Sum it up for me

Apocalypse Archetype – Class 8 by Edward Edinger


Table of Contents


This is class number 8 on the apocalypse archetype and our assigned subject matter is chapter 17 and 18. We have essentially only one image this time, so I’m not packing any great deal of material into tonight’s presentation. It will be a little looser than usual and there might just possibly even be a little time left toward the end for questions from the audience. I tell you that now in case you wanna think about formulating something. It might not end up that way but it might.

The image of a woman riding a scarlet beast

We read in the beginning of chapter 17 of Revelation:

"17:1 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the punishment given to the famous prostitute[a] who rules enthroned beside abundant waters[,]b
17:2 the one with whom all the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and who has made all the population of the world drunk with the wine of her adultery’.[*c]
17:3 He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it.
17:4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup filled with the disgusting filth of her fornication;
17:5 on her forehead was written a name, a cryptic name: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth’."

Pretty nasty image. I think we can state, just to start with, that this image is a degraded version of Venus. It’s a perverted image of her and of ancient nature religion in general. To contrast this image of Venus I want to read you what Lucretius has to say about her as he dedicates his book “On the Nature of Things” to Venus at the very beginning of the work. Lucretius lived from about 96 BC to 55 BC. Rome hadn’t fallen into its decadent period yet. He was still expressing the older healthy religion of ancient Rome. Here’s how Lucretius begins his book:

"Mother of Rome"

Venus is supposed to have been the mother of Aeneas the founder of Rome, you see, so that puts her at Rome right away and of course our text also puts her at Rome.

"Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men,
Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars
Makest to teem the many-voyaged main
And fruitful lands—for all of living things
Through thee alone are evermore conceived,
Through thee are risen to visit the great sun—
Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on,
Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away,
For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers,
For thee waters of the unvexed deep
Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky
Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
For soon as comes the springtime face of day,
And procreant gales blow from the West unbarred,
First fowls of air, smit to the heart by thee,
Foretoken thy approach, O thou Divine,
And leap the wild herds round the happy fields
Or swim the bounding torrents. Thus amain,
Seized with the spell, all creatures follow thee
Whithersoever thou walkest forth to lead,
And thence through seas and mountains and swift streams,
Through leafy homes of birds and greening plains,
Kindling the lure of love in every breast,
Thou bringest the eternal generations forth,"

And it goes on like that. Really a carrier of sacred life energies. That was what Venus meant to Rome, healthy Rome. Of course she did degenerate in imperial Rome. What this image pictures as image in Revelation? It pictures the fact that everything feminine: Earth, nature, body, matter – all underwent a profound depreciation with the onset of our aeon. Now this is not exclusively a matter of Christianity because Stoicism and Platonism did the same thing a bit more subtly but nonetheless they started it and if anything Gnosticism was even worse.

Now, I want to remind you since we live in a different age and different values are coming to birth, I want to remind you that everything that happens in the psyche happens for an adequate reason. There is a principle in philosophy it’s called the “principle of sufficient reason” and that principle is particularly applicable to psychological facts. You know it’s so easy for the Ego to take the superficial attitude that certain psychological happenings in the collective psyche were just errors that could have been different. They couldn’t have been different. They were the way they had to be given the nature of psychic reality. And realizing that then it’s psychologically juvenile to criticize some event in the collective psyche as though we know better how it should have happened. Fact is this is the way the Western psyche evolved and we can only assume that it was a necessary sequence.

My understanding and certainly Jung’s is that the vast collective individuation process which lies behind history required at the beginning of our era the creation of a powerful spiritual counter pole to the instinctual degradation and excesses that accompanied the decadence of the ancient world. So that what happened was we’ve got a grand sublimatio operation historically and that was the particular operation that was prescribed by the collective psyche – Collective Unconscious – at that time and that’s what took place. It was a was collective movement to get above the purely concrete particular bodily material level of existence and that’s what sublimatio is, what it means, getting above it and being able to look down on it. That’s a pretty vital process when one is caught in the agony of suffering matter to achieve a spiritual standpoint outside and above it is no small thing. And as Jung mentions in “Symbols of Transformation”: we can hardly realize the whirlwinds of brutality and unchained libido that roamed through the streets of imperial Rome. So the actual concrete state of affairs called forth this reaction that depreciated all that carried the symbolic sign of the feminine, matter, body and all those binding elements that chain us to the suffering flesh.

