July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961
arl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of a neopsychoanalytic school of psychology, which he named Analytical Psychology.
Jung’s unique and broadly influential approach to psychology has emphasized understanding the psyche through exploring the worlds of dreams, art, mythology, world religion and philosophy. Although he was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician for most of his life, much of his life’s work was spent exploring other realms, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology, sociology, as well as literature and the arts.
His most notable contributions include his concept of the psychological archetype, his theory of synchronicity and the collective unconscious – also known as “a reservoir of the experiences of our species.”
Jung emphasized the importance of balance and harmony. He cautioned that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious realm. Jungian ideas are not typically included in curriculum of most major universities’ psychology departments, but are occasionally explored in humanities departments.
ung was the son of a philologist and paster. His childhood was lonely, though enriched by a vivid imagination. From an early age he observed the behavior of his parents and teachers, which he tried to understand and resolve. Especially concerned with his father’s failing belief in religion, he tried to communicate to him his own experience of God. Though the elder Jung was in many ways a kind and tolerant man, neither he nor his son succeeded in understanding each other.
A very solitary and introverted child, Jung was convinced from childhood that he had two personalities, a modern Swiss citizen, and a personality more at home in the eighteenth century. “Personality No. 1,” as he termed it, was a typical schoolboy living in the era of the time, while No. 2 was a dignified, authoritative, and influential man from the past. Although Jung was close to both parents, he was rather disappointed in his father’s academic approach to faith.
A number of childhood memories inspired many of his later theories. As a boy he carved a tiny mannequin into the end of the wooden ruler from his pupil’s pencil case and placed it inside the case. He then added a stone which he had painted into upper and lower halves of, and hid the case in the attic. Periodically he would come back to the manikin, often bringing tiny sheets of paper with messages inscribed on them in his own secret language. This ceremonial act, he later reflected, brought him a feeling of inner peace and security. In later years, he discovered that similarities existed in this memory and the totems of native peoples like the collection of soul-stones near Arlesheim, or the tjurungas of Australia. This, he concluded, was an unconscious ritual that he did not question or understand at the time, but was practiced in a strikingly similar way in faraway locations that he as a young boy had no way of consciously knowing about. His theories of psychological archetypes and the collective unconscious were inspired in part by this experience.
Shortly before the end of his first year at the Humanistisches Gymnasium in Basel, at age 12, he was pushed unexpectedly by another boy, which knocked him to the ground so hard that he was for a moment unconscious. The thought then came to him that “now you won’t have to go to school any more.”. From then on, whenever he started off to school or began homework, he fainted. He remained at home for the next six months until he overheard his father speaking worriedly to a visitor of his future ability to support himself, as they suspected he had epilepsy. With little money in the family, this brought the boy to reality and he realized the need for academic excellence. He immediately went into his father’s study and began poring over Latin grammar. He fainted three times, but eventually he overcame the urge and did not faint again. This event, Jung later recalled, “was when I learned what a neurosis is.
Adolescence and Early Adulthood
Jung wanted to study archaeology at university, but his family was not wealthy enough to send him further afield than Basel, where they did not teach this subject, so instead Jung studied medicine at the University of Basel from 1894 to 1900. The formerly introverted student became much more lively here. In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach, from one of the richest families in Switzerland.
Towards the end of studies, his reading of Krafft-Ebing persuaded him to specialize in psychiatric medicine. He later worked in the Burghölzli, a psychiatric hospital in Zürich. In 1906, he published Studies in Word Association, and later sent a copy of this book to famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, after which a close friendship between these two men followed for some 6 years.
In 1913 Jung published Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (known in English as The Psychology of the Unconscious) resulting in a theoretical divergence between Jung and Freud and result in a break in their friendship, both stating that the other was unable to admit he could possibly be wrong. After this falling-out, Jung went through a pivotal and difficult psychological transformation, which was exacerbated by news of the First World War. Henri Ellenberger called Jung’s experience a “creative illness” and compared it to Freud’s period of what he called neurasthenia and hysteria.
Following World War I, Jung became a worldwide traveler, facilitated by his wife’s inherited fortune as well as the funds he realized through psychiatric fees, book sales, and honoraria. He visited Northern Africa shortly after, and New Mexico and Kenya in the mid-1920s.
In 1938, he delivered the Terry Lectures, Psychology and Religion, at Yale University. It was at about this stage in his life that Jung visited India. His experience in India led him to become fascinated and deeply involved with Eastern philosophies and religions, helping him come up with key concepts of his ideology, including integrating spirituality into everyday life and appreciation of the unconscious.
Jung’s marriage with Emma produced five children and lasted until Emma’s death in 1955, but she certainly experienced emotional trauma, brought about by Jung’s relationships with other women. The most well-known women with whom Jung is believed to have had extramarital affairs are patient and friend Sabina Spielrein and Toni Wolff. Jung continued to publish books until the end of his life, including a work showing his late interest in flying saucers. He also enjoyed a friendship with an English Catholic priest, Father Victor White, who corresponded with Jung after he had published his controversial Answer to Job.
Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfill our deep-innate potential, much as the acorn contains the potential to become the oak, or the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung perceived that this journey of transformation is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to our well-being. When asked during a 1959 BBC interview if he believed in the existence of God, Jung replied, “I don’t believe-I know”.
Jung and Freud
ung was thirty when he sent his work Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna. It is notable that the first conversation between Jung and Freud lasted over 13 hours. Half a year later, the then 50 year old Freud reciprocated by sending a collection of his latest published essays to Jung in Zürich, which marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted more than six years and ended shortly before World War I in May 1914, when Jung resigned as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytical Association.
Today Jung and Freud rule two very different empires of the mind, so to speak, which the respective proponents of these empires like to stress, downplaying the influence these men had on each other in the formative years of their lives. But in 1906 psychoanalysis as an institution was still in its early developmental stages. Jung, who had become interested in psychiatry as a student by reading Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard Krafft-Ebing, professor in Vienna, now worked as a doctor under the psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in the Burghölzli and became familiar with Freud’s idea of the unconscious through Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and was a proponent of the new “psycho-analysis”. At the time, Freud needed collaborators and pupils to validate and spread his ideas. The Burghölzli was a renowned psychiatric clinic in Zürich at which Jung was an up-and-coming young doctor.
In 1908, Jung became editor of the newly founded Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychopathological Research. The following year, Jung traveled with Freud and Sandor Ferenczi to the U.S. to spread the news of psychoanalysis and in 1910, Jung became chairman for life of the International Psychoanalytical Association. While Jung worked on his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Symbols of Transformation), tensions grew between Freud and himself, due in a large part to their disagreements over the nature of libido and religion.
In 1912 these tensions came to a peak because Jung felt severely slighted after Freud visited his colleague Ludwig Binswanger in Kreuzlingen without paying him a visit in nearby Zürich, an incident Jung referred to as the Kreuzlingen gesture. Shortly thereafter, Jung again traveled to the U.S.A. and gave the Fordham lectures, which were published as The Theory of Psychoanalysis, and while they contain some remarks on Jung’s dissenting view on the nature of libido, they represent largely a “psychoanalytical Jung” and not the theory Jung became famous for in the following decades.
In November 1912, Jung and Freud met in Munich for a meeting among prominent colleagues to discuss psychoanalytical journals. At a talk about a new psychoanalytic essay on Amenhotep IV, Jung expressed his views on how it related to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytic movement. While Jung spoke, Freud suddenly fainted and Jung carried him to a couch.
Jung and Freud personally met for the last time in September 1913 for the Fourth International Psychoanalytical Congress, also in Munich. Jung gave a talk on psychological types, the introverted and the extroverted type, in analytical psychology. This constituted the introduction of some of the key concepts which came to distinguish Jung’s work from Freud’s in the next half century.
In the following years Jung experienced considerable isolation in his professional life, exacerbated through World War I. His Seven Sermons to the Dead (1917) reprinted in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections can also be read as expression of the psychological conflicts which beset Jung around the age of forty after the break with Freud.
Jung’s primary disagreement with Freud stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Jung saw Freud’s theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung (though not according to Freud), Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung believed that the unconscious also had a creative capacity, that the collective unconscious of archetypes and images which made up the human psyche was processed and renewed within the unconscious (one might find similarity with the ideas of French philosopher Felix Guattari, who wrote several books with Gilles Deleuze and once stated ‘The unconscious is a factory, not a theatre.’)
Jungian Interpretation of Religion
he Jungian interpretation of religion views all religious experience as a psychological phenomenon, and regards the personal experience of God as indistinguishable, for scientific purposes, as a communication with one’s own unconscious mind.
Carl Jung established a school of psychology called depth psychology, which emphasizes understanding the psyche through dream analysis. Other workers in depth psychology have used other methods with some success, but dream analysis remains the core of depth psychology. Works of art and mythology are interpreted similarly to dreams: a myth is “a dream being experienced by a whole culture.”
Inevitably archetypal figures appear in personal dreams which closely resemble mythic figures, which leads to a natural interest in experience of religion as a psychological phenomenon.
Jung emphasized the importance of balance in a healthy mind. He wrote that modern humans rely too heavily on science and logic and would benefit from integrating spirituality and appreciation of the unconscious. Jungian psychology is typically missing from the curriculum of most major universities’ psychology departments. Jung’s ideas are occasionally explored in humanities departments, particularly in the study of mythology
Jung’s parents were fervent Christian missionaries, and part of Jung’s early life was occupied with resolving his personal conflict between his stern upbringing and his his own feelings about religion. This settled in on the “scientific” interpretation of religion, which treats religion as a psychological phenomenon only, and neither affirms nor denies a greater reality.
Although Carl Jung was a theoretical psychologist and practicing clinician, he searched through other subjects, attempting to find a pre-existing myth or mythic system which aptly illustrated his ideas about the human psychology of religion. He began with Gnosticism, but abandoned it early on. Later he studied astrology and then speculative alchemy as a symbolic system. It is not clear from his writings if he ever settled on any one of these systems of symbols.
Carl Jung and his associate G.R.S. Mead worked on trying to understand and explain the Gnostic faith from a psychological standpoint. Jung’s analytical psychology in many ways schematically mirrors ancient Gnostic mythology, particularly those of Valentinus and the ‘classic’ Gnostic doctrine described in most detail in the Apocryphon of John (see gnostic schools).
Jung understands the emergence of the Demiurge out of the original, unified monadic source of the spiritual universe by gradual stages to be analogous to (and a symbolic depiction of) the emergence of the ego from the unconscious.
However, it is uncertain as to whether the similarities between Jung’s psychological teachings and those of the gnostics are due to their sharing a “perennial philosophy”, or whether Jung was unwittingly influenced by the Gnostics in the formation of his theories.
Jung’s own ‘gnostic hymn’, the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos (Latin: “The Seven Sermons to the Dead”), would tend to imply the latter, but after circulating the manuscript, Jung declined to publish it during his lifetime. Since it is not clear whether Jung was ultimately displeased with the book or whether he merely suppressed it as too controversial, the issue remains contested.
Uncertain too are Jung’s belief that the gnostics were aware of and intended psychological meaning or significance within their myths.
On the other hand, it is clear from a comparison of Jung’s writings and that of ancient Gnostics, that Jung disagreed with them on the ultimate goal of the individual. Gnostics in ancient times clearly sought a return to a supreme, other-worldly Godhead. In a study of Jung, Robert Segal claimed that the eminent psychologist would have found the psychological interpretation of the goal of ancient Gnosticism (that is, re-unification with the Pleroma, or the unknown God) to be psychically ‘dangerous’, as being a total identification with the unconscious.
