Carl Jung on Adam and Eve as Psychological Realities
It may be worth noting that Dr. Jung in CW 14, Mysterium Coniunctionis devoted an entire essay to the Psychological importance of “Adam and Eve.” (Pages 382-456.)
The essay is comprised of eight chapters:
Adam and Eve:
- ADAM AS THE ARCANE SUBSTANCE
- THE STATUE
- ADAM AS THE FIRST ADEPT
- THE POLARITY OF ADAM
- THE “OLD ADAM”
- THE TRANSFORMATION
- ROTUNDUM, HEAD, AND BRAIN
- ADAM AS TOTALITY
In the latter event it looks as though Adam Kadmon were a first revelation interposed between God and the world, a second God, so to speak, or the divine Logos.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 412, fn 198
In the Cabalistic view Adam Kadmon is not merely the universal soul or, psychologically, the “self,” but is himself the process of transformation, its division into three or four parts (trimeria or tetrameria). ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 412, 619
The same treatise says: “From En Soph, from the most general One, was produced the universe, which is Adam Kadmon, who is One and Many, and of whom and in whom are all things.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 412, 594
“Thus in Adam Kadmon are represented all the orders of things, both genera and species and individuals.” ~Gershom Scholem, CW 14, Para 414, fn 205
The alchemists could not help identifying their Primordial Man with Christ, for whom our author substitutes Adam Kadmon. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 607
Accordingly the arcane substance would appear to be the “inner” man or Primordial Man, known as Adam Kadmon in the Cabala. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 548
The stone is, indeed, of supreme importance, because it fulfils the function of Adam Kadmon as the “capital stone, from which all the upper and lower hosts in the work of creation are brought into being.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 640
The Shulamite remains unchanged, as did the old Adam. And yet Adam Kadmon is born, a non-Christian second Adam, just at the moment when the transformation is expected. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 647
In particular, Geryon corresponds to the cosmogonic Adam Kadmon. He is the “masculo-feminine Man in all things, [whom] the Greeks call the heavenly horn of the moon. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 653
It is clear from this text that the “hidden” thing, the invisible centre, is Adam Kadmon, the Original Man of Jewish gnosis. It is he who laments in the “prisons” of the darkness, and who is personified by the black Shulamite of the Song of Songs. He is the product of the conjunction of sun and moon. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 44
Hence Adam Kadmon, as a personification of the whole “inverted tree,” is androgynous, but the system itself is a highly differentiated coniunctio symbol, and, as such, divided into three parts (three columns of three Sefiroth each). ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 652
The figure of Tifereth belongs to the Sefiroth system, which is conceived to be a tree. Tifereth occupies the middle position. Adam Kadmon is either the whole tree or is thought of as the mediator between the supreme authority, En Soph, and the Sefiroth. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 592
The black Shulamite in our text corresponds to Malchuth as a widow, who awaits union with Tifereth and hence the restoration of the original wholeness. Accordingly, Adam Kadmon here takes the place of Tifereth. He is mentioned in Philo and in the midrashic tradition. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 592
Thus Adam Kadmon appears here in the classic form of the son-lover, who, in the hierosgamos of sun and moon, reproduces himself in the mother-beloved. Consequently the Shulamite takes over the ancient role of the hierodule of Ishtar. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 609
Through Cham, the Egyptian, I must pass. . . . Noah must wash me … in the deepest sea, that my blackness may depart. … I must be fixed to this black cross, must be cleansed therefrom with wretchedness and vinegar, and made white, that . . . my heart may shine like a carbuncle, and the old Adam come forth from me again. O! Adam Kadmon, how beautiful art thou! . . . Like Kedar I am black henceforth, ah! how long! O come, my Mesech, and disrobe me, that mine inner beauty may be revealed. . . . O Shulamite, afflicted within and without, the watchmen of the great city will find thee and wound thee, and rob thee of thy garments . . .and take away thy veil. Who then will lead me out from Edom, from thy stout wall? . . . Yet shall I be blissful again when I am delivered from the poison wherewith I am accursed, and my inmost seed and first birth comes forth. . . . For its father is the sun, and its mother the moon. ~Eleazar CW 14, Para 43
For Noah must wash me in the deepest sea, with pain and toil, that my blackness may depart; I must lie here in the deserts among many serpents, and there is none to pity me; I must be fixed to this black cross, and must be cleansed therefrom with wretchedness and vinegar and made white, that the inwards of my head may be like the sun or Marez, and my heart may shine like a carbuncle, and the old Adam come forth again from me. O! Adam Kadmon, how beautiful art thou! And adorned with the rikmah of the King of the World! Like Kedar I am black henceforth; ah! how long! O come, my Mesech, aand disrobe me, that mine inner beauty may be revealed. ~Nicholas Flamel, ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 591
