It is 1913, and Carl is nearly 40 years old. He has achieved everything in the world he had wished for—honor, power, wealth, knowledge, all he desired for his happiness. Yet, nearing 40, he finds himself in horror at the emptiness of it all. He is seized by the vision of the flood and he feels the spirit of the depths come upon him and drive him with an unbearable inner longing.

Carl calls out to his soul, asking, “Are you there?” The arrogance of his worldly success has him asking his soul if he should speak about his experiences in the world. Then he admits that perhaps the noise of the world matters little to his soul.

Carl tells his soul anyway, telling us, too, that the one thing he has learned is that we must live this life because it is the way to the divine; there are no other ways. The proof of this, for Carl, is that he is now in the presence of his soul.

The words he is writing are not what he expected, but come forth from the depths. Carl is coming to the realization that he has been separated from his soul, for how long he does not know. He rejoices that through all the twists and turns of his life, he has been guided to find his way back to his soul. Having gotten here, he says he will no longer continue without his soul, and with this he accepts his journey into solitude.

Carl begins to see how wrongly he has perceived his soul. The spirit of the depths humbles him as he discovers that all of the years of thinking and speaking about the human soul, all of his wise words, his knowledge, have had nothing to do with the soul. These words and thoughts are no more than a dead system, a collection of judgments that turned his soul into a scientific object.

He learns that the spirit of the depths sees the soul completely differently than the spirit of the times sees her. The spirit of the times sees the soul as dependent on man. But his soul is actually something unknown to him.

In being forced to speak this way, Carl finds that he is speaking to his soul as a self-existing, real and living being.

With excitement he tells us what he has learned about how to reach the place of the soul, how we must turn away from desiring things of the world. If we do not find our souls, we will become fools who in desperation and fear try to assuage the horror of emptiness by running after the hollow things of the world. Carl says we will never find our souls in the things of the world, for the soul is found only within ourselves.

Distinguishing desire for things of the world from true desire, which springs from the soul, he tells us that if we possess our desire, we will find our soul, as desire is the image and expression of the soul. Yet if our desire possesses us, we will not find our souls, for in seeking the things of the world but not the image of the world, the soul has nothing. The richness of the soul exists in images.

Carl ends this chapter by warning against the poverty of the soul brought on by slaking our desire by chasing things of the world.


This chapter is not really about redefining the soul – it is about refinding the soul. Looking at the title, our minds want to make it redefining, because our minds like to think, just as Carl likes to think. But refinding the soul means that we have lost it.

Carl begins the chapter speaking about how he had gotten everything that life could afford him –  wealth, fame, success – but that all of this was empty.

When we live in the spirit of the times, whatever we have is never going to be enough. Never. The increase will never fulfill our true need, what we really need. The emptiness continues unabated. But Carl embraced this, letting the desire ebb from him.

It is at this moment that the vision of the flood seizes him. I love this. We can let the visions and images of our dreams seize us only when we feel. An image cannot affect us if we do not feel it. He is seized because he feels it. He feels it because he let his desire for outer-world things abate.

In dreams, a flood or a tsunami is usually a life changing moment, offering the opportunity to drown and “die” in the flood so we can wake into a new being. Carl went from being basically “happy” and successful in the world – a star, really – to suddenly feeling the horror of the separation from his soul.

“My soul, where are you? Do you hear me? I speak, I call you – are you there? I have returned, I am here again. I have shaken the dust of all the lands from my feet, and I have come to you, I am with you. After long years of long wandering, I have come to you again. Should I tell you everything I have seen, experienced, and drunk in? Or do you not want to hear about all the noise of life and the world? But one thing you must know: the one thing I have learned is that one must live this life." (p. 232)

Carl sounds just like the prodigal son here. It is as if he is saying to the Animus, which is the spirit of the depths, “Hey, Dad! I have been everywhere and I have made my mark in the world and I am home now. Do you want to hear everything?” But the spirit of the depths does not want to hear because the spirit of the depths already knows.

Is he speaking about living our lives, the way that we live our lives, the way that we breathe? No. Carl is saying that this life, the life of the dream, is the way. The life of the dream seeker is what he calls “this life.”

There are many paths in the world, of course. Carl, however, is saying that this way, the life of the dream, is the way. Everybody dreams, and the dream is the ultimate teacher because it is inspired by the Divine. Dreams are not inspired by a teacher in the world, but by our own teacher from within who knows us like no one else can. This teacher knows the way back to our souls.

The way is long sought after because we seek the path and no one really knows what it is. It has not manifested; even though we dream, we do not understand how to find this path. But the Animus, which is part of the Spirit of the Depths, does and this way of working with dreams is aligned with this journey, this specific way of understanding dreams.

