Jungian Therapy, Jungian Analysis, New York

illuminated capital letter.jungian therapy, analysis lion, the sun, and a young man:
A Bushman tale of consciousness
New York city jungian therapist/analyst carl jung therapy

The young man of the ancient race, who was carried off by a lion; when asleep in the field. (Interpreted)

Specimens of Bushman Folklore, by W.H.I. Bleek and L.C. Lloyd, [1911], at sacred-texts.com

The szwart-storm tree

A young man [1] was the one who, formerly hunting, ascended a hill; he became sleepy; while he sat looking around (for game), he became sleepy. And he thought that he would first lie down; for he was not a little sleepy. For what could have happened to him to-day? because he had not previously felt like this. [2]

And he lay down on account of it; and he slept while a lion came ....

The young man was overtaken by unconsciousness caused by the lion [2]. He entered the underworld, his ego adaptions fell away, and he was taken over by the lion. What does the lion represent?

[The lion] went to the water, [3] because the noonday (heat) had "killed" it; it was thirsty; and it espied the man lying asleep; and it took up the man.

The lion, likewise was overtaken ("killed") by the noonday heat, that is, by the sun. In dream logic, killing usually represents transformation. The symbolic logic of dreams applies also in these tales and that interpretation seems right here because the lion had been "killed" but was still alive.

The sun is burning illumination, the archetype of phallic consciousness, the illuminator of the inner world. In excess, consciousness kills psychological life by over-exposing it, making it arid, destroying its privacy and its whimsical, emotional, creative depth.

The sun is the king of celestial (spiritual) forces just as the lion is the golden king of animals. The lion therefore represents the archetype of phallic consciousness in animal form (animal form makes sense because consciousness is an innate potential of the collective unconscious, like an instinct). The young man is the archetype of the hero who may develop consciousness.

Thus the principle of phallic consciousness seized hold of the hero and his fate was decided: he would have to deal with consciousness. Since he was of "the early race" the story concerns the creation of Bushman culture, here the creation of consciousness.

(Before he fell asleep he had been conscious in the simpler sense that he was alert; now he would have to face psychological consciousness which, as Jung used the term, includes relating consciously with the archetypes.)

And the man awoke startled; and he saw that it was a lion which had taken him up. And he thought that he would not stir; for the lion would biting kill him, if he stirred; he would first see what the lion intended to do; for the lion appeared to think that he was dead.

He was in the grip of a great power. Now we are told the thoughts of both man and lion. Their opposing awareness developed: both became more conscious. These are repetitions (a new series of images which repeat the meaning of previous images), internal evidence that helps confirm our interpretation.

And the lion carried him to a zwart-storm tree [4]; and the lion laid him in it. [5]

To be laid on a tree - between life and death - is like being crucified. This is another repetition: Edward Edinger (in Ego and Archetype) showed that Christ's crucifixion represents the development of consciousness.

Images of the lion, the sun, and consciousness

A paleolithic figurine shows a connection between the lion and human consciousness.

Ivory sculpture of  standing lion-man, 40,000 years old.Jungian analysis

Lion Man statuette.
From cave in Hohlenstein, southern Germany. 40,000 BC. 33 cm; time to carve: at least 400 hours. Ulmer Museum.

Photo: Thomas Stephan, Copyright Ulmer Museum

The figurine is a chimera – two bodies in one – which suggests developing consciousness because it shows the realization of an archetypal - in this case lion-like - dimension of the personality.

The sphinx, also a lion-human chimera, signified kingship in ancient Egypt. Consciousness in Egypt began with the pharaohs who owned everyone else and were themselves the first to exercise free choice (Lewis Mumford: The City in History).

Stone carving of sphinx, ancient egypt.Jungian analysis

Great Sphinx of Tanis.
Granite. Tanis, Old Kingdom, c. 2600 BC. Louvre, Paris.

Copyright: 2003, Musee du Louvre, Erich Lessing.



