An interesting article on the popularly recognized mystical archetype of the wizard - ok.
The Archetype of the Magician
John Granrose, Ph.D.
Diploma Thesis - C.G. Jung Institute,
Zürich 1996 Thesis Advisor: Mario Jacoby
Magic is afoot, God is alive.
God is alive, magic is afoot.
Magic never dies.
- Leonard Cohen
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction .............................................................
II. Archetype, Archetypal Image, and Symbol ............ 5
III. "Magician" ............................................................
IV. A Gathering of Magicians ..................................... 21
The Tarot Magician
V. Tools of the Trade ................................................
VI. The Analyst as Magician ..................................... 57
VII. Conclusion ......................................................
VIII. Bibliography ...................................................
IIX. About the Author
Many have helped me during my studies at the Jung Institute and in
the process of writing this thesis. In particular, I thank:
Gene Qualls, my first analyst, whose question "What would it mean
to go 'first class'?" led to my coming to Zürich in 1984, and
thus, indirectly, to my becoming a training candidate in 1987.
Mario Jacoby, my analyst and thesis advisor, for his help on so many
different levels and over so many years.
Kathrin Asper and Urs Mehlin, for serving as readers and examiners
of this thesis.
Verena Kast, with whom I discussed many of these ideas and who has
taught me a great deal.
The staff of the Jung Institute, particularly Elena, Eli, Frances,
Helga, Irene, and Lotti, for help and friendship.
My family in America: Karen, Bruce and Anthony; Kathy, Xavier and Daniel;
Those friends who have been especially close to me during the writing
of this thesis: David, Dennis, Doris, Frederick, Jeanine, Peter, and Sterling.
My fellow members of the following groups, each of which provided inspiration
for this thesis: The Athens Guild of Magicians, Club Zürcher Magier,
the Gentlemen Songsters of Zürich, the International Brotherhood of
Magicians, the Magic Circle (London), the Mystery School, the Psychic Entertainers'
Association, the Society of American Magicians, and the Zürich Comedy
My two mentors in things magical: Eugene Burger, for his writings,
lectures, and friendship, and Sylvester Granrose, my father and first teacher
John Granrose, Zürich, January 6, 1996
... magic as practiced in the Middle Ages and harking back to much remoter
times has by no means died out, but still flourishes today as rampantly
as it did centuries ago.
C.G. Jung, CW 18, para. 784
Magic is all around us. Sometimes we have the eyes to see it; sometimes
we do not. It is the core of what we label as "the numinous"
and so it is bound up with our religious experiences as well.
Humans have had what might be called "magico-religious" impulses
through all of recorded history and presumably before. For example, one
of the earliest images of a human being is the so-called "Sorcerer"
in the paleolithic cave of Les Trois Fr res. We know that magicians flourished
in ancient Egypt and Greece and the Middle East as well as in India and
China. Such facts suggest the presence of what Jungians would call an "archetype.
As a student at the Jung Institute and as a life-long student of philosophy,
such aspects of human belief and practice interest me.1
My interest in magic and magicians, however, has more everyday roots as
Like most children, I began my life looking up to my father.2 It seemed
as if he were magic somehow. Of course, like most children, I eventually
came to understand that he was a fallible human being. In my case, however,
there was something slightly different: my father was a magician. He was
a long-standing member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and
when I reached the age of ten he began to take me with him to local meetings
of this group. Eventually, in my teenage years, we performed on stage together.
Thus began my life-long fascination with magic.
In recent years, as my interest in Jungian thought developed, I became
more concerned with symbols and archetypes as such. And it gradually dawned
on me that "the archetype of the magician" would provide an ideal
topic for this thesis.
At the risk of sounding overly superstitious, here is a dream which one
of my analysands brought me just at the time I submitted my proposal for
I am on the way home from visiting a theater in a hotel in a medieval
city. Suddenly I notice that I am barefoot (and the weather is rather cold).
I am not freezing, however, and the streets are quite clean, and made of
red bricks or paving stones. Then I am in the hotel room and I am looking
for my shoes but don't find them. I ask the owner of the hotel. It is David
Copperfield, the magician. He crawls under my bed and brings out a pair
of shoes. At first they don't seem to be mine, but later I feel that they
are actually mine after all.3 When we discussed this dream she said, "It
would take a magician to help me find my 'footing. That's you are the 'David
Copperfield' in the dream. This interchange convinced me that my thesis
topic was worth pursuing. Perhaps the reader will understand this.
At the outset it may be useful to mention some limitations in what I shall
attempt in this thesis.
First, and most important, although the terms "archetype" and
"magician" are the essential ones in my title, I shall not spend
many words trying to define them or in defending my own views about them.
As I shall mention (and footnote), many books and articles have been written
about each term. What I shall write here is (mercifully) brief and is intended
only to fix the center of each concept rather than to define its edges.
Second, although I shall offer examples of magicians, stories about them,
and discussions of their major symbolic "tools," I shall not
attempt a "history" of magic, nor shall I attempt to explore
the details of its practice in any particular culture. Again, many books
and articles have been devoted to this issue.4
Finally, I shall not attempt to resolve the issue of whether magic and
its power is "real" as opposed to subjective. It is clear that
people do experience "magic" and that rituals and magic words
and the like do, in some sense, work. The focus in this thesis, however,
will be on the psychological aspects of this process rather than the metaphysical.
In other words, I take roughly the same stance toward the (important) question
of the objective existence of magic as Jung did towards the objective existence
of God.5 I leave the metaphysical status of "magic," "synchronicity"
and the like as open questions. Others have written about them.6
Even limiting my scope in these ways, there is still much to be done. The
thesis begins by briefly describing Jung's concept of an archetype. I then
discuss the origin of the term "magician" and develop the concept
by comparing it with those of mana personality, shaman, trickster, and
fool. The middle sections of the thesis focus on four particular magicians
and then on four of the magician's "tools. The last full chapter considers
several ways in which the Jungian analyst can be understood as a type of
magician. Finally, the circle is completed with a brief Conclusion, the
Bibliography, some words about myself, and a parting thought from Leonard
ARCHETYPE, ARCHETYPAL IMAGE, AND SYMBOL
Archetypes, according to Jung, are "active living dispositions, ideas
in the Platonic sense, that preform and continually influence our thoughts
and feelings and actions."7 They are not inherited ideas, but rather,
as Jung says elsewhere, "inherited possibilities of ideas."8
The exact nature of these archetypes has been much discussed both within
and outside of Jungian circles.9 What matters for our present purposes
is just that the underlying archetypes (which by definition are beyond
or beneath consciousness) are expressed in conscious images called "archetypal
images" which have the power to fascinate us. It is one such image,
that of "magician", which is the subject of this thesis.
Given this contrast between the archetype as such and the archetypal image
in which it finds cultural expression, "the magician" might better
be regarded as an archetypal image than as an archetype itself. Jungian
usage is, however, inconsistent on this point and because one so often
sees the magician referred to directly as an archetype,10 I have adopted
this usage for my thesis. This seems the simpler and more straight-forward
course. What needs to be insisted on, however, it that there is something
still deeper behind the image of the magician, something itself unknown,
which expresses itself in the psyche as "magician.
Jung himself describes this as an archetype in "The Archetypes of
the Collective Unconscious" in Two Essays on Analytical Psychology:
One of the archetypes that is almost invariably met with in the projection
of unconscious collective contents is the "magic demon" with
mysterious powers. ... [T]he demon can also have a very positive aspect
as the "wise old man."11 Jung makes this comment in connection
with his patient's saying, "Sometimes you seem rather dangerous, sinister,
like an evil magician or a demon."12 And he interprets her remark:
"... we saw that on the subjective level I became an image for the
figure of the magician in the collective unconscious."13
So it seems reasonable to consider "magician" as one of the archetypes
in Jung's sense.
It would be interesting, but beyond the scope of this thesis, to explore
Jung's ideas about archetypes in general and perhaps to defend Jung against
various misunderstandings. In particular, the common assumption that Jung
is a kind of Lamarckian who believes in the inheritance of acquired ideas
would be worth refuting since this misinterpretation has interfered with
Jung's acceptance in many scientific circles. But since others have written
about this elsewhere14 I propose to leave this issue aside.
In addition to the concepts of archetype and archetypal image, the concept
of symbol will also be important for this thesis. The word "symbol"
is based on the Greek symbolon, from sym, "together," and bolon
or ballein, "to throw or fit."15 The Greek word refers to the
practice of breaking a coin or other small object in half when friends
parted. Each half of the object would serve as a reminder of the friend
during his or her absence. Then when the friends were reunited the re-fitting
together of the two halves would serve as a kind of proof of his or her
identity. One friend could also entrust half of the object to a further
friend or relative and thus show to the holder of the original half that
this stranger was entitled to recognition or hospitality. Thus, as Verena
Kast puts it, "... the symbol is a visible sign of an invisible reality.
... When we interpret, we seek the invisible reality behind the visible
and the connections between the two."16 In contrast to signs, for
example, the road sign "+" (meaning "crossroad ahead"),
a symbol points to "... an intuitive idea that cannot yet be formulated
in any other or better way."17 As A Critical Dictionary of Jungian
Analysis expresses it,
Symbols are captivating pictorial statements .... They are indistinct,
metaphoric and enigmatic portrayals of psychic reality. The content, i.e.
the meaning of symbols, is far from obvious; instead, it is expressed in
unique and individual terms while at the same time partaking of a universal
imagery. Worked upon (that is, reflected upon and related to), they can
be recognized as aspects of those images that control, order and give meaning
to our lives. Their source, therefore, can be traced to the archetypes
themselves which by way of symbols find more full expression ....18 Symbols
are thus one type of what Jung called "archetypal images," that
is, the representation in consciousness of an underlying archetype.
So the theme of this thesis could be expressed in a variety of ways: What
does the magician symbolize in human life? What are the aspects of the
archetypal image of the magician? or, simply, What is the archetype of
We all know informally and roughly what a magician is. A magician is, of
course, a person who does "magic. That is, a magician is a person
who can make things happen that wouldn't happen under the normal or familiar
laws of nature. Something is transformed in a mysterious way, or disappears,
or appears. We know also, if we reflect on our use of the word, that a
"magician" could be an entertainer (a "conjuror" or
"prestidigitator") or a "real" magician (something
like a "witch doctor," "medicine man," or, perhaps,
"sorcerer").19 Still, both conjurors and "real" magicians
are assumed to have the power to transform things and make them appear
or disappear, whether playing cards and silk scarves or illnesses and spirits.
And such transformations take place in a way which is, literally, extra-ordinary.
This thesis intends to deal with both types or senses of "magician"
and to explore the possible relationships between them.20
In passing, it should be noted that a distinction is often made between
the "white magician" and the "black magician. This distinction
occurs, for example, in one of the "big" dreams discussed by
Jung.21 Although there are interesting symbolic aspects of "white"
and "black" which could be developed, the basic distinction seems
to be in whether the magic is being used for helpful or for harmful purposes.
This is, of course, to some extent relative to the standpoint of the observer.
The English word "magician" comes from the Greek and the Latin
magia that is, having to do with "the religion, learning, and occult
practices of the Persian Magi, or priests of the sect of Zoroaster, in
the form in which they became known to the West."22
Although these "Magi" were men, and although (for the sake of
simplicity) I use the male pronoun to refer to magicians in this thesis,
many women have also been magicians. One scholar has even claimed that
in every period of history and in every country the majority of magicians
have been women.23 Be that as it may, the magicians who have captured the
public's attention and who have been written about have been overwhelmingly
This controversy over the ratio of men to women in magic may be connected,
however, with the ambiguity of the word "magic" already referred
to, that between performing, stage, or "entertainment" magic,
on the one hand, and ceremonial, ritual, or "real" magic, on
the other. As I have mentioned, the first is sometimes called "conjuring"
and the second "witchcraft. Even here, however, there remains an ambiguity
since "conjuror" is sometimes used for a person who can cast
spells or "conjure up" the dead. Now it might be the case that
the practitioners of witchcraft have been mostly women and the practitioners
of magic for entertainment have been mostly men. Given the common negative
associations to "witchcraft," this assumption might be unfair
to women so let us leave the question open.24 Still, this controversy points
to the tension between what might be called the two "contexts"
for magic: the changing of the world through allegedly magical power and
the entertaining of people for the sake of pleasure. In actual cases, of
course, it is not always easy to discern which is intended. Shamans and
ceremonial magicians can be entertaining. And conjurors do sometimes rise
to the level of performing "real" magic.
Still, our consciousness is shaped by our fantasy or fantasies of magicians.
As Nikolai Tolstoy writes,
The centuries come and go, literary fashions pass, but the magician
reappears before us: shifting his shape and changing his name, now mocking,
now awe-inspiring, but essentially the same character whose fame flew over
all Europe eight centuries ago. Trickster, illusionist, philosopher and
sorcerer, he represents an archetype to which the race turns for guidance
"Guidance and protection," of course, can come from a variety
of sources. What is unique to the magician?
