C.G. Jung and the Dream of the Minute Mastodon
“Someone beside me kept on asking me something about oiling some machinery.
Milk was suggested as the best lubricant.
Apparently I thought that oozy slime was preferable.
Then a pond was drained, and amid the slime there were two distinct animals.
One was a minute mastodon. I forgot what the other one was.”
“I thought it would be of interest to submit this dream to Jung to ask him what his interpretation would be. He had no hesitation in saying that it indicated some organic disturbance, and that the illness was not primarily a psychological one… The draining of the pond he interpreted as the damming-up of the cerrebrospinal fluid circulation.
When Jung was asked about this at his Tavistock Lectures in London in 1935, Jung commented:
The doctors of antiquity and of the Middle ages used dreams for their diagnosis…. It is really a matter of special experience…. The dream you mentioned was a dream of a little mastodon. To explain what that mastodon really means in an organic respect and why I must take that dream as an organic symptom would start such an argument that you would start an argument that you would accuse me of the most terrible obscurantism. These things really are obscure. When I speak of archetypal patterns those who are aware of these things understand, but if you are not aware you think, This fellow is absolutely crazy because he talks of mastodons and their difference from snakes and horses. I should have to give you a course of about four semesters about symobology first so that you could appreciate what I said.
Analytical Psychology in Theory and Practice