Psychology and Religion

[Carl Jung on Christ, Tao, Atman, The Timaeus and The Holy Ghost.]

It was this archetype of the self in the soul of every man that responded to the Christian message, with the result that the concrete Rabbi Jesus was rapidly assimilated by the constellated archetype.

In this way Christ realized the idea of the self. But as one can never distinguish empirically between a symbol of the self and a God-image, the two ideas, however much we try to differentiate them, always appear blended together, so that the self appears synonymous with the inner Christ of the Johannine and Pauline writings, and Christ with God (“of one substance with the Father”), just as the Atman appears as the individualized self and at the same time as the animating principle of the cosmos, and Tao as a condition of mind and at the same time as the correct behavior of cosmic events.

Psychologically speaking, the domain of “gods” begins where consciousness leaves off, for at that point man is already at the mercy of the natural order, whether he thrive or perish. To the symbols of wholeness that come to him from there he attaches names which vary according to time and place.

The self is defined psychologically as the psychic totality of the individual. Anything that a man postulates as being a greater totality than himself can become a symbol of the self. For this reason the symbol of the self is not always as total as the definition would require.

Even the Christ-figure is not a totality, for it lacks the nocturnal side of the psyche’s nature, the darkness of the spirit, and is also without sin. Without the integration of evil there is no totality, nor can evil be “added to the mixture by force.”

One could compare Christ as a symbol to the mean of the first mixture: he would then be the middle term of a triad, in which the One and Indivisible is represented by the Father, and the Divisible by the Holy Ghost, who, as we know, can divide himself into tongues of fire. But this triad, according to the Timaeus, is not yet a reality. Consequently a second mixture is needed. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Paragraph 232.