Psychology (Carl Jung)

He [Man] must know something of God’s nature and of metaphysical processes if he is to understand himself and thereby achieve gnosis of the Divine. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 747.


Jung and Freud

Jung’s acquaintance with the writings of Freud commenced in 1900, the year of publication of The Interpretation of Dreams, which he read at Bleuler’s suggestion but was not yet prepared to appreciate. Three years later, returning to the book, he realized that it offered the best explanation he had found of the mechanism of the repressions observed in his word-association experiments. He could not, however, accept Freud’s identification of the content of repression as invariably a sexual trauma, since from his own practice he was familiar with cases in which (to quote his words) “the question of sexuality played a subordinate part, other factors standing in the foreground — for example, the problem of social adaptation, of oppression by tragic circumstances of life, prestige considerations, and so on.

“Jung opened an exchange with Freud by sending him in 1906 a collection of his early papers entitled Studies in Word Association to which Freud graciously responded; and Jung went to visit him in Vienna. They met at one in the afternoon and talked for thirteen hours, almost without let.

The next year Jung sent his monograph on “The Psychology of Dementia Praecox” and again was invited to Vienna, but with his wife this time, and affairs took another turn.

“When I arrived in Vienna with my young and happy wife,” Jung told a visitor, Dr. John M. Billinsky, in 1957, “Freud came to see us at the hotel and brought some flowers for my wife. He was trying to be very considerate and at one point said to me, ‘I am sorry that I can give you no real hospitality. I have nothing at home but an elderly wife.’ When my wife heard him say that, she looked perplexed and embarrassed. At Freud’s home that evening, during dinner, I tried to talk to Freud and his wife about psychoanalysis and Freud’s activities, but I soon discovered that Mrs. Freud knew absolutely nothing about what Freud was doing. It was very obvious that there was a very superficial relationship between Freud and his wife.”

Soon I met Freud’s wife’s younger sister. She was very good-looking, and she not only knew enough about psychoanalysis but also about everything Freud was doing. When, a few days later, I was visiting Freud’s laboratory, his sister-in-law asked me if she could talk with me. She was very much bothered by her relationship with Freud and felt guilty about it. From her I learned that Freud was in love with her and that their friendship was indeed very intimate. It was a shocking discovery to me, and even now I recall the agony I felt at the time.”

The following year, 1908, Jung attended in Vienna the First International Congress of Psycho-Analysis; and it was there that he met the greater part of that distinguished company which, in the next years, was to make the psychoanalytic movement known to the world. The next spring, 1909, found Jung once again in Vienna, and on this occasion Freud — his elder by nineteen years — confided to him kindly that he was adopting him “as an eldest son, anointing him as successor and crown prince.” However, when the anointed later asked what his adopting elder’s views might be on precognition and parapsychology, Freud replied abruptly: Sheer nonsense! — “and in terms,” states Jung, “of so shallow a positivism that I had difficulty in checking the sharp retort on the tip of my tongue.”

I had a curious sensation,” Jung continues in his account of this first real crisis in their friendship. “It was as if my diaphragm were made of iron and were becoming red-hot — a glowing vault. And at that moment there was such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we started up in alarm, fearing the thing was going to topple over on us. I said to Freud: “There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorization phenomenon’

‘Oh come!’ he exclaimed. ‘That is sheer bosh.’

‘It is not,’ I replied. ‘You are mistaken, Herr Professor. And to prove my point I now predict that in a moment there will be another such loud report!’ Sure enough, no sooner had I said the words than the same detonation went off in the bookcase. . . . Freud only stared aghast at me. I do not know what was in his mind, or what his look meant. In any case, this incident aroused his mistrust of me, and I had the feeling that I had done something against him.”

It is hardly surprising, after such a display of shamanism on the part of his newly adopted “son,” that the “father (with his idee fixe about Oedipus) should, on their next occasion, have suffered a hysterical crisis. This occurred that fall, in Bremen, where they had met to embark for America, invited, both, to Clark University to receive honorary degrees. Jung had been reading of the peat-bog corpses brought to light in Denmark: bodies from the Iron Age, perfectly preserved, which he had hoped to see while in the North. And when he began talking of these, there was something about his persistence that began to get on Freud’s nerves. Several times Freud asked why he was so concerned about those corpses; and when, at dinner, Jung went on, Freud suddenly fainted — having conceived the idea, as he later explained, that Jung had death wishes against him.

