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Publish date: Jun 29, 2009
Summary: Carl Jung's study of psychology led him into mystical visualization practices.
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Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875 - 1961) was a leader in the study of visualization and the unconscious. Jung was a colleague of Sigmund Freud, and was fascinated by elements of Tibetan Buddhism. These influences led him to believe in a "collective unconscious" shared by all humans.i According to an online "Mystical Experience Registry," Jung "cultivated the ability to have visions from deep imagination."ii While recovering from a heart attack, Jung had several visions, which have been recorded in a book titled Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Elijah and Salome
In one experience, he uses visualization to descend into his imagination, where he finds a "cosmic abyss." According to Memories, Dreams, Reflections, "he sees something like a moon crater and then he has the feeling that he is in the land of the dead. Near the steep slope of a rock he catches the sight of two people, one an old man and the other, a beautiful young girl...The old man turns out to be the biblical figure Elijah and the girl, Salome. 'What a strange couple,' he muses. But Elijah tells Jung that he and Salome belong together for all eternity. Along with the two is a third, a large black snake. Jung sticks close to Elijah and keeps his distance from Salome."iii
In a later fantasy, "he then sees Elijah on a rocky ridge, a ring of boulders, which he interprets as a 'Druidic sacred place.' Inside, the old man climbs up on a mounded Druidic altar, and then both Elijah and the altar begin to shrink in size while the walls get larger. He sees a tiny woman, 'like a doll,' who turns out to be Salome. A miniature snake and a house are also seen. Jung then realizes, as the walls keep growing, 'I was in the underworld.' When they reach bottom Elijah smiled at him and says, 'Why, it is just the same, above or below.'"iv
Throughout Jung's visions and teachings, one key element is the fusion of white and black, good and evil, yin and yang. Salome, the daughter of Herodias in the Bible, is portrayed as the epitome of evil. The prophet Elijah, on the other hand, is seen as good. But in Jung's visions, we see that the two characters "had been together since eternity."v These are occult Masonic philosophies.
One Jungian thinker says this:
Jung elicited the principles of Logos (yang, masculine, foresight, legislation, ordering, willful) and Eros (yin, feminine, receptive, related, moving, dissolving) out of his visionary meeting with Elijah and Salome.vi
Philemon and Ka
Jung continues to talk to Elijah in his vision. Elijah eventually changes into another elderly man, Philemon:
Philemon teaches Jung about the nature of human consciousness. Jung begins to see how autonomous inner figures can act. It is the inner figure that seems to hold this knowledge, not Jung (p.183). Again, Jung's inner figure changes. This time it alters to take on the form of the Egyptian notion of spirit, Ka.vii
The Egyptian concept of ka distinguished a live person from a dead one. According to Egyptian mythology, the goddess of childbirth created everyone’s ka. She would breathe it into each child as they were born.
However, the ka concept is more complicated than our notion of breath, soul, or spirit. Ka represented a sustained life power, something supernatural inside humans that provided youthfulness and even reproductive potency. According to Alan Winston, ka was related to almost every element of Egyptian life:
The ka could be thought by the ancient Egyptians to designate individual human traits such as character, nature, temperament or disposition. And since one's character has so much to do with one's life, ka could also refer to destiny or providence. Yet, considering the ka as a kind of universal vital force is too abstract.viii
Philemon, Jung's "spirit guide," was in fact a demon in disguise. Jung was being led into darkness—not truth—during his subconscious explorations. Jung writes that Philemon was an external force that had power over his mind:
Philemon represented a force which was not myself...it was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche...there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend.ix
Jungian Teachings TodayIn 2008, Dr. Anthony Moore of Georgetown University offered a workshop called "Carl Jung and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola." Moore's teachings are great example of just how deeply mysticism and the occult are embedded into Catholic culture:
[The workshop] will begin with an overview of the structure of the psyche according to Jung. The Jungian framework will then be applied to the Spiritual Exercises. Some of the themes covered will be: the archetypal imagery in Ignatius’ account of his conversion experience at Loyola; discernment of spirits and the movement of the Self toward wholeness; the Principle and Foundation and the desires of the authentic Self; connecting to unconscious psychic energy and hearing the Call of the King; the practice of Jungian active imagination and Ignatian contemplation (emphasis added).x
This workshop is another example of how true faith is being squeezed out of Christianity. Instead of trusting God at His Word, we are being called to trust experiences such as "connecting to unconscious psychic energy." These mystical attempts at spirituality will never help us grow in a right relationship with God. Read more about visualization and hypnosis
i. "Carl Jung," Mythosandlogos.com
iii. Carl Jung and Aniela Jaffé (ed.), Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Vintage, 1989): 181-182.
iv. Paul Bishop (ed.), Jung in Contexts: A Reader (New York: Routledge, 1999): 59.
v. On Image and Duality, Heidekolb's Blog (January 11, 2010).
vi. Paul Bishop (ed.), Jung in Contexts: A Reader (New York: Routledge, 1999): 58.
viii. Alan Winston, "The Ancient Egyptian Ka," TourEgypt.net
ix. Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, as quoted in Claire Dunne, Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002): 53.
x. "Ignatian Spirituality Conference at St. Louis University," SLU.edu.
This article is adapted from Walter Veith’s Rekindling the Reformation DVD The Jesuits and The Counter Reformation Part 2