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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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The anatomizing of the dead lion finds numerous analogies in those myths and fairy tales in which dismemberment of the body appears. It will be dealt with fully later on. [052] As the next obstacle in the parable we meet the difficult advance on the wall. (Para. 7 and 8.) We have here again an obstruction to progress in the narrower sense as in Sec. 1, but with several additions. The wall, itself a type of embarrassment, 44 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts reaches up to the clouds. Whoever goes up so high may fall far. The way on top is “Not a foot in width” and an iron hand rail occupies some of that space. The walking is therefore uncomfortable and dangerous. The railing running in the middle of it divides the path and so produces two paths, a right and a left. The right path is the more difficult. Who would not in this situation think of Hercules at the cross roads? The conception of right and left as right and wrong, good and bad, is familiar in mythical and religious symbolism. That the right path is the narrower [Matth. VII, 13, 14] or more full of thorns is naturally comprehensible. In dreams the right-left symbolism is typical. It has here a meaning similar to its use in religion, probably however, with the difference that it is used principally with reference to sexual excitements of such a character that the right signifies a permitted (i.e., experienced by the dreamer as permissible), the left, an illicit sexual pleasure. Accordingly it is, e.g., characteristic in the dream about strawberry picking in the preceding part of the book, that the valley, sought by the dreamer and the boy, “in order to pick strawberries there” turns off to the left from the road, not to the right. The sexual act with a boy appears even in dreams as something illicit, indecent, forbidden. In the parable the wanderer goes from right to left, [053] gets into difficulties by doing so, but knows, as always, how to withdraw successfully.

From the wall the wanderer comes to a rose tree, from which he breaks off white and red roses. Notice the white and red. The victory over the lion has yielded him white bones and red blood, the passing through the dangers on the wall now yields him white and red roses. The similarity in the latter case is particularly marked by his putting them in his hat.

Again in the course of the next sections (9-11) there are obstacles. There a wall is set up against the wanderer. On account of that he has, in order to gain entrance for the maidens into the company in the garden, to go a long way round. Arriving Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 45 at the door, he finds it locked and is afraid that the people standing about will prevent his entrance or laugh at him. But the first difficulty is barely removed, by the magic opening of the first gate, when the now familiar change from the anxiety phase to the fulfillment phase occurs. The wanderer traverses the corridor without trouble but his eyes glance ahead of him and he sees through the still closed door, as if it were glass, into the garden.

What result has this success over the difficulties yielded him?

Where is the usual white and red reward? We do not have to look long. In Sec. 11 it is recorded, “When I had passed beyond the little garden [in the center of the larger garden] and was [054] going to the place where I was to help the maidens, behold, I was aware that instead of the wall, a low hurdle stood there, and there went by the rose garden, the most beautiful maiden arrayed in white satin with the most stately youth who was in scarlet, each giving arm to the other, and carrying in their hands many fragrant roses. ‘This, my dearest bridegroom,’ said she, ‘has helped me over and we are now going out of this lovely garden into our chamber to enjoy the pleasures of love.’ ” Here the parallel with the fairy tale is complete, and reveals the characteristic of the prize that rewards him. The red and the white reveal themselves as man and woman, and the last aim is, as the just quoted passage clearly shows, and the further course of the narrative fully indicates, the sexual union of both. Even the rest of the fairy tale prizes are not lacking—kingdoms, riches, happiness.

And if they are not dead they are still living.... The narrative has yielded a complete fulfillment of wishes; the longing for love and power has attained its end. That the wanderer does not experience the acquired happiness immediately in his own person, but that the representation of happy love is in the most illustrative manner developed in the union of two other persons, is naturally a peculiarity of the narration. It is found often enough in dreams. The ego of the dreamer is in such a case replaced by a “split-off” person, through whom the dream evokes its dramatic 46 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts pageantry. It is as if the parable tried to say the hero has won his happy love through struggle; two are, however, needful for love, [055] a man and a woman, so let us quickly create a pair. Apart from the fact that the reward must evidently fall to the hero who has won it, the identity of the wanderer with the king in the parable is abundantly demonstrated, even if somewhat paraphrased. The secret of the dramatizing craft of the narrative is most clearly exposed in the conclusion of Sec. 11, where the elders, with the letter of the faculty in their hands, reveal to the wanderer that he must marry the woman he has taken, which he furthermore cheerfully promises them to do.





So far all would be regular and we might think, on superficial examination, that the psychoanalytic solution of the parable was ended. How far from being the case! We have interpreted only the upper stratum and will see a problem show itself that invites us to press on into the deeper layers of the phantasy fabric before us.

We have noticed that in the parable much, even the most important, is communicated only by symbols and by means of allusions. Its previously ascertained latent content [corresponding to the latent dream thoughts] will in the manifest form be transcribed in different and gradually diminishing disguises.

