Snake Stone at Bollingen

Snake Stone at Bollingen

As we were leaving, Jost showed us one more carving, one of his favorites, the Snake Stone, which is now obscured behind some vines and weeds by the courtyard entrance – Jung made it a part of the foundation for the enclosed courtyard. The snake was a central symbol for Jung, representing death and rebirth, as well as the life force (Kundalini), and healing (Aesclepius); it appears in the Red Book also as the dying and rising god he named “Atmavictu.” The inscription reads: Because it devoured a fish too large the snake suffocated. In this way, both perished simultaneously, to testify that the (Christian) mass and the (alchemical) work are the same and not the same, namely their death an event coinciding and corresponding with my thoughts. In memory of this event, I, C.G. J., placed this stone in the year 1933.” Jost stated that Jung was greatly moved by finding this snake and fish, as it coincided with the time he was working on the symbols of fish/Christianity and snake/alchemy. This awareness of “synchronicity” helped him to realize how much these symbols had always meant to him, both archetypally and also representing his own struggle to find a way to integrate the alchemical (or perhaps more broadly his desire to discover ancient wisdom of all kinds) and Christian sacraments and symbolism. Much later, someone found a small stone fragment out by the road, on which (apparently) Jung had made a simpler carving and which now sits on the mantel over the fireplace in the room near the courtyard – the family believes it was a small gravestone he made to bury the dead snake and fish.

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About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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One Response to Snake Stone at Bollingen

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