… [T]his "coming time" when each and everyone of us brings to a common pool the water we
have gathered from our unique and individual sources, from our encounters with the unconscious. By pooling together what we have experienced there, by acting on the hints we experience there, by doing these things, we will, I trust, begin to create the song of welcome to the coming guest.
THREE DOCUMENTS OF THE SOUL
While we are quite aware of Jung's enduring legacy as the pioneer of Analytical Psychology, a
legacy that has profoundly changed the lives of others, there is a lesser known but equally important legacy of his work.
We can see the seeds of this hidden legacy lying quietly within three documents of the soul that Jung "bequeathed" us c. 1960, one year before he died.
The first is his famous letter to Sir Herbert Read in 1960, a letter that reveals Jung's attitude towards art and artists. Here is the portion relevant to our discussion here: (1)
The great problem of our time is that we don't understand what is happening to the world. We
are confronted with the darkness of the soul, the unconscious. It sends up its dark and unrecognizable urges. It hollows out and hacks up the shapes of our culture and its historical dominants. We have no dominants any more, they are in the future. Our values are shifting, everything loses it certainty…. Who is the awe-inspiring guest who knocks at our door
Fear precedes him, showing that ultimate values already flow towards him… our only certainty is that the new world will be something different from what we were used to. If any of his urges show some inclination to incarnate in a known shape, the creative artist will not trust it… he will hollow them out and hack them up. That is where we are now. They have not yet learned to discriminate between their wilful mind and the objective manifestation of the psyche…. If the artist of today could only see what the psyche is spontaneously producing and what he, as a consciousness, is inventing, he would notice that the dream f.i. or the object is pronouncing (through his psyche) a reality from which he will never escape, because nobody will ever transcend the structure of the psyche.
I will return to this letter, so laden with hints for the future as it is, but now the second document of the soul that I want to introduce is a carving Jung produced on the wall of his retreat at Bollingen c. 1960:
1 (Adler & Jaffe, 1975, p. 590)
This carving, as a document of the soul, has lain virtually mute for fifty years, with one significant exception that I will introduce further on. Deep within its surface, more seeds of Jung's hidden legacy lie quietly, perhaps only now ready to germinate.
The third document of the soul that belongs here with the other two is a letter written by Jung to a Dr. Tauber, at the end of 1960 in which he attempts to address Tauber's request for understanding in relation to the carving: (2)
Many thanks for your kind suggestion that I write a commentary on my Bollingen symbols. Nobody is more uncertain about their meaning than the author himself. They are their own representation of the way they came into being.
The first thing I saw in the rough stone was the figure of the worshipping woman, and behind her the silhouette of the old king sitting on his throne. As I was carving her out, the old king vanished from view. Instead I suddenly saw that the unworked surface in front of her clearly revealed the hindquarters of a horse, and a mare at that, for whose milk the primitive woman was stretching out her hands. The woman is obviously my anima in the guise of a millennia-old ancestress.
Milk, as lac virginis, virgin's milk, is a synonym for the aqua doctrinae.… The mare descending from above reminded me of Pegasus. Pegasus is the constellation above the second fish in Pisces; it precedes Aquarius in the precession of the equinoxes. I have represented it in its feminine aspect, the milk taking the place of the spout of water in the sign for Aquarius. This feminine attribute indicates the unconscious nature of the milk. Evidently the milk has first to come into the hands of the anima, thus charging her with special energy.
This afflux of anima energy immediately released in me the idea of a she-bear, approaching the back of the anima from the left. The bear stands for the savage energy and power of Artemis. In
front of the bear's forward-striding paws I saw, adumbrated in the stone, a ball, for a ball is
often given to bears to play with in the bear-pit. Obviously this ball is being brought to the worshipper as a symbol of individuation. It points to the meaning or content of the milk.
