The Jung Material

These selections were taken from a long essay entitled "Archetypes of the Unconscious." It can be found in the "Collected Works," vol. 9, part 1. It is also in the Bollingen paperback "Basic Writings of C.G. Jung", Violet de Laszlo, ed.

*******Material from the Jung essay is bracketed in asterisks, as this paragraph is.********

My comments are not bracketed. Just to keep it straight. As always, others' comments are italicized.

It began with a simple post to one of my listserve communities. This was before I joined the Friends of Amrit Desai group, and so it is heavily hermetic (Tarot, Astrology, etc.) Some of my friends who know a lot more about Qabala and such gave me some good web sites for the Links section - there is a lot of technical hermetic language that could use an explanation, but it would be too awkward to do it here. You will also notice, in the comments parts, that there is a lot more give and take between participants, instead of between participants and myself. I've tried to include relevant quotes, without making the pages too long to read.

Here's the initial letter:

I recently read a passage by Carl Jung about the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious, and between the sympathetic system and the cerebro-spinal system. The book is at my office, so I can't quote exactly. But to paraphrase: He notes that the sympathetic system has been known for many centuries as that which includes, hence the name sympathetic. It operates primarily on a subconscious level. The cerebro-spinal system, and more especially the cerebrum, is that vehicle of the mind which separates in order to allow concentration by the conscious mind.

The implications to me so far are as follows: (1.) Our conscious minds are not intended to be a vehicle for the comprehension of Unity. At best, on that level, we can achieve an intellectual understanding of the concept. But we will not experience it cerebrally. The experience will come via the sympathetic system. (2.) The conscious mind is able to witness this experience, it just will not partake of it, for the nature of consciousness is to concentrate, and by definition to separate.

Like so many things, it seems so simple that I wonder why I didn't realize this before. In retrospect, I see that I was expecting and striving to experience Unity cerebrally. However, this is neither necessary nor desirable, the design of the human mind being what it is. Looking back, I see that sometimes I have experienced Unity unconsciously (only becoming aware of the experience by noticing a gap in conscious awareness which triggered memory of the experience), and sometimes witnessed the experience consciously as it occurred. Now I understand this better.


The Unconscious

The Archetypes

The Modern Poverty of Symbols

Water: The Great Symbol of the Unconscious

Knowing the Shadow

The Anima