ASTROLOGY AND ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY
The Synchronistic Principle
In an address delivered in Munich, May 10th, 1930, in memory of the great exponent of Chinese wisdom and initiate in the psychology of Chinese Yoga, Richard Wilhelm, C. G. Jung made these significant statements:(1)
"To me, the greatest of Wilhelm's achievements is the translation of, and commentary on, the Yi King. . . This work embodies, as perhaps no other, the spirit of Chinese culture. The best minds of China have collaborated upon it and contributed to it for thousands of years. Despite its fabulous age, it has never grown old, but lives and operates still, at least for those who understand its meaning. . . Anyone like myself who has had the rare good fortune to experience in a spiritual exchange with Wilhelm the divinatory power of the Yi King, cannot for long remain ignorant of the fact that we have touched here an Archimedean point from which our Western attitude of mind can be shaken to its foundations.
". . . The function on which the use of the Yi King is based, if I may so express myself, is apparently in sharp contradiction to our Western, scientifically-causal, Weltanschauung. In other words, it is extremely unscientific, taboo in fact, and therefore out of reach of our scientific judgment, and incomprehensible to it.
"Some years ago, the then president of the British Anthropological Society asked me how I could explain the fact that so highly intellectual a people as the Chinese had produced no science. I replied that this must really be an 'optical illusion,' because the Chinese did have a science whose 'standard work' was the Yi King, but that the principle of this science, like so much else in China, was altogether different from our scientific principle.
"The science of the Yi King is not based on the causality principle, but on a principle (hitherto unnamed because not met with among us) which I have tentatively called the synchronistic principle. My occupation with the psychology of unconscious processes long ago necessitated my looking about for another principle of explanation, because the causality principle seemed to me inadequate to explain certain remarkable phenomena of the psychology of the unconscious. Thus I found that there are psychic parallelisms which cannot be related to each other causally, but which must be connected through another sequence of events. This connection seemed to me to be essentially provided in the fact of the relative simultaneity, therefore the expression 'synchronistic.' It seems indeed, as though time, far from being an abstraction, is a concrete continuum which contains qualities or basic conditions manifesting simultaneously in various places in a way not to be explained by causal parallelisms, as for example, in cases of the coincident appearance of identical thoughts, symbols or psychic conditions. Another example would be the simultaneity of Chinese and European periods of style, a fact pointed out by Wilhelm."
This is the very expression of the basic ideas which we formulated in our preceding chapter. Time as a "concrete continuum" is what Bergson calls "real duration." The fact that it contains "qualities or basic conditions" which exteriorize themselves in ideas, cultures and psychic conditions (individual or collective) is proof of the generative power of the moment. Each moment is a whole which begets concrete wholes. Each moment is to be considered, moreover, as the unit-cycle, or time-unit — just as the quantum or photon is the unit of release of energy. Energy is released by photons. Significance, or selfhood, is released by moments. Time is the womb of souls, just as "Light" (in the most general sense of the word) is the womb of all physical energies. As the Hindu occultist would say, Daivi prakriti (i.e., the Light of the Logos) is the source of all energies (or shakti). All Earth-energies can be traced to their parent-source, the Sun, whose total radiations are described generically by the term Light.
We have thus, in a sense, a dualism of Light and Time, of photons and moments. These two elements, to which we should add Space, are the foundation of astrology, which can be based on the emphasis of either one of them. Light and Time are symbolized by the photosphere of the Sun (Vulcan?) and Saturn, which, as we have already seen, balance each other on either side of the Earth in the solar system. Without going into lengthy metaphysical discussions we may, however, state here that Light is the emanation of the wholeness of the whole (theoretically, of any perfectly integrated whole — thus the ''light'' emanated, if tradition is correct, by the very being of great saints and mystics). On the other hand, Time is the significant quality of every whole; that is, the defining characteristic of the whole.
Every whole as a whole theoretically radiates Light (some degree or type of it, not necessarily, of course, what we usually call "light," and which is the radiation of that cosmic whole: the Sun). Every whole as a whole represents or symbolizes a quality which is the manifestation of a particular moment of Time. Time generates particulars; and every whole, as we have already seen, must needs be defined, limited. It is thus a particular. Light is the manifestation of the wholeness of these particulars. The photon is described by the formula hv, in which the letter v represents particularness (the particular velocity or frequency or ''key-note'' of the whole), and h symbolizes universality (the universal fact of wholeness exteriorized as Light; "operative wholeness").(2)
We might say that any cycle, as a quantum of duration, is also definable by the formula hv, in which h represents the universal potency of Time (i.e., the universal Creative Power, or God), and v the particular value of the cycle's duration. Just as there is no release of energy except by whole quanta, so there is no progress in selfhood or wholeness save through whole cycles. Selfhood progresses from cycle to cycle, and only through the perfect fulfillment of these cycles (whether they last a minute or an eon). He who does not fulfill the smallest moment can never fulfill the larger cycle — a doctrine implied in the last section of Patanjali's aphorisms on Yoga.
This is both holistic and astrological philosophy; for astrology has no real value unless it enables us more fully and significantly to live the moment, or any cycle during which we are progressing. To live fully every moment is to find in every moment Light, and to become illumined by this Light. Darkness is ever the result of unfulfillment. The unfulfilled moments or cycles cast their shadow over the future moments: this is karma — or what we called previously "negative time," unillumined time.
Selfhood progresses by fulfillment of the moments; and each moment or cycle presents us with a new quality which is to be fulfilled. Each birth is thus for the universal whole a problem of fulfillment. The whole finds in every nativity a quality, a new dharma (in Hindu terminology) to be fulfilled. It is not only that "whatever is born or done this moment of time, has the qualities of this moment of time" (Jung, op. cit. p. 143), but that every moment creates for every whole the duty to fulfill the quality of that moment. This principle has a purposive as well as an explanatory meaning. And this brings to it an ever greater psychological value. As we shall see later on, the function of astrology is not to tell us what will, or rather what may, happen in the future, but what significance there is in every moment or cycle lived or about to be lived. It reveals the quality of particular moments and of the larger cycles rooted in those moments.