The whole thing, it seems to me, expresses coming events that are still hidden in the archetypal realm. The anima, clearly, has her mind on spiritual contents. But the bear, the emblem of Russia, sets the ball rolling. Hence the inscription: Ursa movet molem.
Within these three documents of the soul we can discern a two-fold legacy of Jung, one of which we are ery familiar with while the other as I have intimated has remained quietly in the dark for over fifty years.
Both legacies become clear in Jung's approach to his own carving on the wall at Bollingen. He employed two approaches which are fundamentally different in intent and method! They can be best seen as described or hinted at in the letters to Read and later, to Tauber. The first approach is the approach of the psychologist Jung when faced with any already formed document of the soul. This approach is well understood in the epth psychological community and combines two methods—that of amplification and reductive interpretation. I will extract the passages that show this most clearly in his letter to Tauber:
(2) Ibid: p. 615
On the left the bear, symbol of the savage strength and energy of Artemis, is moving the mass . . . . An allusion to Russia or the Russian bear which gets things rolling . . . A primitive woman reaches out for the milk of the mare . . . My anima in the guise of a millennia-old ancestress . . .
The mare . . . Reminded me of Pegasus . . . the milk taking the place of the spout of water . . . The feminine attribute indicates the unconscious nature of the milk . . . The ball is brought to the worshipper as a symbol of individuation. It points to the meaning and content of the milk.
Jung's second approach to his carving is what I will call that of the augur-artist and may be more easily seen if we extract the relevant passages from both letters: This method consists in bringing into existence hints or portents of the unknown future as it forming itself through the augur-artist, not by amplification or interpretation, but by the augur-artist's participation.
We are confronted with the darkness of our soul…. It sends up its dark and unrecognizable urges…everything loses its certainty…. If any of his urges show some inclination to incarnate in a known shape, the creative artist will not trust it… he will hollow them out and hack them up… (to Read) Nobody is more uncertain about their meaning than the author himself The whole thing, it seems to me, expresses coming events that are still hidden in the archetypal realm. (to Tauber)
JUNG THE PSYCHOLOGIST
Jung had a lifetime of scholarship and knowledge of symbols behind him as he turned to the carving for an interpretation. He was not lacking in his capacity to amplify almost any symbol. Interestingly then, when it came to his own production of the carving at Bollingen he had to distort the actual imagery in order to amplify and interpret, evidence that there was too much
unknown in the carving for him to understand. The distortion was also in the face of his oftquoted dictum—stick to the image, which means that it has all that it needs within itself! In particular we can focus on his distortion of the image of the mare which he interpreted as a feminine aspect of Pegasus, the milk taking the place of the gushing inspirational waters of Hippocrene which were released by the flashing hoof of Pegasus, striking the rocks of hardened traditional forms. This interpretive move to Pegasus did however begin to release the meaning of the carving as having to do with our present time of chaos, conceived by Jung as that time between the Age of Pisces and the coming Age of Aquarius—a time in which "the darkness of the soul, the unconscious….sends up its dark and unrecognizable urges. It hollows out and hacks up the shapes of our culture and its historical dominants.
It took the sensitive work of another psychologist, in 1982, to "clean up" the amplifications and render the meaning of the carving more explicit, particularly by staying closer to the image of mare.
Russell Lockhart wrote a remarkable little book Psyche Speaks: A Jungian Approach to Self and World, in 1982. 3 It was the fruit of his inaugural lectures (C. G. Jung lecture series) given
in New York by invitation of the C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology. The lectures and book are essentially a work of whispers and silence, hints and auguries, thus
(3) (Lockhart, 1987)
charting new territory for Jungian thought—territory that, like Jung's augury carved in rock, has largely remained hidden in the darkness of the wood until the present time. Lockhart gave a good deal of attention to Jung's carving and its meaning in this little book. Perhaps the interval of (then) twenty odd years prepared the way to a clearer, less distorted amplification of the "mare" image, which in turn, has brought the meaning of the augury more fully into visibility.
Lockhart remained faithful to Jung's dictum "stick to the image" and to his method of amplification which is applied to contents that are difficult to understand, for the sake of elucidation of the meaning, so that it may yield itself more easily to our understanding. After speaking about Pegasus for a while, particularly the rich associations of poetry and inspiration, Lockhart goes on to say: 4
Even more directly we know that the great goddess of poetry and inspiration was pictured as a mare goddess, and her nurturant milk was the source of inspiration. Her name was Aganippe, a name which is related to words for "madness" and "night-mare." … What the psyche is seeking in the transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian age is the waters of Hippocrene, the milk Aganippe, of poetic madness, the source and nurse of inspiration. It is the voice of this inspired
psyche, the psyche nursed by the milk of the Muses, that catches the ear of the artist soul and through the many acts of bringing forth creates that welcoming song to the coming guest. It caught Jung's eye, and he pictured it in stone. What the psyche is seeking in the transition from
the Piscean to Aquarian age is the waters of Hippocrene, the milk of Aganippe, of poetic madness, the source and nurse of inspiration.
JUNG THE AUGUR-ARTIST
Jung became an augur-artist as he participated in the production of the carving at Bollingen or
as the images emerged into materiality through him. Hear once again how it happened from Jung's letter to Tauber (with Jung's subsequent interpretations removed):
The first thing I saw in the rough stone was the figure of the worshipping woman, and behind her the silhouette of the old king sitting on his throne. As I was carving her out, the old king vanished from view. Instead I suddenly saw that the unworked surface in front of her clearly revealed the hindquarters of a horse, and a mare at that, for whose milk the primitive woman was stretching out her hands…This afflux of anima energy immediately released in me the idea of a she-bear, approaching the back of the anima from the left.… In front of the bear's orwardstriding paws I saw, adumbrated in the stone, a ball…
Understanding has no place here, whereas enactment or participation does. One reason for the carving's obscurity, even though it is readily available for viewing, may well be its artistic merit. Even a layman like me can see the technical difficulties that would disqualify the art as "great art". We can think of Jung as a great psychologist but even with the recent (2009) publication of his Red Book, few I think would regard Jung as a great artist in the
sense of his having mastered the medium (here stone or paint). Even though Jung's technical mastery of the medium may be a problem in evaluating his carving, the work as poesis is another matter altogether. We have learned through Jung's and 4 (Lockhart, 1987, p. 78)
Lockhart's amplification of the carving as a document of the soul, that the soul itself is emphasizing or highlighting the singular importance of inspiration, poetry, even madness, as those qualities of mind that will nourish the soul. These are the qualities of mind that soul herself is reaching out for. Lockhart summarizes his and Jung's amplification, i.e. the essential meaning of the carving this way:
In this sense the new age is not so much an age of consciousness as it will be an age of the poet—not the poet as noun, not the poet as career, but the necessity of poetry, the seeking by each one of us, a finding and drinking the waters and the milk of the Muses: poetry as verb, poetry as what we do.... Aquarius is pictured as a water bearer pouring water into a pool. I like to think of this as the image of the coming time when each and every one of us brings to a common pool the water we have gathered from our unique and individual sources, from our encounters with the unconscious... By pooling together what we bring from these moments, by telling one another what we have experienced there, by acting on the hints we experience there, by doing these things, we will, I trust, begin to create that song of welcome to the coming guest.
In this description of the essential meaning of Jung's carving we see no trace of privileging some human beings (the great thinkers or artists) over others in terms of the attribute of"mouthpiece" of the objective soul. To further bring home his understanding of the meaning of Jung's carving, Lockhart goes on to quote Harold Rosenberg's image of a time when: 6
[A]rt consists of one-person creeds, one-psyche cultures. Its direction is toward a society in which the experiences of each will be the ground of a unique, inimitable form—in short, a society in which everyone will be an artist. Art in our time can have no other social aim—an aim dreamed of by modern poets, from Lautreamont to Whitman, Joyce and the Surrealists, and which is embodied the essence of the continuing revolt against domination by tradition.
What we appear to be dealing with here then is nothing less than a complete transformation of
the meaning of art, poetry, inspiration, maybe even madness—a transformation determined by
the soul itself!
In the service of finding language that can help us move closer to the soul's movement here, I am introducing the term the "augur-artist mind" as that mind required by the soul for the human
being to become individual mouthpiece of the soul. This term will further distinguish those small individual acts of poesis from the recognized artistic works of great men and women. We can find once again the seeds of such considerations buried deep within the letter to Sir Herbert Read:
We have no dominants any more, they are in the future… everything loses its certainty…Who is
the awe-inspiring guest who knocks at our door portentously? If any of his urges show some inclination to incarnate in a known shape… the creative artist will…hollow them out and hack
them up.… They have not learned to discriminate between their wilful mind and the objective
manifestation of the psyche.… We have simply got to listen to what the psyche spontaneously says to us.… It is the great dream which has always spoken through the artist as mouthpiece.
5 Ibid: pp. 78-79
All his love and passion… flows towards the coming guest to proclaim his arrival. there is plenty more of which we might know if only we could give up insisting upon what we do know.… What is the Great Dream? It consists of the many small dreams and the many acts of humility and submission to their hints.
In these excerpts from Jung's letter, we can begin to get a sense of that state of mind of the augur-artist required by soul to participate and transmute into "material" form the productions of the "inspired", "artistic", "poetic", and "mad" psyche. We can also now turn to other sources, other mouthpieces for further lucidation of these qualities of mind:
First Jung again: 7
The creative aspect of suspension—also the creative aspect of the hunger and fasting. is also a sort of symptom or a necessary accompaniment of a creative condition. The creator will necessarily identify with what he wants to bring forth. He will identify with the condition of the contents of the unconscious, which are in status nascendi, in the state of being born. They are suspended, they are in the labor pains of birth, and the creative consciousness is identified with that condition. Therefore, the creator will put himself into the state of suspension, of torment, in
order to embody or incarnate the unconscious contents.… Our unconscious contents are potentialities that may be but are not yet, because they have no definiteness. Only when they become definite can they appear.… To give body to one's thoughts
means that one can speak them, paint them, show them, make them appear clearly before the eyes of everybody.…
Rilke expresses the qualities of an augur-artist mind beautifully: 8
It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, - is already in our bloodstream. And we don't know what it was. We could easily be
made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because
the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.
7 (Jung, 1988, pp. 190-191)
8 (Rilke, 2011)
In John Keats' letters, he writes concerning the quality that goes to form a "Man of Achievement" especially in literature, which he says, Shakespeare possessed so enormously: I mean Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries,
doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.
Lastly let us listen to the reflections of an Irish poet and visionary, George William Russell (pen name of AE):
I was aged about sixteen or seventeen years, when I, the slackest and least ideal of boys, with
my life already made dark by those desires of body and heart with which we so soon learn to taint our youth, became aware of a mysterious life quickening within my life. Looking back I know not of anything in friendship, anything I had read, to call this forth. It was, I thought, elfbegotten.
I began to be astonished with myself, for, walking along country roads, intense and passionate imaginations of another world, of an interior nature began to overpower me. They were like strangers who suddenly enter a house, who brush aside the doorkeeper, and who will not be denied. Soon I knew they were the rightful owners and heirs of the house of the body, and the doorkeeper was only one who was for a time in charge, who had neglected his duty, and who had pretended to ownership. The boy who existed before was an alien. He hid himself
when the pilgrim of eternity took up his abode in the dwelling. Yet, whenever the true owner was absent, the sly creature reappeared and boasted himself as master once more.
