Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/artsdesi/public_html/plugins/system/nicepaypaldownloadsbtn/nicepaypaldownloadsbtn.php on line 53

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/artsdesi/public_html/plugins/system/nicepaypaldonations/nicepaypaldonations.php on line 63

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/artsdesi/public_html/plugins/system/isekeywords/isekeywords.php on line 77

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/artsdesi/public_html/plugins/system/isekeywords/isekeywords.php on line 78
jung Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:56:58 -0800 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Ritual for Embracing Our Shadow

In my last post, I promised to describe a ritual which my family does about the Jungian Shadow.  We've done this ritual in the past at the summer solstice, but it can be done at any time.

You will need to have made paper mache masks for each of the participants in advance of the ritual, or else you may purchase masks.


“Daemonos” by Daemonia Nymphe

Reader 1:

“We begin by making new metaphors.  Without negating the light, we reclaim the dark: the fertile earth where the hidden seed lies unfolding, the unseen power that rises within us, the dark of sacred human flesh, the depths of the ocean, the night — when our senses quicken; we reclaim all the lost parts of ourselves we have shoved down into the dark.  Instead of enlightenment, we begin to speak of deepening.”  [Starhawk]

Reader 2:

“It is the goal of Paganism to remind us that there is a darker side to all things and that this darker side is not necessarily harmful and negative. There is beauty in darkness for those who dare enter the shadows to embrace it. …

Reader 3:

“But it is important to remember that focusing only on the darker side is just as dangerous as focusing on the lighter side. Balance is important, and even though some may relate to one aspect more than the other, we must always remain open to the other aspects. Life consists of the interplay of these opposites, which naturally complement each other. To discard one aspect is to sacrifice our wholeness and limit our potential.”  [John J. Coughlin]

Ritual Leader:

The song you heard at the beginning of our celebration was in Greek.  The song is called “Daemonos”.   The ancient Greeks worshiped two kinds of gods: the gods of sky and light and the gods of the earth and darkness.  The gods of the sky and light were the Olympians.  You may know their names: Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, Athena, Hera, Aphrodite, and so on.  But the Greeks also worshiped gods of the earth and darkness which were called “daemonos”.  They understood that you could not have one without the other.

When Christianity came around, the Christians borrowed the name “daemonos” and turned it into “demon”.  The early Christian church taught people that everything to do with light and heaven was good, and everything to do with earth and darkness was bad.  Today, Pagans understand that you the earth and darkness are not bad.  And the sky and light is not good.  They are both part of an endless cycle which the Chinese call the Tao (or the Way) and Pagans call the Wheel of the Year.

The darkness is not bad, it is just hidden.  And people are afraid of what they do not know and that fear can make us do some very strange things.  The darkness is not just outside of us.  It is also inside of us.  One of my favorite thinkers was a psychologist named Carl Jung.  He called this darkness inside of all of us the “Shadow”.  The Shadow is the part of ourselves that we hide from everyone.  Sometimes we even hide it from ourselves without realizing it.  And because it is hidden, it can make us do all kinds of strange things.

Do you remember the story of Peter Pan?  Do you remember when he snuck into the children’s bedroom and his shadow got away from him and he chased it all over the room, until Wendy sewed it back on for him?  Our shadows can be like that sometimes.  Sometimes they can feel like they are off doing their own thing, without our permission.

Carl Jung believed one of the most important things we can do as human beings is to find these shadows and sew them back on, metaphorically speaking.  He believed that we cannot be whole persons until we reconnect with our lost dark twin.  Tonight we are going to be doing a ritual that will help us connect with our Shadow.

Activity I

Trace and cut out outlines of each person on large roll of white paper. This is the "persona".  Then trace and cut out outlines of each person on black paper.  This is the "shadow".

Remind participants that shadow self is not bad, just hidden.  Talk about why we show certain things to the world, and why we hide other things.  Talk about how we sometimes show the bad and hide the good.  Have each person write on the white cutout (persona): (1) something that they like about themselves that they let everyone see and (2) something that they don’t like about themselves that they let everyone see.  Then each person writes on the shadow outline (in unreadable black ink): (1) something that they don’t like about themselves that they don’t let anyone see and (2) something that they do like about themselves that they don’t let anyone see.  Apply glue and place the two parts together saying:

I am light leaping out of darkness, leaping out of you. I am darkness leaping out of fire, leaping out of you.

