Animal Presences by James Hillman

By James Hillman

Uniform variation of the Writings of James Hillman, quantity 9

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If a pig is winged, plays the flute, dances a jig, is carved into a church pew with a psalmbook, if it is a sun-god (Scandinavia), the highest and last zodiacal sign in the Far East, modeled with its torso dotted with stars, as found at Troy, or if it is naive, tender, fearful or jolly, and so attuned in hearing that Welsh Druids, who knew the language of birds for their divining, gained their foreknowledge of times from their pig companion, 19 or if animal psychologists today show the pig more intelligent than the horse, perhaps equal to the elephant, 20 and so perhaps one of the first animals to be domesticated 21 – these other spirited and sensitive implications fall out from the unified core of symbolic pig as earth mother, whether negative or positive.

Roles are now reversed: man may now be seen as bestial, the animal as lovable, but the animal remains pathetically dependent and lower. The most familiar mode of degradation is evolution theory. Homo sapiens is well at the top of the tree. Yet Darwin’s theory was received initially and by many still today as a degradation of mankind. Simply by returning humans to the animal kingdom, Darwin had put us too close to the ape, that species which has carried through the centuries one or another aspect of the culturally repressed, whether it be knowledge, drunkenness, brutality, figura diaboli, or polymorphous pleasure.

I didn’t want him hurt, I just didn’t want him to hurt me. The dream exhibits the familiar motif of pursuit by the animal. But does the bear pursue her because it comes “after her” – because she stays ahead of it, counterphobic to it, closing doors against the white animal that comes for her? An anonymous man goes after the bear, resulting in its being hit and bloodied and confused by a car – such is the strength of the “man” in this woman’s dream and the vehicle of her drive. It can confuse the animal.

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