The ancient Roman poet,
Ovid, tells us that once upon a time...
were quite concerned that they were being ignored. So Jupiter (the
ruling god of thunder) and Mercury (the messenger god) visited the earth
disguised as poor, beggarly travelers. Jupiter and Mercury quickly
that - no matter what door they knocked on - the people living in the
home abruptly, rudely turned them away...
Finally... the two
gods came upon the ramshackle hut of a poor, elderly couple. The elderly
couple's names were Philemon (loving disposition) and Baucis (tender).
And although Philemon and Baucis were incredibly poor, they welcomed the
two strangers into their home and shared what little they had with the visitors.
day, Jupiter and Mercury revealed to Philemon and Baucis who they were.
Grateful for being welcomed into the elderly couple's home, the gods rewarded
the old couple with one wish. Much in character, the humble couple's only
wish was to be allowed to stay together until death and also beyond.
Jupiter and Mercury
granted the couple's wish. Instantly the ramshackle hut was transformed
into magnificent temple - where, for the rest of their lives, Philemon
and Baucis served as priest and priestess to the gods. When the kindly couple
reached the end of their lives, they died at the same time and were transformed
into two trees standing side by side. The trees stood so close to one
another that their branches were entwined in an eternal embrace.
What happened to all the many people
who'd refused Jupiter and Mercury shelter? They were then drowned in a
great flood and thus repaid for their godlessness.
motif of the gods visiting earth disguised as poor, unknown visitors is
quite common among differing cultures and religions. In
the Judeo Christian tradition (for example), the unknown visitors are
most often identified as being angels. And the New Testament Book of Hebrews
strictly cautions us to be kind to strangers because we may be entertaining
Called or not called,
the god (the archetype) will be there.
of the Story
In her book
"Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche" Marie-Louise von Franz tells us:
"It seems to me to
be one of the greatest contributions of Jung and his work that it taught
us to keep our door open to the "unknown visitor." He (Jung)
also tried to teach us an approach through which we can avoid
the wrath of this
visitor, which every frivolous, haughty, or greedy host in the
folk tales brought down on himself. For it depends only on ourselves
this coming of the gods becomes a blessed visit or a fell disaster."
or not called, the god will be there... and the question is:
Will you welcome the god or turn the god away?
and otherwise [the saying is] found in Erasmus's collection of
Adagia (XVIth cent.). It is a Delphic
though. It says: yes, the god will be on the spot, but in what
form and to what purpose? I have put the inscription there to remind
patients and myself: Timor dei initium sapiente ["The fear
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."] Here another not
less important road begins, not the approach to "Christianity" but
to God himself and this seems to be the ultimate question."
letter from Carl Jung - C.G. Jung (1975) Letters:
1951-1961 vol. 2.
to the Unus Mundus Menu)