This is apparently well understood by C. G. Jung who said, in the same memorial address:
"Astrology would be a large scale example of synchronism, if it had at its disposal thoroughly tested findings. . . In so far as there are any really correct astrological deductions; they are not due to the effects of the constellations, but to our hypothetical time-characters. In other words, whatever is born or done this moment, has the qualities of this moment of time.
"This is also the fundamental formula for the use of the Yi King. As is known, one gains knowledge of the hexagram characterizing the moment by a method of manipulating sticks of yarrow, or coins, a method depending on purest chance. As the moment is, so do the runic sticks fall. . .
"The type of thought built on the synchronistic principle, which reaches its high point in the Yi King, is the purest expression of Chinese thinking in general. With us this thinking has been absent from philosophy since the time of Heraclitus, and only reappears as a faint echo in Leibnitz. However, in the time between, it was not extinguished, but continued to live in the twilight of astrological speculation, and remains today at this level."(3)
Astrology and Its Application to Psychology
The great value, for us, in the above quotations is the fact that they come from probably the greatest psychologist of our time. If Dr. Jung, first scientist and practicing psychiatrist, then pupil of Freud, finally exponent of his own findings and interpretations as founder of the Zurich school of analytical psychology, discovered this "synchronistic" principle as a result of his psychological practice, the fact is indeed significant. For it shows that while causalism and mechanism have proven invaluable in the study of physical phenomena, they have failed to explain many of the most characteristic among psychological phenomena. Thus, in a way, the thesis of Bergson is justified. Spatial values refer to matter; but everything psychological needs for its explanation values based on time — real time that endures. Thus the synchronistic principle fits in the psychological picture, for it represents a time-evaluation. It is based on the formative potency of the moment. Thus astrology and psychology become intimately linked. In fact, Dr. Jung says:
"Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity." (op. cit. p. 143)
Important and valuable as this statement undoubtedly is, we must say, however, that it implies a conception of the nature of astrology which we have shown to be, strictly speaking, incorrect. Astrology, even as traditionally handed down by Ptolemy, is not the summation of ancient psychology. First, because it refers to many things besides psychology — from governmental matters to weather and the condition of crops. Secondly, because — as we saw in the first part of the preceding chapter — astrology is not to be identified, in its essence, with any experimental or empirical science, but rather is the organizing principle of such sciences as deal with life and significance in relation to "organic wholes," much as mathematics is the organizing principle of sciences dealing with inanimate matter and the realm of "parts."
It is true that the body of concepts, judgments and opinions handed down to us by Ptolemy and the Arabian astrologers can give us an excellent idea of what the psychology of antiquity was. But this is because the books which we have on astrology are collections of particular applications of the principles of astrological symbolism. They are textbooks telling how to apply astrology to various matters — psychology and human nature being the foremost of those. They are not, directly and consistently, textbooks of strict astrology. We must insist upon this point, because it is a basic one. Lacking an understanding of this, the ideas of the huge majority of people concerning the value of astrology have been consistently biased.
A textbook of strict astrology should deal with:
1) A study of the principles of what we called "holistic logic."
2) A study of the concrete data and symbolical implications of both geocentric and heliocentric astronomy.
3) A study of all elements used by astrology, not in terms of any particular application thereof, but in terms of the logic inherent in their definitions and mutual correlations.
4) A general survey of the concrete fields (or empirical sciences) to which these symbolical elements can be applied, and of the particular technique of application, which must somewhat vary in each of these fields. This would, of course, include characteristic examples of application.
Instead of embodying such a program of studies, traditional astrology is satisfied with stating the way in which a birth-chart (or horary, or progressed chart) is to be erected, and to tabulate the traditional meanings attached to every aspect and position, mixing up rather hopelessly psychological, physiological and purely divinatory concepts. Of the rationale of the elements used in passing judgment (positions, aspects, etc.) very little is usually said.
It is only within the last twenty years or so that books on astrology have attempted to study the "why" of astrological symbols; and it is only in the case of the courses recently delivered by Marc Edmund Jones that astrology has been taught as a vast system of symbolization of all realms of being in their triple correlations as form, substance and activity.
This book is no attempt to cover adequately the types of studies enumerated above. Its purpose is to pave the way to a new type of astrology which would be philosophically sound and whose application to modern psychology would help men to live more significant, therefore more spiritual, lives.
Philosophical "soundness" rests upon absolute coherency of ideas and consistency in the development and application of the basic principles and symbols used. As for psychological "helpfulness," this would obviously depend largely on the type of psychological materials being correlated with the astrological symbols. As already said, most astrological textbooks deal only with a sort of "common sense" psychology, rather superficial in character; others, with a psychology influenced by more or less valid theosophical ideas, not always philosophically coherent nor rooted in the experience of modern Western man. Our aim has been to interpret astrological symbols in terms of an "up-to-date" Western psychology, consistently backed up, as it were, by a philosophy which brings into clear relief some of the most recent and the most vital concepts of this century.
We are above all stressing values and using a terminology which are found in C. G. Jung's works, because we are deeply convinced of their inherent validity, and also because they dovetail so remarkably with the general set-up of astrological symbolism. Our first task therefore is to acquaint the reader with the general principles of Jung's "analytical psychology," a psychology whose roots may be grounded in Freudian psychoanalysis, yet whose stem and flowering live in strata of being almost as far removed from Freudian thought as the vision of a Lao-Tze or a Plato is removed from that of a laboratory vivisectionist.
Three Basic Types of Psychology
In order to clarify some matters which are a source of constant confusion it is necessary to recognize that the term "psychology" is used to mean several different branches and types of knowledge. It will probably be of great help to take for granted, for the time being, the ancient division of man's being into spirit, soul and body, and to say that psychology can be and has been considered from three basic points of view. Thus there is:
1) a spiritual psychology, which is a branch of philosophy or religion, and contemplates all human values, introspectively and intuitionally, in terms of beliefs, or intuitions, or transcendental perceptions.
