The Hare on the World Axis

August Natterer. World axis with hare, c.1911-17, Prinzhorn Collection, University of Heidelberg. US Public Domain
August Natterer. World axis with hare, c.1911-17, Prinzhorn Collection, University of Heidelberg. US Public Domain.

In the above image, we see the world axis with hare. The world axis, or axis mundi, is the center of the world. As center, the world axis connects the sky and earth, offering a link between the higher and lower realms of the cosmos, or of the cosmic Self. It is through the axis mundi that the individual self and the cosmic Self are linked, and even united. The Katha Upanishad speaks of the Axis Mundi as world tree:

This is that eternal Asvattha Tree with its root above and branches below. That root, indeed, is called the Bright; That is Brahman and That alone is the Immortal. In That all worlds are contained and none can pass beyond. This, verily, is That. (3-1)

The axis mundi is likened to an eternal tree that extends between the three worlds. The root is the ‘Bright’ (the light, enlightenment). This is the eternal Brahman, the eternal Self.

Whatever there is—the whole universe—vibrates because it has gone forth from Brahman, which exists as its Ground. That Brahman is a great terror, like a poised thunderbolt. Those who know It become immortal.(3-2)

Through the axis mundi we realize the ground of our being, as Brahman, the supreme Self.

In the image above we see the image of hare on the axis mundi. Where there is Brahman, as supreme Self, there is also the mother, power of the Self. Carl Jung speaks of the relation between the mother and the hare.

Added to this list [of mother images] there are many animals, such as the cow, hare, and helpful animals in general.” (Carl Jung, 9i, para. 157)

Reference:

  1. Katha Upanishad, Translation by Swami Nikhilananda
  2. Carl Jung, CW 9i, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious.

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