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Carl Jung Depth Psychology Facebook Group


Lecture 1       3 November 1939

In the Previous semester we examined the nature of what I have called active imagination.

Before I start on the actual topic for this semester, I’ll give you a recap of what we discussed in this regard: “imagination” is
understood as a way or means to change, improve, heal, elevate, or complete the personality.

The word itself comes from the Latin imago, that is, image, and means the picturing, the imprinting, of an image or an idea.

The word “idea” comes from the Greek eidos, which also means image.

Through this imprinting of an image, we attempt to generate a transformation of the essence, speci2cally of the psychological essence, in other words of the human character.

You know that a person’s original character is full of contradictions and marked by all manner of disturbances.

The character is never, or seldom, a harmonious arrangement.

There are always certain tensions present, which can increase considerably over a lifetime and give one the feeling of a disturbance or aberration.

This results in dif2culties in life and with other people, with regard to circumstances and relationships in our lives.

All this results from the contradictions and tensions of the natural character, which is the result of the combination of two long lines of ancestors in which there are of course incompatibilities.

After all, people are not just the products of their parents. Their parents are also the result of long lines of ancestors.

When two distant tribes mix, it is to be expected that all kinds of incompatibilities will arise in the individuals.

That’s why, since time immemorial, we have deemed man to be in need of improvement.

Admittedly, there are some people who believe that man is fundamentally good.

But this view is contradicted by a great many opinions, experiences, and facts.

That’s why the Christian world view sees man as unfinished, in fact even as being in a state that is outside of grace.

The possibility of entering a state of grace comes only after baptism. An unbaptized state is a natural state, uninitiated.

This idea is found not only in Christianity, but also in many primitive tribes.

For example, the African Kavirondo have the view that young people who have not yet been through the (often very harrowing) initiation rites are only animals, and not yet human.141

That is how strong the conviction is that the original and natural man is not finished, is far from a state of perfection, or even is not yet a person, but only a creature of nature.

This deep conviction gives rise, therefore, to efforts to improve or elevate the human being.

At the primitive level, this takes place through initiation rites, which could also be called active imagination in a certain sense, because in these rites the young people are presented with images on which they then have to model themselves.

Most of the time this is properly drummed into them, in the same way as the old schoolmasters, like the ones I had, would drum each letter of the alphabet into you with a triple- twisted three-foot willow rod.

That’s where the word einbläuen142 comes from.

On a primitive level, this is not only done directly, but also through hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep, through poisoning (for example, they were forced to drink some concoction which almost poisoned them), through wounding, and so on.

Sometimes these creatures who were becoming “ human” were in danger of losing their lives in the pro cess, and others were almost driven crazy by such procedures.

The sole purpose of these painful procedures was mnemonic, to ensure that the initiates remembered the tribal lore;143 because along with all the magical procedures, they were taught the sacred tribal lore about how the gods and their half- animalistic forebears originally created the earth, the humans, the animals, and the plants.

In this way, humans are elevated to a higher state, through a secret knowledge. They become spirits, in a way.

They have to go through a figurative death and are taught that they died and through rebirth have become spirits. That is how it is at the primitive level.

At higher levels, there are more complicated and more spiritual forms of transformation, and thus in the previous semesters we looked at the clearest forms of this type: for example, Eastern yoga traditions.

I told you about classical yoga, about the Yoga Sûtra of Patañjali.144

I also told you about two Buddhist texts which relate to this transformation.145

In these, a series of aids of a symbolic nature are used, symbolic images that represent the transformation, and through the internalizing of the images, the individual is supposed to be transformed through contemplation one should be transformed into that which is the goal of Buddhism, that is, to become Buddha.

We dealt very thoroughly with the series of symbols in the Buddhist rituals.

I would like you to recall this series, because it is important that you keep this canon of symbolic transformation in mind
for later, when we come to the Western parallels.

In the course of the previous lectures I also gave you a Western parallel from the Middle Ages: namely, the hermetic or alchemical transformation series, which can be placed directly alongside the Eastern symbol series.

East:                        West:

  1. Emptiness        1. Chaos or nigredo (blackness)

In the East, “emptiness” means the mental discarding of thoughts.

The training that leads to that is yoga training, which is done together with all kinds of physical exercises that are intended to lead to an emptying of the conscious mind. In contrast, in the West the “chaos” or “nigredo” is not thought of as a mental state, but as a material state.

