Paganism is often described as religion of “Nature Worship” or as “Earth-Centered”. Is it? Should it be? Is Nature, in how we use it, a euphemism for the wilderness, or the biological, ‘living’ part of the world, or is it a name we put on the world as a whole? Is Nature big enough for it to be a descriptive characteristic of our group spiritual life? Much depends on the definition of Nature. . .
In the previous two posts, I set out to show how Jung’s archetypal psychology might be of interest to polytheists and deity-centered Pagans. In concluding, I promised to discuss how Jung may also be of interest to earth-centered Pagans.
Jung’s earthiness is sometimes easy to miss. It is quite possible to read a great deal of Jung’s writings, as well as a lot of secondary literature on Jungian psychology, and not find much concern at all with the natural world. In fact, it is easy to interpret Jungian philosophy as being introverted to the point of solipsism. And yet, one of Jung’s biographers confidentially calls him “earth-rooted” as well as “spiritually centered”. People who knew him called often described him as “earthy”, referring to his physicality and vitality, as well as his simplicity. Olga Konig-Fachsenfeld, for one, wrote that Jung's "earth-rootedness" was for her "the guarantee for the credibility of his psychology".
In his personal life, Jung had an intense love of nature, simple rustic lifestyle, and solitude, reminiscent of the Transcendentalists. Jung writes in his semi-autobiographical Memories, Dreams, Reflections that part of him always felt “remote from the world of men, but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures.” His experience of nature bordered on the pantheistic:
“Nothing could persuade me that ‘in the image of God’ applied only to man. In fact it seemed to me that the high mountains, the rivers, lakes, trees, flowers, and animals far better exemplified the essence of God than men with their ridiculous clothes, their meanness, vanity, mendacity, and abhorrent egotism [...]...