The magician is a man (or woman) of power. In this sense, the substance
of magic is fundamentally serious (despite the combination of magician
with clown in some cases). Furthermore, the magician gets his power from
another level of reality. He is not like the engineer who has learned how
to harness the power of this world.
In the Introduction I mentioned the connection between magic and the numinous
and referred to "magico-religious" impulses. So one might well
wonder about the similarities and differences between the magician and
the priest. One way of drawing the distinction might be to say that the
magician's power is somehow his own, whereas the priest's comes from a
higher power. Roughly, this seems right although, as we shall see in discussing
the shaman below, some magicians claim to have their power from a helpful
spirit or animal rather than simply from themselves, so the distinction
cannot be made solely on this basis. Still, the image of the priest is
of someone who is a servant, while the image of the magician is of someone
who the spirits obey.
Some writers have seen magic and magicians as simply an earlier or more
primitive form of what later becomes religion and the priesthood. This
is one of the popular 19th-century claims which I intend to bypass here
(although we shall see in the section on Shaman, below, that Marie-Louise
von Franz has her own proposal about this contrast). Perhaps it is enough
to notice that both magic and religion arise from something similar in
the psyche. If not parent and child, or even siblings, they are at least
Magicians of all kinds combine our natural human interest in power with
our natural human interest in mystery. Another name for this is "the
occult. And, along with the charge of "Lamarckianism" mentioned
in Chapter Two, the charge that Jung was too involved in the occult is
one of the standard rebukes one hears in academic or scientific circles.
(After all, Jung's doctoral dissertation was "On the Psychology and
Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena"26 and the index to his Collected
Works has many entries under "occult," "parapsychology"
and the like.)
Marvin Spiegelman makes some interesting observations about "occultists"
[or, we might say, magicians in general].
[They] are interested not so much in relationship, as in power. They
seek to train both fantasy and the will. Fantasy is trained by focusing
upon given images as in Tarot, or upon given rituals or prayers in magic.
The implication is that if one focuses upon the given mantra [for example],
then predicted and known events will occur. In contrast with the open system
of Jung, the occultist focuses upon training and conditioning his psyche;
thus he is more like the behaviorist. The Jungian focuses upon relating
to and understanding his psyche.27 And this focus on relating to and understanding
one's psyche will be a theme in the following pages. First, however, let
us briefly examine several concepts which might help us better understand
the image we have of the magician himself.
Jung concludes the second of his Two Essays on Analytical Psychology with
a chapter on the so-called "mana personality."28 The term "mana"
is a Melanesian word used by anthropologists to refer to the subjective
experience of "... the extraordinary and compelling supernatural power
which emanates from certain individuals, objects, action and events as
well as from inhabitants of the spirit world."29 Jung cites Friedrich
Lehmann's phrase "the extraordinarily potent" as his definition
of "mana"30 and remarks that
... the mana-personality is a dominant of the collective unconscious,
the well-known archetype of the mighty man in the form of hero, chief,
magician, medicine-man, saint, the ruler of men and spirits, the friend
of God.31 So whatever else the magician archetype might be, it is clear
that it is one instance of a mana-personality. As I mentioned above, the
magician is a person to whom extraordinary power is attributed by others
(and, perhaps, given the ever present danger of psychic inflation, by himself).
A standard definition of "shaman" begins: "among tribal
peoples, a magician, medium, or healer who owes his powers to mystical
communion with the spirit world."32 The term has been used by generations
of anthropologists, especially in their descriptions of certain Siberian
and native American tribes. More recently, the use of shamanistic techniques
for self-discovery, personal growth and healing has been popularized by
Michael Harner and others.33
Clearly, a better understanding of the shaman will aid us in understanding
the magician. But the exact relationship between the two is not always
clear. Mircea Eliade, for example, begins his classic study of shamanism
Since the beginning of the century, ethnologists have fallen into the
habit of using the terms "shaman," "medicine man,"
"sorcerer," and "magician" interchangeably to designate
certain individuals possessing magico-religious powers and found in all
"primitive" societies. ... [But] If the word "shaman"
is taken to mean any magician, sorcerer, medicine man, or ecstatic found
throughout the history of religions and religious ethnology, we arrive
at a notion at once extremely complex and extremely vague; it seems, furthermore,
to serve no purpose, for we already have the terms "magician"
or "sorcerer" ....34
So it seems that the shaman is one type of magician. Or, to put in another
way, the shaman expresses one aspect of the magician. How so?
Magic and magicians are to be found more or less all over the world,
whereas shamanism exhibits a particular magical specialty, on which we
shall later dwell at length: "mastery over fire," "magical
flight," and so on. By virtue of this fact, though the shaman is,
among other things, a magician, not every magician can properly be termed
Central to shamanism as such is a belief in spirits who can help or harm
human beings. The shaman typically has a special relationship to one or
more such spirits (which may have singled him out in some manner which
he could not refuse, usually involving an illness or psychic crisis of
some kind). With the aid of his spirit "guide" or "helper,"
the shaman is able heal other members of his tribe by removing destructive
spirits or rendering them harmless. This process usually involves the shaman
entering a trance, a special form of the abaissement du niveau mental which
Jung so often mentioned.36 Trance
as such is important in many forms of magic and is currently the subject
of investigation in many branches of science.37
In its simplest form, the world view of shamanistic tribes is one of a
universe with three levels or "layers" our "middle-world"
of ordinary reality plus an "upper-world" and an "under-world"
of divinities and spirits. The shaman is one who has learned the techniques
for journeying between these different worlds and his power to help and
to heal is based on this.38
But most important of all, the shaman has not learned about the spiritual
world from books but through his own experience, through his own body.
So when he acts or speaks he is one who "speaks with authority. As
Marie-Louise von Franz writes,
In civilized societies the priest is primarily the guardian of existing
collective ritual and tradition; among primitive peoples, however, the
figure of the shaman is characterized by individual experience of the world
of spirits (which today we call the unconscious) ....39 And here we find
our first intimation that this world of "spirits" and "powers"
which the shaman (and magician) know and use is what we also call "the
unconscious. This insight is the basis for the parallel between shaman
The magician in general is a person of power in the spiritual world (as
contrasted with the power of the king or tribal chief in secular affairs).
The special features of the shamanic magician is that he has undergone
a certain kind of initiation into the multi-layered world of spirits, has
learned the methods of trance and soul retrieval, and has thus become,
in Eliade's recurring phrase, a "technician of the sacred.
Many shamanistic techniques are very widespread, for example, the shaman's
use of the drum to create the rhythmic beat conducive to trance or the
practice of dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex to foster contrasexual
While not all magicians are of this shamanistic type, we clearly see one
aspect of the magician here. Moreover, the special characteristics of the
shaman are related to the approach which Jung took to his own analytic
... the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment
of neurosis, but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact
is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy, and inasmuch
as you attain to the numinous experience, you are released from the curse
of pathology. Even the very disease takes on a numinous character.40
Jung himself has been described as "a modern shaman if I have ever
met one."41 And another writer on shamanism said of Jung: "All
he lacked was the drum."42 Finally, there is a story that when Marie-Louise
von Franz once remarked to Jung that he was like a shaman, he replied,
"Well, that's nothing to be ashamed of. It is an honour."43
Perhaps because of the expression "magic tricks" or "conjuring
tricks," the figure of Trickster comes immediately to mind when one
thinks of the magician.
Primarily, the Trickster is a figure in mythology and folklore who has
entered our psychological vocabulary through Jung's essay "On the
Psychology of the Trickster-Figure,"44 in Paul Radin's Der g"ttliche
Schelm.45 As Jung puts it, "The trickster is a collective shadow figure,
a summation of all the inferior traits of character in individuals."46
Although Radin focused his attention on the Trickster stories of the Winnebago
Indians, Jung is reminded of the practices of carnival, the medieval Feast
of Fools, the pranks and shape-shifting of Mercurius, and of the shaman.
There is something of the trickster in the character of the shaman and
medicine-man, for he, too, often plays malicious jokes on people, only
to fall victim in his turn to the vengeance of those whom he has injured.47
This side of the shaman, however, as of the magician, is his shadow side.
And, of course, just as we all need to become conscious of our shadows
to keep, for example, from simply projecting them on our neighbors, so
the shaman or magician needs consciousness of his shadow/trickster side.
And, on the other hand, the prankishness of the trickster can serve to
"leaven the loaf" of an all-too-serious magician's personality.48
Jung notes in the same essay that the trickster is "a forerunner of
Just as the shaman can be viewed as a certain type of magician-figure,
the fool can in turn be viewed as a certain type of trickster-figure. The
fool and the trickster are not always distinguished, of course. (So, for
example, the entry for "Fool" in A Critical Dictionary of Jungian
Analysis simply reads "See Trickster.")
In his now-classic work The Fool and His Scepter,50 William Willeford mentions
two main tendencies in our attitudes towards fools: the naive view that
fools are just silly and the more refined view that fools show a kind of
wisdom. Each is a partial truth, of course: on the surface the actions
and speech of the fool are silly, but, as Willeford writes, "the surface
of folly sometimes breaks open to reveal surprising depths ...."51
Like all tricksters, the fool somehow stands outside of the normal social
order. In the form of the jester, the fool can say to the king what no
one else would dare. As "outsiders," the fool, the trickster,
the magician can all show us things that we otherwise avoid.
While the trickster is more likely to deceive, cheat, or shock us, the
fool (as related to the clown) is more likely to make us laugh at his antics.
We may laugh at the outrageous behavior of a trickster, the pathos of a
sad clown, or the surprising happenings in a magician's show. There is
also, however, as Willeford points out, a connection between horror and
... [H]oriole things may also be laughable. When we laugh at them, we often
do so partly because we do not know what else to do, because we do not
find our way to another and more appropriate reaction. Through laughter
we achieve a provisional stance, outside belief and disbelief, in the face
of the horrible. We also laugh as part of an automatic recoil into life.52
So the fool, too, through the function of laughter, helps us find our way
back and forth between worlds. This, of course, was also one of the functions
of the shaman. And, in a certain way, it is a function of the analyst as
A Gathering of Magicians
Having considered magic and magicians in general, we now must examine several
particular magicians in search of further insights into this archetype.
The Greek god Hermes is known for many things: being the messenger of all
the gods, being the conductor of souls (the so-called psychopompos) to
the underworld, and for his connection with fertility.53 In addition, however,
he is the god of tricksters, thieves and magicians. In his Roman equivalent
of Mercury he appears in the center of the seal of the International Brotherhood
of Magicians and is regarded as the patron of magicians and as a magician
himself. His golden staff (the kerykeion, in Greek, but often referred
to later as a caduceus) is an example of the magic wand, to be discussed
in the next chapter. The illustration below54 shows a Greek coin from 360
B.C.E. bearing the likeness of Hermes holding his wand entwined with two
With this wand "he charms the eyes of men or wakens whom he wills."55
And, as Karl Kearny writes of this passage, ... the text speaks of death,
but of death not as an unambiguous and final event. Re-awakening in this
context also contains a double meaning: it can refer to an escape from
death itself.56 So there is an implicit theme of death and resurrection
here, an important theme in magic.57
In the General Index to Jung's Collected Works, a distinction is made between
"Mercurius/Hermes/Mercury, in alchemists' writings" and "Mercury/Hermes,
Greek/Roman god" with approximately six times as much space being
given to the Hermes of alchemy as to the classical god. Jung is referring
to both, however, when he writes, "Mercurius or Hermes is a magician
and god of magicians."58
What is it about the story of Hermes which makes this so? Such attributions
cannot be simply arbitrary, the assigning of gods as patrons of various
human activities on a random basis.
As with many gods and heroes, there are miracle stories connected with
his birth. On the day of his birth, for example, Hermes was already able
to walk. He immediately killed a tortoise and, hollowing out its shell
for a sounding board, invented the lyre. (This, of course, prefigures Hermes'
connection with the opposites of life and death.) Next Hermes stole the
cattle of his brother Apollo, tricked his brother by driving the cattle
backwards and by wearing his shoes backwards (so that the tracks left behind
would confuse Apollo), and then lied (by "playing innocent" and
asking, "what are cattle?" when eventually confronted by Apollo).
Thieves and magicians do such things, of course.
The stories of the lyre and the cattle are connected in that Hermes also
killed two of the cows to make strings for his lyre and also in that Hermes
charmed Apollo with the music of the lyre, with the result that Hermes
gave his brother the lyre (which became Apollo's symbol) and that Apollo
gave Hermes the golden staff or wand (which Hermes then always carried).
So, in their way, these stories of the birth of Hermes show the "union
of opposites," the coniunctio oppositorum, so important in Jungian
thought. In any case, stories such as these show how Hermes logically became
the god of both thieves and magicians.
THE TAROT MAGICIAN
The controversial and mysterious set of cards known as the "Tarot"
have become popular in the 20th century and have been interpreted by many
Jung himself refers to the Tarot cards only once in his Collected Works,
mentioning them, in parallel with the pictures found in alchemy, the Tantric
chakra system and the nerve system of Chinese yoga, as seeming to be "distantly
descended from the archetypes of transformation."60
Some interpreters of the cards claim to have traced their origin to ancient
occult traditions.61 Virtually all commentators agree, however, that parts
of the Tarot are at least six centuries old and that the Marseilles version
of the Tarot is perhaps the oldest complete Tarot still in general use.
