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The Wild Hunt

Dreamed September 1922 by Carl Jung

I was in a dense, gloomy forest; fantastic, gigantic boulders lay about among huge jungle-like trees. It was a heroic, primeval landscape. Suddenly I heard a piercing whistle that seemed to resound through the whole universe. My knees shook. Then there were crashings in the underbrush, and a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw burst forth. At the sight of it, the blood froze in my veins. It tore past me, and I suddenly knew: the Wild Huntsman had commanded it to carry away a human soul.

I awoke in deadly terror, and the next morning I received the news of my mother's passing.

Seldom has a dream so shaken me, for upon superficial consideration it seemed to say that the devil had fetched her. But to be accurate the dream said that it was the Wild Huntsman, the Grünhütl or Wearer of the Green Hat, who hunted with his wolves that night--it was the season of Föhn storms in January. It was Wotan, the god of my Alemannic forefathers, who had gathered my mother to her ancestors... It was the Christian missionaries who made Wotan into a devil...

I went home immediately, and while I rode in the night train I had a feeling of great grief, but in my heart of hearts I could not be mournful, and this for a strange reason: during the entire journey I continually heard dance music, laughter, and jollity, as though a wedding were being celebrated. This contrasted violently with the devastating impression the dream had made on me. Here was gay dance music, cheerful laughter, and it was impossible to yield entirely to my sorrow. Again and again it was on the point of overwhelming me, but the next moment I would find myself once more engulfed by the merry melodies. One side of me had a feeling of warmth and joy, and the other of terror and grief; I was thrown back and forth between these contrasting emotions.

This paradox can be explained if we suppose that at one moment death was being represented from the point of view of the ego, and at the next from that of the psyche.

From Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections (pp 313-14).

EDITOR'S NOTE

I included this dream for three reasons.

--Chris Wayan



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