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Observations placeholder

Pauli, Wolfgang - The Dream of the New Church



Type of Spiritual Experience


There is some personal symbolism, but as Jung once said, Pauli seemed to be full of knowledge of universal symbolism that he had somehow absorbed from his Jewish background and his reading of eastern texts, Schopenhauer and so on.  It is known that Pauli was also a follower of Sufism, as such his 'church' was extremely broad.

Bernard Shaw - The mention of  Bernard Shaw may be an oblique reference to Pygmalion.  The szymbolism may be very subtle. 
The Pygmalion effect, is the phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance. The effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor, and a statue he had carved.  His statue was so fair and realistic that he fell in love with it.  In time, Aphrodite's festival day came, and Pygmalion made offerings at the altar of Aphrodite. There, too scared to admit his desire, he quietly wished for a bride who would be "the living likeness of my ivory girl". When he returned home, he kissed his ivory statue, and found that its lips felt warm. He kissed it again, and found that the ivory had lost its hardness. Aphrodite had granted Pygmalion's wish.
In George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, a "modern variant of the myth with a subtle hint of feminism" [Wikipedia], the underclass flower-girl Eliza Doolittle is metaphorically "brought to life" by a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins. 

Universal catholic church - The word 'catholic' in the dream has its more general meaning "including a wide variety of things; all-embracing".  We know this because Pauli had left the Roman Catholic Church some time before and furthermore also believed in a more embracing spiritual wisdom.  The dream reinforces this view as he sees the building as a mosque.

The importance of ceremony - The dream is about the importance of ritual and cermony in obtaining experience.  In order to provide more information I have added the link to this activity in the Activities section [I do not see why many people should be together in order to have religious feelings.'   But I say: 'You are a Protestant so you will never understand it.' - this si a reference to the emphasis on preaching as opposed to ceremony - music candles and so on in Protestantism]

Pope - again not a Roman Catholic reference.  Simply a person considered as having or assuming authority or a position similar to that of the Roman Catholic pope. The word pope for example was used of the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria. It is a variant of páppas father.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within ourselves - is an exceptionally important reference to the Three Worlds and recognition of the existence of the Higher spirit

Other Symbols

  • House = castle
  • Play = Great Work
  • Lord = Ultimate Intelligence, this is why the names of Jesus and God are not used.  This is a new belief system therefore there is a new object of worship

A description of the experience


From C G Jung – Psychology and Religion
The Unconscious Mind

There are many houses which have a theatrical character, a sort of stage scenery. Somebody mentions the name of Bernard Shaw. It is also mentioned that the play which is to follow refers to a remote future. One of the houses is distinguished by a signboard with the following inscription:

This is the universal catholic church.
It is the church of the Lord.
All, those who feel themselves to be instruments of the Lord may enter.

I say to my friend: 'Let us go in and have a look.' He replies:

'I do not see why many people should be together in order to have religious feelings.'

 But I say: 'You are a Protestant so you will never understand it.'

There is a woman nodding approval. I now become aware of a bill posted on the wall of the church. It reads as follows:

'Soldiers !

When you feel that you are under the power of the Lord avoid talking directly to him. The Lord is not accessible to words. We also recommend urgently that you should not indulge in discussions about the attributes of the Lord among yourselves. It would be fruitless, as anything of value and importance is ineffable.

'Signed : Pope . .' (The name, however, is not decipherable.)

We now enter the church. The interior resembles a mosque rather than a church, as a matter of fact it is particularly like the Hagia Sophia. There are no chairs, which produces a wonderful effect of space.  There are also no images. There are only framed sentences on the walls (like those in the Hagia Sophia).  One of these sentences reads:
‘Do not flatter your benefactor.'
The same woman who nodded approval to me before begins to weep and says:
'Then there is nothing left at all.'
 I reply: 'I think that it is perfectly all right,' but she vanishes.

"At first I am right in front of a pillar which obliterates the view, then I change my position and I see a crowd of people in front of me. I do not belong to them and I am standing alone. But I see them clearly and I also see their faces. They pronounce the following words:

 'We confess that we are under the power of the Lord. The Kingdom of Heaven is within ourselves.'

They repeat this thrice in a most solemn way.

Then the organ plays a fugue by Bach and a choir sings. Sometimes it is music alone, sometimes the following words are repeated: 'Everything else is paper' which means that it does not produce a living impression.

When the music is finished the second part of the ceremony begins, as is the custom at students' meetings where the dealing with serious affairs is followed by the gay part of the gathering. There are serene and mature human beings. One walks to and fro, others talk together, they welcome each other, and wine from the episcopal seminary and other drinks are served. In the form of a toast one wishes the church a favourable development and a radio amplifier plays a ragtime melody with the refrain:

'Charles is now also in the game.'

It is as if the pleasure concerning some new member of the society were to be expressed by that performance. A priest explains to me:

‘These somewhat futile amusements are officially acknowledged and admitted. We must adapt a little to American methods. If you have to deal with big crowds, as we have, it is inevitable. We differ however on principle from the American churches in that we cherish an emphatically anti-ascetic tendency.’

  Whereupon I woke up with a feeling of great relief.

The source of the experience

Pauli, Wolfgang

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps