Jung’s Memories Dreams Reflections 3

Moon over ocean

“There was an enormous difference between my mother’s two personalities. That was why as a child I often had anxiety dreams about her. By day she was a loving mother, but at night she seemed uncanny. Then she was like one of those seers who is at the same time a strange animal, like a priestess in a bear’s cave. Archaic and ruthless; ruthless as truth and nature. At such moments she was the embodiment of what I have called the ‘natural mind.'” C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 67

Jung perceived this “other” personality in his mother: not the solid Christian believer and pastor’s wife and benevolent mother, but a personality more akin to nature itself. Wild like an animal, unconcerned with saving the appearances, connected to reality in a more direct, less civilized way. How many children, I wonder, sense what exists under the surface in a parent? I also wonder how this experience with mother’s archaic self predisposed Jung to his own deep connection with the natural mind.

Jung’s Memories Dreams Reflections 2

Sacred Fire

Continuing a series of quotes from Jung’s autobiography: “I also recall from this period (seven to nine) that I was fond of playing with fire. In our garden there was an old wall built of large blocks of stone, the interstices of which made interesting caves. I used to tend a little fire in one of these caves, with other children helping me; a fire that had to burn forever and therefore had to be constantly maintained by our united efforts, which consisted in gathering the necessary wood. No one but myself was allowed to tend this fire. Others could light other fires in other caves, but these fires were profane and did not concern me. My fire alone was living and had an unmistakable aura of sanctity.” C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 35

Remarkable how naturally the child enters the space of the sacred and discovers what it feels like to experience the holy. This is a story from Jung’s childhood. It seems to mirror Jung’s lifelong compulsion to bear a living flame into the darker nooks of the unconscious. Do you remember a similar story from your childhood? Did you have a sacred place in the woods? Did you follow mysterious paths along cold streams? Was there a sacred object that possessed incredible importance when you were a child? And where now do you get to step over the threshold into a different space that nourishes your soul? Let the sacred make a demand on you. Rediscover its importance.


Jung’s Memories Dreams Reflections 1

Individuation tree

“My life is a story of the self-realisation of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole. I cannot emply the language of science to trace this process of growth in myself, for I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.” – C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 17.

Jung begins his autobiographical reflections with a concise statement of the notion of individuation. The person you become grows up from and out of the rich soil of the psyche. Perhaps some hidden pattern runs like intricate roots through your life. What is the push inside you? What wants to come forward? What wants to feel the impact of confronting the world and be transformed? “I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.” Coming from the inside. Remembering, dreaming, reflecting, desiring, longing, wondering…not so much knowing.