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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday August 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM
Four Colours

The previous entry dealt with Plato's myth of the ring of Gyges that conferred invisibility. Another legendary ring, from Hermann Hesse, with some background from Carl Jung:

From C. G. Jung, Collected Works (Princeton U. Press), Volume 12– Psychology and Alchemy (1944)– Part II– "Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy"– Chapter 3, "The Symbolism of the Mandala"– as quoted in Jung, Dreams, published by Routledge, 2001– Page 265–
 

"… the dreamer is wandering about in a dark cave, where a battle is going on between good and evil. But there is also a prince who knows everything. He gives the dreamer a ring set with a diamond….

Visual impression (waking dream):

The dreamer is falling into the abyss. At the bottom there is a bear whose eyes gleam alternately in four colours: red, yellow, green, and blue. Actually it has four eyes that change into four lights. The bear disappears and the dreamer goes through a long dark tunnel. Light is shimmering at the far end. A treasure is there, and on top of it the ring with the diamond. It is said that this ring will lead him on a long journey to the east."

Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East (1932):

"'… Despair is the result of each earnest attempt to go through life with virtue, justice, and understanding and to fulfil their requirements. Children live on one side of despair, the awakened on the other side. Defendant H. is no longer a child and is not yet fully awakened. He is still in the midst of despair. He will overcome it and thereby go through his second novitiate. We welcome him anew into the League, the meaning of which he no longer claims to understand. We give back to him his lost ring, which the servant Leo has kept for him.'

The Speaker then brought the ring, kissed me on the cheek and placed the ring on my finger. Hardly had I looked at the ring, hardly had I felt its metallic coolness on my fingers, when a thousand things occurred to me, a thousand inconceivable acts of neglect. Above all, it occurred to me that the ring had four stones at equal distances apart, and that it was a rule of the League and part of the vow to turn the ring slowly on the finger at least once a day, and at each of the four stones to bring to mind one of the four basic precepts of the vow. I had not only lost the ring and had not once missed it, but during all those dreadful years I had also no longer repeated the four basic precepts or thought of them. Immediately, I tried to say them again inwardly. I had an idea what they were, they were still within me, they belonged to me as does a name which one will remember in a moment but at that particular moment cannot be recalled. No, it remained silent within me, I could not repeat the rules, I had forgotten the wording. I had forgotten the rules; for many years I had not repeated them, for many years I had not observed them and held them sacred– and yet I had considered myself a loyal League brother.

The Speaker patted my arm kindly when he observed my dismay and deep shame."

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