After this long digressionby@cgjung

After this long digression

by CG Jung October 6th, 2023
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After this long digression, let us return to Miss Miller’s vision. We can now answer the question as to the significance of Siegfried’s longing for Brunhilde. It is the striving of the libido away from the mother towards the mother. This paradoxical sentence may be translated as follows: as long as the libido is satisfied merely with phantasies, it moves in itself, in its own depths, in the mother.[789] When the longing of our author rises in order to escape the magic circle of the incestuous and, therefore, pernicious, object, and it does not succeed in finding reality, then the object is and remains irrevocably the mother. Only the overcoming of the obstacles of reality brings the deliverance from the mother, who is the continuous and inexhaustible source of life for the creator, but death for the cowardly, timid and sluggish. Whoever is acquainted with psychoanalysis knows how often neurotics cry out against their parents. To be sure, such complaints and reproaches are often justified on account of the common human imperfections, but still more often they are reproaches which should really be directed towards themselves. Reproach and hatred are always futile attempts to free one’s self apparently from the parents, but in reality from one’s own hindering longing for 429the parents. Our author proclaims through the mouth of her infantile hero Chiwantopel a series of insults against her own family. We can assume that she must renounce all these tendencies, because they contain an unrecognized wish. This hero, of many words, who performs few deeds and indulges in futile yearnings, is the libido which has not fulfilled its destiny, but which turns round and round in the kingdom of the mother, and, in spite of all its longing, accomplishes nothing. Only he can break this magic circle who possesses the courage of the will to live and the heroism to carry it through. Could this yearning hero-youth, Chiwantopel, but put an end to his existence, he would probably rise again in the form of a brave man seeking real life. This necessity imposes itself upon the dreamer as a wise counsel and hint of the unconscious in the following monologue of Chiwantopel. He cries sadly:
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Psychology of the Unconscious by C. G. Jung, is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. THE SACRIFICE


After this long digression, let us return to Miss Miller’s vision. We can now answer the question as to the significance of Siegfried’s longing for Brunhilde. It is the striving of the libido away from the mother towards the mother. This paradoxical sentence may be translated as follows: as long as the libido is satisfied merely with phantasies, it moves in itself, in its own depths, in the mother.[789] When the longing of our author rises in order to escape the magic circle of the incestuous and, therefore, pernicious, object, and it does not succeed in finding reality, then the object is and remains irrevocably the mother. Only the overcoming of the obstacles of reality brings the deliverance from the mother, who is the continuous and inexhaustible source of life for the creator, but death for the cowardly, timid and sluggish.

Whoever is acquainted with psychoanalysis knows how often neurotics cry out against their parents. To be sure, such complaints and reproaches are often justified on account of the common human imperfections, but still more often they are reproaches which should really be directed towards themselves. Reproach and hatred are always futile attempts to free one’s self apparently from the parents, but in reality from one’s own hindering longing for 429the parents. Our author proclaims through the mouth of her infantile hero Chiwantopel a series of insults against her own family. We can assume that she must renounce all these tendencies, because they contain an unrecognized wish. This hero, of many words, who performs few deeds and indulges in futile yearnings, is the libido which has not fulfilled its destiny, but which turns round and round in the kingdom of the mother, and, in spite of all its longing, accomplishes nothing. Only he can break this magic circle who possesses the courage of the will to live and the heroism to carry it through. Could this yearning hero-youth, Chiwantopel, but put an end to his existence, he would probably rise again in the form of a brave man seeking real life. This necessity imposes itself upon the dreamer as a wise counsel and hint of the unconscious in the following monologue of Chiwantopel. He cries sadly:

“In all the world, there is not a single one! I have sought among a hundred tribes. I have watched a hundred moons, since I began. Can it be that there is not a solitary being who will ever know my soul? Yes, by the sovereign God, yes! But ten thousand moons will wax and wane before that pure soul is born. And it is from another world that her parents will come to this one. She will have pale skin and pale locks. She will know sorrow before her mother bears her. Suffering will accompany her; she will seek also, and she will find, no one who understands her. Temptation will often assail her soul—but she will not yield. In her dreams, I will come to her, and she will understand. I have kept my body inviolate. I have come ten thousand moons before her epoch, and she will come ten thousand moons too late. But she will understand! There is only once in all the ten thousand moons that a soul like hers is born.”

430Thereupon a green serpent darts from the bushes, glides towards him and stings him on the arm, then attacks the horse, which succumbs first. Then Chiwantopel says to his horse:

“‘Adieu, faithful brother! Enter into rest! I have loved you, and you have served me well. Adieu. Soon I will rejoin you!’ Then to the snake: ‘Thanks, little sister, you have put an end to my wanderings.’”

Then he cried with grief and spoke his prayer:

“‘Sovereign God, take me soon! I have tried to know thee, and to keep thy law! O, do not suffer my body to fall into corruption and decay, and to furnish the vultures with food!’ A smoking crater is perceived at a distance, the rumbling of an earthquake is heard, followed by a trembling of the ground.”

Chiwantopel cries in the delirium of suffering, while the earth covers his body:

“I have kept my body inviolate. Ah! She understands. Ja-ni-wa-ma, Ja-ni-wa-ma, thou who comprehendeth me.”

Chiwantopel’s prophecy is a repetition of Longfellow’s “Hiawatha,” where the poet could not escape sentimentality, and at the close of the career of the hero, Hiawatha, he brings in the Savior of the white people, in the guise of the arriving illustrious representatives of the Christian religion and morals. (One thinks of the work of redemption of the Spaniards in Mexico and Peru!) With this prophecy of Chiwantopel, the personality of the author is again placed in the closest relation to the hero, and, indeed, as the real object of Chiwantopel’s longing. 431Most certainly the hero would have married her, had she lived at his time; but, unfortunately, she comes too late. The connection proves our previous assertion that the libido moves round in a circle. The author loves herself; that is to say, she, as the hero, is sought by one who comes too late. This motive of coming too late is characteristic of the infantile love: the father and the mother cannot be overtaken. The separation of the two personalities by ten thousand moons is a wish fulfilment; with that the incest relation is annulled in an effectual manner. This white heroine will seek without being understood. (She is not understood, because she cannot understand herself rightly.) And she will not find. But in dreams, at least, they will find each other, “and she will understand.” The next sentence of the text reads:

“I have kept my body inviolate.”

This proud sentence, which naturally only a woman can express, because man is not accustomed to boast in that direction, again confirms the fact that all enterprises have remained but dreams, that the body has remained “inviolate.” When the hero visits the heroine in a dream, it is clear what is meant. This assertion of the hero’s, that he has remained inviolate, refers back to the unsuccessful attempt upon his life in the previous chapter (huntsman with the arrow), and clearly explains to us what was really meant by this assault; that is to say, the refusal of the coitus phantasy. Here the wish of the unconscious obtrudes itself again, after the hero had repressed it the first time, and thereupon he painfully and hysterically 432utters this monologue. “Temptation will often assail her soul—but it will not yield.” This very bold assertion reduces—noblesse oblige—the unconscious to an enormous infantile megalomania, which is always the case when the libido is compelled, through similar circumstances, to regressions. “Only once in all the ten thousand moons is a soul born like mine!” Here the unconscious ego expands to an enormous degree, evidently in order to cover with its boastfulness a large part of the neglected duty of life. But punishment follows at its heels. Whoever prides himself too much on having sustained no wound in the battle of life lays himself open to the suspicion that his fighting has been with words only, whilst actually he has remained far away from the firing-line. This spirit is just the reverse of the pride of those savage women, who point with satisfaction to the countless scars which were given them by their men in the sexual fight for supremacy. In accordance with this, and in logical continuation of the same, all that follows is expressed in figurative speech. The orgiastic “Occide moriturus” in its admixture with the reckless laughter of the Dionysian frenzy confronts us here in sorry disguise with a sentimental stage trickery worthy of our posthumous edition of “Christian morals.” In place of the positive phallus, the negative appears, and leads the hero’s horse (his libido animalis), not to satisfaction, but into eternal peace—also the fate of the hero. This end means that the mother, represented as the jaws of death, devours the libido of the daughter. Therefore, instead of life and procreative growth, only phantastic self-oblivion results. 433This weak and inglorious end has no elevating or illuminating meaning so long as we consider it merely as the solution of an individual erotic conflict. The fact that the symbols under which the solution takes place have actually a significant aspect, reveals to us that behind the individual mask, behind the veil of “individuation,” a primitive idea stands, the severe and serious features of which take from us the courage to consider the sexual meaning of the Miller symbolism as all-sufficient.