Activity II

Ritual Leader:

Jung taught that each of us wears a mask, which we call our “persona”.  Our Persona is the face that we show the world.  We use this mask to hide the parts of ourselves that we don’t want others to see.  In order to speak with our Shadow, we have take off the mask of our Persona.  But we can’t really take off our Persona like a mask.  Instead, we are going to hide our Persona by making shadow masks.  We have prepared masks and today you are going to decorate the mask in a way that reflects your shadow side.

The masks don’t have mouths because our Shadows don’t have mouths.  This is because they keep our secrets.  Also, they can’t express themselves in words.  Do you remember how frustrating it was not to be able to communicate when we were making the masks.  That is how our shadow feels.  In order to hear our shadows, we need to listen to our feelings, deep down inside.

Decorate pre-prepared masks with paint markers.  Explain to participants that they are drawing what their shadow side looks like.

Explain that the masks do not have mouths, because our shadow sides do not know how to speak with words.  They speak with emotion.

Activity III

Place each shadow on the ground with the mask for a face.

Have each participant lay on the ground on top of their shadow.  Explain there will be no talking after the mask is placed except by the Guide (me) or in case of an emergency, until the mask is removed after the dance.

Have each participant repeat as follows before placing the mask:

I am the Dark Child,
the Dark Twin,
the Other.
I was known to the Greeks as the Minotaur.
I was known to the Britons as Mordred.
I was known to the Egyptians as Set.
I have been known by many names which are now forgotten.

I am the Midnight Sun,
darkness leaping out of light.
Born from the compulsion and malice of what is forbidden,
I am the seed of destruction at the heart of all life.
I am the Worm that eats the Season,
the serpent that gnaws at the roots of the World Tree.

I have no worship,
but I am present in all your deeds,
and all your thoughts,
and all your desires,
and all your dreams.
Seek me there.

Activity IV

Line the participants up at the door.  Explain to the participants that we will be dancing around the fire.  Explain they will be using their bodies to express the feelings that come from their Shadow that the Shadow cannot speak.  Encourage participants to let go of their inhibitions.

Prepare the space by lighting the fire and the torches.  Guide each person outside to the fire circle.  Start the music.

Dance to the following music by Shibaten:

“Sky Tower”

Activity V

Return inside.  Remove the masks.  And place the yin-yang symbol around each participant’s neck, explaining that this symbolizes the union of the light and dark.

Explain that we will be winding down with a different kind of song: “Green and Grey” by Damh the Bard:

This song is about a priest who goes into the woods and he meets someone there, the Horned God of the Pagans.  But he thinks the Horned God is the Christian Devil.  And the Horned God explains that he is not black or white, but green and grey.

Sing the chorus together after the first stanza.

“Green and Grey” by Damh the Bard

Early one morning, around the first of May,
A man in black came walking, into a woodland glade,
Following the sounds of pipes on this beautiful Spring day,
High on the music that they made.
But what beheld him within that place?
A look of recognition fell across his face,
“Lucifer, oh Lucifer, why do you appear to me?
For I am a man of God, a priest.

I’m no devil I’m Father to the land,
I have lived here since the Earth began,
Neither black nor white,
Priest hear what I say,
I’m green and grey.

The priest said, “Lucifer, Lucifer you lie so well,
I will pray unto my God, go back to the fires of Hell!
You fell from Heaven, and you fell from Grace.
You want dominion over this place.”
The Piper smiled, and to the priest he said,
“I was Lord of Animals, the Wild Hunt I led,
Until your God came here and with his jealous hand,
It was he who wanted dominion over this land.

The priest said, “All evil comes from your hand.”
The Piper said, “If evil is, it lies in the hearts of Man.”
“But you lead us, oh you tempt us, to rape, to steal, to kill!”
The Piper said, “Whatever happened to free will?”
Then the Grove lay empty, the priest told no one.
The blossom lay upon the thorn, the Piper’s tune was done.
And in the sunlit forest, the animals they bowed,
As the Piper lay his Goddess down.

