As for the writings of Ouspenski and Gurdjieff, I know enough to satisfy me that I have no time for them. I seek real knowledge and therefor~ avoid all unverifiable speculation. I have seen enough of that as a psychiatrist. You might just as well recommend Mme. Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled or the compendious opus of Rudolf Steiner or Bo-Yin-Ra (why not Schneiderfranken?). ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 180
The passionate interest in these movements undoubtedly arises from psychic energy which can no longer be invested in obsolete religious forms.
For this reason such movements have a genuinely religious character, even when they pretend to be scientific. It changes nothing when Rudolf Steiner calls his Anthroposophy “spiritual science,” or when Mrs. Eddy invents a “Christian Science.”
These attempts at concealment merely show that religion has grown suspect—almost as suspect as politics and world-reform. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 170.
The animus consists of a priori assumptions based on unconsidered judgments.
The existence of such judgments can only be inferred from the woman’s conscious attitude to certain things.
I must give you an example.
A woman I knew surrounded her son with the most solemn care and lent him an importance he in no way deserved, with the result that soon after puberty he became neurotic.
The reason for her senseless attitude was not at first discernible.
Closer investigation, however, revealed the existence of an unconscious dogma that said: My son is the coming Messiah.
This is a very ordinary instance of the widespread hero-archetype in women, which is projected on the father or the husband or the son, in the form of an opinion which then unconsciously regulates the woman’s behaviour.
A well-known example is Annie Besant, who also discovered a saviour. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 90
So far, indeed, there is little of it to be seen on the intellectual surface: a handful of orientalists, one or two Buddhist
enthusiasts, a few sombre celebrities like Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant with her Krishnamurti.
These manifestations are like tiny scattered islands in the ocean of mankind; in reality they are the peaks of submarine mountain-ranges.
The cultural Philistines believed until recently that astrology had been disposed of long since and was something that could safely be laughed at.
But today, rising out of the social deeps, it knocks at the doors of the universities from which it was banished some three hundred years ago.
The same is true of Eastern ideas; they take root in the lower levels and slowly grow to the surface.
Where did the five or six million Swiss francs for the Anthroposophist temple at Dornach come from?
Certainly not from one individual.
Unfortunately there are no statistics to tell us the exact number of avowed Theosophists today, not to mention the unavowed.
But we can be sure there are several millions of them.
To this number we must add a few million Spiritualists of Christian or Theosophist leanings. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 176
Mme. Blavatsky possessed itself of the Eastern traditions and promulgated them among the general public.
For several decades after that, knowledge of yoga in the West developed along two separate lines.
On the one hand it was regarded as a strictly academic science, and on the other it became something very like a religion, though it did not develop into an organized Church—despite the endeavours of Annie Besant and Rudolf Steiner.
Although he was the founder of the anthroposophical secession, Steiner was originally a follower of Mme. Blavatsky. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 859
The relation of the unconscious to the conscious mind is to a certain extent complementary, as elementary psychogenic symptoms and dreams caused by simple somatic stimuli prove.
(Hence the strange idea, taught for instance by Rudolf Steiner, that the Hereafter possesses qualities complementary to those of this world.) ~Carl Jung, CW 14, Para 124
Do you think that everyone who says that he is surrendering himself to Christ has really surrendered himself to Christ?
Isn’t it more likely that he has surrendered himself to the image of Christ which he has made for himself, or to that of God the Father or the Holy Spirit?
Are they all the same Christ—the Christ of the Synoptics, of the Exercitia Spiritualia, of a mystic of Mount Athos, of Count Zinzendorf, of the hundred sects, of Caux and Rudolf Steiner, and—last but not least—of St. Paul?
Do you really believe that anyone, be he who he may, can bring about the real presence of one of the Sacred Persons by an earnest utterance of their name?
I can be certain only that someone has called up a psychic image, but it is impossible for me to confirm the real presence of the Being evoked. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 1536
I have read a few books by Rudolf Steiner and must confess that I have found nothing in them that is of the slightest use to me.
