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«***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HIDDEN SYMBOLISM OF ALCHEMY AND THE OCCULT ARTS*** Hidden Symbolism of ALCHEMY and the OCCULT ARTS (Formerly ...»

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In introversion the libido sinks into “its own depths” (a figure that Nietzsche likes to use), and finds there below in the shadows [270] of the unconscious, the equivalent for the world above which it has left, namely the world of phantasy and memories, of which the strongest and most influential are the early infantile memory images. It is the child's world, the paradise of early childhood, from which a rigorous law has separated us. In this subterranean realm slumber sweet domestic feelings and the infinite hopes of all “becoming.” Yet as Mephistopheles says, “The peril is great.” This depth is seducing: it is the “mother” and—death. If the libido remains suspended in the wonder realm of the inner world the man has become but a shadow for the world above. He is as good as dead or mortally ill; if the libido succeeds however in tearing itself loose again and of pressing on to the world above, then a miracle is revealed; this subterranean journey has become a fountain of youth for it, and from its apparent death there arises a new productiveness. This train of thought is very beautifully contained in an Indian myth: Once on a time Vishnu absorbed in rapture (introversion) bore in this sleep Brahma, who enthroned 208 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts on a lotus flower, arose from Vishnu's navel and was carrying the Vedas, eagerly reading them. (Birth of creative thought from introversion.) Because of Vishnu's rapture, however, a monstrous flood overcame the world (swallowing up through introversion, symbolizing the danger of entering into the mother of death). A demon profiting by the danger, stole the vedas from Brahma and hid them in the deep. (Swallowing of the libido.) [271] Brahma wakes Vishnu and he, changing into a fish, dived into the flood, battled with the demon (dragon fight), conquered him and brought the vedas up again. (Prize attained with difficulty.) (Cf. Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious.) The marvel of the invigoration that can be attained in the successful issue of introversion is comparable to the effect that Antæus felt on touching his mother, the earth. The mother of men, to whom introversion carries us, is the spirit of the race, and from it flows gigantic strength. “This occasional retiring into oneself, which means a return to an infantile relation to the parent images, appears within certain limits to have a favorable effect upon the condition of the individual.” Of this mine of power Stekel (Nerv. Angst., p. 375) writes: “When mankind desires to create something big, it must reach down deep into the reservoir of its past.” I wish now to quote a mystic philosopher. J. B. von Helmont (1577-1644) writes: “That magic power of man which is operative outside of him lies, as it were, hidden in the inner life of mankind. It sleeps and rules absolutely without being wakened, yet daily as if in a drunken stupor within us.... Therefore we should pray to God, who can be honored only in the spirit, that is, in the inmost soul of man. Hence I say the art of the Cabala requires of the soul that magic yet natural power shall, as it were, after sleep has been driven away, be placed in the keeping of the soul. This magic power has gone, to sleep in us through [272] sin and has to be awakened again. This happens either through the illumination of the Holy Ghost or a man himself can by the B. Effects Of Introversion. 209 art of the Cabala produce this power of awakening himself at will. Such are called makers of gold [nota bene!] whose leader (rector) is, however, the spirit of God.... When God created the soul of man he imparted to it fundamental and primal knowledge.

The soul is the mirror of the universe and is related to all Being.

It is illumined by an inner light, but the storm of the passions, the multiplicity of sensuous impressions, and other distractions darken this light, whose beams are spread abroad only, if it burns alone and if all in us is in harmony and peace. If we know how to separate ourselves from all external influences and are willing to be led by this inner light, we shall find pure and true knowledge in us. In this state of concentration the soul distinguishes all objects to which it directs its attention. It can unite with them, penetrate their nature, and can itself reach God and in him know the most important truths.” (Ennemoser, Gesch. d. Mag., pp.

906, 914.) Staudenmaier, who has experimented on himself magically to a great extent and has set down his experiences recently in the interesting book, “Die Magie als experimentelle Naturwissenschaft,” thinks he has observed that through the exercise that he carries on, and which produces an intense introversion, psychophysical energies are set free that make him capable of greater efficiency. Specifically, an actual drawing [273] upon the nerve centers unused in the conscious function of the normal man of to-day would be available for intellectual work, etc. So, as it were, a treasure can be gained (by practices having a significant introversion character), a treasure which permits an increased thinking and feeling activity. If Staudenmaier, even in the critical examination of his anomalous functions, can be influenced by them, it would be a great mistake to put them aside simply as “pathological.” Ennemoser says of the danger of introversion (l. c., p.

175): “Now where in men of impure heart, through the destructive natural powers and evil spiritual relations, the deepest 210 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts transcendental powers are aroused, dark powers may very easily seize the roots of feeling and reveal moral abysses, which the man fixed in the limits of time hardly suspects and from which human nature recoils. Such an illicit ecstasy and evil inspiration is at least recognized in the religious teachings of the Jews and Christians, and the seers of God describe it as an agreement with hell (Isaiah XXVIII, 15).” Whence comes the danger? It comes from the powerful attraction for us of that world which is opened to us through introversion. We descend there to whet our arms for fresh battles, but we lay them down; for we feel ourselves embraced by soft caressing arms that invite us to linger, to dream enchanting dreams. This fact coincides in large part with the previously mentioned tendency toward comfort, which is unwilling to forego childhood and a mother's careful hands. Introversion is an [274] excellent road to lazy phantasying in the regressive direction.