To contend that there is at least some disagreement between Jung and Gnosticism is at least supportable: the Jungian process of individuation involves the addition of unconscious psychic tropes to consciousness in order to achieve a trans-conscious centre to the personality. Jung did not intend this addition to take the form of a complete identification of the Self with the Unconscious.
Jung and Nazism
hough the field of psychoanalysis was dominated at the time by Jewish practitioners, and Jung had many friends and respected colleagues who were Jewish, a shadow hung over Jung’s career due to allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer. Jung was editor of the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie, a publication that eventually endorsed Mein Kampf as required reading for all psychoanalysts. Jung claimed this was done to save psychoanalysis and preserve it during the war, believing that psychoanalysis would not otherwise survive because the Nazis considered it to be a “Jewish science”. He also claimed he did it with the help and support of his Jewish friends and colleagues. This after-the-fact explanation, however, has been strongly challenged on the basis of available documents. The question remains unresolved.
Jung also served as president of the Nazi-dominated International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy. One of his first acts as president was to modify the constitution so that German Jewish doctors could maintain their membership as individual members even though they were excluded from all German medical societies. Also, in 1934 when he presented his paper “A Review Of The Complex Theory”, in his presidential address he did not discount the importance of Freud and credited him with as much influence as he could possibly give to an old mentor. Later in the war, Jung resigned. In addition, in 1943 he aided the Office of Strategic Services by analyzing Nazi leaders for the United States.
However, it is still a topic of interest whether Jung’s later explanations of his actions to save psychoanalysis from the Nazi Regime meant that he did not actually believe in Nazism himself.
Jung has had an enduring influence on psychology as well as wider society. He has influenced psychotherapy (Jungian psychology and analytical psychology).
- The concept of introversion vs. extraversion
- The concept of the complex
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was inspired by Jung’s psychological types theory.
- Socionics, similar to MBTI, is also based on Jung’s psychological types.
Spirituality as a cure for alcoholism
Jung’s influence can sometimes be found in more unexpected quarters. For example, Jung once treated an American patient (Rowland H.) suffering from chronic alcoholism. After working with the patient for some time, and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.
Rowland took Jung’s advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a Christian evangelical church. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience. One of the alcoholics he told was Ebby Thatcher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, later co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Thatcher told Wilson about Jung’s ideas. Wilson, who was finding it impossible to maintain sobriety, was impressed and sought out his own spiritual experience. The influence of Jung thus indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-step program, and from there into the whole 12-step recovery movement, although AA as a whole is not Jungian and Jung had no role in the formation of that approach or the 12 steps.
The above claims are documented in the letters of Carl Jung and Bill W., excerpts of which can be found in Pass It On, published by Alcoholics Anonymous. The detail of this story is disputed by some historians.
Jung observed that Philemon and other figures of his fantasies gave him crucial insights. To this end he referred to things in the psyche, which he could produce, but which could produce themselves, as having their own life. Philemon represented a force that was other than himself, much like a channeler or medium in today’s world gets information from allegedly a source from the other side. he greatly enjoyed these conversations as a learning tool.
Psychologically, Philemon represents superior insight to Jung. To those who do not study metaphysics, Philemon might be perceived as a figment of Jung’s imagination, or a reflection of a mental illness. Jung did not consider himself insane. He believed that Philemon was a source of legitimate information, whose validity could be tested in fact. This opened the door to his theory of a collective unconsciousness, a type of library, if you will, containing everything ever known and recorded, replete with archetypes and active principles that interacted between that source and human consciousness.
Jung had a life long fascination with Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), but he distanced himself from Nietzsche for fear he would would suffer the same fate, mental illness in his old age.
lso Sprach Zarathustra is also the title of a symphonic poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by the book. It is best known for its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is postulated to have been inspired by the book, at least in part. The opening section is used three times, most famously in the opening title sequence of the film.
