peace be with you,' and then he knew that his wish would be fulfilled. He added that a few days later he was offered the post as headman of a safari by a firm of outfitters in Nairobi. 251 This shows that, even in our own day, Khidr still lives on in the religion of the people, as friend, adviser, comforter, and teacher of revealed wisdom. The position assigned to him by dogma was, according to my Somali, that of maleika kwanza-ya-mungu, 'First Angel of God'—a sort of "Angel of the Face," an angelos in the true sense of the word, a messenger. 252 Khidr's character as a friend explains the subsequent part of the Eighteenth Sura, which reads as follows: They will ask you about Dhulqarnein. Say: "I will give you an account of him. "We made him mighty in the land and gave him means to achieve all things. He journeyed on a certain road until he reached the West and saw the sun setting in a pool of black mud. Hard by he found a certain people. "'Dhulqamein,' We said, 'you must either punish them or show them kindness.' "He replied: 'The wicked We shall surely punish. Then they shall return to their Lord and be sternly punished by Him. As for those that have faith and do good works, we shall bestow on them a rich reward and deal indulgently with them.' "He tfien journeyed along another road until he reached die East and saw the sun rising upon a people whom We had utterly exposed to its flaming rays. So he did; and We had full knowledge of all the forces at his command. "Then he followed yet another route until he came between the Two Mountains and found a people who could barely understand a word. 'Dhulqarnein,' they said, 'Gog and Magog are ravaging this land. Build us a rampart against them and we will pay you tribute.' "He replied: 'The power which my Lord has given me is better than any 63


tribute. Lend me a force of labourers, and I will raise a rampart between you and them. Come, bring me blocks of iron.' "He dammed up the valley between the Two Mountains, and said: 'Ply your bellows.' And when the iron blocks were red with heat, he said: 'Bring me molten brass to pour on them.' "Gog and Magog could not scale it, nor could they dig their way through it. He said: 'This is a blessing from my Lord. But when my Lord's promise is fulfilled, He will level it to dust. The promise of my Lord is true.'" On that day We will let them come in tumultuous throngs. The Trumpet shall be sounded and We will gather them all together. On that day Hell shall be laid bare before the unbelievers, who have turned a blind eye to My admonition and a deaf ear to My warning.


We see here another instance of that lack of coherence which is not uncommon in the Koran. How are we to account for this apparently abrupt transition to Dhulqamein, the Two-horned One, that is to say, Alexander the Great? Apart from the unheard-of anachronism (Mohammed's chronology in general leaves much to be desired), one does not quite understand why Alexander is brought in here at all. But it has to be borne in mind that Khidr and Dhulqamein are the great pair of friends, altogether comparable to the Dioscuri, as Vollers rightly emphasizes. The psychological connection may therefore be presumed to be as follows: Moses has had a profoundly moving experience of the self, which brought unconscious processes before his eyes with overwhelming clarity. Afterwards, when he comes to his people, the Jews, who are counted among the infidels, and wants to tell them about his experience, he prefers to use the form of a mystery legend. Instead of speaking about himself, he speaks about the Two-horned One. Since Moses himself is also "horned," the substitution of Dhulqamein appears plausible. Then he has to relate the history of this friendship and describe how Khidr helped his friend. Dhulqamein makes his way to the setting of the sun and then to its rising. That is, he describes the way of the renewal of the sun, through death and darkness to a new resurrection. All this again indicates that it is Khidr who not only stands by man in his bodily needs but also helps him to attain rebirth.22 The Koran, it is true, makes no distinction in this narrative between Allah, who is speaking in the first person plural, and Khidr. But it is clear that this section is simply a continuation of the helpful actions 22

There are similar indications in the Jewish tales about Alexander. Cf. Bin Gorion, Der Born Judas, III, p. 133, for the legend of the "water of life," which is related to the 18th Sura.