Concerning Adam Kadmon the Cabalistic writings are not altogether clear. Sometimes he is conceived as the Sephiroth in their entirety, sometimes as a first emanation existing before the Sephiroth and superior to them, through which God . . . was made manifest and . . . revealed himself to the whole of Creation as a kind of prototype (macrocosm). ~”Kabbala,” CW 14, Para 412, fn 198
Had he [Eleazar] really been familiar with Cabalistic thought he would have known that Adam Kadmon, the spiritual First Man, was an “Idea” in the Platonic sense, which could never be confused with the sinful man. By his equation “old Adam” = Adam Kadmon the author has contaminated two opposites. The interpretation of this passage must therefore be: from the black Shulamite comes forth the antithesis “old Adam”: Adam Kadmon. Her obvious connection with the earth as the mother of air living things makes it clear that her son was the sinful Adam, but not Adam Kadmon, who, as we have seen, is an emanation of En Soph. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 60
The appearance of Adam Kadmon has characteristic consequences for the Shulamite: it brings about a solificatio, an illumination of the “inwards of the head.” This is a veiled but, for the psychology of alchemy, typical allusion to the “transfiguration” (glorificatio) of the adept or of his inner man. For Adam is “interior homo noster,” the Primordial Man in us. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 606
According to the text this birth can refer only to the appearance of Adam Kadmon. He is the only one who loves her [Black Shulamite] despite her blackness. But this blackness seems to be rather more than a veneer, for it will not come off; it is merely compensated by her inner illumination and by the beauty of the bridegroom. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 609
The treatise of Rabbi Abraham Cohen Irira (Hacohen Herrera) says: “Adam Kadmon proceeded from the Simple and the One, and to that extent he is Unity; but he also descended and fell into his own nature, and to that extent he is Two. And again he will return to the One, which he has in him, and to the Highest; and to that extent he is Three and Four.” ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 619
The coming to consciousness of Adam Kadmon would indeed be a great illumination, for it would be a realization of the inner man or Anthropos, an archetypal totality transcending the sexes. In so far as this Man is divine, we could speak of a theophany. The Shulamite’s hope of becoming a “white dove” points to a future, perfect state. The white dove is a hint that the Shulamite will become Sophia, the Holy Ghost, while Adam Kadmon is an obvious parallel of Christ. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 648
Below are only a few example of the profound meaning of “Adam and Eve.”
Through examples from several alchemical texts, the significance of Mercurius as the synthesizing or union of the pairs of opposites in the quaternio is discussed.
These texts are then related to their Christian religious background. The arrangement of opposites into a quaternity is illustrated by an analysis of the four goddesses in Stolcenberg’s Viridarium chymicum and the Abu’l-Qasim.
In the latter example, Ostanes stands between masculine/feminine, good/evil opposites and is subject to the compulsion of the stars; i.e.,a transconscious factor beyond the reach of the human will.
As a result he is a diversity of persons, whereas he should be one. Hermes points out that he (Oranes) shares something incorruptible in his nature, a unity symbolized by a crown or kingly totality.
The quaternio of the Consilium coniugii is cited, and the ogdoad or double quaternio of Bemardus Trevisanus is illustrated by a diagram. In this instance, the center of unity is expressed symbolically as being in the Indian Ocean (the unconscious).
It symbolizes the microcosm, the mystical Adam, and bisexual original man, where he is identical with the unconscious.
The quaternio of the scholia to the “Tractatus aureus Hcrmetis” is presented, illustrated by a diagram, and analyzed, with the spirit of Mercurius representing the unifying agent of the opposites.
Mercurius is seen as both the original man discriminated in crude form through the physical world, and as the reconstituted totality in sublimated form.
He is likened to the matrimonium or coniunctio of opposites.
The alchemical terms: Pelican, Mercurius, Lapis, Circle and Hermetic Vessel, are related to the mandala and to symbols for Christ found in the Epistles, the Gospels and the Shepherd of Hermas.
The goal of the alchemists’ endeavour was to arrive at an Ecclesia spiritualis, above all creeds, and subject solely to Christ. ~Carl Jung, CW 14
The alchemical doctrine of the scintilla or spark is presented, the symbol of the eye is examined and its significance is explained in psychological terms.