The sphinx was associated with Sekhmet who was a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to Egyptians. She protected pharaohs and led them in war. She was known as 'Before whom evil trembles,' and 'She who mauls.' The images below show her mauling her enemies' heads which suggests changing consciousness.


sphinx conquering human foes in battle.Jungian analysis

Rampant Sekhmet (with King Tutankhamun's head?) crushing enemies of several ethnicities.
Tomb of King Tutanhhamun, ca 1340 BC

Photo: source unknown


Sekhmet was also a solar diety, daughter of Ra the Sun God.

Stone relief of naked, lion-headed woman.Jungian analysis

Sekhmet with sun-disk and cobra-crown. Temple of Kom Ombo, Ptolemaic dynasty, ca 100 BC

Photo: Gerard Ducher



Here Sekhmet's chimera is reversed: she has a lioness's head and the body of a woman. This image proves the link between the lioness's mind and solar consciousness.

Lion and young man watched each other

And the lion thought that it would (continue to) be thirsty if it ate the man; it would first go to the water, that it might go to drink; it would come afterwards to eat, when it had drunk; for, it would (continue to) be thirsty if it ate.

And it trod, (pressing) in the man's head between the stems of the zwart-storm tree; and it went back. And the man turned his head a little. [6] And the lion looked back on account of it; namely, why had the man's head moved? when it had first thought that it had trodden, firmly fixing the man's head.

The story focuses on the man's head and the lion's head; also on what the man sees and what the lion sees. These are more repetitions which confirm that their encounter is about consciousness.

And the lion thought that it did not seem to have laid the man nicely; for the man fell over. And it again trod, pressing the man's head into the middle (of the stems) of the zwart-storm tree. And it licked the man's eyes' tears. [7] And the man wept; hence it licked the man's eyes.

Tears

Psychological consciousness is not just intellectual; it integrates understanding with feeling, here the man's grief that he would soon die. Tears, because they express the feeling aspect of the eyes, represent this integration. The man shed them, the lion licked them up. The lion was assimilating the man's increased consciousness.

Myths repeatedly show that gods - archetypes - are nourished by human consciousness. Jung showed that Job helped Jahweh to evolve by arguing with him. This seems mysterious or even nonsensical but it is supported by common experience. Dreams behave like messages from the Self which is itself an archetype. When a person takes dreams seriously, that is, records them carefully, contemplates them, and attempts to understand them, then subsequent dreams evolve: they become more accessible and more supportive of the dreamer's conscious position, which shows that has been a development within the source of the dreams.

Egyptian images of tears

Again there are remarkable parallels with Egyptian myth. Horus's right eye symbolized the sun and was associated with the sun god Re; it became the Eye of Re. Re was the 'father of the gods' and the father of humanity. All life (that is, all consciousness) grew from his sweat or tears. Once when the Eye of Re did not return, Re sent  two other gods to get it. The eye resisted, and in the struggle shed tears, from which men grew.

This Egyptian image shows that consciousness began to incarnate when solar consciousness was softened, shedding tears of feeling which fell to earth. 'Men' represent incarnated consciousness because they are mortals who can worship the gods, that is, hold the archetypes in consciousness.

egyptian eye in stone and gold. Jungian therapy

Eye of Re

Photo: source unknown


The fork of the tree

And the man felt that a stick [8] did not a little pierce the hollow at the back of his head; and the man turned his head a little, while he looked steadfastly [9] at the lion, he turned his head a little. And the lion looked (to see) why it was that the thing seemed as if the man had moved. And it licked the man's eyes' tears.

And the lion thought it would tread, thoroughly pressing down the man's head, that it might really see whether it had been the one who had not laid the man down nicely. For, the thing seemed as if the man had stirred. And the man saw that the thing seemed as if the lion suspected that he was alive; and he did not stir, although the stick was piercing him.

The man was pressed into the fork of a tree, halfway between life and death, which is like being crucified. The stick which "did not a little pierce the hollow at the back of his head" is like the soldiers' spears in the crucifixion. Here the head is emphasized again: more repetitions.