described previously, from which it is evident that Khidr is a symbolization or "incarnation" of Allah. The friendship between Khidr and Alexander plays an especially prominent part in the commentaries, as does also the connection with the prophet Elijah. Vollers does not hesitate to extend the comparison to that other pair of friends, Gilgamesh and Enkidu.23 254 To sum up, then: Moses has to recount the deeds of the two friends to his people in the manner of an impersonal mystery legend. Psychologically this means that the transformation has to be described or felt as happening to the "other." Although it is Moses himself who, in his experience with Khidr, stands in Dhulqarnein's place, he has to name the latter instead of himself in telling the story. This can hardly be accidental, for the great psychic danger which is always connected with individuation, or the development of the self, lies in the identification of ego-consciousness widi the self. This produces an inflation which threatens consciousness with dissolution. All the more primitive or older cultures show a fine sense for the "perils of the soul" and for the dangerousness and general unreliability of the gods. That is, they have not yet lost their psychic instinct for the barely perceptible and yet vital processes going on in the background, which can hardly be said of our modern culture. To be sure, we have before our eyes as a warning just such a pair of friends distorted by inflation—Nietzsche and Zarathustra—but the warning has not been heeded. And what are we to make of Faust and Mephistopheles? The Faustian hybris is already the first step towards madness. The fact that the unimpressive beginning of the transformation in Faust is a dog and not an edible fish, and that the transformed figure is the devil and not a wise friend, "endowed with Our grace and Our wisdom," might, I am inclined to think, offer a key to our understanding of the highly enigmatic Germanic soul. 255

Without entering into other details of the text, I would like to draw attention to one more point: the building of the rampart against Gog and Magog (also known as Yajuj and Majuj). This motif is a repetition of Khidr's last deed in the previous episode, the rebuilding of the town wall. But this time the wall is to be a strong defence against Gog and Magog. The passage may possibly refer to Revelation 2o:7f. (AV): And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for battle: the number of 23

[For a fuller discussion of these relationships, see Symbols of Transformation, pars. 282ff.—EDITORS.]



whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. 256

Here Dhulqarnein takes over the role of Khidr and builds an unscalable rampart for the people living "between Two Mountains." This is obviously the same place in the middle which is to be protected against Gog and Magog, the featureless, hostile masses. Psychologically, it is again a question of the self, enthroned in the place of the middle, and referred to in Revelation as the beloved city (Jerusalem, the centre of the earth). The self is the hero, threatened already at birth by envious collective forces; the jewel that is coveted by all and arouses jealous strife; and finally the god who is dismembered by the old, evil power of darkness. In its psychological meaning, individuation is an opus contra naturam, which creates a horror vacui in the collective layer and is only too likely to collapse under the impact of the collective forces of the psyche. The mystery legend of the two helpful friends promises protection24 to him who has found the jewel on his quest. But there will come a time when, in accordance with Allah's providence, even the iron rampart will fall to pieces, namely, on the day when the world comes to an end, or psychologically speaking, when individual consciousness is extinguished in the waters of darkness, that is to say when a subjective end of the world is experienced. By this is meant the moment when consciousness sinks back into the darkness from which it originally emerged, like Khidi's island: the moment of death.


The legend then continues along eschatological lines: on that day (the day of the Last Judgment) the light returns to eternal light and the darkness to eternal darkness. The opposites are separated and a timeless state of permanence sets in, which, because of the absolute separation of opposites, is nevertheless one of supreme tension and therefore corresponds to the improbable initial state. This is in contrast to the view which sees the end as a complexio oppositorum. 258 With this prospect of eternity, Paradise, and Hell the Eighteenth Sura comes to an end. In spite of its apparently disconnected and allusive character, it gives an almost perfect picture of a psychic transformation or rebirth which today, wich our greater psychological insight, we would recognize as an individuation process. Because of the great age of the legend and the Islamic prophet's primitive cast of mind, the process takes place entirely outside the sphere of consciousness and is 24

Just as the Dioscuri come to the aid of those who are in danger at sea.



projected in the form of a mystery legend of a friend or a pair of friends and the deeds they perform. That is why it is all so allusive and lacking in logical sequence. Nevertheless, the legend expresses the obscure archetype of transformation so admirably that the passionate religious eros of the Arab finds it completely satisfying. It is for this reason that the figure of Khidr plays such an important part in Islamic mysticism.


Letter to Pastor Fritz Pfdfflin From Letters, Vol. 1, pp. 256-58 Dear Pastor Pfafflin,

10 January 1939

First of all I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy over the heavy loss that has befallen you. Since you wish to know what I think about such experiences,1 I would like to point out before anything else that there was a direct connection between the event in Africa and your consciousness. This is an undeniable fact and in my opinion there is only one explanation, namely that spatial distance is, in the psychic sense, relative. In other words, physical space is not under all circumstances a definite datum but under certain conditions is also a psychic function. One might call it psychically contractile. We must suppose that the distance between your brother's experience and your own was reduced to a minimum. From similar experiences we must conclude that this nullification of space proceeds with great speed, so that perceptions of this kind occur almost simultaneously with the accident. We can therefore speak of a psychic nullification of time as well. We could also suppose that the victim of the accident sent out a kind of radio message. But this is contradicted by the fact that occasionally details are "transmitted" which occurred only after the death—for instance, the decapitation of the body of one killed by being stabbed with a knife. In that event there can be no question of a transmission by a dying man. It is more probable that it is a perception by someone alive and seeing. Hence the psychic nullification of space and time offers a much better explanation. Accordingly the capacity to nullify space and time must somehow inhere in the psyche, or, to put it another way, the psyche does not exist wholly in time and space. It is very probable that only what we call consciousness is contained in space and ' P. had lost his brother in an accident in Africa. At the time of the accident he spontaneously experienced a conversation with this brother. The content of the conversation has not been preserved.



time, and that the rest of the psyche, the unconscious, exists in a state of relative spacelessness and timelessness. For the psyche this means a relative eternality and a relative non-separation from other psyches, or a oneness with them. It is characteristic that your brother was amazed when you asked him whether he had sent you a message. Obviously he had not sent a message because the relative non-existence of space and time made it unnecessary. (I have expressed similar thoughts in my essay "Seele und Tod"2 in Wirklichktit der Seek.)

Now with regard to the exceedingly interesting conversation you had post mortem with your brother, it has all the characteristic features of these experiences. For one thing, there is the peculiar preoccupation of the dead with the psychic states of other (dead) persons. For another, the existence of (psychic) shrines or places of healing. I have long thought that religious institutions, churches, monasteries, temples, etc. as well as rites and psychotherapeutic attempts at healing were modelled on (transcendental) postmortal psychic states—a real Ecclesia Spiritualis as the prototype of the Una Sancta upon earth. In the East these ideas would be by no means unheard-of; Buddhist philosophy, for instance, has coined the concept of Sambhoga-Kaya for this psychic existence, namely the world of subtle forms which are to Nirmana-Kaya as the breath-body (subtle body) is to the material body. The breath-world is thought of as an intermediate state between Nirmana-Kaya and Dharma-Kaya? In Dharma-Kaya, which symbolizes the

highest state, the separation of forms is dissolved into absolute unity and formlessness. These formulations are extremely valuable from the psychological point of view as they provide a fitting terminology for such experiences. Naturally we can form no conception of a relatively timeless and spaceless existence, but, psychologically and empirically, it results in manifestations of the continual presence of the dead and their influence on our dream life. I therefore follow up such experiences with the greatest attention, because they show many things we dream about in a very peculiar light, where "psychological" structures appear as existential conditions. This continual presence is also only relative, since after a few weeks or months the connection becomes indirect or breaks 2

"The Soul and Death," CW8. Cf. also Memories, ch. XI: "On Life after Death." ' The Universal Essence manifests itself in three Divine Bodies (Tri-Kaya): Dharma-Kaya, the body of the law; Sambhoga-Kaya, the body of bliss, or reflected wisdom; Nirmana-Kaya, the body of incarnation, or incarnate wisdom. Cf. Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, pp. 3-4, 178, n. 1.



off altogether, although spontaneous re-encounters also appear to be possible later. But after this period the feeling of the presence of the dead is in fact broken off. The connection is not without its dangers because it entangles the consciousness of the living too much in that transcendental state, resulting in unconsciousness and dissociation phenomena. This is reflected in your dream-vision of the path leading down to a lake (the unconscious). There is an antheap, i.e., the sympathetic nervous system (= deepest unconsciousness and danger of dissolution of psychic elements in the form of milling ants) is becoming activated. This state takes place in you, consequently the connection is in danger of being broken, hence your brother's admonition: "Always build on the heights!" i.e., on the heights of consciousness. "For us the depth is doom," i.e., unconsciousness is doom. Then we get into the "clouds" where one sees nothing more. The remarkable statement that "Someone was interested in the motor cutting out" could indicate that among the crew there was someone who, through an exteriorization effect, actually caused the motor to cut out and did so because of an unrealized suicide complex. (I have seen quite a number of such effects in my time.) With regard to contact with your brother, I would add that this is likely to be possible only as long as the feeling of the presence of the dead continues. But it should not be experimented with because of the danger of a disintegration of consciousness. To be on the safe side, one must be content with spontaneous experiences. Experimenting with this contact regularly leads either to the so-called communications becoming more and more stupid or to a dangerous dissociation of consciousness. All the signs indicate that your conversation with your brother is a genuine experience which cannot be "psychologized." The only "psychological" disturbance in it is the lake and the antheap. That was evidently the moment when, perhaps from both sides, the exceedingly difficult contact between the two forms of existence could no longer be maintained. There are experiences which show that the dead entangle themselves, so to speak, in the physiology (sympathetic nervous system) of the living. This would probably result in states of possession. Again with especial thanks for your extremely interesting letter, Yours sincerely, c. G. JUNG


"THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE TRANSFERENCE" From CW 16, pars. 467-537 DEATH Here King and Queen are lying dead/ In great distress the soul is sped. [Figure 6*]


Vas hermeticum, fountain, and sea have here become sarcophagus and tomb. King and queen are dead and have melted into a single being with two heads. The feast of life is followed by the funereal threnody. Just as Gabricus dies after becoming united with his sister, and the sonlover always comes to an early end after consummating the hierosgamos with the mother-goddess of the Near East, so, after the coniunctio oppositorum, deathlike stillness reigns. When the opposites unite, all energy ceases: there is no more flow. The waterfall has plunged to its full depth in that torrent of nuptial joy and longing; now only a stagnant pool remains, without wave or current. So at least it appears, looked at from the outside. As the legend tells us, the picture represents the putrefactio, the corruption, the decay of a once living creature. Yet the picture is also entided "Conceptio." The text says: "Corruptio unius generatio est alterius"—the corruption of one is the generation of the other,1 an indication that this death is an interim stage to be followed by a new life. No new life can arise, say the alchemists, without the deadi of the old. They liken the art to the work of the sower, who buries the grain in the earth: it dies only to waken to new life.2 Thus [Figures 1-5 can be found in CW 16, pars. 402-466. — EDITOR.] "Tractatulus Avicennae," Art. aurif., I, p. 426. 2 Cf. Aurora, I, Ch. XII (after John 12:24). Hortulanus (Ruska, Tabula, p. 186): "Vocatur [lapis] etiam granum frumenti, quod nisi mortuum fuerit, ipsum solum manet," etc. (It [the stone] is also called the grain of wheat, which remains itself alone, unless it dies). Equally unhappy is the other comparison, also a favourite: "Habemus exemplum in ovo 1



tyt ligtntfttig*nb tfaingin bet/ £>»> feUf 4 + 3 = 7> 7 + ' = 8, 8 + 1 = 9 , 8 + 2 = 10, and says that "eodem modo centenarii ex denariis, millenarii


Citmnfler mnnai Jle $re r tocfetcr ftlri ar~ chetypal fantasy-forms of psyche, 29; identification with group, 47 "Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life" (Jung, !9 2 9). 3. 32 Communism, 49 "Concerning Rebirth" (Jung, 1950), 5,


Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead), 5.21-35 Basilides, 84 Bernard of Clairvaux, St., 1 ion, 112n body: concepts of resurrection in Christianity, 133; spirit in alchemy, 99-100

consciousness: and archetypal fantasyforms of psyche, 29-30; death and continuation of psychic process, 18; group experience and level of, 47; instruction of figures of unconscious, 143; "loss of soul," 41-42; relativity of time and space, 68-69; a n d self, 159. See also unconscious


