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Gallus and the bear

Lesedauer: 14 MinutenDeutsche Version

The animal symbol of elemental power marks the beginning of the history of St. Gallen
(Dedicated to the memory of my friend Hermann Jöhr, who drew my attention to the meaning of the symbols and to whom I remain gratefully attached.)

Tutilo around 890, Evangelium Longum

History is what interests one epoch in another. This interest not only changes concerning the character image of Saint Gallus over the course of generations, but also within the personal development of an individual person. Saint Gallus and the bear1 are at the origin of the history of St. Gallen. The vivid and immediately plausible narrative is popular with children, and it has rightly its place in local history. In secondary school history classes, bear history is only mentioned in the on the periphery, as a legend typical of the medieval world view, which is not to be taken entirely seriously from a historical-scientific and, above all, natural scientific point of view.

After a longer stay in Arbon, Gallus 612 decided to follow the Steinach river, which flows into the Lacus Brigantinus (Lake Constance), together with the deacon Hiltibod from Arbon. They followed the stream into the Arbon Forest (the whole area from Lake Constance to Appenzell was then virgin forest) and came to the waterfall at the Mühleggschlucht gorge. Here Gallus stumbled and fell into a thorn bush. He interpreted this as a divine sign to stay here. Many depictions of Gallus are therefore subtitled with the Latin Bible verse:”Haec requies mea in saeculum saeculi [hic habitabo quoniam elegi eam]” – “This is the place of my eternal rest; here I will dwell, for I like it. Psalm 132)”. The legend about St. Gallus tells about the following night: While Hiltibold was sleeping, Gallus was still awake when suddenly a bear appeared. Gallus was not intimidated, even when the bear stood up. The legend about Saint Gallus tells about a night in the following night: While Hiltibod was sleeping, Gallus was still awake when suddenly a bear appeared. Gallus was not intimidated, even when the bear stood up. Gallus ordered the bear in the name of the Lord to work for his food and get a piece of wood for the fire. The bear obeyed and carried the wood to the fire. Gallus then gave the bear a loaf of bread, on condition that he never show his face again. Hiltibod, who had overheard, said to Gallus: “Now I know that the Lord is with you when even the animals of the forest obey your word. The bear never showed up again.

Perhaps it needs – as with the writer2 – a repeated retelling of the story to children, until the value of highly topical meanings, are hidden behind the immediate meaning, newly opened up. The bear is not only for Saint Gallus a “helpful animal”…

According to Jungian school, fairy tales, sagas and legends often represent development and maturation processes that do not affect puberty, but rather the food. Storytelling” can therefore be a very useful tool for the adult. Being a storyteller even more important than for the listening child.

The fairytale researcher Max Lüthi remarks: “The efforts between twenty and Forty are aiming to gain a foothold in the world and settle down in it. But in the middle of life the reality of death comes into view. The depths of your own soul are experienced in a new and powerful way. A person who is strongly outwardly oriented takes the path inwards. Find in maturity consciousness and the unconscious a new connection, the relations to the outer and inner world come into harmony. For Jung and his students the old, often sick king of fairy tales a picture of one who has grown old,attitude to life in need of renewal, the son, the prince or dummy picture a new, growing consciousness that seeks access to the unconscious and finally finds.”3

The bear as a symbolic figure in its ambiguity

The bear embodies and symbolizes our instincts, which are the same as those of the from the higher human qualities of intellect, reason, the willpower and good will. Heinrich Zimmer has in his subtle interpretation of celtic legend motives the cultural-historical detachment of man is traced by the animal. The archaic man, between powerful gods and animals, could be under the influence of Jewish, of Greek-Roman and Christian culture on the one hand humanise the divine and on the other hand the feeling of the essential kinship with the animal overcome. But by doing so he also spilled the helping and healing connections to the natural, animalistic. He always felt nature more as opponent who needed to be subdued. The animalistic in man, the shoots, therefore became objects of suppression and displacement. The Celtic tradition that ties in with an identification with the natural world and animal neighbours, could show a “different way” through their world of legends than the anti-naturalistic, anti-humanistic, Christian tradition. “It does not apply to the animal soul to kill in us and to renounce us, but to make the animal the cause of mankind to win it for us, so that it may be our helper in the great, so extremely difficult task: the forging together of the human and forces, which are not only responsible for the cosmos, but also for ourselves.4