For Carl, the only way is the dream. I am not saying this is the only way; we can do other things. But for Carl, the only way is the dream. For me, the only way is the dream. It is, as Carl says, a twisty journey.

Again, here in Primus, Carl is working from a place of realization. In Secondus, we will see, he works from the place of his evolving soul; in other words, there are more reactions in Secondus. But here, he speaks from what he has learned.

Carl calls his soul disavowed. Taking a vow means commitment. To be in disavowment means to have a commitment against. So, in calling his soul disavowed, he is admitting that he was against himself, against his soul. With the soul, we cannot be in the place where we can go either way – we are either for it or against it. There is no gray area. In our minds, however, we believe there is a gray area. In reality, there is no gray area.

If we do not find the commitment to our souls at some point in our journey, then we cannot really do the work at the level that Carl speaks of. We do not start committed, of course; we learn commitment. Here, Carl is remembering what he disavowed. He is not lecturing us on our failing. He is speaking of his own knowing. We can agree or not – this is Carl’s journey and Carl’s knowing.

The life he speaks of is the life of the dreaming, not his life in the spirit of the times. It is easy to misinterpret this moment. We believe that we have our lives and that we evolve, but evolution in life is not a given. We must each find our own path. And, according to Carl, ascend to solitude.

But, why does he say “ascend to my solitude” (p. 232)? Quietness in the world does not mean that living in the archetypal world is about literal solitude in the world – living as a monk in the woods. The monk in the woods is an idealized version of enlightenment or seeking the Divine.

Our dreams, in contrast, are very noisy. Eventually, our dreams become not dreams. They become waking states of beingness and consciousness. I never feel solitude in the “monk in the woods” way. This is the idea of solitude in terms of the world. The word solitude has the echo of the word solace. Seeking solitude is seeking solace, not isolation.

We often confuse the idea of solitude when confronted with it in our work. We may say, “Does this mean I can’t marry? Does this mean I can’t go on that golf trip, because I really love golf?” We can do all of those things, for solitude is not about being alone.

We can solve many of our problems if we forgo the world for the sake of the Divine world. From this place, we then have a feeling knowledge to make better decisions in the world. Of course, we can do this however we want. Most of us learn by making bad decisions and growing out of them, having to redefine our lives anew.

Carl speaks about the spirit of the depths forcing him to speak, to write. I love that Carl says he was forced to say all of this. It does not mean that he has a gun to his head, even though we may believe this. Many of us have had dreams in which we feel kidnapped and held prisoner when what has “captured” us is the Animus, the archetypes. Carl is saying that the spirit of the depths made him stay in this place, even though he did not want to stay there and even though he was free to go because there were no guards holding him back.

The Divine forced Carl to speak this way, and force for Carl is the passion of the Divine. I have often felt, and others have reported this, that standing with the Divine feels more and more like there is something inside wanting to be exploded. From the standpoint of the ego that wants to repress this energy, the energy feels like a force against the ego. The true self, however, is not forced. It wants to shout whatever it wants to shout.

And he must undergo what he speaks.

He undergoes it as he speaks it, for when we speak from the soul, the ego does not like it. There is a split and we are in conflict. Generally, the ego pathology wins and we do not let the soul speak.

Is this not the struggle? How many of us know what our souls want to speak, feel what our souls want to speak, but do not speak it? This is what Carl is referring to here. Of course, there are many of us who still do not know what our souls want to say. For those of us who do not know, we must go deeper to find it.

Carl admits that he is still living in the spirit of the times, living as if he knows something about the soul. But notice, he knows the soul as the girl, even here.

When we live the spirit of the times, we believe that the soul can be the object of our judgment and knowledge because we think we are in charge. Many misguided seekers call their egos their souls, and because they believe this, they believe they know what their souls want. We may believe that because we have meditated for 18 years or had a prayer practice for 20 years, we know our souls.

We endeavor to answer this question – What do we want to do to fulfill our souls? But we cannot answer it if we do not feel it. This is the battle line.

We are in battle with our selves when we begin to feel. We are going to feel forced by the spirit of the depths when we live from our ego selves.

Therefore the spirit of the depths forced me to speak to my soul, to call upon her as a living and self-existing being. I had to become aware that I had lost my soul. From this we learn how the spirit of the depths considers the soul: he sees her as a living and self-existing being, and with this he contradicts the spirit of this time, for whom the soul is a thing dependent on man, which lets herself be judged and arranged, and whose circumference we can grasp. I had to accept that what I had previously called my soul was not at all my soul but a dead system. Hence I had to speak to my soul as to something far off and unknown, which did not exist through me, but through whom I existed. (p. 232)

If we believe that we have found our souls, that we have our souls, then we are going to keep speaking lies, not realizing that the soul is not there at all. Carl sees that he has to admit that he had lost his soul first. This is a heavy thing.