INDEX cult-hero, and identification as transformation experience, 49-50 Daudet, Leon, 46 Dawa-Samdup, Lama Kazi, 22 death, and key themes in selected writings of Jung: dreams and afterlife, 3-4; in "On Life after Death," 139-59; ' m ~ mortality, 8; in "On Resurrection," 12933; near-death experiences, 6-7; in letters, 127-28, 136; relativity of space and time, 4-6; in "Concerning Rebirth," 36-67; in Letters, 68-70; in "Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead" 21-35; in "The Soul and Death," 11-20; synchronicity, g; in Letters, 160, 161-62; in "On Life after Death," 137-59; transference, 7-8; in Letters, 134-35; m T h e Psychology of the Transference," 71-126 Dee, John, 11311 Democritus, 51 denarius, derivation of in alchemy, 113, 115-16 Dharmakaya (state of perfect enlightenment), 24, 30, 32, 69 Dionysus, 40-41 Dioscuri, 44, 52 dissociation: and Bardo Thbdol, 31; communication with the dead, 70; life after death, phenomenon of personified complexes, 156; symbolism of alchemy, 79, 81. See also neurosis; psychosis doctrinairism, 137 Dowding, Hugh, 33n dreams: and immortality, g; life after death, 3-4, 139-59; preparation for death, 17; symbols of process of individuation, 52

Elijah, 4, 143 empiricism, and alchemy, ggn Enlightenment, and views of religion, 15 "eternal man," in alchemy, 101-2 eternity, and existence of psyche beyond space and time, 20 Evans-Wentz, Dr. W. Y, 22, 26, 33 fantasy: and collective unconscious, 29; karmic illusion in Bardo Thb'dol, 30; preparation for death, 16 father, death of Jung's, 3 Faust (Goethe), 38, 100, 153 fear, of death and of life, 11-12, 142 feeling, and conscious realization, 90-91 femininity: and anima/animus in alchemy, 74-75; archetypes of alchemy and rules of contemporary psychology, 104-13 Flamet, Nicolas and Peronelle, 104 France, Anatole, 23 Freud, Sigmund, 27, 31, 123 gender, and hermaphrodite in alchemy, 123-25. See also femininity; masculinity Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 38, 100, 153 Good Friday, 74 Gower, John, 112 Gregory the Great, 73n, 95n group, identification with and transformation of personality, 47-49 Haemmerli, Arnim, 136 Harding, Esther, 11 on hermaphrodite, and archetypes of alchemy, 73, 116-18, 115, 122-26 Hermes. See Mercurius Hinduism, 151. See also religion Homer, 38n Huxley, Aldous, 34n

ego: Bardo Thbdol and process of individuation, 31; and "eternal man" of alIgnatius Loyola, 33, 52 immortality, as key theme in Jung's writchemy, 102; process of differentiation ings on death: archetypes of alchemy, from unconscious, 102-3. See also self 1 ig-20; commentary on, 8; idea of life Egypt: Book of the Dead, 21, 22; Osiris cult, after death, i3g; in "On Resurrection," 40, 49, 131, i32n 1 Einstein, Albert, 4-5 29-33 elderly, and fear of death, 13-14 individuation: alchemy and sequence of Eleusinian mysteries. See mystery cults stages in, 7 3 - 7 4 ^ 120; Bardo Thbdol


INDEX masculinity, and anima/animus in alchemy, 74-75 mathematics, and expressions for relationships, 146-47 Mellon, Mary, 8

and process of, 31; psychic danger in process of, 65; and transformation of personality, 51-55. See also self initiation: Bardo Thodol as ritual of, 2526, 33; experiences of transcendence of life, 39—40. See also rituals intellectualism, and psychotherapy, 90 intuition, and conscious realization, 91-92 Isidore of Seville, 96 Islam, 55-67. See also religion

Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Jung, 1961),

Janet, Pierre, 42 Jesus Christ: as figure of androgyne in alchemy, 115, 118, 123; resurrection of as historical fact, 129-30; resurrection of as psychological event, 131-32. See also Christianity Johannes Pontanus, 1 i6n John of the Cross, St., 83, 1 i6n Jung, Emma, 8 Kant, Emmanuel, 5 karma: and psychological process of transformation after death, 5; idea of as psychic heredity, 28; and rebirth, 152-54, 156 Khidr (Islamic mystic), 55-67 Kirsch, Dr. James, 12911 knowledge. See wisdom Koran, 55-67 Kos (Greek island), 136 Leade,Jane, iO4n, 105 Letters: 1906-1950, Vol. I, (Jung, 1973), 6, 7, 8, 68-70, 127-28, 134-35, 1 ^° letters: 1951-1961, Vol. II, (Jung, 1975), 4, 8, 136, 161-62 life: as energy-process, 12-13; transcendence of, 39-41; fear of death and, 12, 13; vision of in Bardo Thodol, 34-35