Edinger (in Ego and Archetype ), showed that the crucifixion symbolizes mortificatio, a stage in the development of consciousness.

Crucifixion of Christ with spear. Jungian analysis

Crucifixion and Last Judgement. Jan van Eyck. Detail. Probably a late work, early 1430s, finished after his death.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Continued to watch each other

And the lion saw that the thing appeared as if it had laid the man down nicely; for the man did not stir; and it went a few steps away, and it looked towards the man, while the man drew up his eyes; he looked through his eyelashes; he saw what the lion was doing.

Looking through his eyelashes means concealing his thoughts, which, for children, is a milestone in the development of consciousness.

And the lion went away, ascending the hill; and the lion descended (the hill on the other side), while the man gently turned his head because he wanted to see whether the lion had really gone away.

And he saw that the lion appeared to have descended (the hill on the other side); and he perceived that the lion again (raising its head) stood peeping behind the top of the hill; [10] because the lion thought that the thing had seemed as if the man were alive; therefore, it first wanted again to look thoroughly. For, it seemed as if the man had intended to arise; for, it had thought that the man had been feigning death.

The story uses repetition to emphasize that young man was reading the mind of the lion, seeing through the lion's deception, just as the lion was suspecting the man's deceit and attempting to penetrate it. Each is conscious of the other's mental world, another achievement which, in infants, is a milestone in the development of consciousness (Stern, .)

And it saw that the man was still lying down; and it thought that it would quickly run to the water, that it might go to drink, that it might again quickly come out (from the water), that it might come to eat. For, it was hungry; it was one who was not a little thirsty; therefore, it first intended to go to drink, that it might come afterwards to eat, when it had drunk.

The man lay looking at it, at that which it did; and the man saw that its head's [11] turning away (and disappearing), with which it turned away (and disappeared), seemed as if it had altogether gone.

And the man thought that he would first lie still, that he might see whether the lion would not again come peeping. For, it is a thing which is cunning; it would intend to deceive him, that the thing might seem (as if) it had really gone away; while it thought that he would arise; for, he had seemed as if he stirred.

For, it did not know why the man had, when it thought that it had laid the man down nicely, the man had been falling over. Therefore, it thought that it would quickly run, that it might quickly come, that it might come to look whether the man still lay.

The lion thought: "What is real? Is what I see real?" That its observations might not represent truth. More consciousness.

And the man saw that a long time had passed since it again came to peep (at him); and the thing seemed as if it had altogether gone. And the man thought that he would first wait a little; for, he would (otherwise) startle the lion, if the lion were still at this place. And the man saw that a little time had now passed, and he had not perceived it (the lion); and the thing seemed as if it had really gone away.

The young man tried to evade the lion

And he did nicely at the place yonder where he lay; he did not arise (and) go; for, he arose, he first sprang to a different place, while he wished that the lion should not know the place to which he seemed to have gone.

Trying to control what the lion knew; again, conscious of the lion's inner mental life.

He, when he had done in this manner, ran in a zigzag direction, [12] while he desired that the lion should not smell out his footsteps, that the lion should not know the place to which he seemed to have gone; that the lion, when it came, should come to seek about for him (there). Therefore, he thought that he would run in a zigzag direction, so that the lion might not smell out his footsteps; that he might go home; for, the lion, when it came, would come to seek for him.

A zig-zag is a tricky path. The young man is a trickster-hero who expands consciousness by his surprising action.

Therefore, he would not run straight into the house; for, the lion, when it came (and) missed him, would intend to find his footprints, that the lion might, following his spoor, seek for him, that the lion might see whether it could not get hold of him.

Hartebeest skins and mats

Therefore, when he came out at the top of the hill, he called out to the people at home about it, that he had just been "lifted up" [13] while the sun stood high, he had been "lifted up"; therefore, they must look out many hartebeest-skins, that they might roll him up in them; for, he had just been "lifted up", while the sun was high.

