The present volume, the sixth of the Psychologische Abhandlungen, contains five essays which are concerned with the symbolism of the spirit: a study of Satan in the Old Testament by Dr. Riwkah Scharf, and four essays from my pen.
The first essay in the book, “The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales,” gives an account of the “spirit archetype,” or rather, of a dream and fairytale motif whose behaviour is such that one has to conceive of it as “spirit.”
Examples are also given of the dramatic entanglements to which the appearance of this motif leads.
The second essay describes how, in the medieval natural philosophy of the alchemists, the primitive “nature-spirit” developed into the “Spirit Mercurius.”
As the original texts show, a spirit-figure came into being that was directly opposed to the Christian view of the spirit.
The third contribution, by Dr. Scharf, describes the historical development of the ungodly spirit, Satan, as depicted in the texts of the Old Testament.
The fourth essay, “A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity,” gives a brief sketch of the historical development of the trinitarian concept before and after Christ, followed by a synopsis of psychological viewpoints that need to be taken into account for a rational comprehension of the idea of the Trinity.
It goes without saying that in any such discussion, metaphysical views cannot be considered, because, within the confines of a scientific psychology and its tasks, an idea characterized as “metaphysical” can claim the significance only of a psychic phenomenon.
Equally the psychologist does not presume to say anything “metaphysical,” i.e., transcending his proper province, about his subject-matter that lies outside his competence. In so far—and only so far—as the Trinity is not merely an object of belief but, over and above that, a human concept falling within the purview of psychology, can it be subjected to scientific observation.
This does not affect the object of belief in any way.
The reader will do well to keep this limitation of the theme constantly in mind.
The final contribution is a description and analysis of a Chinese, but originally Indian, text which describes a way of meditation for the attainment of Buddhahood.
I have added this essay for the purpose of rounding out the picture for my reader, showing him an Eastern aspect of it.
It now remains for me to correct an error.
In my book The Psychology of the Transference I promised to publish my new work, Mysterium Coniunctionis, 1 as volume 6 of the “Psychologische Abhandlungen.”
Owing to illness and other causes I had to alter plans and am therefore publishing Symbolik des Geistes in its stead. The above-mentioned work will not go to press until later. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Pages 649-650