Psychology and Religion

“Just as the decision to become man apparently makes use of the ancient Egyptian model, so we can expect that the process itself will follow certain prefigurations.” ~Carl Jung, CW 11, par. 625

“As nothing can happen without a pre-existing pattern, not even creation ex nihilo, which must always resort to the treasure-house of eternal images in the fabulous mind of the “master workman,” the choice of a model for the son who is now about to be begotten lies between Adam . . . and Abel.” ~Carl Jung, CW 11, par 641

What I want to call your attention to is the unqualified statement that “nothing can happen without a pre-existing pattern.”

It is very instructive to observe how Jung elaborates his argument about the process of God’s incarnating as man.

He emphasizes right at the start that even God has to have a pre-existing pattern.

That shows you what vital importance Jung attaches to psychic patterns of structure as the basic elemental requirements for any psychic operation.

This is a very important principle to apply in the course of practical analysis.

As we listen to patients and study their unconscious material we must always be on the alert for the basic patterns that are being revealed to us.

Those would be the very things that the patient misses entirely.

The patient is at sea in a chaos of events, but if we are familiar with the basic psychic patterns, we will perceive them and can point them out.

There will be, by and large, two different levels on which these patterns will be based.

First there will be psychological material derived chiefly from the personal level from personal childhood experience.

This material will reveal repetitions of the patterns of experience that were laid down in childhood: the particular family constellations and the particular experiential constellations that imprinted themselves on the child’s psyche and will remain there for all time.

Analysis does not erase those childhood patterns; the most it can do is to make them conscious.

Second, below that personal level of patterning will be the collective level, where we perceive the archetypal patterns.

The personal patterns that we detect on the basis of childhood experience also will have their archetypal

When the time has come for the patient to engage the archetypal dimension of the life patterns he is involved with, the dreams will indicate that fact by taking on an archetypal quality.

That will then encourage us to shift the interpretation of patterns from the personal to the archetypal level.

As Jung tells us here, God himself is dependent on pre-existing patterns whenever he wants to create something.

Jung could hardly state more emphatically how crucially important he considers the basic typical patterns of the psyche to be. ~Edward F. Edinger, Transformation of the God Image, Pages 65-66

Carl Jung across the web:

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Great Sites to visit:

  1. Jenna Lilla’s Path of the Soul

  2. Steve Jung-Hearted Parker’s Jung Currents

  3. Frith Luton’s Jungian Dream Analysis and Psychotherapy: