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Carl Jung: Visions of Christ on the Cross


6b806 ignatius loyola

Memories Dreams Reflections

[Carl Jung’s Vision of Christ on the Cross]

It was not quite life-size, but extremely distinct; and I saw that his body was made of greenish gold.
The vision was marvelously beautiful, and yet I was profoundly shaken by it.

A vision as such is nothing unusual for me, for I frequently see extremely vivid hypnagogic images.

I had been thinking a great deal about the Anima Christi, one of the meditations from the Spiritual Exercises.
The vision came to me as if to point out that I had overlooked something in in my reflections: the analogy of Christ with the aurum non vulgi and the viriditas of the alchemists.

8f4aa cross

When I realized that the vision pointed to this central alchemical symbol, and that I had had an essentially alchemical vision of Christ, I felt comforted.

The green gold is the living quality which the alchemists saw not only in man but also in inorganic nature.

It is an expression of the life-spirit, the anima mundi or films macrocosmi, the Anthropos who animates the whole cosmos.

This spirit has poured himself out into everything, even into inorganic matter; he is present in metal and stone.

168f1 lion

My vision was thus a union of the Christ-image with his analogue in matter, the filius macrocosmi.

If I had not been so struck by the greenish-gold, I would have been tempted to assume that something essential was missing from my “Christian” view in other words, that my traditional Christ-image was somehow inadequate and that I still had to catch up with part of the Christian development.

The emphasis on the metal, however, showed me the undisguised alchemical conception of Christ as a union of spiritually alive and physically dead matter. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections.

19ef2 alchemy

Note: Volume 7. Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola Winter semester 1939/40 are due for publication by The Philemon Foundation:


Image: Ignatius Loyola

Image: Hermetic Sign of the Cross

Image: A green lion consuming the sun is a common alchemical image, and is seen in texts such as the Rosarium philosophorum.

Image: Alembic Alchemy