Now talk about why the Horned God is not black or white.  Talk about why he is grey (black + white).  Talk about why he is green (balance = growth):

To symbolize this, we are going to draw a green tree or green plant on the white outlines of our selves, to symbolize the growth that comes from the union of the light and dark, our persona and our shadow.

After we have drawn the trees, say the following aloud (which will be our closing words):

“Gardeners of the spirit know that without darkness, nothing comes to birth, as without light, nothing flowers.” [May Sarton]

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:20:22 -0800
Confronting our Shadow b2ap3_thumbnail_cage_by_parablev.jpg

In my last post, I described Neo-Paganism as a modern-day mystery religion.  Historically, initiates into the mystery religions experienced a ritual death and rebirth.  Some Neo-Pagan rituals follow this format.  The idea is that we die to our old selves and awaken to a new, more expansive Self.  In Jungian terms, the Self is the wholeness of our many disparate selves, conscious and unconscious.  But to encounter the Self, we must let our old selves, our egos, die.  This is a psychological death, but no less significant than physical death from the perspective of the ego.  For the ego, the experience can be as painful as dying physically, and some people would prefer physical death.  

The first stage of the death of the ego is the encounter with the Shadow.  Jung wrote, "When sacrifice is demanded it frequently implies the acceptance of our shadow-side."

In its most basic terms, the Shadow is any aspect of our personality that we are unaware of.  More specifically, it is those aspects of our personality that we are unwilling to consciously accept.  This is different than the parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of.  To be ashamed of something, one must be conscious of it.  It is also different than parts of us that other people are ashamed of.  We may be proud of our sexuality, while others tell us we should be ashamed.  In such cases, sexuality is their Shadow, not ours.  Our Shadow resides in the unconscious, which means we are not conscious of it.  And it exercises power over our lives precisely because we are unconscious of it.  

Our shadow may actually include positive or constructive attributes, but ones which we are for some reason unconsciously unwilling to acknowledge.  It is to this part of our shadow, the "Bright Shadow", that Marianne Williams referred in this quote (often misattributed to Nelson Mandella):

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. ..."

How then are we to become conscious of our Shadow?  Other people can help us with this, including therapists and trusted friends.  While Shadow work can be done without help, it cannot be done alone.  This is because Shadow work is all about the withdrawal of projections.  The Shadow, while unconscious, manifests in our lives through projections.  We project our Shadow onto people who we do not like and events that seem ill fated.  In this sense, it is our enemies, more than our friends, who help us bring the Shadow into the light.  Jung explains:

"If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. … Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself ..." (CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East, P. 140)

Let me give you an example from my own life.  I was raised my a mother who cultivated a victim-hero relationship with me.  I later played out the hero role in relationships with multiple women who I (more or less) unconsciously perceived as victims.  At the same time, I despised people who I perceived as cultivating victimhood.  When I left the church of my childhood, I was very angry and eager to enumerate the crimes I felt had been perpetrated against me by the church.  One day, my wife read me an article that said that sometimes people are mean because they feel they are victims.  She didn't indicate in any way that she thought the article was describing me.  But I remember responding to the article saying, "I am not a victim."  And though I had said it casually, it was as if I could hear those words ringing in my ears, and I knew instantly that the words were hollow.  I realized then that I had been cultivating a victim mentality with regard to the church.  And I began to see and accept the role I had played in creating my life circumstances.

That was an example of bringing my Shadow into the light by withdrawing a projection -- the projection of victimhood.  That particular realization came due to the goodwill of my wife and the grace of the Universe.  As I have described it above, it seems like an easy realization, but in fact, it was one that took me about four years to come to, and it is one that I still have to work on sometimes.

Shadow work can be done more deliberately by meditating on the people who we do not like, especially people for whom we have a dislike which seems out of proportion to the real negative attributes of the person.  We can also engage in active imagination and dreamwork to help us withdraw our projections.  In addition to projecting our Shadow onto people, it should be noted that we can also project it onto negative events, events which we experience as ill fated, but which we have in fact brought upon ourselves.  

