ABRAXAS

 

†††† Jung had an extraordinary and heavy jewelled Gnostic ring. It was his link with the God Abraxas.Patients who entered his mandala of dreams, who forged the great journey of individuation, felt the power of this ring. It was the eye of the peacock, informed with the pinnacle power of death. It was utterly magical. The ring had the power to transform.

 

†††† Jung understood the ring, moulded it's character. Egyptian in origin, Jung added gnostic symbols. The carved serpent symbolised Christ, or as he preferred, the gnostic God, Abraxas. A mystical number, significantly the figure eight, like the "bindu" spot of Hinduism, symbolised the infinite, the gateway to the unconscious.

 

†††† Jung was drawn to the young gnostic God, Abraxas. He wrote in an obscure and unknown work first called, VII Sermons ad Mortuous (his most profound archetypal study), and later published in German as "The Seven Sermons of the Dead."

 

Jung wrote: in that volume:

 

". . .Hard to know is the deity Abraxas. It's power is the greatest because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the "summun bonum"; from the devil the "infinum malum"; but from Abraxas LIFE, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil."

 

†††† Jung had his own dreams, and the knowledge of how to interpret dreams. He had analysed forty one serious dreams of patients that either presaged death or serious illness.

 

†††† Death came many times to Jung. As a young man, he had a significant dream. In that dream, he believed he had suffered a crippling stroke, He had entered another world, deeper than sleep or meditation. A limbo perhaps inhabited by the mentally wounded, the retarded and the gravely ill. It was a place of exile, banishment, and retirement, A great plain that existed somewhere in space beyond the cremation ground of earth, and before the gates of Heaven or Hell. Other souls were there, incorporeal, their bodies abandoned lying abstracted, broken and obsessed by suffering, these bodies sometimes twitched or groaned. Jung's spirit fought on, trying to recover the absent body. He sought out the old inner maps - again tried to understand the blood stream, the process of breathing, the heart and it's beating, the system of muscles and bone. All this elementary, and instinctual knowledge he needed to find the path back to the world of the sun, and the night of the moon. Jung lived a long time in this place of his dream. He named it the Nether Region, the Back of Beyond, the Other side of the Mind.†† It was like the life lived by frogs in a bottomless well, or beetle under a stone, forever limited in space, and forgetful of the sun.

 

†††† Jung woke. He was thirty-four in the prime of life. Married and already in practice. Again, he sought out the angry Gnostic God, Abraxas.

 

" . . . But Abraxas is the world, it's becoming and it's passing. Upon every gift that cometh from the god-sun the devil layeth his curse,"

 

†††† Years later, Jung, an old man suffered a stroke. The functions of his body were failing - the eyes no longer seeing, the muscles of the face no longer controlling expression, the bowels spilling, the urine dribbling. Jung feared he might again return to that country known as the Nether Region, The Back of Beyond, the Other Side of the Mind.

 

†††† Yet his experiences of these dreams were rich and pure. He was again a young man in his dream, perhaps a gaucho riding upon horseback, crossing endless plains arched with dry savannah grasses.

 

†††† Continents floated past him - Africa, dry and waterless, the form and skeleton of prehistoric man brewing up heady potions of death by thirst, poison arrows and starvation. Kilamanjaro rose up before him, crowned white with snow, and he saw his own white fist pounding the sleeping giant that was Africa.

 

††† India, with it's music of cymbals, temple gongs, and thronging millions seemed to invade him. Starving people crawling like flies across his body, and somewhere in his throat a great temple gong boomed, and the river Ganges snatched his body and tore him towards the Hind myth of re-incarnation and endless birth after birth . . .

 

†††† Uncharted seas - the Atlantic, -the Pacific, the Aegean - washed over him, ancient as the million voyages made by the ships of antiquity. Shells, crustaceans, and the plants of the undersea world stuck in his mouth so that he gargled only the sounds of the drowning man.

 

†††† Space itself, the pure ether, the atmosphere, the void of the sky, the plenum absolved him from all guilt. Air itself forgave him the crucifixions of dreams and fantasy, the mysteries of birth, death and organs.

 

††††† A dry sea, a storm wind, blew him Inland. A modern Magellan off coarse, he saw a mountain. The Andes. Kilamanjaro. Everest. Above these mountain rose the single insurmountable peak. At first Jung, thought this white precipitous mountain was real, and then he understood it's significance as simply an image. The mountain symbolised his life. He had to climb his mountain, revisit his old life once more, before he died. He was like a man hurtling himself against the bodies of others, or a man on an endless escalator, or himself lost in a vast city like London or New York, endlesslycircumambulating a busy thoroughfare.Jung continued his climb. He was appropriately dressed - mountain boots, leather jacket, Tyrolean cap. He smelt the tang of wild herbs - sage or Rosemary. It was all familiar and he remembered that these where the scents of his childhood. Much later, there was honey in his mouth, the scent of methelated spirits from his student days.†† Then the taste of newly baked bread of marriage, and the carbolic soap of the hospital. Then he knew he had almost reached the summit - it was only his own scent, his own sweat in his old manís clothes. His pocket watch chimed the noon hour, and he was at the summit.†† There stood the young God, Abraxas, hard with the muscles of youth, tawny length hair, and with the face of an angry Angel. Perhaps he

had the expression of St, Michael or Raphael. Abraxas spoke in a thunderous voice:

 

"Abraxas begetteth truth, and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and the same act. Where fore is Abraxas terrible!Ē

 

Jung was struck by a blinding like such as was scene at the crucifixion, or at Hiroshima.

 

He stumbled down the mountain, cringing like a tearful schoolboy, the heap of coals of Abraxas's words burning en his body.

 

†††† Slowly the dream surrendered it's meaning. It was like a map whose country Jung did not know, was still uninhabited or unexplored, or a crest of many colours of an illustrious family, Jung did not

yet recognise.

 

†††† Then he understood. Abraxas was the symbol of androgyny. He bore the organs of both male and female, darkness and light, good and evil.

 

†††† Jung recovered from the stroke. He was a sage. He was like the poet of the ancient Chinese legend who dreams of being a butterfly, and then wonders if he was not a butterfly dreaming that he was a man.