Therefore, he thought that the lion would - when it came out from the place to which it had gone - it would come (and) miss him; it would resolve to seek (and) track him out.

Therefore, he wanted the people to roll him up in many hartebeest-skins, so that the Lion should not come (and) get him. For, they were those who knew that the lion is a thing which acts thus to the thing which it has killed, it does not leave it, when it has not eaten it. Therefore, the people must do thus with the hartebeest-skins, the people must roll him up in them; and also (in) mats; these (are) things which the people must roll him up in, (in order) that the lion should not get him.

Again the trickster-hero. Also, the young man understands that the lion perceives largely by smell. Again, consciousness of the lion's inner world.

And the people did so; the people rolled him up in mats, [14] and also (in) hartebeest-skins, which they rolled together with the mats. For, the man was the one who had spoken thus to them about it; therefore it was that they rolled him up in hartebeestskins, while they felt that their hearts' young man (he) was, whom they did not wish the lion to eat.

Therefore, they intended to hide him well, that the lion should not get hold of him. For, a young man whom they did not a little love he was. Therefore, they did not wish the lion to eat him; and they said that they would cover over the young man with the hut's sheltering bushes, [15] so that the lion, when it came, should come seeking about for the young man it should not get hold of the young man, when it came; it should come seeking about for him.

And the people went out to seek for !kui-sse [an edible root]; and they dug out !kui-sse; and they brought (home) !kui-sse, at noon, and they baked [16] !kui-sse.

The lion came

And an old Bushman, as he went along getting wood for his wife, in order that his wife might make a fire above the !kui-sse, [17] espied the lion, as the lion came over (the top of the hill), at the place which the young man had come over.

And he told the house folk about it; and he spoke, he said: "Ye are those who see the hill yonder, its top, the place yonder (where) that young man came over, what it looks like!"

And the young man's mother spoke, she said: "Ye must not allow the lion to come into the huts; [18] ye must shoot it dead, when it has not (yet) come to the huts."

And the people slung on their quivers; and they went to meet the lion; and they were shooting at the lion; the lion would not die, although the people were shooting at it.

Offered children

And another old woman spoke, she said: "Ye must give to the lion a child, (in order) that the lion may go away from us."

The lion answered, it said that it did not want a child; for, it wanted the person whose eyes' tears it had licked; he was the one whom it wanted.

And the (other) people speaking, said: "In what manner were ye shooting at the lion that ye could not manage to kill the lion?"

And another old man spoke, he said: "Can ye not see that (it) must be a sorcerer? It will not die when we are shooting at it; for, it insists upon (having) the man whom it carried off."

The lion is an earthly manifestation of the sun god. It will die when it choses.

The people threw children to the lion; the lion did not want the children which the people threw to it; for it, looking, left them alone.

The lion hungered for the young man.

Spears

The people were shooting [19] at it, while it sought for the man - that it might get hold of the man - the people were shooting at it. The people said: "Ye must bring for us assegais, we must kill [20] the lion."

The people were shooting at it; it did not seem as if the people were shooting at it; they were stabbing [21] it with assegais, while they intended to stab it to death.

It did not seem as if the people were stabbing it; for, it continued to seek for the young man; it said that it wanted the young man whose tears it had licked; he was the one whom it wanted.

It wanted the man with the tears (consciousness).

It scratched asunder, breaking to pieces for the people the huts, while it scratched asunder, seeking for the young man.

Offered a girl

And the people speaking, said: "Can ye not see that the lion will not eat the children whom we have given to it?" And the people speaking, said: "Can ye not see that a sorcerer (it) must be?" And the people speaking, said: "Ye must give a girl to the lion, that we may see whether the lion will not eat her, that it may go away." [22]

The lion did not want the girl; for, the lion only wanted the man whom it had carried off; he was the one whom it wanted.

This was about the lion's drive towards consciousness, not any other appetite.

Offered the young man

And the people spoke, they said, they did not know in what manner they should act towards the lion; for, it had been morning [23] when they shot at the lion; the lion would not die; for, it had, when the people were shooting at it, it had been walking about.