We when successfully withdraw a projection in this way, we can memorialize it through ritual, like the rituals of the ancient mystery religions.  In doing so, we honor the death of a part of our ego and our rebirth as someone new.  We can also use ritual to make us more receptive to the process of Shadow work, and in my next post, I'll share one such ritual which we did as a family.  This is not a one time event, but a process that should engage our whole lives.  We must experience many "little deaths" as we come closer and closer to the wholeness which is the Self.  As Montaigne wrote, "You life's continual task is to build your death."

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:08:19 -0800
Paganism as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii

As indicated in the introduction to this blog above, I 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 me ever since.  In fact, the first Pagan writing I ever read was an essay by Wiccan priestess and Jungian psychologist, Vivianne Crowley entitled, "Wicca as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion", in Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman's Paganism Today (1994).  Wouter Hanegraaf has written that Vivianne Crowley’s Jungian perspective “is so strong that readers might be forgiven for concluding that Wicca is little more than a religious and ritual translation of Jungian psychology.” And, in fact, that is exactly what I believed.  Even after realizing that that Paganism is far more diverse than I had originally thought, Crowley's vision of Wicca has continued to influence me.

In her essay, "Wicca as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion", Crowley states that the goal of many “mystery religions”, ancient and modern, is self-knowledge (or rather Self-knowledge): “the realization of a stable core of the personality–the Self” as distinguished from the conscious ego.  She describes Wicca as a modern-day mystery religion.  The term can be equally applied to many forms of Neo-Paganism. 

Jung himself described the psychological process of “individuation” (the evolution of the ego into the Self) as an initiation and compared it to the Mithraic mysteries.  According to Crowley, “the approach to the Self is made through an external expression of the inner psychological process–religious ritual”, specifically “initiation ceremonies that are intended to produce profound psychological effects”.  The goal of these rituals is personal psycho-spiritual transformation. According to Crowley, mystery religious share with mysticism a concern for returning to a state of oneness with the divine source.  While mysticism seeks the union through introverted techniques, like meditation, mystery cults “externalize the inner journey of the spirit to the divine by representing it through symbolism and ritual. ” Much of the imagery associated with these rituals is overtly or implicitly sexual or related to death (both of which are forms of union).

In her book, Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium (1994), Crowley elaborates on this idea and specifically relates the three Wiccan initiations (the three degrees) to three stages of individuation:

  • Encounter with the Shadow
  • Encounter with the Anima/Animus
  • Encounter with the Self

Personally, I think the connection to the three degrees of Wiccan initiation is not as direct as Crowley implies, but I am not a Wiccan.  You can read more about the the three Wiccan initiations here and judge for yourself.

In any case, I see Neo-Paganism as a modern-day mystery religion along the lines of what Crowley describes.  Historically, a mystery religion was a secret initiatory religion.  Because Neo-Paganism eschews much of the occult aspects of traditional Wicca and does not require initiation into a group, it might be argued that the Neo-Paganism is not a true mystery religion. However, there is an important distinction to be drawn between initiation into a group and initiation as a form of personal transformation.  It is in the latter sense that I would argue Neo-Paganism is an initiatory or mystery religion.  While Wiccan initiation is an example of both group and personal initiation, Neo-Pagans can experience a personal initiation without joining any group.

Over the next several posts, I will discuss each of the stages of initiation which Crowley outlines, starting with the encounter with the Shadow.

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Tue, 23 Dec 2014 07:06:44 -0800
Jungian Pagan Practice, Part 5: Listening to the silence When I lean over the chasm of myself,

It seems my God is dark,

and like a web made of a hundred roots

that drink in silence.

I know that my trunk grew from this ferment,

But more I don’t know,

because my branches rest in deep silence,

stirred only by the wind.

 – Rainer Marie Rilke


In Jungian Neo-Paganism, divinity is experienced as both God and Goddess, Son and Mother, Seed and Womb.  These correspond to Creation and Abyss, Form and Depth, Consciousness and Unconscious -- as well as Word and Silence.  Contrary to our Western way of thinking, the Womb or Abyss not mere absence or void; it is something in itself.  It is the undifferentiated source of Creation.  It is the pregnant darkness of the Unconscious.  It is the Dark Goddess from which the Son/Sun emerges.    