“From the very beginning of our trip,” Jung confided to Dr. Billinsky, fifty years later, “we started to analyze each other’s dreams. Freud had some dreams that bothered him very much. The dreams were about the triangle — Freud, his wife, and wife’s younger sister. Freud had no idea that I knew about the triangle and his intimate rela- tionship with his sister-in-law. And so, when Freud told me about the dream in which his wife and her sister played important parts, I asked him to tell me some of his personal associations with the dream. He looked at me with bitterness and said, ‘I could tell you more, but I cannot risk my authority.’ That, of course, finished my attempt to deal with his dreams. … If Freud had tried to under- stand consciously the triangle, he would have been much, much better off.

“The next traumatic event occurred in 1910, the year of the Second Congress of the Association of Psycho-Analysis, where Freud proposed, and even insisted against organized opposition, that Jung should be appointed Permanent President. “My dear Jung,” he urged on this occasion, as Jung tells, “promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark.” He said this
with great emotion, in the tone (states Jung) of a father saying, “And promise me this one thing, my dear son: that you will go to church every Sunday.” In some astonishment Jung asked him, “A bulwark — against what?” To which he replied, “Against the black tide of mud” — and here he hesitated for a moment, then added — “of occultism.”

“First of all,” comments Jung on this episode, “it was the words ‘bulwark’ and ‘dogma’ that alarmed me; for a dogma, that is to say, an undisputable confession of faith, is set up only when the aim is to suppress doubts once and for all. But that no longer has anything to do with scientific judgment; only with a personal power drive.

“This was the thing that struck at the heart of our friendship. I knew that I would never be able to accept such an attitude. What Freud seemed to mean by ‘occultism’ was virtually everything that philosophy and re- ligion, including the rising contemporary science of para- psychology, had learned about the psyche. To me the sexual theory was just as occult, that is to say, just as unproven a hypothesis, as many other speculative views. As I saw it, a scientific truth was a hypothesis that might be adequate for the moment but was not to be preserved as an article of faith for all time.”

The incompatibility of the two minds was clear; yet they contrived to work together until the next congress, in 19 12, in Munich, where Freud was again overwhelmed by his oedipal myth. Someone had turned the talk to Ikhnaton, suggesting that because of a negative attitude toward his father he had destroyed his father’s cartouches on the steles, and that in back of his creation of a monotheistic religion there lay, therefore, a father complex. Jung, irritated by such talk, responded that Ikhnaton had held his father’s memory in honor and that what his zeal had been directed against was the name of the god Amon: other pharaohs had replaced their fathers’ names with their own, feeling they had a right to do so as incarnations of the same god; yet they had not inaugurated a new religion. … On hearing which words, Freud slid off his chair in a faint.

Many have held that the break in the friendship of these two was caused by Jung’s publication of his altogether non-Freudian work, Symbols of Transformation {Collected Works, Vol. 5; Part I, 1911; Part II, 1912). However, this was not quite Jung’s own view, although the book certainly played a part. “The only thing he saw in my work,” Jung said in his talk with Dr. Billinsky, “was ‘resistance to the father’ — my wish to destroy the father. When I tried to point out to him my reasoning about the libido, his attitude toward me was one of bitterness and rejection.” More deeply, however, as Jung went on to explain: “It was my knowledge of Freud’s triangle that became a very important factor in my break with Freud. And then,” he continued, “I could not accept Freud’s placing authority above truth.”