It is not to be forgotten that the sexual phantasies of the neurotic and the exquisite sexual language of dreams are regressive phenomena. The sexuality of the unconscious is not what it seems to be; it is merely a symbol; it is a thought bright as day, clear as sunlight, a decision, a step forward to every goal of life—but expressed in the unreal sexual language of the unconscious, and in the thought form of an earlier stage; a resurrection, so to speak, of earlier modes of adaptation. When, therefore, the unconscious pushes into the foreground the coitus wish, negatively expressed, it means somewhat as follows: under similar circumstances primitive man acted in such and such a manner. The mode of adaptation which to-day is unconscious for us is carried on by the savage Negro of the present day, whose undertakings beyond those of nutrition appertain to sexuality, characterized by violence and cruelty. Therefore, in view of the archaic mode of expression of the Miller phantasy, we are justified in assuming the correctness of our interpretation for the lowest and nearest plane only. A deeper stratum of meaning underlies the earlier assertion that the figure of 434Chiwantopel has the character of Cassius, who has a lamb as a companion. Therefore, Chiwantopel is the portion of the dreamer’s libido bound up with the mother (and, therefore, masculine); hence he is her infantile personality, the childishness of character, which as yet is unable to understand that one must leave father and mother, when the time is come, in order to serve the destiny of the entire personality. This is outlined in Nietzsche’s words:

“Free dost thou call thyself? Thy dominant thought would I hear and not that thou hast thrown off a yoke. Art thou one who had the right to throw off a yoke? There are many who throw away their last value when they throw away their servitude.”

Therefore, when Chiwantopel dies, it means that herein is a fulfilment of a wish, that this infantile hero, who cannot leave the mother’s care, may die. And if with that the bond between mother and daughter is severed, a great step forward is gained both for inner and outer freedom. But man wishes to remain a child too long; he would fain stop the turning of the wheel, which, rolling, bears along with it the years; man wishes to keep his childhood and eternal youth, rather than to die and suffer corruption in the grave. (“O, do not suffer my body to fall into decay and corruption.”) Nothing brings the relentless flight of time and the cruel perishability of all blossoms more painfully to our consciousness than an inactive and empty life. Idle dreaming is the mother of the fear of death, the sentimental deploring of what has been and the vain turning back of the clock. Although man can forget in the long- (perhaps too long) guarded 435feelings of youth, in the dreamy state of stubbornly held remembrances, that the wheel rolls onward, nevertheless mercilessly does the gray hair, the relaxation of the skin and the wrinkles in the face tell us, that whether or not we expose the body to the destroying powers of the whole struggle of life, the poison of the stealthily creeping serpent of time consumes our bodies, which, alas! we so dearly love. Nor does it help if we cry out with the melancholy hero Chiwantopel, “I have kept my body inviolate”; flight from life does not free us from the law of age and death. The neurotic who seeks to get rid of the necessities of life wins nothing and lays upon himself the frightful burden of a premature age and death, which must appear especially cruel on account of the total emptiness and meaninglessness of his life. If the libido is not permitted to follow the progressive life, which is willing to accept all dangers and all losses, then it follows the other road, sinking into its own depths, working down into the old foreboding regarding the immortality of all life, to the longing for rebirth.

Hölderlin exemplifies this path in his poetry and his life. I leave the poet to speak in his song:

To the Rose.

“In the Mother-womb eternal,

Sweetest queen of every lea,

Still the living and supernal

Nature carries thee and me.

“Little rose, the storm’s fierce power

Strips our leaves and alters us;

Yet the deathless germ will tower

To new blooms, miraculous.”

436The following comments may be made upon the parable of this poem: The rose is the symbol of the beloved woman (“Haidenröslein,” heather rose of Goethe). The rose blooms in the “rose-garden” of the maiden; therefore, it is also a direct symbol of the libido. When the poet dreams that he is with the rose in the mother-womb of nature, then, psychologically, the fact is that his libido is with the mother. Here is an eternal germination and renewal. We have come across this motive already in the Hierosgamos hymn (Iliad XIV): The nuptials in the blessed West; that is to say, the union in and with the mother. Plutarch shows us this motive in naïve form in his tradition of the Osiris myth; Osiris and Isis copulating in the mother’s womb. This is also perceived by Hölderlin as the enviable prerogative of the gods—to enjoy everlasting infancy. Thus, in Hyperion, he says:

“Fateless, like the sleeping nursling,

Breathe the Heavenly ones;

Chastely guarded in modest buds,

Their spirits blossom eternally,

And their quiet eyes

Gaze out in placid

Eternal serenity.”

This quotation shows the meaning of heavenly bliss. Hölderlin never was able to forget this first and greatest happiness, the dreamy picture of which estranged him from real life. Moreover, in this poem, the ancient motive of the twins in the mother’s womb is intimated. (Isis and Osiris in the mother’s womb.) The motive is archaic. There is a legend in Frobenius of how the great 437serpent (appearing from the little serpent in the hollow tree, through the so-called stretching out of the serpent) has finally devoured all men (devouring mother—death), and only a pregnant woman remains alive; she digs a ditch, covers it with a stone (grave—mother’s womb), and, living there, she gives birth to twins, the subsequent dragon-killers (the hero in double form, man and phallus, man and woman, man with his libido, the dying and rising sun).

This existence together in the mother is to be found also very beautifully expressed in an African myth (Frobenius):

“In the beginning, Obatala, the heaven, and Odudua, the earth, his wife, lay pressed firmly together in a calabas.”

The guarding “in a modest bud” is an idea which has appeared already in Plutarch, where it is said that the sun was born in the morning from a flower bud. Brahma, too, comes from the bud, which also gave birth in Assam to the first human pair.


(An unfinished poem.)

“Scarcely sprouted from the waters, O Earth,

Are thy old mountain tops and diffuse odors,

While the first green islands, full of young woods, breathe delight

Through the May air over the Ocean.

“And joyfully the eye of the Sun-god looked down

Upon the firstlings of the trees and flowers;

Laughing children of his youth, born from thee;

When on the fairest of the islands....

·       ·       ·       ·       ·

438Once lay thy most beautiful child under the grapes;

Lay after a mild night; in the dawn,

In the daybreak a child born to thee, O Earth!

And the boy looks up familiarly

To his Father, Helios,

And, tasting the sweet grapes,

He picked the sacred vine for his nurse,

And soon he is grown; the beasts

Fear him, for he is different from them:

This man; he is not like thee, the father,

For the lofty soul of the father,

Is in him boldly united with thy pleasures,

And thy sadness, O Earth,

He may resemble the eternal Nature,

The mother of Gods, the terrible Mother.

“Ah! therefore, O Earth,

His presumption drives him away from thy breast,

And thy gifts are vain, the tender ones;

Ever and ever too high does the proud heart beat.

“Out from the sweet meadow of his shores

Man must go into the flowerless waters,

And tho his groves shine with golden fruit,

Like the starry night, yet he digs,

He digs caves in the mountains, and seeks in the mines,

Far from the sacred rays of his father,

Faithless also to the Sun-god,

Who does not love weaklings, and mocks at cares.

“Ah! freer do the birds of the wood breathe:

Although the breast of man heaves wilder and more proudly,

His pride becomes fear, and the tender flowers

Of his peace do not bloom for long.”

This poem betrays to us the beginning of the discord between the poet and nature; he begins to be estranged from reality, the natural actual existence. It is a remarkable 439idea how the little child chooses “the vine for his nurse.” This Dionysian allusion is very old. In the significant blessing of Jacob it is said of Judah (Genesis, chap. xlix, verse 11):

“Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine.”

A Gnostic gem has been preserved upon which there is a representation of an ass suckling her foal, above which is the symbol of Cancer, and the circumscription D.N.I.H.Y.X.P.S.: Dominus Noster Jesus Christus, with the supplement Dei filius. As Justinus Martyr indignantly observes, the connections of the Christian legend with that of Dionysus are unmistakable. (Compare, for example, the miracle of the wine.) In the last-named legend the ass plays an important rôle. Generally speaking, the ass has an entirely different meaning in the Mediterranean countries than with us—an economic one. Therefore, it is a benediction when Jacob says (Genesis, chap. xlix, verse 14):

“Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens.”

The above-mentioned thought is altogether Oriental. Just as in Egypt the new-born sun is a bull-calf, in the rest of the Orient it can easily be an ass’s foal, to whom the vine is the nurse. Hence the picture in the blessing of Jacob, where it is said of Judah:

“His eyes are ruddy with wine and his teeth white with milk.”

The mock crucifix of the Palatine, with an ass’s head, evidently alludes to a very significant background.

440To Nature.

“While about thy veil I lingered, playing,

And, like any bud, upon thee hung,[790]

Still I felt thy heart in every straying

Sound about my heart that shook and clung.

While I groped with faith and painful yearning,

To your picture, glowing and unfurled,

Still I found a place for all my burning

Tears, and for my love I found a world!

“To the Sun my heart, before all others,

Turned and felt its potent magicry;

And it called the stars its little brothers,[791]

And it called the Spring, God’s melody;

And each breeze in groves or woodlands fruity

Held thy spirit—and that same sweet joy

Moved the well-springs of my heart with beauty—

Those were golden days without alloy.

“Where the Spring is cool in every valley,[792]

And the youngest bush and twig is green,

And about the rocks the grasses rally,

And the branches show the sky between,

There I lay, imbibing every flower

In a rapt, intoxicated glee,

And, surrounded by a golden shower,

From their heights the clouds sank down to me.[793]

“Often, as a weary, wandering river

Longs to join the ocean’s placid mirth,

I have wept and lost myself forever

In the fulness of thy love, O Earth!