2) a physiological psychology, which considers all the processes usually classified as "psychological" (sensation, attention, feelings, thoughts, etc.) from the standpoint of physiological functions.
3) an analytical psychology, which deals primarily and directly with the facts of consciousness and the structural relationship existing between the various functions of the psyche per se.
The spiritual type of psychology considers man to be essentially and in reality a spiritual being using a body for the purpose of acquiring concrete experiences and certain faculties which can be generated only in contact with matter. Corporate existence is, however, taken to be the result of a "fall" and as such has a pejorative connotation. The soul is immortal insofar as it has assimilated to itself the spiritual essence, and liberation from the thralldom of natural energies is the goal. Such a psychology, which is particularly exemplified in the Christian Fathers' ideas and, to a very large extent, in Platonic psycho-philosophy, is bound up with ethics. The physical world is the world of shadows, if not of sin; and truth, goodness and reality abide in an archetypal world, which is, in a sense, a concrete (or at least substantial) spiritual realm. Psychology is largely a matter of understanding how these archetypal realities and the human soul (which belongs to their realm essentially) react to the illusions and shams of the natural world; and by what process the soul, lost in the mesh of the body, can disentangle itself and regain its primordial status — plus a "consciousness of relation" which is the fruition of the embodied state.
This type of psychology is found predominant in the Orient (but by no means exclusively held there as true), and wherever religious, ethico-spiritual, alchemical valuations are emphasized at the expense of physical or materialistic ones. It is found in a great variety of manifestations, each philosophical or religious system giving it a particular formulation. It is the usual foundation of traditional occultism, but there we find it sometimes strongly associated with a type of structural psychology which differentiates occult psychology from the purely religious type. Yet the differentiation is not sharp, and is, in appearance at least, a mere matter of relative emphasis.
The physiological type of psychology is one in which psychic reactions — as sensations, feelings, ideations and volitions — are considered as emerging from and strictly conditioned by physiological processes. The method of such a type of rigorously empirical and experimental psychology is the purely scientific method, and it is to such a psychology only that scientists usually refer as "psychology." Barring whatever there may have been in India which could be referred to that class of psychological study, we can date the beginning of such a type of psychology from Aristotle. Before him there was of course a long period of archaic psychology, which could be called "physiological" in the sense that in archaic thought the soul was not differentiated from the body in the way in which it became so distinguished after Pythagoras. As we saw in a previous chapter, the unity of living nature and of living man became definitely broken into a physical and a psycho-mental realm only around the sixth century B.C. And therefore the care of the body (medicine) included to some extent matters pertaining to the psyche.
In fact, however, considerations pertaining to the united body-psyche belonged to the nascent province of alchemy. Alchemy is the science of the human being considered as a compound of physio-psychological processes. The doctrine of the four humors of the body (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile) corresponding to the four elements of astrology (fire, earth, air and water), and leading to the Arabian enumeration of four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic and choleric), is an alchemical doctrine. In archaic alchemy (which is closely related to the original forms of the Hindu Hatha Yoga, and still more to later Taoism) the conception of the soul is not very well defined, because spirit and matter are seen in adunation. The vital body (or pneumatic body) is within the physiological organism, as the fibres of the mango fruit are within the fruit itself — and the aim of the ancient practical applications of alchemy is to disentangle the former from the latter — thus releasing for use a spiritual body, free from the earthly quality of the physical body, and the seat of a new consciousness, which can then be called the Soul.
In other words, archaic psychology is only most superficially to be related to the scientific type of physiological psychology, just as chemistry is to alchemy. From Aristotle the lineage of modern scientific psychology passes through Galen and the medieval physiologists, through Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Malebranche, James Mill, Johannes Muller, Lotze, Wundt, William James, reaching finally to the Behaviorists, the "Gestalt" group, and an endocrino-psychologist like Dr. Berman (Glands Regulating Personality). The latter emphasizes what he calls the "body-mind" — i.e., the unity of physiological and psychological processes — in a way which is similar, though diametrically opposite in its practical methods, to archaic alchemy. Dr. Berman aims at the production of the perfect human being through generalized gland-treatment and the establishment of perfect functional harmony. The true alchemists had the same purpose, but they had it on different grounds, and tried to reach it by different methods.
The third basic type of approach to psychology, what we called the analytical type,(4) deals directly and immediately with facts of the mental life, or rather with what it calls "psychic contents."
It does not lay any emphasis on the problem of the exact origin of these contents; that is to say, it does not particularly study the process by which a nerve-impression or series of impressions becomes a truly psychic sensation which in turn transforms itself into habit, thought, instinct, etc. It considers the psychic life of man as a domain in itself, and is mainly preoccupied with the study of what happens in this realm considered as a more or less self-sufficient and autonomous one.
This, however, must not be construed as meaning that the analytical psychologist considers the psyche as essentially different from the body. On the contrary, Freud and Jung began their psychological work as physicians; and even in the latest formulations which have been presented by Jung, the therapeutic element is very strong. But psychic health is emphasized. The point of approach of analytic psychology is actually from the body to what it calls the psyche. But while the Behaviorist and the strictly "scientific" psychologist are to be compared to laboratory investigators in their study of the chemistry and physics of separate psychic elements, the "analyst" — especially Jung — is essentially the physician or healer, who deals with the functional balance of the psychic organism as a whole.
In other words, the analyst studies the facts of psychic functioning, the structural pattern made by the inter-relationship of all these facts, the behavior of the whole psyche. What also differentiates analytical psychology from the "physiological" type above mentioned is the fact that it is purposeful. It does not analyze for the sake of mere investigation, but with the definite aim to heal, to cure, to make whole. What it attempts to make whole is first of all the psyche. But not only does it recognize the interdependence of body and psyche. It almost postulates their identity. Jung writes in Modern Man in Search of a Soul (p. 85):
"The distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy, a discrimination which is unquestionably based far more on the peculiarity of intellectual understanding than on the nature of things. In fact, so intimate is the intermingling of bodily and psychic traits that not only can we draw far-reaching inferences as to the constitution of the psyche from the constitution of the body, but we can also infer from psychic peculiarities the corresponding bodily characteristics."
