Carl Jung on “Magic” – Anthology.

The practice of magic consists in making what is not understood understandable in an incomprehensible manner. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 314.

The word becomes your God, since it protects you from the countless possibilities of interpretation. The word is protective magic against the daimons of the unending, which tear at your soul and want to scatter you to the winds. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 270.

The serpent represents magical power, which also appears where animal drives are aroused imperceptibly in us. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 366.

Magic is the working of men on men, but your magic action does not affect your neighbor; it affects you first, and only if you withstand it does an invisible effect pass from you to your neighbor. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 308.

Where reason abides one needs no magic. Hence our time no longer needs magic. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 314.
Magic is a way of living. If one has done one’s best to steer the chariot, and one then notices that a greater other is actually steering it, then magical operation takes place. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 314.

The ancients devised magic to compel fate. They needed it to determine outer fate. We need it to determine inner fate and to find the way that we are unable to conceive. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 311.

Our psyche can function as though space did not exist. The psyche can thus be independent of space, of time, and of causality. This explains the possibility of magic. ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 51-70.

Paradise, here, means the new impersonal attitude that is needed. The white magician cannot find the keys, because the way that seemed to be the wrong way led into the right way; for they needed the completion of things. ~Carl Jung; Cornwall Seminar; Page 26.

Analysts and mathematicians both consider themselves infallible; they live with invisible magic cloaks around them. They are both concerned with archetypes . Archetypes are living powers; they are the “thoughts of God.” ~Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 59.

The primitives I observed in East Africa took it for granted that “big” dreams are dreamed only by “big” men – medicine-men, magicians, chiefs, etc. This may be true on a primitive level. But with us these dreams are dreamed also by simple people, more particularly when they have got themselves, mentally or spiritually, in a fix. ~Carl Jung. CW 10, Page 324.

An idol is a petrified symbol used stereotypically for “magical” effects. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 59-63.

The magical word is one that lets “a primordial word resound behind it”‘; magical action releases primordial action. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 59-63.

Do not forget that the original meaning of all letters and numbers was a magical one! Hence the “perils of the soul.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 528-529.

Divine grace is not, so to speak, conjured up, the priest does not make a sort of magic incantation in the prayer of consecration to compel the intervention of divine grace; but the Mass itself is a divine intervention, of which man should become aware. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Lecture XIII, Page 110.

Eternal is the Golden Flower only, which grows out of inner liberation from all bondage to things. A man who reaches this stage transposes his ego; he is no longer limited to the monad, but penetrates the magic circle of the polar duality of all phenomena and returns to the undivided One, Tao. ~Secret of the Golden Flower, Page 18.

We constantly hear of Mahatmas and Rishis living away in the mountains of Tibet who are capable of all kinds of magical practices and in India this is also taken for granted; but when Shri Rama Krishna became interested in the question and tried to discover if such people existed, he did not find a single one. Usually it is the invisible or psychic reality which is meant. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture, Pages 103.

A mandala is a technical term for a magic circle which is used for meditation, but it is also used in a lower form for purpose of witchcraft; the witches’ circle was well known in the Middle Ages.
The Dharma Kaya = the world of absolute truth.
The Sambhoga Kaya = the world of subtle bodies.
The Nirmana Kaya = the world of created things.
One could also call these three: Self, anima and body. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 2Dec1938, Page 35.

We are very much afraid of the word magic, it has a bad name, for its meaning has degenerated and it has a purely superstitious sound in our ears. But magical was originally simply psychical, the ancients did not know of the existence of the psyche, so not being able to call anything psychic they used the word magic. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 71.

Apotropaic: Descriptive of “magical thinking,” based on the desire to depotentiate the influence of an object or person. Apotropaic actions are characteristic of introversion as a mode of psychological orientation. I have seen an introverted child who made his first attempts to walk only after he had learned the names of all the objects in the room he might touch. ~Carl Jung, CW 6, par. 897.

“Magic,” he says, is “the preceptor and teacher of the physician,” who derives his knowledge from the lumen naturae. ~Carl Jung citing Paracelsus, CW 13, Par 148.

The serpent represents magical power, which also appears where animal drives are aroused imperceptibly in us. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 366.