Then—with all the ardor of my being—

Forth I rushed from Time’s slow apathy,

Like a pilgrim home from travel, fleeing

To the arms of rapt Eternity.

Blessed be childhood’s golden dreams, their power

Hid from me Life’s dismal poverty:

441All the heart’s rich germs ye brought to flower;

Things I could not reach, ye gave to me![794]

In thy beauty and thy light, O Nature,

Free from care and from compulsion free,

Fruitful Love attained a kingly stature,

Rich as harvests reaped in Arcady.

“That which brought me up, is dead and riven,

Dead the youthful world which was my shield;

And this breast, which used to harbor heaven,

Dead and dry as any stubble-field.

Still my Springlike sorrows sing and cover

With their friendly comfort every smart—

But the morning of my life is over

And the Spring has faded from my heart....

“Shadows are the things that once we cherished;

Love itself must fade and cannot bide;

Since the golden dreams of youth have perished,

Even friendly Nature’s self has died.

Heart, poor heart, those days could never show it—

How far-off thy home, and where it lies ...

Now, alas, thou nevermore wilt know it

If a dream of it does not suffice.”


“What gathers about me, Earth, in your dusky, friendly green?

What are you blowing towards me, Winds, what do you bring again?

There is a rustling in all the tree-tops....

·       ·       ·       ·       ·

“Why do you wake my soul?

Why do ye stir in me the past, ye Kind ones?

Oh, spare me, and let them rest; oh, do not mock

Those ashes of my joy....

“O change your changeless gods—

And grow in your youth over the old ones.

442And if you would be akin to the mortals

The young girls will blossom for you.

And the young heroes will shine;

And, sweeter than ever,

Morning will play upon the cheeks of the happy ones;

And, ravishing-sweet, you will hear

The songs of those who are without care....

“Ah, once the living waves of song

Surged out of every bush to me;

And still the heavenly ones glanced down upon me,

Their eyes shining with joy.”

·       ·       ·       ·       ·

The separation from the blessedness of childhood, from youth even, has taken the golden glamour from nature, and the future is hopeless emptiness. But what robs nature of its glamour, and life of its joy, is the poison of the retrospective longing, which harks back, in order to sink into its own depths:


“Thou seekest life—and a godly fire springs to thee,

Gushing and gleaming, from the deeps of the earth;

And, with shuddering longing,

Throws thee down into the flames of Aetna.

“So, through a queen’s wanton whim,

Pearls are dissolved in wine—restrain her not!

Didst thou not throw thy riches, Poet,

Into the bright and bubbling cup!

“Still thou art holy to me, as the Power of Earth

Which took thee away, lovely assassin!...

And I would have followed the hero to the depths,

Had Love not held me.”

443This poem betrays the secret longing for the maternal depths.[795]

He would like to be sacrificed in the chalice, dissolved in wine like pearls (the “crater” of rebirth), yet love holds him within the light of day. The libido still has an object, for the sake of which life is worth living. But were this object abandoned, then the libido would sink into the realm of the subterranean, the mother, who brings forth again:


(Unfinished poem.)

“Daily I go a different path.

Sometimes into the green wood, sometimes to the bath in the spring;

Or to the rocks where the roses bloom.

From the top of the hill I look over the land,

Yet nowhere, thou lovely one, nowhere in the light do I find thee;

And in the breezes my words die away,

The sacred words which once we had.

“Aye, thou art far away, O holy countenance!

And the melody of thy life is kept from me,

No longer overheard. And, ah, where are

Thy magic songs which once soothed my heart

With the peace of Heaven?

How long it is, how long!

The youth is aged; the very earth itself, which once smiled on me,

Has grown different.

“Oh, farewell! The soul of every day departs, and, departing, turns to thee—

And over thee there weeps

The eye that, becoming brighter,

Looks down,

There where thou tarriest.”

444This distinctly suggests a renunciation, an envy of one’s own youth, that time of freedom which one would like to retain through a deep-rooted dislike to all duty and endeavor which is denied an immediate pleasure reward. Painstaking work for a long time and for a remote object is not in the nature of child or primitive man. It is difficult to say if this can really be called laziness, but it seems to have not a little in common with it, in so far as the psychic life on a primitive stage, be it of an infantile or archaic type, possesses an extreme inertia and irresponsibility in production and non-production.

The last stanza portends evil, a gazing towards the other land, the distant coast of sunrise or sunset; love no longer holds the poet, the bonds with the world are torn and he calls loudly for assistance to the mother:


“Lordly son of the Gods! Because you lost your loved one,

You went to the rocky coast and cried aloud to the flood,

Till the depths of the holy abyss heard and echoed your grief,

From the far reaches of your heart. Down, deep down, far from the clamor of ships,

Deep under the waves, in a peaceful cave,

Dwelt the beautiful Thetis, she who protected you, the Goddess of the Sea,

Mother of the youth was she; the powerful Goddess,

She who once had lovingly nursed him,

On the rocky shore of his island; she who had made him a hero

With the might of her strengthening bath and the powerful song of the waves.

And the mother, mourning, hearkened to the cry of her child,

And rose, like a cloud, from the bed of the sea,

Soothing with tender embraces the pains of her darling;

And he listened, while she, caressing, promised to soften his grief.

445“Son of the Gods! Oh, were I like you, then could I confidently

Call on the Heavenly Ones to hearken to my secret grief.

But never shall I see this—I shall bear the disgrace

As if I never belonged to her, even though she thinks of me with tears.

Beneficent Ones! And yet Ye hear the lightest prayers of men.

Ah, how rapt and fervently I worshipped you, holy Light,

Since I have lived, the Earth and its fountains and woodlands,

Father Ether—and my heart has felt you about me, so ardent and pure—

Oh, soften my sorrows, ye Kind Ones,

That my soul may not be silenced, may not be struck dumb too early;

That I may live and thank Ye, O Heavenly Powers,

With joyful songs through all the hurrying days.

Thank ye for gifts of the past, for the joys of vanished Youth—

And then, pray, take me, the lonely one,

Graciously, unto yourselves.”

These poems describe more plainly than could be depicted with meagre words the persistent arrest and the constantly growing estrangement from life, the gradual deep immersion into the maternal abyss of the individual being. The apocalyptic song of Patmos is strangely related to these songs of retrogressive longing. It enters as a dismal guest surrounded by the mist of the depths, the gathering clouds of insanity, bred through the mother. In it the primitive thoughts of the myth, the suggestion clad in symbols, of the sun-like death and resurrection of life, again burst forth. Similar things are to be found in abundance among sick people of this sort.

I reproduce some significant fragments from Patmos:

“Near is the God

And hard to comprehend,

446But where Danger threatens

The Rescuer appears.”

These words mean that the libido has now sunk to the lowest depths, where “the danger is great.” (Faust, Part II, Mother scene.) There “the God is near”; there man may find the inner sun, his own nature, sun-like and self-renewing, hidden in the mother-womb like the sun in the nighttime:

“... In Chasms

And in darkness dwell

The eagles; and fresh and fearlessly

The Sons of the Alps pass swiftly over the abyss

Upon lightly swinging bridges.”

With these words the dark phantastic poem passes on. The eagle, the bird of the sun, dwells in darkness—the libido has hidden itself, but high above it the inhabitants of the mountains pass, probably the gods (“Ye are walking above in the light”), symbols of the sun wandering across the sky, like the eagle flying over the depths:

“... Above and around are reared

The summits of Time,

And the loved ones, though near,

Live on deeply separated mountains.

So give us waters of innocence,

And give us wings of true understanding,

With which to pass across and to return again.”

The first is a gloomy picture of the mountains and of time—although caused by the sun wandering over the mountains, the following picture a nearness, and at the 447same time separation, of the lovers, and seems to hint at life in the underworld,[796] where he is united with all that once was dear to him, and yet cannot enjoy the happiness of reunion, because it is all shadows and unreal and devoid of life. Here the one who descends drinks the waters of innocence, the waters of childhood, the drink of rejuvenation,[797] so wings may grow, and, winged, he may soar up again into life, like the winged sun, which arises like a swan from the water (“Wings, to pass across and to return again”):

“... So I spoke, and lo, a genie

Carried me off, swifter than I had imagined,

And farther than ever I had thought

From my own house!

It grew dark

As I went in the twilight.

The shadowy wood,

And the yearning brooks of my home-land

Grew vague behind me—

And I knew the country no longer.”

After the dark and obscure words of the introduction, wherein the poet expresses the prophecy of what is to come, the sun journey begins (“night journey in the sea”) towards the east, towards the ascent, towards the mystery of eternity and rebirth, of which Nietzsche also dreams, and which he expressed in significant words:

“Oh, how could I not be ardent for eternity, and for the nuptial ring of rings—the ring of the return! Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wish children, unless she would be this woman whom I love; for I love thee, O eternity.”

448Hölderlin expresses this same longing in a beautiful symbol, the individual traits of which are already familiar to us:

“... But soon in a fresh radiance


Blossoming in golden smoke,

With the rapidly growing steps of the sun,

Making a thousand summits fragrant,

Asia arose!