The same thought is even more strongly formulated in his Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower (p. 131):
"It is characteristic of the Westerner that, for purpose of knowledge, he has split apart the physical and the spiritual sides of life; but these opposites lie together in the psyche, and psychology must recognize the fact. The 'psychic' is both physical and mental."
In another place he writes:
"The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains itself in equilibrium as the body does. Every body that goes too far, immediately and inevitably calls forth a compensatory activity. Without such adjustments a normal metabolism would not exist, nor would the normal psyche. We can take the idea of compensation, so understood, as a law of psychic happening. Too little on one side results in too much on the other. The relation between conscious and unconscious is compensatory."
(Modern Man in Search of a Soul, p. 20)
A brief study of the meaning which Jung attributes to the terms conscious and unconscious may help the reader to get a clearer picture of what Jung intends to convey by the word psyche.
Conscious and Unconscious
According to Freud, all mental processes (apart from the reception of external stimuli) are derived from the interplay of forces which are originally of the nature of instincts; that is to say, which have an organic origin. There is, however, a force in the mind which can exclude from consciousness and from any influence upon action all tendencies which, for some reason, are not acceptable to it. Such tendencies are "repressed." They fall below the threshold of consciousness and become unconscious contents. These repressed instinctual impulses, however, are not made powerless; they act indirectly, causing psychological and physiological disturbances.
Jung admits the existence of these repressed contents which in their sum total constitute what he calls the "personal unconscious"; but he also speaks of a "collective unconscious" which has an entirely different origin and significance:
"Just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so too, does the psyche possess a common substratum. I have called the latter the collective unconscious. As a common human heritage it transcends all differences of culture and consciousness and does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent dispositions toward identical reactions. Thus the fact of the collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of identity of brain-structure irrespective of all racial differences. By its means can be explained the analogy, going even as far as identity between various myth-themes and symbols, and the possibility of human understanding in general. The various lines of psychic development start from one common stock whose roots reach back into the past.
"Taken purely psychologically, it means that we have common instincts of ideation (imagination), and of action. All conscious imagination and action have grown out of these unconscious prototypes and remain bound up with them." (Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, p. 83)
The relation of conscious to unconscious is further described in the following statements:
"Without a doubt, consciousness is derived from the unconscious. This is something we remember too little, and therefore we are always attempting to identify the psyche with consciousness; or at least attempting to represent the unconscious as a derivative, or an effect of the conscious (as for instance in the Freudian repression theory)." (Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, p. 119)
"The unconscious has contents peculiar to itself, which, slowly growing upward from the depths, at last come into consciousness." (Modern Man in Search of a Soul, p. 37)
Such contents, which arise from the depths of the collective unconscious are usually given the name of "archetypes" or "primordial images." It is also said that "instincts are archetypes," and that "the contents of the collective unconscious are not merely the archaic residua of specifically human ways of functioning, but also the residua of functions of the animal ancestry of mankind." They. . .
"can be found in all minds. The primordial images are the deepest, the most ancient and the most universal thoughts of humanity. They are as much feelings as thoughts, and have indeed an individual, independent existence, somewhat like that of the 'partial souls' which we can easily discern in all those philosophical or gnostic systems which base themselves upon the apperception of the unconscious as the source of knowledge, as for example, Steiner's anthroposophical Geisteswissenschaft. The conception of angels, archangels, 'principalities and powers' in St. Paul, of the archontes and kingdoms of light in the Gnostics, of the heavenly hierarchies in Dyonisius the Areopagite, all come from the perception of the relative independence of the archetypes of the collective unconscious." (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, p. 68)
We shall not attempt to discuss here the most debatable statements contained in the last part of this quotation, as our present purpose is merely to present some of the basic concepts of analytical psychology, to which we shall make frequent references in the rest of this book. As, however, the problem of the "real" existence of "gods" and "occult beings" is of great interest to most students of astrology, we shall mention it again in the chapter "Individual, Collective, Creative and the Cyclic Process," and we shall try to show what relation exists between Jung's "primordial images" and at least certain of the classes of cosmic beings mentioned by religions and occultism.
The main point to consider is that, while Freud gives to the unconscious a purely secondary and negative character, Jung sees it as a positive and primordial factor, in fact as the very matrix out of which the conscious grows by differentiation. He recognizes, however, the existence of a "personal unconscious" which is the result of inhibitions and perversions occurring during the process of differentiation of the conscious. This "personal unconscious" is almost identical with Freud's unconscious. But, though a basic factor in Jung's psychotherapy, it leaves to the "collective unconscious" the place of main importance in his general philosophy and attitude to life.
With Freud and Adler, psychology is almost entirely a matter of psychological healing. The former emphasizes the cure of psychic disturbances which are almost strictly considered as illnesses, and, after having tentatively removed the causes of the condition, "nature" is more or less left to handle the situation. On the other hand, Adler deals more particularly with the problem of readjusting to social conditions and collective values the individual who, for some reason, was unable to make a correct social adjustment in youth or thereafter. He starts from the individual and his inability as an individual to function in the collectivity; whereas Freud attempts rather to remove from the submerged parts of the individual psyche the results of the lies and the perversions imposed upon the individual by the collective (family and race habits, inherited tendencies, environmental influences, etc.).
Jung attempts not only to synthesize the two approaches in his therapeutic practice, but he reaches much further. He tends to become a "healer of souls" in a manner reminiscent of spiritual teachers and of Oriental gurus — especially perhaps the teachers of the Zen school in Japan. We said only "reminiscent;" for obviously Jung's technique is quite different from those of ancient "spiritual teachers." The point is, nevertheless, that he holds definitely an ideal of human consummation before his clients and before humanity in general. His work is purposive and integrative. He yearns for the complete human being. He envisions, not exactly a "superman," but a "whole-man." And he attempts to lead man toward the fulfillment of this vision — toward the goal of what he calls individuation.
