Sometimes I wonder if people who get so angry about things are just projecting their own unconscious shadow. Not all, mind you. But when some liberal protesters take to random, unfocused acts of violence in protest of a supposedly potentially violent man, one has to wonder.
Jung…was physically large, selfish, bullying and loud of voice; he cheated at games, had a vile temper and appalling table manners; he thought men should be polygamous but that Emma [his wife] should be his alone. He was also narcissistic and unbalanced, coming from a family with severe mental health problems.¹
Whew! That’s what my father would have called a “hatchet job.”
Q: Is this a fair assessment of Carl Jung, the psychologist who has inspired many by trying to bridge the gap between psychology and spirituality?
A: I think the tweeted article is important to read, even if definitely slanted. Always good to hear both sides. And, come to think of it, I recall Carl Jung’s son saying much the same thing—that Jung Sr. wasn’t the greatest dad in the world. Also, having studied Jung for several years, I knew about his polygamy. But I hadn’t fully considered – nor heard – that he demanded monogamy from his wife.
While reading the tweeted story I began to think about something I’ve been considering for a while now: Are insights, theories or moral teachings invalidated by the less than admirable behavior of those advancing them?
In the Bible story, if I remember right, Jesus tells others to do what corrupt preachers say but not what they actually do. Jesus is not condemning their good teaching but rather their bad example. I think this is an important distinction to keep in mind. It doesn’t get someone off the hook for being creepy. But it does suggest that, since we’re all ethically imperfect, a realistic and arguably effective approach to life demands a nuanced understanding of how most human beings actually work.
I think some do. But the idea of a cover, as found in espionage, policing, and organized crime, is always quite conscious. Mad people doing their thing in religion would not be conscious of using religion as a cover because the madperson does not know they are mad. That’s part of a definition of madness. The normal range of logic, common sense and humility is eclipsed by powerful psychological forces and, I would suggest, strange spiritual influences.
Freud room at the Sigmund Freud Museum in the Berggasse. Vienna. 2013. Photograph by Gerhard Trumler.
Here’s a snippet of an entry at earthpages.ca about Sigmund Freud’s book, The Future of an Illusion. It’s part of a discussion on Freud’s claim that religion is illusory.
Dreams containing sex with all its elements and exciting details may seem as a fun and enjoyable story telling when you try to find the meaning of sex dreams. Many dream interpretation sites offer descriptions and interpretations which are promises of finding a sex partner, having flirtatious and uncomplicated sex life and your popularity when it comes to sex and pleasure seeking. The important difference with our approach to your sexual dreams is finding keywords for circumstances surrounding your particular sex dream visions and experiences.
A long-established approach in interpretation of dreams containing sexual activities has been in uncovering the sexual underpinnings and hidden meanings in what a sex dream was about. This has been practiced extensively by such famous psychologists as Sigmund Freud, Loff and Miller. However, when applied to finding an answer to what your specific dream containing sex may mean to you, can at times become a tedious and complicated search. There are apparent differences in how males and females dream (and react to dreams) based on psychological research and dream interpretation theory.
According to surveys, 12 of male and 4 of female dreams are related to sexual activities and experiences. This finding correlates with real-life tendencies among the two genders, men are more often preoccupied with sex-related behavioral patterns than women. According to the famous psychologist William Domhoff, (‘Finding Meaning in Dreams’), males exhibit 93 response rate in engaging in sexual activities and 7 of watching other perform sexual act, while women tend to have 68 and 32 of the corresponding response trends.
This finding proves that women, while sex-dreaming, tend to alienate themselves from participating in sexual activities, while men most definitely want to see themselves actively participating in this experience. This can also be explained by the fact, that men experience orgasmic relief during their sleep (especially younger males) than women. It can also point to the common taboo placed on women overall regarding their expression of sexual desires by society.
Another important factor related to analyzing sex-related dreams is in significance of images and symbols appearing in our sex-containing dreams. We intentionally hide our sexual desires and behavioral tendencies, especially when at a younger age, and our subconscious tries to make these feelings and emotions more visible and apparent to us. This is exactly what Freudian theory about has been tirelessly trying to propagate as applied to personality characteristics.
Sexual symbolism in Freud’s theory is a predominant component to explain motivations and desires that may be an outcome of a particular dream that a person had and wants to know what it could mean relative to their life. Dreams containing sex symbols are not necessarily the way to experience or be involved in physical sexual activities on subconscious level. These dreams can also be a reflection of how you treat other people around you and how others perceive you when you communicate with them. To find a perfect dream interpretation answer for your sex dreams is to identify the details and specifics hidden inside you sex-related dream.
Some sex-containing dreams are plainly romantic in nature. The scenarios for these kinds of dreams can vary, but the most common features are a very attractive sexual partner, mostly fantasy-based individuals, close to you or those unattainable kinds, but still the affection and desire to be with this person fully manifest themselves.
Other dreams containing sex are not as romantic and pleasant. These can include visions which the dreamer becomes very uncomfortable with, hurt by or worried about: rape, incest, loss of virginity and so on. These kinds of dreams need more detailed approach and usually require a survey answered by the person to isolate cause of this dream and analyze dream symbols in more detail, this feature will become available on our site shortly.
When you are trying to analyze you sex-related dream on your own, try to determine the true cause of discomfort or unpleasantness; who is the person you are engaged in a sexual contact with? Is it a friend, a colleague or some fictional personality? Is the act of having sex forced on you, is it consensual? Where did it take place? Was it a public place or in your own bed? Maybe the sexual partner in your dream reminds you of some of your friends or people you know?
Many sex-related dreams are manifestation of our ambiguous nature and indecisiveness when we long for things we cannot have in real life and by dreaming about these things we subconsciously express our dissatisfaction about our current situation. Dreams about sex an also tell us about the way we treat people around us, depending on circumstances we face in our everyday life.
Sex-related dreams can represent the beginning of self-discovery and uncovering hidden aspects of your psychological profile and pave the way to a better understanding of you traits and behavior you may exhibit without even knowing it.
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Alex B – Looking for instant interpretation of your dreams? Try our Instant Dream Interpretation engine with thousands of descriptions of what your… (show bio)
By Alex B
From a dream interpretation point of view, interpreting dreams containing snake visions is somewhat difficult to deal with because different cultures treat encountering snake with a variety of meanings and explanations. Dream interpretation therefore is represented by a broad spectrum of deciphering this dream vision: from terrifying promises of immediate threat to the symbols of wisdom and intellectual superiority of the dreamer. Dream meanings most commonly follow the history of folklore and storytelling nuances of particular cultures, as well as based on personal experiences recorded in dream interpretation literature sources.
Most people are afraid of snakes, so any symbol or vision related to snakes contains very powerful and self-destructive fear, pathological in a sense that even a simple image or notion of a snake in a conversation becomes threatening and negative to a great extent. For this group of individuals, dreams containing snakes represent ominous and ill-fated negatively charged premonitions. Dreaming about holding a snake can easily constitute the ultimate in frightening dreaming experiences, although other culture can have this dream interpreted as a sign of wisdom and ordered personal outlook on life and inherent ability to understand and accept the world around them.
For traditional cultures of North America and Asia, snakes most commonly represent wisdom and deep gratification with the world, which is probably based on observations of snakes’ ability to shed their skin, which is subconsciously coded into dreams as the dreamer’s potential for renewal, resolution of life-related problems and issues as well as striving for order and consistency towards things or events present in their life.
For Judaic and Christian cultures, dreaming about a snake is a symbol of temptation and spiritual resistance in the process of achieving personal goals and aspirations. This notion is stemming from biblical stories and description when The Serpent (the snake), a representation of evil power leads to temptation of first human couple, Adam and Eve in the Eden garden. The symbol of snake in a dream in this context is an indication of a person or persons in the life of the dreamer whom they built unstable or far-from-ideal relationships with.
The Freudian theory also contains symbols of snakes, which are most commonly used by the classical psychotherapists and psychiatrists. In this theory, a snake is a phallic symbol, in many instances, this vision containing a snake represents fear and revolting feeling toward sexual acts of any kind.
Cultural disparities lead to a variety of dream interpretation outcomes and the resulting difficulty to provide a meaningful and reliable dream meaning answers to dreamers across the world. The obvious solution for a person who have had a snake dream is to look deeper into what his or her dream contained. What is your personal attitude towards snakes in real life? Do you feel frightened, intimidated or indifferent? What emotions do snake evoke in you when you see a snake: fright, astonishment or perhaps interest in learning more about them? Have you d a dream encountering a snake together with your friends, parents, strangers? What were surroundings in your dream when you had an encounter with a snake in your dream? Using these answers you will become able to isolate the precise dream keyword from the drop-down list in our database to find correct and meaningful interpretation for your snake dream.
Some people automatically connect the poisonous nature of snakes with the vision of a snake they experienced in their dream, so they tend to interpret such dream as death or illness portending event after they wake up and recall this dream. Other people associate snake dreams with deception or conspiracy because the common image of a snake is usually described as a hiding and virtually unnoticeable creature.
Archetypal meanings and dream interpretation variations provide a broad range of interpretation options available across cultural and national expanses. The ability of a dreamer to separate and generalize individual feelings and emotions toward snakes can mean success in finding the correct meaning of a dream which includes or is related to these unconscious symbolic visions.
