Tag Archives: Carl Jung

Snake Symbol Significance in Dreams

11 Dec

Jung stated, ‘The idea of transformation and renewal by means of the serpent is a well-substantiated archetype. It is [a] healing [symbol]’ (Jung 7, par. 184)

The Ouroboros, or Snakes as Symbols of Spiritual Growth and Transformation

The ouroboros, the snake forever swallowing its own tail, is a famous alchemical symbol of transformation. Jung saw the ouroboros much like he saw the mandala, as an archetypal template of the psyche symbolizing eternity and the law of endless return. Instead of looking at life as a finite game played between the bookends of birth and death, the ouroboros symbolizes a dynamic state of change and purification.

A literal ouroboros isn’t necessary for a dream to have its symbolic meaning. Since waking life snakes routinely shed their skins, they are ready made symbols for change and transformation. Dreams where snakes shed skin or seeing snake skins in a dream also symbolize change and transformation. Old, outgrown behavioral patterns, relationships, or even careers may be sloughed off in favor of a new skin more appropriate to the dreamer’s growth.

This process of adjustment may not be comfortable. In waking life, snakes get cranky and irritable during the shedding process and the same may be true for the dreamer. All change involves the surrender of the comfortable and even when changes promise progress, trading the known for the unknown involves a disquieting abandonment of the familiar.

Dream Snakes as Fear Symbols

A lack of firsthand experience with snakes makes the serpent a creature representing a fear of the unknown. As such, snake dreams symbolize that unknown fear. The fear can be an intuitive warning or an unfounded anxiety about some undefinable, hidden something awaiting the dreamer in waking life.

Honest analysis of the waking life provides the key to deciphering snake dreams. Pursuing a life dream, especially an untried one, involves fear. It is tantamount that the dreamer considers whether that fear is founded, or if irrational anxiety is threatening the realization of a waking life dream.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections [Carl Jung]

10 Aug

Memories, Dream, Reflection by Carl Jung and Anne Jaffe took me a good portion of the summer to read from cover to cover. This auto/biography has provided a great deal of meaning and symbolic significance to my personal perspective. I interacted with the text, reading and writing with a pen and highlighter handy; below are a few of many sentences extracted from the book that speak volumes in the space of a few sentences.

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

***

“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” Carl Jung, the eminent psychologist, had this quote carved over the front door of his Zurich home, as well as on his tombstone. It is an English translation of the Latin “Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit”, a quotation he came across when studying Erasmus. The words are said to originate from the reply given by Delphic Oracle to the Spartans when they were planning a war against Athens: “Yes, the Gods will be present, but in what form and to what purpose?”

***

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away an ephemeral apparition.

When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.

***

When people say I am wise, or a sage, I cannot accept it. A man once dipped a hateful of water from a stream. What did that amount to? I am not that stream.

I am at the stream, but I do nothing. Other people are at the same stream, but most of them find they have to do something with it. I do nothing. I never think that I am the one who must see to it that cherries grow on stalks. I stand and behold, admiring what nature can do.

There is a fine old story about a student who came to a rabbi and said, “In the olden days there were men who saw the face of God. Why don’t they any more?” The rabbi replied, “Because nowadays no one can stoop so low”.

One must stoop a little in order to fetch water from the stream.

***

The Red Book

10 Jun

The Red Book by Carl Jung

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In the rare books room at Powell’s Books, I stumbled upon The Red Book on display, pages free for the flipping. The images Jung used to express the active imagination told the story when the dutch failed to translate (for me).

They Resonate. Deeply.

Carl Jung, I Applaud You

30 Apr

  • ‘Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart . . . Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.’ Carl Jung 1875-1961
  • One of Jungs favorite quotes that he believed succiently captures the essence of synchronicity if from Lewis Caroll’s novel Through the Looking glass: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”.
  • “Pauli’s work on quantum field as expressions of resident forces constituting nature in uncertainties and probabilities, Jung saw, spoke to his own attempt to analyze empirically the seemingly random occurrence of meaningful juxtapositions in the field of the real, what we might call either time or history. This analysis, in turn, had a direct bearing on Jung’s chief conceptual contribution to psychoanalysis: the ‘collective unconscious.’ Jung’s work on a collective unconscious as a deep structure beneath the play of surfaces, Pauli saw, spoke to his attempt to grapple with a seemingly acausality as the expression of ‘quantum reality’ (Herbert quantum xi). The collaborative conclusions reached by the physicist and the psychoanalysts suggest that synchronistic effects point to a deeper reality wherein mind and matter -always split within Enlightenment epistemologies defined by Cartesian dualism and Newtonian mechanics- find harmonious expression and experience cohesion.”
  • “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” ~C.G.Jung, Psychological Reflections
  • “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – C.G. Jung