You must understand that I am a researcher and not a prophet.
What matters to me is what can be verified by experience.
But I am not interested at all in what can be speculated about experience without any proof.
All the ideas that Steiner advances in his books you can also read in the Indian sources.
Anything I cannot demonstrate in the realm of human experience I let alone and if someone should assert that he knows more about it I ask him to furnish me with the necessary proofs. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 203
So long as [Rudolf] Steiner is or was not able to understand the Hittite inscriptions yet understood the language of Atlantis which nobody knows existed, there is no reason to get excited about anything that Herr Steiner has said. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 203
Now Mrs. Baynes asked me to tell you that Watkins7 is publishing a new edition of Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, by Mead, a standard work on Gnosticism.
There is no other book that can compare with it, it is written with love and great understanding.
There is a certain admixture of theosophy, but one hopes that this will have disappeared in the new edition. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 237
In the Catholic church you have the light, the symbol-everything is provided for you-and if that is no longer satisfactory and you go beyond, into what do you step?
Of course, you can step into Protestantism, but if you are born in Protestantism, what do you do then?
Well, you can step into Buddhism, say, or theosophy, or something of the sort; and if that leaves you dissatisfied, what remains?
Nothing but your shadow, all the things you don’t like.
And because there is nothing else, the darkness that is in you, round you, is the only thing you can see.
Everywhere it is dark. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 258
The Protestant is the natural seeker in the field of psychological rese arch, for he no longer has a symbol in which he can express himself and therefore his sense of incompleteness makes him restless and pushes him to search for what he feels to be missing.
In this attempt he often re aches out to other faiths, such as theosophy, Christian Science, Buddhism etc. “Why does
my spiritual life no longer satisfy me?” is particularly the problem of the Protestant; he thinks that it should but the fact remains that it does· not and that he is often troubled with neurotic symptoms.
Psychology, therefore, is primarily the concern of the Protestant, the sceptic – and the doctor. ~Carl Jung, Modern Psychology, Lecture I, 20th October 1933, Page 12.
The sapientia appears in a very substantial form in alchemy.
Wisdom is attained, so the alchemists say, through the union of chemistry and theosophy.
Of course one must not understand the latter as modern theosophy (Madame Blavatsky], or anthroposophy (Herr Steiner] ,
although it is possible to compare these movements with earlier movements.
In the Middle Ages , however, the term ” theosophia ” meant the wisdom or knowledge of God, in a much more restricted Christian sense than in theosophy or anthroposophy.
These modern movements are syncretistic phenomena, mosaics put together from the literature of all times and places; and for this reason they can be compared with the Hellenistic mystery religions of the first and second centuries. ~Carl Jung, Modern Psychology, Lecture VII, 13 June 1941, Page 69
This we have to keep in mind always, otherwise we fall into the mistake made by theosophy and confuse the personal with the cosmic, the individual light-spark with the divine light.
If we do this we get nowhere; we merely undergo a tremendous inflation. ~Carl Jung, Kundalini Yoga, Page 68
That the death of the first child had the effect of making his sister take to Christian Science is a fact belonging to the sister, but he mentions it here.
The connotation of Christian Science has also to do with that female character in his own psychology; it is decidedly a hint.
The female factor underwent a certain conversion, and that man within the last two or three years has begun to be interested
in philosophy, occultism, theosophy, and all sorts of funny things; he was too level-headed to be much affected by them, though he had a mystical streak. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Page 10
Just recently a representative theosophist told me that he thought they ought to introduce analysis into their theosophy.
They begin to realize that unless they begin at the right end, with the shadow their occult pursuits are morbid.
The right beginning is within. Learn of one’s own dark side, then one can tackle theosophy.
Theosophy means the “wisdom of God.”
Can we have that? Heavens, no! Be wise about yourself, then you know something. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Page 56
So it is an unpleasant situation.
