|Carl G Jung|
Carl G Jung
Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology.
Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the 'extroverted' and the 'introverted' personality, 'archetypes', and the 'collective unconscious'.
His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.
Individuation is the central concept of analytical psychology.
Jung considered 'individuation', the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious while still maintaining their relative autonomy, to be the central process of human development.
Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts, including the 'archetype', the 'collective unconscious', the 'complex', and 'synchronicity'.
Jung saw the human psyche as "by nature religious", and made this religiosity the focus of his explorations.
Jung is one of the best known contemporary contributors to dream analysis and symbolization.
Though he was a practising clinician and considered himself to be a scientist, much of his life's work was spent exploring tangential areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts.
His interest in philosophy and the occult led many to view him as a mystic.
JUNG and HITLER
With regard to Adolf Hitler Jung stated that:
'Hitler seemed like the 'double' of a real person, as if Hitler the man might be hiding inside, and deliberately so concealed in order not to disturb the mechanism.... You know you could never talk to this man; because there is nobody there.... It is not an individual; it is an entire nation.'
This essay by Jung is included in order to show that the concept of psychic possession was considered a real possibility by one of the most astute academic minds of the time.
Unfortunately, Jung did not have much of the information about Hitler that has since become available - and this may account for the fact that he was probably mistaken in his identification of Wotan as the entity that was responsible for the possession of Hitler, however, many of his insights into Hitler and his relationship with the German people are highly relevant and revealing.
JUNG and NATIONAL SOCIALISM
The electrifying power of the swastika; Albert Speer’s dazzling lighting effects at the Nuremberg rallies; Hitler’s “demonic” oratory and his own 'deification' as the Führer; the romantic vision of a bucolic Germany rooted in “blood and soil,” as opposed to an urban, mechanical modernity - all were part of the myth of National Socialism.
Like the French syndicalist George Sorel and the political philosopher Leo Strauss, Hitler knew that in politics, myth is often more important than the “truth,” a difficult commodity to pin down at any time. Reason and rationality are boring and demand effort.
Georges Eugène Sorel (2 November 1847 – 29 August 1922) was a French philosopher and theorist of revolutionary syndicalism. His notion of the power of myth in people's lives inspired National Socialist theory. It is, together with his defence of violence, the contribution for which he is most often remembered.
Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German–American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany, and later emigrated to the United States. He spent most of his career as a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, where he taught several generations of students and published fifteen books.
Originally trained in the neo-Kantian tradition with Ernst Cassirer, and immersed in the work of the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Strauss later focused his research on the Greek texts of Plato and Aristotle.
Myth bypasses the inhibitions of the critical mind, and reaches down to the vital, occult forces below.
This is what makes a myth exciting and enlivening.
It is also what makes it dangerous.
One was the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, perhaps more than anyone else, the single most important figure in the reawakening of spiritual thought in modern times.
Although for much of his career Jung obscured his interest in the occult, in his later years his writings on 'Gnosticism', alchemy, the paranormal, spiritualism, and even flying saucers brought these otherwise marginal areas into the field of respectable research.
Predictably, Jung’s occult inclinations led to criticisms of irrationalism.
Ludwig Klages (10 December 1872 – 29 July 1956) was a prominent German philosopher associated with the intellectual movement known as ‘vitalism’ (Biozentrismus). He created a complete theory of graphology and will be long associated with the concepts of form level, rhythm and bi-polar interpretation. He is important because together with Nietzsche and Bergson he anticipated existential phenomenology. He also coined the term logocentrism in the 1920s.
The neo-Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, himself no stranger to Rosicrucianesque utopias, once described Jung as a “fascistically frothing psychoanalyst.”
Other neo-Marxist philosophers, like Theodor Adorno, likewise branded Jung a National Socialist.
The tag was perhaps first made seriously by the German-Jewish cultural philosopher Walter Benjamin, who, unlike Adorno, had some interest in occult ideas, specifically the 'Kabbalah' and graphology, a discipline he shared, ironically, with the Klages.
