After watching an interview with Carl Jung, linked via a post on The Hunt for Truth’s blog yesterday : https://hunt4truth.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/man-cannot-stand-a-meaningless-life, I have been thinking a great deal about him and his influence on my life. I have felt a deep affinity with Jung his views and ideas for a very long time.
When I travelled to England in my early 20s I was given his book Memories Dreams and Reflections by my boyfriend at the time. I was intrigued by his intake on synchronicity, the compassion and depth of insight he showed in his early work with schizophrenics in his first job as a psychiatrist and also with the fact that he was so interested in nature, symbolism and most especially astrology which from the age of 14 had been one of my most passionate interests.
My interest in and love for Jung grew more when I learned in early sobriety of the part he played in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous which is mentioned in the literature. Jung was treating a patient with severe alcohol dependency and he was humble enough to say that he had no power as a therapist to affect that man’s desire to drink. But he did say that he believed a change could come about if people realised that on one level the thirst for spirits on a metaphorical level reflected the longing of a person for a spiritual experience ( I would now interpret this not just to be purely mystical but also the very real need we have to feel and live our true spirit, to feel vibrant and fully alive physically, emotionally and spiritually connected to meaning and a sense of Self that makes sense to and of us.)
The humility and insight displayed by Jung in those recommendations really impressed me. Here was a figure with a significant aura of authority prepared to be honest about the limits of his own knowledge and power over others.
What also drew me to Jung was that his Sun, like mine is in square to Neptune. In the interview I listened to yesterday, Jung was speaking of how what he noticed in his relationship with Freud was his absolute certainty about matters, he explained that he, as a personality was more open to questioning and self doubt. This intrigued me.
Jung had form of psychic breakdown (which I guess could be described more as an experience of spiritual emergency and emergence) at the time Neptune passed over his Sun in Leo. He had powerful visions of Europe bathed in a river of blood prior to the outbreak of war.
Like all Neptunians, Jung had a strong imaginative side and a powerful inner dream life. Many of his central ideas were developed in response to revealing dreams. One of his most significant contributions to our understanding of human nature and polarities was his insight in the shadow or our dark side, that part of human nature that falls below consciousness and which he recognised is more likely to be projected onto others as a result. This came to him in a dream and doubtless was developed due his deeply enquiring mind and profound compassionate heart that was able to bear with the sick, ill and deeply suffering in a emotionally neutral and totally non judgemental way. It was also due to his power to understand how such psychological forces played such a huge part in the rising of the Nazi movement which he also had prophetic insights into.
If you follow the links on Eric Hunt’s blog yesterday to another post of his you will come to a You Tube video on which Alan Watts explores Jung’s ideas on the dark side. The video includes text of a talk given to priests by Jung in which he explains how necessary non judgemental presence is to healers and therapists and how essential an understanding and acceptance of our own is to psychological balance. He claims that a person who has not made peace with his own dark side will not be in a position to help others bear with their own. It is a powerful message most prevalent and necessary at this time in history where many have still not realised the enormous cost that comes from projection of the shadow onto others who evoke our fear or misunderstanding.
I feel very close to tears at times when I think of Jung. I feel he had such an enormous heart and such depths of compassion. He definitely had his own dark side and his peace with it is the part of the profound the contribution he made towards our understanding of ourselves and others.
With a Sun Sign Leo, discovery and connection to his inner divine child was a necessity for Jung. When he began to turn increasingly inward at a critical time of upheaval in his own life he started to play like a child. He began building and sculpting with blocks. He recorded his dreams in vibrant images and became interested in mandalas, many of his dreams, insights and visions are included in The Red Book. He displayed the profound creativity that is the highest expression of the Sun Neptune aspect.
Jung discovered the concepts of extraversion and introversion and expoused the concept of psychological types with accords with the astrological idea of archetypes of human nature which in corresponding to the elements link the person’s nature to key forms of expression. Water types are strong in feeling, Fire types strongly intuitive, Earth types highly sensate and practical, Air types powerful thinkers motivated by ideas and relationships between things.
