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

The Collective Conscious vs. The Collective Unconscious

Edmond Yang

 

Image: Edmond Yang

“Our hearts resonate at the same frequency as the earth and the universe. Therefore, we are all valuable instruments in the orchestration of the world and its harmony. We must always be aware of the vibrations we emit individually and collectively. Always be in command of your music. Only you can control and shape its tone. If life throws you a few bad notes or vibrations, don’t let them interrupt or alter your song.”

Suzy Kassem

 

Since I have started writing I have had the honor of meeting and crossing paths with many beautiful souls. I have also been blessed with some priceless career and life advice from some amazing people.

The first piece of advice was given to me via an email conversation with Peter and Alkistis of Scarlet Imprint. I had reached out to them with some questions about writing, and publishing, as I very much respect their knowledge, and professionalism in regards to their Craft. They told me to stay passionate, stay hungry, and to take over the online world; they also told me to take my time because they see too many talented writers want to be published too soon. Finishing off the e-mail with, “it seems your heart is in the right place for this.”

To get that email a little over a year ago, while just beginning my true path was profound and surreal.

The second piece of advice was given to me by a few fellow writers on a fb page I follow, they told me to write 2,000 words per day, even if they are a jumbled mess of nothing; force yourself to write, they insisted. So, I do. Every day. I force myself to bleed.

The third piece of advice was given to me by a mentor, someone I look up to very much, he told me to write about things I am not comfortable with. He told me to step outside of my box, never to be stuck in one genre or rhythm; he said that if I end up getting stuck and finding my rhythm the artist will die, the muse will lose authenticity. His words haunt me when I notice any sense of repetitiveness in my writing, which is often, I mean, I do have my own style.

I hope not to get stuck, I hope to be able to take my style, my sass and apply it to whatever topic it is I am discussing. Some days I am better at this than others, let’s hope today is one of the good days.

I get requests all the time for blogs, and I keep a list in my notebook; it’s my go to when I want to challenge my skill, my mind, my thought process, and my ability to explain things in a manner that is articulate but simple and with depth and soul. I want people to feel my passion when they read my words.

One of the main topics that is requested is the collective conscious, and unconscious. I am a huge fan of Jung, and to even attempt to explain this makes me nervous.

The collective unconscious is defined as follows:

“In Jungian psychology, a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people, or all humankind, that is the product of ancestral experience.”

One could then draw the conclusion that Jung was referring to what most of us know as the Akashic Records. It seems his theory is based on both the individual and collective, focusing primarily on the individual though; whereas the Akashic Records is a library for the collective, and much harder to access levels of individual information.

If you have ever been to the Akashic Records via Astral Travel or guided meditation, then you will understand what I am talking about; to those who have not experienced this, I will perhaps write a future post about accessing them, and what they are.

The collective conscious is defined as:

“Collective conscious or collective conscience (French conscience collective) is the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. The term was introduced by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his Division of Labour in Society in 1893.”

“The French word conscience can be translated into English as “conscious” or “conscience” (conscience morale), or even “perception” or “awareness”, and commentators and translators of Durkheim disagree on which is most appropriate, or whether the translation should depend on the context. Some prefer to treat the word ‘conscience’ as an untranslatable foreign word or technical term, without its normal English meaning. In general, it does not refer to the specifically moral conscience, but to a shared understanding of social norms.”

“As for “collective”, Durkheim makes clear that he is not reifying or hypostasizing this concept; for him, it is “collective” simply in the sense that it is common to many individuals; social fact.”

Collective consciousness in Durkheimian social theory

“Durkheim used the term in his books The Division of Labour in Society (1893), Rules of the Sociological Method (1895), Suicide (1897), and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912). In The Division of Labour, Durkheim argued that in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual’s consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness.”

“The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.”

—Emile Durkheim

“In Suicide, Durkheim developed the concept of anomie to refer to the social rather than individual causes of suicide. This relates to the concept of collective consciousness as if there is a lack of integration or solidarity in society then suicide rates will be higher.”

To put this in simpler terms, the collective unconscious refers to each individual, and the knowledge we inherently carry with us via our ancestral bonds; basically every memory, every thought, every feeling, every, everything that has ever occurred exists in this “database” and we can tap into it.

I guess I could even go further and say that some of our instinct, or intuition could very well be coming from the collective unconscious, and perhaps it is not us entirely who are making those decisions based on “our gut” but rather, the unconscious becoming conscious. Or is that what instinct really is, and I am just now figuring it out?

The collective conscious can be compared to herd mentality, and how the thoughts of united groups of people create, effect, and change ‘reality’. One could also compare the collective conscious with organized religion because dealing with the collective conscious, the individual is lost and the social structure (hierarchy) or herd is formed.

Tapping into the collective unconscious is something that many people wish to do, but the more I study the whole idea, the more I have to wonder if we are not already tapped into this energy source, just calling it by other names, every name, any name, when it really has no name.

We are everything, and nothing, remember? Therefore, our levels of consciousness are, too.

We are limitless, boundless, infinite.

I am going to link you to some resources, some were used as reference points in this piece, and some can be for further exploration.

http://www.carl-jung.net/collective_unconscious.html

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Collective+consciousness

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/collective+unconscious

I am mad that Wikipedia actually got this right, because usually I dismiss everything on there:

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

Brace yourselves for this one, it gets a little crazy towards the end:

http://thegreaterpicture.com/collective-consciousness.html