Research Notes to Self

28 Apr

Memories, Dreams, Reflections ..by Carl Gustav Jung

Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious ..by Carl Gustav Jung, R. F. Hull (Translator)

Synchronicity; An Acausal Connecting Principle. ..by Carl Gustav Jung, G. Adler (Editor), R. F. Hull (Translator)

Alchemical Studies ..by Carl Gustav Jung, Herbert Read (Editor)

The Aryan Christ : The Secret Life of Carl Jung ..by Richard Noll

The Basic Writings of C. G. Jung (The Modern Library) ..by Violet Staub De Laszlo (Editor), Carl Gustav Jung

The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, No. 1 : Psychiatric Studies ..by Carl Gustav Jung, R. F. Hull (Editor)

Dreams ..by Carl Gustav Jung, R. F. Hull (Translator)

Encountering Jung on Mythology (Encountering Jung) ..by C. G. Jung, Robert A. Segal

Essays on a Science of Mythology : The Myth of the Divine Child and the Mysteries of Eleusis (Mythos : The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythol) ..by C. Kerenyi (Contributor), Carl Gustav Jung

Flying Saucers ..by Jung, Carl Gustav Jung

The Freud/Jung Letters : The Correspondence Between Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung (Bollingen Series, Xciv) ..by William McGuire (Editor), Ralph Manheim, R.F.C. Hull (Translator), Sigmund Freud

The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead ..by Stephan A. Hoeller, Stephen Hoeller

Introduction to Zen Buddhism ..by Daisetz T. Suzuki, Carl Gustav Jung

Man and His Symbols .. by Carl Gustav Jung

Secret of the Golden Flower : A Chinese Book of Life ..by Tung-Pin Lu, Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes, hua Liu, Carl G. Jung

The Undiscovered Self .. by Carl Gustav Jung

Symbols of Transformation ..by Carl Gustav Jung, R. F. Hull (Editor)

Mysterium Coniunctionis : An Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy ..by Carl Gustav Jung, Herbert Read (Editor)

Psychology and the Occult ..by Carl Gustav, Jung, G. Adler (Editor), R. F. Hull (Translator)

The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga : Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C.G. Jung (Bollingen Series, No 99) ..by Sonu Shamdasani (Editor), Carl Gustav Jung

Spiritual Pilgrims : Carl Jung and Teresa of Avila ..by John W. Welch

Jungian Society of Oregon Says:

18 Mar

The soul never thinks without an image. Aristotle

Therefore, psychotherapy, as a political discipline, witnesses, records, and transmits these on-going experiential communiqués from and dialogues with this numinous/ transformative realm of being.  In some ancient cultures, every citizen was believed to be a vehicle for this living numinal dimension, for this living will and voice of the gods as mediated through human experience. The public sphere, the common marketplace of political interaction and achievement, was the Polis. This Polis was the living organism of Eros, of numinal energy flowing into the public heart and soul of things.

My work is revelation, not revolution.  – William Butler Yeats


Every life had a Destiny that served an aspect of this living, shaping, creating, numinal core of individual and cultural psyche. A well lived life was a life unfolded in a conscious, loving seeking out of this Destiny and, then, serving it with as much thoughtful, loving, and compassionate dedication as possible. Privately, this service would be to loved ones and vocation; publically, this service would be an engaged political interaction with one’s fellow citizens.

All life is bound to carriers who realize it, and it is simply inconceivable without them. But every carrier is charged with an individual destiny and destination, and the realization of these alone makes sense of life. –  C. G. Jung

Everyone is politically engaged. Some are simply more aware of and disciplined about that engagement and its attendant social responsibilities. Every act in the public sphere is a political act, an act that builds up more loving and compassionate connection to the living numinous or tears it down. But every act, conscious or unconscious, aware or unaware, is a healing or destructive political act. We are all citizen politicians. We all have a public duty. We all serve the gods in the fervent hopes that the gods will then serve us and our community and lead us to more light and not more darkness.

It may well be prejudice to restrict the psyche to being “inside the body.” Insofar as the psyche is a non-spatial aspect, there may be a psyche “outside-the-body,” a region so utterly different from “my” psychic sphere that no one has to get out of oneself…to get there. – C. G. Jung

This brief seminar sketches some clinical and cultural examples of these profound experiential psycho-political transcripts that emerge within or penetrate into depth therapy. Using frequent illustrative images from, especially, contemporary cinema and art, Friday’s lecture opens up the outlines of the model and Saturday’s seminar fleshes out that outline in more depth and breadth.

The psychological question now is, How do we house this greater subject that takes up residence in us, radically altering the center from which we live?  How do we accommodate this “tremendous stranger,” or this “mysterious density of being”? How do we, how can we, live in relation to it?

The theological questions ask, Who has taken up residence within and among us? Who is the One?  – Ann Belford Ulanov

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