6, 9, 12711, i6on Mercurius, and archetypes of alchemy, 54, 82, 83, 84, 86, 94, 149 Merlinus, 77n Metempsychosis, 36-37 Mithras and Mithraism, 52, 56. See also religion Morenius, 94 Moses, 57-67 mother, death of Jung's, 150 Mysterium Coniunctionis (Jung, 1955), 8 mystery cults: Bardo Thodol as initiation ritual, 25-26; and concepts of rebirth, 38; as experiences of transcendence of life, 39-40; identification with culthero, 50 mysticism: and figure of Khidr and Islamic, 67; and medieval alchemy, 83 mythology: and idea of life after death, 137-3 8 . H i . H2, 147. I 5 1 - 5 2 : psychotherapy and archetypes of traditional, 82 Native Americans, 56, 6in nature: and conflict of anima/animus, 75-76; preparation for death, 16; psychological curve of life, 13 Navajos, 56 near-death experiences, as key theme in Jung's writings on death: commentary on, 6-7; and concept of karma, 5; in Letters, 127-28, 136; in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, i6on

magic, and transformation of personality,

5° Mann, Dr. Kristine, 7, 127-28, 134 Maria Prophetissa, 104 marriage, of Jung's parents, 150-51. See also weddings "Marriage as a Psychological Relationship" (J un g. !9 2 5). 4

Neumann, Erich, 8 neurosis: as alienation from instincts, 16, 20; process of conscious realization, 76. See also dissociation; psychosis Nicholas of Cusa, 87, n6n, 125, 126 Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 40—41,43,153 Norton, Thomas, 97n, 1 i6n Ojibways, 6in old age, and fear of death, 13-14



"Psychological Commentary on The

"On Life after Death" (Jung, 1958-59), 9. i 37-59 "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena" (Jung, 1902), 3, 44n "On Resurrection" (Jung, 1954), 8, 12933 Osiris cult, 40, 49, 131,

Tibetan Book 0/the Dead" (Jung, 1935),

5. 2 1 -35 Psychological Types (Jung, 1921), 45n

psychology: archetypes of alchemy and gender in contemporary, 104-13; and concepts of rebirth, 38-55; and resurrection, 131—32. See also dissociation; neurosis; psychoanalysis; psychosis; psychotherapy

Paphnutia, 104 Paracelsus, 56, 119 "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon" (Jung, 1942), 56n paradox, and archetypes of alchemy, 120-

Psychology and Alchemy (Jung, 1944), 56n, 122, 125

"Psychology of the Transference, The" (Jung, 1946), 7-8, 71-126 Psychology of the Unconscious, The (Jung,


parapsychology, and idea of life after death, 138. See also telepathy Paul, St., 43, 57n, 130, 132, 133 personality: changes in and preparation for death, 17; continuity of and concepts of rebirth, 37; and "eternal man" of alchemy, 102; integration of projections and inflation of, 77—78; subjective transformation of, 41-55; unconscious as generator of empirical, 158 Pfafflin, Pastor Fritz, 6, 68-70 Philemon, 4 philosophy: alchemy and empiricism, ggn; Bardo Thodol and Western, 22-25; as preparation for death, 154 Plato, 28, i2on, 154 Poiret, Pierre, i23n Pordage, John, iO4n, 105, iogn possession: and change in internal structure of personality, 44-47; and psychological process of transformation, 5-6 Protestantism, and souls of dead, 33. See also Christianity psyche: and archetypal fantasy-forms, 2930; death and relativity of space-time link to, 4—5, 18-20, 68-70; and life after death, 154; metaphysical assertions as statements of, 23; religion and unconscious life of, 15. See also consciousness; unconscious psychoanalysis, Bardo Thodol and Freudian, 26-28, 33. See also psychotherapy



psychosis: and archetypes of Bardo Thodol, 30; collapse or disorientation of consciousness, 81. See also schizophrenia psychotherapy: and archetypes of traditional mythology, 82; process of conscious realization, 76, 90. See also psychoanalysis purification, and archetypes of alchemy, 84-92 rationalism, and life after death, 137, 141-42

reality: Bardo Thodol and experience of, 32; and Jung as child, I58n. See also truth rebirth: and alchemy, 76, 113-26; forms of, 36-38; karma, 152-54, 156; psychology of, 38-55; symbols illustrating process of, 55-67. See also reincarnation Rebis, and archetypes of alchemy, 111, 115, 116, 121-22

reincarnation: as concept of karma, 5; as concept of rebirth, 37; idea of life after death, 151, 153-54. See also rebirth religion: and natural life of unconscious psyche, 15; and preparation for death, 14-15. See also Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Mithras and Mithraism; mystery cults; Osiris cult; Taoism renovatio (renewal), 37-38 resurrection, as key theme in Jung's writings on death, 8; and concepts of re-


