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Jung & Astrology
The Freud/Jung Letters
excerpts of correspondence between Freud and Jung are taken from The
Freud/Jung Letters (Abridged Edition) 1979
In May of 1911 Dr. Carl G Jung (1875-1961) wrote his (at that time)
mentor Sigmund Freud saying:
"Occultism is another field we shall have to conquer - with the aid
of the libido theory, it seems to me. At the moment I am looking into
astrology, which seems indispensable for a proper understanding of mythology.
There are strange and wondrous things in these lands of darkness."
then, cautiously added: "Please
don't worry about my wanderings in these infinitudes. I shall return
laden with rich booty for our knowledge of the human psyche.... For
a while longer I must intoxicate myself on magic perfumes in order
to fathom the secrets that lie hidden in the abysses of the unconscious..."
Freud responded: "I
am aware that you
are driven by innermost
the study of the
occult and I am
sure you will return
home richly laden.
I cannot argue
with that, it is
always right to
go where your impulses
then, added this
prophetic caution: "You
will be accused
of mysticism, but
you won with the Dementia will
hold up for quite
some time against
that. Just don't
stay in the tropical
colonies too long,
you must reign
Clue to the Core
In a subsequent
Jung wrote Freud
that his [Jung's]
evenings were currently
being taken up
largely with astrology
and the calculating
of horoscopes: "in
order to find a
clue to the core
of human psychology." According
to his [Jung's] letter,
one thing catching
had been in the
a woman's chart
who was suffering
from an "extraordinary
mother complex." It
seemed there was
a certain configuration
in the chart that
the woman's mother "to
went on to state: "I
dare say that we shall one day discover in astrology a good deal
of knowledge that has been intuitively projected into the heavens.
For instance, it appears that the signs of the zodiac are character
pictures, in other words libido symbols which depict the typical
qualities of the libido at a given moment."
this Freud replied (June of 1911) that he had recently grown humbled
and was: "willing
to believe anything that can be made to sound reasonable." But Freud
then added that he was concerned for Jung in the "dangerous step
A short time later, in a separate letter written to one of Jung's colleagues, Freud
expressed his grave concerns about Jung and stated the field of occultism
was a dangerous expedition that he could not accompany them on.
Freud's and Jung's later famous breakup in 1913, Freud made it unambiguously
clear (in no uncertain terms) that he was highly critical of Jung’s
excursions into these paranormal matters of disrepute. Freud was
irremediably disappointed in Jung and dismayed that his young protégé had
chosen to move off in this troubling direction.
was proven right in his fears that Jung would be accused of being
a mystic... due
much in part to Jung's investigation of astrology, his critics have
long charged him with the "crime" of mixing mysticism with science.
Jung Forged Ahead
Throughout the years of his long-standing professional career, Jung
repeatedly showed great personal courage in his investigation of matters
that no one else in the "respectable" medical/psychiatric academia
circles of his day would touch.
was one of those darkened avenues considered to be "tabooed" and
off limits. But
Jung considered himself, first and foremost, a doctor and healer
of the psyche. So
when Jung believed it necessary to travel down and explore a certain
tabooed avenue in order to gain a better understanding of the psyche,
then Jung "went for it."
Jung's calculating of horoscopes continued on during
the rest of his long and productive life.
(Born: 1875, Died: 1961) It's
further known that, when challenged by an especially perplexing case,
Jung would arrange to have the patient's birth chart cast in order to
gain more insight into the individual.
a letter written to written to Hindu astrologer, B.V. Raman, September
6th 1947 - Dr. Jung wrote:
you want to know my opinion about astrology I can tell you that I've
been interested in this particular activity of the human mind since
more than 30 years. As I am a psychologist, I am chiefly interested
in the particular light the horoscope sheds on certain complications
in the character. In cases of difficult psychological diagnosis I
usually get a horoscope in order to have a further point of view from
an entirely different angle. I must say that I very often found that
the astrological data elucidated certain points which I otherwise
would have been unable to understand. From such experiences I formed
the opinion that astrology is of particular interest to the psychologist,
since it contains a sort of psychological experience which we call
'projected' - this means that we find the psychological facts as it
were in the constellations."
It might appear to the casual observer that somewhere along the line,
Jung's focus and line of investigation gradually changed over from
astrology to it's lesser known, and more obscure younger sister, "alchemy."
the end, three large volumes of Jung's Collected Works were devoted
to alchemy and alchemical symbols in relation to the development
of the human psyche and individuation.
call alchemy "astrology's younger sister," because:
alchemists of the Renaissance period were invariably as well
trained in the discipline of astrology as they were in alchemy.
the writing of these alchemists were literally jam packed with
constant referrals to astrological images and symbolism.
often gave his public stance and wrote prolifically regarding his
rationales for choosing to engage in his investigation of alchemy
and alchemical symbolism. (See the Unus Mundus Menu section on Alchemy)
Kid on the Block
In the popular
Jung's day, astrology
had already been
relegated to (and
fallen into) the
shadow status of
being little more
than a superstitious
occult parlor game
played by unscrupulous
charlatans in back
older sister, inevitably
carried with her
a ton load of excess
and sullied baggage. Whereas,
the ancient art
of alchemy had
been almost totally
forgotten by the
modern world and
very little matching
(the younger sister) was still pretty much 20th Century pristine
and pure. Therefore, one can only speculate as to whether all this
weighed heavily on Jung's mind and factored into his decision to
actively pursue and write about the alchemy rather than astrology...
in His Later Years
Did Jung abandon astrology in his later years? Careful study and reading
of Jung's "Collected Works" (as well as a clearer understanding of alchemy
and alchemical symbolism) shouts out a resounding, deafening NO...
published in 1951, Jung devoted an entire volume of his Collected Works,
Aion, to the deeper meaning behind Christ and then that of
Christ representing the astrological age of Pisces and then discussing
the coming age of Aquarius...
ideas on synchronicity were strongly influenced by his 25 year relationship
with the Austrian born Nobel quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900-58).
According to Deirdre Bair's biography on Jung, it was W. Pauli's 1948
lectures at the Zurich Psychology Club: "The Influence of Archetypal
Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler" that lead Jung to then
writing his paper: Synchronicity An Acausal Connecting Principle"
that included Jung's astrological experiments. The lectures by Pauli
and the essay by Jung were originally published together as a book in
1952 "The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche."
excerpts of correspondence between Freud and Jung were taken from "The
Freud/Jung Letters (Abridged Edition)" 1979
it now at Amazon.com)
much more on Jung & Astrology see the section: Archetypal
Astrology and the Map of the Soul
Books: (These books written by Jung are not recommended for the faint
of heart! Jung's writing can indeed be richly rewarding, but they
are difficult to wade through.)
Two - An Astrological Experiment written by C.G. Jung (originally
published in 1952 as part of the larger Collected Works book "The
Interpretation of Nature and Psyche.")
it now at Amazon.com)
by C.G. Jung (originally published in 1952)
it now at Amazon.com)
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