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Looking for instant interpretation of your dreams? Try our Instant Dream Interpretation engine with thousands of descriptions of what your dreams may mean. Look up your dream instantly using our Instant Dream Look Up with extensive database of meticulously compiled descriptions based on trusted sources.
This was written as a grad student at the University of Ottawa in 1993. Things have changed a lot since then. I tend to write simpler sentences and my beliefs have evolved. So I post this partly out of nostalgia, and partly for its sound presentation of Jung’s ideas.
When citing this essay please use one of the standard citation styles for online sources.
Elsewhere I have indicated that the work of C. G. Jung reveals his bent for constructing elaborate psychological theory on the basis of selective data. This charge was mingled with a somewhat reluctant admiration for the creation of a fictional system that seemed to surpass the usual, and I would add, artificial dictates of scientific rationalism. Like a political leader who after safely retiring exposes party corruption, Jung retrospectively concedes to being a myth maker in what was then, modern times.(1)
To continue from previous work, I will examine Jung’s concepts of ego, archetype and self to determine if the above charge of selectivity – not to preclude other potential difficulties – applies to these seminal components of his analytical model of the psyche.(2)
* * *
Jung speaks of ego as a highly continuous “complex of ideas which constitutes the centre of [one’s] field of consciousness”(3) Ego is also referred to as the “point of reference”(4) of the psyche; its partly biological inheritance is offset by unconsciously acquired material.(5) Ego is not the entire psyche, but, according to Jung, it has a monumental role in the regulation and maintenance of psychic balance.(6) To illustrate precisely what is balanced by the ego, we must examine Jung’s constructs of archetype and self.
Archetype. It sounds impressive: definite, timeless, metaphysical; Jung made an astute choice by modifying this essentially Platonic idea, providing a certain scholarly credibility to work that was quite avant-garde for the medical science of the time. While Jung had not fully developed a definition of archetype for entry into Psychological Types (where we find most of his terms described), a survey of various statements he makes about archetypes renders their character fairly clear.
Jung’s mature thought demarcates the archetypal image from the archetype proper. As a sort of crystal-lattice structure inherent in all nature,(7) and thus a bio-culturally transmitted content of humanity’s collective unconscious,(8 ) the essence of the archetype is not amenable to representation.(9) Of the numerous archetypal structures, their diversity is represented by so many archetypal images and ideas,(10) and is individually experienced with the evocation of corresponding feeling values, these sometimes taking the form of ‘magical’ heightened awareness.
This ‘luminous,’ ‘spiritual’ aspect of archetypal experience may be either healing or destructive for the overall psyche, depending on its relation to the ego.(11) When made conscious by the ego, the archetypal image is positive; if not encapsulated by ego consciousness, it may be regressive.(12) Yet we have seen that Jung stresses the archetype, itself, to not be accessible to representation. Elsewhere he says that it cannot reach ego consciousness.(13) Granted Jung introduces the archetypal images and ideas, we must still ask: if the extra feeling value of the archetypal image or idea originates from the archetype, how is ego unaware of that archetypal source which it ‘feels’?
An additional function of the archetype is to organize images and ideas.
Archetypes, so far as we can observe and experience them at all, manifest themselves only through their ability to organize images and ideas, and this will always be an unconscious process which cannot be detected until afterward.(14)
From this it seems that the archetypal images and ideas are productions of the hidden, secret aspect of the archetypes. Now according to Jung, the self – our final concept to be illustrated – is itself an archetype.(15) And here Jung seems to say that the self can be anything. If an archetype, then it has an unmanifest, invisible aspect that cannot be grasped. That is, part of our own self must be inaccessible to ourselves. But that is not all. The self is alternately described as the “sum total of conscious and unconscious contents,”(16) a “complexio oppositorium,”(17) and as the “psychic totality of the individual.”(18 ) I do not object to Jung describing the self as illimitable, I do object, however, to his use of the term individual. Individuals cannot all be infinite. There must be some mark of difference among them. And Jung seems to agree with me: he himself says that the unconscious part of the self “cannot be distinguished from that of another individual.”(19)
Lets untangle this mess, and in so doing, try to be fair to Jung. It seems the problem lies in his notion of self as a “psychic totality.” For Jung really offers a two-tiered model of the psyche. The conscious part is individual, the unconscious collective aspect is impersonal. Jung would have done better to dismiss the “totality” component of his definition of self. As he did not, however, “self” is ambiguous and indistinct from a strictly theoretical standpoint. Why call it self if indeed it is everyone?