(Benjamin was also a close friend of the'Kabbalist' scholar Gershom Scholem, who, as mentioned, was an associate of Jung at the Eranos lectures.)
קַבָּלָה, literally "receiving/tradition"; also Romanised Cabala, Qabbālâ, etc. - is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is called a Mekubal (Hebrew: מְקוּבָל).Kabbalah's definition varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its later Christian, New Age, or Occultist syncretic adaptations. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (the ONE) and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation). While it is heavily used by some denominations, it is not a religious denomination in itself. It forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and thereby attain spiritual realisation.
Adorno, Bloch, and others saw Jung’s psychology as a simple celebration of the unconscious, a rejection of the rational, critical mind, in the same vein as the work of the more straightforward irrationalist Klages, whose ideas about Seele (soul) in opposition to Geist (spirit), they argue, helped prime the German psyche for Hitler.
It is a fact that Jung, like many others, at first believed that the creative potential of Germany might find fruitful expression through Hitler.
According to Jung’s psychology, the “shadow” side of the psyche, though associated with “evil,” can often be the source of “good,” of new life and transformation, and Jung reportedly spoke of the National Socialists as “a chaotic precondition for the birth of a new world,” a nod to Nietzsche’s remark that “One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star.”
More recently, in his controversial work 'The Jung Cult', Richard Noll makes similar charges against Jung, arguing that in his early career the heir apparent to the throne of Freud immersed himself in the Aryan occult milieu of Munich and Ascona, as a devotee of völkisch beliefs who envisioned himself a kind of national savior.
Other works suggest that in his later career Jung was, while not a full-fledged party member, at least a kind of “fellow traveler”.
In the words of the novelist Thomas Mann, Jung was “always a half-Nazi.”
Pronouncements on the “old” Jewish psyche and the “youthful” German one were bound to be misread in the dark days of the 1930s.
Likewise, Jung’s remark that the Jews seem “never to have created a cultural form of their own,” but require a “host nation,” would have been read in 1934 (when it was made) in one way only, that the Jew was a parasite, feeding off its Aryan host.
|Reichmarshal Hermann Göring|
During Jung’s editorship of the Zentralblatt, Dr. M. H. Göring - a cousin of Reichmarshal Hermann Göring - who had been made president of the German Section of the Society, inserted a pro-Nazi statement of principles in an issue in 1933, recommending 'Mein Kampf' as a basic text for all psychotherapists, and urging all members to declare their loyalty to National Socialism.
But in a sense, Jung’s encounter with National Socialism is a red herring.
Whether he was inclined toward the NSDAP or not, like Schwaller de Lubicz, Jung was in many ways a 'man of the right, and like René Guénon, he had little love for the modern world.
|Schwaller de Lubicz|
René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz (1887 – 1961), born René Adolphe Schwaller in Alsace-Lorraine, was a French occultist, student of sacred geometry and Egyptologist, known for his twelve year study of the art and architecture of the Temple of Luxor in Egypt and his subsequent book 'The Temple In Man'. René Schwaller left home at the age of eighteen after having completed an apprenticeship with his father in pharmaceutical chemistry. Moving to Paris from Alsace to study modern chemistry and physics, he developed an interest in Alchemy, reading every alchemical text he could find including those by Paracelsus and Raymond Lull.
René Guénon (November 15, 1886 – January 7, 1951), was a French author and intellectual who remains an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics, having written on topics ranging from metaphysics, "sacred science" and traditional studies to symbolism and initiation. In his writings, he proposes either "to expose directly some aspects of Eastern metaphysical doctrines", these doctrines being defined by him as of "universal character", or "to adapt these same doctrines for Western readers while keeping strictly faithful to their spirit"; he only endorsed the act of "handing down" these Eastern doctrines, while reiterating their "non-individual character".
|Jung's Home - Bollingen|
He was notoriously disparaging of modern culture, and saw works like James Joyce’s Ulysses and Picasso’s paintings as indications of a psychic deterioration.
There was also an authoritarian streak in Jung which made him partial to individuals like Spain’s Francisco Franco.
