Marie Louise von Franz Comments on the Dream of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh got up and revealed the dream, saying to his mother:
Mother, I had a dream last night
Stars of the sky appeared, and some kind of meteorite of Anu fell next to me.
I tried to lift it but it was too mighty for me, I tried to turn it over but I could not budge it.
The Land of Uruk was standing around it, the whole land had assembled about it, the populace was thronging around it, the Men clustered about it, and kissed its feet as if it were a little baby.
I loved it and embraced it as a wife.
I laid it down at your feet, and you made it compete with me.
Marie Louise von Franz writes:
“This dream is about forty-six hundred years old. Still today we can find modern parallels for the language of the unconscious has changed much less than the language of human consciousness. So if we interpret this dream from a modern stand-point we could say that up to the moment before the star fell upon Gilgamesh, he fulfilled the collective role of a king. He was the hero-king. He is typical of a man who ambitiously follows a collective pattern. Nowadays, he might be a great politician or a movie star — a man who has followed up certain collective alleys and reached a goal.
Looked at from within, such a person reacts in a very collective way fulfilling a collective role of power. They are generally not very individual. The star, on the contrary, represents his uniqueness — every soul has one star in the heaven. We can say that up to the appearance of the star Gilgamesh, with all his collective power and achievement, had not done anything unique. On the contrary, he had only fulfilled the typical pattern of the hero-king. The, probably, about the middle of life (because that is where it most frequently occurs), something changes.
While he is walking around among his subjects, proud of his own power position, a star falls from the sky onto his back. It turns out to be a very heavy load. That is the moment when his unique destiny befalls him, literally falls on his back. That means that just as Christ had to carry his cross, Gilgamesh now has to carry the burden of having to become the unique, chosen individual, a task which he as avoided by being an ambitious, collective man.”
The Way of the Dream
Pages 69- 70