Jung’s approach to the writing of his decisive — and divisive — work, Symbols of Transformation , commenced in 1909, the year of that trip to America. He had just begun his study of mythology and in the course of the readings came across Friedrich Creuzer’s Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Volker (1810-1823), which, as he declares, “fired” him. He worked like mad through a moun- tain of mythological material, continued through the Gnos- tic writers, and ended in total confusion; then chanced on a scries of fantasies of a certain Miss Miller of New York, published in the Archives de Psychologic by his revered friend Theodore Flournoy. He was immediately struck by the mythological character of the fantasies and found that they operated as a catalyst on the stored-up ideas within him. He commenced writing, and, as he told in later years of the composition of this pivotal work of his career: “It was the explosion of all those psychic contents which could find no room, no breathing space, in the constricting atmosphere of Freudian psychology and its narrow outlook.” “It was written at top speed, amid the rush and press of my medical practice, without regard to time or method. I had to fling my material hastily together, just as I found it. There was no opportunity to let my thoughts mature. The whole thing came upon me like a landslide that cannot be stopped.” Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu, Classical and Gnostic, Germanic and American Indian materials came clustering about the fantasies of a modern American woman on the brink of a schizophrenic breakdown. And Jung’s experience in the course of this labor transformed his entire point of view with respect to the task of interpreting psychological symbols.

“Hardly had I finished the manuscript,” he states, “when it struck me what it means to live with a myth, and what it means to live without one. Myth, says a Church Father, is ‘what is believed always, everywhere, by everybody’; hence the man who thinks he can live without myth, or outside it, is an exception. He is like one uprooted, having no true link either with the past, or with the ancestral life which continues within him, or yet with contemporary human society. This plaything of his reason never grips his vitals. It may occasionally be heavy on his stomach, for that organ is apt to reject the products of reason as in- digestible. The psyche is not of today; its ancestry goes back many millions of years. Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season, sprung from the perennial rhizome beneath the earth; and it would find itself in better accord with the truth if it took the existence of the rhizome into its calculations. For the root matter is the mother of all things.”

It was this radical shift of ground from a subjective and personal istic, essentially biographical approach to the reading of the symbolism of the psyche, to a larger, culture historical, mythological orientation, that then became the characteristic of Jung’s psychology. He asked himself, “What is the myth you are living?” and found that he did not know. “So, in the most natural way, I took it upon myself to get to know ‘my’ myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks; for — so I told myself — how could I, when treating my patients, make due allowance for the personal factor, for my personal equation, which is yet so necessary for a knowledge of the other person, if I was unconscious of it? I simply had to know what unconscious or preconscious myth was forming me, from what rhizome I sprang. This resolve led me to devote many years of my life to investigating the subjective contents which are the products of unconscious processes, and to work out methods which would enable us, or at any rate help us, to explore the manifestations of the unconscious.” – Campbell, Joseph. The Portable Jung

“Your practice of psycho-analysis was a mistake. It has, for the time at least, made the work of purification more complicated, not easier. The psycho-analysis of Freud is the last thing that one should associate with yoga. It takes up a certain part, the darkest, the most perilous, the unhealthiest part of the nature, the lower vital subconscious layer, isolates some of its most morbid phenomena and attributes to it and them an action out of all proportion to its true role in the nature. Modern psychology is an infant science, at once rash, fumbling and crude. As in all infant sciences, the universal habit of the human mind—to take a partial or local truth, generalise it unduly and try to explain a whole field of Nature in its narrow terms—runs riot here. Moreover, the exaggeration of the importance of suppressed sexual complexes is a dangerous falsehood and it can have a nasty influence and tend to make the mind and vital more and not less fundamentally impure than before.” ― Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga


Sometimes events happen in our lives which are seemingly beyond the realm of chance without explanation or cause. Such coincidences are meaningful only to the person who experiences them and are difficult to explain to others without the accusation that one is being superstitious or reading too much into things. One often hears people say. ‘Well, the strangest thing happened to me today.’ But it is not usual for anyone to give their coincidence any further thought than the fact that it was strange. And strange it was indeed, but is that all? Might we ask whether such coincidences have any meaning, a message, some profound insight?

This is the question which psychologist Carl Jung asked when he put forward a new concept which he called ‘Synchronicity’. Simply stated, synchronicity is a non-casual event in the external world which coincides with things going on in the internal world, such as our thoughts, feelings and dreams.Through this concept Jung was attempting to remove the superstition and fantasy which surround unpredictable and impressive events, and present as best as he could a scientific framework that would provide clarification and enable a discussion of such events.