Writing in 1936, Jung argued that “the loss of any firm authority is gradually leading to an intellectual, political, and social anarchy, which is repugnant to the soul of European man, accustomed as he is to patriarchal order.”
Like Ouspensky, Jung believed that the state was “intellectually and ethically far below the level of most of the individuals in it,” yet he felt that modern man was increasingly moving toward some absorption in the mass.
One agent of this was the welfare state, which Jung saw as a “doubtful blessing” that “robs people of their individual responsibility and turns them into infants and sheep” and produces a collectivist society in which “the capable will simply be exploited by the irresponsible,” an argument often made by conservative politicians and right-wing thinkers.
Against these trends, Jung offered his concept of individuation, the psychological process through which, in Nietzsche’s phrase, “one becomes what one is,” and which Jung saw as Western man’s only hope to avoid being absorbed in some homogeneous social mass, the “mass man” of modern times.
As Noll argues in his challenging work, it’s easy to see this as Jung’s own call for an elite; by Jung’s admission, individuation, while theoretically possible for everyone, is really embraced only by the few, although there is nothing to stop others from doing so, except inclination.
The echoes of Guénon and Schwaller are obvious, yet Jung’s individuation, like the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s self-actualizing, doesn’t call for some primordial tradition or temple knowledge, but for us to take on the responsibility of realizing our own personality and potential, which Jung called “an act of the greatest courage in the face of life.”
JUNG AND THE JEWISH QUESTION
Jung's ideas had "official approval" in the Third Reich, and, as a result, "German psychotherapists did all they could to link Jung's name with their own activities".
Jung's work was in fact cited by German racial theoreticians and appeared in official German bibliographies of the period.
In an interview on Radio Berlin in 1933, Jung stated:
Jung's work was in fact cited by German racial theoreticians and appeared in official German bibliographies of the period.
In an interview on Radio Berlin in 1933, Jung stated:
"As Hitler said recently, the Führer must be able to be alone and must have the courage to go his own way. But if he doesn't know himself, how is he to lead others ? That is why the true leader [Führer] is always one who has the courage to be himself, and can look not only others in the eye but above all himself.... Every movement culminates organically in a leader, who embodies in his whole being the meaning and purpose of the popular movement."
And in his paper, 'Der Zustand der Psychotherapie heute' ( 1934), Jung wrote:
"Freud did not understand the Germanic psyche any more than did his Germanic followers. Has the formidable phenomenon of National Socialism, on which the whole world gazes with astonishment, taught them better ? Where was that unparalleled tension and energy while as yet no National Socialism existed ? Deep in the Germanic psyche, in a pit that is anything but a garbage-bin of unrealizable infantile wishes and unresolved family resentments."
In the same paper, which clarifies the somewhat cryptic language above, Jung asserted (about Jews):
"The 'Aryan' unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish. The Jew who is something of a nomad has never yet created a cultural form of his own and as far as we can see never will, since all his instincts and talents require a more or less civilized nation to act as host for their development. The Jews have this peculiarity with women; being physically weaker, they have to aim at the chinks in the armour of their adversary."
Jung also warned against "applying Jewish categories indiscriminately to Germanic and Slavic Christendom".
A similar observation occurs in a footnote to the 'Zwei Aufsätze auf Analytische Psychologie', first published in 1928. and republished in 1935: "It is a quite unpardonable mistake to accept the conclusions of a Jewish psychology as generally valid".
In Zentralblatt editorial he wrote that "the differences which actually do exist between Germanic and Jewish psychology and which have been long known to every intelligent person are no longer to be glossed over."
In a letter to his pupil Dr Kranefeldt in 1934, Jung wrote:
"As is known, one cannot do anything against stupidity, but in this instance the Aryan people can point out that, with Freud and Adler, specifically Jewish points of view are publicly preached, and as can be proved likewise, points of view that have an essentially corrosive character."
Earlier, in 1918, Jung had written that the Jew..
"is badly at a loss for that quality in man which roots him to the earth and draws new strength from below. This chthonic quality is to be found in the German peoples.... The Jew has too little of this quality - where has he his own earth underfoot."
