THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MAGICK: Jung & His Wretched Subjects

This article was written by The Nephilim Rising’s Astrologer, Emily O’Keeffe.


My first love is Psychology. I was Psych major in college, but even before that, I have always had a fascination with why people do the things they do.

I’ve always been an observer, I love to people watch, so it was just logical that the “whys” would happen at some point. I first heard about Jung in Psych 101 but it was such a general overview that I didn’t really think much of it.

Then later I took a class called Jung and Contemporary Mythology.

That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole.

If you don’t happen to be familiar with Jung, I’m sure you are familiar with many of his concepts.

The Collective Unconscious is the big one.

I will try to give a very basic definition but really, I could write a whole article just on just this.

The Collective Unconscious is the part of the unconscious mind which is derived from ancestral memory and experience and is common to all humankind. It is distinct from the individual unconscious that carries our own memories and experiences.

It is like a small pool (individual) that gets its water from the flow from a larger pool (collective), in other words our own individual unconscious is a smaller more individual version of the collective. It is all the same type of content, content that speaks in symbols.

These symbols of the Collective Unconscious are called Archetypes.

Our individual unconscious also contains these Archetypes, as well as our own personal symbols and we often put our own personal filter on these Archetypes or identify with a certain aspect of these Archetypes more than others based on our personal experiences of them.

Archetypes are another subject I could write a whole article on so I will try to give a brief explanation of them as well. They are universal symbols that every culture has. Each culture tends to have it’s own interpretation of these symbols but they do exist in every culture.
Jung was an analytical psychiatrist.

He was a student and friend of Freud until around 1912, when they had a philosophical falling out. A lot of it had to do with Jung’s study of what historian Otto Neugebauer referred to as the ‘wretched subjects’. They are the study of the liminal and numinous subjects of humanity. Subjects like religion, magic, the spiritual, and the esoteric.

Jung is the only one of the big name psychological philosophers that I know of, who acknowledged the validity of these subjects to the human experience.

Whether one believes in any of these subjects personally, one cannot deny that they are in fact a part of the human experience. If one is really honest with themselves, everyone on the planet has experienced something that they just can not explain.

Lots of people, most people actually, shrug these things off as figment of our imagination or childish or crazy.

For a scientist to acknowledge something of the numinous it was the kiss of death to any validity at all, because one can’t ‘prove it’. This is admittedly somewhat of an oversimplification but for the purposes of brevity, Jung was of the belief that it doesn’t necessarily need to be proven empirically or explained to be true. Once he started speaking of these things, he was labeled a mystic so a lot his work was discounted.

Even some of the most hardcore Jungians won’t really talk about his study of such subjects. It’s kind of an open secret that they tolerate but just don’t talk about.

Jung studied Gnosticism, alchemy, the tarot, and astrology, just to name a few.

In fact, astrology was so integral to his analytical process that he did natal charts for all his clients, also his colleagues. In Jung’s own statement, he began studying astrology while he was still working with Freud ‘in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth’.

He used natal horoscopes to better understand the unconscious dynamics of his patients ‘in cases of difficult psychological diagnosis’.

Further, he recommended that any person training as a psychotherapist should learn astrology, and that astrology’s value is ‘obvious enough to the psychologist, since astrology represents the sum of all psychological knowledge of antiquity’.

Jung says that ‘the sun, moon, and planets were the exponents, so to speak, of certain psychological or psychical constituents of the human character; and this is why astrology can give more or less valid information about character…’

He says in a very lengthy letter to the French astrologer Barbault, ‘there are many instances of striking analogies between astrological constellations and psychological events… Astrology like the collective unconscious with which psychology is concerned, consists of symbolic configurations: the ‘planets’ are the gods, symbols of the powers of the unconscious…’

His biggest critique of astrologers is that they were too literal and not symbolic enough. Also involved in his theory was the quality of time.

He says, ‘The qualities of the different months of the year, in other words the zodiac, are really the projections of our unconscious knowledge of time and the qualities of time. It is as if there were profound knowledge in our unconscious, knowledge based upon unconscious experiences, that certain things originating at certain times of the year have such and such qualities’.
It has been my experience and the experience of many others that have studied this in depth, that the natal chart acts as map of you or if you prefer your soul. It’s your personality, your psychological complexes, and if you believe in past lives, which I do, where you’ve been and where you’re supposed to go in this life.

It’s sometimes disturbingly accurate, and even tells us things about ourselves that we would rather not admit, in other words our shadow sides.

It’s a map for our individuation.

For those that are not familiar with that term individuation, it is the integration of the conscious and the unconscious material of our psyches, two parts becoming one whole.

It is a lifelong process and cyclical.

We keep coming back to the same lessons until we learn them and integrate those parts of ourselves.

Or to put into alchemical terms turning lead into gold; or in the terms of the tarot its going from The Fool to The World.

It’s all the same premise just in different languages so to speak, but overall it is the language of symbols, the language of Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.

References:
*Jung’s Collected Works
*C.G. Jung Letters Vol.1&2
*Jung’s The Vision Seminars
*Jung’s Modern Psychology

PLUTO RETROGRADE: The Summer of our Discontent

Pluto went retrograde on April 25th. It will be retrograde until the 4th of October.

