The above image is from the Tomb of Thutmosis III, c. 1450-1500 BCE. It is called ‘The King is fed from the Holy Tree’ (US Public Domain via wikimedia).
In the Introduction to the Second Section of Symbols of Transformation (SoT), Carl Jung speaks of and quotes a section of Goethe’s Faust. In the story, Faust descends to the realm of the Mothers. Faust’s influence on Jung is particularly important for our reading of SoT.
In the image above, we see a fresco, circa 1090 C.E. In the image, saints battle a dragon. The dragon, according to Carl Jung, is an archetypal image of the unconscious.
The unconscious is related to the womb and is related to the mother. The unconscious, as great womb of creation, is an image of the unknown depths from which we emerge. For some this is a frightful image: as darkness, emptiness, the void, or abyss. Christian images and Western myths which depict the dragon often represent an ambivalent view of the great mother womb. The dragon resides at the edge of the darkness: gatekeeper to the dark recesses of the unknown.
The Western dragon is readily related to the Western hero (or hero-saint as depicted in the image above). The Western hero desires to defeat the monster of darkness. Jung writes: “The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness: it is the long-hoped-for and expected triumph of consciousness over the unconscious.” (CW 9i, para. 283)
In the image above, we see an image of Ephesian Artemis, as mother Earth with multiple breasts.
- Carl Jung speaks to the Earth Mother with multiple breasts in Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious CW 9i, para. 312.
The reclining lady is made of clay. She was found in the Hypogeum in Hal Saflieni in Malta. This figure dates back to the Temple Period, 4000 – 2500 BC. Carl Jung speaks of this as an archetypal figure, an ‘Earth Mother.’ (Carl Jung, CW 9i, para. 312)
- The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)