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Reply To: Archetypal-Mechanics from an Unseen Aid,” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”

Robert Juliano

Dr. Deininger – Let me begin by mentioning the fact that I had the good fortune to have Glen Slater as a professor when I attended Pacifica Graduate Institute (PGI). He had almost as great a gift with poetic expression as James Hillman did. Dr. Slater’s work is also important to me because he is an expert in both Analytical Psychology and Archetypal Psychology, something shared with other scholars I value such as David Tacey, Stanton Marlan, and Wolfgang Giegerich. And I remember him assigning the paper you cited, but it has been at least 10 years since I read it. The main thing I remember from his talk about that paper was that those who named the ship ‘Titanic’ were very likely unaware of the mythology behind the Titans. But, I would like to use this response to focus on sacrifice and amplify it a bit.

As it pertains to Jung’s work, several sacrifices come to mind. The first is the sacrificium done by the early church fathers Tertullian and Origen discussed in Psychological Types (CW 6), Tertullian the sacrificium intellectus and Origin the sacrificium phalli. The sacrifice here were their dominant or superior psychological functions in favor of their inferior functions (Tertullian: from thinking to feeling; Origen: from feeling to thinking). On December 18, 1913, in the Black Books Jung would likewise sacrifice his superior function with the murder of the hero Siegfried. Jung was initially in torment when he helped murder Siegfried. He wrote “I went through a torment unto death and I felt certain that I must kill myself if I could not solve the riddle of the murder of the hero.” Then Jung would later say that “the spirit of the depths came to me and spoke these words: ‘The highest truth is one and the same with the absurd.’ Jung wrote this statement saved him and that he had killed his intellect, deposed his superior function.

The second sacrifice I want to recall here is also in the Black Books. On January 12, 1914, Jung sees the aftermath of horror. He wrote (taken from the Red Book in section The Sacrificial Murder):

The valley looks so normal, its air smells of crime, of foul, cowardly deeds. … A marionette with a broken head lies before me amidst the stones – a few steps further, a small apron – and then behind the bush, the body of a small girl – covered with terrible wounds – smeared with blood. One foot is clad with a stocking and shoe, the other is naked and gorily crushed – the head – where is the head? The head is a mash of blood with hair and whitish pieces of bone, surrounded by stones smeared with brain and blood.

In the past, I have argued that the image that Jung presents to us of the sacrifice of the divine child to Evil is an undifferentiated, profoundly mysterious image of which the Christ sacrifice is but one of its infinite manifestations. Thus, it is clear that Christ has only given us a very partial view of Jung’s image and that there is much left in it to discover.

The final note on sacrifice comes from Jung’s seminar on Christiana Morgan’s visions. This concerns the emergence of Christianity and the need at that time of sacrificing the religious experiences of antiquity. I quote this in full below (see [A]), but this discussion by Jung made a very big impact on me when I first read it, and has been the subject of my reflections over the years.

As I write this, what comes to mind is that it is not enough when we sacrifice to do so consciously. When we sacrifice, we must allow ourselves to grieve for that which we have sacrificed (e.g., something of ourselves which we sacrifice for some deeper realization or opportunity for growth). And we must remember what we have sacrificed and why we have done it. I think that forgetting this leads to all sorts of trouble and deep suffering.

A. But as a whole, the average religious experience of antiquity was the reaching out into regions above man and below man, to the human divine and to the animal divine, and usually the antique religions only knew the substitute sacrifice, as you see it in the course of history. Originally human beings were sacrificed, and then animals, and then the fruits of the field, and finally in India the sacrifice has become a mere gesture, decorating the altar with flowers. Nowadays the sacrifice that we bring before the altar consists mainly of ten-cent pieces; it has completely degenerated. As a substitution for the animal and in order to make it quite serious, the early Christians should have returned to the human sacrifice, but they could not turn back the wheel of history so it was done symbolically-sacrificing the experience of man that reaches above and below him. Now we must know what that means. What did they really sacrifice? What would it produce if you should experience yourself as a being that reached from the lizard up to a winged divinity? … Through such an experience, the individual becomes entirely collective, he becomes a god. I become a Helios, you become a Helios, he becomes a Helios, we are all Helios. A man who was very sad and felt terribly alone once said to me that he cured himself by the idea that other people were sad too. I am sad, you are sad, we are all sad-so nobody is alone. The effect of the participation mystique is strengthening, it is really a return to the primitive condition. The Dionysians were seeking that effect; the idea was that the blood of Dionysus was circulating in every living being, that everything contained a piece of Dionysus; so if they were quite identical in every experience, they were in every thinkable form of existence, which means naturally a strengthening of the participation mystique. But of course it killed individuality. It was the first appearance of the being in man that reaches beyond man, but the shot went too far. They identified with it and were torn to pieces, they no longer existed, they were completely shattered, so nothing remained but the reminiscence of the divine moment. Therefore it became necessary for the sake of the individual to sacrifice the participation mystique. That they did not exist as human beings is shown by the fact that they had no human feeling. Think of all the horrible things they did in the circus! That would not have been possible if they had had a living feeling for humanity. Then, since they had no individuality, they had to worship one individual human being. Thus the Caesars were deified, and after death they became stars. The astrologer always discovered a new star in the heavens when a Caesar died. And in Egypt the pharaohs were deified. But we are all individuals, and the individual cannot live if he is completely denied, so there was a general sadness in those days, as the poets pointed out, and a tremendous desire for a redeemer. We have historical and literary evidence for that fact. Therefore the next sacrifice was of exactly the experience which was the real spiritual life of antiquity. That was completely abolished. … So for the pagan individual who was really religious to sacrifice his most holy experience probably brought about a terrible moral and spiritual conflict. They had to sacrifice that experience of divinity which is the real essence of religion. They had to accept the fact that we are all ugly and miserable, full of sins, before a humble poor God hanging on a cross. That was the thing they could not understand, and I can understand that they could not. I would not have accepted Christ then for anything in the world. But perhaps I would, I don’t know.