Also a displacement (dream displacement) has taken place. Now the dream or the imagination working in dreams does nothing without purpose and even though according to its nature (out of “regard for presentability”) it has to favor the visual in all cases, the tendency toward the pictorial does not explain such a [056] systematic series of disguises and such a determinate tendency as that just observed by us. The representation of the union of man and woman is strikingly paraphrased. First as blood and bones—a type of intimate vital connection; they belong to one body, just as two lovers are one and as later the bridal pair also melt into one body. Then as two kinds of roses that bloom on one bush. The wanderer breaks the rose as the boy does the Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 47 wild rose maiden. And hardly is the veil of the previous disguise lifted, hardly have we learned that the wanderer has taken a woman (Sec. 11), when the affair is again hushed just as it is about to be dramatized (cf. Sec. 12), so that apparently another enjoys the pleasures of love. This consequent concealment must have a reason. Let us not forget the striking obstacles which the wanderer experiences again and again and which we have not yet thoroughly examined. The symbolism of the dream tells us that such obstacles correspond to conflicts of the will. What kind of inner resistance may it be that checks the wanderer at every step on his way to happy love? We suspect that the examinations have an ethical flavor. This appears to some extent in the right-left symbolism; then in the experience at the mill, which we have not yet studied, where the wanderer has to pass over a very narrow plank, the ethical symbolism of which will be discussed later;

and in the striking feeling of responsibility which the wanderer has for the actions of the bridal pair in the crystal prison, which [057] gives us the impression that he had a bad conscience. Altogether we cannot doubt that the dream—the parable—has endeavored, because of the censor, to disguise the sexual experiences of the wanderer. We can be quite certain that it will be said that the sexual as such will be forbidden by the censor. That is, however, not the case. The account is outspoken enough, and not the least prudish; the bridal pair embrace each other naked, penetrate each other and dissolve in love, melt in rapture and pain. Who could ask more? Therefore the sexual act itself could not have been offensive to the censor. The whole machinery of scrupulousness, concealment and deterrent objects, which stand like dreadful watchmen before the doors of forbidden rooms, cannot on the other hand be causeless. So the question arises: What is it that the dream censor in the most varied forms [lion, dangerous paths, etc.] has so sternly vetoed?

In the strawberry dream related in the preceding section, we have seen that a paraphrase of the latent dream content appears 48 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts at the moment when a form of sexual intercourse, forbidden to the dreamer by the dream censor, was to be consummated.

(Homosexual intercourse.) Most probably in the parable also there is some form of sexuality rejected by the censor. What may it be? Nothing indicates a homosexual desire. We shall have to look for another erotic tendency that departs from the normal.

From several indications we might settle upon exhibitionism.

This is, as are almost all abnormal erotic tendencies, also an [058] element of our normal psychosexual constitution, but it is, if occurring too prominently, a perversity against which the censor directs his attacks. The incidents of the parable that indicate exhibitionism are those where the wanderer sees, through locked doors (Sec. 10) or walls (Sec. 11), objects that can be interpreted as sexual symbols. The miraculous sight corresponds to a transferred wish fulfillment. The supposition that exhibitionism is the forbidden erotic impulse element that we were looking for is, however, groundless, if we recollect that these very elements appear most openly in the parable. In Sec. 14 the wanderer has the freest opportunity to do as he likes. Still the question arises, what is the prohibited tendency? No very great constructive ability is required to deduce the answer. The wording of the parable itself furnishes the information. In Sec. 14 we read, “Now I do not know what sin these two have committed except that although they were brother and sister they were so united in love that they could not again be separated and so, as it were, required to be punished for incest.” And in another passage (Sec.

13), “After our bridegroom... with his dearest bride... came to the age of marriage, they both copulated at once and I wondered not a little that this maiden, that yet was supposed to be the bridegroom's mother, was still so young.” The sexual propensity forbidden by the censor is incest. That it can be mentioned in the parable in spite of the censor is accounted for by the exceedingly clever and unsuspected bringing about [059] of the suggestion. Dreams are very adroit in this respect, and Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 49 the same cleverness (apparently unconscious on the part of the author) is found in the parable, which is in every way analogous to the dream. Incest can be explicitly mentioned, because it is attributed to persons that have apparently nothing to do with the wanderer. That the king in the crystal prison is none other than the wanderer himself, we indeed know, thanks to our critical analysis. The dreamer of the dream does not know it. For him the king is a different person, who is alone responsible for his actions; although in spite of the clear disguise, some feeling of responsibility still overshadows the wanderer, a peculiar feeling that has struck us before, and now is explained.

Later we shall see that from the beginning of the parable, incest symbols are in evidence. Darkly hinted at first they are later somewhat more transparent, and in the very moment when they remove the last veil and attain a significance intolerable for the censor, exactly at that psychologic moment the forbidden action is transferred to the other, apparently strange, person.

A similar process, of course, is the change of situation in the strawberry dream at the exact moment when the affair begins to seem unpleasant to the dreamer. This becoming unpleasant can be beautifully followed out in the parable. The critical transition is found exactly in one of those places where the representation appears most confused. It is in this way that the weakest points [060] of the dream surface are usually constituted. Those are the places where the outer covering is threadbare and exposes a nakedness to the view of the analyzer.

The critical phase of the parable begins in the 11th section.

The elders consult over a letter from the faculty. The wanderer notices that the contents concern him and asks, “Gentlemen, does it have to do with me?” They answer, “Yes, you must marry your woman that you have recently taken.” Wanderer: “That is no trouble; for I was, so to speak, born [how subtle!] with her and brought up from childhood with her.” Now the secret of the incest is almost divulged. But it is at once effectually retracted.

50 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts In Sec. 12 we read, “So my previous trouble and toil fell upon me and I bethought myself that from strange causes [these strange causes are the dream censor who, ruling in the unconscious, effects the displacements that follow], it cannot concern me but another that is well known to me [in truth a well-known other].

Then I see our bridegroom with his bride in the previous attire going to that place ready and prepared for copulation and I was highly delighted with it. For I was in great anxiety lest the affair should concern me.” The anxiety is quite comprehensible. It is just on account of its appearance that the displacement from the wanderer to the other person takes place. Further in Sec.

13: “Now after... our bridegroom... with his dearest bride...



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