What matters for this thesis is that Tarot images, in particular those
of the Major Arcana, can readily be understood as arising from some deep
level of human experience and lend themselves to interpretation just as
dreams and fairy tales do. As humans we have a tendency toward projecting
aspects of ourselves on object that provide "hooks" for these
projections. The cards of the Major Arcana are well suited to receive these
projections and thus can serve as tools in our search for self-knowledge.
And since the 22 cards of the so-called "Major Arcana" (also
called the "Greater Trumps") are pictures, this section of the
thesis will be something of an exercise in picture interpretation. The
goal, however, is to understand better another aspect of the magician.
Consider now the figure of the magician as depicted in the Marseilles deck:
This card shows a beardless young man with long, blond curls. His clothes
are tri-colored, red, blue and gold, and the colors red and blue are always
paired opposite one another. For example, he wears a blue shoe on one foot
and a red one on the other, one sleeve is red while the other is blue.
He wears a large, floppy hat with a red brim and a golden crown. In each
hand he is holding something, in one hand a golden wand and in the other,
a round, golden object, either a ball or a coin. The Magician stands behind
a table which extends, to the viewer's right, out of the frame of the picture.
On this table are a variety of small objects: a golden bag or purse with
a golden scarf protruding, a golden cup and a red one, a red ball, a knife
with a blue handle, a blue object which is perhaps a feather, three golden
coins, a pair of golden dice, and a red object which is probably another
ball. The Magician stands on very hilly, uneven ground. A small amount
of grass or other vegetation is visible near his feet and there is what
appears to be a thin, green tree visible in the distance.
Consider what we can surmise about this figure simply from the evidence
in the picture. His face is clearly young, and his curls are still blond,
rather than having darkened (or grayed) with age. His youth and his beardless
face suggest that he stands at the beginning of his life's journey. If
we compare this figure with other men depicted in the Major Arcana, we
find the beardless men typically in precarious positions such as falling,
hanging, or standing at a fork in the road. The bearded men of the Major
Arcana, in contrast, all have their feet on the ground.62 These facts,
plus the unevenness of the ground beneath his feet, suggest that this Magician
symbolizes a state of psychological youth and insecurity, a person at an
initial stage of life. This is further emphasized by the number assigned
to this card in the series: "1".
His clothing provides further clues to his nature. The size and unusual
nature of his hat, for example, merits reflection. As Newman points out,
the hat "is the insignia (i.e., signifies) the bearer, whether it
be the hat of the train conductor, ... or the crown the king receives at
his coronation."63 Most commentators on this card have observed that
the brim of this hat resembles a figure eight lying on its side, the mathematical
sign for infinity (called the "lemniscate"). In the Rider-Waite
version of this card the hat is actually replaced by this symbol. In the
Royal Fez Moroccan Tarot the Magician wears a hood or cowl rather than
a hat, but holds a luminous figure eight in his hand along with his wand.
The Jungian Tarot does not contain the lemniscate directly but it is at
least hinted at in the figure formed by the two snakes on his wand. These
three cards are pictured below. In the Ansata Tarot (not pictured here)
the infinity sign is represented by a cobra at the Magician's feet.
The fact that so many different versions of this card include the sign
for infinity suggests that it is important to the symbolic meaning of the
card and not just incidental. Bernd Mertz sees in the lemniscate "a
hint about the endlessness of the powers of magic."64 It might also
be seen as a hint that this Magician is more than he seems: perhaps this
sign of infinity is to remind us that although we see but a youth before
us, above or behind this youth are transcendent powers. And the lemniscate
is a sure sign that we are not concerned here solely with the street conjurer,
the magician as entertainer.
The Magician's hat can also be seen as a complement to his clothing in
general. Just as the hat has two parts the loops of the reclining figure
eight which are unified through the golden center of the hat, each item
of his clothing in general shoes, leggings, jacket, sleeves is composed
of two opposing parts, their difference being emphasized by their contrasting
colors. Their ultimate unity, however, is shown both by their being obviously
the clothes of this one man and by the golden belt with which they are
held together. So here we see in pictorial form the coniunctio oppositorum
which we have seen before in the stories about Hermes and which we will
consider again in our final chapter.
The items in the Magician's hands provide further clues to his symbolic
nature. The wand is both a badge of his office or status and a tool with
which he creates his miracles. Like the staff of Moses which could alternately
astound the masses by turning into a serpent and nourish them by striking
water from the rock, we know that this tool will be used both to charm
and to help us. Its golden color suggests that the power of the wand comes
from heaven itself65, unlike the power of the evil magician or sorcerer.
The round object in his other hand, whether it be a ball or a coin, is
also golden and therefore connected with this divine power.
Another way of looking at the objects in his hands would combine the objects
themselves with the position of the hands and arms: the wand is in the
hand raised toward heaven while the coin(?) is in the hand closer to the
earth. This might be connected with the Hermetic saying "As above,
so below."66 The saying "As above, so below," is attributed
to Hermes Trismegistus, described in Putman's Concise Mythological Dictionary
as an identification, in late Classical times, of the Greek Hermes with
the ancient Egyptian Thoth. The god Thoth, in Egypt, was the scribe of
the gods and the inventor of the art of writing, and as such was the patron
deity of knowledge and the sciences in general, of which magic constituted
an important part.67
The position of the Magician's hands might also be connected with Jesus'
words in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in
heaven. The traditional posture of the Buddha, with one hand raised in
spiritual blessing and the other hand touching the earth, also comes to
mind. This "above and below" symbolism is emphasized even more
strongly in the design of the Rider-Waite card.
What of the items on the table itself? Newman describes them as "an
assortment of objects relating to gambling and chance."68 In this
connection, Newman informs us that this card has also been called "The
Gambler."69 With this interpretation in mind Newman writes: "Without
conviction and commitment, he endlessly turns his cards and shakes his
dice. ... The Gambler signifies one lost among possibilities, unable to
take a chosen path and stick to it."70 So, according to Newman's interpretation,
this Magician card represents a kind of puer.
I disagree with Newman here. It is true, of course, that chance plays a
role in human affairs and that "life is a gamble. But there is a Tarot
card in which this factor is already evident: The Wheel of Fortune. What
Newman appears to have done is to misinterpret the items which the Magician
is about to use in his work as the tools of the gambler. True, dice and
coins are present, but most likely as the items with which our Magician
is about to show us his miracles. Even today magicians use these same objects.
And in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and earlier, when these
cards were presumably designed, the road-side or drawing-room magician
or conjuror would have been a familiar figure in Europe. The Flemish painter
Hieronymus Bosch (1450?-1516) portrayed a conjuror of his time whose table
and equipment resemble that of the Marseilles Magician. Later, in circa
1740, a woodcut from The Old Hocus Pocus, being the Whole Art of Jugling
[sic] shows a conjuror giving a performance with similar items on his table:
It seems to me, therefore, that what we have here are not "objects
relating to gambling and chance," as Newman claims, but objects to
be used in conjuring or sleight of hand. This is further supported by the
fact that the Magician card in German was sometimes labeled "Der Gaukler"
and in French "Escamoteur,"71 both words more connected with
sleight of hand and deception and neither with gambling (and neither, by
the way, with the "spiritualized" magic suggested by the Rider-Waite
card). Also, the traditional French label on the Magician card in the Marseilles
deck is "Le Bateleur" ("The Juggler"), rather than
"Le Mage" (or something similar). Two other English labels for
this card have been "The Mountebank"72 and "The Thimble-Rigger,"73
both words rather like "trickster."
Some commentators on the Tarot make much of whether the Magician holds
objects in his "right hand" or his "left hand. I put these
terms in quotation marks because they are sometimes used to refer to the
hand at the right or left side of the card from the viewer's standpoint.
Thus Newman writes, The convention will be followed throughout this work
that the right hand is the hand of a figure closest to the right side of
the card and represents the side closest to consciousness. It is here that
the events and contents closest to consciousness are found. Similarly,
when I refer to the left hand I am speaking from our point of view and
am referring to the hand holding the unconscious content, which is the
hand that appears on the left-hand side of the card.74
While I agree in general with this approach to picture interpretation,
I suspect that not too much weight should be placed on this question of
left and right in this case. Note, for example, that the Marseilles Magician
holds the wand in his left hand while the Rider-Waite Magician holds the
wand in his right hand. Similarly, the Royal Fez Moroccan Magician holds
the wand in his right hand while the Jungian Magician holds the wand in
his left. (See the above reproductions of these three cards.)
What else can we surmise from this consideration of the Magician in the
Tarot? Thus far little has been said about his location in relation to
the other cards in the Major Arcana. The Magician is "Arcanum I,"
the initial card in the series of 21 numbered cards. The Fool card sometimes
comes before the series of 21 cards and sometimes comes after the other
cards. Sometimes the Fool is numbered "0" and sometimes (as in
the Marseilles version) it bears no number at all. In any case, it the
Magician who is "Number One. This position can be interpreted in terms
of one's overall view of the nature of the Tarot. Newman, for example,
as the sub-title of his book indicates, sees the Tarot as "a myth
of male initiation. Joseph Campbell, in a related vein, sees the order
of the cards as suggesting "the graded stages of an ideal life, lived
virtuously according to the knightly codes of the Middle Ages."75
A. E. Waite and many others find various occult traditions and esoteric
teachings embodied in the order of the cards.76 What is certain, however,
and most useful for our purposes, is that the Magician bears a special
relation to one-ness or wholeness. Here, I believe, Newman has got it right:
The number one symbolizes the undifferentiated totality. Out of the
one come the two, i.e., the opposites. In the state signified by the number
one, the opposites have not yet been experienced, nor the conflict, the
tension, or the possibility for consciousness. The numerical value given
to this arcanum by virtue of its location is that of a wholeness in its
predifferentiated condition. It is the distinction often made between unity
As a young man at the beginning of his journey, the Magician lives with
the opposites (as shown, for example, by the features of his clothing)
but has not yet fully experienced them and thus has not yet learned to
overcome these opposites through holding the tension between them. That
is, he has not yet reached the state of union. Here, at the beginning of
his life, he exists in a state of participation mystique. In a certain
sense, however, this kind of oneness is a valuable quality for someone
at the beginning of a journey, perhaps even an essential one. Like the
experience of "falling in love," or like the developmental stage
of the "love affair with the world," this pre-conscious unity
provides a launching into the struggles and growth of adult life.
Before leaving the Tarot behind we should note that not only is the Magician
one of the images within this mysterious set of cards. Magicians also use
the Tarot for magical purposes, especially for divination, one of the traditional
functions of magic and one with close ties to psychology. So regardless
of the age of these symbols they can be used for an ancient purpose. "So,"
as Grillot de Givry writes,
there we come back to the pythoness of antiquity; the seer, the inspired
one, the sibyl, whose tripod was only a material instrument helping to
induce trance and to facilitate the reception of the Spirit. To-day the
tarot replaces the tripod; the phenomenon remains identical and quite as
disturbing, but the procedure is better adapted to the requirements of
modern society, and it has been successfully introduced into the humblest
cottage as well as the most sumptuous dwellings.78
In contrast to Hermes and to the Tarot magician, Merlin is known by virtually
all Western adults. His name and his popular image, clothed in dark robe
and conical hat with astrological symbols, waving his magic wand, are known
even by most children. We may even think of Merlin as an icon of "magician"
for our culture. This in itself is significant since we may learn about
the deep meaning of "magician" by studying this figure which
continues to enchant us.
Scholars differ in their opinions about the extent to which the stories
of Merlin are based on an historical person. As one might expect, the "quest
for the historical Merlin" has been popular in the 20th century.79
And although some experts continue to hold that Merlin is a completely
fictional character, the current view seems to be that he has a historical
basis. In fact, it seems likely that there were two historical figures
underlying the literary character: a fifth-century Welsh political prophet,
referred to as Merlin Ambrosius because he was called "Ambrosius"
in the earliest stories, and a sixth-century visionary and "wildman
of the forest" named "Myrddin," referred to as Merlin Silvestris
because of his connection to the woods.80 In the 12th century Geoffrey
of Monmouth wrote about both of these Merlins: first about Merlin Ambrosius,
in his Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and
then about Merlin Silvestris, in his Vita Merlini (The Life of Merlin)
which was composed some years later and which also attempted "to fuse
the fifth- and sixth-century Merlins into one person."81
Some recent scholars have maintained that one or the other of these two
(probably) historical figures provides the more plausible basis for the
Merlin stories. Leona Goodrich,82 for example, favors Merlin Ambrosius,
while Nikolai Tolstoy83 favors Merlin Silvestris as the primary basis.
Fortunately, for our purposes, this issue may remain open. The point, however,
is that unlike Hermes and the Tarot Magician, the stories of Merlin often
seem to be possible descriptions of an actual human being.
