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In contrast to the miraculous knowledge we find in the dream a peculiar unsureness in many things, particularly in those which concern the personality of the wanderer. When the elders inform the wanderer that he must marry the woman that he has taken, he does not know clearly whether the matter at all concerns him or not; a remarkable fluctuation in his attitude takes place. We wonder whether he has taken on the rôle of the bridegroom or, quite the reverse, the bridegroom has taken the wanderer's. We are likewise struck by similar uncertainties, like those during the walk on top of the wall where the wanderer is followed by some one, of whom he does not know whether it is a man or a woman.

Here belong also those passages of the narrative introduced by the wanderer with “as if,” etc. In the search for the gardener's house he chances upon many people and “it seems” that he has Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 23 himself done what these people are there doing.

Quite characteristic also are the different obstructions and other difficulties placed in the path of the wanderer. Even in the first paragraph of the narrative we hear that he is startled, would gladly turn back, but cannot because a strong wind prevents him.

On top of the wall the railing makes his progress difficult; on other occasions a wall, or a door. The first experience, especially, recalls those frequent occurrences in dreams where, anxiously [022] turning in flight or oppressed by tormenting haste, we cannot move. In connection with what is distressing and threatening, as described in the precipitous slope of the wall and the narrow plank by the mill, belong also the desperate tasks and demands—quite usual in dreams and myths—that meet the wanderer. Among such tasks or dangers I will only mention the severe examination by the elders, the struggle with the lion, the obligation to marry, and the burden of responsibility for the nuptial pair, all of which cause the wanderer so much anxiety.

Among the evident dream analogies belongs finally (without, however, completing my list of them) the peculiar logic that appears quite conventional to the wanderer or the dreamer, but seldom satisfies the reader or the careful reasoner. As examples, I mention that the dead lion will be called to life again if the wanderer marries the woman that he recently took; and that they put the two lovers that they want to punish for incest, after they have carefully removed all the clothes from their bodies, into a prison where these lovingly embrace.

So much for the external resemblances of the parable with the dream life. The deeper affinity which can be shown in its innermost structure will first appear in the psychoanalytic treatment. And now it will be advisable for me to give readers not intimately acquainted with dream psychology some information concerning modern investigations in dream life and in particular concerning psychoanalytic doctrines and discoveries. Naturally [023] I can do this only in the briefest manner. For a more thorough 24 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts study I must refer the reader to the work of Freud and his school.

The most important books are mentioned in the bibliography at the end.

Modern scientific investigation of dreams, in which Freud has been a pioneer, has come to the conclusion, but in a different sense from the popular belief, that dreams have a significance.

While the popular belief says that they foretell something of the future, science shows that they have a meaning that is present in the psyche and determined by the past. Dreams are then, as Freud's results show, always wish phantasies. [I give here only exposition, not criticism. My later application of psychoanalysis will show what reservations I make concerning Freud's doctrines.] In them wishes, strivings, impulses work themselves out, rising to the surface from the depths of the soul.

When they come in waking life, wish phantasies are sometimes called castles in the air. In dreams we have the fulfillment of wishes that are not or cannot be fulfilled.

But the impulses that the dreams call up are principally such wishes and impulses as we cannot ourselves acknowledge and such as in a waking state we reject as soon as they attempt to announce themselves, as for instance, animal tendencies or such sexual desires as we are unwilling to admit, and also suppressed or “repressed” impulses. As a result of being repressed they have the peculiarity of being in general inaccessible to consciousness.

[Freud speaks particularly of crassly egoistic actuations. The [024] criminal element in them is emphasized by Stekel.] One not initiated into dream analysis may object that the obvious evidence is against this theory. For the majority of dreams picture quite inoffensive processes that have nothing to do with impulses and passions which are worthy of rejection on either moral or other grounds. The objection appears at first sight to be well founded, but collapses as soon as we learn that the critical power of morality, which does not desert us by day, retains by night a part of its power; and that therefore the fugitive Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 25 impulses and tendencies that seek the darkness and dare not come forth by day, dare not even at night unveil their true aspect but have to approach, as it were, in costumes, or disguised as symbols or allegories, in order to pass unchallenged. The superintending power, that I just now called the power of morality, is compared very pertinently to a censor. What our psyche produces is, so to speak, subjected to a censor before it is allowed to emerge into the light of consciousness. And if the fugitive elements want to venture forth they must be correspondingly disguised, in order to pass the censor. Freud calls this disguising or paraphrasing process the dream disfigurement. The literal is thereby displaced by the figurative, an allusion intimated through a nebulous atmosphere. Thus, in the following example, an unconscious death wish is exhibited. In the examination of a lady's dream it struck me that the motive of a dead child occurred [025] repeatedly, generally in connection with picnics. During an analysis the lady observed that when she was a girl the children, her younger brothers and sisters, were often the obstacles when it was proposed to have a party or celebration or the like. The association Kinder (= children) Hinderniss (= obstacle) furnished the key to a solution of the stereotyped dream motive. As further indications showed, it concerned the children of a married man whom she loved. The children prevented the man separating from his wife in order to marry the lady. In waking life she would not, of course, admit a wish for the death of the embarrassing children, but in dreams the wish broke through and represented the secretly wished situation. The children are dead and nothing now stands in the way of the “party” or the celebration (wedding).

The double sense of the word “party” is noticeable. (In German “eine Partie machen” means both to go on an excursion and to make a matrimonial match.) Such puns are readily made use of by dreams, in order to make the objectionable appear unobjectionable and so to get by the censor.