Now when we were speaking about the plagues that were being poured out on mankind from the golden bowl I commented on the fact that despite of the contents the bowls were golden. And here again we have what’s called the “harlot’s disgusting filth” but it’s contained in a golden cup. A paradox, considering all the symbolic associations that I’ve gone through before regarding gold. And such paradoxes indicate in my view the basic authenticity of these visions. See there is no question that this material had been monkeyed with. It’s been conflated with a lot of Old Testament imagery and dovetailed, interwoven. That’s indisputable. The visions don’t carry footnotes, they’re spontaneous occasions and all the referenced footnotes what they refer to has been woven in, but there’s enough here. Ff course the outstanding content is the one Jung emphasized so much the Sun-Moon, but these paradoxes also are indicative of the underlying authenticity of the vision.

See we need to only ask ourselves supposing we have a dream of a golden cup or a broader dream of golden cup, how do we understand it? Whatever its context, almost always, it’s going to symbolize the containing aspect of the Self. The Self in its feminine, containing mode.

A very fascinating history is attached to this image of harlot’s golden cup. It’s a marvelous example of how the autonomous psyche works through the centuries enlarging and elaborating and transforming itself as it goes along. This image of the golden cup of Babylon was picked up by alchemy in a very interesting way. The most specific reference that I’m familiar with is in Ripley’s Cantilena (Cantilena Riplaei by George Ripley) that Jung discusses at length in Mysterium Coniunctionis and for those of you that are interested in reflecting on this phenomenon that stands the centuries you should study the whole section in Mysterium on Ripley’s Cantilena. It goes through quite a number of the verses and Jung comments on them verse by verse. But in outline Ripley’s Cantilena is an alchemical parable about a barren old king who calls himself the Ancient of Days, and he complains about his sterile barren state and he seeks rebirth and rejuvenation by returning to his mother’s womb. He crawls right back into his mother’s womb and he says as he’s going:

"I’le Humbled be into my Mother’s Breast,
Dissolve to my First Matter, and there rest"

The mother, who’s now pregnant with this new conception, retires to her chamber, according to the parable, and here’s the relevant stanza. She’s in her chamber now awaiting coming to term and the Cantilena reads:

"Meanwhile she of the Peacocks Flesh did Eate
And Dranke the Greene-Lyons Blood with that fine Meate,
Which Mercurie, bearing the Dart of Passion,
Brought in a Golden Cupp of Babilon."

So the pregnant queen mother who’s in the process of giving rebirth to the barren king, has what Jung speaks of as this “pregnancy diet”, it’s this thing of “Peacocks Flesh” and “Lyons Blood” served to her in the “Golden Cupp of Babilon”, referring to the same cup that was such a prominent feature of the harlot.

Now this text has quite profound implications because it announces right on the face of it – if you just pay attention that it is describing – the death and rebirth of the God-Image. I want to read you a little bit about what Jung had to say about that particular stanza, because what we’re witnessing here is the alchemical symbolic foreshadowing of the task of moderns to reconcile the split opposites that exist in the Book of Revelation and in the Christian psyche and assimilate consciously what’s called “the disgusting filth of her fornication”.

Let me repeat that because it’s so important. This alchemical text is symbolically foreshadowing the modern task of assimilating all of those contents that had been relegated to the shadow and to therefore to being considered as despicable in the Christian dissociation.

Now with that in mind let me read you a bit of Jung’s remarks:

"[423] The food of the Queen Mother—peacock’s flesh and lion’s blood—consists of the goddess’s own attributes,"

He’s already established that by his other amplifications. The peacock is the bird of Juno.

"[423] that is to say she eats and drinks herself."
"[426] she is being ruthlessly regaled with her own psychic substances. These are animal substances she has to integrate, the “accrescent soul”-peacock and lion with their positive and negative qualities; and the draught is given to her in the cup of fornication, which emphasizes still more the erotic nature of the lion, his lust and greed. Such an integration amounts to a widening of consciousness through profound insight.
[427] But why should such an unpalatable diet be prescribed for the queen? Obviously because the old king lacked something, on which account he grew senile: the dark, chthonic aspect of nature."

