Founder Patron C G Jung

 

Windows to Eternity by C.G. Jung produced by kind permission of the Estate of C.G Jung

 

Jung and Spirituality

by Ean Begg

 

"The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not?" (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p.300)

 This reflection of Jung's forms the common ground between his psychology and all religions. The ultimate purpose of The Guild of Pastoral Psychology is to be a forum for the exploration of these two approaches and the correspondences between them, thereby throwing light on the meaning of human life, the nature of God and the mystery of death.

 Jung so appreciated the aims and work of the Guild that he agreed to be its Founder Patron. The title of the talk he gave to it in 1939, "The Symbolic Life", was chosen for the final volume of his Collected Works.

 The son of a pastor, he strove to interpret Christianity so as to make it meaningful and psychologically relevant both to himself and to modern man and woman in search of soul. His break with Freud was in defence of spiritual values against what he saw as one-sided atheism of psychoanalysis.

 During the two millennia of the Christian era much of spiritual value was repressed and it was one of Jung's great achievements to rectify this. For example: Gnosis, experiential knowledge of divine mysteries, was a specialist academic study when Jung turned his attention to it and highlighted its importance.. His perseverance was rewarded when the first-fruits of the library of Nag Hammadi (whose discovery made Gnosticism front-page news), were named the Codex Jung and presented to him in 1953. Alchemy was hardly more than a footnote in history when Jung, guided by a dream, discovered that its true gold was a symbol of individuation and brought the subject back into collective consciousness and common parlance. He himself practised astrology -- once the Queen of Sciences -- and used it in his work, bringing it once more into the light of day as worthy of serious research. He championed the cause of great mystics such as Meister Eckhart, long viewed with suspicion and condemned by the Church, and restored them to their rightful place.

His most notable triumph was to further the redemption of the feminine principle in Christianity, a lost sheep since the days of the veneration accorded to Sophia and Mary Magdalene by the early Church. he left to his wife the task of writing a book on the Holy Grail, but he himself had a great dream in which he had to swim to an island off Britain and bring it back. The proclamation of the dogma of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the parallel emergence of the women's movement were a vindication of his efforts and some atonement for the years of witchcraft and heresy trials that blackened the name of woman.

Although seeking to resolve the problem of Christianity was of primary importance to Jung, he felt at home with the mystical core of all faiths. He paid much attention to Cabala, especially the mystery of the bridal chamber. In Islam his main focus was on Khidr, the wise teacher who accompanied Moses, and who may be encountered at any moment as the manifestation of the Self. He reminded Jung of his own meetings with the living archetype, Elijah, and who walked and talked with him on the banks of the Zurichsee. His introduction and commentary to "The Tibetan Book of the Dead", as well as those to "The I Ching", -- which he consulted assiduously -- and "The Secret of the Golden Flower, A Chinese Book of Life", show his deep understanding of Buddhism, Taoism and the subtleties of Chinese thought. He refers frequently, especially in "Symbols of Transformation", to the "Upanishads". though he thought that we in the West were not yet ready to put on the spiritual apparel of India.

But it was not just the great world religions that fascinated Jung. His travels to New Mexico led him to respect the tradition and practice of the Pueblos, as children of the sun, and to value the friendship and teaching of their Chief Ochwiay Biano. Similarly, his stay with the Elgonyi people of Kenya and Uganda introduced him to their God as the sun in its moment of rising, and the still just surviving natural religion of Africa.

 Jung never visited Australia, though his psychology is well established there. But he devoted much writing to the religious ideas and practices of the native Australians. He saw in their cross-cousin marriage laws an illustration of his theories of the inner dynamics of the contents of the psyche. Jung had a personal fellow-feeling with these people from the Dream-Time, through the child-stone, in which children's souls live, that can be activated  by rubbing with the cult object known as a churinga. When Jung read about this he suddenly remembered the secret manikin he had carved in childhood and hidden in the forbidden attic with a black stone from the Rhine, and which had served him as his own soul-stone.

It is, perhaps, not too much to say that Jung has provided us with a key to understanding all religions, without devaluing or psychologizing them away.

If there is something we can call the Way of Jung it has nothing to do with any system of beliefs, dogmas or rituals, or the imitation of Jung. It is about following one's own path, or making it as one treads it. Such is the Symbolic Life, the Individuation Process.

 

Ean Begg

Ean Begg was elected a Fellow of the Guild in 2007. He is a past Chair of the Guild, a Jungian Analyst, writer and lecturer. His books include “The Cult of the Black Virgin” “Myth and Today’s Consciousness”, and “The Trail of Merlin” and co-authored with his wife, Deike, "In Search of the Holy Grail and the Precious Blood" and "On the Trail of Merlin -- A Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition". 

Ean Begg's Guild Paper “The Lord of the Rings and the Signs of the Times” is available through the Guild, as are recordings of his lectures “Father”, “Jung’s Typology and the Individuation Process”, “Messiah” and “Magic Power”.

 

Reading list

C. G. Jung

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Man and His Symbols (ed.)