It remains to be seen whether the story of Saint Gallus and the bear is really connected with the Celtic-Irish mythological world or whether the symbol of the “helpful animal” directly to the inexhaustible source of the collective unconscious has arisen. Detached from the question of the origin of history and its protagonist, is the fact that our area is surrounded by christianised, who were directly linked to Ireland. We thus have a personally tangible reference to Celtic tradition, which the Jewish-Roman-Christian tradition, a further, highly significant keeps the way open.5

The bear as “helpful animal”6 is an extremely strong symbol. Like all symbols it is infinitely ambiguous and has both positive and negative aspects. In the In the Celtic religion the bear embodies the royal function. In alchemy it corresponds to the instincts and the initial stages of development. The black Bear symbolizes the state of “nigredo”, the state between the natural origin (“prima materia”) and the transformation to the white, bright and conscious (“albedo”) stands. Powerful, violent, dangerous and uncontrolled, as a primitive force it is traditionally the emblem of cruelty, savagery and brutality has been. But, and this shows the other side of the symbol, the bear can be tamed to a certain extent: he dances and does tricks. He can be attracted with honey, which he desires hotly. What is the difference between the lightness of the bee, whose honey he loves, and the dancer, whose step he and its original clumsiness! All in all, the bear the elementary forces accessible to cultural refinement, the but always also lead to dubious regression.

Victor Wallgren wrote a diploma thesis at the C. G. Jung Institute7 the bear as a symbol of the conversion is described. For him the bear embodies that indescribable something, which makes our attitude in desperation towards hope can lead. The “bear power” sets new goals and enables the overcoming of Suffering and pain. This makes the bear a symbol of the self, which is the I in helps those situations where it reaches its limits. However, the I consciously acknowledge that it has been made possible by a spontaneous regulation center in is guided by the collective unconscious. In existential crises the helping Power of the bear to the ego to fulfil its ancestral function. C.G. Jung calls the “self” the “superior personality8.

It makes a sharp division between the ego, which only reaches as far as consciousness, and the whole of the personality, the conscious and unconscious with is included.

The encounter with the bear as help from the unconscious Saint Gallus met his helpful bear in an acute life crisis. His fatherly master, Kolumban, the “Old Wise Man”, has been known for a not disagreement (perhaps a master/student generation conflict?) without him moved on9 he is dependent on himself. With his missionary activity on upper Lake Zurich and Lake Constance, which are seen as an uncompromising fight against paganism, Saint Gallus probably had some followers, but he also a lot of enemies.

C. G. Jung calls the “self” the “superior personality”.. It makes a sharp division between the ego, which only reaches as far as consciousness, and the whole of the personality, the conscious and unconscious with is included.

His retreat into the Arbon Forest bears traits of resignation.He stumbles in a place where no path leads further. The historically so he interprets the decisive fall as a sign from God. He can also be seen as one of those mental imbalances, which are often important for the healing process of Take steps in personal development. In this situation he throws himself in front of the cross, which he made from a hazel stick, for prayer on the soil, and there the animal appears, both threatening and helpful. The bear – not only the female bear – is assigned to the female lunar area. It is an attribute of the goddess Artemis/Diana and probably in The Virgin Mary is the continuation of this. The Celts venerated the bear goddess Artio.