As I am not one to admire muddled, confused systems, Jung’s primary mentor Freud might suggest that unduly punitive washroom socialization resulted in my fixation at the latter’s ‘anal stage’ of psychosexual development.(20) Such a psychoanalytic interpretation may not have been entirely dismissed by Jung. Part of his self includes the personal unconscious, yet for Jung and quite unlike Freud, the personal unconscious is “more or less superficial;”(21) and Jung would not necessarily have given a psychosexual etiology(22) to an obsession with order. In fact, Jung would most likely view the above paragraph as a temporary intrusion of the “trickster” archetype – a mildly evil, sometimes positive archetype – into my ego consciousness. Recall that as mediator that strives for psychic integrity (see top to endnote 12), ego must balance good and evil,(23) these polarities producing a tension that for Jung is a universal law.(24) So we see two differing analyses – Freudian and Jungian – which perhaps points more to the role of investigation and interpretation of a situation than to the supremacy of either model.(25) But perhaps not. It is possible that one system explains events better than another. And if in our uncertainty we choose to define theory as an approach to an ever-changing, relative ‘reality,’ as do anti-theorists Paul Feyerabend(26) and Jean Baudrillard,(see endnote 25) we cannot escape the fact that even anti-theory is a type of theory.
Jung calls all this intellectual diaphaneity ‘rationalistic twaddle’ and claims, as do his adherents, that the value of his system lies in its practical application. While academic analysis implicity and expressly states one should not dispense with critical reflection, Jung also does not advocate the abandonment of critique. As Naomi Goldenberg points out:
According to Jungian lore, Carl Jung once said he was glad to be Jung and not a “Jungian.” As Jung he could be a thinker who tested ideas and modified theories to fit maturing insights and experiences. As a Jungian he would be pressured into defending dogma and clutching to ideas which had outlived their utility.(27)
* * *
With the basic explication of ego, archetype and self complete, I will now offer a more intensive appraisal, recalling that to be critical is to assess the positive and negative aspects of a given truth-claim. For the last half of the paper I will reverse the order and first look at self, then archetype, and lastly, ego.
Jung says the self as archetype is represented by the mandala, a sanskrit term meaning ‘circle.'(28 ) Part of the self, as noted, cannot be represented. This “psychoid” aspect is “identical in all individuals.”(29) The act of representing the self, such as in the visual mandala, brings order to chaos(30) as the tension of opposites is, if not permanently, at least to some degree reconciled.(31) Because the mandala (self) may imprison or protect the individual (ego),(32) it is like the archetypal mother–it absorbs or nurtures. Thus the mandala is also said to parallel the mother archetype.(33)
But Jung takes the mandala out of context. For mandala is an eastern construct specifically designed to both represent and aid in the abolition of the ego. Mandala refers to that beyond ego; it does not include ego as suggested by Jung. For instance, Lama Anagarika Govinda notes that the Tibetan ‘Mandala of Highest Bliss’ is “a vehicle of an all-embracing, imperishable wholeness, in which the limits of individual egohood do not exist any more.”(34) Likewise, W. Y. Evans-Wentz says the ‘Mandala of Liberation’ entails a “gradual dispersion of the psychic or mental atoms of the…thought body.”(35) Prior to Buddhism, the Hindu mandala refers to each of the ten books of the Rig Veda, which collectively are designed to return one to an undifferentiated original state that apparently existed prior to such dualisms as life/death, real/unreal, good/evil and, I should add, self/ego.(36) As a symbol of self and its relation to ego, Jung could have equated mandala with the absorbing, yet not the nurturing aspect of his mother archetype. This self-mother-mandala triad provides an excellent example of unwarranted and selective cross-referencing within the exposition of Jung’s theory.
Previously I have argued that Jung confuses the asian atman with his definition of libido.(37) To complicate matters, Jung seems to equate atman with his concept of self.(38 ) Thus perhaps not in the way Jung constructs quaternities, we may draw from his work our own analogical foursome: self-mother-mandala-libido. What else will he add to the list?
Archetypes, as I have noted, have two faces. One face is forever turned away, essentially supramundane and inaccessible to women and men; the other expresses various healing and destructive images and ideas into mundane psychological reality. But archetypes need not take a human or animal form. For cohesiveness, we will look at Jung’s views on Ufos, specifically on flying saucers, for in their circular shape they may be likened to the mandala symbol. In this connection we should note that for Jung flying saucers were the quintessential Ufos(39) and something of a pop phenomenon in the 1950’s: the pre-Star Wars/Star Trek era of modernity in which Jung’s writings on the subject are located.(40)
In flying saucers, then, we have an archetype that Jung says, by virtue of its shape, is analogous to the mandala,(41) and by implication, the self.(42) Belief in, or dreams of the saucers, like any archetypal formation, represents a double-edged desire for individuation(43) in combination with a fear for personal destruction: Alien inhabitants of the saucer could be benevolent, benign or malicious. Likewise, the journey to mandalic totality (to use Jung’s selective interpretation) has potential danger in that immense and equally tumultuous psychic forces may be unleashed from the collective unconscious, which if not successfully integrated by consciousness, could lead to psychic ruin–recall the absorbing, also referred to as the ‘devouring’ mother archetype as the negative instance of the self.
