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

Tales From the Nightside: The Draconian Path

Dragon

Image: Sima Domke

“If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.”

Ilona Andrews

If you walk the Left Hand Path, either as a Theist or an Atheist, you have had encounters with the Dragon or Archetype. There are few things synonymous with our path but the Dragon, Serpent, Great Mighty Sea Beast (all one in the same, really) seem to be the top contenders.

Whether it is a metaphorical process of death and rebirth as the Ouroboros (Uroboros) suggests, or the shedding of skin aka accepting change via the Serpent metaphor; the Dragon is the epitome of what it means to walk this path.

Throughout history there have been depictions, stories, and great tales from the likes of Tiamat in Baylonian/Sumerian Mythology; Nidhogg (Nidhoggr) and Jormungondr in Norse Mythology; Leviathan and Her consort Behemoth in Hebrew mythology, though many suggest that Her origins are from the Canaanite Sea Beast, Lôtān or Litānu. Python in Greek Mythology; Apep in Egyptian Mythology, just to name a few. We then of course have the depiction of the Dragon as the Serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

I find it interesting that Leviathan is mentioned as a female in the Book of Enoch:

‘And that day will two monsters be parted, one monster, a female named Leviathan in order to dwell in the Abyss of the ocean over the fountains of water; and (the other), a male called Behemoth, which holds his chest in an invisible desert whose name is Dundayin, east of the garden of Eden.’

1 Enoch 60:7-8

I also find it interesting that Tiamat is described as “a primordial Goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the God of fresh water) to produce younger Gods. She is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.”

In all the other stories the Dragon is associated with strong masculine energy, and Satan but could it be that the Dragon really is a female? Only a female can birth beings into creation, and if we adopt the ideology that we come from the great Void aka the Womb of the Dragon, it surely must be a She.

Before I get into that, let me first explain what it means to walk the path of the Dragon.

Like the serpent is sure to coil, our path is sure to be crooked; there is nothing that is going to be handed to us, and answers will not come easily. This is not a path for the faint of heart, or those who seek instant gratification. The Left Hand Path is a path of battling self, going against the status quo; this is a path of searching, of pain, and endless leaps into the Abyss where we go to molt, shed our skin, and come out a better version of ourselves– a stronger, more aware, and enlightened version.

The Dragon shows us how to be an element of our own, and reminds us of the Chaos that was necessary for our birth. Not only did a star have to die for us to come into existence but the act of sex, the moment of orgasm, the very second when the sperm meets the egg, are all moments of sheer Chaos: beautiful, Divine, creation.

The Dragon is an unforgiving force but one of freedom, and individuality; She grants us permission to be exactly who we were created to be.

The Dragon is in all of us because we all come from Her Womb, but children or not, Her natural instinct is undeniable, She will devour us all the same. We must face our own inner Dragon, or surely the Beast’s true nature will turn on us.

Now that I have said my piece, let me give you some information for your reading pleasure.

For Jung the Dragon is “the personification of Sulphur and is by far the male element. Since the dragon is said to impregnate himself by swallowing his tail, then the tail is the male organ and the mouth is the female organ.  The winged dragon represents personal obstacles that must be overcome to insure a more-perfect being; thus, leading to the saying: “You conquer the dragon or he will conquer you.”  We see that Jung did, certainly, inspire awareness of the connections between modern psychology and ancient spiritual practice.  Some credit the Chinese as the inventors of dragon. The origins of dragon lore are a matter of some debate. It is known that at least as far back as 300 BCE, some bones of prehistoric animals were labeled as coming from dragons. In Christianity the dragon is generally a symbol of evil, a demon or the devil. The most famous Christian legend is that of St. George slaying the dragon. “

If you notice how the Sulphur symbol (pictured) resembles the male sex organ. The Ouroboros (also pictured) as noted above is said to impregnate himself by swallowing his own tail. We know this metaphor today to be the idea of life/death/rebirth, repeat.

Fun Fact: The word Ouroboros comes from Oura meaning “tail” and boros meaning “eating”, thus “he who eats the tail”. Some translations have noted it to mean “tail devourer”.

Leviathan Ouroboros

Jung not only associated the Dragon with the collective unconscious, creation itself and overcoming obstacles, he associated it with the Hero Archetype, and the need to rescue the Feminine:

“In the fight with the dragon the hero battles the regressive forces of the unconscious which threaten to swallow the individuating ego. The forces, personified in figures like Circe, Kali, medusa, sea serpents, Minotaur, or Gorgon, represent the Terrible side of the Great Mother. The Hero may voluntarily submit to being swallowed by the monster, or to a conscious descent into Hades so as to vanquish the forces of darkness. This mortifying descent into the abyss, the sea, the dark cave, or the underworld in order to be reborn to a new identity expresses the symbolism of the night-sea journey through the uterine belly of the monster. It is a fundamental theme in mythology the world over — that of death and rebirth. All initiatory rituals involve this basic archetypal pattern through which the old order and early infantile attachments must die and a more mature and productive life be born in their place.

“The mythological goal of the dragon fight is almost always the virgin, the captive, or more generally, the ‘treasure hard to attain.’ This image of the vulnerable, beautiful, and enchanting woman, guarded by and captive of a menacing monster gives us a picture of the inner core of the personality and its surrounding defenses. The hero’s task is to rescue the maiden from the grasp of the monster and, ultimately, to marry her and establish his kingdom with her. This dragon fight and liberation of the captive is the archetypal pattern that can guide us through those major transitional passages in our personal development where a rebirth or reorientation of consciousness is indicated. The captive represents the ‘new’ element whose liberation makes all further development possible.

“In response to the call the hero undertakes a journey, usually a dangerous journey to an unknown region full of both promise and danger. Often the journey is a descent. Sometimes, as with Jonah, Aeneas, Christ, and Psyche, it is a descent into the depths — the sea, the underworld, or Hades itself. Always there is a perilous crossing. Sometimes the faintheartedness of the hero is balanced by the appearance of guardians or helpful animals that enable the hero to perform the superhuman task that cannot be accomplished unaided. These helpful forces are representatives of the psychic totality that supports the ego in its struggle. They bear witness to the fact that the essential function of the hero myth is the development of the individual’s true personality.”

Regardless of how you view the Dragon, or what experiences you have had, it is clear that the Dragon in all Her forms has made a mark in history among every culture, and that is something that cannot be denied. Her story has been demonized, but we owe everything to Her primordial Chaos; the great Void, the Womb of Darkness, the Great Mother Herself.

For we are nothing without Her.

“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves. Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

In Nomine Draconis!

Sources, and Further Resources:

http://stottilien.com/2012/06/03/the-symbol-of-serpent-and-dragon-an-jungian-view/

http://www.cgjungny.org/d/d_mythpsyche.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan

http://www.crystalinks.com/ouroboros.html

http://www.tokenrock.com/explain-ouroboros-70.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiamat

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apep

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(mythology)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B6rmungandr

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%AD%C3%B0h%C3%B6ggr