The Three Prophecies
[HI 124] 234 Wondrous things came nearer. I called my soul and asked her to dive down into the floods, whose distant roaring I could hear. This happened on 22 January of the year 1914, as recorded in my black book. And thus she plunged into the darkness like a shot, and from the depths she called out: "Will you accept what I bring?"
I: '''I will accept what you give. I do not have the right to judge or to reject."
S: "So listen. There is old armor and the rusty gear of our fathers down here, murderous leather trappings hanging from them, worm-eaten lance shafts, twisted spear heads, broken arrows, rotten shields, skulls, the bones of man and horse, old cannons, catapults, crumbling firebrands, smashed assault gear, stone spearheads, stone clubs, sharp bones, chipped arrowhead teeth –everything the battles of yore have littered the earth with. Will you accept all this?"
I: "I accept it. You know better, my soul."
S: "I find painted stones, carved bones with magical signs, talismanic sayings on hanks of leather and small plates of lead, dirty pouches filled with teeth, human hair and fingernails, timbers lashed together, black orbs, moldy animal skins-all the superstitions hatched by dark prehistory. Will you accept all this?"
I: "I accept it all, how should I dismiss anything?"
S: "But I find worse: fratricide, cowardly mortal blows, torture, child sacrifice, the annihilation of whole peoples, arson, betrayal, war, rebellion-will you also accept this?"
I: ''Also this, if it must be. How can I judge?"
S: "I find epidemics, natural catastrophes, sunken ships, razed cities, frightful feral savagery; famines, human meanness, and fear, whole mountains of fear."
I: "So shall it be, since you give it."
S: "I find the treasures of all past cultures, magnificent images of Gods, spacious temples, paintings, papyrus rolls, sheets of parchment with the characters of bygone languages, books full of lost wisdom, hymns and chants of ancient priests, stories told down the ages through thousands of generations."
I: "That is an entire world - whose extent I cannot grasp. How can I accept it?"
S: "But you wanted to accept everything? You do not know your limits. Can you not limit yourself?"
I: "I must limit myself. Who could ever grasp such wealth?"
S: "Be content and cultivate your garden with modesty."
I: "I will. I see that it is not worth conquering a larger piece of the immeasurable, but a smaller one instead. A well-tended small garden is better than an ill-tended large garden. Both gardens are equally small when faced with the immeasurable, but unequally cared for."
S: "Take shears and prune your trees."
From: C.G. Jung, The Red Book. Liber Novus, W.W. Norton & Company, New York –London, 2009, pp.305-306