Philemon was not the only entity Jung channeled. Among the others was a cultivated elderly Indian who told Jung that his experience was identical to many mystics. In this case his spirit guide, teacher or guru, said that he had been a commentator on the Vedas, centuries before. Jung felt that he had become as one with the ancient teachers and priests, and others thought to have experienced the divine.
In 1916 Jung made a connection with Basilides. Basilides (early 2nd century), was an early Christian religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt. Basilides apparently wrote twenty-four books on the Gospel and promoted a dualism influenced by Zoroastrianism. His followers formed a Gnostic sect, the Basilideans. Historians know of Basilides and his teachings only through the writings of his detractors, Agrippa Castor, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus. It is impossible to determine how reliable these hostile accounts are. Jung transcribed Septem Sermones ad Mortuos as dictated to him by Basilides of Alexandria.
Channeling Basilides was in some ways considered a possession to Jung. He felt that his house may be haunted, especially when his eldest daughter saw a white ethereal figure passing through the room. His second daughter, independent of the eldest daughter’s observation, related that twice the same night her blanket has been thrown to the floor. Jung’s nine year old son, experienced an anxiety dream that night waking up terrified.
Around five o’clock that afternoon, the front doorbell continued to ring without stopping. It was a bright summer day. the two maids were in the kitchen, from which the open they could view the door. Everyone looked to see who was ringing the bell, but there was no one in sight as the bell could be seen moving in and out. An explanation was never found.
Jung became frightened. He shouted out, “For God’s sake, what madness is this?” Voices cried out in chorus, “We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought.”
Over the next three evenings, Jung quickly finished the book. As soon as he began to write, the ghostly assemblage, the hauntings, stopped.
Jung’s channelings of Basilides has been labeled a core text of depth psychology. The text is intriguing for several reasons. For one, he uses the name Abraxas to describe the Supreme Being that had originally generated mind, nous, consciousness and then other powers of consciousness into thought.
In metaphysics we often read that both possibilities can be encountered, and found in some religions. The soul at its final stage can become one with source (pleroma) or maintain its separate identity inside the One (individuation).
The easiest parallel is with the hologram, in which each ‘replica’ is unique, yet also the whole. If any replica was aware, and would at one point have to ask what it wanted, some would ask to surrender into the greater hologram, whereas other replicas would ask to retain their individual memories, though part of the whole.
It is clear that this experience created the framework in which the concept of the collective unconsciousness would later evolve, information transfered from a collective mind to groups or individuals.
On the matter of his automatic writing, he later wrote, “These conversations with the dead formed a kind of prelude to what I had to communicate to the world about the unconsciousness. All my works, all my creative activity, have come from those initial ‘connections’, fantasies and dreams which began in 1912, almost 50 years ago. Everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them, although at first only in the form of emotions and images.”
As early as August 1912, Jung had intimated a letter to Freud that he had an intuition that the essentially feminine-tones archaic wisdom of the Gnostics, symbolically called Sophia, was destined to re-enter modern Western culture by way of depth psychology. This takes us to the Gnostic text the Pistis Sophia.
- Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text. The five remaining copies, which scholars date c. 250–300 AD, relate the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples (including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha), when the risen Christ had accomplished eleven years speaking with his disciples. In it the complex structures and hierarchies of heaven familiar in Gnostic teachings are revealed.
The female divinity of gnosticism is Sophia, a being with many aspects and names. She is sometimes identified with the Holy Ghost itself but, according to her various capacities, is also the Universal Mother, the Mother of the Living or Resplendent Mother, the Power on High, She-of-the-left-hand (as opposed to Christ, understood as her husband and he of the Right Hand), as the Luxurious One, the Womb, the Virgin, the Wife of the Male, the Revealer of Perfect Mysteries, the Saint Columba of the Spirit, the Heavenly Mother, the Wandering One, or Elena (that is, Selene, the Moon). She was envisaged as the Psyche of the world and the female aspect of Logos.