Up until the last moment Jung still seemed to be searching. Perhaps his was the road of the Magician who, unlike the Saint, did not yearn for fusion or for the peace of God, but preferred the eternal highway with all its unhappiness. But I cannot be certain of that. ~Michael Serrano, Two Friendships, Page 112.

When a theologian says “God,” then God has to be, and be just as the magician wants, without the latter feeling in any way impelled to make clear to himself and his public exactly which concept he is using. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 147.

In the two Christian churches, the importance and the psychological significance of rites are not generally appreciated; to some people they are acts of faith or of habit; to others, acts of magic. But in reality there is a third aspect: the aspect of the rite as a symbolic act, giving expression to the archetypal expectation of the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 208-210.

The proper kind of rite is not magically but psychologically efficacious. That is why a well-conducted Mass produces a powerful effect, particularly when the meaning of the ceremony can be followed. But once lost, lost forever! That is the tragedy of Protestantism. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 208-210.

All statements about and beyond the “ultimate” are anthropomorphisms and, if anyone should think that when he says “God” he has also predicated God, he is endowing his words with magical power. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 257-264.

I am not a word-magician or word-fetishist who thinks he can posit or call up a metaphysical reality with his incantations. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 257-264.

The reason why mythic statements invariably lead to word-magic is that the archetype possesses a numinous autonomy and has a psychic life of its own. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 257-264.

I hope you will find time to commit your plant counterparts to the earth and tend their growth, for the earth always wants children-houses, trees, flowers-to grow out of her and celebrate the marriage of the human psyche with the Great Mother, the best counter-magic against rootless extraversion! ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 320

I myself recently dreamed that a UFO came speeding towards me which turned out to be the lens of a magic lantern whose projected image was myself; this suggested to me that I was the figure, himself deep in meditation, who is produced by a meditating yogi. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 476-477

The fear the introvert feels rests on the unconscious assumption that the object is too much animated, and this is a part of the ancient belief in magic. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 65

Of course it is quite useful to us to have the idea that our thoughts are free expressions of our intentional thinking, otherwise we would never be free from the magic circle of nature. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 82

A man may, as I have said, know the real woman also as lightness and darkness, but when he sees in a woman the magical quality that is the essence of She, he at once begins tremendous projections of the unconscious upon her. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Page 120

The deposit of man’s whole ancestral experience—so rich in emotional imagery—of father, mother, child, husband and wife, of the magic personality, of dangers to body and soul, has exalted this group of archetypes into the supreme regulating principles of religious and even of political life, in unconscious recognition of their tremendous psychic power. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 337

The attainment of consciousness was the most precious fruit of the tree of knowledge, the magical weapon which gave man victory over the earth, and which we hope will give him a still greater victory over himself. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 289

I do not believe in magic made by man, magic as made in Germany or in Great Britain or in America; it does not work. But I firmly believe in the natural magic of facts. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1205

A symbol loses its magical or, if you prefer, its redeeming power as soon as its liability to dissolve is recognized. To be effective, a symbol must be by its very nature unassailable. It must be the best possible expression of the prevailing worldview, an unsurpassed container of meaning; it must also be sufficiently remote from comprehension to resist all attempts of the critical intellect to break it down; and finally, its aesthetic form must appeal so convincingly to our feelings that no arguments can be raised against it on that score. ~Carl Jung CW 6, Para 401

Mankind has never lacked powerful images to lend magical aid against all the uncanny things that live in the depths of the psyche. Always the figures of the unconscious were expressed in protecting and healing images and in this way were expelled from the psyche into cosmic space. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 2121

And yet the attainment of consciousness was the most precious fruit of the tree of knowledge, the magical weapon which gave victory over the earth, and which we hope will give him a still greater victory over himself, ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 289

I do not underestimate the psyche in any respect whatsoever, nor do I imagine for a moment that psychic happenings vanish into thin air by being explained. Psychologism represents a still primitive mode of magical thinking, with the help of which one hopes to conjure the reality of the soul out of existence, after the manner of the “Proktophantasmist” in Faust: Are you still there? Nay, it’s a thing unheard. Vanish at once! We’ve said the enlightening word. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 750

Magic is the science of the jungle. ~Carl Jung, Civilization in Transition, Page 63.

