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Memories, Dreams and Reflections - 4 - C.G.Jung

When I was six years old, my parents took me on an excursion to Arlesheim. On this occasion my mother wore a dress I have never forgotten, and it is the only dress of hers that I can recall: it was of some black stuff printed all over with little green cresents. My earliest recollection of my mother is of a slender young woman wearing this dress. In all my other memories she is older and corpulent.When I was six years old, my parents took me on an excursion to Arlesheim. On this occasion my mother wore a dress I have never forgotten, and it is the only dress of hers that I can recall: it was of some black stuff printed all over with little green cresents. My earliest recollection of my mother is of a slender young woman wearing this dress. In all my other memories she is older and corpulent.We came to church, and my mother said, "Rhat is a Catholic church."

My curiosity, mingled with fear, prompted me to slip away from my mother and peer through the open door into the interior. i just had time to glimpse the big candles on a richly adorned altar ( it was around Easter) when I suddenly stumpled on a step and struck my chin on a piece of iron. I remember that I had a gash that was bleeding badly when my parents picked me up. My state of mind was curious: one the one hand I was ashamed because my screams were attracting the attention of the churchgoers, and on the other hand I felt that I had done something forbidden. "Jesus-green curtain-secret of the man-eater....So that is the Catholic Church which has to do with Jesuits.

It is their fault that I stumbled and screamed."For years afterward I was unable to set foot inside a Catholic church without a secret fear of blood and falling and Jesuits. That was the aura or atmosphere that hung about it, but as the same time it always fascinated me. The proximity of a Catholic priest made me even more uneasy, if that were possible. Not until I was in my thirties was I able to confront Mater Ecclesia without this sense of oppression. The first time was in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.Soon after I was six my father began giving me latin lessons, and I also went to school. I did not mind school; it was easy for me, since I was always ahead of the others and had learned to read before I went there.

However, I remember a tiime when I could not yet read, but I pestered my mother to read aloud to me out of the Orbis Pictus, an old richly illustrated children's book, which contained an account of exotic religions, especially that of Hindus. There were illustrations of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, which I found an inexhaustible sorce of interest. My mother later told me that I always returned to these pictures.Whenever I did so, I had an obscure feeling of their affinity with my "original revelation"- Which I never spoke of to anyone. It was a secret I must never betray. Indirectly, my mother confirmed this feeling, for the faint tone of contempt with which she spoke of "heathens" did not escape me.

I knew that she would reject my "revelation" with horror, and I did not want to expose myself to any such injury.This unchildlike behavior was cconnected on the one hand with an intense sensitivity and vulnerability, on the other hand-and this especially-with the loneliness of my early youth. (My sister was born nine years after me.) I played alone, and in my own way. Unfortunately I cannot remember what I played; I recall only that I did not want to be disturbed. I was deeply absorbed in my games and could not endure being watched or judged while I played them.My first concrete memory of games dates from my seventh or eight year. I was passionately fond of playing with bricks, and built towers  which I then rapturously destroyed by an "earthquake".

Between my eight and eleventh years I drew endlessly- battle pictures, sieges, bombardments, naval engagements. Then I filled a whole exercise book with ink blots and amused myself giving them fantastic interpretations. One of my reasons for liking school was that there I found at last playmates I had lacked for so long.At school. I also discovered something else. But before I go into this I should first mention that the nocturnal atmosphere had begun to thicken. All sorts of things were happening at night, things incomprehensible and alarming. My parents were sleeping apart. I slept in my father's room. From the door to my mother's room came frightening influences. At night my mother was strange and mysterious. 

One night I saw coming from her door a faintly luminous, indefinite figure whose head detached itself from the neck and floated along in front of it, in the air,like a little moon. Immediately another head was produced and again detached itself. This process was repeated six or seven times. I had anxiety dreams of things that were now small, now large. For instance, I saw a tiny ball at a great distance; gradually it approached, growing steadily into a monstrous and suffocating object.

Or I saw telegraph wires with birds sitting on them, and the wires grew thicker and thicker and my fear greater until the terrot awoke me.Although these dreams were overtures to the physiological changes of puberty, they had in their turn a prelude which occurred about my seventhy year. At that time I was sick with pseudo-croup, accompanied by choking fits. One night during an attack I stood at the foot of the bed, my head bent back over the bed rail, while my father held me under the arms. Above me I saw a glowing blue circle about the size of the full moon, and inside it moved a golden figure which I thought were angels. This vision was repeated, and each time it allayed my fear of suffocation. But the suffociation returned in the anxiety dreams. I see in this a psychogenic factor: the atmosphere of the house was beginni8ng to be un breathable.

Reference: Memories, Dreams, Reflections: C.G. Jung

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