Through a Jungian Lens

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As I wander the streets of Changzhou with my camera, I get to see “real” life unfold before me.  For example, near the city’s People’s Number One Hospital, I saw this monk talking with an older woman.  The deal is both about donating to the home temple of the monk as well as paying for prayers that will be beneficial to the buyer or a loved one.  For me, this is one of the shadow sides of “religion.”

Shadow and light – one exists only in relation to the other.  In terms of the spiritual, we conveniently place both the shadow and light outside of “self.”  We have a God of Light and we have the Lord of Darkness.  As I said, these are convenient construction, projections, of what belongs within.  In my opinion, there is no external God, nor is there an external Satan.

By placing the possibility and necessity of humanity’s religious experience in the processes of archetypal within the psyche, Jung identifies the archetypes as humanity’s God-makers and faith givers.  Most Western theologies identify God not only as the source of revelation but also as the author of faith in that which is revealed.  Thus faith or the grace of belief, as well as what is believed in, is placed well beyond the potentially manipulative grasp of the individual ego.”  (Dourley, The Illness That We Are, p.23)

“God-makers” and “faith givers” – powerful words.  All god-heads are creations of the collective human psyche.  Religion emerges to give substance to the projected energy.  And in relief, most give up responsibility for their spiritual need.  Like children, most look for a “father” or a “mother” to take care of them, to take away their hurts and to give them answers.  The more impressive and different the costume and the setting, the easier it is for most to “believe” in their projected spiritual nature.  Answers exist, if one only believes.  Since it is too hard for most to hold the tension of “no answer, only question,” many accept these religions in spite of the niggling voice within that is pushed further and further into the shadow realm, denied.  This leaves a belief that is tainted with darkness, a darkness that gets acted out in the collective realm, over and over again.

And it all seems so innocent, as in this image – a monk offering hope to an old lady.


6 Responses

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  1. What you describe is basically a parasitic relationship, isn’t it? They feed from each other and in the end both host and parasite lose. Others may argue it it symbiotic, but without development and progress – and here neither wants the other to change – no real growth is possible.

    So the purpose for both is to gain power, but lose responsibility.

    Lotus Light

    November 12, 2010 at 9:48 am

  2. Thank you Robert and Lotus,
    Fascinating to become aware that all this is also part of my (our) Human Nature.
    As Lotus wrote : “So the purpose for both is to gain power, but lose responsibility”
    Interesting to see that let’s say the last 20 years, there has been a increasing of pushing off Responsibility to somebody or something else – increasing forms of Denial so to say – increasing forms of Shadow.
    But then, I am not the one to judge others, only myself – and by judging (becoming aware of) myself I hope that the symbols of the scales of Feather and Heart will become a little bit more in balance.

    Opa Bear

    November 12, 2010 at 7:31 pm

  3. “In my opinion, there is no external God, nor is there an external Satan.”

    This opinion is correct. God is within as is Satan. I just needed to prove this to my scientific Self before I could accept that I am as much God as I am the Devil. The Abrahamic religons knew this much to be True:




    November 14, 2010 at 5:20 am

  4. Thank you, Robert,

    This is a marvelous image and a brilliant commentary. Your Jungian vision makes you a true visionary.

    As a blogger who writes about the same topics, and a traveler who will soon visit Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia, I am inspired by your seamless integration of word and image and shall try to emulate it in upcoming posts. The world needs more exposure to the world as seen through a Jungian lens.

    Thanks for the inspiration,



    November 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm

  5. This is a very nice blog indeed, and I am going to highlight this on our web site, which is all about Jungian Archetype used to make things happen in the world.

    Please consider posting these pieces there as well! The idea is to build a community to help people understand what is meant by archetype. Rather than each of us blogging off in our lonely studies, we’re hoping to build a community of people who help one another up the learning curve of Jungian Archetype. It’s blogging, all the same, but as a community activity.

    Since I’m not formally trained, I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to figure all of this out for myself, which has not been easy. But I’m convinced it IS important. You thoughts and contributions will surely be welcome!

    My daughter told me on her 22nd Birthday, “Dad, I’m sorry to say this, but you’re going to Hell.” She was influenced heavily by Baptist missionaries in Kazan, Tataristan. That evening, if Mephistopheles himself had plopped down into my passenger seat going home, I would have signed the Faustian bargain, if only none of my daughters would ever have believed that about me.

    Finally, now that we can see back to the Big Bang and down to the smallest Quark, I know that Heaven and Hell are in one place only; between our pair of ears.

    I would be honored if you would join us in our effort to more broadly educate the creative community to be more effective activists!

    Best regards, Skip Conover
    [By the way, I’m an old Asia hand, and wo hwei shwo idyar gwoyu. Ni jrdau bu jrdau:
    Tyan bu pa
    Di bu pa
    Jyou pa yang gwei tse
    Shwo gwan hwa. So I’m not impolite to those who don’t know, it means:
    Don’t fear heaven
    Don’t fear hell
    Only fear foreigners
    Who speak Mandarin!

    BTW: Free listing of your link, a full description of yourself, and any audio/video files in our Archetype in Action(TM) Organization Directory until Friday.

    I’ve subscribed here, and I’m sure I will be back often!

    Skip Conover

    December 14, 2010 at 4:25 am

    • Skip, I, too enjoy this blog and write about archetypes. In fact, I have a blog post coming out tomorrow morning (Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011) about the King and Queen archetypes and what they have to do with the tragic killings in Arizona last weekend. Let me know if you’re interested in including my blog in your list of Jungian archetypes on your website. I’d be honored to join you. Sincerely, Jeanie

      Jean Raffa

      January 15, 2011 at 12:05 am

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