Samten de Wet


I [have always] used an image [that was presented to me] of a dam, or lake of water in the middle of a desert, but there is a complete or almost complete lack of plumbing and infrastructure to get the water to the dry earth. In the sense also, of starvation in the midst of plenty, of the Rich Getting Richer while the Poor are getting Poorer. And in this process it is the Businessmen and Bureaurocrats that are getting fatter, while the philosophers, artists, and people of vision are being starved out, especially for example, in the shocking manipulation of the media by aggressive War mongers, at the present.


Even among those - whom I will complement with the term, “alternative”, there are no resources, no finances, no spirit of co-operation, and a general dog-eat-dog anti-socialism prevails.

Yes, we have the Internet, but many people are still making the efforts to learn how to use it. There are now apparently over 600 million people using the Internet.


If you look at the Aims and Objectives of any organic structure, or group, the central place to look, the fulcrum of the matter really, is the motivation that drives the group, or inspires the group. If this motivation is good, the chances are that the activities and results of the group work will be good too. This result is the Fruit. But this is not always the case, there can be complications and contaminations along the way, and we always have to be polishing the mirror, on a daily basis, to keep the dust at bay. We always have to have our little dusters in hand!


Perhaps if we look at Jung and Jung only, we have a slight narrowing of perspective, like looking through the telescope through the wrong end, but if we open up the vision, keep it open ended – we allow for all sorts of spaciousness and movement of energy  to take place. Not enough of this is taking place among the South African Jungian community. I think there is still to much of a sense of closure, of maintaining territory!


It is important also to bear in mind the vital significance that Hermes – Mercury had for C.G. Jung, Karl Kerenyi, Hermann Hesse, and many other in that elevated circle of initiates, manifested specifically, in the Eranos Conferences and so on. Even the process of therapy is essentially a flow of information, leading towards healing, or making whole.  But this process of healing or wholing, should not be the sole responsibility of Doctors and Academics, [those “Hermes slayers” as Robert Bly calls them]. Everyone can help, according to their means, which in most cases, as we mentioned are limited, and becoming even more limited. Every drop counts.


This very image is Mercurial, as the shattered fragments of quicksilver are always re-united into one shining, silver sphere. We need Mercury to create the reflections of mirrors:

"Jung once remarked that his life's work has been to encircle the "central fire" with a series of mirrors but that necessarily there were gaps where the mirrors met." [2]


The Mirror, quicksilver

transference, projection etc…

remove the quicksilver from the glass and then one can look through the reflecting surface to the archetype behind….

through a glass darkly….

I have always maintained, that the Jungian work is essentially Hermetic in quality. This brief quotation from Lopez Pedraza, 'Hermes and His Children' , p.26, confirms this belief:

Now I would like to continue by giving my own impressions of how Hermes appeared in the consulting rooms of the two main pioneers of modern psychology - Freud and Jung. We know that in Jung's legacy Hermes/Mercurius is important, and it would be unnecessary to count the innumerable references to him in the Collected Works. Jung was a hermetic man who had a deep understanding of Hermes' psychology, and Hermes' presence was evident throughout his life and along the road of his creativity. Jung left behind him a psychology which is largely hermetic in both conception and practice. It was more than likely Hermes who guided him into the alchemical vessel, where he found the container for his psyche and which made possible his experience of the soul. His exploration of the alchemical treatises gave him the necessary borderline from which he could explore the borderline in himself and, via Hermes, the many possibilities of the psyche. Alchemy is a psychology of the paradox, a borderline psychology, which implies that it can only be apprehended by way of Hermes' leading the way into the unconscious. [3]

Be that as it may, what we can gather from James Hillman, is that the healing, or wholing of the individual, the microcosmos, which is so predominant in Jungian analysis, cannot be achieved without a parallel wiring to the macrocosmos, the anima mundi, the World Soul, …the whole. 





[1] Saturday, 14 December 2002,  based on a letter to Monika von Moltke.

[2] Rose F. Holt, Review of 'The New God-Image' by Edward Edinger, in: The Roundtable Review, Jan/Feb. 1999, p. 11.

[3] Lopez Pedraza, 'Hermes and His Children' , p.26.