Dreaming the Myth Forward: Jungian Neopaganism

Carl Jung's ideas have been influencing the development of Neopaganism 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 Nepaganism 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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A brief introduction to Jung's writings for Pagans

When I first started getting into Jung, I was lost.  I quickly discovered three things: First, Jung wrote a lotThere are 18 volumes of his Collected Works (not counting the bibliography and index) and they are not even complete.  Second, there is very little logic to the ordering of Jung's writings.  This is why electronic versions of Jung's writings are great: because they are searchable.  And third, electronic versions of many of Jung's writings are very hard to find.  I've previously provided a list of Internet Jung resources here along with a link to a torrent download of Jung's Collected Works

Jung's Collected Works

Most citations to Jung's works refer numbered paragraphs of the Collected Works (i.e., CW 9ii: P 77).  Jung's Collected Works are not organized exactly chronologically.  As a result, it is difficult to determine the evolution of his ideas.  And it would be difficult to organize Jung's writings chronologically anyway, because of confusion about when many of them were written.  Most of the volumes consist of collections of essays written across Jung's career, with the exception of Volumes 5, 9(i), and 14, which are self-contained works.  

The Collected Works are supposedly organized somewhat thematically.  The problem with this is that Jung really did not write strictly thematically.  He essays can be very long and contain many tangents.  To give you an idea, the Bollingen collection on Dreams (an important theme for Jung by all accounts) draws from four different volumes of the Collected Works, while the collection on Aspects of the Feminine draws from no less than six different volumes.  That's where the electronic searching comes in handy.

Here is a list of the Volumes in the Complete Works, with some of the more important essays found in each:

1. Psychiatric Studies, contains "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena" (Jung's dissertation)

2. Experimental Researches, includes "Studies in Word Association"

3. The Psychogenesis of Mental Disease, includes "The Psychology of Dementia Praecox"

4. Freud and Psychoanalysis

5. Symbols of Transformation (1952) (a revision of the 1912 Psychology of the Unconscious)

6. Psychological Types

7. Two Essays on Analytical Psychology: "On the Psychology of the Unconscious" and "The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious

8. The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, contains "Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle", "The Transcendent Function", "The Structure of the Unconscious", and "On the Nature of the Psyche"

9i. Part 1 - The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, contains essays on several archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Child, Kore, Spirit, Trickster

9ii. Part 2 - Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (1951), contains "Christ, A Symbol of the Self"

10. Civilization in Transition, contains "The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man", "Wotan", and "Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth"

11. Psychology and Religion: West and East, contains the Terry Lectures, "A psychological approach to the dogma of the Trinity", "Transformation symbolism in the Mass", "Answer to Job", "Psychotherapists or the Clergy", "Psychological Commentary on 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead'", "Yoga and the West", and the forward to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching or Book of Changes

12. Psychology and Alchemy

13. Alchemical Studies, contains "Commentary on 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'", "The Visions of Zosimos", and "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon"

14. Mysterium Coniunctionis: An Inquiry Into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy (1955-56)

15. The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature, contains "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry"

16. The Practice of Psychotherapy

17. The Development of Personality

18. The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings (1976), includes the Tavistock Lectures

19. General Bibliography of C.G. Jung’s Writings

20. General Index to The Collected Works of C.G. Jung

Abstracts of the first 18 volumes can be found here. 

For Pagans interested reading just one volume of Jung's writings, I would recommend Vol. 11, Psychology and Religion.  It's over 600 pages.  Its the volume I find myself citing most often, as it explains the gods in terms of archetypes.  If you're really into mythology, then I would also recommend Vol. 5, Symbols of Transformation, which is Jung's revision of his 1912 Psychology of the Unconscious.  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, Jung's account of his visions and imaginings during his period of psychological breakdown following his split from Freud.

Jung's Uncollected Works

In addition, as mentioned above, Jung's so-called "Collected Works" are not complete.  (The Philemon Foundation is currently working to publish additional unpublished manuscripts, seminars and correspondence.)  You may already be aware that the Collected Works does not include the recently published Red Book.  But there are other important works that are missing from the Collected Works. These include:

Psychology of the Unconscious: A Study of the Transformations and Symbolisms of the Libido (Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido) (1912) [although this is included in a revised form in Volume 5]

Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961) (often referred to as Jung's autobiography, although it is more of a spiritual memoir than a true autobiography), includes the Seven Sermons to the Dead

Numerous seminars given by Jung:

Analytical Psychology (1925)

The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga (1932)

The Zofingia Lectures (added to the CW in a supplemental volume)

Dream Analysis (1928-30)

Interpretation of Visions (1930-34)

Nietzsche's Zarathustra (1934-39)

Children’s Dreams (1936-40)

Collections of letters (Shamdasani estimates that only 10 percent of Jung's correspondence has bee published.):

C.G. Jung: Letters

The Freud/Jung Letters

Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 1932-1958 

The Jung-White Letters

C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters

Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones

The Red Book

(This list is not complete.)  Some of the most fascinating statements by Jung that I have found have come from these publications outside the Collected Works.

Selections of Jung's writings can be found in collections too numerous to list here, a couple of which (the Bollingen series) are mentioned above.  Two of my favorites are Modern Man in Search of a Soul and Psychology and Western Religion.  If you're just starting to get serious about Jung, I would recommend either of these books, as well as Jung's memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  If you're looking for a one book survey of Jung's writings, then try The Portable Jung or Carl Gustav Jung: Selected Writings. 

I hope this provides something like a map for anyone embarking on a study of Jung in his own words.

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John discovered Jungianism and Neopaganism 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 HumaniticPaganism.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.

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