The title Pistis Sophia is obscure, and is sometimes translated Faith wisdom or Wisdom in faith or Faith in wisdom. A more accurate translation taking into account its gnostic context, is the faith of Sophia, as Sophia to the gnostics was a divine syzygy of Christ, rather than simply a word meaning wisdom. In an earlier, simpler version of a Sophia, in the Berlin Codex and also found in a papyrus at Nag Hammadi, the transfigured Christ explains Pistis in a rather obscure manner:
Again, his disciples said: Tell us clearly how they came down from the invisibilities, from the immortal to the world that dies? The perfect Saviour said, “Son of Man consented with Sophia, his consort, and revealed a great androgynous light. Its male name is designated ‘Saviour, begetter of all things’. Its female name is designated ‘All-begettress Sophia’. Some call her ‘Pistis’.”
The best-known of the five manuscripts of Pistis Sophia is bound with another Gnostic text titled on the binding “Piste Sophiea Cotice”. This “Askew Codex” was purchased by the British Museum in 1795 from a Dr. Anthony Askew. Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945, the Askew Codex was one of three codices that contained almost all of the gnostic writings that had survived the suppression of such literature both in East and West, the other two codices being the Bruce Codex and the Berlin Codex. Aside from these sources, everything written about Gnosticism before World War II is based on quotes, references and inferences in the Patristic writings of the enemies of Gnosticism, a less-than-neutral source, where Gnostic beliefs were selected to present their absurdities, bizarre and unethical behavior, and heresy from the orthodox Pauline Christian standpoint.
The text proclaims that Jesus remained on earth after the resurrection for 11 years, and was able in this time to teach his disciples up to the first (i.e. beginner) level of the mystery. It starts with an allegory paralleling the death and resurrection of Jesus, and describing the descent and ascent of the soul. After that it proceeds to describe important figures within the gnostic cosmology, and then finally lists 32 carnal desires to overcome before salvation is possible, overcoming all 32 constituting salvation.
Pistis Sophia includes quotes from five of the Odes of Solomon, found in chapters between 58 and 71. Pistis Sophia was the only known source for the actual wording of any of the Odes until the discovery of a nearly-complete Syriac text of the Odes in 1909. Because the first part of this text is missing, Pistis Sophia is still the only source for Ode 1.
It is clear that Jung was seeing and defining what we call the Return of (to) the Feminine Energies or higher frequency of thought consciousness. Jung also channeled feminine archetypes including Salome.
In 1926 Jung had a remarkable dream. He was back in the 17th century where he saw himself as an alchemist doing important work. Jung believe that alchemy was the connection between the ancient world of the gnostics and the modern era, which would seethe return of Sophia (mother goddess energies).
For Jung, alchemy was not the search for a way to transform lead into gold, but the transformation of the soul on its path to perfection. Jung’s dreams in 1926 and on frequently found him in ancient places surrounded by alchemical codices of great beauty and mystery. Jung amassed a library on the great art which represents one of the finest private collections in this field.
In 1944 Jung published Psychology and Alchemy in which he argues for a reevaluation of the symbolism of Alchemy as being intimately related to the psychoanalytical process. Using a cycle of dreams of one of his patients he shows how the symbols used by the Alchemists occur in the psyche as part of the reservoir of mythological images drawn upon by the individual in their dream states. Jung draws an analogy between the Great Work of the Alchemists and the process of reintegration and individuation of the psyche in the modern psychiatric patient.
Jung believed that the cosmos contained the divine light or life, but this essence was enmeshed in a mathematical trap, presided over by a demiurge, Lucifer, the Bringer of Light. Lucifer contained the light inside this reality, until a time when it would be set free. The first operation of alchemy therefore addressed itself to the dismemberment of this confining structure, reducing it to the condition of creative chaos. From this, in the process of transformation, the true, creative binaries emerge and begin their interaction designed to bring the alchemical union. In this ultimate union, says Jung, the previously confined light is redeemed and brought to the point of its ultimate and redemptive fulfillment.