As with Hermes (or with Jesus or any other "hero," for that matter),
the stories or legends surrounding Merlin's birth and childhood are significant.
In the first vernacular version of the Merlin story, Robert de Boron84
tells of the devils plotting to undo the work of Christ by "incarnating"
one of their own a kind of "Anti-Christ. One of the devils impregnates
a virgin at night, conceiving Merlin. Realizing what has happened, the
girl confesses to her priest who sprinkles her with holy water thus breaking
the devil's power over her and her child. So although Merlin is born of
a devil father and a virgin mother (and thus from the very beginning is
a union of opposites), his overall impact is for good. This is confirmed
by the story, also related by Robert de Boron, that when Merlin was 18
months old he saved his mother's life by speaking out eloquently and prophetically
when his mother was on trial for having borne him.
At the age of seven, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Merlin was brought
before King Vortigern. The king had been told that the walls of his tower,
which kept collapsing, would stand firm if their mortar were mixed with
the blood of a fatherless boy. Merlin, of course, was "fatherless.
Because of his clairvoyant powers, however, Merlin was able to tell the
king that if he would dig beneath the tower he would find the true cause
of the tower's collapse: two dragons fighting, a red one and a white one
again, a struggle of opposites. As Gollnick puts it, "Merlin is represented
here as the wise child. He has the ability to see into the depths and to
diagnose the roots of a problem that cannot or will not be seen on the
surface."85 Because of his power to see and confront the opposites,
whether in the psyche or in the external world, Merlin is able to transform
situations. The "opposites," however, are within him as well.
Just as all archetypes have a positive, favourable, bright side that points
upwards, so also they have one that points downwards, partly negative and
unfavourable, partly chthonic .... witness the extremely instructive figure
of Merlin ....86
Of course, it is instructive that so often even those actions which may
seem at first to be "negative" turn out to be seen as positive,
as celebrated by the concept of the felix culpa in Christian theology.
An example of this in the Merlin stories is when Merlin deceives Igraine
into thinking that Uther Pendragon is her husband. The product of their
illicit sex is, of course, Arthur. Merlin, like all magicians, is a deceiver.
But he also has a "bright" and "positive" side. As
von Franz puts it, "... those primal opposites which the Christian
teaching has torn apart into an unresolvable conflict exist together in
Two final stories about Merlin may help balance his magical powers with
his more human side. According to Geoffrey's Vita Merlini, Merlin goes
mad after a great battle in which he kills his nephew and withdraws to
the Caledonian Forest, becoming a kind of wild man.
The second story which shows Merlin's "human" side, and one which
seems to have particularly impressed Jung, is Merlin's falling in love
with the mysterious "Lady of the Lake" (variously identified
as Viviane, or Vivien, sometimes as Niniane, or Nimiane or Nymus or Nimu).88
This "lady" eventually imprisons Merlin forever in a tower, showing
that even a great magician is not immune to anima projections ("because
she sums up everything that a man can never get the better of and never
finishes coping with"89). As Jung writes in discussing a particular
In that case the hero has been wafted out of the profane world through
his encounter with the anima, like Merlin by his fairy: as an ordinary
man he is like one caught in a marvelous dream, viewing the world through
a veil of mist.90 One thinks in this connection, naturally, of Jung's own
experience of "poetry" with Sabina Spielrein. "Human, all-too-human."
According to legend, Merlin's mysterious call continued to be heard in
the forest during the last years of his life. Von Franz acknowledges the
importance of this image for Jung by calling the final chapter of her C.G.
Jung: His Myth in Our Time "Le Cri de Merlin."91 And Jung himself
wrote the following about the large stone which he carved at his Bolligen
"Tower" in connection with his seventy-fifth birthday:
The stone stands outside the Tower, and is like an explanation of it. It
is a manifestation of the occupant, but one which remains incomprehensible
to others. Do you know what I wanted to chisel into the back face of the
stone? "Le cri de Merlin!" For what the stone expressed reminded
me of Merlin's life in the forest, after he had vanished from the world.
Men still hear his cries, so the legend runs, but they cannot understand
or interpret them.92
The final figure I have selected for this "gathering of magicians,"
is Harry Houdini. Born Erich Weiss in Hungary in 1874, he moved to America
with his parents when he was still a child.93 He changed his name to "Houdini"
to honor the popular and creative French magician Jean Eug ne Robert-Houdin
(1805-71). Before the recent fame of another American magician, David Copperfield,
Houdini was clearly the most famous conjuror in history. (One evidence
of his influence is the large number of performing magicians who have adopted
stage names ending in "-ini" since his death.)
Like Jung and many others in this period, Houdini (who was born one year
prior to Jung) had a life-long interest in spiritualism and the occult.
But where Jung attempted to find the sources of such manifestations in
the psyche, Houdini first attempted to replicate them, then to debunk them,94
and then, desperately, to use them to make contact with the dead. Rogan
Taylor writes of Houdini:
At the height of his career, he was loved, even worshipped, by literally
millions of people in Europe and America. Whatever it was about Houdini
and his feats that so impressed the minds of his faithful followers, that
power seems hardly to have waned at all. Houdini still casts an irresistible
shadow, and long after his death [in 1926], his name remains a household
word. He captured the imaginations not only of his contemporaries, but
also of successive generations who never even witnessed any of his stupendous
feats. He is a modern myth, a true showbiz shaman of our time.95
Houdini was fascinated by magic as a boy and began his stage career performing
rather standard tricks. He was inspired by the famous stage magicians of
the recent past, Hermann the Great and Harry Kellar in addition to Robert-Houdin,
and he desperately wanted to be "great" himself, but it was some
time before he found the approach which led to his special fame. As his
biographer put it, "He was convinced that he had some role to play
but could not work out what it was."96 The key came through his interest
in spiritualist seances.
In the typical spiritualist seance of Houdini's time, the so-called medium
would be securely tired up with ropes prior to the darkening of the seance
room or the closing of the "spirit cabinet. Nevertheless, drums and
trumpets would sound and people would be touched by "spirit hands.
Houdini soon learned that the secret of such performances was that the
mediums had ways to free themselves and then re-tie themselves. He set
himself the goal of becoming history's greatest escape artist. He succeeded
in doing just this.
What Houdini did not know at the time that he set himself this goal was
that escaping from restraints was a typical shamanistic demonstration.
According to Rogan Taylor, again, The escapology trick is one of the most
ancient and potent symbols of the drama and the dilemma of human existence.
We are bound in our bodies. How can we escape? Consequently, escapology
is also one of the most frequently occurring feats performed during shamanistic
healing magic all over the world.97 Regardless of whether the shaman literally
demonstrates his ability to escape, he must convince his audience that
he has undergone an initiation in the Underworld or on a different plane
of existence and has returned healed. He must convince his audience that
healing escape from sickness is possible for them as well through his help.
Although Houdini remained unfamiliar with this shamanistic context for
His shows contained such an ancient and powerful healing drama that his
contemporaries found them as fascinating, moving and "therapeutic"
as their nomadic forebears had done ten thousand years before. Houdini's
escapology was, in essence, a healing rite which the demon-possessed modern
Westerners avidly attended in the hope of a dramatic exorcism. ... [T]he
effect of these feats lies less on visual stimulation than on their impact
on the inner lives of the watchers. The audiences identified with him totally
and shared every minute of his ordeal. When Houdini got free, everybody
One of Houdini's most famous stage tricks was the illusion known as Metamorphosis,
sometimes referred to as "the substitution trunk. In this trick the
magician is bound with restraints such as ropes or handcuffs and locked
in a large trunk. His assistant holds a curtain in front of the trunk and
in a matter of seconds the curtain is dropped and the magician, now freed
from the restraints, is standing there. The assistant (in Houdini's case,
his wife, Bess) is found, tightly bound, inside the trunk. Versions of
this trick have become a standard part of stage magic shows since Houdini's
time. (Coincidentally, given our focus on the magician as archetype, the
most famous current performers of this effect are "The Pendragons.")
But with Metamorphosis the most striking thing for Houdini was not the
reaction of his audience, it was his own reaction: performing the trick
gave Houdini the feeling that he had left his body. Despite knowing full
well that it was "only a trick," Houdini felt that a genuine
miracle had occurred. As Taylor puts it,
It is fascinating that a trick that, in its original context, was designed
to point towards the ecstatic experiences of the shaman, should actually
begin to create such experiences. Houdini was, as it were, working backwards,
starting with the tricks and ending up with the supernatural experiences,
instead of the other way around. ... Houdini was baffled by his own experiences.99
As a performer myself, I have occasionally had the same feeling. It can
happen in many fields, of course. The gymnast who completes a difficult
routine without a hitch and the musician who performs a demanding piece
in a "magical" way can know this same sense of ecstasy.100 It
is rare, but when it happens to the magician, as it did to Houdini, it
raises the question of the relationship between "the two magics performance
magic and ceremonial magic."101
As a result of such experiences, Houdini became obsessed with his search
for "real" magic. He collected thousands upon thousands of books
about magic and the occult (books which are now housed in a special collection
at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.). As Taylor, poignantly,
describes Houdini's library:
It was like an occult version of Citizen Kane's vast collection of European
art, only Houdini was gathering together all the desperate fragments of
literature reflecting Europe's long-standing obsession with magic. Houdini
plumbed the European unconscious in his search for a genuine tradition
in which to find a home. But he never found it.102
Lacking the context of a spiritual "home" or tradition, Houdini's
inner life took a rather morbid turn. He had long since achieved both fame
and wealth. And he had escaped from all the locks, ropes and jails that
both America and Europe had to offer. What he could not escape from, however,
was has dependence on his mother. Bizarre as it may seem, he was never
concerned with the possibility of his own death, despite the fact that
he often risked his life with his spectacular escapes. Nor was he concerned
with the possible death of his wife. He was, however, obsessed with the
thought that his beloved mother would die before him and that her death
would drive him insane. (It is for this reason that one of his most interesting
biographies is titled Death and the Magician.103) Because of this fear
of his mother's death and his belief he would inevitably go mad, Houdini
visited the local psychiatric hospitals, then called "lunatic asylums,"
of course, in all the major cities where he performed. (As a result of
these visits he developed several famous escapes from the psychiatric restraints
of those days, the strait-jacket, for example.) He also visited graveyards,
being especially interested in the graves of suicides.
When his mother did die, in 1908, Houdini collapsed. Afterwards, he visited
her grave every day and would lie face down on it hoping to receive a message
from her. Despite his public attacks on spiritualist mediums, Houdini began
seeking out mediums who might help him make contact with his mother. When
no such contact came, Houdini made pacts with those around him, arranging
secret codes and signs which could be used to prove communication after
his own death. For fifty years following Houdini's death on Halloween 1926,
an annual seance was held for his family and friends. After fifty years
without success, the seances were discontinued.
As the rabbi said at his graveside, Houdini possessed a power which he
himself had never understood. In another culture he might have become a
shaman. Given still another background, he might have become an innovative
and powerful therapist. He was clearly a "superstar," perhaps
the first. But he failed to find a framework in which to make full sense
of his gifts or his life.
And yet, as Eugene Burger writes, "This image of freedom from bondage,
in whatever form, is a powerful one indeed."104 And Houdini's success
and a huge success it was due "to the great power of the mythical
(if not archetypal) character he was portraying namely, the 'Man No Chains
The phrase "if not archetypal" in the above quotation is echoed
in the most recent biography of Houdini which I have read. In her 1993
work The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini, Ruth Brandon quotes Jung
on "the primordial images of the unconscious" and then concludes
Houdini, in his (literally) death-defying stunts, brought this 'primordial
image' to the level of conscious experience, both for himself and on behalf
of his audience.
That was real magic.106 Indeed.
Tools of the Trade Magic Wand
Hermes, the Tarot magician, and Merlin all used wands. Houdini, once he
began to specialize in escapes, did not. Still, the magic wand is clearly
the most widespread of the various "tools" and/or "badges"
associated with the magician. What, then, might it mean?
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols contains the following
entry: Wand Power; conductor of supernatural force; an attribute of all
magicians, shamans and medicine men. It is associated symbolically with
the mace, scepter, trident and crozier.107
As we have already seen in connection with Hermes and with the Tarot magician,
the wand represents the specific power(s) of the magician who possesses
it. Its association with the mace and scepter, however, adds a new dimension
of meaning. Using our imagination, we can picture primitive man using club
and spear to hunt and to kill and then using these same implements to threaten,
that is to attempt to control by intimidation. From there, that is, from
the mace, it would be but a short step to the scepter, the badge of office
of the chief or king. The trident and crozier would fit the same pattern.
One primary use to the wand is to point to something and thus to focus
attention and energy on it. As with all magic, this can lead to harm or
to good, depending on context and intention. For example, in Melanesia
"pointing the bone" (or stick or arrow or wand), accompanied
by the ritual expression of negative emotion, may lead to the death of
the victim.108 On the other hand, wands can focus emotional energy in positive
ways, as with the fairy godmother's wand, the wand used by Moses to strike
water from the rock, or the wand used by Jesus (see below) to raise Lazarus
from the dead.