It would take years of study to understand the true depth of many of Jung’s ideas.
His key conflict with Freud can also be understood when we compare the differences between them astrologically. Liz Greene has pointed out that astrologically Fire and Earth types are opposites. Jung with his Fire Sun in Leo was strongly intuitive and emotionally motivated. Freud with is Earth Sun in Taurus was more focused on sensation and sexuality as primary motivators of psychological behaviour. The stubbornness of Freud’s Taurus Sun is displayed in the way he dug in his heels and refused to let go of the seduction theory when evidence showed that many of his Victorian patients had actually been sexually abused. It was also shown in his deep resistance to many of Jung’s more powerful ideas which required an imaginative leap and surrender of fixity and certainty. Yes, Jung’s Leo Sun is also fixed but it operated on a totally different level to Freud’s.
Like Jung I have realised since early sobriety the powerful nature of dreams in my own life. Prior to recovery I started to record my own dreams and saw that often they were deeply prophetic in nature. A year or so before getting into recovery I dreamt of being called to embark on a night sea journey with a prostitute and an addict. It was a dream encounter with aspects of my own shadow and a harbinger too of the work I would do inwardly and connections I would make further down the road and of my joining AA.
Another dream in early sobriety saw me escape from a house that was burning down, a den of iniquity. This was a precursor dream of changes that were to come in following years and of how my entire false self from that time on would begin to crumble.
There was the dream of an African woman with eyes full of sorrow and pain, telling me about the baby she lost just after one year. That was a message from my unconscious that after just over a year of therapy something deeply precious would be removed from me when we returned home. In the dream she told me that sad as it was the death of the baby was necessary. I now know that I have lived that sorrow and that the dream image of the African woman with eyes full of sorrow and light was a metaphorical expression of so much deep experience I have had over the 15 years since.
Then there was the dream of the spiral staircase with my self one other woman and two men, two couples, one ascending and one descending, the flash of electric Uranian energy up my spine and then the whoosh of being pulled back up the birth canal while the walls squeezed me in and I tried to push back against them. This was the inception of my return home to Australia of much put to death and of the fight of my life to revisit the past and become conscious all taking place when Saturn opposed the cusp of the fourth house of my chart in Sagittarius where it is now transiting, the house of birth and death, of beginnings and endings, of family, ancestors, migration, mother womb.
While these dreams are just personal and in no way stand in comparison with the importance of Jung’s insight into them has been such a balm and I thank God for Jung and all I have learned about dreams from his own work.
It was such a gift to have been reconnected to him through the post yesterday. Meaning is very much related to the sign of Sagittarius through with Saturn is passing now. I feel the reason Sag follows Scorpio is that in order to begin to make meaning of things we have to visit and revisit the depths of feeling in ourselves, we need to see the places where we fear and at times put ourselves to death, we have to make the so called mistakes in order to learn the lessons and we gain much understanding by the at times torturing encounter with our own dark side and that of others, who are put into our lives to help us grow in consciousness, another Sagittarian theme.
We often cannot know in which direction to shoot or aim our arrow until we have learned the lessons of the shadow, deep and dark. And it is a challenge beyond words to embark upon the night sea journey into the depths of ourselves that leads us to the dark night of the soul and most often occurs in mid life as the old conditioned life has to be excavated in order for our souls to grow a new life around us and provide deeper insight into the nature of our difficulties and the part we play in them.
Jung’s ideas and hard won insights can be, for many of us, be a guiding light we can use to direct us along the way on this journey. We know others have undergone it before us and the knowledge can help us even though the depths of aloneness so many of us face, like Jung are extremely painful. Just as in his dream of the shadow the image of light bearer was there guiding his way through the depths of the unconscious so Jung is there for us. God bless you Jung. God bless you for the gifts you gave us.