Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Nefastos
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Nefastos » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:48 pm

Part 1, pages 11-21.

Not as overflowingly abundant as the first pages, but several interesting ideas. Most of these are not new to those who have read other books of Jung. Once again, several ideas come very close to ideas of the Star of Azazel, most of all his emphasis on the importance of paradox.

The only statements that have psychological validity concerning the God-image are either paradoxes or antinomies. (p.11, footnote 6)
Oddly enough the paradox is one of our most valuable spiritual possessions, while uniformity of meaning is a sign of weakness. (p.15-16)

Yet this cannot be made yet another doctrinal weapon to brandish:
The inordinate number of spiritual weaklings makes paradoxes dangerous. So long as the paradox remains unexamined and is taken for granted as a customary part of life, it is harmless enough. But when it occurs to an insufficient cultivated mind (always, as we know, the most sure of itself) to make the paradoxical nature of some tenet of faith the object of its lucubrations, as earnest as they are impotent, it is not long before such a one will break out into iconoclastic and scornful laughter, pointing to the manifest absurdity of the mystery. Things have gone rapidly downhill since the Age of Enlightenment, for, once, this petty reasoning mind, which cannot endure any paradoxes, is awakened, no semon on earth can keep it down. A new task then arises: to lift this still undeveloped mind step by step to a higher level and to increase the number of persons who have at least some inkling of the scope of paradoxical truth. (p.16)


After the paradoxical God-archetype, Jung comes to the paradoxical archetype of Self; its similarity and difference to (universal) idea of Christ. To Jung, Christ has little to do with theological institute of Jesus:
Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree (...) Christianity must indeed begin again from the very beginning if it is to meet its high educative task (p.12)
The self is union of opposites par excellence, and this is where it differs essentially from the Christ-symbol. (...) The self, however, is absolutely paradoxical in that it represents in every respect thesis and antithesis, and at the same time synthesis (p.19)


One can easily see the doctrine of Satan in the paradoxical God, and doctrine of Azazel in the union of Christ and the Other in the paradoxical self.
[W]e all have to be "crucified with Christ," i.e., suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion. (p.21)
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Nayana » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:53 pm

Thanks a lot for your effort so far, dear brother! this book is an fascinating read indeed, and I agree upon the tempo agreed upon. As I am reading the original german version, I had to notice that its sometimes not too easy to find a passage read anew, but I think I am going to be fine. Worst case, I will try to aquire an english version as well.
Nefastos wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:10 pm
T
On the next page, Jung lists nine reasons why psychological treatment may be terminated, from "(1) after receiving a piece of good advice" to "(9) after having begun to build up a practical philosophy of life". Mutatis mutandis, the list is usable concerning esoterical teaching. Naturally the biggest difference is in that one's psychological treatment is supposed to end somewhere, whereas one's esoteric life in a certain school of thought ideally does not end at any point. In practice, these come quite close to each other.
I was fascinated about his 9 reasons, actually, as this offered another view upon - as you said - esoterical teaching, in a sense. In my german version, he talks about the analytical process as an "dialectical confrontation of consciousness and unconsciousness" (free translation), which seemings similar to Hegels dialectic to me. At least, in his list it appears to me as if he confronts the conscious mind with the unconscious in different ways each:

1.Good advice
2. confession
3. recognition of unconscious but essential content
4.departure from childhood psyche
5. rational adaption to difficult or unusual circumstances
6. disappearance of distressing symptoms
7. a positive change of destiny like marriage, change of job etc.
8. rediscovery of religious affiliation
9.or the building of a practical philosophy of life

This would remind me a lot of challenges one might be confronted with in ones personal life, e.g. directionlessness (1), guilt (2) or a form of ignorance, maybe (3). However, Jung states that an end may have been reached for one of these 9 reasons, which does not necessary mean an achievement for the soul. Still, it seems to me that the direction - not the achievement or goal itself - is already reflected within his list. If we assign to each point a possible outcome of an solved problem, we may end up with an "ascending" list like the following:

1. Direction
2. Absolution
3. Insight
4. Individualisation
5. Adaption
6. healing
7. positive Change of outer circumstances
8. discovery of spirituality
9. integration of the latter into ones personal live

This way his 9 reasons made me think of an ascending path that enables an individual to search for the "true purpose" of an human being in a jungian sense (to become more conscious of onesself, as taken from his autobiography). Jung himself already states that his list is an generalization, which naturally render these ponderings one, too. (and possibly, an enormous one!)