And yet the attainment of consciousness was the most precious fruit of the tree of knowledge, the magical weapon which gave victory over the earth, and which we hope will give him a still greater victory over himself, ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 289

And this is also the reason why the psyche is forgotten so often and so long, and why the intellect makes such frequent use of magical, apotropaic words like “occult” and “mystic,” in the hope that even intelligent people will think these mutterings really mean something. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para119

It is the veiling of the sex element, as, for instance, women are not allowed to show their hair in church. In certain rites they have a special cloth or veil to cover the hair, because that is a secondary sex indication; it would bring black magic into the church, evil elementals would appear.

And such evils could be conjured up by the beauty of the face, therefore that should be veiled. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 69

The idea is that man is the representative of the whole of creation, and whatever happens to him happens in a magic way to the whole world. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 144

Beholding the image of the deity has the magic effect of deification; that is the reason why icons have always been used in churches.

In Catholic churches praying to the image of the saint is still a means of acquiring spiritual merit, it draws grace down upon the worshipper. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 195

So the hair is understood to be an emanation of the head, having to do with the mind and the most spiritual as well as magical forces.

Black hair gives the idea of darkness, black thought, or an obscured mind; and golden hair means shining with bright thought or consciousness. In the state of exaltation one loses consciousness of oneself and one’s mind becomes obscure. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 198-199

On 25 December we put lights on our Christmas tree in order that the sun may rise; and we have an evergreen tree so that it will bring forth fruit; it is a magic ceremonial to produce or increase the sun.

It has now become a sort of festival that produces Christ again, it is the birthday of Jesus.

But that was originally the birthday of Mithra, the invincible sun-it is a borrowed birthday. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 225

Now, it is a fact that mankind has since time immemorial considered that the process of individuation, the production of the magic circle with that center, is man’s greatest value, the most desirable good. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 257

The aim of all Eastern philosophy is the production of that pool of gold, that center within the magic circle.

It is considered the highest attainment, for instance, in Tantric yoga, in Lamaistic philosophy, and in Chinese philosophy. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 257-258


That was also the original meaning of cannibalism, which was by no means instinctive; it was a magic ritual, and that is still the case wherever it prevails.

Those who eat human flesh and drink human blood acquire additional human strength. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 276

You see rain in popular superstition is used as a charm, it is magic, and that is not to be rationalized; it is an entirely psychological effect. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 312

The rosa mystica is a mandala, a magic circle, called in the East the yoni, a female symbol and a symbol of the mother.

It is difficult to tell how much of this has been taken directly from the cult of the Great Mother, but we know that the vas is analogous to the life-giving chalice in the legend of the Holy Grail, and this goes right back to two sources: to the Celtic source where the sacred vessel was a conspicuous symbol, and to the so-called Vase of Sin in the Gnostic cults. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 328

The idea of magic causation is known there, because it plays a role in black magic, as when a person causes an illness or a death by magic means.

But the higher philosophical idea is synchronicity ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 334

In primitive legends the old mother in the West is often a sort of cannibal, and primitive man eats the flesh of the dead.

He celebrates cannibal feasts as a sort of sympathetic magic, he does what the earth does in order to increase fertility.

That is still practiced in our days.

Just recently there was a case in north Kenya.

They ate a grandmother who was particularly beloved.

You see, they had a grandmother in the family whom they worshipped, so they gave her very good food, they fed her well till she grew quite fat, and when she died the family ate her.

Then all the fools were disgusted and horrified at such a terrible thing, but they ate her in the end out of sheer love in order to give her continuation of life.

It was a supreme act of devotion; they continued her life by embodying her body in theirs, really a very touching idea.

One should not disturb people in such acts of devotion, it is very foolish, it destroys their morality completely. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 517

So the serpent is a soul demon, and the idea is that when the doctor prepares his medicine it is human work, and it is quite nice, perfectly all right, yet it has no virtue-until the doctor’s soul demon puts at least a drop of that poison into it; then it works, then there is magic power in it. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 539

It is a Gnostic idea that Christ was the healing serpent.

His blood is the essence of his life and the healing poison for the world.

Only when Christ puts that magic drop of his essence into the chalice is the wine the blood, only then is it magic, the medicine of immortality. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 541

Jewels have always had that magic quality, and medieval science tried to find out their individual secret virtues.

