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Carl Jung: the anima is an allurement to an intensification of life

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Letters Volume II


Dear Herr N., 13 March 1958

Thank you for your kind letter of 7.2. 58. You have rightly recognized that the encounter with the anima logically leads to a great expansion of our sphere of experience.

The anima is a representative of the unconscious and hence a mediatrix, just as the Beata Virgo is called “mediatrix” in the dogma of the Assumption.

On the one hand the anima is an allurement to an intensification of life, but on the other she opens our eyes to its religious aspect.

Here you are confronted with the whole problem of the present and, in particular, with the question you raise concerning the nature of religious experience.

The greater part of modern humanity is satisfied with the Church and with belief in the ecclesiastical sense.

Another part demands the convincing primordial experience.

Theology, precisely because it is ecclesiastical, naturally knows very little of this and has developed an understandable resistance
to it.

The primordial experience is not concerned with the historical bases of Christianity but consists in an immediate experience of God (as was had by Moses, Job, Hosea, Ezekiel among others) which “con-vinces” because it is “overpowering.”

But this is something you can’t easily talk about.

One can only say that somehow one has to reach the rim of the world or get to the end of one’s tether in order to partake of the terror or grace of such an experience at all.

Its nature is such that it is readily understandable why the Church is actually a place of refuge or protection for those who cannot endure the fire of the divine presence.

A logion says: “He that is near me is near the fire. He that is far from me is far from the kingdom.”

I think I understand ecclesiastical Christianity but the theologians do not understand me.

Their raison d’ etre consists in the very fact of belonging to a Church, and mine in coming to terms with that indefinable Being we call “God.”

Probably no compromise is possible except that of “coexistence,” each allowing the other his say.

At any rate, again and again the allegory is repeated of the strait and steep path trodden by the few and the broad path trodden by the many, though with no guarantee that the few will necessarily get to heaven and the many go down to hell.

Wherever our need for knowledge may turn we stumble upon opposites, which ultimately determine the structure of existence.

The centre is the indivisible monad of the self, the unity and wholeness of the experiencing subject.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 423-424