Category Archives: Jung

Trickster Times

A fascinating interpretation!

“Facing and integrating the Shadow is a necessary part of what Jung called individuation: the lifelong process of psychological integration, as the individual strives to become whole.

As for the person, so for the culture. Identify the contemporary Trickster(s), and you’ll discover the nature of the contemporary cultural Shadow. It’s anger, hate, alienation, xenophobia, a retreat into insularity, a buttressing of the barricades. We all see it, and we all fear it. The state of affairs faced now by the people of the UK (and also in the USA, with the emergence of Trickster Trump) is a consequence of generations of politicians refusing to listen to and respond to the concerns of the people they’re supposed to represent. What isn’t acknowledged goes underground, becomes Shadow. But here’s the thing about the Shadow, and it’s critical to understand this if you want what follows to be better than what came before: it’s no good berating the Shadow, shouting it down, calling it names, telling it it’s bad. The cultural Shadow is part of who we are, and we all have to take responsibility for it. You can’t do moral high ground with the Shadow. The Shadow is ourselves. Refuse the Shadow, and you’ll never be whole. The beginning of the long, hard work of integrating the Shadow is listening to it, not abusing it. Lash out at the Shadow, as waves of so-called ‘progressives’ are now doing throughout the UK; refuse its right to have a voice – and it will turn round and bite you in the throat. You can’t kill the Shadow. The Shadow is you.

We might not have chosen these particular Tricksters, but now we have them. What follows from their particular brand of disruption might not be better than what came before – but it might be. It’s all down to us. It’s all down to the way we respond to and integrate that cultural Shadow.”

shadow-within-christian-houge

Advertisements

The Opposite of Love Is Power… Not Hatred – C.G. Jung | Dr. Peter Milhado

By Peter Milhado PHD on March 9, 2014

 

There are two kinds of suffering.  Suffering imposed on us by the outside and suffering created by ourselves.  All we can do with suffering imposed by the outside is share it in the human family and show compassion, love and empathy for those who’ve been hurt.  Suffering created by ourselves is referred to as neurotic suffering i.e. ‘inauthentic suffering’.  At bottom, neurosis is a moral and ethical problem.

In other words symptoms like neurotic anxiety, depression, compulsions, ulcers, headaches etc. occur primarily because we try to manipulate others.

We do this in a variety of ways…i.e. blaming, withholding feelings and affection, using guilt to have others do our bidding, temper tantrums and primarily abusing power.  The opposite of love is power, not hatred.

[ … ]A calling may be postponed, avoided, or intermittently missed. It may also possess one completely. Eventually it wins out and makes its claim either in a soulful life, or if ignored, in meaninglessness, cynicism, hoarding, loneliness and alienation.

The dragon we must slay is no more that the monster of everyday expectations about how we “ought” to live our lives. If we realize this, we will be back in the world, but “no longer of it”. We will be able to interact with others without submitting to their definition of who we are supposed to be! This precious pearl that is one’s individual worth can only be found when we are willing to stand alone. By consciously choosing to pursue the inner journey, we transform impersonal fate into our own personal destiny.

Franz MatschFranz Matsch

via The Opposite of Love Is Power… Not Hatred – C.G. Jung | Dr. Peter Milhado.

Jung’s Active Imagination | Reality Sandwich

“More abstractly,  it’s a method of consciously entering into a dialogue with the unconscious, which triggers the transcendent function, a vital shift in consciousness, brought about through the union of the conscious and unconscious minds. Unexpected insights and self-renewal are some of the results of the transcendent function. It achieves what I call that elusive ‘Goldilocks’ condition, the ‘just right’ of having the conscious and unconscious minds work together, rather than being at odds. In the process it produces a third state more vivid and ‘real’ than either; in it we recognize what consciousness should be like and see our ‘normal’ state as at best a muddling-through”

by Gary Lachman

Jung’s Active Imagination | Reality Sandwich.

Walking in Two Worlds – a letter from Carl G Jung to Edward Thornton

20th July 1958

Dear Edward,

The question you asked me is -I’m afraid- beyond my competence. It is a question of fate in which you should not be influenced by any outer arbitrary influence. As a rule I am all for walking in two worlds at once since we are gifted with two legs, remembering that spirit is pneuma which means “moving air”. It is a wind that all too easily can lift you up from the solid earth and carry you away on uncertain waves. It is good therefore, as a rule, to keep at least one foot upon terra firma. We are still in the body and thus under the rule of heavy matter. Also it is equally true that matter not moved by the spirit is dead and empty.

Over against this general truth one has to be flexible enough to admit all sorts of exceptions, as they are the unavoidable accompaniments of all rules. The spirit has no merit in itself and it has a peculiarly irrealizing effect if not counterbalanced by its material opposite. Thus think again, and if you feel enough solid under your feet, follow the call of the spirit.