Similarly, silence is more than the absence of sound; it is something that can be listened to.  This is Emerson's "wise silence" which he equates with the divine whole.  When we listen to the silence, we are listening to the Unconscious, to the Dark Goddess.      

The first thing you will notice which you try to listen to the silence, is that it is not, in fact, silent.  No matter where you are, there are always ambient noises.  There are cars that can be heard outside.  Inside, the air conditioner may turn on and off.  Outside, insects my buzz around you.  People around you may cough or sneeze.  Even in a deep cave in the earth by yourself, you can hear the sound of your own heart.  When we talk about silent practice, we are not talking about an external silence, but an internal one.  This is the silence which comes when the internal “Talking Self” is quiet, listening instead of talking.   

Listening to this internal silence is not the same as not being quiet or trying not to think.  Listening to the silence is an activity.  It means trying to make the part of yourself that normally talks in your head listening, instead of talk.  It means attending to the space created by the absence of internal monologue.  It means drawing your inner attention to “the place where the words come from” (to borrow a Quaker phrase).

As you try to listen to the silence, eventually you will find your mind wandering.  When you do, redirect your attention back to the silence.  The goal is not to suppress the flow of your thoughts, or even to rise above it, as in most Buddhist sitting meditation.  Rather than “rising above” your consciousness, try to go deeper, to dive below your thoughts, so to speak.  Not to transcend, but to immerse yourself.  These water metaphors are intentional, since the Goddess is imagined as the watery womb of the Unconscious.  Jung wrote, "Our unconscious hides living water."

If it is helpful, you can use the following metaphor to redirect your thoughts.  Imagine diving into a dark pool and then slowing floating to the top.  By drawing youy attention to the inner silence and quieting the Talking Self, you are diving into the metaphorical dark pool of your unconscious.  As images and thoughts began to form again, you are floating back to the metaphorical surface.  When you become self-conscious and realize that you have lost the attentiveness to the silence, then you have broken the surface of the metaphorical pool and breathed again the air of consciousness.  The longer you can maintain your attentiveness to the silence, the deeper you can descend into your unconscious.  But know that, no matter how deep you dive, it is inevitable that you will float to the surface.  (Note how this process mirror's the Hero's Journey described by Jung's disciple, Joseph Campbell.)


Another thing to remember is that the images and thoughts that arise unbidden before becoming self-conscious again are significant in themselves.  Far from being a failure of your practice, they are the point of it.  These seemingly random thoughts are expressions of your unconscious which you should attend to before immersing yourself into the pool of unconsciousness again.  The water metaphor places both the silence and the emergent thoughts into their proper perspective.  You cannot remain in the silence, any more than you can stay forever under the water.  You must rise naturally to the surface and breathe again.  And then you can dive again, deeper and deeper each time. 

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Sun, 20 Jul 2014 13:50:16 -0700
Taking the Gods Seriously as a Jungian Pagan 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.  

Ronald Hutton has noted that one of the distinguishing features of Neo-Pagan witchcraft is the "consecration of play".  As the Charge of the Goddess affirms, "mirth and reverence" both play an important role in Neo-Paganism.  This is an admirable corrective to the dreary seriousness of much of Christian liturgy.  But there is a time and place for all things, and sometimes it seems that our revelry trivializes our religion.

More to the point, sometimes we Neo-Pagans trivialize our gods.  We do this with a lot of our art -- consider how, in Pagan art on the Internet, the goddesses look like Barbie dolls or comic book superheroines.  Barbara Ardinger's Finding New Goddesses: Reclaiming Playfulness in Our Spiritual Lives is another good example of the trivialization of the gods.  While Ardinger's book was perhaps intended as a parody, there is more than a kernel of truthfulness in her characterization of Neo-Pagans worshiping "found gods" like "Spendifera (spen-DIF-er-uh) Goddess of the Mall".  And then there is the eclectic Neo-Pagan practice of "using gods" like tools, which has been called "plug and play gods" and "the god faucet".  These trivializations of the encounter with the divine have encouraged a kind of backlash in our community, helping in part to fuel the growth of devotional polytheism -- which I see as a much needed balance to the excesses of an eclectic and playful Neo-Paganism.  