That’s what he was lacking.

"[427] And not only this but the sense that all creation was in the image of God, the antique feeling for nature,"

Just what Lucretius had expressed so clearly.

"[427] the antique feeling for nature, which in the Middle Ages was considered a false track and an aberration. Dark and unfathomable as the earth is, its theriomorphic symbols do not have only a reductive meaning, but one that is prospective and spiritual. They are paradoxical, pointing upwards and downwards at the same time. If contents like these are integrated in the queen, it means that her consciousness is widened in both directions. This diet will naturally benefit the regeneration of the king by supplying what was lacking before. Contrary to appearances, this is not only the darkness of the animal sphere, but rather a spiritual nature or a natural spirit which even has its analogies with the mystery of faith, as the alchemists were never tired of emphasizing."

What Jung is describing here is a process that we are now engaged in the collective psyche. The collective psyche is eating peacock’s flesh and drinking lion’s blood or in terms of the Revelation imagery it’s “eating the disgusting filth of the fornication” and some of it is pretty filthy, you gonna have to admit. When we see the nature of what’s happening in the collective psyche as a whole as the old system of values collapse. Then all that had been excluded rushes back in, so I see the onslaughts of violence and crude sexuality and disorientation of all kinds and wild orgiastic behavior as symptoms of the process of assimilating the contents which after all are in a golden cup. In other words the value of the Self lies behind them, if one isn’t destroyed before one gets to it.

Now the text specifically states that this harlot is Babylon the Great and associates it with the city of Babylon at the beginning, overtly. Secondarily by many of its references it does not take too much effort to associate it with Rome. The “seven hills” for example. Commentators on the Book of Revelation usually give that association priority, that that was what was in the mind of the author: Rome. But a certain number of commentators think that it refers to Jerusalem. Concerning Babylon we have an explicit reference in the 51st chapter of Jeremiah. Babylon had just defeated Israel and threw some of its inhabitants into slavery, into captivity, you remember and so here’s the 51st chapter of Jeremiah says:

"51:1 Yahweh says this: [*a]Against the citizens of Leb-kamai I will rouse a destroying spirit;
51:2 I will send winnowers to Babylon to winnow her and leave her country bare: for they will beleaguer her from every side in the day of disaster.
51:3 Let no archer bend his bow! Let no man swagger in his coat of mail! – No quarter for her young warriors! Vow her whole army to the ban!"
"51:44 I will punish Bel in Babylon and take from his mouth what he has swallowed. In future the nations will stream to him no more. The wall of Babylon has fallen."

Et Cetera. It goes on to say:

"51:7 Babylon was a golden cup in Yahweh’s hand, she made the whole world drunk, the nations drank her wine and then went mad."

We saw that those very phrases are incorporated. So there’s no question that the image looks back first of all to Babylon, which is sort of the prototypical evil city, that Babylon had been long destroyed, so it didn’t need a prophecy to destroy Babylon, that happened long ago, literally. But the image had been deposited in the Judeo-Christian psyche, that Babylon was the evil city.

Now concerning Jerusalem there are some commentators that are convinced that the reference is to Jerusalem and not Rome, chiefly because of the harlot image. And the chief reference text is the 16th chapter of Ezekiel:

"16:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,
16:2 ‘Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her filthy crimes.
16:3 Say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: By origin and birth you belong to the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite."

I’m going to skip some. He describes all the favors and blessings bestowed on Jerusalem.

"16:8 Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come, the time for love. I spread part of my cloak over you and covered your nakedness; I bound myself by oath, I made a covenant with you – it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks – and you became mine.
16:9 I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil."
"16:15 You have become infatuated with your own beauty; you have used your fame to make yourself a prostitute; you have offered your services to all comers…
16:16 You have taken your clothes to brighten your high places and there you have played the whore…"
"16:20 You have even – it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks – taken the sons and daughters you bore me and sacrificed them as food to the images. Was it not enough for you just to be a whore?"
"16:22 and in all your filthy practices and your whorings you have never remembered your youth or the time when you were quite naked and struggling in your own blood."