If one, however, believed or dreamed of extraterrestrials as being neither helpful nor harmful, this for Jung would indicate a state of psychic stagnation–no loss nor advancement within the individuation process. And a belief or dream of pleasant aliens would suggest that one’s ‘yonder shore’ of the collective unconscious is about to guide the ego toward a new, more comprehensive ontology. I noted above that critique should be balanced, and here indeed we find a good example of Jung’s impressive ability to adapt his theoretical structures to the symbols and social imagination of his time. Not to imply that Jung is merely vying for popularity and personal recognition. His work is too thorough, thoughtful, and serious to be so summarily dismissed. But as suggested elsewhere, he also knew the professional legitimacy of his writing necessitated scrupulous selectivity; he thus displays great acumen for creating schematic ‘meaning’ out of a massive and diverse body of data, even if that data is liberally corralled into his analytic theory.(44)
This leads us to the problem of agency, identity and ego. Ego is said to emerge from the self; its relation to self is one of “moved to the mover.”(45) Although it may be subsumed by the archetypes, as in inflation, ego is also the real limit of the person.(46) Ego is not to be confused with the self; although Jung claims ‘ordinary’ persons, in ignorance, take ego as the entire psychological being. Not so for Jung. When ego is unaware of, or attempts to deny the self’s existence, the ‘sleeping giant’ of the unconscious(47) self may grumble mightily at any time. The result: psychic catastrophe.(48 ) That is, ego becomes assimilated by the self–a situation praised in eastern religious and cultural ideals, but not endorsed within the scientific materialism of western modernity.
Thus as mentioned at the outset, ego plays a tremendous role in Jung’s vision of the psyche. By balancing inner and outer realities, it serves to regulate both collective unconscious and collective conscious forces(49) (and implicitly, moral opposites of good and evil residing in the psyche and expressed in the sentiments and acts of external reality). Ego is, therefore, busy. So busy that Jung sees it as the high achievement of western humanity. Unlike the so-called ‘primitives,’ the egos of modern individuals are more differentiated and less luminous than those of their, as Jung would have it, cruder ancestors.(50)
Concerning luminosity and ego, two points should be made. First, Jung says even modern persons have egos surrounded by a “multitude of little luminosities.”(51) Their unconscious provides various shades and textures to ego consciousness. And considering everyone is variously configured as such, each possessing different ‘lights’ from the unconscious, we must ask how Jung is able to make sweeping statements regarding the ‘normal’ ego constitution of western women and men. To propose for the sake of argument two stereotypes, does an artist necessarily see and experience in the same manner as an astrophysicist? Jung would say no, of course.(52) While he humbly acknowledges being a lay-person and doctor who happens to be very well read, at times his lack of academic training (and rigour) shows. By analogy, Albert Einstein admits to being poor at math, and Jung’s achievement was perhaps made possible by the fact that he was not confined by corridors of acceptable thought. But in spite of this, certain unacceptable margins of vagueness and redundancy may be discerned in his writing.
Another issue to be raised concerning luminosity and ego is in their application to Jung’s so-called ‘primitives.’ Jung visited Africa and India, so unlike ethnocentrics such as Emile Durkheim – who never travelled to places written about – we would suspect him to be in a better position to understand the inhabitants of foreign societies. But right from the outset Jung envisions such ‘native cultures’ as possessing the stereotypical attributes of ‘primitive man,’ and while he shows some appreciation for indigenous cosmologies,(53) and even made some attempts to learn local languages prior to departures, he nevertheless seems to wear, as it were, his safari hat throughout his adventures into lands exotica. I mean to say, he never let his European side slip–perhaps because he truly showed tendencies towards racism.(54) Possibly Jung’s comments on the luminous primitive ego reflect in part his own fantasy world: a projection of Jung’s psychic contents to others.(55)
* * *
To conclude, in reviewing ego, archetype and self, it seems my suspicions have been further confirmed. Jung’s analogic method displays an almost artistic collage of seemingly related concepts; upon close and careful examination, however, we have seen that mandala is not taken in situ, but rather as Jung – consciously or unconsciously – chooses to portray it. Regarding Ufos, Jung provides a detailed psychological exposition after professing ignorance as to their actuality.(56) While he mentions (in passing) that exclusively psychological relationships to Ufos as archetypal images would not dismiss the possibility of genuine Ufos,(57) he nonetheless proceeds to systematically squelch any tinge of ambiguity as to the latter’s authenticity with an apparent certainty that makes us wonder: is Jung the open-minded investigator he claims to be, searching for knowledge on the basis of empirically demonstrable facts, or is he one of the truly great doctrinaires of modernity, holding fast to new dogma of his own design?