However, in the "Erwiderung auf Dr. Bally", Jung says: "I must confess my total inability to understand why it should be a crime to speak of Jewish psychology."
Jung also asserts that "psychological differences obtained between all nations and races."
Hitler regarded all history as consisting of struggles between competing nations for living space and, eventually, for world domination.
Hitler regarded all history as consisting of struggles between competing nations for living space and, eventually, for world domination.
The Jews, according to Hitler, are a nation and participate in these struggles, but their goal, quite directly and in the first instance, is world domination.
This is because the Jews do not start off with possession of living space, of an identifiable, geographical locality; it has to be the world or nothing.
In fact, for Hitler, the nationalism of the Jews is really "de- nationalism, the bastardization of other nations".
The Jewish nation achieves its goal of world domination by denationalizing existing states from within, and imposing a homogeneous "Jewish" character on them by its inter-national capitalism, and its equally inter-national communism.
So, in Hitler's thinking, there is a struggle between wholesome nationhood and its corrupting; enemy, the Jews.
Jung, too, was interested in the idea of the nation, and he makes innumerable references to "the psychology of the nation" and to the influence of a person's national background.
He says that "the soil of every country holds a mystery.... There is a relationship of body to earth."
For example in 1918, Jung asserted that the skull and pelvis measurements of second-generation American immigrants were becoming "indianized".
It can be seen, however, that Jung was not thinking along purely racial lines, for the immigrants from Europe and the indigenous Indians come from different races.
No, living in America, living on American soil, being part of the American nation, these are what exert profound physiological and psychological effects. "The foreign land.. has assimilated the conqueror," says Jung, and his argument is not based simply on race, but on earth and culture, as the matrix from which we evolve.
Earth plus culture equals nation.
In C.G. Jung, nationalism found its psychologist.
But in his role as a psychologist of nationhood, his role as a psychologist who lends his authority to nationalism, Jung's pan-psychism (Jung's phrase) developed considerably.
This development refers to the tendency to see all outer events in terms of inner dynamics, and it led Jung to claim that the nation is a personified concept that corresponds in reality only to a specific nuance of the individual psyche. The nation is nothing but an inborn character.
It should be noted that there is no hard evidence that Jung's approach to the concept of nation is fundamentally metaphorical or "mythological".
To sum up - first, a crucial aspect of Hitler's thinking is that the Jews represent a threat to the inevitable and healthy struggle of different nations for world domination.
Second, - Jung's view is that each nation has a different, and identifiable national psychology that is, in some manner, an innate factor.
At first sight, juxtaposing these two points of view might seem innocuous, or pointless.
But if we go on to explore the place of the Jews in Jung's mental ecology, to find out where they are situated in his view of the world, then the juxtaposition of the two points of view takes on a far more profound significance.
The ideas of nation, and of national difference form a fulcrum between the Hitlers thought, and Jung's analytical psychology.
For, as a psychologist of nations, Jung too would feel threatened by the Jews, this strange so-called nation without a land.
Jung, too, would feel threatened by the Jews, this strange nation without cultural forms - that is, without national cultural forms - of its own, and hence, in Jung's words of 1933, requiring a "host nation".
There is 'Jewish psychology', meaning the psychological characteristics, prejudices and assumptions of a "typical" Jewish person.
Jung argues that everybody is affected by their background and this leads to all kinds of prejudices and assumptions - "every child knows that differences exist" .
There is, however, a second use by Jung of this term "Jewish psychology".
It has another implication.
Here, he is referring to systems of psychology developed by Jews such as Freud and Adler, systems that claim universal applicability and truth.
Such a psychology is a "leveling psychology" (Jung's words), in that it undermines the idea that there are psychological differences between groups of peoples, such as nations.
Such a psychology is wrong to apply "Jewish categories . . . indiscriminately" and, Jung goes on to note, one should not make the "unpardonable mistake of accepting the conclusion of a Jewish psychology as generally valid".
Jung is saying that Jewish psychoanalysis attacks the idea of psychological differences between nations.