However, it was also fascinating to read about how in his experience, the confrontation between conscious and unconscious would for some continue within the unconscious, which made him suspect that the soul undergoes an targeted process independent of the conscious mind. To me, this would raise the question after the nature of the confrontation itself, as it seems to imply that the conscious mind can obstruct the unconscious mind in the development of the individual as a whole, and vice versa.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Polyhymnia » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:14 am

I'm a little late to this, but I'd like to participate as well. I will work on acquiring a copy immediately and start following along. Thank you, Nefastos and Nayana, for carrying the brunt of the work!
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Smaragd » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:04 am

Nefastos wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:10 pm
--how in our Western culture of Christianity everything is seen outside ("the soul is void"!)--
Not allowing natural continuation to happen in the human evolution from system to system, from initiation to entirely new initiation, the Christian soul has become a void. This is an idea that resonates quite strongly with my experiences. And how Europe, because of this, is swamped in "heathenism" seems to suggest the alchemical tradition, with its rich vaults of images and details, to be a bridge from the pagan world (in which details are seen in the spirits of the natural world etc.) to the new challenges in the teachings & ethics of Jesus. Thus I'm eager to lean on the supposed suggestion that the cultural layers of alchemy may be seen as an antidote for the monotheist priesthood wilting the souls of the people.

The problem of the European soul being swamped in heathenism has atleast two problems. First is that we've lost the connection to some degree by the pompous and violent coming of the new challenges of humanity in forms of Christianity. Thus we are to some degree carrying our heathen ways in some traumatized form turning it easily in to barbarism rather than actually working with the natural world taking in to account its fine layers. Second problem is indeed the insufficiency of the old world. There is a reason why the old is always challenged by the new, and here it's a larger movement in the whole collective of the human soul. New risen potential and direction may be found to complement and complete the paganism that circles in the transitory.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Nayana » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:50 pm

Polyhymnia wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:14 am
I'm a little late to this, but I'd like to participate as well. I will work on acquiring a copy immediately and start following along. Thank you, Nefastos and Nayana, for carrying the brunt of the work!
Welcome aboard then, dear soror! I am happy to share the odd months readings with you, if there's something you are interested in.
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Nefastos » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:27 pm

Great to have discussion here. Thank you for participating, and let us know if you want to take slices of weeks or months at any point.
Nayana wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:53 pm
To me, this would raise the question after the nature of the confrontation itself, as it seems to imply that the conscious mind can obstruct the unconscious mind in the development of the individual as a whole, and vice versa.

I take this to be one of the most important basic themes in Jung. While the idea of the subconscious was well established by Freud, Freud's relationship with the unconscious is quite sterile. It was held mesmerized and fascinated by the idea of subconscious principle, but failed to (want to) create an actual, empowering synthesis out of these equal powers. On the one hand, it held subconscious in contempt, on the other, it worshipped it. Jung was very wise to consider these two as equally important characters (like the process is seen in alchemy). People who mutilate their unconscious working also get mutilated by it, and those who only want to dive in those depths, eventually lose their humanity & become as child-like elementals of force, unable to assume wholesome responsibility (remain microcosms i.e. human beings, who alone are able to "become as gods").

Nayana wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:53 pm
1. Direction
2. Absolution
3. Insight
4. Individualisation
5. Adaption
6. healing
7. positive Change of outer circumstances
8. discovery of spirituality
9. integration of the latter into ones personal live


To add a bit of New Age flavour here, this model of 9 might be even worked out as a schema of Colour aspect working (3 x 3). Another way to handle this in SoA terms would be to take the seven aspects plus Grey, & Chalice cleaved in half. We might also try to correspond them to the nine principles given in the Demons' Cube: i.e. the seven Sanskrit principles plus the auric egg as Neptunian & the monad as Uranian principle.

I'm not saying that would be necessarily helpful, just toying with the idea.

Smaragd wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:04 am
And how Europe, because of this, is swamped in "heathenism" seems to suggest the alchemical tradition, with its rich vaults of images and details, to be a bridge from the pagan world (in which details are seen in the spirits of the natural world etc.) to the new challenges in the teachings & ethics of Jesus.

Here we have the interesting rotation of syntheses between of Pagan & Christian, Body & Spirit, Feminine & Masculine, which Jung continues to work upon throughout the introductory chapter -- and, most likely, beyond. I think it once again helps to keep in mind the Hieroglyphic Keys' model, along with its possible permutations, e.g. the two triangles' coming together in Hexagram, one being inside the other in the model of "Four Peaks of Mount Meru" (also known as the Triforce symbol if one likes Zelda), and the "Mountain of Argarizim", which is the hourglass symbol. (These may be found in Unseen Fire #1 p.83.)

* * *

Part 1, pages 22-31.

Several things the author mentions once again make me see very sharp analogies with esoteric instruction. And, of course, one's own esoteric struggle: likewise I believe – as did Jung, if memory serves – that a psychotherapeutist necessarily has his own issues to handle; he is not only a distant expert, but also must be one of his own patients, like an esoteric instructor first and foremost must remain as a student for his inner Self, in order to help anyone else a hair's breadth.

As a doctor I cannot demand anything of my patients in this respect, also I lack the Church's means of grace. Consequently I am faced with the task of taking the only path open to me: the archetypal images -- which in a certain sense correspond to the dogmatic images -- must be brought into consciousness. At the same time I must leave my patient to decide in accordance with his assumptions, his spiritual maturity, his education, origins, and temperament, so far as this is possible without serious conflicts. (p.27)

the highest and most decisive experience of all, which is to be alone with his own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. (p.28)

= Lucifer-Christos; true (not-mundane) Ego; Atma-Buddhi-Manas; &c.