In all likelihood, he is probably both; and that, in Jung’s own fashion, would be consistent with the ‘unity of opposites’ motif postulated within his system. Whether such theoretical coherence arrived with or without ethical consequence remains open to various avenues of debate.(58 )
1) See my unpublished paper for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, “Plumbing the Depths: Carl Jung, Freud and Hinduism.”
2) Until the entirety of Jung’s work is studied, forwarded conclusions must be tentative. This critique is based mostly on C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vols. 1-11.
3) C. G. Jung, Psychological Types in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 6, 425.
4) C. G. Jung, Mandala Symbolism from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 717.
5) C. G. Jung, “Analytical Psychology and Education,” The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol. 17, par. 169, cited in Daryl Sharp, Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms and Concepts (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1991: 49).
6) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 563.
7) C. G. Jung, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 8, 210.
8 ) C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 11, 50.
9) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 214. Jung seems to overlook the fact that the words he writes are a type of representation.
10) Ibid, 214.
11) Ibid, 205.
12) C. G. Jung, Civilization in Transition in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 10, 237.
13) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 213.
14) Ibid, 231.
15) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 156.
16) Ibid, 82.
17) Here Jung refers to dialectical opposites of, for instance, good and evil, masculine and feminine, hatred and love. Ibid, 443.
18 ) Ibid, 156.
19) Ibid, 277.
20) As in my previous paper, “Plumbing the Depths,” time restraints necessitate reference to Freud via secondary sources. In this case: Lectures on Psychoanalysis for undergraduate course conducted by Dr. Donald Carveth, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto.
21) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes from The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/1 par. 3; Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 291.
22) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 349-350.
23) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 219.
24) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 197.
25) As an extreme anti-theorist, Jean Baudrillard comments that good theory should lose its own meaning when “pushed to its conclusion” at the “limits of the text.” Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault/Forget Baudrillard (New York: Semiotext( ), 1987: 38 ).
26) See, for example, Paul Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (London: Humanities Press, 1975).
27) Naomi R. Goldenberg, “Reply to Barbara Chesser’s Comment on ‘A Feminist Critique of Jung,'” Signs (Spring 1978): 724.
28 ) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 713.
29) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 436.
30) Jung, Mandala Symbolism, par. 645.
31) Ibid, par. 637.
32) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 95-96.
33) Jung, Four Archetypes, par. 156.
34) Lama Anagarika Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism (New Delhi: B.I. Publications PVT Ltd., 1960: 166-171).
35) W. Y. Evans-Wentz ed., The Tibetan Book of the Dead, trans. Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960: 126, footnotes 1-3).
36) Troy Wilson Organ, Hinduism: Its Historical Development (London: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1974: 59, 76-77, 80).
37) Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 10.
38 ) C. G. Jung, Aion in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 9/2, 144, 194, 222.
39) Jung briefly notes that he cannot determine the falsity or truthfulness of numerous Ufo accounts. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.
40) Star Wars and Star Trek introduced variously shaped interstellar crafts to the popular imagination.
41) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 325.
42) William McGuire & R. F. C. Hull eds., C. G. Jung Speaking, Bollingen Series XCVII (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977: 414).
43) Jung’s concept that refers to the goal of psychic totality, differentiation and socio-environmental confluence. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 258-259.
44) See Clark, “Plumbing the Depths,” 8-10.
45) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 11, 259.
46) Ibid, 470.
47) Which is nonetheless conscious of itself.
48 ) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9, 24.
49) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 217-218.
50) Ibid, 189.
51) Ibid, 190.
52) In later work I will elaborate on Jung’s 4 by 2 model of the psyche, consisting of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, as well as introversion and extroversion.
53) Especially with the Pueblo Indians. See Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 211; and C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1961: 250).
54) For example, he believes individuals of all the colonies of England are “slightly inferior,” and that “there are facts to support this view” (in America, this being the psychological influence of the “lax, “childlike” and “inferior” blacks). Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 46-47, 121, 507-509).
55) We are indebted to Freud for the mechanism of projection; Jung also recognizes the primacy of projection and notes that archetypes are usually expressed through this process. Dr. Donald Carveth, Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1981-1982, York University, Toronto; See also, C. G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology in The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire et al., trans. R. F. C. Hull, Bollingen Series XX (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1954-79) Vol. 7, 95.
56) Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 10, 309.
57) He utilizes the concept of ‘synchronicity’ to account for this. Ibid, 313. Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this paper to do justice to this pivotal component of Jung’s schema.