His attempt at occult studies is rather like Freud’s sublimation idea-intercourse with angels.
Theosophy provides one with all sorts of things in that respect!
If I could hear the vibrations of Atlantis, listen in to old Egypt, and all that, I would forget all ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Page 63-64
[Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–66), American hypnotist and mental healer, consulted by Mary Baker Eddy, whose ideas he is thought to have influenced. ~Editor, CW 4, fn 2
Peter D. Ouspensky (1877-1947), Russian mathematician and author.
Cf. his In Search of the Miraculous ( 1950); A New Model of the Universe ( 1953); Tertium Organum (1911).
He was the most lucid expositor of Gurdjieff’s teachings.
George lvanovitch Gurdjieff (1877-1949), Russian writer, traveller, student of esoteric doctrines in Central Asia, upon which he based his system of teaching and inner discipline; founder and director of the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, in Fontainebleau, near Paris, in 1922.
Cf. his All and Everything (1950); Meetings with Remarkable Men (1963). From 1914 onwards he collaborated with Ouspensky. ~Editor, Letters Vol. II, Page 180, fn 1
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-) , a leading Indian theosophist, later in California.
He was discovered by Annie Besant (1847-1933), an English pupil of Helena Blavatsky (1831-91) 1 and declared by her in 1925 to be the Messiah, a claim which he himself later renounced. Cf. Mirabal, 21 Oct. p; also Memories, pp. 25off./235ff. Page 596
‘The Russian Elena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), the founder of Theosophy, and author of Isis Unveiled (London, 1877). Though she had a considerable following in Britain, the U.S. and India, she was not one of Jung’s favorites. See Dream Sem., pp. 341-42. ~Editor, Zarathustra Seminars, Page 653
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic text from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has been turned into a Nazareth Gradually from which nothing good can come. Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth – the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better. ~ Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 99.
Jung had no sympathy whatever with Theosophy—for he always felt it speculated in the air, with no empirical foundation—so I do not know how Frau Fröbe originally persuaded him to lecture at Ascona. ~Barbara Hannah, Jung: His Life and His Work, Page 155
If one studies the occult with the wrong attitude one can get infected, for this whole field is full of metaphysical traps through which one can fall, disappear as into an oubliette, and became the astrologer, the theosophist, or the black magician. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 72
If we now try to cover our nakedness with the gorgeous trappings of the East, as the theosophists do, we would be playing our own history false. A man does not sink down to beggary only to pose afterwards as an Indian potentate. It seems to me that it would be far better stoutly to avow our spiritual poverty, our symbol-lessness, instead of feigning a legacy to which we are not the legitimate heirs at all. We are, surely, the rightful heirs of Christian symbolism, but somehow we have squandered this heritage. We have let the house our fathers built fall into decay, and now we try to break into Oriental palaces that our fathers never knew. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 28
The usual mistake of Western man when faced with this problem of grasping the ideas of the East is like that of the student in Faust. Misled by the devil, he contemptuously turns his back on science and, carried away by Eastern occultism, takes over yoga practices word for word and becomes a pitiable imitator. (Theosophy is our best example of this.) ~~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 3
I don’t say that we should accept an Eastern philosophy. Many people do go in for Indian theosophy and such stuff, but I am an opponent of that because I know that for us it is not healthy. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Page 622.
Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Page 335
Though it would be wrong to draw a parallel between Darmstadt and theosophy, it does seem to me that the same danger exists in both cases: of a new house being built on the old shaky foundations, and of new wine being poured into old bottles. Though the old damage is covered up, the new building does not stand firm. Man must after all be changed from within, otherwise he merely assimilates the new material to the old pattern. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 40
You are quite right in supposing that I reckon astrology among those movements which, like theosophy, etc., seek to assuage an irrational thirst for knowledge but actually lead it into a sidetrack. Astrology is knocking at the gates of our universities: a Tubingen professor has switched over to astrology and a course on astrology was given at Cardiff University last year. Astrology is not mere superstition but contains some psychological facts (like theosophy) which are of considerable importance. Astrology has actually nothing to do with the stars but is the 5000-year-old psychology of antiquity and the Middle Ages. Unfortunately I cannot explain or prove this to you in a letter. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 56
Sometimes you express yourself ( in the MS ) as if my symbols and my text were a sort of confession or a belief. Thus it looks as if I were moving in the vicinity of theosophy. In America especially one blames me for my so-called mysticism. Since I don’t claim at all to be the happy proprietor of metaphysical truths, I should much prefer that you attribute to my symbols the same tentativeness which characterizes your explanatory attempt. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 290
I don’t feel happy about these things, since you merely fall into such experiences without being able to integrate them. The result is a sort of theosophy, but it is not a moral and mental acquisition . It is the eternally primitive man having experience of his ghost-land, but it is not an achievement of your cultural development. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 382.
The destructive quality of this thinking as well as its occasional and limited usefulness, hardly need further elucidation. But there still exists another form of negative thinking, which at first glance perhaps would scarcely be recognized as such.
I refer to the theosophy thinking which is to-day rapidly spreading in every quarter of the globe, presumably as a reaction phenomenon to the materialism of the epoch now receding. Theosophical thinking has an air that is not in the least reductive, since it exalts everything to transcendental and world-embracing ideas. A dream, for instance, is no longer a modest dream, but an experience upon another plane’. The hitherto inexplicable fact of telepathy is very simply explained by ‘vibrations ‘ which pass from one man to another.
An ordinary .nervous trouble is quite simply accounted for by -the fact that something has collided with the astral body. Certain anthropological peculiarities of the dwellers on the Atlantic seaboard are easily explained by the submerging of Atlantis, and so on. We have merely to open a theosophical book to be overwhelmed by the realization that everything is already explained, and that ‘ spiritual science ‘ has left no enigmas of life unsolved. But, fundamentally, this sort of thinking is just as negative as materialistic thinking.
When the latter conceives psychology as chemical changes taking place in the cell-ganglia, or as the extrusion and withdrawal of cell-processes, or as an internal secretion, in essence this is just as superstitious as theosophy. The only difference lies in the fact that materialism reduces all phenomena to our current physiological notions, while theosophy brings everything into the concepts of Indian metaphysics.
When we trace the dream to an overloaded stomach, the dream is not thereby explained, and when we explain telepathy as ‘vibrations’, we have said just as little. Since, what are ‘vibrations’? Not only are both methods of explanation quite impotent they are actually destructive, because by interposing their seeming explanations they withdraw interest from the problem, diverting it in the former case to the stomach, and in the latter to imaginary vibrations, thus preventing any serious investigation of the problem.
Either kind of thinking is both sterile and sterilizing. Their negative quality consists in this : it is a method of thought that is indescribably cheap ; there is a real poverty of productive and creative energy. It is a thinking taken in tow by other functions. ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types, General Description of Types, Page 445.
It would be wrong for religiously estranged people, figuratively speaking, to attempt somehow to cover up this inadequacy in “robes of Oriental splendor” in the manner of the Theosophists. One could not allow the house of his own fathers to go to ruin, and then attempt to break into “Oriental palaces,” ~Carl Jung, “Jung” by Gerhard Wehr, Page 269.
I have also become acquainted with very many anthroposophists and theosophists and have always found to my regret that these people imagine all kinds of things and assert all kinds of things for which they are incapable of producing any proof at all. ~Carl Jung, Gerhard Wehr’s “Jung”, Page 466.
I wouldn’t like to see the subjective conditions of Frau S. outweighing the spirit of analysis and ultimately even falsifying it into a theosophy. – Carl Jung, Jung-Kirsch Letters, Page 33
I do not know how much the spiritual and political decline of Spain and Portugal had to do with their conquest of the primitive South American continent, but the fact remains that the two countries which first established their rule in East Asia, namely Holland and England, were also the first to be thoroughly infected with theosophy. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1287