The soul's movement towards realizing the future through the pooling of many "little dreams", or the voice of "everyman", suggests that we must also learn how to listen to those voices too,
as merged with personal subjective aspects as they may be. To this end I will include here my voice, my augury, with a view towards bringing a small aspect of the coming guest closer towards actuality:
A MODERN AUGURY
The "Coming Guest" (the unknown future) has entered me in the way Rilke describes as "the future, long before it happens". This is an initiatory process. An augury can thus initiate the human being into a future that is not yet realized in actuality. The human recipient who is thus open enough to receive the augury this way is faced with the at times daunting task of bringing this "new presence" into a conscious relationship with the world as given. I have worked for the last twenty-five years to bring form to my own auguries.
Jung's life is also a description and expression of one man's attempt to do just that. To follow Jung in this spirit, we must also open our minds and hearts to whatever augury graces us with its presence and then accept it as our fate as we simultaneously make it our own, working its meaning into the contemporary world picture, changing that world picture as the future comes
home to itself. Jung's augury, the carving and its telos is still implicit, not yet actualized, so we may expect
other hints, perhaps enriching his augury, perhaps displaying a new twist, to emerge. In one of my auguries, which I also call a dream-vision:
9 (Rodriguez, 1993, p. 39)
10 (AE, 1965, pp. 4-5)
I am working at a thermonuclear facility along with others. It is the central facility of our society. It is regulated and master minded by central computer, much like HAL in 2001, even to
the detail of the Red Eye with which we could communicate. This computer however is female. Everybody thought of her as an IT! In contrast I would look into her eye and talk to HER, subject to subject, with love. In other words, the feminine regulating principle which is the glue
of society, by relating all parts to one another and to the whole has become an IT! But my response alone is not enough. Slowly the lack of relatedness begins to drive her madwith grief. At first this shows with an increasing, dangerous autonomy in the operation of the objects associated with the facility (society): elevators going sideways, doors opening and shutting autonomously, etc. Then people began to harm one another in various ways until the
social system became frayed and anarchy increases with civilization and its values losing cohesion and crumbling.
I find myself in a garbage dump, near the central facility. Some abandoned children give me a gun to kill them. I take it away from them. A vagabond is sitting in an abandoned car, sewing a boot for the coming (nuclear?) winter. He also used to work in the facility, he says. A sick woman careens by. A man tries to take his twin boys up a tower. Now I am standing at the centre of the facility. It is Ground Zero, a large cleared area of gray sand and dirt with concentric rings, like a target, radiating from the centre. The ground is slightly raised at the centre, like a discus, sloping away to the edges. I sense that she is going to
explode. I am right at the epicentre. She is going to destroy us all and this means herself in an apocalypse of rage, despair, loathing, hate and grief because of our stupidity. I must get away from the epicentre now. I sprint across the field, down the slight incline to the
periphery of the field and sprawl prone, with my head facing the centre, just as she explodes. The wind starts from the centre and blows out (in contrast to the natural phenomenon which sucks up). It begins as a breeze, increasing in strength and intensity until it becomes an unbearable shriek. Lying face down, I am sheltered by the slope as the wind rips over my back.
But I mustn't raise my head at all, a few inches of protection and that's it! Then I know the shriek is hers. I "see" her standing at the centre and a poem burst spontaneously from my lips:
In her agony.
Incomparable grief and rage
Such terrible agony
Beauty, sublime beauty
How is love possible?
Yet this is what I feel.
A bubble of calm forms around me while the storm of destruction rages on outside. She is with
me in a form that I can talk to. The bubble makes our conversation sound like a small echo chamber. She tells me that because I loved her I may have the boy back (Christopher?). I say,
"O! Do you want me in exchange?" I feel quite calm and composed about this. She says No, no exchange, just a gift. Then the bubble collapses and the wind shrieks again. Gradually it dissipates and as I tumble over, feeling its last tendrils whip at my clothes, I find myself tumbling out of this scene into the everyday world of my daily life. I have been returned from a
visionary place to my ordinary life. Then I wake up.