The concept of spark or scintilla is found in the writings of Meister Eckhart, Heractitus, Hippolytus and Simon Magus as well as in those of the alchemists.
Alchemists defined the spark as Archaeus, the fiery centre of the earth which is hermaphroditic, consisting in a conjunction of male and female.
The parallel to Adam Kadmon, the original man of Jewish Gnosis and the product of the conjunction of sun and moon, is noted.
The significance of the eye as a symbol of the scintilla is discussed and related to the doctrine of Gnosticism and Manichaeism.
The psychological analysis of the eye and sun as symbol and allegory of the consciousness, which is the mark of the ego complex, is compared to the alchemists’ view of the union of the scintillae to form gold (sol) and the Gnostic goal of reintegrating atoms of light.
Dom’s concept of the scintilla, an invisible sun in the centre of man and a fire point created by tension of masculine and feminine principles in Mercurius, is examined as in Khurach’s description of the scintilla as elixir.
The resemblance between Khurath’s concept and that of Monoimos is noted. ~Carl Jung, CW 14, 702 p. (p. 56-88).
The mythicoreligious figures of Adam and Eve are seen as alchemical symbols expressing the relationship of opposites. Adam is seen as the arcane, transformative substance, the prima materia.
The importance of the transformational process is illustrated by the multitude of symbols of the bath as rebirth, all symbolic material dealing with the bath, baptism, submersion, and drowning are included in this representation of the unconscious process of rebirth of the self.
It is felt that the reason the figure of Adam is associated with this primordial material is that he was made out of clay, viewed by alchemists as the prima materia; this substance was regarded as a piece of the original massa confusa, primordial but capable of organization and transformation.
As the ordering of the universe is symbolized as a unity of the four elements, so Adam is found to represent the compositio elementorum throughout religious literature; he is seen as composed of the four corners of the earth, and the four colors and elements are part of him.
Psychologically, Adam’s quaternary nature corresponds to the four functions of consciousness, two of them perceptive/irrational, and two discriminative/rational.
He represents the total and unified psyche. The importance of these early representations for the interpretation of dreams is stressed. 10 references. 000543 Adam and Eve. 2. The statue. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 390-397).
The alchemical symbol of the statue is considered in its early religious philosophical and mythological manifestations. It is first noted to be associated with the figure of Adam; in him and in other figures the statue is characterized as a lifeless body into which life is placed.
Another common symbolic configuration is the image of some precious substance being hidden in the statue — water, sacred oil, or figures of the gods.
In each case the bringing to life of the statue is seen as a sublime and mysterious work of redemption, admired in particular by the alchemists as the highest form of transformation/creation.
It is noted that the living statue is often represented as the end state of the creative work; it is sometimes found in symbolic representations of the end of the world, when all life is transmuted into a perfect state.
This representation is found in Manichaean as well as Christian symbol structures.
In the latter the statue is often a pillar of glory, the perfect human; thus the figure of the complete primordial man (Adam) is found at both the beginning of creation (the prima materia) and its end (the lapis philosophorum).
The frequent appearance of sun imagery in association with the statue is felt to support is character of perfection and divinity. 000544 Adam and Eve. 3. Adam as the first adept. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 397-406).
The ‘dual nature of Adam is described as it appears in early philosophical and religious thought, and its associations with alchemical symbolism are considered.
The foremost manifestation of this duality is the hermaphroditism of Adam which appears in Jewish tradition and among the Naassenes.
Examples of primordial androgynous beings are also found in Plato’s spherical Original Being, in the Persian Gayomart and in Arabic Hermes mythology; however, few traces of this idea are found in alchemical treatises.
Numerous other symbolic constructs aside from the androgyne are observed to represent the basic polarity in Adam’s physical and spiritual nature; he is often represented as having two faces and as being composed of evil as well as good forces.
The inner connection of Adam and Satan is stressed as an integral part of Adam*s being; Adam is in fact the source of the macrocosm, the prima materia from which all force and substance derives, whether it is evil or good.
A great deal of support is found in alchemical symbolism for this expanded form of dualism/unity in the primordial man figure. Sources for the image appear very early in Jewish, Christian and pagan thought; later the Christian element is seen to dominate and the syncretistic pagan concepts diminish in force.
Christian mysticism and Jewish gnosis (Cabala) are seen to perpetuate the image of Adam as the embodiment of the universe in a similar manner; Jewish/Gnostic antecedents for the Song of Songs, and midrashic sources for the distinction found in I Corinthians between the heavenly and earthly Adam.
As he unites both the body and soul of the Israelite people, so in the psychological sense Adam is the total psyche, embodying both the conscious and unconscious elements.
The process of psychic integration in which all unconscious elements become conscious, and which can redeem the inner man is seen as a correlation of the Christian symbolism of the redemption of the world through the coming of the Messiah (the second Adam). 000546 Adam and Eve. 5. The “old Adam.” In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 415-420).
A discussion of the probable referent for the “old Adam” in Eleazar’s text “Uraltes Chymisches Werck” leads to a consideration of the eternal opposition/union of the spiritual and physical in human nature.
The old Adam corresponds to the sinful Adam who issued from the Shulamite; he is the prinutive man, far removed from present day consciousness and having his roots in the animal world.
The Primordial Man, on the other hand, embodies perfect wisdom and intelligence in Christian and other ancient symbolic systems.
But as the Adam figure is ultimately seen as uniting both the sinful and pure elements of the universe, so the human psyche is discovered through analytical psychology to contain much archaic, unconscious, instinctual material in addition to its conscious rational content.
These psychic forces are seen as complementary but conflicting; the tension between them creates the energy for the extension and differentiation of consciousness.
However, if the tension becomes too intense, a countermovement becomes operative to reconcile the conflicting elements.
This mechanism is seen to operate on a social as well as on a psychic level, in the development throughout history of rites and customs (anamnesis) designed to ameliorate states of distress through divine intervention. If no intervention is forthcoming, the distressful life situation deteriorates; and if no reconciliation is made, the individual psyche degenerates, losing forever the image of the homo maximus, the Anthropos. 000547 Adam and Eve. 6. The transformation. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 420-434).
The alchemical and Christian symbolic expressions for the transformation from a defective to a perfect state are compared. By eating from the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve gained a moral consciousness which opened the polarity between divine and human; humanity degenerated steadily until the Deluge, which can be seen as the destroying and purifying waters of alchemical symbolism, the nigredo.
In Eleazar’s “Uraltes Chymisches Werck” the Shulamite as the symbol of decay and corruption must be crucified to be transformed; this crucifixion is compared to that of Christ and to the transformation of Parvati.
Certain quaternary relationships in the text — the quaternion of the Black/Illuminated Shulamite to Old Adam/Adam Kadmon, for example — are found to correspond to psychic as well as alchemical structures.
However, one significant difference in the psychological transformation is stressed: while the goal of perfection is possible, in the myths and doctrines which are archetypal projections of the psychic drive for unity, this ideal psychic union has never been approached in reality.
In the light of scientific objectivity, man has had to set his sights considerably lower than did the medieval romanticists.
The incomplete transformation of the Shulamite and of Old Adam in Eleazar’s text are considered to express a realization by the author that wholeness for man is only imperfectly achieved. 000548 Adam and Eve. 7. Rotundum, head and brain. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 434-438).
The transformation symbolism seen in Eleazar’s “Uraltes Chymisches Werck” is discussed in terms of its correspondences with Christian symbolism.
It is felt that Eleazar had in mind the apocalyptic figure of the Son of Man when he referred to the duality and union of earth and fire, sun and moon, in the transfiguration process.
Allusions to the quaternity and to multiples of the quaternity, essential to alchemical structures, are found in early Christian texts such as Ezekiel as well as in 17th and 18th century alchemical treatises.
The figure of Yesod in Revelations is considered to correspond with Mercurius, the creative force which mediates the resolution of polarity.
The alchemical symbol of the lapis, which is the sapphire in the Cabala, are also found in Ezekiel, Exodus and Deuteronomy to be closely associated or identified with God.
It is concluded that the alchemical symbol network represents an effort to express the integration of evil as a necessary part of redemption on the individual human level the ultimate source for the symbolism is the psychic individuation process.
The nigredo in Eleazar’s text represents the darkness of the unconscious, or the shadow. The first transformation, represented by the- Black Shulamite, is the rise to consciousness of the feminine aspect, the anima; the second is the differentiation within the consciousness (the Primordial Man) of the masculine and feminine aspects.
But the final transformation is not complete in the Shulamite nor in the Old Adam; neither is it in the psyche of man.
It is emphasized that this and other studies of the dynamics of psychic processes are scientific and not theological, although they may make use of theology during their development. 000550 The conjunction. The alchemical view of the union of opposites. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 14. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1970. 702 p. (p. 457-469).