That is the big difference: Eastern mysticism is driven by the soul, while in the West it is matter.

The Westerner sees all psychological experience first in matter.

That is the initial state in Genesis: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”146 That is this chaos.

A state of deepest unconsciousness, devoid of thoughts, which is equivalent to the very origins of the world.

Why is it like this in the West?

It is actually a curious fact that in the West, a soul secret or soul state is discovered in matter.

That shows you the extraordinary extraversion of the Western spirit toward the matter of the world.

We see it in things, Eastern people see it inside, in the soul. The Easterner does not explain the chaotic state with something external.

  1. Four elements                2. Tetramery

The symbols of quartering on the Eastern and Western side correspond to each other.

When there is an empty or chaotic state, a pro cess of division must set in. One thing must be differentiated from another.

That is an act of consciousness, a differentiation. Consciousness arises out of the chaos.

On the second day of the Creation, the divisio takes place, the separation of the upper and lower waters.147

  1. Mount Meru                      3. separatio

In the East, Meru, the cosmic mountain, rises up out of the absolute surface as the initial form. It symbolizes a definite something amid absolute indeterminacy. It is an anticipation of form.

A form emerges. The separatio is the dividing of the liquid from the solid, according to Genesis.

That would be the third day of the Creation.148

What rises up out of the watery medium, or coagulates from it, are the montes, the mountains.

  1. City                          4. castrum

From the peak of this mountain, a well- enclosed city then emerges, built by human hands.

It corresponds to the castrum ( castle) in the medieval West, the fortress, the city or the thesauria (trea sury).

The mountain ultimately means form, in the last instance human form.

At the top is the head, and within it consciousness. It is a sealed off mental space.

In the same way, the castrum is apart and protected against the in6uence of the environment.

From that comes a four- headed being, the

  1. vajra                                  5. congelatio
    (diamond, thunderbolt)           (solidifying)

This vajra mainly appears in Tibetan Buddhism. It is the incorruptible substance, that which no longer changes.

It is extremely valuable and corresponds to the lapis philosophorum, the philosopher’s stone of the alchemists.

The corresponding stage in the West is the congelatio, the freezing, becoming solid; the quaternitas or quaternarium, that is, the quaternity.

The quaternity becomes solid; in other words, the four elements melt together. What was separate is joined together.

There is now a solid unit, a center. But, we could say, this center already exists.

It is the I. That would be the most obvious assumption, and in actual fact we do find numerous points in alchemy which indicate that this center is actually the I.

But on the other hand, there are many more indications that it is not the I, but another center.

It is as if, through this process, it is not the I, which already exists, that arises— other wise it could not after all have been divided into four parts, as that itself would be a conscious act of will— but rather some other essence, a center that did
not exist before, a new center of the personality.

I have called this center the self.

There is positive evidence of this in the Eastern texts, which make specific reference to it. So what is the self?

It is a center or a wholeness that consists not only, like consciousness, of the conscious psyche, but of both the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche together.

This self also comprises what we are but do not know we are.

We are much more than we think, and sometimes also much more unpleasant, or indeed pleasant, than we know.

We are not only that which we imagine ourselves to be—we are also the effect that we have on other people.

On the whole, we are extraordinarily unaware of these other traits.

But if we look at our dreams, for example, we 2nd parts of our personality acting in ways that we’re completely unaware
of during the day, unless a good friend takes us aside and has a quiet word one day.

We do not know the extent of the self, because the limits of the unconscious psyche cannot be determined. We need to realize that.

What appears here is thus an initial structure of the self.

That is, the trea sure that is hidden in the castle, guarded in the trea sury.

That is the big treasure, the solidified center of the personality that can no longer be changed. The I, on the other hand, is very changeable.

The I includes all sorts of possibilities. In contrast to the I, this being or essence is as it is, and not as we wish it to be.

This essence is also characterized by four colors, which are always red, green, yellow, and blue.

We find the same in the West. When the colors appear, the older masters say, then the cauda pavonis— the peacock’s tail— appears.149

They represent the qualities of this being.

One old alchemist says so many colors appear that only God could have imagined them.

That’s because it is a super natural being. It has not come about through natu ral processes, but only through this mystical procedure.

At first it is an inanimate object. Vajra is simply a concentrated energy and is represented by the diamonds.

