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Friday, August 7, 2015

Carl Jung: Midrashim the symbol of the eagle is ascribed to the prophet Elijah





To 0. Schrenk

Dear Professor Schrenk, 18 November 1953

Thank you very much for your friendly letter which I received in the spring of this year.

I was ill then and unable to attend to my correspondence, so unfortunately your letter has remained unanswered.

But I would like to take it up again now because it contains many things of importance.

The "professor and his daughter" is a well-known modern image for the archetype of the Old Man and his daughter in Gnosis: Bythos and Sophia.

You will surely remember the interesting love-story of Sophia in the Adversus Haereses of Irenaeus.

Of course it is unavoidable, if you read archetypal material, that the primordial images in your unconscious will be affected.

When you read books that address you personally there is always the danger of mimicry, and there are far too many people who think that's all there is to it.

But if you have an honest and critical attitude towards yourself, you will soon see how bogus this is.

Everything wants to be lived, positively or negatively.

As for your colleague's dream, I have since discovered that in the Midrashim the symbol of the eagle is ascribed to the prophet Elijah, who soars like an eagle over the earth and spies out the secrets of the human heart.

I know from experience that for most Jews these old traditions have passed into oblivion, but come alive again at the slightest provocation and sometimes release the most intense feelings of anxiety.

Your remark about the Swabian vicarage is on the right track in so far as my maternal grandmother was a Faber (Germanization of Favre du Faure) and, I think, came from Tuttlingen.

She married my grandfather, Samuel Preiswerk, head of the reformed clergy in Basel.

I have always suspected that my blessed grandfather laid a very
strange egg into my mixture.

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 131-132.