My best wishes.

Yours cordially,

C.G. Jung

You Who Never Arrived by Rainer Maria Rilke

I was introduced to the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke through his Duino Elegies, as analysed by James Hollis in his book “The Archetypal Imagination”.

Hollis is a Jungian analyst, and the chapter on Rilke begins with Hollis writing:

What we wish most to know, most desire, remains unknowable and lies beyond our grasp. In this chapter we will celebrate the power of speech to assist us in our task of articulating this deep longing”.

I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the chapter to try to summarise it here, but my new-found love of Rilke’s poetry led me to a poem of his that Hollis did not allude to; the author is focusing primarily on Rilke’s mystical longing for glimpses of the divine world and how Rilke’s poetry illustrates the capacity of the archetypal imagination to “name the gods” by providing images “which link us to the numinous”.

This poem, however, illustrates Rilke’s versatility, that he understood that we live in the ‘space between words’ and that his ability as a poet was not solely to ‘bring us closer to the sacred’ but also to render the invisible world accessible.

You Who Never Arrived

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

Rainer Maria Rilke

Pursuing Inner Images

“The power of Abraxas is twofold. You cannot see it, because in your eyes the opposition of this power seems to cancel it out.”

 

Seven Sermons to the Dead is a text written in 1916 by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and ascribed to the gnostic teacher Basilides. Somewhat in the style of the Red Book, yet more unified, the booklet was printed privately for Jung’s friends but not widely available until it appeared as an appendix in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections in 1961.

 

It can be read online at http://www.gnosis.org/library/7Sermons.htm

From the introduction:

“In November of 1913 Carl Jung commenced an extraordinary exploration of the psyche, or “soul.” He called it his “confrontation with the unconscious.” During this period Jung willfully entered imaginative or “visionary” states of consciousness. The visions continued intensely from the end of 1913 until about 1917 and then abated by around 1923. Jung carefully recorded this imaginative journey in six black-covered personal journals (referred to as the “Black Books”); these notebooks provide a dated chronological ledger of his visions and dialogues with his Soul.

The Red Book on the desk of C.G. Jung

The Red Book – Liber Novus
Click to order at Amazon.com

Beginning in late 1914, Jung began transcribing from the Black Book journals the draft manuscript of his legendary Red Book, the folio-sized leather bound illuminated volume he created to contain the formal record of his journey. Jung repeatedly stated that the visions and imaginative experiences recorded in the Red Book contained the nucleus of all his later works.

Jung kept the Red Book private during his lifetime, allowing only a few of his family and associates to read from it. The only part of this visionary material that Jung choose to release in limited circulation was the Septem Sermones, which he had privately printed in 1916. Throughout his life Jung occasionally gave copies of this small book to friends and students, but it was available only as a gift from Jung himself and never offered for public sale or distribution. When Jung’s autobiographical memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections was published in 1962, the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos was included as an appendix.

It remained unclear until very recently exactly how the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos related to the hidden Red Book materials. After Jung’s death in 1961, all access to the Red Book was denied by his heirs. Finally in October of 2009, nearly fifty years after Jung’s death, the family of C. G. Jung release the Red Book for publication in a beautiful facsimile edition, edited by Sonu Shamdasani. With this central work of Jung’s now in hand, we discover that the Seven Sermons to the Dead actually compose the closing pages of the Red Book draft manuscripts; the version transcribed for the Red Book varies only slightly from the text published in 1916, however the Red Book includes after each of the sermons an additional amplifying homily by Philemon (Jung’s spirit guide). [The Red Book, p346-54]

Base on their context, voice, content, and history, I suggest the Septem Sermones ad Mortuos might now properly be described as the “summary revelation of the Red Book.” Seen in this light, it becomes understandable why Jung chose this one section of his “revelations” for printing and distribution among his disciples.

Near the end of his life, Jung spoke to Aniela Jaffe about the Septem Sermones and explained “that the discussions with the dead [in the Seven Sermons] formed the prelude to what he would subsequently communicate to the world, and that their content anticipated his later books. ‘From that time on, the dead have become ever more distinct for me as the voices of the unanswered. unresolved and unredeemed.’ ” [The Red Book, p346 n78] Jung’s decision in 1916 to publish this single summary statement from the Red Book writings gives evidence of the importance he ascribed to the Seven Sermons. In this same context, Jung remarked to Aniela Jaffe:

“The years … when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life.”

