Mythological Gods as Archetypes

MYTHOLOGICAL GODS – In our language a mythological god is an archetype and an archetype is always at the same time an instinctive pattern, an instinctive basis. Of the archetype of the mother, the biological basis would be motherhood, or of the archetype of the conjunctio, it would be sex. You could refer every god to a biological instinctive field; it is its meaning, or spiritual aspect. You could say that every instinctive dynamism has an archetypal image. Thus gods are representations of general complexes. Ares, or Mars, is an image of the instinct of aggression and self-defence in nature. In animal life, self-defence and aggression and fear dominate a whole part of life, and we are not exempt from this. Every god archetype is a dynamic, explosive load of dynamite and therefore uncontrolled. The gods are always a bit below the mark as compared with the human level. Even to the Greeks they were shocking, for they behaved like animals. The Stoics used philosophical arguments to explain it in a philosophical way. The role of the mother-goddess and such gods is to have measureless outbursts where they experience the greatest dynamism of life.

( Maria Louise von Franz 1972, pp.59-60 )

Solar and Lunar Channels in Kundalini Yoga

KUNDALINI YOGA – The essential alphabet of all Tantric lore is to be learned from the doctrine of the seven “circles” (chakras) or “lotuses” (padmas) of the kundalini system of yoga. (See fig. 306.)

The long terminal ‘i’ added to the Sanskrit adjective kundalin, meaning “circular, spiral, coiling, winding,” makes a feminine noun signifying “snake,” the reference in the present context being to the figure of a coiled female serpent—a serpent goddess not of “gross” but of “subtle” substance—which is to be thought of as residing in a torpid, slumbering state in a subtle center, the first of the seven, near the base of the spine: the aim of the yoga then being to rouse this serpent, lift her head, and bring her up a subtle nerve or channel of the spine to the so-called “thousandpetalled lotus” (sahasrara) at the crown of the head.

This axial stem or channel, which is named sushumna (“rich in happiness, highly blessed”), is flanked and crossed by two others: a white, known as ida (meaning “refreshment, libation; stream or flow of praise and worship”), winding upward from the left testicle to right nostril and associated with the cool, ambrosial, “lunar” energies of the psyche; and a red, called pingala (“of a sunlike, tawny hue”), extending from the right testicle to left nostril, whose energy is “solar, fiery,” and, like the solar heat of the tropics, desiccating and destructive.[4] The first task of the yogi is to bring the energies of these contrary powers together at the base of his sushumna and then to carry them up the central stem, along with the uncoiling serpent queen. She, rising from the lowest to the highest lotus center, will pass through and wake the five between, and with each waking the psychology and personality of the practitioner will be altogether and fundamentally transformed.

( Joseph Campbell: Masks of Oriental Gods )

Jung on the Realm of Eros

Regarding the realm of Eros –

In classical times, when such things were understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could neither be comprehended nor represented in any way. I might as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abyss of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love. Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and father-mother of all higher consciousness. …. In my medical experience and my life I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love, and have never been able to explain what it is. … No matter, no worse expresses the whole. To speak of partial aspects is always too much or too little, for only the whole is meaningful.

Love “bears all things” and endures all things” (1 Cor. 13.7) These words say all there is to be said; nothing can be added to them. For we are in the deepest sense the victims and instruments of cosmogonic “love.” I put the word in quotations marks to indicate that I do not use it in its connotations of desiring, preferring, favoring wishing, and similar feelings, but as something superior to the individual, a unified and undivided whole. Being a part , man cannot grasp the whole. He is at its mercy. He may assent to it, or rebel against i; but he is always caught up by it and enclosed within it. He is dependent upon it and is sustained by it. Love is his light and his darkness, whose end he cannot see. “Love ceases not”-whether he speaks with the “tongues of angels,” or with scientific exactitude traces the life of a cell down to its uttermost source. Man can try to name love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and still he will involve himself in endless self-deceptions. If he posses a grain of wisdom, he will know, ignotum per ignotius-that is by the name of God.

That is a confession of his subjection, his imperfection, and his dependence; but at the same time a testimony to his freedom to choose between truth and error.

( Carl Jung – Memories, Dreams and Reflections p. 354 )

Jung on Archetypes as Ancestral Experiences

There is no human experience, nor would experience be possible at all without the intervention of a subjective aptitude.  What is this subjective aptitude?  Ultimately it consists of an innate psychic structure which allows man to have experiences of this kind.  Thus the whole nature of the human male presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually.  His system is tuned into woman from the start, just as it is prepared for a quite definite world where there is water, light, air, salt, carbohydrates, etc.  The form of the world into which he is born is already inborn in him as a virtual image.  Likewise parents, wife, children, birth, and death are inborn in him as virtual images, as psychic aptitudes.  These a priori categories have by nature a collective character; they are images of parents, wife, and children in general, and are not individual predestinations.  We must therefore think of these images as lacking in solid content, hence  as unconscious.  They only acquire solidity, influence, and eventual consciousness in the encounter with empirical facts which touch the unconscious aptitude and quicken it to life.  They are, in a sense, the deposits of all our ancestral experiences, but they are not the experiences themselves.

(Carl Jung, 1972: para. 300; quoted in Turner 1987, p.172-3)

Jung on the Ego and Archetype

Jung on the Ego and Archetype –

Archetypal statements are based upon instinctive predictions and have nothing to do with reason; they are neither rationally grounded or can they be banished by rational arguments. They have always been part of the world scene-representations collectives, as Levy-Bruhl rightly called them. Certainly the ego and its will have a part to lay in life but what the ego wills is subject in the highest degree to the interference, in ways the ego is usually unaware, of the autonomy and numinosity of archetypal processes.

( Carl Jung Memories Dreams and Reflections p. 353 )