Here, Carl Jung’s Wotan *, the essay entitled, “Woden As Archetype – The Carl Jung Essay”, written by New Zealand’s Dr. Kerry. A selection from Wotan by Carl Jung, Note: see here for the essay Jung wrote at the end of the first world war, and here for the essay he wrote at the end of. Carl jung wotan essay. “That the sons of revolted russian revolution who in the essay of God saw the. The figure of the heroic popular leader.
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When we look back to the time beforewe find ourselves living in a world of events which would have been inconceivable before the war. We were even beginning to regard war between civilized nations as a fable, thinking that such an absurdity would become less and less possible on our rational, internationally organized world.
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 andJews, 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 we are livinging. 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We need feel no surprise that in Russia the colourful splendours of the Eastern Orthodox Church have been superseded by theMovement of the Godless — indeed, one breathed a sigh of relief oneself when one emerged from the haze of an Orthodox church with its multitude of lamps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.
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, in a civilized country that had long been supposed to have outgrown the Middle Ages.
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 the 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.
By 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 Wotwn sitting on a white horse. Jun is a restless wanderer who creates unrest and stirs up strife, now here, now there, and works magic. In the Middle Ages the role of the restless wanderer was taken over by Ahasuerus, the Wandering Jew, which is not a Jewish but a Christian legend.
Carl Jung on Hitler as Personification of the Wotan Archetype
The motif of the wanderer who has not accepted Christ was projected on the Jews, in the same way as we always rediscover our unconscious psychic contents in other people. At any rate the coincidence of anti-Semitism with the reawakening of Wotan essa a psychological subtlety that may perhaps be worth mentioning.
The German youths who celebrated the solstice with sheep-sacrifices were not the first to hear the rustling in the primeval forest of the unconsciousness. The literary tradition of the Rhineland and the country south of the Main has a classical stamp that cannot easily essy got rid of; every interpretation of intoxication and exuberance is apt to be taken back to classical models, to Dionysus, to the puer aeternus and the cosmogonic Eros. No doubt it sounds better to academic ears to interpret these things asDionysus, carll Wotan might be a more correct interpretation.
He is the god of storm and frenzy, the unleasher of passions and the lust of battle; moreover he is a superlative magician and artist in illusion jnug is versed in all secrets of an occult nature.
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 will sit.
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: 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. Are you not yourself the wind with shrill whistling,which bursts open the gates of the fortress of death? 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 calr 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.
C. G. Jung – Essay on Wotan [w. Nietzsche] – Peter Sjöstedt-H
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, kung psychological factors.
But if we may forget for a moment that we are living in the year of Our Lordand, 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— csrl has indeed actually happened — he is really the only explanation. It is true that Wotsn 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.
Carl Jung on Hitler as Personification of the Wotan Archetype | Völkisch Paganism
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 isa 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: 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. It is an elementalDionysus 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.
C. G. Jung – Essay on Wotan [w. Nietzsche]
The reader neednot 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 ofWotan is vibrating in him, too. 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 thatWotan 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 menHermes is an Ergreifer like Wotan.
Ninck rightly points out that Dionysus and the otherGreek 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 maybe 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.