To understand the full meaning of this term it is necessary to grasp first the situation created, philosophically and practically, by Jung's division of the psyche into two positive realms — conscious and unconscious. Freud's unconscious offered no special problem, save that of getting rid of it. It was a negative quasi-pathological shadow which the light of increased and normalized consciousness at least theoretically dissipated. But Jung's collective unconscious is not to be dissipated, but to be assimilated. It is the sea from which the conscious ego emerges; a sea which may drown this ego, but which on the other hand, once functioning within the structure of an organic and complete conscious being, a Self, becomes as the blood thereof — the blood which is individualized seawater.
This is of course a symbol. But it holds some truth as to the nature of the relationship of the conscious to the great unconscious. The latter is to be integrated to the former, and this process of integration which reunites the two polarities of the psyche is a process of constant assimilation of unconscious contents by the conscious. Through this process, which is also one of psychological "marriage" within the individual man, the ego — the center of the conscious — grows as it were beyond itself and becomes the fully integrated Self — the center of the totality of man's fully developed being. This consummation (which, in a sense, is never final, for the existence of spheres within spheres of collective unconscious can be conceived or postulated) is individuation: the "making whole," or "making perfect" of older systems of spiritual development — yet with a difference due to the new mental level reached by mankind.
Jung is careful to distinguish between the ideal of individualism (especially "rugged individualism") and that of individuation. He writes:
"Individuation means to become a single, discrete being, and, inasmuch as the concept individuality embraces that innermost, last and incomparable uniqueness of our being, it also includes the idea of becoming one's own real self. Hence individuation could also be translated as 'coming to selfhood' or 'self-realization.' . . Individualism is a purposeful attempt to stress and make conspicuous some ostensible peculiarity, in opposition to collective considerations and obligations. But individuation means precisely a better and more complete fulfillment of the collective dispositions of mankind, since an adequate consideration of the peculiarity of the individual is more conducive to a better social achievement, than when the peculiarity is neglected or repressed. For the uniqueness of an individual must not be understood as mere strangeness, or singularity of his substance or components, but rather as a peculiar combination of elements, or as a gradual differentiation of functions and capacities which, in themselves, are universal. . . Individuation can only mean a psychological evolutionary process that fulfills the given individual disposition. In other words it is a process by which a man can create of himself that definite, unique being that he feels himself, at bottom, to be. In so doing he does not become 'self-centered' in the ordinary sense of the word; he is merely fulfilling the particularity of his nature, something vastly different from egoism of individualism.
"Inasmuch as the human individual, as a living unity, is made up of universal factors, this unity is wholly collective, and therefore in no sense opposed to collectivity. . . Individuation aims at an essential cooperation of all factors." (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology)
Esthetics vs. Ethics
Before we point out briefly the main features of the technique which Jung uses to bring about the goal of individuation, it seems important that we should establish at once how the ideal of individuation, of "an essential cooperation of all factors" within the total human being, leads to a revision of our traditional concept of ethics and morals. This is of course a very delicate subject which allows of grave misunderstandings, and so we beg our readers not to infer, from what we shall say, conclusions which would in no way be warranted.
As we shall see in the beginning of our second part, the very act of living implies two basic directions of functional operation which can be characterized by the terms awareness and experience. In a sense, the division is not unlike that of stimulus and response, but with a much more general significance attached to it. We become "aware" of internal as well as external facts, of the subject, or self within, as well as of the object, or outer world. Awareness, following a well-defined process, leads to a more or less concrete, or at least a formed reaction, in which the ego and what he has become aware of interpenetrate. The result of this interpenetration is what we call, in the philosophical sense of the term, an experience, that is "a moment lived through."
Every kind of "living through" implies a sort of judgment passed upon: 1) whatever one has been aware of; 2) the relation of oneself to that thing or quality. But the judgment can be fundamentally of two kinds. In one case it manifests as a feeling, in the other as a thought. Jung describes feeling as follows:
"Feeling is primarily a process that takes place between the ego and a given content, a process, moreover, that imparts to the content a definite value in the sense of acceptance or rejection ('like' or 'dislike'); but it can also appear, as it were, isolated in the form of 'mood' quite apart from the momentary contents of consciousness or momentary sensations. . . But even the mood . . . signifies a valuation; not, however, a valuation of one definite, individual conscious content, but of the whole conscious situation at the moment. . . Feeling is also a kind of judging, differing, however, from an intellectual judgment, in that it does not aim at establishing an intellectual connection but is solely concerned with the setting up of a subjective criterion of acceptance or rejection." (Psychological Types, p. 544)
Without going further into the matter it will be clear that all purely moral or ethical valuations are related to feelings; that is to say, they are immediate judgments passed on the value of a content of the psyche or of a whole situation. The image that came into the consciousness or the situation in which one finds oneself in relation to other objects or persons is "good" or "bad." The ego accepts it or rejects it in an immediate direct manner and on the basis of either a deep-rooted instinct or an equally deep-rooted traditional collective attitude. Morals are constituted by a set of traditional judgments concerning more or less clearly defined situations or relationships, some of which are based on what appears as biological instinct, others of which are the results of an attitude to life consciously and deliberately stressed by a religious, social or philosophical code of values.
Feeling-judgments, and more specifically ethical judgments as to what is "good" or "bad," are valuable in that they consider the whole of a situation and its bearing upon the whole organism of the experiencer. No time is wasted in intellectual analysis and "maybe." On the other hand, barring those feeling-judgments which are really instinctual reactions and deal with biological necessities, ethical valuations are determined by a "prejudgment" and often a prejudice, and by the quality and limitations of either the conscious ego or of some powerful racial image in the unconscious. In other words, they take things for granted.
While the real intuition springs from an immediate adaptation of the whole of the experiencer to a whole situation — including all its new and never-before-realized implications — an ethical feeling-judgment values every new situation in terms of set traditional estimations. Thus morals are periodically changing their dictates, and while they may be the expression of real collective intuitions when they are "fresh," they soon lose their real significance, as soon and insofar as a new layout of basic factors in human nature manifests.