Wands have sometimes been identified with the divining rods used in dowsing.
This practice, called rhabdomancy or rhabdoscopy,109 however, seems less
connected with the power which wands traditionally symbolize than with
other means of divination (such as the use of a pendulum) which amplify
one's intuitive responses.110
A more plausible interpretation of the magician's wand sees it as a type
of phallic symbol. (Indeed, some men who know nothing of symbolism have
referred to their penis as their "magic wand.") The Druids of
ancient Britain used wands of hazel or mistletoe with a pine cone attached
to one end. Such a wand was eventually called the "Priapic wand"
in honor of the Greek fertility god Priapus.111 Perhaps the symbolism here
There are parallels here too between the magician and his wand and the
fool and his scepter or "bauble. And according to William Willeford,
"Attached to the bauble of the European court jester was often a bladder
formed into a clear representation of a phallus."113
This observations about the "phallic" nature of the magician's
wand can be balanced by the claims of Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor in their
book The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth.114
Their argument is that the magician's wand was originally "a women's
lunar calendar stick, the first time-measuring device known, dating from
the Ice Age. A male magician or shaman cannot be magic, i.e., female without
it."115 By the phrase "magic, i.e., female," Sjoo and Mor
are referring to such wide-spread practices among shamans as dressing in
women's clothes in order to combine both male and female powers or energies.
So in this sense it would not seem too implausible for a traditional shaman
to employ a "power object" characteristic of women. They discuss
this "wand" again later in their book, contrasting their view
with that of Abbe Breuil (the original investigator of the Trois Fr res
cave paintings and the one who named the central image the "sorcerer"):
Such sticks appear in Paleolithic cave paintings dating from 50,000 B.C.
They are held by women and shamans. (And later became the magician's wand.)
Abbe Breuil named this stick, le baton de commandement, suggesting it was
an insignia of male rulership or power. But in fact, as a lunar measuring
instrument, the stick derives from women's earliest moon-phase engravings
on rock and bone.116 All of our reflections on the Paleolithic cave paintings
must remain speculative, of course. Still, it is true that it is a tradition
for the shaman to combine qualities of both male and female, a tradition
similar to the Jungian stress on developing a relationship with one's contrasexual
side, anima or animus, so such speculations are interesting.117
As we can easily imagine, Christ has often been viewed as a kind of magician.118
And many older illustrations show Jesus using a magic wand of some kind
to perform his miracles. For example, this Fourth Century image from the
Vatican library shows Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead by touching him
with a type of wand.119
While ceremonial magicians use wands as a symbol of their power or authority,
performing magicians have often used their wands to help them accomplish
magic tricks. Many special "gimmicked" wands have been available
over the centuries, some of which are still sold in magic shops.120 These
wands may, for example, levitate or change their own appearance in some
way (say, by changing color). They may also aid in the producing, vanishing,
or transforming of some other object. And magic wands may also assist the
conjuror to "misdirect" the attention of the audience in various
And then, of course, the expression "magic wand" is a relatively
common metaphor in European languages. Here it is mostly just a figure
of speech, but one with an archetypal background (as many figures of speech
have).121 For example, Jung wrote to Karl Ker‚nyi, praising his interpretations
of Greek mythology: "You touch the fragments with the magic wand of
your intuition, and behold! they fly together into recognizable figures."122
When asked if they know any magic words, the average speaker of English
today will answer with either "abracadabra" or "hocus pocus"
and, in fact, these words each have a long history.
The Herder Symbol Dictionary contains the following entry:
Abracadabra It is a magical word that appeared in late Greek writings and
was probably related to Abraxas [the name of the God of the Year]. It was
used as an amulet inscription, primarily to vanquish illness.123 In this
entry, the origin and meaning of the word is not given. Aryeh Kaplan, however,
gives the meaning as "I will create as I speak" (ABRA K'ADaBRA).124
This translation clearly underscores the power that magicians attribute
to the act of speaking. This is, of course, evident from the Genesis account
of the creation of the world: "And God said, 'Let there be light.'"
This particular magic word was often written as an inverted triangle, as
A B R A C A D A B R A
A B R A C A D A B R
A B R A C A D A B
A B R A C A D A
A B R A C A D
A B R A C A
A B R A C
A B R A
A B R
Just why it is/was written this way I have not seen explained. This arrangement,
while visually interesting, is not anything like the traditional "Sator
Arepo" magical square device which was also often used on magical
"Hocus Pocus" is usually explained in one of two different ways.
On the one hand, it is often alleged to come from the words hoc est corpus
in the Latin mass "this is the body" (of Christ) or hoc est corpus
(meum), "this is (my) body."126 If this is so, it reflects a
recognition of the magical transformation aspect in the mass as well, perhaps,
an intentional parody of "ecclesiastical magic. On the other hand,
however, it sometimes alleged to come from the name of a famous magician.
Who's Who in Magic confirms that this was the
[s]tage name of the leading conjurer in England during the reign of King
James (1603-25), as reported by both Ben Jonson (in 1625 & 1632, spelling
his name both "Hocos Pokos" & "Hokos-pokos") &
Thomas Ady (in 1656).127 However, given that Reginald Scot mentions the
use of "hocus pocus" as a magic word in his 1584 book The Discouerie
of Witchcraft, it seems likely the 17th century performer by that name
simply adopted the already existing words as his stage name.
Another bit of evidence which seems to support the view at the Latin mass
rather than a particular popular performer is the source of this word is
that "hocus pocus" is known in almost all the European languages,128
something which the "hoc est corpus" theory could easily explain.
In any case, "hocus pocus" as an accompaniment of magic has a
The very strangeness of magic words like "abracadabra" and "hocus
pocus" may also be part of their charm. As Jung writes in discussing
"our dependence on words,"
Because words are substitutes for things, which of course they cannot be
in reality, they take on intensified forms, become eccentric, outlandish,
stupendous, swell up into what schizophrenic patients call "power
words. A primitive word-magic develops, and one is inordinately impressed
by it because anything out of the ordinary is felt to be especially profound
and significant.130 And Jung elsewhere refers to the "unintelligible
incantations" used in magic.131
Perhaps the primary use of magic words, however, is in the type of ritual
known as "casting a spell. According to Malinowski, "the most
important element in magic is the spell."132 He analyses the words
or sounds involved in terms of their phonetic effect (as for example when
the wailing of the wind or the sea is onomatopoeically invoked), their
stating or commanding the desired aim (cf. "hoc est corpus" above!),
and their mythological allusions (for example, the history and traditions
of the people involved). Because of the complexity of all this, Malinowski
argues, "The slightest alteration from the original pattern would
Each culture will have its own set of spells, naturally. However, the range
of the purposes for which spells have been cast is remarkable. Included
are virtually all things which humans might desire but have difficulty
obtaining. For instance, in just one ancient culture there were spells
for memory, for foreknowledge, for attracting love, for restraining anger,
for producing a trance, for inducing insomnia (presumably in others!),
for keeping bugs out of the house, for requesting a dream oracle, and for
gaining control on one's shadow (although not, presumably, in the Jungian
sense), along with many others.134 There were also, naturally, spells to
protect one from spells cast by others.
Note also that to be "magic" words do not have to have a mysterious
sound, an esoteric meaning, or a special history. Robert Neale provides
a moving example of this in his chapter "Many Magics" in the
book Magic and Meaning:
Magic occurs between parent and child. I recall awful nights as a fledgling
father with a crying infant, my first child. Night after night, she would
scream and I would yell just as wildly in my mind. But magic occurred.
Sometimes, I would pick her up, hold her close to me and say, "It
is all right. It is all right. This is word magic. It was not all right
from the everyday-life point of view. She was miserable and I was too.
Besides, she could not understand what I said. Furthermore, I could not
understand it either. But both of us were made content. "It is all
right. That was a conviction about her, me, our relationship and our future.
This is very basic magic. Many years later, I spent six months in a hospice,
caring for those who were dying. They did die, and they did so while I
was in their company, sitting beside them, often holding their hands or
resting my hand on their shoulders. As I sat for hours and watched them
die, it became clear that, you guessed it, "Everything was all right.
How could this be? It was not all right. The person might be young with
a family and career. The person might be older and have serious issues
about their lives that were unresolved. And I was not very all right myself
in my life, family and work. Even so, I said, "Everything is all right,"
and it was so. At the end, as well as at the beginning, of life, such primary
life magic is commonplace.135 Our words can make a difference. We are all
magicians. Magic Circle
According the Herder Symbol Dictionary,
In magical practices, the circle is valued as an effective symbol of
protection against evil spirits, demons, etc.; the protective function
ascribed to such items as the belt, ... ring, hoop, and circular amulet
probably derives from the symbolic value of the circle.136 So in this sense
a magic circle is what in German would be called a "Bannkreis,"
a circle which keeps something out, which "bans" or "banishes"
it. This seems to be the idea behind the image below, showing Faustus within
his magic circle and Mephistopheles being kept at bay.137
In the novel The Last Temptation of Christ, Kazantzakis has Jesus draw
a circle around himself in the sand when he has to confront his tempters.
In Dracula there is a similar image of the circle as magical protection.
And the Handw"rterbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens reports a wide variety
of similar practices.138 In his Tavistock Lectures, Jung mentions the customs
of making a magic circle around a field both when digging for a treasure
and when protecting the harvest.139
But there is also a sense in which a magic circle serves to keep something
in. The Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery, for example, describes the magic
circle as "a circle of nine feet: the area within which the magician
has contact with a spirit, and which he cannot leave before he has broken
the spell."140 In both traditional and so-called "Neo-Pagan"
rituals, the "casting of the circle" serves mainly to keep a
certain energy or focus within the gathering rather than to protect against
"evil" forces from outside.
Of course, a magic circle often has both the function of keeping something
out and keeping something else in. Circles as such can always do both whether
they are "circles of friends" or circles of barbed wire. Again,
as Jung puts it,
The vas bene clausum (well-sealed vessel) is a precautionary measure very
frequently mentioned in alchemy, and is the equivalent of the magic circle.
In both cases the idea is to protect what is within from what is without,
as well as to prevent it from escaping.141
When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 I happened to be in Europe and
I visited Berlin to see this wall. The Western press had only mentioned
the wall as an attempt by East Germany to keep its citizens from escaping.
The rationale I was given in East Berlin, however, was that it was more
an attempt to keep out the pernicious influence of Western European culture.
Although I doubted that this was the real reason for the wall, it did strike
me at the time that walls actually do both.
Of course the magic circle of the magician as shaman and as conjuror is
the area in which his "performance" takes place, whether it be
a simple clearing or a formal stage. The function of having a well-defined
space of this sort is to focus the attention of the spectators or participants
and to show that something special is to happen here. In this sense, the
circle or stage is similar to putting a frame around a painting and hanging
it on the wall, a point returned to in the discussion of "audience,"
A related way of conceptualizing the function of the magic circle is to
imagine it dividing the secular from the sacred or the ordinary from the
extraordinary. This is expressed in a quote from The Magician Within by
Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette:
Ancient cities were sacred spaces, usually roughly (and sometimes precisely)
circular by design, with the palace-temple complex always located at the
circle's center. Thus the King dwelt at the organizing center, from which
the created world radiates. Sacred mountains, sacred trees, and inner sanctums
all were the "power spots" through which an energy exchange took
place between the various dimensions of reality. The center was always
bounded and contained by impregnable walls or "magic circles"
or some other device designed to separate ordinary from extraordinary time
The concept of the "temenos," so important to our understanding
of the process of Jungian analysis, is clearly related to this function
and will be returned to in the next chapter.
It is, of course, possible for ceremonial magic to take place in private.
In such a case, the magician will either be attempting to affect himself
(or something in his surroundings) or he will be addressing his magic to
some spiritual power, such as God. In the typical case of magic, however,
an audience of some kind is assumed. Hermes, the Tarot magician, Merlin
and Houdini all work their wonders before an audience. Why and how is this
Just as magic circle and the performer's stage set off the realm of magic
from the ordinary, secular world, so too does the presence of an audience
contribute to the success of magic of all kinds.
Magic, both ceremonial and performing, is, after all, a kind of theater.
And theater people are very familiar with "the roar of the crowd"
and its effect on the performance. Having an audience is not just incidental.
Metaphorically if not literally, there is a reciprocal flow of energy between
the performer and the audience. This must be so if the performance is to
be successful at least.143
For there to a spectacle there must be spectators. Shamans and magicians
have long realized this and have devote considerable attention to gathering
and preparing (or "conditioning") their spectators.
Because shamans use ecstatic techniques (such as drumming, chanting, and,
often, drugs), it is often the case that, as Rogan Taylor writes,
... the psychological fusion between the shaman and his people is almost
total and discrimination between the performer and the audience becomes
almost impossible. ... In the sophisticated civilisations the very definition
of an "audience" revolves around an increasing discrimination
between performers and onlookers. It is really only when the onlookers
no longer know the mystery which lies behind the performance, and to which
it constantly refers, that they become an audience. In certain contexts,
it might be true to say that the audience only comes into existence when
it stops taking the same drugs as the performers.144 And when all are "in
on the secret," they are colleagues or comrades, members of the same
"community" or "tribe."
