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