“From the viewpoint of the psychology of C. G. Jung we can say that animals generally represent instincts when we meet them in dreams and active imagination. Each animal represents a different instinct, or if you prefer, another aspect of instinct. As we discuss our separate animals and, in particular, the attributes associated to them in their mythology, we shall see how multifaceted they are and that their symbolic meaning necessarily depends on the context in the dream and the conscious situation of the dreamer.... This gives us a very good idea of why it is so vitally important for anyone who is dealing with the products of the unconscious to study the symbolism of animals.” (from the book)
In The Archetypal Symbolism of Animals,
Barbara Hannah, a student and a close friend of C.G. Jung, presents lectures on the symbolic meaning of several domestic and wild animals. According to Jung, the animal is sublime and, in fact, represents the "divine" side of the human psyche. He believed that animals live much more in contact with a "secret" order in nature itself and—far more than human beings—live in close contact with "absolute knowledge" of the unconscious. In contrast to humankind, the animal is the living being that follows its own inner laws beyond good and evil—and is, in this sense, superior.
Hannah’s previously published lectures were on the cat, dog, and horse. These lectures add material on the serpent, the lion, the cow, and the bull, illustrating how, in the light of consciousness, the archetypal images of animals can be positive and helpful. Here Hannah shows how our animal nature can become the psychic source of renewal and natural wholeness.
The Archetypal Symbolism of Animals is the second volume in the "Polarities of the Psyche" series, edited by Emmanuel Kennedy-Xypolitas. This series focuses on the broad theme of the opposites in the psyche. In 2004, Chiron published the first volume, Lectures on Jung’s Aion, by Barbara Hannah and Marie-Louise von Franz. Also in this series is the two-volume set of Barbara Hannah's Animus: The Spirit of Inner Truth in Women (2010): Volume 1 and Volume 2.
This volume and its companions in the series are invaluable resources for a deeper understanding of Jung's ideas on archetypes in the human psyche.