I’m a fan of Stephan Hoeller, and his translation can be found here: http://www.gnosis.org/library/7Sermons_hoeller_trans.htm


The Aquarium of Vulcan: Layer Monument

Excerpt from The Layer Monument – Aquarium of Vulcan Blog

“In essence the Renaissance world-view of astrological correspondences lay at the heart of much of Elizabethan art, including Edmund Spencer’s The Fairie Queene (1579). In Spencer’s epic poem the symbolism of  each respective planet and it’s ‘virtues’ shape each book of  poetry. Shakespeare’s plays  also frequently include an esoteric or magical theme, from the multiple transformations of men to beasts in ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream‘ to the quite dark themes of witchcraft in Macbeth, the ghosts of Hamlet and the portrait of the magus-like figure of Prospero in ‘The Tempest‘. In an age which cultivated a sense of melancholia, the 1600’s decade is  typified best by the music of John Dowland’s Seven mournful Lachromosye (1604) and the solemn viol consort pavans of William Byrd.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558 -1603) court masques were performed in which the planets, elements, forces of nature and virtues were allegorized and personified. Elaborate  in costume, decor, music and allegory, masques were staged for Elizabeth by her court astrologer, the magus John Dee (1527 -1608). Dee immersed himself in the study of esoterica such as the Cabbala, the writings of the mythic sage Hermes Trismegistus and  Ficino’s translation of Plato’s  Timaeus. Plato’s Discourse the Timaeusin particular  wielded a particularly weighty influence upon the Renaissance  imagination with its concept of the ‘eternal forms’ or archetypes. Hermetically inclined thinkers such as  Dee endeavoured  to prove that the wisdom of ‘the divine Plato’, far from being opposed to Christianity was harmonious and compatible with Christian belief.

The Elizabethan imagination was fond of all manner of riddles, enigmas, puzzles and anagrams. Knowledge of such secretive forms of expression sometimes included a familiarity with the Neo-platonic and Hermetic tradition. Such secrets were not only highly advantageous to communicate beliefs which the Church discouraged the study of,  but even infiltrated Christian iconography, including symbolism on funerary monuments.
It is largely due to the historian Jean Seznec that its now recognised the Olympian gods did not die with the advent of Christianity, but lived on. They were transformed during Late Antiquity, sometimes embedded within history as transfigured former human beings, or given planetary roles as astral divinities in the world-view of astrology or allegorized as moral emblems. They surviving in pictorial and literary traditions, took on strange new guises and were transformed in various ways, their myths recast to suit some of the mythic saints of Late Antiquity.Greek and Roman deities captivated the European imagination throughout the Renaissance, often  taking their place side-by-side with Christian symbols and doctrines. Their imagery permeated Medieval intellectual life. The transformed mythology re-emerged in the iconography of the early Tuscan Renaissance, with new attributes that the ancients had never imagined, and enjoyed tremendous renewed popularity during the Renaissance.

Whoever commissioned  the  highly-skilled monument mason to  sculpt the four figurines of the Layer Monument was well-acquainted  with the Roman classical world. He was also surely aware that the ancient Romans had personified various deities in statues and upon elaborate marble sarcophagus; such symbolism often involved a complex  juxtaposition of gods and heroes. The Layer Monument in its depiction of Christ ‘the Prince of Peace’ and the Virgin Mary standing upon a lunar crescent, are in their attire distinctly modeled upon  the sculpture  of the Classical gods of Greek antiquity. Together they distinctly allude to the hieros gamos of alchemy, which in Greek mythology was represented by the pairing of Apollo and Diana, gods of the luminaries sun and respectively.
The strictly literal-mindedness of our age, combined with the Layer monument’s relative obscurity has prevented  it from being identified as an art-work which  utilizes esoteric symbolism. The literalism of our age, the narrow belief that words are fully-developed definitions have effectively blinded viewers from actually looking closely at each statuette.In brief, the symbolism of the Layer Monument statuettes alludes to  not only medieval notions of the four elements, but also to the time-honoured schemata of the Renaissance esoteric tradition involving astrological and alchemical symbolism; the Quarternio are also identifiable in the Jungian study of religious symbols as four quite distinct archetypes – ‘the wise ruler’ here portrayed aptly in super-human form, opposed to war, treading its weapons underfoot;  ‘the great mother’ standing upon a crescent moon, ‘the old man’, here complete with a gray beard engaged in hard manual labour digging the earth. The child/trickster, playfully blowing bubbles is none other than the guiding psychopomp of  the recently deceased and  the major ‘deity’ of alchemy, the elusive Mercurius.”