Some people do come into this work saying, “I do not know my soul.” But most people come into work believing they just need a little help, a little fine-tuning, because they believe they have been working on themselves at a soul level without realizing they have not.

The soul is not symbolic. It is living as a being. Just as the archetypes live as self-existing beings.

The soul does not exist through Carl, through the ego. Carl must learn to exist as the soul.

Is the “whom” he speaks of here just the soul? Perhaps the “whom” also refers to Him. The first body of the work is not about bringing attention to the soul. It is usually about the Archetypes coming to shock us, coming as trickster, agent provocateur, showing us that we are separate from our souls.

He is provocative. He provokes us.

We may say, “If He really wants my attention, why doesn’t He come in a way where I could receive Him, in a good way? He knows I love to be wined and dined, so why doesn’t He wine and dine me?” We may complain about how He comes like a Mack truck sometimes.

But He has to come this way because we are lost and do not know it. The first step is finding a connection to the Animus, and then the soul starts to emerge.

But this is just the first step, just the beginning. Once these pieces are in place in our work, we then go down into trauma. I did not know this to be true until the work progressed to that level. It was a shock. But Carl knew it.

We must, as Carl says, turn away from the outside world; otherwise, all is hollow. Doing this work does not mean that we cannot have the golf trip, but I guarantee that it is not going to be as much fun as it used to be.

When we endeavor in our desire for the hollow things, as Carl puts it, this is compulsion. Whether it is compulsive eating, drugs, sex – it does not matter what it is, as long as it holds us up. When the thing stops holding us up, it often leaves us with depression. This is particularly true with men, for there are many older men, over 60 usually, who are just resigned. They are not open to any more learning, and they do everything their way. They may not like what they are doing, but they believe that what they are doing is all there is. They lose their desire. This is why I believe this kind of obsession culminates in depression.

The soul, according to Carl, truly does lie in things and people, but when we are blind, we seize things and others – not our souls in things and others. The soul is in the world, but we must find it first in ourselves.

We can find our soul in desire without object. What is desire when we have an object of desire? Projection. It is projecting desire onto something we think we want.

The raw core of desire does not belong to us – it belongs to the soul. We confuse the soul’s desire with our desire, with the desire we feel that is not even ours. Desire is libido; when we project desire into the world, our libido just sits at the base of the spine. It does not rise because our projection onto a desire in the world separates us from our selves. The true source of libido stays locked in our bodies. We end up with no verve, no passion for living.

If we separate desire from our objects of desire in the world, we may lose things. All those things we thought we wanted we may find we do not want anymore. Whether we are left-wingers believing that we need more wind power so that we have more energy efficiency, or right-wingers believing that we need more bombs to protect us, we believe what we believe and then believe it is what the soul wants. But what if we are all wrong? Even if we are right, what if we are wrong?

If we possess the image of a thing, we possess half the thing.

The image of the world is half the world. He who possesses the world but not its image possesses only half the world, since his soul is poor and has nothing. The wealth of the soul exists in images.
(p. 232)

What is the other half? The soul, of course. The wealth is not wealth in the world, but in the image of the dream, when we let the images seize us.

This is difficult, for Carl is saying that it does not matter whether we are wealthy or poor. We believe that if we do not work, we are going to end up living in a box. We feel the pressure, unless we have money from a trust fund or some other place. It is a conundrum for many of us – we have pressure around money – mortgage, recession, economy shrinking, kids in college. We have many reasons why we cannot afford to go on this journey. We feel we have to get everything lined up, food for the family, retirement money.

But Carl says, nurture the soul first and we will not be poisoned.

There is a mystery here that we do not understand. If we nurture the soul, the soul takes charge and then we get everything. I cannot explain what everything is. It is not about the big lie of abundance.

There actually is no abundance unless we are in our souls.

There actually is no God for us unless we are in our souls.

We may say, “Okay. I will do what God wants, but I do not want to be broke.” We cannot do what God wants until we are in our souls. Carl is not speaking about obedience to God. He never says, “You have to be this or that or do this or that.” This is not about hellfire.

Carl says, first we have to find our souls, before we can think about service and God. If we believe we have our souls, we are running a risk – what if we are wrong? Then we are doing all the right things, but without the soul.

Carl ends the chapter:

My friends, it is wise to nourish the soul, otherwise you will breed dragons and devils in your heart. (p. 232)



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