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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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came to the age of marriage [The aim with which the censor [061] performs his duties and effects the dream displacement is, says Freud (Trdtg., p. 193), ‘to prevent the development of anxiety or other form of painful affect’.] they both copulated... and I wondered not a little that this maiden, that was supposed to be actually the mother of the bridegroom, was still so young....” Now when the transfer has taken place, the thought of its being the mother is hazarded; whereas formerly a mere suggestion of a sister had been offered. Section 14 explicitly mentions incest and even arranges the punishment of the guilt. In this form the matter can, of course, be contemplated without troubling the conscience or being further represented pictorially.

The sister, alternating in the narrative with the mother, is only a preliminary to the latter. As we find that the Œdipus complex [Rather an attenuation, which occurs frequently, not merely in dream psychology, but also in modern mythology.] is revived in the parable, let us bring the latter into still closer relation with the fairy tales and myths to which we have compared it.

The woman sought and battled for by the hero appears, in its deeper psychological meaning, always to be the mother. The significance of the incest motive has been discovered on the one hand by the psychoanalysts (in particular Rank, who has worked Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 51 over extensive material), on the other by the investigators of myths. That many modern mythologists lay most stress in this discovery upon the astral or meteorological content and do not draw the psychological conclusions is another matter that will [062] be discussed later. But in passing it may be noted that the correspondence in the discovered material (motives) is the more remarkable as it resulted from working in the direction of quite different purposes.

It is now time to examine the details of the parable in conformity with the main theme just stated and come to a definite interpretation. Henceforward we may keep to a chronological order.

The threshold symbolism in the beginning of the parable has already been given, also the obstacles that are indicative of a psychic conflict. We might rest satisfied with that, yet a more complete interpretation is quite possible, in which particular images are shown to be overdetermined. The way is narrow, overgrown with bushes, and leads to the Pratum felicitatis. That, according to a typical dream symbolism, is also a part of the female body. The obstacles in the way we recognize as a recoil from or impediment to incest; so it is evident that a definite female body, namely that of the mother, is meant. The penetration leads to the Pratum felicitatis, to blissful enjoyment. In fairy lore the sojourn in the forest generally signifies death or the life in the underworld. Wilhelm Muller, for example, writes, “As symbols of similar significance we have the transformation into swans or other birds, into flowers, the exposure in the forest, the life in the glass mountain, in a castle, in the woods.... All imply death and life in the underworld.” The underworld is, when regarded mythologically, not only the land where the dead go, but also [063] whence the living have come; thence for the individual, and in particular for our wanderer, the uterus of the mother. It is significant that the wanderer, as he strolls along, ponders over the fall of our first parents and laments it. The fall of the parents was 52 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts a sexual sin. That it was incest besides, will be considered later.

The son who sees in his father his rival for his mother is sorry that the parents belong to each other. A sexual offense (incest) caused the loss of paradise. The wanderer enters the paradise, the Pratum felicitatis. [Garden of Joy, Garden of Peace, Mountain of Joy, etc., are names of paradise. Now it is particularly noteworthy that the same words can signify the beloved. (Grimm, D. Mythol., II, pp. 684 ff., Chap. XXV, 781 f.)] The path thither is not too rough for him (Sec. 2).

In Sec. 3 the wanderer enters his paradise (incest). He finds in the father an obstacle to his relation with the mother. The elders (splitting of the person of the father) will not admit him, forbid his entrance into the college. He himself, the youth is already among them. The younger man, whose name he knows without seeing his face, is himself. He puts himself in the place of his father. (The other young man with the black pointed beard may be an allusion to a quite definite person, intended for a small circle of readers of the parable, contemporaries of the author.

Either the devil or death may be meant, yet I cannot substantiate this conjecture.) [064] In the fourth section the examinations begin. First the examination in the narrower sense of the word. The paternal atmosphere of every examination has already been emphasized in the passage from Freud quoted above. Every examination, every exercise is associated with early impressions of parental commands and punishments. Later (in the treatment of the lion) the wanderer will turn out to be the questioner, whereas now the elders are the questioners. In the relation between parent and child questions play a part that is important from a psychological point of view. Amazingly early the curiosity of the child turns toward sexual matters. His desire to know things is centered about the question as to where babies come from.





The uncommunicativeness of the parents causes a temporary suppression of the great question, which does not, however, Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 53 cease to arouse his intense desire for explanation. The dodging of the issue produces further a characteristic loss of trust on the part of the child, an ironic questioning, or a feeling that he knows better. The knowing better than the questioning father we see in the wanderer. The tables are turned. Instead of the child desiring (sexual) explanation from the parents, the father must learn from the child (fulfillment of the wish to be himself the father, as above). The elders are acquainted only with figurative language (“Similitudines,” “Figmenta,” etc.); but the wanderer is well informed in practical life, in experience [065] he is an adept. As a fact, parents in their indefiniteness about the question, Where do babies come from? give a figurative answer (however appropriate it may be as a figure of speech) in saying that the stork brings them, while the child expects clear information (from experience). On the propriety of the picturesque information that the stork brings the babies out of the water we may note incidentally the following observations of Kleinpaul. The fountain is the mother's womb, and the red-legged stork that brings the babies is none other than a humorous figure for the organ (phallus) with the long neck like a goose or a stork, that actually gets the little babies out of the mother's body. We understand also that the stork has bitten Mamma in the “leg.” We have become acquainted above with the fear of impotence as one significance of the anxiety about examinations.