In general, for there to be a distinction between performer and audience
there must be some way of marking the one off from the other, some way
of showing that we are confronting a performance or a work of art. The
frame around a painting and the pedestal under a piece of sculpture show
is this, for example.
It has long been recognized by aestheticians, of course, that the stage
with its proscenium arch (or the circular platform of theater-in-the-round)
is analogous to the frame around a painting: it makes the statement, "This
before you is a performance/a work of art. And because of this we take
a different attitude towards what we are given.
A concept related to this is the changing of the frame or framework in
which something is understood. Thus both psychotherapists and negotiators
speak of "re-framing" an issue.145 Part of Jungian analysis consists
in doing just this.
The Analyst as Magician
Jung's way of approaching the psyche was distinctive in its heavy use of
imagery. As he once put it:
In describing the living processes of the psyche, I deliberately and
consciously give preference to a dramatic, mythological way of thinking
and speaking, because this is not only more expressive but also more exact
than an abstract scientific terminology, which is wont to toy with the
notion that its theoretic formulations may one fine day be resolved into
So the idea of trying to understand the Jungian analyst better by considering
him or her as a kind of "magician" is in keeping with the approach
encouraged by Jung. He himself once referred to "the psyche and its
box of conjuring tricks" and was personally fond of magic shows.147
Therapists of many schools have already looked for connections between
magic and psychopathology and between magic and psychotherapy.148 Rather
than summarize their suggestions here, I shall offer some thoughts based
on my own observations.
What about the goal(s) of analysis itself? Freud's remark that his goal
was to transform neurotic suffering into ordinary sadness comes to mind.
But to stay with the magician metaphor, one Jungian has described the process
as "how bewitchment is transformed into enchantment."149
In discussing the "mana personality" in Chapter III above, I
quoted Jung's remark about "the well-known archetype of the mighty
man in the form of hero, chief, magician, medicine-man, saint, the ruler
of men and spirits, the friend of God."150 In one sense, of course,
there are saints and heroes. But to a large extent such titles are the
results of projection, that process "by which a subjective content
becomes alienated from the subject and is, so to speak, embodied in the
object."151 So, as has been said, considering another person as a
"magician" involves projection. In analysis, the analysand's
projections on the analyst are referred to as "transference"
and as we shall see (and as we might well expect), seeing the analyst as
a kind of magician is not uncommon.
Such projections are sometimes helpful to the process of analysis, but
not always. Jung writes:
One of the greatest hindrances to understanding is the projection of the
shaman the savior. As soon as you are elevated to such a rank, you are
powerless, lost in a sea of mist. ... You are just as unable to perform
miracles as a shaman as a rule is.152
To give structure to the present chapter, I divide it into sections related
to the "tools of the trade" discussed in Chapter V: Wand, Words,
Circle, and Audience.
In "A Study in the Process of Individuation," Jung tells how
his patient was overcome by a fantasy-image as she was trying to paint
... she saw herself with the lower half of her body in the earth, stuck
fast in a block of rock. The region round about was a beach strewn with
boulders. In the background was the sea. She felt caught and helpless.
Then she suddenly saw me in the guise of a medieval sorcerer. She shouted
for help, I came along and touched the rock with a magic wand. The stone
instantly burst open, and she stepped out uninjured.153 And the resulting
painting of this situation which she brought to Jung has become famous
in its own right.
But how are we to understand this "magic wand" being used? Like
the drum of the shaman, the wand of the magician is both a badge of office
and a tool to assist in transformation. The wand focuses the magician's
power so that, as in Jung's patient's dream, that which the magician touches
with his wand is changed.
In the above case, the patient's dream credits the analyst with possessing
such a wand. In a different case, we might imagine the analyst asking a
client who is "stuck" and cannot imagine how things might change,
"If we had a magic wand, what could we do with it?" (The analyst
might, of course, have said, "I" instead of "we" or,
perhaps, "you.") Such a fantasy of having a wand could, with
the right client at the right time, stimulate the imagination in a helpful
In general, such techniques resemble the "active imagination"
which Jung recommended, a topic which others have begun to explore.155
With other clients, of course, the above techniques might be more likely
to stimulate a regression to a level of passivity and "magical thinking.
A colleague told me of saying to such a client (presumably in a moment
of frustration), "I don't have a magic wand, you know."
In Jungian analysis the typical therapeutic intervention is with words.
(Actions, of course, such as declining to answer the telephone during a
session, can also be important; but this is not as "typical"
as the use of words.)
Russell Lockhart begins his stimulating essay "Words as Eggs"
by quoting Leonard Cohen:
I've been listening to all the dissension I've been listening to all
And I know that no matter what I do
It'll all come back to you again.
But I think that I can heal it
But I think that I can heal it
I'm a fool, but I think that I can heal it
With this song.
Lockhart then continues: As an analyst, I, too, hear stories of dissension
and pain. And, yes, I know, too, that no matter what I say or do this pain
will come back again. Yet, in face of this inevitable return, the poet
and analyst share a common vision, a common hope. Like the poet, the analyst,
too, is a fool and feels that this pain and dissension can be touched and
healed with his particular form of song: the curing word, the healing speech,
the therapy of the word we call psychotherapy.156
In discussing magic words in the previous chapter, I cited Robert Neale's
use of the words "it is all right. Now I provide three clinical examples,
but examples from sessions where I was the analysand rather than the analyst.
First example: In the "acknowledgments" section at the beginning
of this thesis, I referred to one example of an analyst's words which proved
magical. In discussing my associations to a dream in which I was traveling
first class, my analyst simply asked, "And what would it mean to go
'first class.'" The result was a breakthrough in my thinking about
Second example: Prior to my beginning in Jungian analysis, I saw a Freudian
for "psychoanalytic psychotherapy" for several years. For one
session I arrived terribly upset and told him that my pre-teenaged daughter
had been sitting in my car, had accidentally released the parking brake,
and I had witnessed the nightmare-ish scene of the car with my daughter
rolling backwards down a hill and crashing into a tree. Although no one
was injured and the car was insured, I remained quite upset. My analyst
simply said, "Thank God she wasn't hurt. And his words transformed
the situation for me.
Third example: I have noticed that many times during my years with my current
analyst I have resisted doing (or even feeling) things which conflicted
with my previously "set" ways of looking at the world. Sometimes,
in such instances, I would fantasize about some new way of acting or of
understanding a situation. My analyst's words, "And why not?"
were often the key which opened new possibilities for me. Like magic. Circle
The "magic circle" discussed in the previous chapter has its
counterpart in the Jungian concept of the "temenos. The Greeks used
this concept to mean a sacred, protected space, such as in a temple a place
where the divine presence can be safely felt. Jung and his followers applied
this notion to the analyst's consulting room.
In addition to the magic circle as temenos, there is another sense of circle
which is relevant here: the mandala, the type of geometric figure usually
involving both circle and square. Such images can appear spontaneously
in dreams and paintings and have often been employed in traditional meditation
practices. But whether produced by the client or offered in some way by
the analyst, working with mandalas can be healing and "magical. Jung
... mandalas mostly appear in connection with chaotic psychic states of
disorientation or panic. They then have the purpose of reducing the confusion
to order, though this is never the conscious intention of the patient.
At all events they express order, balance, and wholeness. Patients themselves
often emphasize the beneficial or soothing effect of such pictures. ...
Most mandalas have an intuitive, irrational character and, through their
symbolical content, exert a retroactive influence on the unconscious. They
therefore possess a "magical" significance ....157
One final sense of "circle" comes to mind in connection with
the practice of analysis: the analyst's own "circle" of friends
and colleagues. Perhaps it goes without saying that analysts who lack such
a circle risk falling into a form of "co-dependency" with their
clients simply due to the human need for contact with others. And it is
also clear that consultation with one's professional colleagues can help
one escape that other kind of circle, the "vicious circle," of
limited imagination and understanding.
Unfortunately, it is also true that some Jungians see themselves as part
of a circle of what might be called "the elect" in comparison
with other psychotherapists. In such circles, "The term 'analyst'
is used repeatedly ... in a special, almost magical, sense to separate
such individuals from other psychotherapists."158 So we see here again
the danger of inflation.
Two senses of "audience" may well concern the analyst: the analysand
as a kind of "audience" in the analytic hour and the public in
general as a kind of "audience" for the insights and concepts
which arise from the Jungian tradition. Some comments about each.
In a way, the analytic relationship involves "an audience of one,"
to use a phrase suggested by Rogan Taylor.159 Sometimes, but not always,
it is the analysand who is the audience. At other times it is the analyst.
After all, listening is one of the characteristic activities of the analyst.
And yet even listening is part of the role of the analyst, part of his
or her performance if you will. To be fully present in the analytic hour
the analyst must be "on" and have "stage energy," as
actors might say.
The analyst's relation to a broader, public audience is also significant.
Some analysts (James Hillman and Verena Kast come to mind) have chosen
to discontinue seeing individual analysands so as to concentrate on writing
and speaking for a broader audience. Other analysts try to combine their
work with individuals with their concern for larger groups. Some analysts,
of course, limit their activity to working with their individual clients.
Still, the concept of having an audience to connect to is important.
Having an "audience of one" rather than a larger audience has
economic implications as well. Being in analysis is a major expense for
most analysands, something like having "private lessons" with
a master teacher rather than taking group lessons in a public institution
or private lessons from a more "ordinary" teacher. If the audience
for Jungian analysis and insights is not to be limited to the financial
elite, perhaps more conscious attention needs to be given to various types
of Jungian group work and to the creative use of new media as well as to
the traditional work of the analyst.
Finally, the suggestion that we look at the analyst as a type of magician
raises the interesting question of whether the basis of analysis, the theories
of Jung himself, need to be true for the "magic" to work. There
is evidence from the field of magic itself that all that is necessary is
that the persons involved believe in the process in order for it to work.
(Perhaps something similar is true of the healing power of prayer.) There
is no question but that the psyche is remarkable and only partly understood.
So perhaps this comment from Richard Smith can be somewhat reassuring to
us as analysts:
Given the extraordinary ability of the human mind to make sense out of
things, it is natural occasionally to make sense out of things that have
no sense at all.160 This does not mean that we can offer suggested interpretations
of dreams in some random or unprincipled way, only that a motivated analysand,
being human, may well accept and make sense of things we say regardless
of the truth or falsity of the theory behind them. Much magic is based
on this fact. It is a fact. So analysts can surely afford to recognize
it and to accept that the analytic process may work better because of it.
This is one more way of learning from the magician. (As one recent writer
has put it, "the history of medical treatment until relatively recently
is the history of the placebo effect."161 And, given the demonstrated
effectiveness of the placebo even today, one might well question the physician
who refused the use of placebos.)
But now, really, what is analysis and how can thinking about "magicians"
help us understand the process? Michael Harner quotes Albert Schweitzer
as having observed,
The witch doctor succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us [doctors]
succeed. Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us
not knowing this truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who
resides within each patient a chance to go to work.162 Or, as a different
writer put it, "Somewhere along the way our inner Magician is awakened
The data and the arguments presented in this thesis constitute an extended
circumambulation of the image of "magician" in the human psyche.
Perhaps the examples of magicians and their tools which have been discussed
will find some echo in the psyche of the reader. Perhaps, too, the suggestions
of ways in which analysts are magicians will prove stimulating to those
working in this field.164 In the final analysis, however, there remains
something mysterious about the psyche and its images just as with magic
and magicians. I began this thesis with a reference to my father taking
me as a boy to the meetings of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Let me end with another personal story.
I first visited Zürich in the summer of 1961, just after Jung had
died. I went to the Jung Institute on the Gemeindestrasse, the very building
where I have now lived for the past two years, but somehow I was afraid
to enter. "What would I say?" I asked myself. Many years later
I returned to Zürich and visited the Institute, which by this time
had moved to Küsnacht. This time I arranged interviews with several
Zürich analysts to discuss my interest in the training program. One
of these was Dr. Hilde Binswanger. We spent an hour discussing the training
program at the Institute and my insecurities about giving up my career
as a philosophy professor to enter it, feeling somehow embarrassed about
making such a major change in my life. Finally she said to me: "Jung
used to say, 'Follow your Schlange, follow your snake.'"
I took her advice, and my ®Schlange led me back and forth between America
and Zürich for many years until now I find myself at the end of this
training program. During my ten semesters of training I never found a passage
where Jung wrote about "following one's snake," but then just
as I was finishing this thesis I noticed a reference in the index to Jung's
Collected Works under "wand, magic": "see also caduceus"
that is, the magic wand of Hermes, Asclepius and others. And in looking
this up I found the following passage, with which I end this thesis: ...
the right way to wholeness is made up, unfortunately, of fateful detours
and wrong turnings. It is a longissima via, not straight but snakelike,
a path that unites the opposites in the manner of the guiding caduceus,
a path whose labyrinthine twists and turns are not lacking in terrors.165
And in rewards.