Jewish psychoanalysis therefore occupies a place in Jung's mind analogous to the place occupied in Hitler's mind by Jewish international capitalism, and Jewish international atheistic and materialist Communism.
The great fears are,respectively, "leveling" and "denationalizing".
Jung and Hitler do not say exactly the same things about the Jews, of course, but the leveling aim of Jewish psychology, and the denationalizing aim of Jewish political and economic activity, represents a similar kind of threat to each of them.
So each develops a similar kind of concern.
For Hitler, this takes the form of a concern with a Jewish "spirit", functioning as a 'pestilential bacillus', undermining the very idea of nation.
For Jung, this takes the form of an concern with a Jewish psychology, capable of being imposed on all other ethnic and national psychologies, bringing them all down to the same level.
|© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012|
|© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012|
Carl Gustav Jung
First published as 'Wotan, Neue Schweizer Rundschau' (Zurich). n.s. - III March, 1936
|Carl Gustav Jung|
|© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012|
We were even beginning to regard war between civilized nations as a fable, thinking that such an absurdity would become less and less possible in our rational, internationally organized world.
And what came after the war was a veritable witches’ Sabbath.
Everywhere fantastic revolutions, violent alterations of the map, reversions in politics to medieval or even antique prototypes, totalitarian states that engulf their neighbours and outdo all previous theocracies in their absolutist claims, persecutions of Christians and Jews, wholesale political murder, and finally we have witnessed a light-hearted piratical raid on a peaceful, half-civilized people.
With such goings on in the wide world it is not in the least surprising that there should be equally curious manifestations on a smaller scale in other spheres.
In the realm of philosophy we shall have to wait some time before anyone is able to assess the kind of age that we are living in.
But in the sphere of religion we can see at once that some very significant things have been happening.
We need feel no surprise that in Russia the colourful splendours of the Eastern Orthodox Church have been superseded by the 'Movement of the Godless' – indeed, one breathed a sigh of relief oneself when one emerged from the haze of an Orthodox church with its multitude of lamps and entered an honest mosque, where the sublime and invisible omnipresence of God was not crowded out by a superfluity of sacred paraphernalia.
Tasteless and pitiably unintelligent as it is, and however deplorable the low spiritual level of the “Scientific” reaction, it was inevitable that nineteenth-century “scientific” enlightenment should one day dawn in Russia.
But what is more than curious – indeed, piquant to a degree – is that an ancient God of storm and frenzy, the long quiescent Wotan, should awake, like an extinct volcano, to new activity.
|Wandervogel auf dem Berggipfel|
We have seen him come to life in the 'German Youth Movement', and right at the beginning the blood of several sheep was shed in honour of his resurrection.
Armed with rucksack and lute, blond youths, and sometimes girls as well, were to be seen as restless wanderers on every road from North Cape to Sicily, faithful votaries of the roving god.
Later, towards the end of the Weimar Republic, the wandering role was taken over by thousands of unemployed, who were to be met with everywhere on their aimless journeys.
|Wandervogel Jungen Camp|
|Nackt Wandervogel Jungen|
By 1933 they wandered no longer, but marched in their hundreds of thousands.
The Hitler movement literally brought the whole of Germany to its feet, from five-year-olds to veterans, and produced a spectacle of a nation migrating from one place to another.
Wotan the wanderer was on the move.
He could be seen, looking rather shamefaced, in the meeting-house of a sect of simple folk in North Germany, disguised as Christ sitting on a white horse.
I do not know if these people were aware of Wotan’s ancient connection with the figures of Christ and Dionysus, but it is not very probable.
Wotan is a restless wanderer who creates unrest and stirs up strife, now here, now there, and works magic.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
|Franz von Stuck - 'Die Wilde Jagd'|
He was soon changed by Christianity into the devil, and only lived on in fading local traditions as a ghostly hunter who was seen with his retinue, flickering like a will o’ the wisp through the stormy night.
The German youths who celebrated the solstice with sheep-sacrifices were not the first to hear the rustling in the primeval forest of unconsciousness.
They were anticipated by Nietzsche, Schuler, Stefan George, and Ludwig Klages.