Psychosexual obstructions cause impotence. The incest scruple is such an obstruction.

According to Laistner we can conceive the painful examination as a question torture—a typical experience of the hero in countless myths. Laistner, starting from this central motive, traces the majority of myths back to the incubus dream. The solution of the tormenting riddle, the magic word that banishes the ghost, is the cry of awakening, by which the sleeper is freed from the oppressing dream, the incubus. The prototype of the tormenting riddle propounder is, according to Laistner, the Sphinx. Sphinx, 54 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts dragon, giants, man eaters, etc., are analogous figures in myths.

[066] They are what afflict the heroes, and what he has to battle with.

The corresponding figure in our parable is the lion.

Although the wanderer has brilliantly stood the test, the elders (Sec. 5) do not admit him into their college (the motive of denial recurs later); but enter him for the battle with the lion. This is surely a personification of the same obstructions as the elders themselves. In them we have, so to speak, before us the dragon (to be subdued) in a plural form. Analogous multiplying of the dragon is found, for example, in Stucken [in the astral myth].

Typical dragon fighters are Jason, Joshua, Samson, Indra; and their dragon enemies are multitudes like the armed men from the sowing of the dragon's teeth by Jason, the Amorites for Joshua, the Philistines in the case of Samson, the Dasas in that of Indra.

We know that for the wanderer the assemblage of elders is to be conceived chiefly as the father, and the same is true now of the lion (king of animals, royal beast, also in hermetic sense) who has as lion been already appropriated to the father symbol. Kaiser, king, giants, etc., are wont in dreams to represent the father.

Accordingly large animals, especially wild beasts or beasts of prey, are accustomed to appear in dreams with this significance.

Stekel [Spr. Tr.] contributes the following dream of the patient Omicron: “I was at home. My family had preserved a dead bear.

His head was of wood and out of his belly grew a mighty tree, [067] which looked very old. Around the animal's neck was a chain. I pulled at it, and afterwards was afraid that I had possibly choked him, in spite of the fact that he was long dead.”

And the following interpretation of it derived through analysis:

“The bear is a growler, i.e., his father, who has told him many a lie about the genesis of babies. He reviles him for it. He was a blockhead, he had a wooden head. The mighty tree is the phallus.

The chain is marriage. He was a henpecked husband, a tamed bear. Mother held him by the chain. This chain (the bond ? of marriage) Omicron desired to sunder. (Incest thoughts.) When Section I. Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable. 55 the father died Omicron held his hand over his father's mouth to find out whether he was still breathing. Then he was pursued by compulsive ideas, that he had killed his father. In dreams the same reproaches appear. We realize how powerful his murder impulses were. His reproaches are justified. For he had countless death wishes that were centered about that most precious life.” A girl not yet six years old told her mother the following

dream:

“We went together, there we saw a camel on a rock, and you climbed up the cliff. The camel wanted to keep slobbering you, but you wouldn't let him, and said, ‘I'd like to do it, but if you are like this, I won't do it.’ ” After the telling of the dream the mother asked the girl if she could imagine what the camel signified in the dream, and she [068] immediately replied: “Papa, because he has to drag along and worry himself like a camel. You know, Mamma, when he wants to slobber you it is as if he said to you in camel talk, ‘Please play with me. I will marry you; I won't let you go away.’ The rocks on which you are were steep, the path was quite clear, but the railing was very dirty and there was a deep abyss, and a man slipped over the railing into the abyss. I don't know whether it was Uncle or Papa.” Stekel remarks on this: “The neurotic child understands the whole conflict of the parents. The mother refused the father coitus. In this she will not ‘play’ with the camel. The camel wants to ‘marry’ her. It is quite puzzling how the child knows that Mamma has long entertained thoughts of separation.... Children evidently observe much more sharply and exactly than we have yet suspected. The conclusion of the dream is a quite transparent symbolism of coitus. But the dream thoughts go deeper yet.

A man falls into an abyss. The father goes on little mountain expeditions. Does the child wish that the father may fall? The father treats the child badly and occasionally strikes her unjustly.

At all events it is to be noted that the little puss says to her mother, 56 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts ‘Mamma, isn't it true that when Papa dies you will marry Dr.

Stekel?’ Another time she chattered, ‘You know, Mamma, Dr.

N. is nicer than Papa; he would suit you much better.’ Also the antithesis of clean and dirty, that later plays such an important [069] part in the psychic life of neurotics, is here indicated.” Not only the camel but also the railing and the abyss are interesting in relation to Sec. 7 and 8 of the parable, where occurs the perilous wall with the railing. People fall down there. There is evidently here an intimate primitive symbolism (for the child also). But I will not anticipate.

It is not necessary to add anything to the bear dream. It is quite clear. Only one point must be noticed, that the subsequent concern about the dead is to be met in the parable, though not on the wanderer's part but on that of the elders who desire the reviving of the lion.

The wanderer describes the lion (Sec. 6) as “old, fierce and large.” (The growling bear of the dream.) The glance of his eye is the impressively reproachful look of the father.

The wanderer conquers the lion and “dissects” him. Red blood, white bones, come to view, male and female; the appearance of the two elements is, at any rate overdetermined in meaning as it signifies on the one hand the separation of a pair, father and mother, originally united as one body; and on the other hand the liberation of sexuality in the mind of the wanderer (winning of the mother or of the dragon-guarded maiden).



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