And, dazzled,

I sought one whom I knew;

For unfamiliar to me were the broad roads,

Where from Tmolus

Comes the gilded Pactol,

And Taurus stands and Messagis—

And the gardens are full of flowers.

But high up in the light

The silvery snow gleams, a silent fire;

And, as a symbol of eternal life,

On the impassable walls,

Grows the ancient ivy.[798]

And carried by columns of living cedars and laurels

Are the solemn, divinely built palaces.”

The symbol is apocalyptic, the maternal city in the land of eternal youth, surrounded by the verdure and flowers of imperishable spring.[799] The poet identifies himself here with John, who lived on Patmos, who was once associated with “the sun of the Highest,” and saw him face to face:

“There at the Mystery of the Vine they met,

There at the hour of the Holy Feast they gathered,

And—feeling the approach of Death in his great, quiet soul,

449The Lord, pouring out his last love, spoke,

And then he died.

Much could be said of it—

How his triumphant glance,

The happiest of all,

Was seen by his companions, even at the last.

·       ·       ·       ·       ·

Therefore he sent the Spirit unto them,

And the house trembled, solemnly;

And, with distant thunder,

The storm of God rolled over the cowering heads

Where, deep in thought,

The heroes of death were assembled....

Now, when he, in parting,

Appeared once more before them,

Then the kingly day, the day of the sun, was put out,

And the gleaming sceptre, formed of his rays,

Was broken—and suffered like a god itself.

Yet it shall return and glow again

When the right time comes.”

The fundamental pictures are the sacrificial death and the resurrection of Christ, like the self-sacrifice of the sun, which voluntarily breaks its sceptre, the fructifying rays, in the certain hope of resurrection. The following comments are to be noted in regard to “the sceptre of rays”: Spielrein’s patient says, “God pierces through the earth with his rays.” The earth, in the patient’s mind, has the meaning of woman. She also comprehends the sunbeam in mythologic fashion as something solid: “Jesus Christ has shown me his love, by striking against the window with a sunbeam.” Among other insane patients I have come across the same idea of the solid substance of the sunbeam. Here there is also a hint of the 450phallic nature of the instrument which is associated with the hero. Thor’s hammer, which, cleaving the earth, penetrates deeply into it, may be compared to the foot of Kaineus. The hammer is retained in the interior of the earth, like the treasure, and, in the course of time, it gradually comes again to the surface (“the treasure blooms”), meaning that it was born again from the earth. (Compare what has been said concerning the etymology of “swelling.”) On many monuments Mithra holds a peculiar object in his hands, which Cumont compares to a half-filled tube. Dieterich proves from his papyrus text that the object is the shoulder of the bull, the bear constellation. The shoulder has an indirect phallic meaning, for it is the part which is wanting in Pelops. Pelops was slaughtered by his father, Tantalus, dismembered, and boiled in a kettle, to make a meal for the gods. Demeter had unsuspectingly eaten the shoulder from this feast, when Zeus discovered the outrage. He had the pieces thrown back into the kettle, and, with the help of the life-dispensing Clotho, Pelops was regenerated, and the shoulder which was missing was replaced by an ivory one. This substitution is a close parallel to the substitution of the missing phallus of Osiris. Mithra is represented in a special ceremony, holding the bull’s shoulder over Sol, his son and vice-regent. This scene may be compared to a sort of dedication, or accolade (something like the ceremony of confirmation). The blow of the hammer as a generating, fructifying, inspiring function is retained as a folk-custom and expressed by striking with the twig of life, which has the significance 451of a charm of fertility. In the neuroses, the sexual meaning of castigation plays an important part, for among many children castigation may elicit a sexual orgasm. The ritual act of striking has the same significance of generating (fructifying), and is, indeed, merely a variant of the original phallic ceremonial. Of similar character to the bull’s shoulder is the cloven hoof of the devil, to which a sexual meaning also appertains. The ass’s jawbone wielded by Samson has the same worth. In the Polynesian Maui myth the jawbone, the weapon of the hero, is derived from the man-eating woman, Muriranga-whenua, whose body swells up enormously from lusting for human flesh (Frobenius). Hercules’ club is made from the wood of the maternal olive tree. Faust’s key also “knows the mothers.” The libido springs from the mother, and with this weapon alone can man overcome death.

It corresponds to the phallic nature of the ass’s jawbone, that at the place where Samson threw it God caused a spring to gush forth[800] (springs from the horse’s tread, footsteps, horse’s hoof). To this relation of meanings belongs the magic wand, the sceptre in general. Σκῆτρον belongs to σκᾶπος, σκηπάνων, σκήπων = staff; σκηπτός = stormwind; Latin scapus = shaft, stock, scapula, shoulder; Old High German Scaft = spear, lance.[801] We meet once more in this compilation those connections which are already well known to us: Sun-phallus as tube of the winds, lance and shoulder-blade.

The passage from Asia through Patmos to the Christian 452mysteries in the poem of Hölderlin is apparently a superficial connection, but in reality a very ingenious train of thought; namely, the entrance into death and the land beyond as a self-sacrifice of the hero, for the attainment of immortality. At this time, when the sun has set, when love is apparently dead, man awaits in mysterious joy the renewal of all life:

“... And Joy it was

From now on

To live in the loving night and see

The eyes of innocence hold the unchanging

Depths of all wisdom.”

Wisdom dwells in the depths, the wisdom of the mother: being one with it, insight is obtained into the meaning of deeper things, into all the deposits of primitive times, the strata of which have been preserved in the soul. Hölderlin, in his diseased ecstasy, feels once more the greatness of the things seen, but he does not care to bring up to the light of day that which he had found in the depths—in this he differs from Faust.

“And it is not an evil, if a few

Are lost and never found, and if the speech

Conceals the living sound;

Because each godly work resembles ours;

And yet the Highest does not plan it all—

The great pit bears two irons,

And the glowing lava of Aetna....

Would I had the power

To build an image and see the Spirit—

See it as it was!”

453He allows only one hope to glimmer through, formed in scanty words:

“He wakes the dead;

They who are not enchained and bound,

They who are not unwrought.

... And if the Heavenly Ones

Now, as I believe, love me—

... Silent is his sign[802]

In the dusky sky. And one stands under it

His whole life long—for Christ still lives.”

But, as once Gilgamesh, bringing back the magic herb from the west land, was robbed of his treasure by the demon serpent, so does Hölderlin’s poem die away in a painful lament, which betrays to us that no victorious resurrection will follow his descent to the shadows:

“... Ignominiously

A power tears our heart away,

For sacrifices the heavenly ones demand.”

This recognition, that man must sacrifice the retrogressive longing (the incestuous libido) before the “heavenly ones” tear away the sacrifice, and at the same time the entire libido, came too late to the poet. Therefore, I take it to be a wise counsel which the unconscious gives our author, to sacrifice the infantile hero. This sacrifice is best accomplished, as is shown by the most obvious meaning, through a complete devotion to life, in which all the libido unconsciously bound up in familial bonds, must be brought outside into human contact. For it is necessary for the well-being of the adult individual, 454who in his childhood was merely an atom revolving in a rotary system, to become himself the centre of a new system. That such a step implies the solution or, at least, the energetic treatment of the individual sexual problem is obvious, for unless this is done the unemployed libido will inexorably remain fixed in the incestuous bond, and will prevent individual freedom in essential matters. Let us keep in mind that Christ’s teaching separates man from his family without consideration, and in the talk with Nicodemus we saw the specific endeavor of Christ to procure activation of the incest libido. Both tendencies serve the same goal—the liberation of man; the Jew from his extraordinary fixation to the family, which does not imply higher development, but greater weakness and more uncontrolled incestuous feeling, produced the compensation of the compulsory ceremonial of the cult and the religious fear of the incomprehensible Jehovah. When man, terrified by no laws and no furious fanatics or prophets, allows his incestuous libido full play, and does not liberate it for higher purposes, then he is under the influence of unconscious compulsion. For compulsion is the unconscious wish. (Freud.) He is under the dominance of the libido εἱμαρμένη[803] and his destiny does not lie in his own hands; his adventures, Τύχαι καὶ Μοῖραι,[804] fall from the stars. His unconscious incestuous libido, which thus is applied in its most primitive form, fixes the man, as regards his love type, in a corresponding primitive stage, the stage of ungovernableness and surrender to the emotions. Such was the psychologic situation of 455the passing antiquity, and the Redeemer and Physician of that time was he who endeavored to educate man to the sublimation of the incestuous libido.[805] The destruction of slavery was the necessary condition of that sublimation, for antiquity had not yet recognized the duty of work and work as a duty, as a social need of fundamental importance. Slave labor was compulsory work, the counterpart of the equally disastrous compulsion of the libido of the privileged. It was only the obligation of the individual to work which made possible in the long run that regular “drainage” of the unconscious, which was inundated by the continual regression of the libido. Indolence is the beginning of all vice, because in a condition of slothful dreaming the libido has abundant opportunity for sinking into itself, in order to create compulsory obligations by means of regressively reanimated incestuous bonds. The best liberation is through regular work.[806] Work, however, is salvation only when it is a free act, and has in itself nothing of infantile compulsion. In this respect, religious ceremony appears in a high degree as organized inactivity, and at the same time as the forerunner of modern work.