Saint Gallus, the monk, finds in this encounter with the female powers in his unconsciously, with the help of God, a new balance. He is now able to to assimilate and process the contents rising from the unconscious C. G. Jung describes this decisive step in development as “Becoming yourself10“. Self-realisation means becoming whole, means the unification of contrasts, connection of spirit and nature and – for the monk Saint Gallus in In the middle of his life he is probably particularly significant – of male and female. The bear also appears to him as an animal aspect of the “great mother”, the “eternal feminine”. We will have to come back to this later. The archetypal image, the from the connection of the two psychological subsystems -the consciousness and of the unconscious – through a common center, the self is called the11 This center, which is in the hazel cross with the relic box attached symbolizes the harmonious relationship between the inner and external reality with which we are all confronted. The self-development, the birth of the self as origin and destination – does it give a more beautiful symbol for the the beginning of the history of St.Gallen.

The bear as a “helpful animal” establishes contact with the instincts and will thereforeto the starting point for the whole. But the symbolic content of the story is This is by no means exhausted. Saint Gallus commands the bear “in the name of God To bring wood, the original and universal building and fuel. The bear helps him to create the warming, illuminating and captivating fire that is part of the cultural achievements of the human being belongs to entertain. For this he is rewarded with whole bread. Sharing a loaf of bread with an animal would probably be has been an unacceptable and dangerous approach to communion… The Connection with the “helpful animal” should be neither total nor permanent. It is a limited give and take. While the bear as an animal is subject to the fire of the gives food to people with a piece of wood, the person gives the”helpful animal” a loaf of bread. Wood as a typical natural product is used against bread as typical cultural product exchanged. This significant exchange of wood for Bread is obvious for Tutilo12 the essence of bear history, whose on his ivory carved book covers with a masterly depiction of him overwrites the following text: “St. Gallus gives bread to the bear”13 Before the threatening aspects, which any help from the unconscious and perhaps any help from can have an impact on the bear, Saint Gallus urges the bear to “get involved Christ’s name” from the valley to the surrounding mountains and hills.

As Jolanda Jacobi states, one must be aware of the impulses of the unconscious “without identifying with it and without running away from it – a Identification with these impulses would mean that one has to live out their lives unrestrainedly, to run away from them, to suppress them would…”14 Fortunately, Saint Gallus did not chase his helpful bear away completely. He accompanies him as an attribute, as an “inner animal”, until today; and the city of St. Gallen as the two Appenzell half-cantons also have it as their heraldic animal, although it is our area has long since ceased to be a wild bear.

Heinrich Zimmer reminds us of the lasting and increasing relevance of the “helpful animal”: “If the animal in us is killed by overzealous moralising or even just by a perfect social routine to hibernate cooled, the conscious personality can never escape the hidden forces that underlie it, receive stimulation. The inner animal wants to be recognized and be allowed to live with us as a somewhat strange and often astonishing companion. Even if dumb and stubborn, it knows much better than our conscious personality, and we would recognise his better nature if we could only learn to listen to his barely audible voice. This voice is the urge of instinct; it is the only thing that can save us from Hopelessness, into which our conscious personality will constantly lead us, as long as we are self-conscious of being completely human, as long as we through our contempt of any intuitive contact with the hidden cut off the source of life in the world.”15.

The meaning of the bear in Christian symbolism

The bear has a further meaning in the Christian symbolism of the picture, which is establishes a connection that is not easily visible. In antiquity and in the Middle Ages it was believed that cubs were born informally as lumps and that they would be shaped by the mother in her own image. First a careful, loving licking gave the boys the appearance of the parents. Creative, educational, educational behaviour in the original sense the mother bear became a symbol of the educational ower of affection. For S. Golowin, the legend of the female bear who carefully gave her offspring a “symbol of the conviction that the powerful are their own the main task to see the weaker, helpless people in their environment and give them the opportunity to develop slowly”.16

Against this background, it is obvious why the bear is used in many legend (it is also an attribute of Saint Kolumban and Saint Romedius) has become a symbol of conversion and recovery of unbelievers. In connection with Saint Gallus and with his life story let gain essential insights from this:

Through the encounter with the bear in a decisive phase of life the perception of his mission mandate also changed. The eager and fiery preacher and fighter, the dedicated destroyer of idols comes to recognition that only the humble (originally: “service-minded”) role model, the loving, caring and healing attention to fellow human beings in need of help, the new faith in the Gospel. The reference of the new way to Christianise his fellow men and to the inner experience of self-development is obvious. That which came to itself, integrated the individual is the starting point of every effective proclamation. The small living cell of the hermit has a greater charisma than any other verbose publicity of the “new teaching” on a larger scale. Not the struggle against the animalistic, magical, pagan, but the cultivating handling with him and the always keeping distance, but still participating and sharing, caring and educational attention was the right way.17

The interpretation of the bear as the “helpful animal” that gave the man Gallus integration of the feminine into the unconscious area of his soul, may seem rather constructed at first glance. It could easily be described as a modern product of an overly interpretative psychologising approach be dismissed. As will be shown, however, such connections are already in the earliest artistic confrontations with the history of bears have been presented. Emma Jung has written an essay about the anima man’s inherent femininity, which always accompanies him, complements and occasionally also controlled, described as nature beings.18 It seems important to her, to emphasize the natural side of it, as this is so pronouncedly related to the essence of the of the feminine.

“With the recognition and integration of a changed attitude towards females at all. The new evaluation of the feminine principle requires nature also regains the reverence it deserves, after the Era of science and technology predominant view of the intellect more has led to the exploitation of the latter than to their worship. Fortunately signs can also be observed today which point in the latter direction wise. The most weighty and significant is probably the new dogma of Assumptio Mariae (Assumption of the Virgin Mary) and the declaration of the same as the Mistress of creation. In our time, where separating forces are so threateningly at work and split peoples, individuals and atoms, it is doubly necessary that those of connecting and holding together take effect; because life is based on the interplay of male and female forces, including within the individual person.”

Saint Gallus, after his encounter with the bear (the natural side of his anima), has from the male-fighting activity and turned his life around to the more feminine basic values of renunciation, contemplation and helping subsidy. It is therefore probably no coincidence in several respects that Tutilo over the bear story of all things the Assumption of Mary images19. Mary can be understood here as a higher manifestation of the Anima …

We would like to contribute to the interpretation of the bear story and its artistic presentation by Tutilo and conclude with Heinrich Zimmer, who rightly remarks: “If you want to discuss symbols, you can explain more about your own border and self-consciousness, especially when he is inflamed by their sense of purpose, than that he to exploit its depth20. Does the representation in the top third of Tutilo’s masterpiece something similar? The Lion of Mind21 should the sore, skyward looking game not quite torn apart…