The Cambridge ritualist, Gilbert Murray, wrote the following about Euripides' Dionysus:

"There are in the world things not of reason, but both below and above it; causes of emotion, which we cannot express, which we tend to worship, which we feel, perhaps, to be the precious elements in life. These things are Gods or forms of God: not fabulous immortal men, but ‘Things which Are,’ things utterly non-human and non-moral, which bring man bliss or tear his life to shreds without a break in their own serenity.”

It's easy to see how gods like Dionysus and Odin might fit this description, but I think it potentially applies to all the gods.  Take Aphrodite, for example, the so-called "goddess of love", perhaps one of the most trivialized pagan goddesses in mainstream culture.  But in the myths, she was was responsible for the doom of dozens of mortals and gods who crossed her.  One thing that I take away from the myths is that the gods are just as likely to bring doom as they are to bring a boon.

"That's all well a good for mythology," you might be thinking, "but how an archetype can be dangerous?"  They can become dangerous when we trivialize them or assume they are benign. Consider Aphrodite again.  What would happen if I treat this archetype as merely a saccharine goddess of "love"?  In so doing, I may confuse two faces of the goddess: Aphrodite Pandemos -- lust -- with Aphrodite Ourania -- universal love.  Would that not wreak havoc on my personal life? 

Or what if I treat the intoxicating power of Dionysus -- in the form of drugs, alcohol, or sex -- as an unequivocal good?  What happens if Dionysus' ecstatic passion is not balanced by the tempering influence of Apollo's cool rationality?  Or if Odin's berzerker rage is not mitigated by the grounding influence of Frigga?  Will not these archetypal powers tear my life to shreds "without a break in their own serenity", as Murray writes?

Whether we call them "gods", "archetypes", "forces of nature", "immensities", or "things which are", it seems to me that these powers should be respected.  We show respect for them by remembering that every god has his or her shadow -- even the most seemingly benign.

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:07:01 -0700
The Tarot: A Micro-Cosmograph Before I discuss tarot as a form of Jungian Pagan practice, I want, in this post, to give a little background about how I approach tarot.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_f10-0413-tarot-deck-inset.jpgTarot, for anyone who does not know, is a deck of cards that derives from a mid-15th century card game called Triumphs, which is the origin of various modern trump card games like Euchre, Bridge, and Hearts.  The tarot card deck resembles the common 52 playing cards used today, with important differences.  There are four suits: Swords, Batons (or Wands), Cups, and Coins (or Pentacles).  In addition to the King and Queen face cards, there is a Knight (which became the Jack) and a Page.  These constitute the court cards, which are also called the Minor Arcana.  In addition, there are 22 trump cards, also called the Major Arcana, with names like the Fool, the Lovers, Death, and the Hanged Man, numbered 0 to 21.  All of the cards have evocative imagery on them, which accounts for their continued appeal.  The cards are now primarily used for divination, or fortune telling, rather than as a card game.  The deck exists in many versions.  The most well known historical deck is the Tarot de Marseilles and the most well known occult deck is the Rider-Waite Tarot, but there are literally thousands of variations.

I actually discovered tarot before I discovered Paganism or Jung.  After I left the Mormon church, I found myself searching the internet for imagery.  I couldn't have said then what I was looking for, but now I realize that I was looking for symbols to fill the vacuum that had been created by the loss of the symbolic system which Mormonism had previously provided me.  I came across tarot and something about the imagery, especially the Major Arcana, was compelling to me, so I went looking for more information.

One website, The Tarot Hermit, was particularly helpful.  Unfortunately, the site is no longer active.  The author of the site was Tom Tadfor Little, aka Tom Waters.  I did not know at the time that Tadfor Little was a Wiccan and Llewellyn author.  He published Understanding the Tarot Court with Mary Greer.  It was an interesting bit of synchronicity that I would discover Paganism and Jung just a couple of years later. 

Following Tadfor Little, I see the Major Arcana as a Cosmograph, a pictoral representation of the universe.  But I see it as an internal Cosmograph, a representation of the microcosm, rather than the macrocosm.  The 22 cards tell a story about internal development.  It should be noted that, in what follows, I order the cards somewhat differently than the common ordering today, but the basic outline is the same.  Throughout history, the cards have been ordered differently

The first six cards correspond to the estates of humankind: Fool (beggar), Magician (originally called the "Bagatto" or artisan), Empress, Emperor, High Priestess (originally called "Papess" -- a female pope), and Hierophant (originally called "Pope").  