Miss Miller’s vision treats the problem of the sacrifice of the infantile longing, in the first place, as an individual problem, but if we cast a glance at the form of this presentation, then we will become aware that here it must concern something, which is also a problem of humanity in general. For the symbols employed, the serpent which killed the horse[807] and the hero voluntarily 456sacrificing himself, are primitive figures of phantasies and religious myths streaming up from the unconscious.

In so far as the world and all within it is, above all, a thought, which is credited with transcendental “substance” through the empirical need of the same, there results from the sacrifice of the regressive libido the creation of the world; and, psychologically speaking, the world in general. For him who looks backward the world, and even the infinite starry sky, is the mother[808] who bends over and encloses him on all sides, and from the renunciation of this idea and from the longing for this idea arises the image of the world. From this most simple fundamental thought, which perhaps appears strange to us only because it is conceived according to the principle of desire and not the principle of reality,[809] results the significance of the cosmic sacrifice. A good example of this is the slaying of the Babylonian primitive mother Tiâmat, the dragon, whose body is destined to form the heaven and the earth. We come upon this thought in its most complete form in Hindoo philosophy of the most ancient date; namely, in songs of Rigveda. In Rigveda 10: 81, 4, the song inquires:

“What was the tree, what wood in sooth produced it, from which they fashioned out the earth and heaven?

Ye thoughtful men inquire within your spirit, whereon he stood when he established all things.”

Viçvakarman, the All-Creator, who created the world from the unknown tree, did so as follows:

457“He who, sacrificing, entered into all these beings

As a wise sacrificer, our Father, who,

Striving for blessings through prayer,

Hiding his origin,

Entered this lowly world,

What and who has served him

As a resting-place and a support?”[810]

Rigveda 10: 90, gives answer to these questions. Purusha is the primal being who

“... covered earth on every side and

Spread ten fingers’ breadth beyond.”

One sees that Purusha is a sort of Platonic world soul, who surrounds the world from without. Of Purusha it is said:

“Being born he overtopped the earth

Before, behind, and in all places.”

The mother symbolism is plain, it seems to me, in the idea of Purusha. He represents the mother-imago and the libido of the child clinging to her. From this assumption all that follows is very easily explained:

“As sacrificial animal on the bed of straw

Was dedicated the Purusha,

Who was born on the straw,

Whom the Gods, the Blest, and the Wise,

Meeting there, sacrificed.”

This verse is very remarkable; if one wishes to stretch this mythology out on the procrustean bed of logic, sore violence would have to be committed. It is an incredibly 458phantastic conception that, beside the gods, ordinary “wise men” unite in sacrificing the primitive being, aside from the circumstance that, beside the primitive being, nothing had existed in the beginning (that is to say, before the sacrifice), as we shall soon see. If the great mystery of the mother sacrifice is meant thereby, then all becomes clear:

“From that great general sacrifice

The dripping fat was gathered up.

He formed the creatures of the air,

And animals both wild and tame.

From that great general sacrifice

Richas and Sama-hymns were born;

Therefrom the metres were produced,

The Yajus had its birth from it.

“The moon was gendered from his mind

And from his eye the Sun had birth;

Indra and Agni from his mouth

Were born, and Vâyu from his breath.

“Forth from his navel came midair;

The sky was fashioned from his head;

Earth from his feet, and from his ears

The regions. Thus they formed the worlds.”

It is evident that by this is meant not a physical, but a psychological cosmogony. The world arises when man discovers it. He discovers it when he sacrifices the mother; that is to say, when he has freed himself from the midst of his unconscious lying in the mother. That which impels him forward to this discovery may be interpreted psychologically as the so-called “Incest barrier” 459of Freud. The incest prohibition places an end to the childish longing for the food-giving mother, and compels the libido, gradually becoming sexual, into the path of the biological aim. The libido forced away from the mother by the incest prohibition seeks for the sexual object in the place of the forbidden mother. In this wider psychologic sense, which expresses itself in the allegoric language of the “incest prohibition,” “mother,” etc., must be understood Freud’s paradoxical sentence, “Originally we have known only sexual objects.”[811] This sentence must be understood psychologically throughout, in the sense of a world image created from within outwards, which has, in the first place, nothing to do with the so-called “objective” idea of the world. This is to be understood as a new edition of the subjective idea of the world corrected by reality. Biology, as a science of objective experience, would have to reject unconditionally Freud’s proposition, for, as we have made clear above, the function of reality can only be partly sexual; in another equally important part it is self-preservation. The matter appears different for that thought which accompanies the biological function as an epiphenomenon. As far as our knowledge reaches, the individual act of thought is dependent wholly or in greatest part on the existence of a highly differentiated brain, whereas the function of reality (adaptation to reality) is something which occurs in all living nature as wholly independent from the act of thought. This important proposition of Freud’s applies only to the act of thought, for thinking, as we may recognize from manifold traces, arose dynamically 460from the libido, which was split off from the original object at the “incest barrier” and became actual when the first budding sexual emotions began to flow in the current of the libido which goes to the mother. Through the incest barrier the sexual libido is forced away from the identification with the parents, and introverted for lack of adequate activity. It is the sexual libido which forces the growing individual slowly away from his family. If this necessity did not exist, then the family would always remain clustered together in a solid group. Hence the neurotic always renounces a complete erotic experience,[812] in order that he may remain a child. Phantasies seem to arise from the introversion of the sexual libido. Since the first childish phantasies most certainly do not attain the quality of a conscious plan, and as phantasies likewise (even among adults) are almost always the direct derivates of the unconscious, it is, therefore, highly probable that the first phantastic manifestations arise from an act of regression. As we illustrated earlier, the regression goes back to the presexual stage, as many traces show. Here the sexual libido obtains again, so to speak, that universal capacity of application, or capacity for displacement, which it actually possessed at that stage when the sexual application was not yet discovered. Naturally, no adequate object is found in the presexual stage for the regressive sexual libido, but only surrogates, which always leave a wish; namely, the wish to have the surrogate as similar as possible to the sexual goal. This wish is secret, however, for it is really an incest wish. The unsatisfied unconscious wish creates innumerable secondary objects, 461symbols for the primitive object, the mother (as the Rigveda says, the creator of the world, “hiding his origin,” enters into things). From this the thought or the phantasies proceed, as a desexualized manifestation of an originally sexual libido.

From the standpoint of the libido, the term “incest barrier” corresponds to one aspect, but the matter, however, may be considered from another point of view.

The time of undeveloped sexuality, about the third and the fourth year, is, at the same time, considered externally, the period when the child finds himself confronted with increased demands from the world of reality. He can walk, speak and independently attend to a number of other things. He sees himself in a relation to a world of unlimited possibilities, but in which he dares to do little or nothing, because he is as yet too much of a baby and cannot get on without his mother. At this time mother should be exchanged for the world. Against this the past rises as the greatest resistance; this is always so whenever man would undertake a new adaptation. In spite of all evidence and against all conscious resolutions, the unconscious (the past) always enforces its standpoint as resistance. In this difficult position, precisely at this period of developing sexuality, we see the dawning of the mind. The problem of the child at this period is the discovery of the world and of the great transsubjective reality. For that he must lose the mother; every step out into the world means a step away from the mother. Naturally, all that which is retrogressive in men rebels against this step, and energetic attempts are 462made against this adaptation in the first place. Therefore, this period of life is also that in which the first clearly developed neuroses arise. The tendency of this age is one directly opposed to that of dementia præcox. The child seeks to win the world and to leave the mother (this is a necessary result). The dementia præcox patient, however, seeks to leave the world and to regain the subjectivity of childhood. We have seen that in dementia præcox the recent adaptation to reality is replaced by an archaic mode of adaptation; that is to say, the recent idea of the world is rejected in favor of an archaic idea of the world. When the child renounces his task of adaptation to reality, or has considerable difficulties in this direction, then we may expect that the recent adaptation will again be replaced by archaic modes of adaptation. It would, therefore, be conceivable that through regression in children archaic products would naturally be unearthed; that is to say, old ways of functioning of the thought system, which is inborn with the brain differentiation, would be awakened.