Just to give you the flavor of the whole passage. On the grounds of that imagery some considered that the reference is to backsliding Jerusalem that murdered the prophets that Yahweh sent to her and was therefore subject to God’s wrath.

But far, the majority considered the reference to be to Rome, with the very adequate grounds that Rome intermittently persecuted the Christians viciously. Just as with other images that I’ve spoken of earlier there had been later attributions. The early Protestants identified the harlot with the Catholic Church and interestingly some contemporary fundamentalists identified the harlot with the Ecumenical movement as a traitorous, idolatrous violation of the true message, you see. Because symbolically speaking the harlotry, the adultery that Yahweh accuses Jerusalem is idol worship. That’s the symbolic image in use.

Basically what we are dealing with here is the archetype of the wicked city. See, at the very end of Revelation we’re going to have the image of the heavenly city the new Jerusalem. But it is contrasted with the wicked city. It could just as well be New York city phenomenologically speaking. I’m reminded of the fact that Spengler in his description of The Decline of the West (The Decline Of The West by Oswald Spengler) speaks of the rise of megalopolises that are part of the symptomatology of decadence. So that the archetype of the evil city is subtly embedded in his speculations.

Now just taking the city by itself, not to further characterize it, just the city, it’s an archetypal image that belongs to the symbolism of the mandala. Jung discusses this in “Psychology and Alchemy” because the image of the city comes up in the dream series that Jung is describing in “Psychology and Alchemy”. And he quotes a Gnostic text that identifies the image of the city with the monad. And the monad is described as the same as the mother city. The mother city of the only begotten … and he conveniently includes the Greek word used in the original Greek Gnostic text and the Greek word is μητρόπολη – “mitrópoli”, metropolis – “mother city”. Because the symbolism of the city is feminine as the containing entity. So of course the personification of the wicked city must be a woman. She’s sort of the human version of the vine-cup, the cup being feminine.

"[139] As “metropolis” Monad is feminine,"

Says Jung.

"[139] like the padma or lotus"
"[139] In the Book of Revelation, we find the Lamb in the centre of the Heavenly Jerusalem. And in our Coptic text we are told that Setheus dwells in the innermost and holiest recesses of the Pleroma, a city with four gates"

And so on. As an inner image then in dreams the city represents the Self as a ordered, structured totality that amounts to a … We’ve been told that very early ways of founding a city was to plow a circular burrow all the way around the area to be enclosed and then divide it into quarters. That would be the basic design of the city and then construction would be built on the top of that original design.

But I wanna say a word or two about the literal, external city. It really is the scene of civilization you know and that’s why civitas the Latin word for city they’re cognate because civilization comes only from life in cities. And when we have an image that we recognize as an image of the Self living itself out in the external reality we can see the archetypes that work in another medium so to speak not just in the medium of individual psychology.

Now, of course today the organized unit of civil or social life is no longer the city, but in antiquity it was, the polis. It no longer is. Now it’s the nation state, so that we have to think of the symbolism of the city as we understand it applying to the nation-state as a whole. You see as a concrete external reality this city of the nation state is the collective political mirror-image of the Self and this is what gives nationalism its religious power that the archetype of the Self collectively experienced resides in the nation-state. The nation is a collective, concretized version of the Self and arrogates to itself the transpersonal authority that belongs to the Self. And you don’t have to have too much dealings with government bureaucracy to see that at work.

Now to a much lesser degree, but the same thing is true to the Church. It likewise is the Earthly collective embodiment of the Self. But in modern times the Church has been so emasculated that it doesn’t present any danger anymore, it doesn’t have any real power. When it had power …, but now it’s the state that has the power at its disposal.

Now Augustine made considerable use of this imagery of the city. In his major work, “The City of God”, he spoke of two cities: an Earthly City and a Heavenly City of God. And the Earthly City was thought to be made of individuals who lived by the love of the self. Self with a small “s”. And the city of God was made up of individuals living by the love of God. And the Earthly City was typified by Babylon and the city of God was typified by the Heavenly Jerusalem in the end of the Book of Revelation. Now he did not make the crude mistake of identifying the city of God concretely with the Church. He did not do that. He allowed that membership in the Church didn’t necessarily give you a membership in the city of God. In other words it was a more spiritual entity. He was referring to images on the spiritual level rather than on the concrete level.