Among psychopathologists Jung especially has of late strongly insisted upon the dangerous rôle of indolence. According to him the libido possesses a monstrous laziness which is unwilling to let go of any object of the past, but would prefer to retain it forever. Laziness is actually a passion, as La Rochefoucauld brilliantly remarks: “Of all the passions the least understood by us is laziness; it is the most indefatigable and the most malign of them all, although its outrages are imperceptible.” “It is the perilous passion affecting the primitive man more than all others, which appears behind the suspicious mask of the incest symbols, from which the fear of incest has driven us away, and which above all is to be vanquished under the guise of the ‘dreaded mother.’ [Vide, Note D. To avoid a wrong conception of this quotation it must be noted that laziness is, of course, not to be regarded as the only foundation of incest symbolism.] She is the mother of infinite evils, not the least of them being the neurotic maladies. For especially from the vapor of remaining libido residues, those damaging evils of phantasy develop, which so B. Effects Of Introversion. 211 enshroud reality that adaptation becomes well nigh impossible.” (Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious.) That the indolent shrinking back from the difficulties of life is indicated so frequently in psychology and in mythology by the symbol of the mother is not surprising, but I should yet like [275] to offer for a forceful illustration an episode from the war of Cyrus against Astyages which I find recorded in Dulaure-KraussReiskel (Zeugg., p. 85.) After Astyages had aroused his troops, he hurled himself with fiery zeal at the army of the Persians, which was taken unawares and retreated. Their mothers and their wives came to them and begged them to attack again. On seeing them irresolute the women unclothed themselves before them, pointed to their bosoms and asked them whether they would flee to the bosoms of their mothers or their wives. This reproachful sight decided them to turn about and they remained victorious.

On the origin of the mythological and psychological symbol of the dreaded mother: “Still there appears to reside in man a deep resentment, because a brutal law once separated him from an impulsive indulgence and from the great beauty of the animal nature so harmonious with itself. This separation is clearly shown in the prohibition of incest and its corollaries (marriage laws).

Hence pain and indignation are directed toward the mother as if she were to blame for the domestication of the sons of men. In order not to be conscious of his desire for incest (his regressive impulse toward animal nature) the son lays the entire blame on the mother, whence results the image of the ‘dreaded mother.’ ‘Mother’ becomes a specter of anxiety to him, a nightmare.” (Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious.) [276] The snake is to be regarded as a mythological symbol (frequent also in dream life) for the libido that introverts itself and enters the perilous interdicted precinct of the incest wish (or even only the life shirking tendency); and especially (though not always valid) is this conception in place, if the snake appears as a terrifying animal (representative of the dreaded mother). So also 212 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts the dragon is equivalent to the snake, and it can, of course, be replaced by other monsters. The phallic significance of the snake is, of course, familiar enough; the snake as a poisonous terrible animal indicates, however, a special phallus, a libido burdened with anxiety. Jung, who has copious material with which to treat this symbolism, calls the snake really a “negative phallus,” the phallus forbidden with respect to the mother, etc. I would recall that alchemy, too, has the symbol of the snake or the dragon, and used in a way that reënforces the preceding conception. It is there connected with the symbols of introversion and appears as “poisonous.” The anxiety serpent is the “guardian of the threshold” of the occultists; it is the treasure guarding dragon of the myth. In mystic work the serpent must be overcome; we must settle with the conflict which is the serpent's soul.

Also the mystic yoga manuals of the Hindus know the symbol of the serpent, which the introverting individual has to waken and to overcome, whereupon he comes into possession of valuable powers. These serpents [kundalini] are considered by the Yogi [277] mystics as an obstacle existing in the human body that obstructs certain veins or nerves (the anatomy of the Hindu philosophers is rather loose here), and by this means, if they are freed, the breath of life (pr na) sends wondrous powers through the body.

The main path in the body which must be freed for the increased life-energies is generally described as the susumna (as far as I know, it is not yet cleared up whether the aorta abdominalis or the spine has furnished the anatomical basis for the idea of the central canal), and is the middle way between two other opposed canals of the breath, which are called pingala, the right, and ida, the left. (Here, too, note by the way, appears the comparison of opposites.) I quote now several passages on the kundalini and its significance at the beginning of the mystical work.

“As Ananta, the Lord of Serpents, supports this whole universe with its mountains and its forests, so kundalini is the main support of all the yoga practices. When kundalini is sleeping it is aroused B. Effects Of Introversion. 213 by the favor of the guru [spiritual teacher], then all of the lotuses [lotus here stands for nerve center] and granthis [swallowings, nerve plexus?] are pierced. Then prana goes through the royal road, susumna. Then the mind remains suspended and the yogi cheats death.... So the yogi should carefully practice the various mudras [exercises] to rouse the great goddess [kundalini] who sleeps closing the mouth of susumna.” (Hatha Yoga Prad., Ill, 1-5.) “As one forces open a door [door symbolism] with a key [278] [the ‘Diederich’ of the wanderer in the parable] so the yogi should force open the door of moksa [deliverance] by the kundalini. The Paramesoari [great goddess] sleeps, closing with her mouth the hole through which one should go to the brahmarandhra [the opening or place in the head through which the divine spirit, the Brahma or the Atman, gets into the body; the anatomical basis for this naïve idea may have been furnished by one of the sutures of the skull, possibly the sutura frontalis; the brahmarandhra is probably the goal of the breath that passes through the susumna that is becoming free.] where there is no pain or misery. The kundalini sleeps above the kanda. [The kanda, for which we can hardly find a corresponding organ, is to be found between the penis and the navel.] It gives mukti to the yogis and bondage to the fools. [See later the results of introspection.] He who knows her, knows yoga. The kundalini is described as being coiled like a serpent. He who causes that sakti [probably, power] to move... is freed without doubt. Between the Ganges and the Yamuna [two rivers of India, which are frequently used symbolically, probably for the right and the left stream of the breath of life, ingala and ida, cf. what follows] there sits the young widow [an interesting characterization of the kundalini] inspiring pity. He should despoil her forcibly, for it leads one to the supreme seat of Vishnu. Ida is the sacred Ganges and pingala the Yamuna.



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