The Psychology of C.G. Jung in the Works of Hermann Hesse

The Psychology of C.G. Jung in the Works of Hermann Hesse by Emanuel Maier

“While the ideas of Dr. Jung have had profound influence upon the
creative work of Hermann Hesse, other influences are not thereby excluded.
Other dissertations might wish to examine the influence of Ludwig Klages,8
Sigmund Freud, or Oriental philosophy, or of German Pietism.9 H. Mauerhofer
even went so far as to characterize all of Hesse‘s works as the expression of
introversion.10 A man of the stature of Hermann Hesse is open to all the
intellectual and cultural achievements of man. He has taken from all and has
given back to the world a new synthesis which bears the imprint of his own
creative genius.”

http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/projects/hesse/papers/maier.pdf

C. G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal by Stephan A Hoeller

Image

When Jung published his first major work on alchemy at the end of World War II, most reference books described this discipline as nothing more than a fraudulent and inefficient forerunner of modern chemistry. Today, more than twenty-five years after Jung’s death, alchemy is once again a respected subject of both academic and popular interest, and alchemical terminology is used with great frequency in textbooks of depth-psychology and other disciplines. It may be said without exaggeration that the contemporary status of alchemy owes its very existence to the psychological wizard of Küsnacht. Take away the monumental contribution of C.G. Jung, and most modern research concerning this fascinating subject falls like a house of cards; to speak of alchemy in our age and not mention him could be likened to discoursing on Occultism without noting the importance of Helena P. Blavatsky, or discussing religious studies in contemporary American universities without paying homage to Mircea Eliade.

Jung’s “first love” among esoteric systems was Gnosticism. From the earliest days of his scientific career until the time of his death, his dedication to the subject of Gnosticism was relentless. As early as August, 1912, Jung intimated in a letter to Freud that he had an intuition that the essentially feminine-toned archaic wisdom of the Gnostics, symbolically called Sophia, was destined to re-enter modern Western culture by way of depth-psychology. Subsequently, he stated to Barbara Hannah that when he discovered the writings of the ancient Gnostics, “I felt as if I had at last found a circle of friends who understood me.”

The circle of ancient friends was a fragile one, however. Very little reliable, first-hand information was available to Jung within which he could have found the world and spirit of such past Gnostic luminaries as Valentinus, Basilides, and others. The fragmentary, and possibly mendacious, accounts of Gnostic teachings and practices appearing in the works of such heresy-hunting church fathers as Irenaeus and Hippolytus were a far cry from the wealth of archetypal lore available to us today in the Nag Hammadi collection. Of primary sources, the remarkable Pistis Sophia was one of very few available to Jung in translation, and his appreciation of this work was so great that he made a special effort to seek out the translator, the then aged and impecunious George R. S. Mead, in London to convey to him his great gratitude.1 Jung continued to explore Gnostic lore with great diligence, and his own personal matrix of inner experience became so affinitized to Gnostic imagery that he wrote the only published document of his great transformational crisis, The Seven Sermons to the Dead, using purely Gnostic terminology and mythologems of the system of Basilides.2

In all this devoted study, Jung was disturbed by one principal difficulty: The ancient Gnostic myths and traditions were some seventeen or eighteen hundred years old, and no living link seemed to exist that might join them to Jung’s own time. (There is some minimal and obscure evidence indicating that Jung was aware of a few small and secretive Gnostic groups in France and Germany, but their role in constituting such a link did not seem firmly enough established.) As far as Jung could discern, the tradition that might have connected the Gnostics with the present seemed to have been broken. However, his intuition (later justified by painstaking research) disclosed to him that the chief link connecting later ages with the Gnostics was in fact none other than alchemy. While his primary interest at this time was Gnosticism, he was already aware of the relevance of alchemy to his concerns. Referring to his intense inner experiences occurring between 1912 and 1919 he wrote:

First I had to find evidence for the historical prefiguration of my own inner experiences. That is to say, I had to ask myself, “Where have my particular premises already occurred in history?” If I had not succeeded in finding such evidence, I would never have been able to substantiate my ideas. Therefore, my encounter with alchemy was decisive for me, as it provided me with the historical basis which I hitherto lacked.3

In 1926 Jung had a remarkable dream. He felt himself transported back into the seventeenth century, and saw himself as an alchemist, engaged in the opus, or great work of alchemy. Prior to this time, Jung, along with other psychoanalysts, was intrigued and taken aback by the tragic fate of Herbert Silberer, a disciple of Freud, who in 1914 published a work dealing largely with the psychoanalytic implications of alchemy. Silberer, who upon proudly presenting his book to his master Freud, was coldly rebuked by him, became despondent and ended his life by suicide, thus becoming what might be called the first martyr to the cause of a psychological view of alchemy.

Now it all came together, as it were. The Gnostic Sophia was about to begin her triumphal return to the arena of modern thought, and the psychological link connecting her and her modern devotees would be the long despised, but about to be rehabilitated, symbolic discipline of alchemy. The recognition had come. Heralded by a dream, the role of alchemy as the link connecting ancient Gnosticism with modern psychology, as well as Jung’s role in reviving this link, became apparent. As Jung was to recollect later:

[Alchemy] represented the historical link with Gnosticism, and . . . a continuity therefore existed between past and present. Grounded in the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages, alchemy formed the bridge on the one hand into the past, to Gnosticism, and on the other into the future, to the modern psychology of the unconscious.4

See the article here http://www.gnosis.org/jung_alchemy.htm