The literary tradition of the Rhineland and the country south of the Main has a classical stamp that cannot easily be got rid of; every interpretation of intoxication and exuberance is apt to be taken back to classical models, to Dionysus, to the peur aeternus and the cosmogonic Eros.
No doubt it sounds better to academic ears to interpret these things as Dionysus, but Wotan might be a more correct interpretation.
He is the god of the storm and frenzy, the unleasher of passions and the lust of battle; moreover he is superlative magician and artist in illusion who is versed in all secrets of an occult nature. Nietzsche’s case is certainly a peculiar one.
|Also Sprach Zarathustra|
He had no knowledge of Germanic literature; he discovered the “cultural Philistine”; and the announcement that “God is dead” led to Zarathustra’s meeting with an unknown god in unexpected form, who approached him sometimes as an enemy and sometimes disguised as Zarathustra himself.
Zarathustra, too, was a soothsayer, a magician, and the storm-wind.
'And like a wind shall I come to blow among them, and with my spirit shall take away the breath of their spirit; thus my future wills it. Truly, a strong wind is Zarathustra to all that are low; and this counsel gives he to his enemies and to all that spit and spew: “Beware of spitting against the wind.” And when Zarathustra dreamed that he was guardian of the graves in the “lone mountain forest of death,” and was making a mighty effort to open the gates, suddenly a roaring wind tore the gates asunder; whistling, shrieking, and keening, it cast a black coffin before me. And amid the roaring and whistling and shrieking the coffin burst open and spouted a thousand peals of laughter. The disciple who interpreted the dream said to Zarathustra: Are you not yourself the wind with shrill whistling, which bursts open the gates of the fortress of death? Are you not yourself the coffin filled with life’s gay malice and angel-grimaces ?'
In 1863 or 1864, in his poem:
'To the Unknown God', Nietzsche had written: 'I shall and will know thee, Unknown One, Who searchest out the depths of my soul, And blowest through my life like a storm, Ungraspable, and yet my kinsman! I shall and will know thee, and serve thee. Twenty years later, in his Mistral Song, he wrote: Mistral wind, chaser of clouds, Killer of gloom, sweeper of the skies, Raging storm-wind, how I love thee! Are we not both the first-fruits Of the same womb, forever predestined To the same fate ?'
In the dithyramb known as Ariadne’s Lament, Nietzsche is completely the victim of the hunter-god:
'Stretched out, shuddering, Like a half-dead thing whose feet are warmed, Shaken by unknown fevers, Shivering with piercing icy frost arrows Hunted by thee, O thought, Unutterable! Veiled! Horrible one! Thou huntsman behind the cloud. Struck down by thy lightening bolt, Thou mocking eye that stares at me from the dark! Thus I lie. Writhing, twisted, tormented With all eternal tortures. Smitten 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 is described in a book by Nietzsche’s sister, Elizabeth Foerster-Nietzsche.
As he was wandering in a gloomy wood at night, he was terrified by a “blood-curdling shriek from a neighbouring lunatic asylum,” and soon afterwards he came face to face with a huntsman whose “features were wild and uncanny.”
Setting his whistle to his lips “in a valley surrounded by wild scrub,” the huntsman “blew such as a shrill blast” that Nietzsche lost consciousness – but woke up again in Pforta.
It was a nightmare.
It is significant that in his dream Nietzsche, who in reality intended to go to Eisleben, Luther’s town, discussed with the huntsman the question of going instead to “Teutschenthal” (Valley of the Germans).
|Reich ohne Raum|
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 ?
In his 'Reich ohne Raum', which was first published in 1919, Bruno Goetz saw the secret of coming events in Germany in the form of a very strange vision.
I have never forgotten this little book, for it struck me at the time as a forecast of the German weather.
It anticipates the conflict between the realm of ideas and life, between Wotan’s dual nature as a god of storm and a god of secret musings.
Wotan disappeared when his oaks fell and appeared again when the Christian God proved too weak to save Christendom from fratricidal slaughter.
|Arms of the Holy See|
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
When the Holy Father at Rome could only impotently lament before God the fate of the grex segregatus (separated flock), 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 and lay 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.