Hence the psychotherapits must fix his eye not on what is done but on how it is done, because therein is decided the whole character of the doer. (p.31)

The tantric aspect of the brotherhood working a whole, and the White aspect practices especially. The idea of the ascending path in Satanism: There are no things that are in themselves absolutely bad, but the path is extremely difficult, narrow, zigzagging, disorienting, and difficult to follow. The most ardent struggle with a burning heart is an absolute demand, and to it belong the principles of honesty and empathy, used instead of worshipped. "Hence there is absolutely no truth that does not spell salvation to one person and damnation to another." (p.30)

Like I said, Jung speaks much of the 3--4 symbolism on these pages. Interestingly though, he doesn't mention the "inverted triangle" and its implication of the masculine spirit immersed into matter and thus becoming the basic essence of spirit-matter or pristine energy. It might be that he will come to these applications at the later point, for in the alchemical symbols the triangles are in much use.

The number three is not a natural expression of wholeness, since four represents the minimum number of determinants in a whole judgment. [...] [T]here is always vacillation between three and four which comes out over and over again. [...] There are always four elements, but often three of them are grouped together, with the fourth in a special position -- sometimes earth, sometimes fire. (.26)


Cf. Fosforos appendix 1, where at the center of the two triangles is the cross of FIRE, the two threes of the triangles are the two triads of Air, Water & Earth: and how this, in turn, is permutated in the Chalice process into a form where the triangles face each other inverted, and in this the centermost point has been solidified into the cube of EARTH (see Argarizim: Haeretici, p.77-78). This process is one turning of the Key, which is the pentagram process in the hexagram, or the individual soul's process in the cosmos, through love (or, like Zohar puts it, Blessing).

The way is not straight but appears to go round in circles. More accurate knowledge has proved it to go in spirals (p.28)


Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta... This is because the soul is flexed between the two simultaneous world, the temporal and the eternal, and things can happen only through the miraculous vibration between these two extreme poles of being. They are the serpents who come to bite each others' tails, in ecstatic union (which to us bound beings, beings who must identify ourselves through boundaries, often seem and feel like the sufferings in hell).
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Re: Reading Circle (Jung: Psychology and Alchemy)

Postby Nefastos » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:01 pm

Then the last part of the first month, pages 32-37, ending the Part I: Introduction.

Once again there was some good advice and familiar thoughts on these pages:

Love makes a man better, hate makes him worse – even when that man is oneself. (p.32)

Jung also approaches alchemy from several different points of view. The book will handle especially the "lapis-Christ parallel", he writes (p.33). This "lapis-Christ" (Christ the Stone) is something very important to the Star of Azazel philosophy as well. It comes back to that Biblical "rejected stone" (in Psalms as well as in Gospels) which gave its name to our fraternity magazine in the first seven years. In the Book of Paths which discusses the 3+1 colour aspects, I also used this symbolism of the Stone of the Philosophers in the work's permutations. This "rejected stone" is the same as the "outcast goat" of Azazel: something that is actually so precious that it doesn't fit into the system without being broken in love (sacrifice). This in turn comes to that motto of the Brothers Karamazov, from the Gospel of John. All this is basics for the Right Hand Path -- Left Hand Path merge of the Star of Azazel occultism. So we will most likely receive a very interesting looking glass from Jung's ponderings on that Stone symbol later.

Jung speaks about how the alchemical philosophy was "protected by the obscurity of its symbolism" (p.34) in the Christian culture, & how alchemists thought themselves to be good Christians at the same time when they kept a bridge towards the Pagan nature-oriented thoughts and thought of gods in metals. Jung doesn't mention this, but the same attitude can be seen, for example, in the Reneissance artists & philosophers. It is quite amusing to read Ficino's letters, for example, where he easily speaks in the same sentence about the blessings of the one God and the Greek gods, plural. Personally I see no problem in this. It is true life, which refuses to be hindered by artificial locks of orthodox theology. The thought is often deeper, except in the most idiotic forms of New Age spirituality.

We also get the first example of the alchemical phases of colours, which of course are much the same as the colour aspects in the brotherhood:

Thus an old alchemist -- and he a cleric! -- prays: "Horridas nostrae mentis purga tenebras, accende lumen sensibus!" (Purge the horrible darkness of our mind, light a light for our senses!) The author of this sentence must have been undergoing the experience of the nigredo, the first stage of the work, which was felt as "melancholia" in alchemy and corresponds to the encounter with the shadow in psychology.

Introduction ends with a simple "Symbol of the alchemical work", where we see an oval egg on the top of which a cross is erected (thus forming the symbol of planet Earth, reversed symbol of Venus). Protected inside this vessel is another, dark oval, in which an inverted triangle holds a hexagram. In the right upper corner of the triangle is Moon, in the right left corner, Sun. Symbols of horizontally divided circle (alchemical Salt), Mercury, and Sulphur (which looks like the upper two thirds of our Hieroglyphic Key) surround the triangle. The picture displays zero artistic ability but an important symbolical message about the Work.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"

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