Welcome to the Summer of our Discontent.

Not gonna lie, since the big Saturn Pluto conjunction in January, it has felt a bit like all Hell has broken loose.

The world in is chaos right now.

If you are at all sensitive to energy, you’ve been feeling this energy intensely.

Now that Pluto has gone retrograde, it has turned its energy inward on us.

In other words, Pluto has gone in to the Underworld of our unconscious to do the things he does best, shadow work.

Flushing out the ghosts and demons in our psyche.

They hide there.

We think they are gone because out of sight out of mind, but really they are sleeping or biding their time and getting stronger in the dark.

Pluto finds them out, because he knows how they are and how they hide and he flushes them out. He gives you the chance to see them and transform them into power and self-knowledge. But so often they overwhelm us. We may get one or two before they take us down, but the ones we miss go back into their hiding places to wait again.

We all have our own personal demons, but we also share some universal ones.

One of those is Doubt.

Doubt is a fucking bastard.

You can’t ever kill it.

However, you can make it smaller and less likely to flow over in to all areas of your life.

One of my favorite stories about doubt is Orpheus and Eurydice.

It’s beautiful and sad, a classic tragic love story. Orpheus, the son of Apollo, was a musician. No human or beast could resist the beautiful music he played. He fell in love with Eurydice, a beautiful woman of charm and grace.

They marry and are very happily in love. Shortly after their marriage, Eurydice steps on a snake, is bitten, and dies instantly. Orpheus is inconsolable. He sings his grief so beautifully, that he is able move every being in this world and the next. His father Apollo urges him to speak to Hades and Persephone. He gives Orpheus protection so he can journey to the Underworld.

Once there, he speaks with Hades and Persephone in the court of the Underworld. He sings his song for them and brings Persephone to tears, and surprisingly Hades as well. They allow Eurydice to leave the Underworld with Orpheus.

But nothing worth having comes without a price.

Orpheus must lead and Eurydice must follow, and as long as they are both in the Underworld Orpheus must not turn back to look at her. If he does, she must stay in the Underworld and be lost to him forever.

If he is patient and trusts that she is following, he will have her by his side in the world again. He thinks no problem, he has faith in the Gods and he is a patient man. They start their way out of the Underworld. As they walked, Orpheus could not hear her footsteps behind him.

Doubt started to overtake him.

Would the Gods really would do what they said they would do?

They made it all the way to the edge of the Underworld and the doubt finally over took Orpheus.

He turned to see Eurydice being pulled back into the Underworld, lost to him forever.

Doubt is Caution’s toxic shadow side, which is why we can never really get rid of it.

However, if you let it get out of check, it spreads like an infection. It’s good to be cautious, but you still have to have some hope and some trust in yourself and others.

Fear is another one of those universal demons.

It’s related to Doubt and Caution, but it’s much worse.

It’s a shapeshifter.

It looks different to everyone and it knows exactly where it needs to hit us to completely paralyze us. One of Fear’s biggest weapons, is the lies it tells us. It uses lies that it hears from Doubt to manipulate and control us. It’s a toxic little mix down there in the dark.

One of my favorite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is called Fear Itself. It’s Halloween and everyone is going to a haunted house that ends in a party at a frat house. While decorating they decide to use a sigil from some random book because it looks cool and they paint it on the floor. Someone cuts themselves and blood drips on the sigil and of course starts the summoning of something. Its happens. Turns out they have begun to summon Gachnar the Fear Demon. First, he takes over the house and brings to life all the Halloween decorations and locking in all the guests and closing walls behind them. He turns the house into a maze and keeps yelling “Release me!!!” The more fear that everyone shows the stronger and louder he gets. He gets into everyone’s head and starts manifesting their greatest fears. Some of those fears are psychological, like abandonment and loneliness and being invisible to people that you love. They end up at the room where the sigil is and figure out what’s going on. When the Gachnar finally does manifest, he turns out to be about 6 inches tall and then when everyone sees its actual size it gets squished.

Pluto right now is flushing these demons and a bunch of ghosts attached to them, out in your psyche. They come at you like a swarm sometimes and it feels bigger than it really is because it disorients you.

It’s scary and sometimes its actual panic and those are very real feelings but are they true?

If you could freeze the swarm for a moment and see it for what it really is, is it really what you thought it was?

Can you put those ghosts to rest and let them go?

The more you put to rest, the less will come out in the swarm the next time.

Pretty soon it’s just little bouts of fear and doubt from time to time, just to clean out the cobwebs. The smaller it is the easier it is to handle. This whole process is not a good time. Like at all.

It’s necessary, but all transformations are painful and often there is a pretty heavy price. What you gain however, is personal growth and becoming more whole. These are the themes of Pluto retrograde. This Plutonian energy is happening to us personally and globally.

And, we are probably all going to be forced to sit with it, distraction free because of the global pandemic, until Pluto goes direct on October 4th.

This is shadow work.

The more we acknowledge and accept our shadow sides, the more they become conscious and we can integrate them into the whole of our personality where it becomes power and knowledge that we can better control.

This article was written by guest Author and The Nephilim Rising’s Astrologer, Emily O’Keeffe.