Amethyst, for instance, was good to wear against getting drunk; and the opal is still not welcome because it is supposed to bring bad luck; and one must not give pearls because they bring tears. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 610

You know what love is long before you find out the science of love; it has its magic, its spell, despite the fact that there is no such thing in science as feeling. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 611

The spirit of the snake is its essential magic quality, and that quality is the power of rebirth; they are supposed by many primitive tribes to be immortal on account of the fact that they can shed their old skins, thus apparently acquiring a new life every year.  ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 691

It is the age-old truth that a true religion, expressed by a true symbol, works magic; it has mana, it is convincing, it is the expression of the power of life.

But if the symbol no longer conveys life, it is as if the mana fell out of that form and existed all by itself, and then it immediately degenerates into low forms like witchcraft. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 693

In the course of history, one repeatedly sees the contamination of the very high symbol with the low magic performances, as if it were sucking up all the low magic; then when the symbol becomes lame, outworn, when it no longer holds the forces of life, it immediately sinks down and takes on the lower forms again.

In Christianity the critical time was reached in the time of the Reformation when the great schism occurred; then witchcraft and sorcery, black magic in all forms, sprang up. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 693

Nowadays we are investigating all that very freely, we discuss the possible truth in dreams and visions, but that is all wrong from the historical point of view.

It is a symptom of the fact that the mana, or the magic power of life, has left the symbol. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 694

Magic has always been the source of science; science developed out of magic, not out of religion.

Religion is too complete, but magic is very incomplete. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 694

It is like heaven and hell, the benevolent gods and the great teachers above, and below the infernal demon world, denoting that man is half in the demon world and half in the heavenly world, but protected against the influx of both by the magic circle.

For we have to be protected against the things from above just as much as the things from below. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 818

He speaks of the numinosum, a Latin word deriving from numen, meaning a hint, like a movement with the head, and since it is a magic action really, numen also means power.

For instance, the god makes a gesture, nods his head, and a world is created, or a world falls to pieces.

So numinosum in primitive terminology would be the thing containing mana. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 846

We know that man in the past has always striven to produce psychological conditions that were against nature, mastering and transforming it, all sorts of magic or religious ceremonials; or just concepts, philosophical convictions, which put a new face upon the world, making it different, not only in our conception but de facto. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 916

Now that is just superstition, it is magic, and magic is always immoral because you acquire an advantage through magic which does not belong to you.

It only belongs to you when you can do what magic does, but you must earn it, work for it.

Magic only works magically; that is, it brings about a mood, or a fascination, which may

help you, it may push you over the edge, but if you have not done it yourself, you are just a rolling stone and have no merit whatever. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 987

This vision has the purpose of teaching her that it is a sort of magic procedure, as you might have a dream telling you that what you were experiencing was not that you were losing your mind, but that you were undergoing an initiation.

Such dreams are frequent, and when you know that it is not mere madness but an initiation, you know you are within the circle, and then it has value. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1057

But you must always remember that when your magic works, you are the first victim, you first receive its evil effects as well as its benefits. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1172

You see, such a sorcerer is in participation mystique so he can blindfold people.

But we cannot do that.

I would not be able to blindfold a crowd unless I were blindfolded.

I cannot do so when I am conscious; consciousness prevents that magic effect. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1185

If a conscious person should apply magic of the low order or exorcism of any kind, he would become infected by the evil he tried to combat. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1185

The more one is denaturalized in the conscious, the more real such an unconscious figure becomes.

Therefore great cities are breeding places for magic and superstition of all sorts; modern superstition in all its forms starts in big cities. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1198

The kind of magic which starts in great cities is a compensation for the utterly unnatural life people are forced to lead. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1198

We admire and praise the heron, but he enters the mouth of the snake-or the dragon-just because it has stared long enough at him, and he finally thinks that is his supreme duty.

You see that is simple autochthonous magic. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1198

If one practices yoga with the purpose of producing a certain result, no matter whether it works for good or evil, it is black magic, it is done with an evil purpose.

It is a power purpose when you want to produce an effect which is really beyond your scope. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1200

Yes, witchcraft is worked through fascination, the magic effect consists in fascination, and that is always based on participation mystique. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1272