The main point, however, which we have to make, is that all ethical judgments divide the sum total of experiences into two categories; one which is acceptable, the other which must be rejected. While this may be a necessity of living in a world where the law of opposites rules and all "living whole" faces destruction, from without and even from within — the fact remains that by living almost exclusively by ethical standards or feeling-judgments, man cuts himself off from experiencing half of his life-contents.
Ethical living is "safety first" living. It is living based upon fear. In the jungle, fear is a real thing and is really the working out of the instinct of preservation. Run or die is the basic law, in most cases. The other solution is to shut yourself within walls which define a zone of safety (the home) and a zone of danger (the outdoors).
Now, if we recall what was said in a previous chapter, mankind is now, and has been for many centuries, in a sort of psycho-mental jungle, which the relative safety of our civilized physical world does not make any more safe; just the contrary. Mentally speaking, we may say that the European emphasis on intellectual logic and scholasticism had for its aim the building of a zone of mental safety in the jungle of the newly entered realm of ideation. Logic and mathematical discipline teach us how to build an intellectual home within the confines of which the power of ideation can function safely. Mathematical formulas constitute a framework of operative safety. As long as you keep within it you can trust the results of your ideas; but if you go off, then your chaotic imagination may lead you astray.
Psychologically speaking, the same has been true. European ethics and philosophy taught us to build a strong and well-guarded home (or rather, fortified castle): the conscious, over which ruled in omnipotence the feudal lord: the ego. The woman was enslaved by the lord, and the children were cowed into submission. The peasants who toiled around the castle (the instinctual contents of the psyche) were admitted to the castle under strict supervision of an armed guard, when the enemy menaced the gates, safely locked. Of course, a lovely chapel was built within the fortress in which an autocratic God, camouflaged into a compassionate Savior, was worshipped. The whole picture of the feudal civilization is an exact symbol (as is always the case) of what was happening then within man's psyche.
Music also, the direct expression of the psyche, gave, as is always the case, a symbolical picture of this feudal world; formalism and tonality, being splendid illustrations of this domination of the ethical principle of exclusion. The whole of the Christian European civilization is based on that principle. It is based on psychic and mental fear; and on the sometimes necessary yet always thwarting ideal of "safety first." It did achieve greatness within the strict boundaries of what it had enclosed within its fortress; and in that sense, European civilization means an over-focalization which threw great and penetrating light upon what it had admitted as valuable and safe. Its fruits constitute therefore a treasure of great price.
But. . . oh! what a terrible mess was made of what it left outside of the walls! How dearly is mankind paying for a Descartes and a Bach! How festering and decaying the contents of the subconscious — the sum total of our inherited repressions, moral Condemnations and fears! Every focalization means limitation, and thus exclusion of experiences and psychic contents. It must therefore be paid for. The more one excludes — the more ethical judgments control the outer and inner behavior — the more future generations (or in an individual life, the years after 40) will have to suffer the consequences. On the other hand, not to focalize, not to build a fortified home (or conscious) may mean a life of dispersion and constant dodging of enemies (within and without); a life in which no solid and lasting achievement is performed — save perhaps that of one's own free selfhood . . . which may be the greatest of all achievements, after all!
But we do not wish to pass here any feeling-judgment against feeling-judgments or ethical valuations! On the contrary, we intend to show that there is another attitude which, while it does not deny the validity of organically rooted and instinctive-intuitional feeling-judgments, emphasizes a different principle of conduct: the principle of esthetics.
Esthetics (in the strict philosophical sense of the term) is opposed to ethics (also in the strict sense of this word) very much as thinking is opposed to feeling. Thinking is defined by Jung as:
"that psychological function which, in accordance with its own laws, brings given presentations into conceptual connection. . . The term 'thinking' should be confined to the linking up of representations by means of a concept, where, in other words, an act of judgment prevails, whether such act be the product of one's intention or not."
What characterizes thinking is the fact that it is a linking up of factors. In other words, it establishes "conceptual connections," or in general well-defined relationships. It is the climax of the process of awareness of relationship. It brings to light the inherent form (structure or configuration) of things and situations. The thinking judgment is not as to whether a thing is in itself "good" or "bad," but as to whether the form of a presentation establishes a valid set of relationships or not. It does not say: "This thing is bad" — meaning always "for me." It tells whether the disposition of factors in the situation established by the relationship is, first, coherent, then, significant. Having analyzed this disposition of factors, it is moreover able to pass judgment as to whether, by emphasizing or restricting some of these factors, a new configuration can be established which would be more coherent and more significant.
Thinking establishes or analyzes connections which, in their total configuration, constitute a form. The form is coherent and significant, or it is not. In this process we find the foundation of esthetics. The esthetical judgment is opposed to the ethical judgment in that it does not exclude any group of elements; but, at most, subordinates some to others of greater significance. It is said that the esthetical process is one of selection. But selection does not mean condemnation of what is not selected. If a painter paints only the outlines of a body with his ink-brush, this does not mean that he condemns the elements of flesh, etc., within this outline. It does not pass an ethical judgment against them. He transforms them into implied values. He selects certain factors and stresses certain elements or phases of the total configuration presented by the life-experience (for instance, by the scene his eyes behold). But this stressing must be so produced as to give the suggestion of all the elements which have been left obviously unrepresented. In a really great work of art all elements of a life-situation are contained; but some are represented by actual presence, others are implied in the total configuration.
This, translated in terms of everyday living, may be illustrated by the following example. A man determines by ethical-judgment or feeling-judgment that sexual experiences are "bad," and acting upon the judgment, castrates himself (like, for instance, Origen). This is an extreme case insofar as it involves violent physical action; but in a less accentuated form, all self-compulsive asceticism is of the same type. On the other hand, we may think of a spiritual person who has reached normally beyond the desire for sex experience. The sex-force is active in him, but transformed. It is "implied" but not actually represented. There is no ethical judgment passed against it; but, in the esthetical configuration of the whole of his being, sex is suggested, but not stressed or even concretely represented; while in the self-mutilated man, sex is always present but in a negative form, that is, as a positive shadow — therefore as "evil."
