Dreaming the Myth Onward: Jungian Neo-Paganism

Carl Jung's ideas have been influencing the development of Neo-Paganism from its inception in the 1960s and 1970s. But what if Jung's ideas have been misunderstood by many Pagans: literalized on the one hand and oversimplified on the other? What fresh insights can a Jungian Neo-Paganism contribute to Pagan discourse and practice today? And might Jungianism serve as a bridge between the earth-centered and deity-centered Pagan communities?

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John Halstead

John Halstead

John discovered Jungianism and Neo-Paganism at the same time through the writings of Vivianne Crowley, Margot Adler, and Starhawk, and the two have remained intertwined for him ever since.  John is the managing editor at HumanisticPaganism.com, a community blog for Naturalistic Pagans. He also writes about his spiritual quest on his blog The Allergic Pagan (www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/), where he explores his personal religious history, Paganism, UUism, and Jungianism.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This essay was originally published at Neo-Paganism.com. 


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Inspired by the recent publication of an environmental statement by the Covenant of the Goddess, and spurred on by the increasingly urgent need for personal and societal reform of our relationship to the environment, I am gathering interested parties to prepare a draft Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.  Our intent is to a prepare a draft statement which will then be made available for public comment and then finalized for signatures. Among other things, I would like to see this statement published by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, which already has published similar statements by many other religions. If you would be interested in helping to write the first draft of the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment or if you would like to participate in any other way, please email me at your earliest convenience or respond in the comments. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. If you would like to read more about the thoughts that prompted this effort, see my recent post at The Allergic Pagan

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I would help with writing / editing that. Your email link goes to an error message, but I'm trying you on Facebook.

When I lean over the chasm of myself,

It seems my God is dark,

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I've been promising for a while to write about how I use Tarot as a spiritual practice.  I've written about how I view the major arcana of the Tarot as a micro-cosmograph.  I've shared my favorite Tarot decks.  And I have shared pictures of my own Tarot deck which I created from popular and fine art and shared a little about how I interpret each card here and here.  What I have yet to do is share what I actually do with the cards.

To begin with, I do not use the cards for any kind of divination.  As will be seen below, when I do a spread, I do assign one of the cards to a position I call "the future", but it is not intended to be a prediction.  Rather, it is a projection, my own anticipation of a possible future. 

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We make our destinies by our choice of gods. -- Virgil

In my last post, I wrote about the danger of trivializing the gods.  In this post, I want to discuss the danger of trusting them.

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I am a Jungian Neo-Pagan, which means that, theologically speaking, I fall somewhere between atheist Pagans and devotional polytheists regarding the existence of the gods.  By placing my beliefs in the "middle" here I do not mean to privilege my beliefs, only to make the point that I both agree and disagree with both groups about different things.  One thing I agree with devotional polytheists about is that the gods should be taken seriously. 

I worry sometimes that we Neo-Pagans don't take our own gods seriously enough.  I disagree with devotional polytheists about the metaphysical nature of the gods, whether they are "real, independent, sentient beings" or real, independent semi-conscious archetypes. (Carl Jung called the archetypes "gods" and compared the psyche to an “Olympus full of deities who want to be propitiated, served, feared and worshipped”.)  But one thing I admire about them is the seriousness (the "piety" if you will) with which they approach the gods.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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I previously shared my favorite tarot decks.  In the last post and this one, I want to share my own personal tarot deck that I created from some of my favorite artists.

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