In fact, I venture the heretical suggestion that the unfathomable depths of Wotan’s character explain more of Völkisch philosophy than all three reasonable factors put together.
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' (come back to life; revived) and the social, political, and psychic storm that is shaking Germany might have at least the value of 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.
Not that “psychic forces” have anything to do with the conscious mind, fond as we are of playing with the idea that consciousness and psyche are identical.
This is only another piece of intellectual presumption.
“Psychic forces” have far more to do with the realm of the unconscious.
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 a 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.
For the sake of better understanding and to avoid prejudice, we could of course dispense with the name “Wotan” and speak instead of the 'furor Teutonicus' (furor - violent anger or frenzy; a state of intense excitement).
But we should only be saying the same thing and not as well, for the furor in this case is a mere psychologizing of Wotan and tells us no more than that the Germans are in a state of “fury.”
We thus lose sight of the most peculiar feature of this whole phenomenon, namely, the dramatic aspect of the 'Ergreifer' and the 'Ergriffener'.
The impressive thing about the German phenomenon is that one man, who is obviously “possessed,” has infected a whole nation to such an extent that everything is set in motion and has started rolling on its course towards perdition.
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 apparent 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 trust 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.
|Houston Stewart Chamberlain|
The emphasis on the German race – commonly called “Aryan” – the Germanic heritage, blood and soil, the Wagalaweia songs, the ride of the Valkyries, Jesus as a blond and blue-eyed hero, the Greek mother of St. Paul, the devil as an international Alberich in Jewish or Masonic guise, the Nordic aurora borealis as the light of civilization, the inferior Mediterranean races – all this is the indispensable scenery for the drama that is taking place and at the bottom they all mean the same thing: a god has taken possession of the Germans and their house is filled with a “mighty rushing wind.”
It was soon after Hitler seized power that a cartoon appeared in Punch of a raving berserker tearing himself free from his bonds.
A hurricane has broken loose in Germany while we still believe it is fine weather.
Things are comparatively quite 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.
“Let the sleeping dogs lie” – we manage to get along pretty well with this proverbial wisdom.
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 pretence of peace with the world-ruling reason.
The disturber of the peace is a wind that blows into Europe from Asia’s vastness, sweeping in on a wide front from Thrace to the Baltic, scattering the nations before it like dry leaves, or inspiring thoughts that shake the world to its foundations.
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 capabilities, but sought the deeper cause in the psyche and its autonomous powers.
Man’s earliest intuitions personified these powers as 'gods', and described them in the myths with great care and circumstantiality, according to their various characters.
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.
Because the behaviour of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype “Wotan.”
An archetype is a universally understood symbol, term, statement, or pattern of behaviour, - a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated.Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.
In Jung's psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype is a complex ( e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype). Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological constructs that arose through evolution.
As an autonomous psychic factor, Wotan produces effects in the collective life of a people and thereby reveals his own nature.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 1914 have foreseen what they would be today ?
Such amazing transformations are the effect of the god of wind, that “bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth.” It seizes everything in its path and overthrows everything that is not firmly rooted.
When the wind blows it shakes everything that is insecure, whether without or within.
Martin Ninck has recently published a monograph which is a most welcome addition to our knowledge of Wotan’s nature.
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- (wish) 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 (a supernatural being or creature which accompanies a person in connection to their fate or fortune) are forgotten, for they form part of the mythological background and fateful significance of Wotan.
Ninck’s inquiry into the name and its origin is particularly instructive.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
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 corresponded 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' (ancient Greek for breath, spirit or soul) and 'nous' (Greek - intellect or intelligence) 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 Germanic temperament.
Ninck assumes an inner affinity between Wotan and Kronos, and the latter’s defeat may perhaps be a sign that the Wotan-archetype was once overcome and split up in prehistoric times.
At all events, the Germanic god represents a totality on a very primitive level, - a psychological condition in which man’s will was almost identical with the god’s and entirely at his mercy.
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.
It was not in Wotan’s nature to linger on, and show signs of old age.
