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By thee, cruel huntsman, Thou unknown — God! This remarkable image of the hunter-god is not a mere dithyrambic figure of speech but is based on an experience which Nietzsche had when he was fifteen years old, at Pforta. It was a nightmare. No one with ears can misunderstand the shrill whistling of the storm-god in the nocturnal wood. Was it really only the classical philologist in Nietzsche that led to the god being called Dionysus instead of Wotan — or was it perhaps due to his fateful meeting with Wagner?
I have never forgotten this little book, for it struck me at the time as a forecast of the German weather. Wotan disappeared when his oaks fell and appeared again when the Christian God proved too weak to save Christendom from fratricidal slaughter.
When the Holy Father at Rome could only impotently lament before God the fate of the grex segregatus, the one-eyed old hunter, on the edge of the German forest, laughed and saddled Sleipnir. We are always convinced that the modern world is a reasonable world, basing our opinion on economic, political, and psychological factors. But if we may forget for a moment that we are living in the year of Our Lord , and, laying aside our well-meaning, all-too-human reasonableness, may burden God or the gods with the responsibility for contemporary events instead of man, we would find Wotan quite suitable as a casual hypothesis.
There is no doubt that each of these factors explains an important aspect of what is going on in Germany, but Wotan explains yet more. He is particularly enlightening in regard to a general phenomenon which is so strange to anybody not a German that it remains incomprehensible, even after the deepest reflection.
Perhaps we may sum up this general phenomenon as Ergriffenheit — a state of being seized or possessed. The term postulates not only an Ergriffener one who is seized but, also, an Ergreifer one who seizes. Wotan is an Ergreifer of men, and, unless one wishes to deify Hitler — which has indeed actually happened — he is really the only explanation.
It is true that Wotan shares this quality with his cousin Dionysus, but Dionysus seems to have exercised his influence mainly on women. The maenads were a species of female storm-troopers, and, according to mythical reports, were dangerous enough. Wotan confined himself to the berserkers, who found their vocation as the Blackshirts of mythical kings.
A mind that is still childish thinks of the gods as metaphysical entities existing in their own right, or else regards them as playful or superstitious inventions.
From either point of view the parallel between Wotan redivivus and the social, political and psychic storm that is shaking Germany might have at least the value of a parable. But since the gods are without doubt personifications of psychic forces, to assert their metaphysical existence is as much an intellectual presumption as the opinion that they could ever be invented.
This is only another piece of intellectual presumption. Our mania for rational explanations obviously has its roots in our fear of metaphysics, for the two were always hostile brothers. Hence, anything unexpected that approaches us from the dark realm is regarded either as coming from outside and, therefore, as real, or else as an hallucination and, therefore, not true.
The idea that anything could be real or true which does not come from outside has hardly begun to dawn on contemporary man. It seems to me that Wotan hits the mark as an hypothesis. Apparently he really was only asleep in the Kyffhauser mountain until the ravens called him and announced the break of day. He is a fundamental attribute of the German psyche, an irrational psychic factor which acts on the high pressure of civilization like a cyclone and blows it away.
Despite their crankiness, the Wotan-worshippers seem to have judged things more correctly than the worshippers of reason. Apparently everyone had forgotten that Wotan is a Germanic datum of first importance, the truest expression and unsurpassed personification of a fundamental quality that is particularly characteristic of the Germans. Houston Stewart Chamberlain is a symptom which arouses suspicion that other veiled gods may be sleeping elsewhere.
A hurricane has broken loose in Germany while we still believe it is fine weather. Things are comparatively quiet in Switzerland, though occasionally there is a puff of wind from the north or south. Sometimes it has a slightly ominous sound, sometimes it whispers so harmlessly or even idealistically that no one is alarmed.
It is sometimes said that the Swiss are singularly averse to making a problem of themselves. I must rebut this accusation: the Swiss do have their problems, but they would not admit it for anything in the world, even though they see which way the wind is blowing.
We thus pay our tribute to the time of storm and stress in Germany, but we never mention it, and this enables us to feel vastly superior.
It is above all the Germans who have an opportunity, perhaps unique in history, to look into their own hearts and to learn what those perils of the soul were from which Christianity tried to rescue mankind. Germany is a land of spiritual catastrophes, where nature never makes more than a pretense of peace with the world-ruling reason. It is an elemental Dionysus breaking into the Apollonian order. The rouser of this tempest is named Wotan, and we can learn a good deal about him from the political confusion and spiritual upheaval he has caused throughout history.