But we can understand that symbolism of Augustine’s this way, that the Earthly City is the Ego and the Heavenly City is the Self. They’re both built on the same ground plan, both cities. The Ego is built on the ground-plan of the Self and Jung tells us specifically that the Self is a prefiguration of the Ego. Now, this as I’ve said on the level of collective, social manifestation the earthly government, city, or nation-state is a mirror image of the Self as manifested in the structures of society.

And this idea emerged in a very interesting way with the philosopher Hegel (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel). Hegel reached the conclusion that the nation-state is the ultimate embodiment of the World Spirit, kind of apotheosis, the World Spirit. And he have been much criticized that his work was probably a glorification of Prussian nationalism, which isn’t quite fair, because it was a more subtle doctrine than that. But the fact was that Hegel was gripped by the archetypal image of city. He is quite the remarkable figure, he had a grand vision of the historical process. It … what he called the “World Spirit” operating in human history, both in individuals and in institutions. And as of 1820, anyway, he saw as the highest manifestation of the World Spirit to be an organic, structured, culturally unified community of the nation-state and this would correspond symbolically to the city, to the original Greek polis. And in Hegel’s view this was the earthly incarnation of God. It was not identical with the Prussian state at all. It was much more sophisticated than that. But if you’ve got an enemy they’ll use any means to bring you down. As I see him, he was gripped by the archetypal image of the city as the Self and he projected that image into the notion of an ideal nation-state community. And he spelled out quite specifically that individual rights and freedom would exist within the framework of a community of transpersonal awareness. He spelled that out quite specifically. A community that carried objective suprapersonal purposes and values.

I think it’s worthwhile making ourselves familiar with the way the psyche manifests itself collectively. The Self is projected into one’s national community and it forms the basis of one’s national and ethnic identity. And then one sees individuals of differing national and ethnic identity in warfare with one another as to who has the ultimate value, the ultimate truth and their convictions both derive from the same psychic source, the Self, you see. So that when we see the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Northern and Southern Irish, or the secular and religious Muslims, or whatever, at mortal war with one another what we are actually witnessing is the conflict within the God-Image manifesting on the plane of human history. Conflict of the opposites living itself out, dramatic conflict living itself out in human history and the individuals involved are the helpless pawns of the archetypal images that possess them.

Now all this I think is at least marginally relevant to this Babylon the Great riding on her red beast.

That concludes what I wanted to say about this subject matter.

The case history of Vernon Wayne Howell

And now as for the other thing, something I’ve brought along for several nights and never found time for was a case history that I wanted to review with you that I extracted from a book. It’s the case history of Vernon Howell also known as David Koresh. I extracted it from a book compiled “Inside the Cult” by Breault and King (Inside the Cult: A Member’s Chilling, Exclusive Account of Madness and Depravity in David Koresh’s Compound by Marc Breault and Martin King).

You will remember in the spring of 1993 there was in the news quite a bit about an apocalyptic sect at war with the federal agents in Waco (Texas), near Waco and that group was led by him. There was not a great deal of clinical information because these authors are not interested in that subject, so they just threw out a certain amount of the relevant stuff sort of “by the way” and I had to gather it up.

Vernon Howell was born in 1959 of a 14 year old mother, whom he didn’t know until he was 5. He was brought up in the first 2 years by an aunt and thought she was his mother, until his mother arrived one day and announced, no, I’m your mother. The father was missing, right from the start, no father. Keep in mind that when one misses certain vital childhood relationship experiences that means then that the individual is deprived of the opportunity for a incarnation and personalization of the archetype. So that when you have a completely missing parent figure there is a kind of hole left in the psyche through which the raw, unmediated energies of the original archetype can flow. Anyway, no father. Later, when he’s a bit older, there was a punitive step-father.

From early years he had a learning disability and he was haunted by the other children and called a “retard”. They taunted with the word “retard”, “retard”. He was also sodomized by older boys. His grandmother belonged to the Seventh Day Adventists church and she took him to church from the age of 6 and he had a good relation with the grandmother. The grandmother gave him some attention and he began studying the Bible quite intensely.

In his teen years on into the early twenties, he had a severe masturbation compulsion that was accompanied by a profound sense of guilt indicating that he was experiencing the Christian dissociation in quite the marked form. He went through a period of lostness, did odd jobs, but something happened. We don’t have the information on it, but he underwent a sizable psychological change. He moved from a state of dissociation concerning power and sex drives to an identification with them. See, in childhood he lived out victim psychology and had no relation to the successful power motive and the guilty masturbation compulsion indicates he had no relation to his sexual libido either. But that underwent a striking change through events that we don’t know about.

Because he came in contact with a group of Seventh Day Adventists called the Branch Davidians, and inserted himself in their midst and gradually took them over with very intelligent power plays, knowing exactly what he was doing. And in the course of taking them over as he’d became the charismatic unquestioned leader of the group not only did he gratify his power motive fully but also his sexuality because he pronounced that every woman that appealed to him as his wife by the command of God, so he had a number of wives, you see, he married women. And he allowed full vent to his sexuality. See, that state of affairs psychologically totally different from the earlier state of affairs of a dissociated split. And what accompanies that transition is a full-blown possession by the apocalypse archetype.

He was convinced that God had revealed to him total understanding of the Book of Revelation. That’s what he was engaged in in doing when the Tobacco and Firearm people (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) finally invaded his compound. He said he was writing a commentary on the seven seals in the Book of Revelation and he’d come out as soon as he’d finished. Anyway that was his conviction. And it developed into a full-scale identification with the apocalyptic Lamb.

In a 1987 wedding invitation he wrote these words:

"I have seven eyes and seven horns, my name is the Word of God and I ride on a white horse. I am here on Earth to give you the seventh angel's message. I've ascended from the East with the seal of the Living God, my name is Cyrus and I'm here to destroy Babylon."

Now what had happened 2 years earlier, while he was in Israel, he had had a vision in which God told him he was the reincarnation of Cyrus. Cyrus was the Persian king who rescued the Israelites from Babylonian captivity by defeating Babylon, you see. And after that vision then Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh, Koresh means Cyrus in Hebrew.

He developed his family of followers requiring explicit obedience. He taught innumerable, interminable, crazy but brilliant Bible sermons, lasting for hours. He would administer harsh punishment for minor infringements of rules. He would fall into passionate rages when crossed. And if he was criticized he would react with a combination of personal intimidation and theological reasonings. It was always a combination. And he had so mastered the Bible, in his early years with his grandmother, apparently his study of the Bible had been what kept him alive, and always the message preached was of the end of the world soon to come.

See, we have here an illustration, typical example of possession by the archetype of the apocalypse and if one is possessed by that archetype, it inevitably leads to catastrophe, unless he gets out of it, fast. Because the apocalypse built into the archetype is catastrophe, you see. So that the individual has to make it happen in order to fulfill the archetype.

Now, it’s my opinion that the study of such identifications is valuable for understanding the psyche because these phenomena of possessions by the archetypes reveal to us the nature of the unrealized Self. See, as I’ve mentioned right at the beginning, the apocalypse archetype just means in essence the coming of the Self. That’s what it means. And by being possessed by that archetype means to be possessed with the process, the coming of the Self, but it comes in unconscious form, in its primordial form. And in the unconscious form it manifests as a paradoxical combination of opposites. It’s both a savior and a beast at the same time.

And that’s just the way David Koresh behaved. Both at the same time. He wasn’t a criminal by ordinarily criteria, he was not psychotic by ordinarily criteria. It’s a new phenomenon, that is quasi-criminal, quasi-psychotic, he who the possession by the archetype that means that the way the individual possessed functions is inhumanly. The full human Ego has been bypassed. And that state of affairs generates charisma. See, there is energy in it.

Melville gives us a beautiful picture of the phenomenon in Moby Dick, in captain Ahab. And in recent history Hitler is the outstanding example of the same phenomenon, really large. He was simultaneously beast and savior. Both phenomenologically speaking. He was a savior for his friends and a beast for his enemies.