58 ) Jung’s theoretical extrapolations reveal not only racist, but strong sexist tendencies. While apparently progressive, saying women should be regarded on the basis of “merit not gender,” Jung also exemplifies the expected ‘men are men, women are “girls”‘ mentality of his day. Jung, The Collected Works, Vol.7, 25; and Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 8, 286. Concerning his sexist views on rape, and for other examples of extreme sex-role stereotyping, see Jung, The Collected Works, Vol. 9/2, 15-17; and Jung, The Collected Works Vol. 10, 117-119. On marriage, he claims i) all women desire children and ii) are attracted only to one man while married men are naturally attracted to many women; at the same time, however, iii) women aim to “loosen” the marriage structure. Ibid, 101 (i), 42 (ii), 132 (iii). Jung also assumes all lesbians are interested and/or active in gender/political issues by categorizing lesbian love as a stimulus for women to organize for increased social empowerment. Ibid, 99. Lastly, Jung’s professional practice entailed having sex with at least two of his female clients. Naomi Goldenberg, “Looking at Jung Looking at Himself,” Soundings, 73/2-3 (Summer/Fall 1990): 395.
Copyright © Michael W. Clark, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
- Our friend, the devil (epages.wordpress.com)
- For a Jungian Turn in Comics Studies (tedfriedman.com)
- Freud & Jung in “A Dangerous Method” (psychologytoday.com)
- Carl Jung’s Archetypes (wiredcosmos.com)
- Rampage | The Shadow (riotofspring.wordpress.com)
- 12 Archetypes by Jung (sparkideasnl.wordpress.com)
- Dreams (earthpages.wordpress.com)
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- Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes. (sandscriber.wordpress.com)
I need a sign, to let me know you’re here
— Calling All Angels, Train
The idea of angels as mediators between God and mankind is widespread. Angels aren’t confined to seminary schools. They’re in the movies, pop music, self-help books, video games, and just about anything else that will sell.
But most people don’t see angels as the stuff of myth and legend. About 66-78% of North Americans believe in angels. And 10-29% believe they’ve encountered an angel or heard of someone who has.
Okay, all very interesting. But as the ancient Greek philosopher Plato once put it, a given belief isn’t necessarily a true belief. And in today’s world where religious belief can lead to insidious human rights crimes, it’s important to step back and rationally assess our convictions.1
The power of love
At one extreme, materialist thinkers try to squash spirituality by reducing angels to cultural projections. Ludwig Feuerbach and Sigmund Freud say angels are fantasy formations, and images of angels portray nothing more than subjective experiences and desires.
In 1966, two American sociologists, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, became academic hotshots by saying that reality is a “social construction.” Like much of sociology, Berger and Luckman put a new spin on an old idea—in this case, conceptualism. Postmoderns quickly followed suit, designating just about everything under the sun as a social construction.
The early postmoderns emphasized the role of power in the social construction of reality. But they had little to say about the nature of power, itself—whether, for instance, power contains moral and spiritual elements. Postmoderns also focus on language and its connection with power. Accordingly, the French postmodern thinker, Michel Foucault,talks about “discourses of power.”
But what does this have to do with angels?
Well, postmoderns make some astute observations, but they usually overlook the power of love. Also, they also don’t really see how heavenly love might help to shape our lives and the world around us.
Normally, we associate the word power with billionaires, movie stars, politicians or maybe motorbikes and muscle cars. But as an adjective, the word powerful can also apply to love.
The word angel derives from the Greek angelos, meaning “messenger.” But angels aren’t just messengers like the friendly neighborhood letter carrier. Angels are said to mediate heavenly grace, which in essence is love. And being God’s love, this mediated grace is more powerful than anything in the known universe.
Peter Berger, himself, came to study the supernatural side of angels in his book, A Rumor of Angels (1969). This book is no dry, reductive sociological treatise. It’s a sincere, open-minded investigation into the possibility that spiritual belief doesn’t merely arise from materially oppressed or deranged minds.
Western religions tend to see angels as pure and humble servants created by God. But theologians have debated the finer points of angels for centuries. In The Celestial Hierarchy Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite (or Pseudo Dionysius, c. 500 CE) speaks of three choirs of angels. According to his model, each choir embraces three angelic tiers. The lowest choir of Angels, Archangels, Principalities, along with the middle choir of Dominions, Virtues and Powers, are in contact with humanity. The highest choir consisting of Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones sings an eternal hymn of praise to God.
St. Thomas Aquinas‘ (c.1225-1274 CE) Summa Theologica supports Pseudo Dionysius’ idea of an angelic hierarchy. Aquinas also believes that fallen, evil angels (demons) have their own ranking system, with the lower being subservient to the higher demons. The belief in evil angels is also found in the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila, who wrote, “In the end my good angel prevailed over my evil one.”
