synergy explorersThe Sixth Sermon deals with desire, sexuality, soul, and mankind’s ultimate escape (from the wheel of birth and death?). This is an excerpt from Jung’s famous Red Book, Scrutinies, Pages 352-353. The Sermon itself is italicised below, and followed by Philemon’s commentary upon it. Philemon is Jung’s spirit guide.

The Sixth Sermon

But when Philemon saw that the dead remained silent and waited, he continued (and this is the sixth sermon to the dead):

“The daimon of sexuality approaches our soul as a serpent. She is half human soul and is called thought-desire.

The daimon of spirituality descends into our soul as the white bird. He is half human soul and is called desire-thought. The serpent is an earthly soul, half daimonic, a spirit, and akin to the spirits of the dead. Thus too, like these she swarms around in the things of earth, making us fear them or else having them arouse our craving.

The serpent has a female nature, forever seeking the company of those dead who are spellbound by the earth, and who did not find a way across to singleness.

The serpent is a whore. She courts the devil and evil spirits; she is a mischievous tyrant and tormentor, forever inveigling the most evil company: The white bird is a half-celestial soul of man.

He abides with the mother, descending from time to time. The bird is manlike, and is effective thought. He is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the mother.

He flies high above the earth. He commands singleness. He brings knowledge from the distant ones, who have departed before and attained perfection. He bears our word up to the mother. She intercedes, she warns, but she is powerless against the Gods.

She is a vessel of the sun. The serpent descends and cunningly lames the phallic daimon, or else goads him on. She bears up the too-crafty thoughts of the earthly, those thoughts that creep through every hole and cleave to all things with craving. Although the serpent does not want to, she must be of use to us. She flees our grasp, thus showing us the way, which our human wits could not find.”

When Philemon had finished, the dead looked on with contempt and said, “Cease this talk of Gods and daimons and souls. We have known this for a long time.”

Philemon’s further commentary

But smiled and replied, “You poor souls, poor in flesh and rich in spirit, the meat was fat and the spirit thin. But how do you reach the eternal light? You mock my stupidity, which you too possess: you mock yourselves. Knowledge frees one from danger. But mockery is the other side of your belief. Is black less than white? You rejected faith and retained mockery: Are you thus saved from faith? No, you bound yourselves to mockery and hence again to faith. And therefore you are miserable.”

But the dead were outraged and cried, “We are not miserable, we are clever; our thinking and feeling is as pure as clear water. We praise our reason. We mock superstition. Do you believe that your old folly reaches us? A childish delusion has overcome you, old one, what good is it to us?”

Philemon initiates the freeing of mankind

Philemon replied: “What can do you any good? I free you from what still holds you to the shadow of life. Take this wisdom with you, add this folly to your cleverness, this unreason to your reason, and you will find yourselves. If you were men, you would then begin your life and your life’s way between reason and unreason and live onward to the eternal light, whose shadow you lived in advance.

But since you are dead, this knowledge frees you from life and strips you of your greed for men and it also frees your self from the shrouds that the light and the shadow lay on you, compassion with men will overcome you and from the stream you will reach solid ground, you will step forth from the eternal whirl onto the unmoving stone of rest, the circle that breaks flowing duration, and the flame will die down.

Further deterioration will ultimately lead to freedom

“I have fanned a’ glowing fire, I have given the murderer a knife, I have torn open healed-over wounds, I have quickened all movement, I have given the madman more intoxicating drink, I have made the cold colder, the heat hotter, falseness even falser, goodness even better, weakness even weaker. “This knowledge is the axe of the sacrificer.”

But the dead cried, “Your wisdom is foolishness and a curse. You want to turn the wheel back? It will tear you apart, blinded one!”

Philemon replied, “So this is what happened. The earth became green and fruitful again from the blood of the sacrifice, flowers sprouted, the waves crash into the sand, a silver cloud lies at the foot of the mountain, a bird of the soul came to men, the hoe sounds in the fields and the axe in the forests, a wind rushes through the trees and the sun shimmers in the dew of the risen morning, the planets behold the birth, out of the earth climbed the many-armed, the stones speak and the grass whispers. Man found himself and the Gods wander through Heaven, the fullness gives birth to the golden drop, the golden seed, plumed and hovering.”

The dead now fell silent and stared at Philemon and slowly crept away: But Philemon bent down to the ground and said: “It is accomplished, but not fulfilled. Fruit of the earth, sprout, rise up–and Heaven, pour out the water of life.”

Then Philemon disappeared.

Philemon’s commentary to Jung

I was probably very confused when Philemon approached me the following night, since I called to him saying, “What did you do, Oh Philemon? What fires have you kindled? What have you broken asunder? Does the wheel of creations stand still?”

But he answered and said, “Everything is running its usual course. Nothing has happened, and yet a sweet and indescribable mystery has taken place: I stepped out of the whirling circle.”

“What’s that?” I exclaimed, “Your words move my lips, your voice sounds from my ears, my eyes see you from within me. Truly, you are a magician!

You stepped out of the whirling circle? What confusion! Are you I, am I you? Did I not feel as if the wheel of creation was standing still? And yet you say that you have stepped out of the whirling circle? I am truly bound to the wheel–I feel the rushing swaying of it–and yet the wheel of creation also stands still for me. What did you do, father, teach me!”

Philemon explains that what seems like folly (stepping off the birth-death wheel) will ultimately be perceived as essential to freedom

Then Philemon said, “I stepped onto what is solid and took it with me and saved it from the wave surge, from the cycle of births, and from the revolving wheel of endless happening. It has been stilled. The dead have received the folly of the teaching, they have been blinded by truth and see by mistake. They have recognized, felt, and regretted it; they will come again and will humbly inquire. Since what they rejected will be most valuable to them.”

I wanted to question Philemon, since the riddle distressed me. But he had already touched the earth and disappeared. And the darkness of the night was silent and did not answer me. And my soul stood silently, shaking her head, and did not know what to say about the mystery that Philemon had indicated and not given away.