Psychoanalytic procedure, employed in the interpretation of 26 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts dreams of any person can be called a scientifically organized confession that traces out with infinite patience even to the smallest ramifications, the spiritual inventory of what was tucked away in the mind of the person undergoing it. Psychoanalysis is used in medical practice to discover and relieve the spiritual [026] causes of neurotic phenomena. The patient is induced to tell more and more, starting from a given point, thereby going into the most intimate details, and yet we are aware, in the network of outcropping thoughts and memories, of certain points of connection, which have dominating significance for the affective life of the person being studied. Here the path begins to be hard because it leads into the intimately personal. The secret places of the soul set up a powerful opposition to the intruder, even without the purposive action of the patient. Right there are, however, so to speak, the sore spots (pathogenic “complexes”) of the psyche, towards which the research is directed. Firmly advancing in spite of the limitations, we lay bare these roots of the soul that strive to cling to the unconscious. Those are the disfigured elements just mentioned; all of the items of the spiritual inventory from which the person in question has toilsomely “worked himself out” and from which he supposes himself free. They must be silent because they stand in some contradictory relation to the character in which the person has clothed himself; and if they, the subterranean elements still try to announce themselves, he hurls them back immediately into their underworld; he allows himself to think of nothing that offends too much his attitudes, his morality and his feelings. He does not give verbal expression to the disturbers of the peace that dwell in his heart of hearts.

The mischief makers are, however, merely repressed, not [027] dead. They are like the Titans [On this similarity rests the psychologic term “titanic,” used frequently by me in what follows.] which were not crushed by the gods of Olympus, but only shut up in the depths of Tartarus. There they wait for the time when they can again arise and show their faces in Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 27 daylight. The earth trembles at their attempts to free themselves.

Thus the titanic forces of the soul strive powerfully upward. And as they may not live in the light of consciousness they rave in darkness. They take the main part in the procreation of dreams, produce in some cases hysterical symptoms, compulsion ideas and acts, anxiety neuroses, etc. The examination of these psychic disturbances is not without importance for our later researches.

Psychoanalysis, which has not at any time been limited to medical practice, but soon began with its torch to illumine the activity of the human spirit in all its forms (poetry, myth-making, etc.), was decried as pernicious in many quarters. [The question as to how widely psychoanalysis may be employed would at this time lead us too far, yet it will be considered in Sect. 1, of the synthetic part of this volume.] Now it is indeed true that it leads us toward all kinds of spiritual refuse. It does so, however, in the service of truth, and it would be unfortunate to deny to truth its right to justify itself. Any one determined to do so could in that case defend a theory that sexual maladies are acquired by catching a cold. [028] The spiritual refuse that psychoanalysis uncovers is like the manure on which our cultivated fruits thrive. The dark titanic impulses are the raw material from which in every man, the work of civilization forms an ethical character. Where there is a strong light there are deep shadows. Should we be so insincere as to deny, because of supposed danger, the shadows in our inmost selves? Do we not diminish the light by so doing? Morality, in whose name we are so scrupulous, demands above everything else, truth and sincerity. But the beginning of all truth is that we do not impose upon ourselves. “Know thyself” is written over the entrance of the Pythian sanctuary. And it is this inspiring summons of the radiant god of Delphi that psychoanalysis seeks to meet.

After this introductory notice, it will be possible properly to understand the following instructive example, which contains 28 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts exquisite sexual symbolism.

Dream of Mr. T. “I dreamed I was riding on the railroad. Near me sat a delicate, effeminate young man or boy; his presence caused erotic feelings in me to a certain extent. (It appeared as if I put my arm about him.) The train came to a standstill; we had arrived at a station and got out. I went with the boy into a valley through which ran a small brook, on whose bank were strawberries. We picked a great many. After I had gathered a large number I returned to the railway and awoke.” [029] Supplementary communication. “I think I remember that an uncomfortable feeling came over me in the boy's company. The valley branched off to the left from the railway.” From a discussion of the dream it next appeared that T., who, as far as I knew, entertained a pronounced aversion to homosexuality, had read a short time before a detailed account of a notorious trial then going on in Germany, that was concerned with real homosexual actions. [In consciousness, of course. In the suppressed depths of unconsciousness the infantile homosexual component also will surely be found.] An incident from it, probably supported by some unconscious impulse, crowded its way into the dream as an erotic wish, hence the affectionate scene in the railway train. So far the matter would be intelligible even if in an erotic day dream the image of a boy, considering the existing sexual tendency of T., had been resolutely rejected by him. How are the other processes in the dream related to it?

Do they not at first sight appear unconnected or meaningless?

And yet in them are manifested the fulfillment of the wish implied in the erotic excitement in the company of the boy.

The homosexual action of this wish fulfillment would have been insufferable to the dream censor; it must be intimated symbolically. And the remainder of the dream is accordingly nothing but a dextrous veiling of a procedure hostile to the censor.

[030] Even that the train comes to a standstill is a polite paraphrase.

[Paraphrase as the dreamer communicated to me, of an actual Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 29 physical condition—an erection.] Similar meaning is conveyed by the word station, which reminds us of the Latin word status (from stare, to stand). The scene in the car recalls moreover the joke in a story which often used to occur to T. “A lady invited to a reception, where there were also young girls, a Hungarian [accentuated now, on account of what follows] (the typical Vienna joker), who is feared on account of his racy wit.

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