For a more exact investigation of his character, however, we must go back to the age of myths, which did not explain everything in terms of man and his limited capacities, but sought the deeper cause in the psyche and its autonomous powers.
This could be done the more readily on account of the firmly established primordial types or images which are innate in the unconscious of many races and exercise a direct influence upon them. For Wotan has a peculiar biology of his own, quite apart from the nature of man.
It is only from time to time that individuals fall under the irresistible influence of this unconscious factor. When it is quiescent, one is no more aware of the archetype Wotan than of a latent epilepsy.
Could the Germans who were adults in have foreseen what they would be today? When the wind blows it shakes everything that is insecure, whether without or within. The reader need not fear that this book is nothing but a scientific study written with academic aloofness from the subject.
Certainly the right to scientific objectivity is fully preserved, and the material has been collected with extraordinary thoroughness and presented in unusually clear form. But, over and above all this, one feels that the author is vitally interested in it, that the chord of Wotan is vibrating in him, too. This is no criticism — on the contrary, it is one of the chief merits of the book, which without this enthusiasm might easily have degenerated into a tedious catalogue.
Ninck sketches a really magnificent portrait of the German archetype Wotan. He describes him in ten chapters, using all the available sources, as the berserker, the god of storm, the wanderer, the warrior, the Wunsch- and Minne-god, the lord of the dead and of the Einherjar, the master of secret knowledge, the magician, and the god of the poets.
Neither the Valkyries nor the Fylgja are forgotten, for they form part of the mythological background and fateful significance of Wotan. He shows that Wotan is not only a god of rage and frenzy who embodies the instinctual and emotion aspect of the unconscious. Its intuitive and inspiring side, also, manifests itself in him, for he understands the runes and can interpret fate. The Romans identified Wotan with Mercury, but his character does not really correspond to any Roman or Greek god, although there are certain resemblances.
He is a wanderer like Mercury, for instance, he rules over the dead like Pluto and Kronos, and is connected with Dionysus by his emotional frenzy, particularly in its mantic aspect. It is surprising that Ninck does not mention Hermes, the god of revelation, who as pneuma and nous is associated with the wind.
He would be the connecting-link with the Christian pneuma and the miracle of Pentecost. As Poimandres the shepherd of men , Hermes is an Ergreifer like Wotan.
Ninck rightly points out that Dionysus and the other Greek gods always remained under the supreme authority of Zeus, which indicates a fundamental difference between the Greek and the Germanic temperament.
But the Greeks had gods who helped man against other gods; indeed, All-Father Zeus himself is not far from the ideal of a benevolent, enlightened despot. He simply disappeared when the times turned against him, and remained invisible for more than a thousand years, working anonymously and indirectly.
Archetypes are like riverbeds which dry up when the water deserts them, but which it can find again at any time. An archetype is like an old watercourse along which the water of life has flowed for centuries, digging a deep channel for itself.
The longer it has flowed in this channel the more likely it is that sooner or later the water will return to its old bed. The life of the individual as a member of society and particularly as a part of the State may be regulated like a canal, but the life of nations is a great rushing river which is utterly beyond human control, in the hands of One who has always been stronger than men.
The League of Nations, which was supposed to possess supranational authority, is regarded by some as a child in need of care and protection, by others as an abortion.
Thus, the life of nations rolls on unchecked, without guidance, unconscious of where it is going, like a rock crashing down the side of a hill, until it is stopped by an obstacle stronger than itself. Political events move from one impasse to the next, like a torrent caught in gullies, creeks and marshes. All human control comes to an end when the individual is caught in a mass movement. Then, the archetypes begin to function, as happens, also, in the lives of individuals when they are confronted with situations that cannot be dealt with in any of the familiar ways.
But what a so-called Fuhrer does with a mass movement can plainly be seen if we turn our eyes to the north or south of our country. Fascism in Italy and the civil war in Spain show that in the south as well the cataclysm has been far greater than one expected.
Even the Catholic Church can no longer afford trials of strength. The nationalist God has attacked Christianity on a broad front. They go to an enormous amount of trouble to make it look less alarming by dressing it up in a conciliatory historical garb and giving us consoling glimpses of great figures such as Meister Eckhart, who was, also, a German and, also, ergriffen. In this way the awkward question of who the Ergreifer is is circumvented. But what do all the beauties of the past from totally different levels of culture mean to the man of today, when confronted with a living and unfathomable tribal god such as he has never experienced before?
