Daily Archives: March 2, 2016

C.G. Jung and The Image of God by Dr. Emanuel Paparella

ovicover_02_03_16Carl Jung was a Swiss doctor and psychiatrist but also a guru and a shaman, so to speak. He is best known for his theory on symbols and archetypes. He accepted Christian symbolism and dogma even though the religious symbols in his dreams were somewhat different. He was both introverted and intuitive and given to visions and dreams which he experienced as profoundly real. While these imaginal experiences impacted his youthful psychic life, he had no context for understanding them.  He was unable at first to relate to the structures in Christian ritual and dogma until his university studies. Then he was influenced by Kant and Freud and came to view the objective psyche as the source of religious experience. He understood the symbols in the myths and religions of the world to be projections from this source. Of course to speak of religion is to speak of the God-image. His was not the caricature of the Old Man resembling Santa Claus on a cloud in the sky, a sort of policeman of the universe; his God-image was far more complex than that.

As far as Jung is concerned, there are six stages in the transformation of the God-image in the western psyche and they all mark advances in consciousness. The six stages are 1) animism 2) matriarchy, 3) hierarchical polytheism, 4) tribal monotheism, 5) universal monotheism and 6) individuation or the discovery of the psyche. All six stages exist as levels in the unconscious. The six stages can be uncovered in a Jungian dream analysis, with the most recent developments in the God-image being experienced first and the original level, being experienced further down the road.

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