I witness the violence of the destruction of all substantial forms (in their thing-ness) at the hand
of the goddess displayed as a condition of rage-despair. This augury, presented in image form
shows the ongoing process of the soul emptying out all meaning from the world of substances in an apocalypse of destruction. It is inevitable! This is our technological civilization! The soul was formerly invested in the natural world and held dominion over it (as the goddess) and this same soul is now engaged in emptying out its investment in that natural world. The soul no longer wishes to "reflect" itself in that natural world. The phenomenology of this kenosis is one of rage and despair.
Often such powerful auguries generate a sense of a task for the dreamer. The task is contained
in the augury itself. The augury here lies within the poem which spontaneously formed itself in me as I spoke it (poesis). It shows a hint of an unknown future for humankind. The poem is really a poesis, a making. It expresses/describes the process of the birth of love in the human heart. If the initiate can endure the apocalypse and the intense affects (rage-despair)
that belong to the phenomenon, then, as the soul becomes conscious of itself as such, a
transformation in the human heart takes place: that same self-consciousness of the soul appears/incarnates in the human heart as love.
Most if not all my adult years were lived in unconscious identification with the rage-despair of
the soul's movement towards self-consciousness, tangled up with many of my own personal psychodynamics of course. As the various threads were disentangled and the psychological
difference became more conscious, I had this augury. The years that followed were very
difficult but throughout my ordeal of comprehension, I can affirm that a steady light and warmth of love has burned in my heart. (11)
[Excerpt from my book: The Coming Guest (available at Amazon.com)]
(11) For a fuller discussion of this dream-vision see my book, (Woodcock, 2012)
The Hidden Legacy of C. G. Jung
Adler, G., & Jaffe, A. (Eds.). (1975). C. G. Jung Letters (Vols. 2 (1951-1961)). (R. F. Hull,
Trans.) London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd.
AE. (1965). The Candle of Vision. New York: University Books.
Jung, C. G. (1988). Nietzsche's Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar given in 1934-1939. (J. L.
Jarrett, Ed.) Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lockhart, R. A. (1987). Psyche Speaks: A Jungian Approach to Self and World. Wilmette:
Rilke, R. M. (2011). Rainer Maria Rilke > quotes. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from GoodReads:
Rodriguez, A. (1993). Book of the Heart: The Poetics, Letters, and Life of John Keats. Hudson:
Woodcock, J. C. (2012). Animal Soul. Bloomingtom: iUniverse.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Woodcock holds a doctorate in Consciousness Studies (1999). His thesis articulates the process and outcome of a spiritual ordeal that lasted twenty years. At first it seemed to John that
he was undergoing a purely personal psychological crisis but over time, with assistance from his various mentors, he discovered that he was also participating in the historical process of a transformation of the soul as reflected in the enormous changes occurring in our culture, often referred to as apocalyptic. During this difficult period of John's life, he wrote two books: Living
in Uncertainty and Making of a Man. Both books have been expanded into second editions (2012).
Over time John began to comprehend how empirical or Cartesian reality, seemingly so bereft of
soul, is indeed itself a manifestation of soul. Soul and world were found to be a unity of differences. This discovery opened up the possibility of discerning soul movement from within present external reality, comprising hints of the unknown future. John's next three books, The Coming Guest, The Imperative, and Hearing Voices, explore this idea more fully by describing the initiatory process and outcome of a human being's becoming a vehicle for the expression of the unknown future, through the medium of his or her art. John's latest books, Animal Soul, and Manifesting Possible Futures, establish a firm theoretical ground for the claim that the soul is urging us towards the development of new inner capacities that together he calls the augurartist
mind—the mind that can discern and artistically render hints of possible futures, emerging out of our present dissociation.
John currently lives with his wife Anita in Sydney, where he teaches, writes, and consults with others concerning their soul life. He is also a practicing Jungian therapist.
He may be contacted at email@example.com