"Therefore, we do not know in what manner we shall act towards the lion. For, the children whom we gave to the lion, the lion has refused, on account of the man whom it had carried off."

And the people speaking, said: "Say ye to the young man's mother about it, that she must, although she loves the young man, she must take out the young man, she must give the young man to the lion, even if he be the child of her heart. For, she is the one who sees that the sun is about to set, while the lion is threatening us; the lion will not go (and) leave us; for, it insists upon (having) the young man."

And the young man's mother spoke, she said: "Ye may give my child to the lion; ye shall not allow the lion to eat my child; that the lion may go walking about; for, ye shall killing lay it upon my child; that it may die, like my child; that it may die, lying upon my child."

Both would be sacrificed to resolve the community's problem. Consciousness is a symbolic death, an individual sacrifice for the collective's needs.

The lion bit the young man

And the people, when the young man's mother had thus spoken, the people took the young man out from the hartebeest-skins in which they had rolled him up, they gave the young man to the lion. And the lion bit the young man to death; the people, when it was biting at the young man, were shooting at it; the people were stabbing it; and it bit the young man to death.

And the lion spoke, it said to the people about it, that this time was the one at which it would die; for, it had got hold of the man for whom it had been seeking; it had got hold of him!

And it died, while the man also lay dead; it also lay dead, with the man.

First the lion overcame the collective will, then the collective stopped it least it continue to destroy. Solar consciousness kills while life rests mainly in the unconscious.

Stopping Sekhmet

Sekhmet, on one occasion, killed the people with Ra's fiery eye, creating a lake of blood which she drank. Because she was threatening all the people, Ra stopped her: he created a lake of beer which made her drunk (softened her consciousness).


Conclusion

In sum, solar consciousness entered the community and was integrated. The parallels with ancient Egyptian myth suggest that this very old African story may be a source from which Egypt drew.

Notes

1. He was a young man of the early race.

2. It is evident, from another version of this legend, given by !kweiten ta ||ken (VI.-2, pp. 4014-4025), that the unusual sleepiness is supposed to be caused by the lion.

3. To a water pit.

4. This is described by the narrator as being a large tree, which has yellow flowers and no thorns.

5. The lion put the man half into the tree, at the bottom of it; his legs were not in it. thought that it would (continue to) be thirsty if it ate the man; it would first go to the water, that it might go to drink; it would come afterwards to eat, when it had drunk; for, it would (continue to) be thirsty if it ate.

6. The tree hurt the back of the man's head; therefore he moved it a little.

7. The man cried quietly, because he saw himself in the lion's power, and in great danger.

8. Narrator explains that the stick was one of those pieces that had broken off, fallen down, and lodged in the bottom of the tree.

9. The man looked through almost closed eyes; but watched to see if the lion remarked that be moved his head.

10. The lion came back a little way (after having gone out of sight) to look again.

11. The lion, this time when it came back to look at the man, only had its head and shoulders in sight.

12. He did not run straight; but ran first in one direction, then sprang to another place, then ran again, etc.

13. He avoided(?) the name of the lion; therefore, he in this manner told the people about it.

14. Many mats.

15. The screen or shelter of the hut. The narrator uses the word scherm for it.

16. In a hole in the ground, which has been previously heated, and which is covered over with earth when the has been put into it.

17. i.e. on the top of the earth with which the hole had been covered over.

18. The narrator explains here that several but, were in a row; the mother means all the huts, not merely one. The lion must not come into the werf (= "yard", or "ground").

19. They wanted to shoot him dead, before he could find the man.

20. As their arrows did not seem able to reach a spot which would kill the lion, they thought that they might do better with their assegais.

21. The narrator explains that some threw assegais; others stabbed the lion with them. The people were all round it; but it did not bite them, because it wanted the young man whom it had carried off.

22. The lion could not have eaten her at the houses.

23. It was now late, and they had been shooting at the lion since the morning, and did not know what they should now do to get rid of it.