According to my available but as yet unpublished material, a remarkably archaic and at the same time generally applicable character seems to appertain to infantile phantasy, quite comparable with the products of dementia præcox. It does not seem improbable that through regression at this age those same associations of elements and analogies are reawakened which formerly constituted the archaic idea of the world. When we now attempt to investigate the nature of these elements, a glance at the psychology of myths is sufficient to show us that the 463archaic idea was chiefly sexual anthropomorphism. It appears that these things in the unconscious childish phantasy play an extraordinary rôle, as we can recognize from examples taken at random. Just as the sexualism of neuroses is not to be taken literally but as regressive phantasy and symbolic compensation for a recent unachieved adaptation, so is the sexualism of the early infantile phantasy, especially the incest problem, a regressive product of the revival of the archaic modes of function, outweighing actuality. On this account I have expressed myself very vaguely in this work, I am sure, in regard to the incest problem. This is done in order not to be responsible for the idea that I understand by it a gross sexual inclination towards the parents. The true facts of the case are much more complicated, as my investigations point out. Originally incest probably never possessed particularly great significance as such, because cohabitation with an old woman for all possible motives could hardly be preferred to mating with a young woman. It seems that the mother has acquired incestuous significance only psychologically. Thus, for example, the incestuous unions of antiquity were not a result of a love inclination, but of a special superstition, which is most intimately bound up with the mythical ideas here treated. A Pharaoh of the second dynasty is said to have married his sister, his daughter and his granddaughter; the Ptolemies were accustomed also to marriage with sisters; Kambyses married his sister; Artaxerxes married his two daughters; Qobad I (sixth century A. D.) married his daughter. The Satrap Sysimithres married his 464mother. These incestuous unions are explained by the circumstance that in the Zend Avesta the marriage of relatives was directly commanded;[813] it emphasized the resemblance of rulers to the divinity, and, therefore, was more of an artificial than a natural arrangement, because it originated more from a theoretical than from a biological inclination. (A practical impetus towards that lay often in the peculiar laws of inheritance left over from the Mutter recht, “maternal right” [matriarchal], period.) The confusion which certainly frequently involved the barbarians of antiquity in regard to the choice of their sexual objects cannot very well be measured by the standard of present-day love psychology. In any case, the incest of the semi-animal past is in no way proportionate to the enormous significance of the incest phantasy among civilized people. This disproportion enforces the assumption that the incest prohibition which we meet even amongst relatively lower races concerns rather the mythical ideas than the biological damage; therefore, the ethnical prohibition almost always concerns the mother and seldom the father. Incest prohibition can be understood, therefore, as a result of regression, and as the result of a libidinous anxiety, which regressively attacks the mother. Naturally, it is difficult or impossible to say from whence this anxiety may have come. I merely venture to suggest that it may have been a question of a primitive separation of the pairs of opposites which are hidden in the will of life: the will for life and for death. It remains obscure what adaptation the primitive man tried to evade through introversion and regression to the 465parents; but, according to the analogy of the soul life in general, it may be assumed that the libido, which disturbed the initial equilibrium of becoming and of ceasing to be, had been stored up in the attempt to make an especially difficult adaptation, and from which it recedes even to-day.

After this long digression, let us turn back to the song of the Rigveda. Thinking and a conception of the world arose from a shrinking back from stern reality, and it is only after man has regressively assured himself again of the protective parental power[814] that he enters life wrapped in a dream of childhood shrouded in magic superstitions; that is to say, “thinking,”[815] for he, timidly sacrificing his best and assuring himself of the favor of the invisible powers, step by step develops to greater power, in the degree that he frees himself from his retrogressive longing and the original lack of harmony in his being.

Rigveda 10, 90, concludes with the exceedingly significant verse, which is of greatest importance for the Christian mysteries as well:

“Gods, sacrificing, rendered homage to the sacrifice: these were the earliest holy ordinances,

The mighty ones attained the height of heaven, there where the Sâdhyas, goddesses of old, are dwelling.”

Through the sacrifice a fulness of power was attained, which extends up to the power of the “parents.” Thus the sacrifice has also the meaning of a psychologic maturation process.

466In the same manner that the world originated through sacrifice, through the renunciation of the retrospective mother libido, thus, according to the teachings of the Upanishads, is produced the new condition of man, which may be termed the immortal. This new condition is again attained through a sacrifice; namely, through the sacrificial horse which is given a cosmic significance in the teaching of the Upanishads. What the sacrificial horse means is told by Brihadâranyaka-Upanishad 1: 1:


“1. The dawn is truly the head of the sacrificial horse, the sun his eye, the wind his breath, his mouth the all-spreading fire, the year is the body of the sacrificial horse. The sky is his back, the atmosphere his body cavity, the earth the vault of his belly, the poles are his sides, the space between the poles his ribs, the seasons his limbs, the months and half-months his joints, day and night his feet, the stars his bones, the clouds his flesh, the food, which he digests, are the deserts; the rivers, his veins; liver and lungs, the mountains; the herbs and trees, his hair; the rising sun is his forepart, the setting sun his hind-part. When he shows his teeth, that is lightning; when he trembles, that is thunder; when he urinates, that is rain; his voice is speech.

“2. The day, in truth, has originated for the horse as the sacrificial dish, which stands before him; his cradle is in the world-sea towards the East; the night has originated for him as the sacrificial dish, which stands behind him; its cradle is in the world-sea of the evening; these two dishes originated in order to surround the horse. As a charger he generated the gods, as champion he produced the Gandharvas, as a racer the demons, as horse mankind. The Ocean is his relative, the ocean his cradle.”

As Deussen remarks, the sacrificial horse has the significance of a renunciation of the universe. When the horse is sacrificed, then the world is sacrificed and destroyed, 467as it were—a train of thought which Schopenhauer also had in mind, and which appears as a product of a diseased mind in Schreber.[816] The horse in the above text stands between two sacrificial vessels, from one of which it comes and to the other of which it goes, just as the sun passes from morning to evening. The horse, therefore, signifies the libido, which has passed into the world. We previously saw that the “mother libido” must be sacrificed in order to produce the world; here the world is destroyed by the repeated sacrifice of the same libido, which once belonged to the mother. The horse can, therefore, be substituted as a symbol for this libido, because, as we saw, it had manifold connections with the mother.[817] The sacrifice of the horse can only produce another state of introversion, which is similar to that before the creation of the world. The position of the horse between the two vessels, which represent the producing and the devouring mother, hint at the idea of life enclosed in the ovum; therefore, the vessels are destined to “surround” the horse. That this is actually so the Brihadâranyaka-Upanishad 3: 3 proves:

“1. From where have the descendants of Parikshit come, that I ask thee, Yâjñavalkya! From where came the descendants of Parikshit?

“2. Yâjñavalkya spake: ‘He has told thee, they have come from where all come, who offer up the sacrificial horse. That is to say, this world extends so far as two and thirty days of the chariot of the Gods (the sun) reach. This (world) surrounds the earth twice around. This earth surrounds the ocean twice around. There is, as broad as the edge of a razor or as the wing of a fly, a space between (the two shells of the egg of the world). 468These were brought by Indra as a falcon to the wind: and the wind took them up into itself and carried them where were the offerers of the sacrificial horse. Somewhat like this he spoke (Gandharva to thee) and praised the wind.’

“Therefore is the wind the special (vyashti) and the wind the universal (samashti). He, who knows this, defends himself from dying again.”

As this text tells us, the offerers of the sacrificial horse come in that narrowest fissure between the shells of the egg of the world, at that place, where the shells unite and where they are divided. The fissure (vagina) in the maternal world soul is designated by Plato in “Timaeus” by Χ, the symbol of the cross. Indra, who as a falcon has stolen the soma (the treasure attainable with difficulty), brings, as Psychopompos, the souls to the wind, to the generating pneuma, which carries them forward to the fissure or vagina, to the point of union, to the entrance into the maternal egg. This train of thought of the Hindoo philosophy briefly and concisely summarizes the sense of innumerable myths; at the same time it is a striking example of the fact that philosophy is internally nothing else but a refined and sublimated mythology. It is brought to this refined state by the influence of the corrector of reality.[818] We have emphasized the fact that in the Miller drama the horse is the first to die, as the animal brother of the hero. (Corresponding to the early death of the half-animal Eabani, the brother friend of Gilgamesh.) This sacrificial death recalls the whole category of mythological animal sacrifices. Volumes could be filled with parallels, but we must limit ourselves here to suggestions. The sacrificial animal, where it has 469lost the primitive meaning of the simple sacrificial gift, and has taken a higher religious significance, stands in a close relation to both the hero and the divinity. The animal represents the god himself;[819] thus the bull[820] represents Zagreus, Dionysus and Mithra; the lamb represents Christ,[821] etc. As we are aware, the animal symbols represent the animal libido. The sacrifice of the animal means, therefore, the sacrifice of the animal nature. This is most clearly expressed in the religious legend of Attis. Attis is the son lover of the divine mother, Agdistis Cybele. Agdistis was characteristically androgynous,[822] as symbol of the mother-libido, like the tree; really a clear indication that the mother-imago has in addition to the significance of the likeness of the real mother the meaning of the mother of humanity, the libido in general. Driven mad by the insanity-breeding mother enamored of him, he emasculates himself, and that under a pine tree. (The pine tree plays an important rôle in his service. Every year a pine tree was wreathed about and upon it an image of Attis was hung, and then it was cut down, which represents the castration.) The blood, which spurted to the earth, was transformed into budding violets. Cybele now took this pine tree, bore it into her cavern and there wept over it. (Pietà.) The chthonic mother takes her son with her into the cavern—namely, into the womb—according to another version. Attis was transformed into the pine tree. The tree here has an essentially phallic meaning; on the contrary, the attaching of the image of Attis to the tree refers also to the maternal meaning. (“To be attached to the mother.”) In Ovid (“Metamorphoses,” 470Book X) the pine tree is spoken of as follows:

“Grata deum matri, siquidem Cybeleius Attis

Exuit hac hominem, truncoque induruit illo.”[823]

The transformation into the pine tree is evidently a burial in the mother, just as Osiris was overgrown by the heather. Upon the Attis bas-relief of Coblenz Attis appears growing out of a tree, which is interpreted by Mannhardt as the “life-principle” of vegetation inherent in the tree. It is probably a tree birth, just as with Mithra. (Relief of Heddernheim.) As Firmicus observes, in the Isis and Osiris cult and also in the cult of the virgin Persephone, tree and image had played a rôle.[824] Dionysus had the surname Dendrites, and in Boeotia he is said to have been called ἔνδενδρος, meaning “in a tree.” (At the birth of Dionysus, Megaira planted the pine tree on the Kithairon.) The Pentheus myth bound up with the Dionysus legend furnishes the remarkable and supplementary counterpart to the death of Attis, and the subsequent lamentation. Pentheus,[825] curious to espy the orgies of the Maenades, climbed upon a pine tree, but he was observed by his mother; the Maenades cut down the tree, and Pentheus, taken for an animal, was torn by them in frenzy,[826] his own mother being the first to rush upon him. In this myth the phallic meaning of the tree (cutting down, castration) and its maternal significance (mounting and the 471sacrificial death of the son) is present; at the same time the supplementary counterpart to the Pietà is apparent, the “terrible mother.” The feast of Attis was celebrated as a lamentation and then as a joy in the spring. (Good Friday and Easter.) The priests of Attis-Cybele worship were often eunuchs, and were called Galloi.[827] The archigallus was called Atys (Attis).[828] Instead of the animal castration, the priests merely scratched their arms until they bled. (Arm in place of phallus, “the twisting of arms.”) A similar symbolism of the sacrificial impulse is met in the Mithraic religion, where essential parts of the mysteries consist in the catching and the subduing of the bull.

A parallel figure to Mithra is the primitive man Gayomard. He was created together with his bull, and the two lived for six thousand years in a blissful state. But when the world came into the cycle of the seventh sign of the Zodiac (Libra) the evil principle entered. Libra is astrologically the so-called positive domicile of Venus; the evil principle, therefore, came under the dominion of the goddess of love (destruction of the sun-hero through the mother-wife—snake, whore, etc). As a result, after thirty years, Gayomard and his bull died. (The trials of Zartusht lasted also thirty years; compare the span of Christ’s life.) Fifty-five species of grain came from the dead bull, twelve kinds of salubrious plants, etc. The sperma of the bull entered into the moon for purification, but the sperma of Gayomard entered into the sun. This circumstance possibly suggests a rather feminine meaning of bull. Gosh or Drvâçpa is the soul 472of the bull, and was worshipped as a female divinity. She would not, at first, from diffidence, become the goddess of the herds, until the coming of Zarathustra was announced to her as consolation. This has its parallel in the Hindoo Purâna, where the coming of Krishna was promised the earth. (A complete analogy to Christ.[829]) She, too, travels in her chariot, like Ardvîçûra, the goddess of love. The soul of the bull is, therefore, decidedly feminine. This myth of Gayomard repeats only in an altered form the primitive conception of the closed ring of a male-female divinity, self-begetting and forth-bringing.

Like the sacrificial bull, the fire, the sacrifice of which we have already discussed in Chapter III, has a feminine nature among the Chinese, according to the commentaries[830] of the philosopher Tschwang-Tse:

“The spirit of the hearth is called Ki. He is clad in bright red, which resembles fire, and appears as a lovely, attractive maiden.”

In the “Book of Rites” it is said:

“Wood is burned in the flames for the spirit of Au. This sacrifice to Au is a sacrifice to old departed women.”

These spirits of the hearth and fire are the souls of departed cooks and, therefore, are called “old women.” The kitchen god develops from this pre-Buddhistic tradition and becomes later (male sex) the ruler of the family and the mediator between family and god. Thus the old feminine fire spirit becomes a species of Logos. (Compare with this the remarks in Chapter III.)

473From the bull’s sperma the progenitors of the cattle came, as well as two hundred and seventy-two species of useful animals. According to Mînôkhired, Gayomard had destroyed the Dév Azûr, who was considered the demon of evil appetites.[831] In spite of the efforts of Zarathustra, this demon remained longest on the earth. He was destroyed at last at the resurrection, like Satan in the Apocalypse of John. In another version it is said that Angromainyus and the serpent were left until the last, so as to be destroyed by Ahuramazda himself. According to a surmise by Kern, Zarathustra may mean “golden-star” and be identical with Mithra. Mithra’s name is connected with neo-Persian Mihr, which means “sun and love.”

In Zagreus we see that the bull is also identical with the god; hence the bull sacrifice is a god sacrifice, but on a primitive stage. The animal symbol is, so to speak, only a part of the hero; he sacrifices only his animal; therefore, symbolically, renounces only his animal nature. The internal participation in the sacrifice[832] is expressed excellently in the anguished ecstatic countenance of the bull-slaying Mithra. He does it willingly and unwillingly[833] hence the somewhat hysterical expression which has some similarity to the well-known mawkish countenance of the Crucified of Guido Reni. Benndorf says:[834]

“The features, which, especially in the upper portion, bear an absolutely ideal character, have an extremely morbid expression.”

Cumont[835] himself says of the facial expression of the Tauroctonos:

474“The countenance, which may be seen in the best reproductions, is that of a young man of an almost feminine beauty; the head has a quantity of curly hair, which, rising up from the forehead, surrounds him as with a halo; the head is slightly tilted backwards, so that the glance is directed towards the heavens, and the contraction of the brows and the lips give a strange expression of sorrow to the face.”[836]

The Ostian head of Mithra Tauroctonos, illustrated in Cumont, has, indeed, an expression which we recognize in our patients as one of sentimental resignation. Sentimentality is repressed brutality. Hence the exceedingly sentimental pose, which had its counterpart in the symbolism of the shepherd and the lamb of contemporaneous Christianity, with the addition of infantilism.[837]

Meanwhile, it is only his animal nature which the god sacrifices; that is to say, his sexuality,[838] always in close analogy to the course of the sun. We have learned in the course of this investigation that the part of the libido which erects religious structures is in the last analysis fixed in the mother, and really represents that tie through which we are permanently connected with our origin. Briefly, we may designate this amount of libido as “Mother Libido.” As we have seen, this libido conceals itself in countless and very heterogeneous symbols, also in animal images, no matter whether of masculine or feminine nature—differences of sex are at bottom of a secondary value and psychologically do not play the part which might be expected from a superficial observation.

The annual sacrifice of the maiden to the dragon probably represented the most ideal symbolic situation. In 475order to pacify the anger of the “terrible mother” the most beautiful woman was sacrificed as symbol of man’s libido. Less vivid examples are the sacrifice of the first-born and various valuable domestic animals. A second ideal case is the self-castration in the service of the mother (Dea Syria, etc.), a less obvious form of which is circumcision. By that at least only a portion is sacrificed.[839] With these sacrifices, the object of which in ideal cases is to symbolize the libido drawing away from the mother, life is symbolically renounced in order to regain it. By the sacrifice man ransoms himself from the fear of death and reconciles the destroying mother. In those later religions, where the hero, who in olden times overcomes all evil and death through his labors, has become the divine chief figure, he becomes the priestly sacrificer and the regenerator of life. But as the hero is an imaginary figure and his sacrifice is a transcendental mystery, the significance of which far exceeds the value of an ordinary sacrificial gift, this deepening of the sacrificial symbolism regressively resumes the idea of the human sacrifice. This is partly due to the preponderance of phantastic additions, which always take their subject-matter from greater depths, and partly due to the higher religious occupation of the libido, which demanded a more complete and equivalent expression. Thus the relation between Mithra and his bull is very close. It is the hero himself in the Christian mysteries who sacrifices himself voluntarily. The hero, as we have sufficiently shown, is the infantile personality longing for the mother, who as Mithra sacrifices the wish (the libido), and as Christ 476gives himself to death both willingly and unwillingly. Upon the monuments of the Mithraic religion we often meet a strange symbol: a crater (mixing bowl) encoiled by a serpent, sometimes with a lion, who as antagonist opposes the serpent.[840] It appears as if the two were fighting for the crater. The crater symbolizes, as we have seen, the mother, the serpent the resistance defending her, and the lion the greatest strength and strongest will.[841] The struggle is for the mother. The serpent takes part almost regularly in the Mithraic sacrifice of the bull, moving towards the blood flowing from the wound. It seems to follow from that that the life of the bull (blood) is sacrificed to the serpent. Previously we have pointed out the mutual relationship between serpent and bull, and found there that the bull symbolizes the living hero, the shining sun, but that the serpent symbolizes the dead, buried or chthonic hero, the invisible sun. As the hero is in the mother in the state of death, the serpent is also, as the symbol of the fear of death, the sign of the devouring mother. The sacrifice of the bull to the serpent, therefore, signifies a willing renunciation of life, in order to win it from death. Therefore, after the sacrifice of the bull, wonderful fertility results. The antagonism between serpent and lion over the crater is to be interpreted as a battle over the fruitful mother’s womb, somewhat comparable to the more simple symbolism of the Tishtriya song, where the demon Apaosha, the black horse, has possession of the rain lake, and the white horse, Tishtriya, must banish him from it. Death from time to time lays its destroying hand upon life and 477fertility and the libido disappears, by entering into the mother, from whose womb it will be born renewed. It, therefore, seems very probable that the significance of the Mithraic bull sacrifice is also that of the sacrifice of the mother who sends the fear of death. As the contrary of the Occide moriturus is also intended here, so is the act of sacrifice an impregnating of the mother; the chthonic snake demon drinks the blood; that is to say, the libido (sperma) of the hero committing incest. Life is thus immortalized for the hero because, like the sun, he generates himself anew. After all the preceding materials, it can no longer be difficult to recognize in the Christian mysteries the human sacrifice, or the sacrifice of the son to the mother.[842] Just as Attis emasculates himself on account of the mother, so does Christ himself hang upon the tree of life,[843] the wood of martyrdom, the ἑκάτη,[844] the chthonic mother, and by that redeems creation from death. By entering again into the mother’s womb (Matuta, Pietà of Michelangelo) he redeems in death the sin in life of the primitive man, Adam, in order symbolically through his deed[845] to procure for the innermost and most hidden meaning of the religious libido its highest satisfaction and most pronounced expression. The martyrdom of Christ has in Augustine as well actually the meaning of a Hierosgamos with the mother (corresponding to the Adonis festival, where Venus and Adonis were laid upon the nuptial couch):