The popular American evangelist Billy Graham writes about angels. And in contemporary Catholicism, angels are described as spiritual beings without physical bodies. Catholicism teaches that angels
- Were created by God from nothing
- Possess freewill
- Have a higher standing than mankind
- “Have been present from creation and through the history of salvation.”2
On guardian angels, St. Ambrose says:
Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.3
But, again, not only theologians talk about heavenly messengers. Stars like Patsy Cline, Annie Lennox, Jane Siberry, Hank Williams Sr. and David Bowie depict beings of Divine Love whose raison d’être is to guide and protect.
Hardly exemplifying humble servants of God, fallen angels are usually portrayed as nasty and narcissistic. And Satan, once God’s brightest angel, allegedly manifests as an “angel of light.”4
This could partially explain those who are mislead by astral and demonic beings posing as God or God’s angels. They’re literally “blinded by the light.” But is it a phoney light? And how would we be able to tell the difference if a beautiful angel came to us, full of warmth and promises of love.
Evil angels, they say, try to degrade, depress, deceive, confuse, titillate and flatter. Alleged holy men and women promoting themselves as ‘perfected incarnations’ likely fall into this vanity trap. Egomania and self-aggrandizement run rampant among false prophets.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew: 15-20).
And in a more contemporary vein:
Luke, you don’t know the power of the Dark Side (Darth Vader)
Not a few people claim to possess spiritual powers (siddhis) and fantastic psi abilities. Some indicate that they “know it all” or, at least, “know better” than everyone else. While many of these folks may be decent and well-meaning at heart, they often blind themselves to the fact that interior perceptions can be flat wrong.
Sincere seekers try to recognize, admit, and correct intuitive mistakes whenever possible. But the sham seeker won’t acknowledge (or, perhaps, just admit) mistakes and continues on a path of deception, allowing the ugly weeds of lies to choke out the beautiful flowers of the soul.
Perhaps a sure way to spot a person informed by fallen angels is to look for those callous, cowardly souls who grasp at power as a means to manipulate the psychologically weak and vulnerable.
To complicate matters, it appears that the predictions of fallen angels may contain partial truths. Demonic influences, experts say, want to disturb and oppress the gullible through a calculating mix of truth and falsehood. And their predictions are said to be ultimately geared toward exploitation and tearing down the good.
Accordingly, William Blake (1757-1827) wrote that spiritual powers devoid of sincere, humane practice are “thieves and rebels.”5 And both St. Augustine (354-430 CE) and St. Aquinas agree that evil angels, although fallen, possess a keen otherworldly intelligence. As agents of Lucifer, their thoughts apparently operate on a higher level.
St. Paul writes:
Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers of this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.6
And St. Aquinas echoes St. Paul’s belief that perceptive individuals can blow the cover of people who allow intelligent demonic beings into their lives.
Those who are spiritual discern all things.7
Aquinas, in fact, borrows from the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BCE) when suggesting that
The virtuous man is the rule and measure of all human acts.8
The above focuses on Christian angelology, but the belief in heavenly and hellish agents is embedded in most world religions. From the ancient Egyptian Hermes, the Chinese shên, the Greek Iris, the Zoroastrian amesha spentas, the Hindu devas and asuras, and the Jewish elohim, the idea that mankind lives within a larger cosmic battleground of good and evil forces is nothing new.
While it might not be fashionable to talk about good and bad angels, this doesn’t stop many people from believing in them.
True, representations of spiritual beings like angels are most likely colored by personal and cultural biases, but it seems possible that angels do exist. In any kind of study it’s often hard to draw the line between subjective bias and clear perception. And the study of angels is no exception.
1. Some New Age thinkers say that anything we believe is real. But it’s doubtful that 1,000 different individuals could all be, for instance, sole reincarnations of Julius Caesar, Napoleon or Cleopatra.
2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, New York: Doubleday 1995, p. 96.
3. Ibid., p. 98.
4. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
5. (a) William Blake, cited in Clark, Stephen. “Where have all the Angels Gone?” Religious Studies 28: 221-234, p. 228 (b) Widely respected in Medieval Europe, the legal writer and scholar Jean Bodin believed that Satan and his minions could nullify the pain that so-called witches – and their demon possessed young daughters – would naturally experience from “Godly” torture. For this and many other truly horrific ideas camouflaged by perverse reasoning, see Jean Bodin, On the Demon-Mania of Witches, trans. Randy A. Scott, Toronto: Victoria University, University of Toronto, 1995 .
6. Ephesians 6:12.
7. 1 Corinthians 2:15.
8. Aristotle cited in Pegis, Anton C. Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas Vol. 1, New York: Random House, 1945, p. 1016. This, of course, reflects the sexism of the time.
Angels – secret agents of the heart © Michael Clark. All rights reserved.
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