In his endeavour he was inspired by ancient Chinese texts, particularly the I Ching, which states that there is an interrelation between the individual and the cosmos, that one’s inner state participates in the external world. When these two states connect an event of synchronicity is experienced. An example of such an event might include choosing a random television programme to watch and discovering after some time that the main character is experiencing the same trials and struggle as you are. In Eastern religion such events are considered to be the revelations, messages from the divine. Revelations are sacred in Christianity also, but in recent times the West has become too logical and scientific to believe that there is any wisdom in what we would regard as ‘mere coincidence’.

Throughout his book, ‘Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle’, Jung goes to great lengths to say that he is not denying chance, that the improbable might be just that, improbable, without purpose or meaning. But sometimes coincidences pile up in a way which makes it irresistible not to think that something else is going on. As Jung writes,

‘What I found were “coincidences” which were connected so meaningfully that their “chance” concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure.’


Sigmund Freud was a pioneer in the field of psychology. He named his new field psychoanalysis, as in the study of psychotic and mentally ill patients. Early in Carl Jung’s career, Freud was like a father figure to him. Freud was grooming the younger Jung to be his successor. But the two men didn’t see eye to eye. Jung suggested a different name for their emerging field: psycheanalysis. He saw their role as an analysis of the human mind, soul, and spirit.

Jung saw a different picture of the human condition than Freud. Freud perceived his patients to be ill while he, as an analyst, was not. Jung related to his patients, realizing he was in a similar mental condition as his patients. Jung saw we are all fragmented and divided, and knowingly or not, we’re all searching for our souls.

Jungian Psychology’s Individuation Process

Jung believed each person is unique and has a distinct destiny.

Most of Jungian psychology—also called analytical psychology or depth psychology—centers on what Jung later called the individuation process. The individuation process was Jung’s way of explaining the path to optimal personal development for an individual.

Jungian analyst Anthony Stevens writes in Private Myths:

Individuation is the process, simple or complex as the case may be, by which every living organism becomes what it was destined to become from the beginning.

The purpose of this individuation process is to increase the individual’s consciousness. With greater consciousness, individuals can heal the splits in their mind between what’s conscious and unconscious, bringing them to wholeness in their psyche.

In the first half of life, we make our way through the world, doing our best to develop healthy egos. The first portion of life is mainly external as we seek to meet our basic needs. From Jung’s outlook, the second part of life can represent a turning inward toward a deeper part of ourselves. This inward turn starts the individuation process.

Man and His Symbols

Jung’s life-work, according to Joseph Henderson, had the ability to shatter the illusion that modern man and the myths and symbols of past cultures are somehow separated. That symbols and myths are somehow irrelevant to our current society and epoch. While the conscious ego as educated by the modern world has definitely lost the meaning of ancient symbols and myths, the unconscious acts as a repository of symbolic meaning that has not required learning. This unconscious symbol making capacity and knowledge is in fact an inherited legacy of the human mind.

Collective Unconscious

He argued that the collective unconscious had profound influence on the lives of individuals, who lived out its symbols and clothed them in meaning through their experiences.

These archetypes dwell in a world beyond the chronology of a human lifespan, developing on an
evolutionary timescale. Regarding the animus and anima, the male principle within the woman and the female principle within the man, Jung writes:

They evidently live and function in the deeper layers of the unconscious, especially in that phylogenetic substratum which I have called the collective unconscious. This localization explains a good deal of their strangeness: they bring into our ephemeral consciousness an unknown psychic life belonging to a remote past. It is the mind of our unknown ancestors, their way of thinking and feeling, their way of experiencing life and the world, gods and men. The existence of these archaic strata is presumably the source of man’s belief in reincarnations and in memories of “previous experiences”. Just as the human body is a museum, so to speak, of its phylogenetic history, so too is the psyche.

The Shadow Self

Our world is a world of duality and relativism, so naturally, there are going to be opposite poles.