The quaternity, the quaternarium, is static, with a crystalline form. Now the lotus makes an appearance:

  1. Lotus                      6. Golden 6ower, tree

The lotus is a plant, a 6ower, and corresponds to the alchemical idea of the golden 6ower. Another variant is the tree, the arbor philosophica.150

The apparently inorganic essence, which has solidif9ed and has four colors, now comes to life and is capable of growth and improvement.

  1. Moon                                           7. luna

From the lotus emerges the moon.

This corresponds to the alchemical stage of luna, or moon, and is also referred to as the silver (argentum).

  1. Sun                                8. sol = aurum = gold

The sun is also included as the masculine equivalent to the moon.

The sun corresponds to the gold: sol— aurum.

These now again appear to be inorganic characteristics, but in fact are symbolic: as are the moon, the sun, this divine couple the sun- god and moon- goddess, philosophically speaking the masculine and feminine, the two forms of the lotus.

This is a contrast that is developed at another stage. Here the lotus enters the picture again, but strictly in the feminine

  1. Lotus yoni                                  9. The white woman, al- baida

That is, the female genitals.

This corresponds in alchemy to the “white woman,” al- baida, which is Arabic for “the white one.” She is also identified with silver.

She is the regina, the queen, in elevated human form, as kings and queens are representatives of the gods.

  1. Moon with lingam             10. conjunctio

This is the union of the feminine and the masculine, namely of the moon with the lingam.

The lingam has a double meaning: it is the phallus, the male genitals, but it is also the subtle body,151 the breath body, the spiritual body.

The union of the two is of course thought of as a sexual union. In alchemy, it is the conjunctio that is always represented as a sexual act and which takes place between the white woman and the servus rubeus, the red slave.

That is the rex, the king.

These are the two famous alchemical colors: the white and the red, which represent precisely this conjunctio.

Here the opposites, which are ultimately depicted as masculine and feminine, are brought together in union.

The self, therefore, is a coincidentia oppositorum, a coming together of the opposites, the solution to the problem of the opposites.

After all, that is why one strives for this goal, this unchangeable, inexorable unity.

  1. vihâra                                       11. vas hermeticum

Vihâra, the cloister, is no longer a city, but a sacred152 site in which the creature that arises out of this union will live.

The union is fruitful.

It produces a child who grows up in Vihâra. Vihâra corresponds to the famous vas hermeticum of hermetic philosophy, the container in which the transformation takes place.

It is called the glass house and is identical with the retort in which the transformation takes place and in which the homunculus appears. In the East they call this living creature the Mahâsukha:

  1. Mahâsukha                        12. hermaphrodite

Mahâsukha, the lord of blessedness, is the Bud dha. Here, on the other hand, it is referred to as a hermaphrodite: that is, a dual- sex creature that symbolizes the union of the opposites.

It is sometimes depicted as the child of the sun and moon.

That is the homunculus, the phi los o pher’s stone, the lapis philosophorum which is said to be transparent, respectively invisible, an ethereal being, alive like a human being.

It is also described as the great light, the lux moderna, the new light that illuminates the darkness:

“lumen exortum in tenebris.”153 For the phi los o pher Zosimos,154 it is the phôteinόs, the person of light.

According to Christian teachings, even back is speci2ed as being man, as Christ is God incarnated as a man.

Here the attention is turned to the God, who appeared in human form, who suffered, died, and was reborn.

That leads to man, but to the God- man who is a person in the Trinity, who is not the self. He stands outside, whereas the
Mahâsukha is inside. It is God in me. I am Bud dha, that is, my self, that which I have become. Because my “I” is an illusion, it is mâyâ, it is dissolved.

After that I read out another section from Cisneros’s book.

Now, having learned about his forerunner, we come to Ignatius himself.

He is a thoroughly original individual, although Cisneros certainly paved the way to a great extent. Cisneros is significantly less determinate; he is still strongly in6uenced by the meditations of the Devoti, whose main goal was the immersion in God.162

To escape from the world into the peace of God was their goal. This path is the monastic ideal.

But not for Ignatius. He has no monastic ideal, but rather a strong identification with the world and real ity.

This is a peculiar ele ment in Ignatius, that has been—not unjustly— attributed to other teachers who seem very remote.

But at that time in Spanish culture these teachers were still very well known—namely the Arabs.

We find in Arabic mysticism—in con temporary and earlier times— a development that is very closely related to the Ignatian mentality. It begins with one par tic u lar master. His name is Al- Ghazâlî; he lived from 1059 to 1111.

I will talk about him next time. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Page 51-61