Alright, we’ve got a few minutes now, let’s see what I’m going to turn to. We’ve got a couple of items here.

Someone sent me a dream that came recently. The dream was:

"The dreamer was in a room with very bright light and and larger than the real room that it referred to and a white fine ash, powdery dust began to seep through the doors and windows even though the room was tightly closed. Someone said that considerable had been spent on sealing the room and expressed fear that the effort had failed. I knew that the ash had come from an atomic bomb test in Nevada and I felt frustrated by the government's presumption of testing. I was concerned about the well-being of myself, cats and others. We tried to sweep away the radioactive ash but I worried that it had already contaminated everything. In the awakening I felt a frightening loss of control."

I thanked the dreamer for sending that dream in, because it belonged to our subject matter and it reminded me of a dream that Michael Ortiz Hill quotes in his book, it’s found on page 135 of Dreaming the End of the World, and this time he at least tells us that it was dreamed by a 10 year old girl. Usually we don’t get even that much trail. Let me read it to you because this is just what I would do if this dream were brought to me in an analytic hour. I don’t know, what it means, but it reminds me of something analogous and if we follow up some of these amplifications maybe some meaning will start to shine through. So, this dream reminds me of this dream.

"The television and the radio were buzzing and melding. Snakes slithered out of the television said: 'the reason you are seeing all this is because it's the beginning of a nuclear war'. It was a peace-snake. I started looking for the snake when the bomb blew up. Me and a few other kids were the only ones left. There weren't any adults alive. Me and my friends had to take the parts broken up of houses and make a new shelter. When I was looking for wood I found the peace-snake but it was dead. We dug a deep hole where we buried the snake and we built our house over it. At night blue and silver and black and red dust blew in. We thought it was a good dust, but it turned out to be radiation dust. It coated the house. The kid who had helped us build the shelter died. Later a few other kids died to, so we had a small grave yard. Sparkling white dust blew in the next night. We thought it was bad dust too, but it wasn't. It flew into our house. There was a big pile of it near to the hole where we buried the peace-snake. We heard these murmuring words from the hole saying: 'put some of this white dust in the hole and you'll cure me, it's peace-dust'. So we did. That night it grew into a beautiful big snake with all these different colors, then it curled around the hole house and it told us whenever there was going to be a radioactive storm. A peace-storm came that made the snake grow and covered the ground with white dust like thick snow. We found if we put a little peace-dust on our plates we'd have fruits and things to eat and when it melded it dissolved the radioactive dust with it. After the peace-dust went away, there was a big forest and a few houses and people. There were wild animals walked around and weren't afraid of people. There were no big buildings or apartments. Peace-snake became our pet."

Well, you see that’s a complex dream and it indicates this imagery is more complicated than you might think at first view. In this dream the white dust was the good dust. In this dream it’s white dust. Now that equation doesn’t necessarily follow when you compare a 10 year old dream with an adult’s dream. It is a reference to the albedo, but if the dreamer is in need of more shadow assimilation then the emphasis on whiteness can have a negative amplification. These things are bipolar and are not easily interpreted in a simple way. What one can say is that dust belongs to the symbolism of sublimatio. White dust is white foliated earth in alchemical terms. It’s been pounded and been reacted upon so intensely that it approaches the state of a gas, you see. It becomes then a smokey, vaporous stuff. It suspends in air. It’s almost gaseous. So that one is dealing with a earthly entity that’s been subjected to ordeals of one kind or another. It’s earth that has been foliated or it’s earth that has been gone through the calcenatio if it’s ash. Ash belongs to that symbolism, the calcenatio. So that it’s undergone a spiritualizing process and it’s evident that it insists on making its presence known, in other words, one cannot hermetically seal oneself from it. It represents events outside the Ego that require an opening up to in some form or another. Taking us back to what I said earlier about the nature of apocalypse imagery, it need not be negative or disastrous at all, if the Ego is open and cooperative with the coming of the Self. Only when the Ego is alienated and antagonistic towards to the reality of the Self does the apocalypse become a catastrophe.

OK, that’s all for tonight.

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