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About the Author
John Granrose was born in 1939 in Miami, Florida. He received his B.A.
in philosophy and psychology from the University of Miami, studied at the
University of Heidelberg on a U.S. Fulbright Grant, and received his Ph.D.
in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1966. His doctoral dissertation,
"The Implications of Psychological Studies of Conscience for Ethics,"
dealt with the theories of Freud, Piaget, and B.F. Skinner.
From 1966 until 1993, he taught in the Department of Philosophy at the
University of Georgia. He has also taught at the University of Miami and
the University of Michigan and has held visiting professorships at Keele
University in England and the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany.
Since 1993 he has been Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in the University
His work has been published in the Harvard Theological Review, the Journal
of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, the Journal of Social Philosophy, Business
and Professional Ethics, and other journals. He is the co-editor of Introductory
Readings in Ethics (Prentice-Hall, 1974) and the co-author of Practical
Business Ethics (Prentice-Hall, 1995).
Dr. Granrose is a member of the American Philosophical Association, the
American Psychological Association, and the Society for Values in Higher
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
- Leonard Cohen
1These general, intellectual issues about magic are explored in many existing
publications. Especially recommended are: James George Frazer, The Golden
Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1922); Marcel
Mauss, A General Theory of Magic (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972),
first published, in French, in 1950; Eusebe Salverte, The Philosophy of
Magic (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847), first published, in French,
2My father, Sylvester Granrose, was born in Helsinki in 1895, went to the
United States with his parents and sister when he was five years old, and
died in Miami in 1958. At the time of his death I was 18. He was an athlete,
representing the U.S. in the 1920 Olympic Games, and eventually became
a professional swimming teacher. Performing "magic tricks" was
his life-long avocation.
3Dream from August 29, 1995, used with permission. My translation.
4Since I do not return to this general question of magic in history and
in different cultures later in this thesis, I mention several important
sources here for the interested reader: Works by conjurors: Milbourne Christopher,
The Illustrated History of Magic (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1973). John
Mulholland, Magic of the World (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965).
James Randi, Conjuring (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992). Works by academic
scholars: W.B. Crow, A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism (London:
Sphere Books, 1972). James Hastings (ed.), Encyclop'dia of Religion and
Ethics (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926), article on Magic, Vol. 8,
pp. 245-321. Francis King, Magic: The Western Tradition (London: Thames
and Hudson, 1975). Jeffrey B. Russell, A History of Witchcraft, Sorcerers,
Heretics and Pagans (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980).
5See, for example, Jung's remarks in "Religion and Psychology: A Reply
to Martin Buber," CW 18, para. 1506-1507: It should not be overlooked
that what I am concerned with are psychic phenomena which can be proved
empirically to be the bases of metaphysical concepts, and that when, for
example, I speak of "God" I am unable to refer to anything beyond
these demonstrable psychic models which, we have to admit, have shown themselves
to be devastatingly real. ... The "reality of the psyche" is
my working hypothesis, and my principal activity consists in collecting
factual material to describe and explain it.
6Two articles worth reading are: Ernest Gallo, "Synchronicity and
the Archetypes," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Summer 1994),
pp. 396-403; and Dennis L. Merritt, "Jungian Psychology and Science
A Strained Relationship," The Analytic Life (Boston: Sigo Press, 1989),
7"Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, para.
8"Concerning the Archetypes and the Anima Concept," CW 9i, para.
9For a review of these discussions, plus a sympathetic and plausible account
of the nature and origins of archetypes, see Anthony Stevens, Archetypes:
A Natural History of the Self (New York: Quill, 1982). A brief account
in German is given in Mario Jacoby, "Die Archetypen," Du: Die
Zeitschrift der Kultur, No. 8 (August 1995), pp. 27-34. For interesting
yet unsympathetic accounts, see Don McGowan, What Is Wrong with Jung (Buffalo,
NY: Prometheus Books, 1994), pp. 63-87, and Richard Noll, The Jung Cult:
Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1994), pp. 40-43.
10For example: "The magician is the archetype behind a multitude of
human professions and 'callings.'" Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette,
The Magician Within (New York: Avon Books, 1993), p. 63. Also, in discussing
archetypes as links with the past, Jung mentions "the preoccupation
of the primitive mentality with certain 'magic' factors, which are nothing
less than what we would call archetypes. "The Psychology of the Child
Archetype," CW 9i, para. 271.
11"The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious." CW 7, para.
12CW 7, para. 143.
13CW 7, para. 157.
14In addition to Anthony Stevens' excellent book Archetypes, cited earlier,
there is a detailed discussion of these issues in Marilyn Nagy, Philosophical
Issues in the Psychology of C.G. Jung (Albany: State University of New
York Press, 1991), pp. 107-203. A briefer discussion is found in Edmund
D. Cohen, C.G. Jung and the Scientific Attitude (Totowa, NJ: Littlefield,
Adams & Co., 1976), pp. 29-38. J.J. Clarke, In Search of Jung: Historical
and Philosophical Enquiries (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 116-127, also
considers these issues carefully. Finally, some related views of Jung's
Burgh"lzli colleague Eugen Bleuler are interestingly discussed in
George Windholz, "Bleuler's Views on Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics
and on Psi Phenomena," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 18, No. 3, Spring
1994, pp. 273-279.
15The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1933),
Vol. II, p. 2108.
16Verena Kast, The Dynamics of Symbols: Fundamentals of Jungian Psychotherapy
(New York: Fromm International, 1992), p. 10.
17"On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry," CW 15,
18Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter and Fred Plaut, A Critical Dictionary of
Jungian Analysis (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), pp. 145-6.
19For further discussion of this see "The Two Magics" in Eugene
Burger, The Experience of Magic (New York: Kaufman and Greenberg, 1989),
pp. 81-90. For an even more elaborate taxonomy of magic(s), see Robert
Neale's chapter "Many Magics" in Eugene Burger and Robert E.
Neale, Magic and Meaning (Seattle, WA: Hermetic Press, 1995), pp. 173-189.
One simple distinction between two kinds of magic is: There is magic (with
a little "m"): one person knows how it is done, but nobody else
does. There is Magic (with a capital "M"): nobody knows how it
is done; it just happens! Michael Marlin, "Magic with a Capital 'M,'"
Magic: The Independent Magazine for Magicians, Vol. 5, No. 4 (December
1995), p. 26.
20It should perhaps be noted that the approach taken in a research paper
or thesis of the present sort is only one way working with our image(s)
of the magician. Active imagination, for example, would lead in other directions.
In any case, the limitations of the "academic" should be kept
in mind lest we mistake the map for the territory. As Hillman writes: "We
sin against imagination whenever we ask our image for its meaning, requiring
that images be translated into concepts. [James Hillman, Revisioning Psychology
(New York: Harper and Row, 1975), p. 39.]
21For example, in "Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious,"
CW 9i, para. 71-77, as well as in several other places.
22James Hastings (ed.), Encyclop'dia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh:
T. & T. Clark, 1930), Vol. 8, p. 245. The derivation in other languages
may differ, of course. In Slavic languages, for example, the Indo-European
root wer, meaning "to speak," became a word meaning "to
lie," then a word meaning "magician," and then a word meaning
"physician. The progression is interesting. See Russell A. Lockhart,
Words as Eggs: Psyche in Language and Clinic (Dallas: Spring Publications,
1983), p. 100.
23Ludwig Blau, Das Altjüdische Zauberwesen (Graz, Austria: Akademische
Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1974), pp. 23-26.
24The entry "Witch" in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce
M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press,
1993), p. 805, contains the following: Several Hebrew terms are associated
with the English word "witch. These can be translated "sorcerer,"
"sorceress," "medium," or "necromancer. Most appear
in references to prohibited practices (e.g., Deut. 18:9-11; 2 Kings 23:24)
and seem to be concerned with divination or necromancy. Women may have
been especially involved in such activities since they were excluded from
those of the official cult.
25Nikolai Tolstoy, The Quest for Merlin (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.,
1985), pp. 19-20.
26"On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena,"
CW 1, para. 1-150.
27J. Marvin Spiegelman, "Psychology and the Occult," Spring (1976),
28"The Mana-Personality," CW 7, para. 374-406.
29Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter and Fred Plaut, A Critical Dictionary of
Jungian Analysis (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), p. 89.
30CW 7, para. 388.
31CW 7, para. 377.
32The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Avon Books, 1983), p. 768.
33Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman (San Francisco: Harper & Row,
1990). First published in 1980. In his preface to the 1990 edition of this
book, Harner writes: Ten years have passed since the original edition of
this book appeared, and they have been remarkable years indeed for the
shamanic renaissance. Before then, shamanism was rapidly disappearing from
the Planet as missionaries, colonists, governments, and commercial interests
overwhelmed tribal peoples and their ancient cultures. During the last
decade, however, shamanism has returned to human life with startling strength,
even to urban strongholds of Western "civilization," such as
New York and Vienna. (p. xi)
34Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1964), p. 3.
35Eliade, p. 5.
36Jung thought, for example, that it was in states such as this that myths
were originally formed. See "The Psychology of the Child Archetype,"
CW 9i, para. 264.
37This is the subject of an excellent new book: Dennis R. Wier, Trance:
from magic to technology (Ann Arbor, MI: Trans Media, 1996.
38For discussion of this see Nevill Drury, The Shaman and the Magician:
Journeys Between the Worlds (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982).
39C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1975),
40C.G. Jung, Letters, Vol. 1 (1906-1950), (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1973), p. 377. Letter of August 20, 1945, to P.W. Martin.
41In a story told by Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig in Stephen Segaller and
Merrill Berger, The Wisdom of the Dream: The World of C.G. Jung (Boston:
Shambhala, 1989), p. 85.
42Rogan Taylor, personal communication. My thanks to him.
43Marie-Louise von Franz, personal communication. My thanks to her. This
story is also reported in Rogan Taylor, The Death and Resurrection Show:
From Shaman to Superstar (London: Anthony Blond, 1985), p. 146. Note, in
this connection, that the ®Festschrift¯ for Jungian analyst Joseph
Henderson is called The Shaman from Elko.
44CW 9i, para. 456-488.
45Paul Radin, with commentaries by C.G. Jung and Karl Ker‚nyi (Zürich:
1954). English version: The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology
46"On the Psychology of the Trickster-Figure," CW 9i, para. 484.
47CW 9i, para. 457.
48One is reminded here of Nietzsche's aphorism: "Nothing succeeds
unless prankishness has a part in it."
49CW 9i, para. 472.
50William Willeford, The Fool and His Scepter (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
University Press, 1969).
51Willeford, p. xxi.
52Willeford, p. 88.
53See, for example, the entry "Hermes" in Michael Stapleton,
The Illustrated Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology (New York: Peter
Bedrick Books, 1986), p. 104.
54From Joe Lantiere, The Magician's Wand: An Illustrated History (Oakville,
CT: Joe Lantiere Books, 1990), p. 18.
55As Robert Fitzgerald translates the passage at the beginning of the last
book of Homer's Odyssey (New York: Anchor Books, 1963), p. 445.
56Karl Ker‚nyi, Hermes, Guide of Souls (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1986),
57Rogan Taylor, The Death and Resurrection Show (London: Anthony Blond,
1985), argues that it is this theme which connects shamanism to modern
showbusiness, including the circus, magicians, and musical superstars.
It is also interesting that the earliest known record of a performance
of magic as entertainment dates from the Twelfth Dynasty in Egypt (1991-1786
B.C.E.) and reports a command performance at court by a magician named
Dedi. His tricks included the apparent decapitation and restoration of
birds and animals. The Westcar Papyrus which provides details is in the
Egyptian Museum in Berlin. See Anne King, "Dedi Revisited," The
Magic Circular (Magazine of the Magic Circle of London), Vol. 89, No. 957
(October 1995), pp. 182-184.
58"A Study in the Process of Individuation," CW 9i, para. 553.
59At least three books written by former students at the Zürich Jung
Institute are currently available: Irene Gad, Tarot and Individuation:
Correspondences with Cabala and Alchemy (York Beach, ME: Nicolas-Hays,
1994); Kenneth D. Newman, The Tarot: A Myth of Male Initiation (New York:
Quadrant, 1983) a book based on his Zürich diploma thesis; and Sallie
Nichols, Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey (York Beach, ME: Samuel
60"Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious," CW 9i, para. 81.
61In addition to being mentioned in the books by Gad, Nichols, and Newman,
mentioned above, these claims are also critically discussed in Stuart Kaplan,
The Encyclopedia of Tarot (New York: U.S. Games Systems, 1978).
62See Newman, p. 5, for details.
63Newman, pp. 5-6.
64Bernd Mertz, Kartenlegen: Wahrsagen mit Tarot-, Skat-, Lenormand- und
Zigeunerbl„ttern (Niederhausen: Falken, 1985), p. 57. My translation.
65The entry for "gold" in The Herder Symbol Dictionary, translated
by Boris Matthews, (Wilmette, Illinois: Chiron Publications, 1986), p.
87, connects gold with nobility and eternity, with insight and knowledge
(especially esoteric), and with heavenly light in medieval paintings. Note
that Hermes' wand was also golden.