The Undiscovered Self

 

Marie-Louise von Franz

C.G. Jung - His Myth in Our Time

 

Edinger

Ego and Archetype


Guild Papers

No. 80 The Symbolic Life C.G. Jung

No. 19 Frontiers of Theology and Psychology. Fr. Victor White O.P.

No. 42 Christianity Within, White and Toni Wolff

No. 70 The Problem of Contact with the Animus, Barbara Hannah

No. 85 Ego and Shadow, Barbara Hannah

 

For further reading, please visit the Library or contact the Librarian

Window on Eternity

Window to Eternity


The Guild’s new logo is taken from a painting by C G Jung called ‘Window to Eternity’, which comes from his Red Book where he recorded and painted his dreams and visions. This mandala, a symbol of human wholeness and of the process of individuation, is a fundamental aspect of Jung’s psychology expressed through his own work:

“With the help of these drawings I could observe my psychic transformations from day to day. Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: ‘Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.’ And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions. My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of the self which were presented to me anew each day.” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections. C G Jung).

In 2006 the Guild Council felt that renewal was needed and this began with a new logo. This image, ‘Window to Eternity’ by the Guild’s founding patron, eloquently captures the relationship between spirituality and Jungian psychology - the essence of the Guild.

The Guild is grateful to the estate of C G Jung for allowing us to use this image, which seems symbolic of the permission of the unconscious to further Jung’s work.


Chalice and Serpent


The snake and the chalice, the former logo of the Guild has a significant history and symbolism. In 1936 a group of Christian clergy and laity began to form the Guild with a tremendous interest in bringing psychological work into their pastoral care. Initially the group started with the name: ‘The Guild of Pastoral Psycho-Therapy’. In the snake therefore, we have that first embodiment of psychotherapy claimed by physicians under their umbrella of the Caduceus with its winding snake. Deeper still, the snake is a symbol of psycho-spiritual transformation, exemplified by the Greek physician Aesclepius, where the snake symbolised the healing of soul and body.

The snake expresses the principle of homeopathic medicine, for the patient is treated with the poison that is causing his disease. The venom of the snake’s bite represents the deadly and the healing aspects: will it kill or will it cure? This incorporates the tension between two opposites, an essential quality of Jungian psychology. The Guild tries to hold these opposites of religion and psychology in its own special chalice formed by its membership.

The chalice symbolises the great womb of life. The opposites meet in all their variety and fecundity and are contained until they transform. It is the female and maternal giving birth to life. The snake is that symbol of regeneration because it casts away its old skin, burnt in the fiery tension between opposites, and a new form emerges. The chalice is a repeated image in Judaeo-Christian religious feeling from which the Guild originates. In the great sung Psalms of David from the Jewish tradition we hear that “my cup runneth over” – intimating that the tension of feeling within the chalice has so moved the heart that the transformed substance overflows into life bringing meaning. In the New Testament Jesus says: “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of …?” In this response to the sons of Zebedee the chalice represents the fullness of being expressed by Christ and he asks if this quality will be present in the two young men to take up that religious life. Will it poison them or cure them? The poisoning and the killing, the healing and the curing, are the opposites, symbolised by the snake and contained in the cup that will bring its own nemesis.

Moving from the Judaeo-Christian tradition the snake is the symbol of the regenerative life force of the feminine Shakti power or Kundalini in the Eastern Yogic tradition. It uncoils from the lower part of the body and moves up the spine. So when the snake moves its head above the edge of the chalice in the logo, it starts its journey upwards, from its matrix in the feminine darkness of the womb-like chalice, uniting the opposites of Earth and Heaven. The snake and the chalice are the psyche’s mystery where Jung’s dynamic vision of the uniting of opposites takes place and the appearance of the true Self. As Ibn’ Arabi, the great Islamic mystic says, “Those who know themselves know the Lord.” All those who want to know that Self, that Lord, of whatever religion, enter the chalice and go through many transformations. In this way the new logo is revealed: a vision of centred unity and a “Window on Eternity.”

 The Guild

The Guild of Pastoral Psychology offers a rich forum for anyone interested in understanding the relationship between spirituality, religion and depth psychology, with particular reference to the work and writings of C.G.Jung.

The Guild was founded in 1937, with Jung as its Patron. Two years later, Jung gave his talk "The Symbolic Life" to the Guild suggesting that "Only the symbolic life can express the needs of the soul"  (Pamphlet 80). Since those days many eminent psychologists and spiritual thinkers have spoken at the Guild, and the Guild's Pamphlets, based on those Lectures have achieved international recognition. Many of these lectures will also soon be available as mp3s in our shop. The Guild today also organises conferences and workshops and co-ordinates a number of Guild Groups around the UK and Australia.

Although the Guild was initially established to encourage the study of psychology among clergy and other spiritual leaders, today members come from all walks of life.

The Guild Logo

Guild LogoGuild Logo

 

 

The image of the "Window to Eternity" is used by kind permission of the Jung Estate. To read more about the symbolism of this image and about the Chalice and Snake logo originally used by the Guild click on Guild Logo.

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