1 The character image of Gallus in the course of time, 99th Annual Journal of the Historical Society of the Canton of St. Gallen, St. Gallen 1959.
Ders., Gallus and the bear, history and legend, St. Gallen 1950. In his well-founded contributions, Rüsch is primarily concerned with the objectifiable historical truthfulness. In the present essay, to which the reading of the convinced and Heinrich Zimmer, a convincing dilettante, the statement that historically the of tangible, well-founded facts is not in the foreground. Rather, it should be a personal individual effect of the story. Whether Gallus will give his bear actually met (which does not exclude ruffles) or whether the event in the inner world of the people who have experienced it, told it and also felt it, played it and played it back (which I think is likely) is not decisive for their truth and reality. Even the Inner world is real and makes history, even if essential parts of it are always a secretin which visual and narrative art provide only small insights. Legends are always also history, and history is always also legend.
2 Years ago, my friend Hermann Jöhr gave me access to the world of symbols. I would like to take this opportunity to express my grateful solidarity with him who is no longer with us,expression.
3 Lüthi, Max, Psychology of the Fairy Tale, printed in: Fairy Tale Research and Depth Psychology, Ed. van Wilhelm Laiblin, Darmstadt 1975, p. 424.
4 Zimmer, Heinrich, Abenteuer und Fahrten der Seele, Zurich 1961, p. 136f.
5 It was only after writing this text that I was transferred to the also personally colouredSimilar interpretation of the story of Gallus and the bear by Margrit Burri attention. Cf. Margrit Burri, Germanic Mythology between Displacement and adulteration, Zurich 1982, p. 82ff. Unfortunately the author does not adhere enough to the historically handed down texts. She speaks of an ‘aberration’ in the woods, which in many ways underlines the meaning of the story impaired in this respect.
6 Dictionnaire des Symbols, Paris 1969, keyword ‘ours’.
7 Wallgren, Victor, The bear as a symbol of change, C. G. Jung Institute 1973, Masch. Scripture.
8 Jung, Carl Gustav, Zum psychologischen Aspekt der Korefigur, Ges. Werke, vol. 9 I, p. 204.
9 Stricker, Hans, Our city St. Gallen, a geographical and historical local history, St. Gallen
1970, p. 145ff. I deliberately take up the folkloristic, textbook-style reproduction of history. For a scientific and source-critical presentation is based on the treatise by E. G. Rüsch (see note 1), who for his part refers to the St. Gallus Gedenkbuch, St. Gallen 1952, and on J. Duft and P. Meyer. The Irish miniatures in the Abbey Library of St. Gallen, St. Gallen 1953, points out.
10 Jung, Carl Gustav, The relations between the ego and the unconscious, Ges. Werke, vol. 7, S. 186.
11 Jacobi, Jolande, The Psychology of C. G. Jung, Olten 1971, p. 197.
12 Unfortunately, despite express instructions to the contrary, the Zollikofer-Verlag has decided to print a Photography of the whole Tutilo tablet is dispensed with and the work of art only in mutilated form is reproduced. I hope that a larger number of readers will remember the whole picture, so that the symbolic image is at least in thought rejoined to its original wholeness can be achieved. If these lines should be used for a personal inspection of the original in Library, the publishing mishap would even have a positive effect.
13 Convincing explanations can be found in E. G. Rüsch, Tutilo, Mönch und Künstler, St. Gallen 1953, pp. 16-29. Cf. on the latest state of art research, Marguerite Menz-Von der Mühll, Die St. Galler Elfenbeine um 900, in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien, Yearbook of the Institute for Early Medieval Studies at the University of Münster, ed. By Karl Hauck, vol. 15, Berlin 1981, pp. 387ff. The huge amount of material of possible influences and models, which is processed in this book, allows perhaps forgotten that the artist and devout monk Tutilo also came from the immediateSources of the creative, thinking, feeling and intuitive human beingmay have.
14 Jacobi, Jolande, op. cit. p. 197.
15 Zimmer, Heinrich, op. cit. p. 137.
16 Golovin, Sergius, in: Lexicon of Symbols, Wiesbaden 1980, p. 240.
17 Interesting religious-historical parallels to the retreat into the forest and the mystical Encounters with animals are found in Mircea Eliade, shamanism and archaic ecstasy techniques, Zurich 1954, S. 106: The Indian shaman withdraws to the Mountains back. There he is initiated by animals, who become his patrons. Beside the connection with the “helpful animal” also plays the mastery over the fire and Ascension of the sea
18 Jung, Emma, Die Anima als Naturwesen, in: Fairytale Research and Depth Psychology (see note 3), p. 282.
19 According to a note for which I am indebted to the Abbey librarian Dr. Ochsenbein, the depiction of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary also has a quite objectively tangible reason, which can be traced back to the consecration of the Abbey Church. Cf. also Marguerite Menz-Von der Mühll, loc. cit. (see note 13), p. 400ff.
20 Quoted in: Kast, Verena (et al.), The Evil in Fairy Tales, Fellbach 1978, p. 17.
21 On the symbolism of lion and deer, cf. Heinrich and Margarethe Schmidt, Die vergessene
Bildsprache christlicher Kunst, München 1981, S. 15, 67ff., 78ff.


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