66Cf. Elisabeth Haich, The Wisdom of the Tarot (London: George Allen &
Unwin, 1975), p. 27.
67Joseph Kaster, Putnam's Concise Mythological Dictionary (New York: Perigee
Books, 1990), p. 79.
68Newman, p. 8.
69Newman, p. 8. But Newman also admits that the only place he has found
this label is in an unpublished lecture by H. K. Fierz, "The Archetypal
Image as a Healing Factor. Stuart Kaplan's two-volume reference work, The
Encyclopedia of Tarot (New York: U.S. Games Systems, 1978) mentions many
different labels for the magician card but "The Gambler" is not
one of them.
70Newman, p. 8.
71Kaplan, vol. 1, p. 245.
72Kaplan, vol. 1, p. 49.
73Kaplan, vol. 1, p. 137.
74Newman, p. 120, n. 1.
75Joseph Campbell, "Symbolism of the Marseilles Deck," p. 11,
in Joseph Campbell and Richard Roberts, Tarot Revelations (San Anselmo,
CA: Vernal Equinox Press, 1979). 76See, for example, Arthur Edward Waite,
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition under
the Veil of Divination (New York: University Books, 1959).
77Newman, p. 8.
78Grillot de Givry, Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy (New York: Dover Publications,
1971), pp. 296-297.
79The information in this paragraph is based largely on pp. 111-114 in
James Gollnick, "Merlin as Psychological Symbol: A Jungian View"
in James Gollnick (ed.), Comparative Studies in Merlin from the Vedas to
C.G. Jung (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991), pp. 111-131.
80Heinrich Zimmer, "Merlin" Corona, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1939), p.
134, comments on this Merlin's being at home in the woods, or "enchanted
forest" as showing his connection to "the dark part of the world.
One is reminded, of course, of the opening lines of Dante's Divine Comedy
81Gollnick, p. 112. See also the discussion of this issue in Geoffrey Ashe,
"Merlin in the Earliest Records," in The Book of Merlin (London:
1988), pp. 31-42.
82Leona Goodrich, Merlin (New York, 1987).
83Nikolai Tolstoy, The Quest for Merlin (Boston: Little, Brown and Company,
84Summarized in Gollnick, pp. 117-118. See also Alexandre Micha, tude sur
le 'Merlin' de Robert de Boron (Geneva, 1980), especially pp. 184-185.
85Gollnick, p. 118.
86"The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales," CW 9i, para.
87Marie-Louise von Franz, "Le Cri de Merlin," in M.-L. von Franz,
C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons: 1975), p.
88Entry for "Lady of the Lake" in Margaret Drabble (ed.), The
Oxford Companion to English Literature, 5th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1985), p. 543.
89"On the Psychology of the Trickster-Figure," CW 9i, para. 485.
90"The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales," CW 9i, para.
91von Franz, pp. 269-287.
92C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (London: Fontana Press, 1995),
p. 255. [First published in 1961.]
93Houdini identified with America and tried to erase his European roots.
He claimed to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and many references
sources list this as his birthplace (the 14th edition of the Encyclop'dia
Britannica, published in 1960, does this, for example Vol. 11, p. 800).
Recent scholarship agrees, however, that he was born in Hungary. See, for
example, in addition to more recent editions of the Britannica, the "Houdini"
entry in The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Avon Books, 1983),
94"An ardent debunker of spiritualistic 'mediums,' he exposed their
methods in Miracle Mongers and Their Methods (1920) and A Magician Among
the Spirits (1924). Ben‚t's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd ed., (New York:
Harper & Row, 1987), p. 462.
95Rogan Taylor, The Death and Resurrection Show: From Shaman to Superstar
(London: Anthony Blond, 1985), p. 144.
96R. Fitzsimons, Death and the Magician: The Mystery of Houdini (London:
Hamish Hamilton, 1980), p. 64.
97Taylor, pp. 144-145. In a footnote to this passage, Taylor refers the
reader to A. Hultkranze, Spirit Lodge: A North American Shamanistic S‚ance
in Carl-Martin Edsman, ed., Studies in Shamanism (Stockholm: Almquist and
Wiksell, 1967), pp. 40-42.
98Taylor, pp. 145, 150.
99Taylor, p. 147.
100One expression for such an experience is being "in the flow. Another
is "in the Tao."
101Bob Neale, "The Gifts of McBride," M-U-M (the magazine of
the Society of American Magicians), Vol. 84, No. 11, April 1995, p. 15.
102Taylor, p. 150. 103Raimund Fitzsimons, Death and the Magician: The Mystery
of Houdini (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1980).
104Eugene Burger, The Experience of Magic (New York: Kaufman and Greenberg,
1989), p. 119.
105Burger, p. 119.
106Ruth Brandon, The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini (London: Secker
& Warburg, 1993), p. 241.
107J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols (London:
Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 187.
108Bronislaw Malinowski, Magic, Science and Religion (New York: Anchor
Books, 1954), p. 71. Another interesting discussion of this practice is
in Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History
and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (New York: Basic Books, 1970), pp.
35-37. A rather detailed analysis of this and similar shamanistic practices
is Chapter IX, "The Sorcerer and His Magic," in Claude L‚vi-Strauss,
Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 167-185.
109Described as "divination by the wand" in Nigel Pennick, Secret
Games of the Gods: Ancient Ritual Systems in Board Games (York Beach, Maine:
Samuel Weiser, 1989), p. 16.
110See the entry on "rhabdomancy" in Max Maven, Max Maven's Book
of Fortunetelling (New York: Prentice Hall, 1992), pp. 207-212, for a more
complete discussion of this issue.
111Joe Lantiere, The Magician's Wand: An Illustrated History (Oakville,
Connecticut: Joe Lantiere Books, 1990), p. 30.
112Jung once referred to "Moses' rock-splitting staff, which struck
forth the living water and afterwards changed into a serpent ...."
and added in a footnote: "The caduceus corresponds to the phallus.
"A Study in the Process of Individuation," CW 9i, para. 533.
113William Willeford, The Fool and His Scepter (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
University Press, 1969), p. 11. And on page 37, in connection with an illustrations
of nine such baubles, Willeford comments on those baubles which are topped
by a head with ass's ears or the cockscomb, which "link the figures
to animals famous for their sexuality as well as their silliness. The figures
represent the intelligence of the phallus a counterpart, on the level of
instinct, to the reason of the head."
114Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering
the Religion of the Earth (New York: Harper and Row, 1987).
115Sjoo and Mor, p. 121.
116Sjoo and Mor, p. 145.
117According to Marie-Louise von Franz, "He [Jung] had dreams that
he should become a woman that is the old archetypal dream of the shaman
who wears woman's clothes, to integrate the other sex and descend into
the other world. Quoted in Stephen Segaller and Merrill Berger, The Wisdom
of the Dream: The World of C.G. Jung (Boston: Shambhala, 1989), p. 119.
118See Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (New York: Harper, 1978), Ludwig
Blau, Das Altjüdische Zauberwesen (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-
u. Verlagsanstalt, 1974), pp. 29-30, and Christa Habiger-Tuczay, Magie
und Magier im Mittlealter (München: Diederichs, 1992), esp. pp. 39-43.
119"Catalogo del Museo Sacro IV," (Vatican City: Vatican Publications,
1959), Catalog 31, p. 5, plate 5.
120Lantiere, pp. 44-48, provides photographs and descriptions of many such
121Jung writes: "An archetypal content expresses itself, first and
foremost, in metaphors. "The Psychology of the Child Archetype,"
CW 9i, para. 267. [An earlier translation of this sentence uses "figure
of speech" rather than "metaphor. See Russell A. Lockhart, Words
as Eggs: Psyche in Language and Clinic (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1983),
122C.G. Jung, Letters, Vol. 1 (1906-1950), (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1973), p. 376. Letter of 20 August 1945, to Karl Ker‚nyi.
123The Herder Symbol Dictionary, Boris Matthews, trans. (Wilmette, Illinois:
Chiron Publications, 1986), p. 1.
124Aryeh Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation In Theory and Practice
(York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1990), p. xxi. My thanks to Edwin Wise for referring
me to this source.
125See the entry "Sator Arepo" in The Herder Symbol Dictionary,
126Rogan Taylor, The Death and Resurrection Show: From Shaman to Superstar
(London: Anthony Blond, 1985), p. 136.
127Bart Whaley, Who's Who in Magic: An International Biographical Guide
from Past to Present (Wallace, ID: Jeff Busby Magic, 1991), p. 162.
128Personal communication from Istvan Mikola, Hungarian linguist. My thanks
129My thanks to Bruce Barnett, Frederick Ferr‚ and Jeanine Ariana for helping
me with the research on this particular "magic word."
130"Transformation Symbolism in the Mass," CW 11, para. 442.
131Letter to Horst Scharschuch, 1 September 1952, Letters, Vol.2 (1951-1961),
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 82.
132Malinowski, p. 73.
133Malinowski, p. 75.
134Hans Dieter Betz (ed.), The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including
the Demotic Spells (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992), Table
of Spells, pp. xi-xxii.
135Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale, Magic and Meaning (Seattle, WA: Hermetic
Press, 1995), p. 177.
136The Herder Symbol Dictionary, trans. Boris Matthews. (Wilmette, Illinois:
Chiron Publications, 1986), p. 40.
137Reprinted in Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (New York: Doubleday,
1988), p. 215.
138See the entry "Bann" in Handwörterbuch des Deutschen
Aberglaubens (Berlin: 1927), Volume I, pp. 873-880.
139The Tavistock Lectures, CW 18, para. 409.
140Ad de Vries, Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery, 2nd ed. (Amsterdam:
North-Holland Publishing Co., 1976), p. 100.
141Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, para. 219.
142Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, The Magician Within: Accessing the
Shaman in the Male Psyche (New York: Avon Books, 1994), p. 110.
143Cf. Lucile H. Charles, "Drama in Shaman Exorcism," Journal
of American Folklore, Vol. 66, No. 260 (April-June 1953), pp. 95-122.
144Taylor, p. 40.
145See, for example, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, ReFraming: Neuro-Linguistic
Programming and the Transformation of Meaning (Moab, UT: Real People Press,
1982). Note that Bandler and Grinder's first book was called "The
Structure of Magic" (Science and Behavior Books, 1975).
146Aion, CW 9ii, para. 25.
147Aniela Jaff‚, personal communication (1985). I am grateful to her for
her friendship and support during the time I was first considering studying
at the Jung Institute. She died in 1991.
148See, for examples: Otto Lippross, Logik und Magie in der Medizin (München:
J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1969); G‚za R¢heim, Magic and Schizophrenia
(New York: International Universities Press, 1955); Rainer Wassner, Magie
und Psychotherapie: Ein gesellschaftswissenschaftlicher Vergleich von Institutionen
der Krisenbew„ltigung (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1984).
149Donald Kalshed, Lecture, "®Fitcher's Bird¯ and the Dark
Side of the Self," Zürich Jung Institute, February 22, 1994.
150"The Mana-Personality," CW 7, para. 377.
151"Definitions," CW 6, para. 783.
152C.G. Jung, "A Talk with Students at the Institute," in William
McGuire and R.F.C. Hull (eds.), C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 363.
153CW 9i, para.525.
154Carol Pearson, in discussing "transformation through ritual action,"
describes one therapist having "clients visualize putting their problems
on the table. She hands them a magic wand and asks them to imagine their
problems magically disappearing. Carol S. Pearson, Awakening the Heroes
Within (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 203.
155See, for example, J. Marvin Spiegelman, "Active Imagination: Values,
Limitations, and Potentialities for Further Development," Harvest,
No. 27 (1981), pp. 81-89. See also Israel Regardie, The Middle Pillar:
A Co-Relation of the Principles of Analytical Psychology and the Elementary
Techniques of Magic (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1970).
156Russell A. Lockhart, Words as Eggs: Psyche in Language and Clinic (Dallas:
Spring Publications, 1983), p. 85.
157"Concerning Mandala Symbolism," CW 9i, para. 645.
158Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 292.
159Rogan Taylor, personal communication. My thanks to him.
160Richard F. Smith, Prelude to Science: An Exploration of Magic and Divination
(New York: Scribner, 1975), p. 24.
161A.K. Shapiro, "The Placebo Effect in the History of Medical Treatment:
Implications for Psychiatry" (1959), quoted in Jerome D. Frank and
Julia B. Frank, Persuasion and Healing, 3rd ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1991), p. 134.
162Michael Harner, The Way of the Shaman (New York: Harper & Row, 1990),
163Carol S. Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within (San Francisco: HarperCollins,
1991), p. 201.
164The issues and possibilities here are not just theoretical. There are
potential clinical uses as well. Some of these have been explored in print.
See, for example, Mariann Baskin Gabriel, "Using the Shamanic Journey
in Psychotherapy," Shamanic Applications Review: A Journal of Religious
Resources in Psychotherapy, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1995), pp. 47-51, and Edward
Whitmont, "Magic and the Psychology of Compulsive States," The
Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 2, No. 1 (January 1957), pp. 3-32.
165Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, para. 6.