Ethical judgments create evil. Esthetical judgments produce stresses, emphases, relief, contrasts, light and shade, actual and implied representation, climaxes and suggestions. They balance opposites, and never condemn absolutely. They harmonize; never discard. They deal with whole relations, which they estimate in the totality of their elements. No element can be cancelled without impairing the relation. In fact, no element in any relation can ever be cancelled. One can only transform it, by apparent cancellation, into an evil force. But for him who acts according to the true principle of esthetics, there is no "evil"; neither is there any "good." There is only form or relationship, linking all elements into a wholeness which includes light and shadow, crest and trough, emphasis and mere implication — all equally significant; but each with a particular significance of its own, a significance which may be marked either with a minus or a plus sign. In esthetics the only evil is — lack of significance; but it does not reside in the thing or the situation. For all things and all situations, being expressions of the moment of their manifestation, are inherently significant. Lack of significance is due only to man's inability to perceive significance. Thus there is no evil, except ignorance.
The result is that man can be educated into perceiving significances. Ethical compulsion, based on fear, leads to evil. Esthetical education, based on the perception of coherent and significant relationship, destroys the dark fantasy which evil is. It makes of all living an esthetic activity — a creative activity. It destroys — or should destroy — all valuations based on past judgments and the compulsion of tradition, as these are hindrances to the full living of the wholeness of the moment. The wholeness of the moment is the Soul of the moment. And the Soul of the moment is your Soul and mine, ever new, ever young, ever rooted in significance, ever rooted in the "quality" which is our own, the great theme which "life" develops by making it integrate and transfigure into individual significance the completeness of our own ever-receding horizon.
So to educate man is the task of the new Psychology and of the new Astrology outlined in this book.
Dream-analysis and the Assimilation of Unconscious Contents
We shall refer later on to the relationship which Astrology, as re-formulated in this book, bears to the esthetical attitude to life. We shall particularly see how this attitude invalidates all notions of "bad" aspects and "evil" planets, at least in natal astrology. But we wish first of all to conclude our brief survey of Jung's analytical psychology by outlining the method he advocates for furthering the process of individuation. It will be indeed a most sketchy outline and we must refer the reader to Jung's books, especially Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, and the Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower.
We might say that the first step on the way to individuation is to remove the impediments obstructing it. The process of individuation is no mysterious or hallowed performance. It is the full living of an ethically and socially uncastrated life. As Jung says: "Life, . . .if lived with complete devotion, brings an intuition of the self, the individual being." Unfortunately, to live with complete devotion is made difficult by the inheritance of mankind which makes itself felt in the influence of environment, tradition and education. Collective elements press upon the tender sproutings of the plant of personality; and so the natural flow of life is disturbed, hindered, and the very waters of the soul are poisoned. The tendencies and energies repressed accumulate in the personal unconscious, whence they affect in subterranean ways the outer behavior and physiological health. Psychological analysis, in its first stage, must therefore release these repressions; the repressed wishes must be made conscious.
Dream-analysis helps us to get at these repressions and to bring them into the light of consciousness, thus robbing them of their power.
"Dreams give information about the secrets of the inner life and reveal to the dreamer hidden factors of his personality. As long as these are undiscovered, they disturb his waking life and betray themselves only in the form of symptoms. This means that we cannot effectively treat the patient from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about a change in and through the unconscious. As far as present knowledge goes, there is only one way of doing this: there must be a thoroughgoing, conscious assimilation of unconscious contents. By 'assimilation' I mean a mutual interpenetration of conscious and unconscious contents, and not — as is too commonly thought — a one-sided valuation, interpretation and deformation of unconscious contents by the conscious mind. . . The relation between conscious and unconscious is compensatory. This fact, which is easily verifiable, affords a rule for dream interpretation. It is always helpful, when we set out to interpret a dream, to ask: What conscious attitude does it compensate? . . . Every dream is a source of information and a means of self-regulation. . . (Dreams) are our most effective aids in the task of building up the personality."
(Modern Man in Search of a Soul, pp. 18-20)
"The dream speaks in images, and gives expression to instincts that are derived from the most primitive levels of nature. Consciousness all too easily departs from the law of nature; but it can be brought again into harmony with the latter by assimilation of unconscious contents. By fostering this process we lead the patient to the rediscovery of the law of his own being. . . I could not put together (in so short a space) before your eyes, stone by stone, the edifice that is reared in every analysis from the materials of the unconscious and finds its completion in the restoration of the total personality. The way of successive assimilations reaches far beyond the curative results that specifically concern the doctor. It leads in the end to that distant goal (which may perhaps have been the first urge to life) the bringing into reality of the whole human being that is, individuation." (Modern Man in Search of a Soul, p. 30)
Dreams, however, are not the only projections of the unconscious which can be assimilated. There is another field of psychological activity, which Jung names "phantasy," and which is rooted much more in the unconscious than in the conscious. From the most inconspicuous day-dreaming to the most significant sudden "inspiration" of the creative artist, the scientist, or the philosopher, the realm of creative phantasy extends. Creative phantasy is the bridge between feeling and thought. "It is not born of either, for it is the mother of both — nay, further, it is pregnant with the child, that final aim which reconciles the opposites. . . What great thing ever came into existence that was not first phantasy?" (Psychological Types.)
Phantasy operates, like dreams, through the projection of symbols. By an understanding of these symbols we can tap the deepest levels of the unconscious, and assimilate the profound wisdom of the ages which is deposited at those levels.
"The unconscious can give us all the furtherance and help that bountiful nature holds in store for man in ever-flowing abundance. The unconscious . . . commands not only all the subliminal psychic contents, all that has been forgotten and overlooked, but also the wisdom and experience of uncounted centuries, a wisdom that is deposited and lying potential in the human brain. The unconscious is continually active, creating from its material combinations that serve the needs of the future. It creates subliminal prospective combinations just as does the conscious, only they are markedly superior to the conscious combinations both in refinement and extent. The unconscious, therefore, can also be an unequalled guide for man."
(Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, pp. 118-119)
The use of what is called "phantasy-material" is one of the most significant features of Jung's technique. He writes: "We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. . . Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting and negating, and never leaving the simple growth of the psychic process in peace." We must "release the cramp in the conscious." A new attitude is to be created, "an attitude which accepts the irrational and the unbelievable, simply because it is what is happening. This attitude would be a poison for a person who has already been overwhelmed by things that just happen, but it is of the highest value for one who, with an exclusively conscious critique, chooses from the things that happen only those appropriate to his consciousness, and thus gets gradually drawn away from the stream of life into a stagnant backwater."
(Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower, p. 91)
The "Commentary" on the Secret of the Golden Flower gives a great deal of information as to the meaning of this creative phantasy and the manner in which the way can be cleared that leads to the condition of integration and individuation. It shows, besides, how the modern method fits in with some of the oldest conceptions of Chinese wisdom, when these are seen as referring to psychological processes — to the integration and birth of a superior personality, the consciousness of which, detached from the world, which it contains without being in bondage to it, has become pure vision.
The philosophical motive underlying all of Jung's conceptions is that of the reconciliation of the opposites — an old and universal motive which Chinese and Aryan-Hindu civilizations featured, each in a somewhat different way, each emphasizing one of the opposites. The Chinese set-up is particularly clear, and there is little doubt that, in a renewed formulation, it will gain an ever-greater ascendancy in the new era. Through Richard Wilhelm, Jung became intimately acquainted with it and with the Yi King, the great book in which ancient China pictured symbolically a wonderful synthesis of all life-activities, embracing all knowledge and all performances of action in a vast formula, the Formula of Change.
The application of the principle back of the formula in reference to psychology and to the process of individuation is striking, and, in a deep sense, constitutes the background of Jung's conceptions and technique — consciously or unconsciously to him. As presented in The Secret of the Golden Flower, we find the following metaphysical picture:
"Tao the undivided, Great One, gives rise to two opposite reality principles, Darkness and Light, yin and yang. These are at first thought of only as forces of nature, apart from man. Later the sexual polarities and others as well, are derived from them. From yin comes ming, life; from yang, hsing or essence."
Tao is "that which exists through itself," paralleling thus the "Self-Existent" (Svayambhuva) of Hindu Buddhism. But it is also the Great Integer and the Process of Integration. The Chinese sign for Tao is made up of two signs, one meaning "head," the other, "going." Wilhelm translates Tao by "Meaning"; but it has been translated usually as "the Way." It is, in one sense at least, the Way, or rather the Process, in the head. Jung, referring "Head" to consciousness, comes to the meaning: conscious way. Tao is the synthesis of ming, life; and hsing, essence. Essence and life, originally one in Tao, become separated at the conception of the child. To reunite them is the goal of psychological development. Tao becomes thus "the method or conscious way by which to unite what is separated," that is essence (which is interchangeable with consciousness) and life. Consciousness separated from life refers to the condition Jung describes as "the deflection, or deracination of consciousness." Also "the question of making the opposites conscious means reunion with the laws of life represented in the unconscious." To live consciously is to bring about Tao. To do this fully is to integrate consciousness (essence) and the energies of the collective unconscious (life). This comes as a result of a "psychic process of development which expresses itself in symbols." The great symbol of individuation is the mandala: that is, a magic circle containing a cross or some other basically four-fold formation.
Such a symbol is the zodiac — and the typical quadrature of an astrological chart (the 4 angles). All natal astrology is the practical application of this "squaring of the circle" — the conscious Way: Tao. Fourfold T-A-O gives the 12 signs or houses of astrology (3 X 4 = 12). Every birth-chart is the mandala of an individual life. It is the blueprint of the process of individuation for this particular individual. To follow it understandingly is to follow the "conscious way;" the way of "operative wholeness;" that is, the way of the active fulfillment of the wholeness of being that is Self.
1. Printed in the book The Secret of the Golden Flower, a translation from the Chinese by Richard Wilhelm, with a Commentary by C. G. Jung. We have used in this quotation the spelling "Yi King" instead of "I Ching" to fit in with our previous use of the term.
2. Space is the abstract mathematical basis of reference for measuring the relationship of whole to whole within the universal Whole. This relationship operates through the interchange of "Light," or energies, and is thus measurable in terms of the velocity of light — as in modern science. Space is thus, in a sense, "created" by Light. We shall see later on that it corresponds to the collective; Time, to the individual. Space is a framework for the operation of wholeness, the field created by the exteriorization, as Light, of wholeness. In other words, Wholeness exteriorizes itself as Light. Time exteriorizes itself as Space. Thus the spatial relationships of celestial bodies are exteriorizations or symbols of the qualities of moments and cycles.
3. In this and other unquoted paragraphs Jung does not give an altogether correct picture of the basis of the symbolism of the Yi King. The Chinese hexagrams are based on a cosmic formula of change. Out of the Unknown Principle arise two principles Yang and Yin, positive and negative, expansive and contractive; and all cycles are considered as the time-symbols of the interaction of these two principles. They are particularly related to the cycles of the year, Yang dominating at the summer solstice, Yin, at the winter solstice. Yang is represented by a straight line, Yin, by a line broken in two. The hexagrams constitute the 64 possible combinations made by the six-fold superposition of these lines. Each is referred thus to a section of the yearly cycle, and carries a symbol which has significance in terms of that section. Each hexagram is thus a sort of zodiacal sign, or cosmic viewpoint measured on the circumference of the orbit of the Earth. The symbols themselves were apparently written down by King Wen around the year 1100 or 1000 B.C.; but it could undoubtedly be shown that their symbolism is based on "holistic logic," just as astrological symbolism. Jung is too much of an experimentalist, it seems, to realize this fact.
4. The term "Analytic Psychology" was used as the title of a book by G. F. Stout (1896). C. G. Jung calls his type of psychology "Analytical Psychology." We use the term here in its broadest sense, but specifically in the direction of Jung's interpretation — although Dr. Jung would presumably disagree with much that we say in this chapter.
The Astrology of Personality