INDEX Steinach, Eugen, 91 birth, 37, 38; in "On Resurrection," Swedenborg, Emmanuel, 29 129-33 symbols and symbolism: in dreams and Rhine, J. B., 141 process of individuation, 52; positive or rituals: and experiences of transcendence negative expression of ideas in alchemy, of life, 39-40; psychological function of 96; and preparation for death, 16-17; ceremonies for dead, 34; psychological of rebirth and process of transformaregression within group, 48. See also inition, 55-67. See also archetypes tiation Symbols of Transformation (Jung, 1911—12), 6in Salome, 143 synchronicity, as key theme in Jung's writSambhoga-Kaya (psychic existence), 69 ings on death, 9; Jung's use of term, Sand, George, 53 74n; in Letters, 160, 161-62; in "On Scheler, Max, 27 Life after Death," 137-59 Schevill, Margaret Erwin, 134-35 schizophrenia: and Bardo Thodol, 31; and "Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle" (Jung, 1952), 161-62 symbolism of alchemy, 79, 81. See also psychosis Taoism, 121. See also religion Schoolcraft, H. R., 6in telepathy: and life after death, 161; tranself: alchemy and psychological idea of, scendence of space-time by uncon78—79; as archetype, and concepts of scious psyche, 18-19. ^ee a^° immortality, 131; character of in Khidr paraspychology legend, 62; and limitlessness of unconscious, 159. See also ego; individuation Theosebeia, 104 Tibetan Book of the Dead, The, 5, 21-35 "Seven Sermons to the Dead" (Jung, 1916), 4, 144 time, relativity of as key theme in Jung's writings on death, 4-6; in "concerning sexuality, and hennaphrodite in alchemy, Rebirth," 36—67; and idea of life after 123-25. See also femininity; masculinity death, 137-38, 141-42, 144-45, 151> Shevill, Margaret, 8 161; in Letters, 68-70; in "Psychological Silberer, Herbert, I24n Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Simon ben Jochai, Rabbi, 150 Dead," 11-20 sister, death of Jung's, 4, 140, 160 totemism, and cult-heroes, 50 soul: and archetypes of alchemy, 79—84, transference, as key theme in Jung's writ92—113; concepts of in Bardo Thodol ings on death, 7-8; in Letters, 134—35; and in Western philosophy, 23—25; life in "The Psychology of the Transafter death, 145-46, 155; loss of and ference," 71-126 diminution of personality, 41-42 transformation: and concepts of rebirth, "Soul and Death, The" (Jung, 1934), 3, 38, 41-55; symbols illustrating process 4, 9, 11-20, 161 of, 55-67 South, Thomas, 104-5 space, relativity of as key theme in Jung's truth, psychological versus physical, 15. writings on death, 4-6; in "Concerning See also reality Rebirth," 36-67; and idea of life after death, 137-38, 141-42, 144-45, 15 1 , unconscious: alchemy and phenomenol161; in Letters, 68—70; in "Psychological ogy of, 98, 101, 102-3, 1 2 3 ~ 2 5 ; Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the dreams and life after death, 139-59; Dead," 11-20 psychotherapy and archetypes of tradispirit: and concept of body in alchemy, tional mythology, 82. See also col99-100; life after death and ancestral, lective unconscious; consciousness; 144 psyche


INDEX Vollers, K., 6in, 62, 64, 65 von Eschenbach, Wolfram, 6in von Franz, Dr. Marie Louise, 7 War of the Worlds (Wells, 1938), 4 8n weddings, and images of death, 150. See also marriage Wei Po-yang, g8n wife, death of Jung's, 8

Wild Huntsman, 149 Wilhelm, Richard, 32 wisdom: and spirits of dead, 144—45; wa~ ter as symbol of, 87-88 Wolff, Toni, 5 Wotan, 149 yoga, and states of consciousness, 30, 33, 50, 81