This week’s dream trolling led me to the Black Book 2 by Carl Jung and one of the dreams he had many many years ago. It is said that he had some difficulty explaining this dream and even Freud had no useful interpretation. He later came to some conclusions about it and I think they are published, but just for fun, I thought I would try my hand in decoding it, even though there is no hope in him validating my ideas. I will pretend that Jung just sent me his dream for me to decoded here for you:
I was in a southern town, on a rising street with narrow half landings. It was twelve o’clock midday-bright sunshine. An old Austrian customs guard or someone similar passes by me, lost in thought. Someone says, “that is one who cannot die. He died already 30-40 years ago, but has not yet managed to decompose.” I was very surprised. Here a striking figure came, a knight of powerful build, clad in yellowish armor. He looks solid and inscrutable and nothing impresses him. On his back he carries a red Maltese cross. He has continued to exist from the 12th century and daily between 12 and 1 o’clock midday he takes the same route. No one marvels at these two apparitions, but I was extremely surprised. I hold back my interpretive skills. As regards the old Austrian, Freud occurred to me; as regards the knight, I myself Inside, a voice calls, “It is all empty and disgusting.” I must bear it. Black Book 2, pp. 25-26.
I was in a southern town, on a rising street with narrow half landings.
My first ideas about this dream is they are expressing some frustrations that Jung is having with his public image, since the dream takes place outside, in the open, in the street. It might also speak to the personal path he is on at the time of the dream. Southern may represent ‘lower’ or common people; the rising street may represent the path that he is on in his life that is moving in the right direction, and the small steps in front of the house, the narrow half landings, perhaps indicative of the types of the small steps being made in this regard all around. In other words, there is a feeling that there is at least a little progress being made, and there are some narrow steps that might be taken in any direction that might lead to new discoveries.
It was twelve o’clock midday-bright sunshine.
I equate time of day to the level of consciousness, i.e. if your dream is occurring at night, then an unconscious behavior is being observed, but the brightest period of the day, mid day would represent that there is a whole lot of attention being put on the actual subject of this dream. There is plenty of conscious thought and attention being attributed to it.
An old Austrian customs guard or someone similar passes by me, lost in thought. Someone says, “that is one who cannot die. He died already 30-40 years ago, but has not yet managed to decompose.” I was very surprised.
Jung says himself that he contemplated whether or not Freud was being expressed here and perhaps he is. My being privy to history must influence my ideas on how this might relate to the dream but I will explain them nonetheless. Being passed by this Austrian, and the words about him being unable to die may represent some feelings about Freud’s work compared to Jung’s and some insecurities that he has about being passed up. The idea that a man might be, essentially, walking dead is an interesting one. The natural process of decomposition is lost on this person, somehow, his work or very self is able to stay current and fresh even though they are very old ideas. It also suggests that (sticking with the Freud idea) to Jung, at least in his mind, the real work or living of this person was done around middle age and perhaps he sees that all the work (30 or 40) years since is stagnated. Also, perhaps the idea that a transformation occurred with this individual but the repercussions of that transformation has yet to be scene. This might also speak to an unconscious knowing or fear that the work of his friend would not only pass up his own, but also out live it.
Here a striking figure came, a knight of powerful build, clad in yellowish armor. He looks solid and inscrutable and nothing impresses him. On his back he carries a red Maltese cross. He has continued to exist from the 12th century and daily between 12 and 1 o’clock midday he takes the same route.
Now, Jung says he even thought the knight could represent himself, or at least how he feels deep down about himself and the work he is doing. The yellowish armor is of interest as yellow is the color of personal power. Interesting note about the Maltese cross, according to wiki, the first known example of this symbol wasn’t seen until the late 14th, early 15th century and the eight pointed star is said to represent the 8 Beatitudes. Knights can represents doing the noble thing, doing what is true, honorable and just. I would also bet that this particular apparition is the answer to his story problem. It is the message the dream is trying to have received: Be consistent, keep doing what you are doing, stay vigilant and true. Time and old ideas being brought into the modern world (well modern for them) also are symbolized here. The idea that older thinking still plays apart in modern day thinking, at least in a part. Taking the same route, points to repetition, patterns and cyclical actions.
No one marvels at these two apparitions, but I was extremely surprised. I hold back my interpretive skills. As regards the old Austrian, Freud occurred to me; as regards the knight, I myself Inside, a voice calls, “It is all empty and disgusting.” I must bear it.
Might this be due to the private or personal breakthroughs that are occurring. Perhaps Jung feared that his life’s work would amount to nothing but emptiness. All in all, I think this dream has to do with Jung’s feelings about his work and personal journey as it relates to the public domain. I think he was being reassured that all ideas come in fashion for a time but that there some truths that last longer than others and even Freud’s ideas are trumped by an older Truth. These are more archetypal truths and they stand tall a resolute even in the face of time.
In 1925, Jung gave the following interpretation to this dream:
“The meaning of the dream lies in the principle of the ancestral figure: not the Austrian officer-obviously he stood for the Freudian theory-but the other, the Crusader, is an archetypal figure, a Christian symbol living from the twelfth century, a symbol that does not really live today; but on the other hand is not wholly dead either. It comes out of the times of Meister Eckhart, the time of the culture of the Knights, when many ideas blossomed, only to be killed again, but they are coming again to life now. However, when I had this dream, I did not know this interpretation”
I hope you enjoyed!
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