“Procedit Christus quasi sponsus de thalamo suo, præsagio nuptiarum exiit ad campum sæculi; pervenit usque ad crucis 478torum (torus has the meaning of bed, pillow, concubine, bier) et ibi firmavit ascendendo conjugium: ubi cum sentiret anhelantem in suspiriis creaturam commercio pietatis se pro conjuge dedit ad pœnam et copulavit sibi perpetuo iure matronam.”

This passage is perfectly clear. A similar death overtakes the Syrian Melcarth, who, riding upon a sea horse, was annually burned. Among the Greeks he is called Melicertes, and was represented riding upon a dolphin. The dolphin is also the steed of Arion. We have learned to recognize previously the maternal significance of dolphin, so that in the death of Melcarth we can once more recognize the negatively expressed Hierosgamos with the mother. (Compare Frazer “Golden Bough,” IV, p. 87.) This figurative expression is of the greatest teleological significance. Through its symbol it leads that libido which inclines backward into the original, primitive and impulsive upwards to the spiritual by investing it with a mysterious but fruitful function. It is superfluous to speak of the effect of this symbol upon the unconscious of Occidental humanity. A glance over history shows what creative forces were released in this symbol.[846]

The comparison of the Mithraic and the Christian sacrifice plainly shows wherein lies the superiority of the Christian symbol; it is the frank admission that not only are the lower wishes to be sacrificed, but the whole personality. The Christian symbol demands complete devotion; it compels a veritable self-sacrifice to a higher purpose, while the Sacrificium Mithriacum, remaining fixed on a primitive symbolic stage, is contented with an 479animal sacrifice. The religious effect of these symbols must be considered as an orientation of the unconscious by means of imitation.

In Miss Miller’s phantasy there is internal compulsion, in that she passes from the horse sacrifice to the self-sacrifice of the hero. Whereas the first symbolizes renunciation of the sexual wishes, the second has the deeper and ethically more valuable meaning of the sacrifice of the infantile personality. The object of psychoanalysis has frequently been wrongly understood to mean the renunciation or the gratification of the ordinary sexual wish, while, in reality, the problem is the sublimation of the infantile personality, or, expressed mythologically, a sacrifice and rebirth of the infantile hero.[847] In the Christian mysteries, however, the resurrected one becomes a supermundane spirit, and the invisible kingdom of God, with its mysterious gifts, are obtained by his believers through the sacrifice of himself on the mother. In psychoanalysis the infantile personality is deprived of its libido fixations in a rational manner; the libido which is thus set free serves for the building up of a personality matured and adapted to reality, who does willingly and without complaint everything required by necessity. (It is, so to speak, the chief endeavor of the infantile personality to struggle against all necessities and to create coercions for itself where none exist in reality.)

The serpent as an instrument of sacrifice has already been abundantly illustrated. (Legend of St. Silvester, trial of the virgins, wounding of Rê and Philoctetes, symbolism of the lance and arrow.) It is the destroying 480knife; but, according to the principle of the “Occide moriturus” also the phallus, the sacrificial act represents a coitus act as well.[848] The religious significance of the serpent as a cave-dwelling, chthonic animal points to a further thought; namely, to the creeping into the mother’s womb in the form of a serpent.[849] As the horse is the brother, so the serpent is the sister of Chiwantopel. This close relation refers to a fellowship of these animals and their characters with the hero. We know of the horse that, as a rule, he is not an animal of fear, although, mythologically, he has at times this meaning. He signifies much more the living, positive part of the libido, the striving towards continual renewal, whereas the serpent, as a rule, represents the fear, the fear of death,[850] and is thought of as the antithesis to the phallus. This antithesis between horse and serpent, mythologically between bull and serpent, represents an opposition of the libido within itself, a striving forwards and a striving backwards at one and the same time.[851] It is not only as if the libido might be an irresistible striving forward, an endless life and will for construction, such as Schopenhauer has formulated in his world will, death and every end being some malignancy or fatality coming from without, but the libido, corresponding to the sun, also wills the destruction of its creation. In the first half of life its will is for growth, in the second half of life it hints, softly at first, and then audibly, at its will for death. And just as in youth the impulse to unlimited growth often lies under the enveloping covering of a resistance against life, so also does the will of the old to die frequently lie 481under the covering of a stubborn resistance against the end.


This apparent contrast in the nature of the libido is strikingly illustrated by a Priapic statuette in the antique collection at Verona.[852] Priapus smilingly points with his finger to a snake biting off his “membrum.” He carries a basket on his arm, filled with oblong objects, probably phalli, evidently prepared as substitutes.

A similar motive is found in the “Deluge” of Rubens (in the Munich Art Gallery), where a serpent emasculates a man. This motive explains the meaning of the “Deluge”; the maternal sea is also the devouring mother.[853] The phantasy of the world conflagration, of the cataclysmic end of the world in general, is nothing but a mythological projection of a personal individual will for death; therefore, Rubens could represent the essence of the “Deluge” phantasy in the emasculation by the serpent; for the serpent is our own repressed will 482for the end, for which we find an explanation only with the greatest difficulty.

Concerning the symbolism of the serpent in general, its significance is very dependent upon the time of life and circumstances. The repressed sexuality of youth is symbolized by the serpent, because the arrival of sexuality puts an end to childhood. To age, on the contrary, the serpent signifies the repressed thought of death. With our author it is the insufficiently expressed sexuality which as serpent assumes the rôle of sacrificer and delivers the hero over to death and rebirth.

As in the beginning of our investigation the hero’s name forced us to speak of the symbolism of Popocatepetl as belonging to the creating part of the human body, so at the end does the Miller drama again give us an opportunity of seeing how the volcano assists in the death of the hero and causes him to disappear by means of an earthquake into the depths of the earth. As the volcano gave birth and name to the hero, so at the end of the day it devours him again.[854] We learn from the last words of the hero that his longed-for beloved, she who alone understands him, is called Ja-ni-wa-ma. We find in this name those lisped syllables familiar to us from the early childhood of the hero, Hiawatha, Wawa, wama, mama. The only one who really understands us is the mother. For verstehen, “to understand” (Old High German firstân), is probably derived from a primitive Germanic prefix fri, identical with περὶ, meaning “roundabout.” The Old High German antfristôn, “to interpret,” is considered as identical with firstân. From that 483results a fundamental significance of the verb verstehen, “to understand,” as “standing round about something.”[855] Comprehendere and κατασυλλαμβάνειν express a similar idea as the German erfassen, “to grasp, to comprehend.” The thing common to these expressions is the surrounding, the enfolding. And there is no doubt that there is nothing in the world which so completely enfolds us as the mother. When the neurotic complains that the world has no understanding, he says indirectly that he misses the mother. Paul Verlaine has expressed this thought most beautifully in his poem, “Mon Rêve Familier”:

My Familiar Dream.

“Often I have that strange and poignant dream

Of some unknown who meets my flame with flame—

Who, with each time, is never quite the same,

Yet never wholly different does she seem.

She understands me! Every fitful gleam

Troubling my heart, she reads aright somehow:

Even the sweat upon my pallid brow

She soothes with tears, a cool and freshening stream.

“If she is dark or fair? I do not know—

Her name? Only that it is sweet and low,

Like those of loved ones who have long since died.

Her look is like a statue’s, kind and clear;

And her calm voice, distant and dignified,

Like those hushed voices that I loved to hear.”

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