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CARL GUSTAV JUNG [1875-1961]
Swiss psychologist whose impact on twentieth-century new age thought has been enormous. Jungian principles have been adapted to nearly all academic disciplines from psychology to mythology to religion to quantum physics. He was the founder of the analytical school of psychology, known as Jungian psychology, and, along with Sigmund Freud, the most influential author of psychoanalytical theory. Jung coined phrases such as introvert, extrovert, repression, projection and complexes, which have become part of our language, and added a spiritual element to psychology. Prior to that peoples thoughts, feelings and behaviours were analysed scientifically on the basis of what could be observed and experienced. Jung suggested that there were parts of the human personality that could not be explained logically and that mystic aspects had to be considered if a person was to deal with their psychological issues.

Jung was born on 26 July 1875, in Kesswil, Switzerland. His mystical experiences began in childhood and throughout his life he experienced visionary dreams, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokeinesis and haunting. His psychic ability may have been a hereditary gift as his mother and maternal grandmother both described themselves as ghost seers.

It wasn't until around 1897, while an undergraduate, that Jung took a serious interest in the paranormal. During his medical training in Basil, he discovered that his 16-year-old cousin had become a practising medium. He invited her to perform experiments for his doctoral thesis and first published work: 'On the Psychology and Pathology of So- Called Occult Phenomena' [1902]. Jung studied the medium for over two years and later said this investigation changed his mind about the reality of spirits and spiritualism and made it possible for him to observe psychic phenomena from a psychological point of view.

In December 1900 Jung took a position at Burgholzli Mental Hospital in Zurich and found in psychiatry a way of combining his two main interests, medicine and spirituality. He began to correspond with Sigmund Freud and soon became a devoted follower. In 1905 he gave a key lecture at the University of Basil entitled 'On Spiritualistic Phenomena', in which he discussed the history of spiritualism and referred to numerous cases he had investigated in Zurich. Although he insisted it was important to keep an open mind, in general he was not impressed and in the majority of cases he diagnosed hysteria.

In 1909 Jung wrote to Freud about his interest in paranormal phenomena and the two later met to discuss parapsychology in Vienna. Much to Jung's disappointment, Freud, a confirmed sceptic [although later he would change his mind about ESP], dismissed the subject. During the meeting Jung began to experience a curious sensation in his stomach. Suddenly there was a small but loud explosion from the bookcase. Jung explained to Freud that this was a classic example of psychokeinesis. Freud replied that this was 'sheer bosh'. The two argued and another explosion followed.

For the next few years Freud's dogmatic emphasis on sexuality as the root cause of crises increasingly clashed with Jung's interest in spiritual and psychic phenomena. In 1913 Jung broke openly with Freud and resigned from his professorship at the University of Zurich. The change of direction prompted scorn from his peers and a six-year nervous breakdown, during which Jung experienced numerous paranormal phenomena. He became obsessed with the world of the dead, publishing 'Seven Sermons to the Dead' in 1916, under the name of the second century Gnostic Basilidies.

When he recovered from his breakdown Jung began work on his important theory of psychological types, first published in 1921. In this he suggests there are two psychological types - extroverts and introverts - who could be classified by four basic functions: feeling, sensation, thinking and intuition. Other important theories include the anima [feminine principle of the personality] and animus [the masculine principle]. He defined the 'self' as the psyche - the mind, soul or spirit. The psyche was divided into the ego, which Jung identifies with the conscious mind, the personal unconscious, which includes anything that is not presently conscious, and the collective unconscious, which is a reservoir of our experiences as a species, a kind of knowledge we are all born with and yet are not directly conscious of.

Some part of our unconscious the ego will recognise but other parts, especially taboo beliefs, the ego will repress. That hidden element of the psyche is the shadow, and the persona [the aspect of the ego we present to the world for its approval] and shadow are constantly struggling with each other with each other to find a balance. If the struggle becomes too great a crisis occurs and the collective unconscious enters our awareness. Jung suggested that his was a psychic realm, common to everyone, in which all elements of experience, which express themselves in the form of mythological archetypes, were stored.

In 1919 Jung gave a lecture to the Society for Psychical Research called 'The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits'. In it he outlined his belief that there were three sources of belief in spirits: apparitions, dreams and 'pathological disturbances of psychic life'. He suggested that spirits are created psychologically when someone dies - images and thoughts remain attached to the loved ones left behind and are activated by the intensity of grief to form spirits.

An experience that occurred to him in 1920 confirmed this view to him. He spent several nights in an allegedly haunted house while on a visit to London give lectures. Over the course of his stay he heard strange noises and smelt odd smells. On the final night of his stay he heard rustling, cracking and banging, and while trying to fall asleep he saw the image of an old woman with half her face missing on the pillow beside him. Jung interpreted this experience as being prompted by the smells in the room, which reminded him of a patient he once had who was similar to the old lady he has seen in his vision. He believed that the sounds he heard were sounds in his ear exaggerated by his hynogocic state

June had a near death experience in 1944, following a heart attack. As he lay in bed a nurse saw a halo of light around his head, and later, when he had revived, Jung recounted what had happened to him during that time. He said that he felt he was floating high above the earth and he could see all the way from the Himalayas across the Middle East to the Mediterranean. He saw a hugh block of stone that had been hollowed out from a temple. As he drew closer to the temple he felt his earthly desires fall away from him and he knew that once inside he would understand the meaning of life. Suddenly his earthly doctor appears in the form of a mythical healer to the gods and told him he must return to earth. Jung did so but with great resentment. He also knew that the doctor would die as he had manifested in what Jung interpreted as his primal form. The doctor did die soon after.

In the last years of his life Jung developed his ideas further on a number of topics, including mythology, symbolism, the I Ching; alchemy, mandalas [which he believed pictorially represented the wholeness of self], reincarnation and the phenomenology of the self, the later culminating in the significant work 'Aion' in 1951. Perhaps his most important work of this period was 'Synchronicity' [1952], where he applied the theory of meaningful coincidences to psi phenomena and other phenomena including alchemy, the I Ching and astrology.

Although Jung proposed a psychological explanation for spirits of the dead he did believe in paranormal concepts like precognition and psychokeinesis, and the language of dreams, visions and fantasies. He believed that God existed in everyone and that the way to salvation was to become more self-aware. He believed in reincarnation but thought that his own incarnation was not due to karma but to a 'passionate drive for understanding in order to piece together mystic conceptions from the slender hints of the unknowable' [Nandor Fodor,'Freud, Jung and the Occult,' 1971]

The last of Jung's visionary experiences occurred a few days before his death and was to be importent. In his dream he saw a tree laced with gold - the alchemical symbol of wholeness. Curiously when he died on 6 June 1961, a storm arose on Lake Geneva and lightening struck his favourite tree.

Jung left behind him an impressive legacy of written work and founded the analytical approach to psychology - also known as Jungian Analytical psychology - which is still influential today. Analytical psychology interprets mental and emotional problems as an attempt to discover spiritual and personal wholeness.

Jung believed that everyone has a story to tell and that some of this story is hidden in the unconscious. In telling this story the archetypes of the collective unconscious reveal wisdom and knowledge to help a person health their psyche and come to terms with their shadow to find healthy psychological balance. Other important aspects of Jungian psychology are the interpretation of dreams and visions, and exploring a persons creative and spiritual drives.



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