Jung made it clear that his theory was not new. It is similar to the Catharism and he stated that he was restating the Hermetic Gnosis and explaining the misunderstood central quest of alchemy.
Jung believed that alchemy stood in a compensatory relationship to mainstream Christianity, rather like a dream does to the conscious attitudes of the dreamer. It has been has been hidden underground, part of a secret tradition that ran throughout Christianity, but always subconsciousness – visible by its shadows and the traces it leaves.
He also felt that this process allowed for better understanding of male-female relationships, and the concept of love. In the Psychology of Transference Jung stated that in love, as in psychological growth, the key to success is the ability to endure the tension of opposites without abandoning the process, even if its results appear to have been brought to naught. In essence, it is the stress that allows one to grow and transform.
The union of opposites, the focus of the alchemist, was for Jung also the focus of Gnostics, whom he felt had been incorrectly labeled as radical dualists, i.e. believing in the battle between good and evil without any apparent union possible between the two.
For Jung, dualism and monism were not mutually contradictory and exclusive, but complimentary aspects of reality. As such, there was no right and wrong, no order or chaos, just two opposites, duality, polarities, that created a means to reconciliation and balance into enlightenment.
In a manner of speaking one could call Carl Jung the Father if the New Age of Consciousness, giving a theoretical framework for channeling and other New Age practices that allow consciousness to expand outside the box of antiquated thinking.
In the end, Carl Jung stated that such opposites must be integrated. Zoroaster calls this Zero Point.
Jung believed in an Illuminated Psyche, which goes to the Illuminati, enlightenment through the Eye Symbology, All Seeing Eye and other major archetypes of the Masonic Program through which we experience and learn.
ung saw the ouroboros as an archetype and the basic mandala of alchemy He defined the relationship of the ouroboros to alchemy as:
- The alchemists, who in their own way know more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. In the age old image of the ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the most astute alchemists that the
- of the art was man himself.
The ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow self. This feed back process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself t life again, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself. This is much like the cycle of the Phoenix, the feminine archetype.
Ouroboros symbolizes The One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which unquestionably stems from man’s unconsciousness.
THE RED BOOK OF CARL JUNG
irst there was the alleged Lost Book of Nostradamus replete with watercolor images both alchemical, allegorical and metaphorical. 2009 brings us a book by Carl Jung that perhaps was meant to awaken people about the nature of reality and its destiny at this time.
The Red Book, also known as Liber Novus (The New Book), is a 205-page manuscript written and illustrated by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung between approximately 1914 and 1930, which was not published or shown to the public until 2009.
Just before the first world war, the 38-year-old Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung was troubled by awful dreams and visions. Analytical to the core, he embarked on what he later described as his “confrontation with the unconscious”, and documented the lot. The material went through various drafts before Jung recopied it all, using an ornate gothic script, into the single big, red, leather journal which gives the previously “lost” Red Book its popular name. Jung went on to add historiated (enlarged) initials, ornamental borders and a substantial number of paintings. Jung and his one-time associate Sigmund Freud are almost synonymous with psychology: their ideas have thoroughly permeated our culture. In the 21st century, both men have become even more controversial – Jung perhaps especially so. But The Red Book, resembling a medieval illuminated text and the works of William Blake, offers us an important insight into a time before the intellectual divide between art and psychology made such a work of inner exploration, of psychology-as-literature (and maybe even as art), less thinkable.
Jung’s Pictures of the Soul
The dream is a little hidden door in the
innermost and most secret recesses of the soul.
Opening into that cosmic night which was psyche
long before there was any ego-consciousness.
All the text and images compiled, edited and transmutated by Borislav Vakinov MMXVII