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 supernatural 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 Führer does with a mass movement can plainly be seen if we turn our eyes to the north or south of our country.
The ruling archetype does not remain the same forever, as is evident from the temporal limitations that have been set to the hoped-for reign of peace, the “thousand-year Reich.”
The Mediterranean father-archetype of the just, order-loving, benevolent ruler had been shattered over the whole of northern Europe, as the present fate of the Christian churches bears witness.
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.
“The German Christians” are a contradiction in many terms, and would do better to join Hauer’s 'Deutsche Glaubensbewegung' (German Faith Movement).
These are decent and well-meaning people who honestly admit their 'Ergriffenheit' and try to come to terms with this new and undeniable fact.
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.
He was always “God.”
But the more Hauer restricts the world-wide sphere of Indo-European culture to the “Nordic” in general and to the 'Edda' in particular, and the more “German” this faith becomes as a manifestation of 'Ergriffenheit', the more painfully evident it is that the “German” god is the god of the Germans.
One cannot read Hauer’s book without emotion, if one regards it as the tragic and really heroic effort of a conscientious scholar who, without knowing how it happened to him, was violently summoned by the inaudible voice of the 'Ergreifer' and is now trying with all his might, and with all his knowledge and ability, to build a bridge between the dark forces of life and the shining world of historical ideas.
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 will not confuse them with the crude Wotan-worshipers whose faith is a mere pretense.
|Jakob Wilhelm Hauer|
|Emblem of the|
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
Instead of the Bible, a combination of Indian (Hindu) and German literature was used as scripture. Hauer had worked as a missionary in India and was influenced in particular by the Bhagavad Gita. Ceremonies of the movement involved sermons, German classical music and political hymns. Hauer was considered by contemporary observers as a genuinely religious man, though his political sentiments were also commented on. The movement had around 200,000 followers at its height. Following the Nazi accession to power, it obtained rights of civil tolerance from Rudolf Hess, but never the preferential treatment from the Third Reich, for which Hauer campaigned. The development of the German Faith Movement revolved around four main themes:
- the propagation of the 'blood and soil' ideology
- the replacement of Christian ceremonies by pagan equivalents; the most favoured pagan deity being the sun, as can be seen from the flag of the faith movement
- the rejection of Christian ethics
- the cult of Hitler's personality.
Similar movements have remained active in Germany since 1945 outside mainstream educational and social structures.
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 our 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 (relating to, or having the power of divination) – 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.
Wotan’s reawakening is stepping into the past; the stream was dammed up and has broken into its old channel.
But the Obstruction will not last forever; it is rather a reculer pour mieux sauter, (go back to have a better jump) and the water will over-leap the obstacle.
Then, at last, we shall know what Wotan is saying when he “murmurs with Mimir’s head.”
Mímir (Old Norse "The rememberer, the wise one") is a figure in Norse mythology renowned for his knowledge and wisdom, who is beheaded during the Æsir-Vanir War.Afterward, the god Odin carries around Mímir's head, and it recites secret knowledge and counsel to him.
„Ich gehe manchmal in rauhen Nächten
Zur Wotanseiche in den stillen Hain,
Mit dunklen Mächten einen Bund zu flechten -
Die Runen zaubert mir der Mondenschein.
Und alle, die am Tage sich erfrechten,
Sie werden vor der Zauberformel klein!
Sie ziehen blank – doch statt den Strauß zu flechten,
Erstarren sie zu Stalagmitgestein.
So scheiden sich die Falschen von den Echten -
Ich greife in das Fibelnest hinein
Und gebe dann den Guten und Gerechten
Mit meiner Formel Segen und Gedeihn.“
Adolf Hitler 1915
I often go on bitter nights
To Wotan’s oak in the quiet glade
With dark powers to weave a union—
The runic letters the moon makes with its magic spell
And all who are full of impudence during the day
Are made small by the magic formula!
They draw shining steel—but instead of going into combat
They solidify into stalagmites.
So the false ones part from the real ones—
I reach into a nest of words
And then give to the good and just
With my formula blessings and prosperity.