They are sucked like dry leaves into the roaring whirlwind, and the rhythmic alliterations of the Edda became inextricably mixed up with Christian mystical texts, German poetry and the wisdom of the Upanishads.
Hauer himself is ergriffen by the depths of meaning in the primal words lying at the root of the Germanic languages, to an extent that he certainly never knew before. Hauer the Indologist is not to blame for this, nor yet the Edda; it is rather the fault of kairos — the present moment in time — whose name on closer investigation turns out to be Wotan. I would, therefore, advise the German Faith Movement to throw aside their scruples. Intelligent people who will not confuse them with the crude Wotan-worshippers whose faith is a mere pretense.
There are people in the German Faith Movement who are intelligent enough not only to believe, but to know, that the god of the Germans is Wotan and not the Christian God. This is a tragic experience and no disgrace.
It has always been terrible to fall into the hands of a living god. Yahweh was no exception to this rule, and the Philistines, Edomites, Amorites and the rest, who were outside the Yahweh experience, must certainly have found it exceedingly disagreeable.
The Semitic experience of Allah was for a long time an extremely painful affair for the whole of Christendom. We who stand outside judge the Germans far too much, as if they were responsible agents, but perhaps it would be nearer the truth to regard them, also, as victims.
If we apply are admittedly peculiar point of view consistently, we are driven to conclude that Wotan must, in time, reveal not only the restless, violent, stormy side of his character, but, also, his ecstatic and mantic qualities — a very different aspect of his nature. If this conclusion is correct, National Socialism would not be the last word. Things must be concealed in the background which we cannot imagine at present, but we may expect them to appear in the course of the next few years or decades.
But the Obstruction will not last forever; it is rather a reculer pour mieux sauter, and the water will over leap the obstacle.
How fare the gods? All Jotunheim groans, the gods are at council; Loud roar the dwarfs by the doors of stone, The masters of the rocks: would you know yet more? Now Garm howls loud before Gnipahellir; The fetters will burst, and the wolf run free; Much I do know, and more can see Of the fate of the gods, the mighty in fight.
C. G. Jung – Essay on Wotan [w. Nietzsche]
The essay focuses on the ideas of Dr. The primary source of inspiration for Dr. Jung — Wotan. In , as pointed out by Dr. Elsewhere, not contained in the Bolton essay, this was stated by Dr. His body does not suggest strength.
Carl Jung on Hitler as Personification of the Wotan Archetype
Their first child, born in , was a boy named Paul, who survived only a few days. Preiswerk was antistes , the title given to the head of the Reformed clergy in the city, as well as a Hebraist , author, and editor, who taught Paul Jung as his professor of Hebrew at Basel University. Emilie Jung was an eccentric and depressed woman; she spent considerable time in her bedroom where she said that spirits visited her at night. He reported that one night he saw a faintly luminous and indefinite figure coming from her room with a head detached from the neck and floating in the air in front of the body. Jung had a better relationship with his father. Later, these early impressions were revised: I have trusted men friends and been disappointed by them, and I have mistrusted women and was not disappointed. Known in the family as "Trudi", she later became a secretary to her brother.
carl jung wotan essays
Thou unknown — God! This remarkable image of the hunter-god is not a mere dithyrambic figure of speech but is based on an experience which Nietzsche had when he was fifteen years old, at Pforta. It was a nightmare. No one with ears can misunderstand the shrill whistling of the storm-god in the nocturnal wood. Was it really only the classical philologist in Nietzsche that led to the god being called Dionysus instead of Wotan — or was it perhaps due to his fateful meeting with Wagner? I have never forgotten this little book, for it struck meat the time as a forecast of the German weather. Wotan disappeared when his oaks fell and appeared again when the Christian God proved too weak to save Christendom from fratricidal slaughter.
Essay On Wotan By Dr. Carl Jung
Four of these were so important that, in spite of the ferocity of dark age intolerance, the days of the week still bear their names. They, too, are clothed in allegory, and are symbolic of the very meaning of our existenceour evolutionary ascent to the Superhuman Species. Joseph JOST Turner The mythological archetypes of a race derive from the deepest collective unconscious mind of its folk, and reveal themselves in ethnic symbols of philosophy, art, religion and heroic legends. Jung understood the race archetype as the well-spring from which an individual or a whole people are capable of finding a complete revitalization of both soul and will, and this would become the essential cornerstone for much of his future therapeutic work. The Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, Dr.