The next eight cards correspond to the four Aristotelian virtues -- Temperance, Strength (fortitude), Justice, and Hermit (wisdom) -- and the vices or fates that overcome (or triumph over) the virtues -- Lovers, Chariot (war), Wheel of Fortune, and Death.  

The next three cards represent a descent into and ascent from hell: Devil, the Hanged Man, and Tower.

The last five cards represent the ascent to God: Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment (resurrection), and World (God).


Tarot is a subject that draws a lot of interest from both Jungians and Pagans. Interestingly, Jung did not himself have much to say about Tarot.  (He was much more interested in alchemy.)  In The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious, Jung lists tarot cards, along with images from alchemy and the Tantric chakra system, as examples of "symbols of transformation".  Unlike archetypes like the anima/animus which are often experienced in a personified form with personalities, symbols of transformation are "typical situations, places, ways and means, that symbolize [a] kind of transformation".  Symbols of transformation present "a rhythm of negative and positive, loss and gain, dark and light" by means of which an obstacle is overcome and "illumination or higher consciousness" are achieved.  (CW 9(i), PP 80-82).  The Major Arcana clearly fits this pattern, with the triumph of the vices over the virtues, the descent into "hell" and the ascent to "God".

In my next post, I will describe how I use Tarot as part of my Jungian Neo-Pagan practice.

For more information about Jung and Tarot, check out Sallie Nichols' Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey.

Additional links:

Mary Greer's blog: Carl Jung and Tarot

Byant Tarot: Jung and the Tarot

"Tarot Archetypes of the Major Arcana" by Corrine Kenner

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Tue, 01 Apr 2014 09:00:00 -0700
Jung's Collected Works available for download March 1

Jung's Collected Works are being made available for instant download as of March 1, 2014! Below are some convenient links for purchase/download of either the entire collection or individual volumes. 

For Pagans interested reading just one volume of Jung's writings, I would recommend Volumes 9(i) (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconsciousand 11 (Psychology and Religion) which explain the gods in terms of archetypes.  If you're really into mythology, then I would also recommend Vol. 5 (Symbols of Transformation).  If you are an esotericist, then I would recommend Vols. 13 & 14, which are about spiritual alchemy.  And if you are more into the visionary, then definitely check out the Red Book (not part of the Collected Works), Jung's account of his visions and imaginings during his period of psychological breakdown following his split from Freud.

The prices are a bit steep.  If you're just wanting an introduction to Jung's writings, selections can be found in numerous collections.  Two of my favorites are Modern Man in Search of a Soul and Psychology and Western Religion. Also worth checking out is Memories, Dreams, ReflectionsJung's spiritual memoir.  


The Collected Works of C.G. Jung: Complete Digital Edition - $399.20

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 1: Psychiatric Studies - $45.99

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 2: Experimental Researches: 002 - $60.30

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 3: Psychogenesis of Mental Disease: 003 - $56

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 4: Freud & Psychoanalysis - $56

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation: Symbols of Transformation v. 5 - $19.25

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types - $17.88

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 7: Two Essays in Analytical Psychology: 007 - $17.02

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8: Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche: 008 - $64.99

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 1): Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious - $19.25

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 2): Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self: 009 - $15.37

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 10: Civilization in Transition: 010 - $64.99

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East: 011 - $68.84

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 12: Psychology and Alchemy: Psychology and Aalchemy v. 12  - $21.37

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 13: Alchemical Studies: Alchemical Studies v. 13 - $31.99

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 14: Mysterium Coniunctionis: Mysterium Coniunctionis v. 14  - $19.25

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature- $9.99

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 16: Practice of Psychotherapy - $31.96

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 17: Development of Personality: 017 - $14.27

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 18: The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings: 018 - $104

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 20: General Index: 020 - $76.23

Read more]]> (John Halstead) Paths Blogs Sun, 02 Feb 2014 07:00:00 -0800