Here and there. Hot and cold. Light and dark. Yin and yang. All seeming opposites.

One of the most important types of duality is psychological duality. Namely, our shadow selves – the sides of our personality that we keep hidden.

The process of uncovering and integrating that personality is known as “shadow work”.

In the 21st century, Carl Jung was a Swiss psychoanalyst who wanted an answer to the question:

“Why do seemingly good people do obviously bad things?”

Jung came up with the answer in the form of archetypes, which are a psychological representation of different emotional and mental states of the human mind.

These archetypes in turn rise from the subconscious/unconscious mind:

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” – Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness’s of other people. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung

Psychology and the Occult

Speaking in 1897 on the general subject of psychology, the 22-year-old Jung said that the soul does exist, it is intelligent and immortal, not subject to time and space. He declared the reality of the spirits and spiritualism, on the evidence of telekinesis, messages of dying people, hypnotism, clairvoyance, second sight and prophetic dreams.

In a letter of May 8, 1911, Jung writes, “The meeting in Munich is still very much on my mind. Occultism is another field we shall have to conquer – with the aid of the libido theory, it seems to me. At the moment I am looking into astrology, which seems indispensable for a proper understanding of mythology. There are strange and wondrous things in these lands of darkness. Please don’t worry about my wandering in these infinitudes. I shall return laden with rich booty for our knowledge of the human psyche. For a while longer I must intoxicate myself on magic perfumes in order to fathom the secrets that lie hidden in the abysses of the unconscious.

This was the letter to which Freud gave a famous reply (12 May 1911): “I am aware that you are driven by innermost inclination to the study of the occult and I am sure you will return home rich laden. I cannot argue with that, it is always right to go where your impulses lead. You will be accused of mysticism, but the reputation you won with the Dementia will hold up for some time against that. just don’t stay in the tropical colonies too long; you must reign at home.”

And, a month later, astrology again (12 June 1911): “My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you… I dare say that we shall one day discovery in astrology a good deal of knowledge that has been intuitively projected into the heavens. For instance, it appears that the signs of the zodiac are character pictures, in other words libido symbols which depict the typical qualities of the libido at the given moment.”

Freud’s reply (15 June 1911) sounds rather fatigued: “In matters of occultism have grown humble since the great lesson Ferenczi’s experiences gave me. I promise to believe anything that can be made to look reasonable. I shall not do so gladly, that you know. But my hubris has been shattered.”


Carl Jung and Astral Projection

A 68-year-old Carl Gustav Jung – then the world’s most renowned living psychologist – broke his fibula. While in hospital, he suffered a heart attack. Treated with oxygen and camphor, he lost consciousness and had a near-death and out-of-the-body experience.

He found himself floating 1,000 miles above the Earth. Seas and continents shimmered in blue light and Jung could make out the Arabian desert and snow-tipped Himalayas. He felt he was about to leave orbit, but then, turning to the south, a huge black monolith came into view.

A Hindu Avatar

It was a kind of temple, and at the entrance Jung saw a Hindu sitting in a lotus pos­ition. Within, innumerable candles flickered, and he felt that the “whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence” was being stripped away. It wasn’t pleasant, and what remained was an “essential Jung”, the core of his experiences. 

He knew that inside the temple the mystery of his existence, of his purpose in life, would be answered. He was about to cross the threshold when he saw, rising up from Europe far below, the image of his doctor in the archetypal form of the King of Kos, the island site of the temple of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine.

He told Jung that his departure was premature; many were demanding his return and he, the King, was there to ferry him back. When Jung heard this, he was immensely disappointed, and almost  immediately the vision ended. He experienced the reluctance to live that many who have been ‘brought back’ encounter, but what troubled him most was seeing his doctor in his archetypal form.

His Premonition Comes True

He knew this meant that the physician had sacrificed his own life to save Jung’s. On 4 April 1944 (4/4/44!)– a date numerologists can delight in – Jung sat up in bed for the first time since his heart attack. On the same day, his doctor came down with septicæmia and took to his bed. He never left it, and died a few days later.