It will be fairly common knowledge amongst my readers that the German-Swiss founder of Analytical Psychology, Carl Gustav Jung authored the famous tract on Wotan in 1936. What is lesser known is his apologetic essay titled After the Catastrophe in 1945 which to me appears to be a desperate attempt by Jung to distance himself from any association with National Socialism, no matter how tenuous that association was. It is still worth reading for its references to Wotan.
What is also less well known is the personal encounter which Jung had with Wotan in dream form which he relates in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. On pages 344-347 Jung relates this dream to us. The night before his mother`s death he had a dream in which he encountered Wotan:
"The night before her death I had a frightening dream. I was in a dense, gloomy forest: fantastic, gigantic boulders lay about among huge jungle-like trees. It was a heroic, primeval landscape. Suddenly I heard a piercing whistle that seemed to resound through the whole universe. My knees shook. Then there were crashings in the underbrush, and a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw burst forth. At the sight of it, the blood froze in my veins. It tore past me, and I suddenly knew: the Wild Huntsman had commanded it to carry away a human soul. I awoke in deadly terror, and the next morning I received news of my mother`s passing.
"Seldom has a dream so shaken me, for upon superficial consideration it seemed to say that the devil had fetched her. But to be accurate the dream said that it was the Wild Huntsman, the `Gruenhuetl`, or Wearer of the Green Hat, who hunted with his wolves that night-it was the season of Foehn storms in January. It was Wotan, the god of my Alemannic forefathers, who had gathered my mother to her ancestors-negatively to the `wild horde`, but positively to the `saelig Luet`, the blessed folk. It was the Christian missionaries who made Wotan into a devil. In himself he is an important god-a Mercury or Hermes, as the Romans correctly realised, a nature spirit who returned to life again in the Merlin of the Grail legend and became, as the spiritus Mercurialis, the sought after aracanum of the alchemists. Thus the dream says that the soul of my mother was taken into that greater territory of the self which lies beyond the segment of Christian morality, taken into that wholeness of nature and spirit in which conflicts and contradictions are resolved."
For once Jung instead of commentating on the experience in Germany during those 12 nights of Yule[1933-1945] he speaks even more authoritatively based on his own inner Wotanic experience which amounts to an initiation. Wotan chose to reveal Himself to him. His mother died in 1923, 11 years before Jung`s groundbreaking Wotan essay. I do not believe that this dream did not in some way influence his essay.
Despite hundreds of years of xtianisation the Germanic peoples cannot divorce themselves from their ancient Gods. They are an intrinsic part of our identity and our very physical and spiritual DNA, most especially our High God Wotan/Woden/Woden/Wodan/Odin.
On speaking of the Gods as Archetypes Jung states in his letter to Miguel Serrano[14/9/60]:
"They have a high degree of autonomy, which does not disappear, when the manifest images change.[My emphasis-Wotans Krieger]. When, for instance, the belief in the god Wotan vanished and nobody thought of him anymore, the phenomenon originally called Wotan remained; nothing changed but its name, as National Socialism has demonstrated on a grand scale. A collective movement consists of millions of individuals, each of whom shows the symptoms of Wotanism and proves thereby that Wotan in reality never died, but has retained his original vitality and autonomy. Our consciousness only imagines that it has lost its Gods; in reality they are still there and it only needs a certain general condition in order to bring them back in full force"[C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse. A Record of Two Friendships, Miguel Serrano, 1966]
I have much to say on the connection between Woden and His son Widar and how the Woden force will live on in Him in the age to come but I will reserve this for a future article-Woden willing!