Gnostic themes in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Interview with Lance Owens (Part 1) – Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio

Bible-or-LOTR

Miguel Conner (AKA: Abraxas, I Am, Aeon Byte)

When thinking of JRR Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings mythos, Gnosticism or the Esoterica might not immediately come to anyone’s higher or lower mind.

But here at the Virtual Alexandria we always reveal there is a reality behind the reality. This interview presents the Gnosis of Tolkien and its stunning relation to Carl Jung, transcribed from a past episode with Lance Owens—ordained priest of the Ecclesia Gnostica, as well as the creator and editor of The Gnosis Archive website.

For more of Lance’s insightful writings and lectures, please go here. And thank you to Mandy for an outstanding task of transcribing the interview.

But enough of my drivel, as I like to say, and onto the first part of the interview with Lance (and you will find the audio version at end of this article). Jung and Tolkien and Gnostics…oh my!

 

MC: Thank you very much for joining Aeon Byte. Although most people would not make a connection between Jung and Tolkien—besides there being plenty of Jungian analysts of Tolkien— there seems to be many parallels to both giants of our times. You certainly point out a few in your excellent lectures at Gnosis.org. Perhaps the first one, or the main one—as you mention—is the similar experiences they both had before World War I. What were they, Lance?

LO: It’s a big question because, it’s a question about the nature of human imagination. It becomes apparent that Tolkien had a deep experience of the imaginal realm. We think of the imagination as something safely locked inside the cranium, and what we imagine is a mirror refiguring of images that have come to us through  sensory perception…with everything locked in that cranium has sort of come into it through our physical relationship to incarnation, shall we say.

The individuals who have a different perception, they encounter the imaginal as something independent—as a second reality that is independent of their experience. In other words, what comes to them through the imagination can include things that have not been part of their sensory perception. That are not locked within their cranium. It’s like the vision is a doorway. There’s a doorway, and one can look out into the world, and one can also look in that doorway and find as great an infinite reality. It’s a very strange concept. If one simply is locked in a flatlands world view where there’s only one reality, and it’s all material. This makes no sense. There are individuals who’ve had this experience of an inner reality. An imaginative reality. Tolkien most definitely was one, and Jung most definitely was one.

I think probably at this point in our culture, there are very few people who have not heard the name of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Of the most published books in history, I think Lord of the Rings is up there near the top right now. Something like two hundred and fifty million copies in print, and then The Hobbit follows shortly thereafter.

So people are aware of Tolkien’s literary production. They’re aware of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; but hardly any of that reading public is aware of what preceded those books. That this man had a 20 year engagement with an imaginal realm, and produced boxes upon boxes upon boxes of manuscript. Thousands of pages of manuscripts documenting his encounter with the imaginal. He saw the imaginal as a given thing. As a reality, as an independent truth. He did not feel that he was inventing anything. He repeats this again and again in his letters, in his private conversations, that his experience of the imaginal was an experience of a reality—a truth.

The stories that he was telling were not invented by him, they were translations of his experience of the imaginal. It’s a strange concept, but that is the depth that people perceive when the read The Lord of the Rings. There’s something deeper there.

When did this start for Tolkien? Well, it started around the time of the beginning of the first Great War. The World War I as we call it. Around the time 1914, Tolkien began having a sense of a deeper reality that was bidding him to explore it. He began having words coming to him. He called them “ghost words.” He would hear Elven words. Words in a language that he had not ever heard before. That no human had heard before. The words would come not just with sounds, but they would come with meaning. He began keeping records of these Elven words, trying to explore that vocabulary. The words didn’t just come. With the words there came stories. The Elven languages came complete with a mythology.

He had started probing at it before he himself entered the battle of World War I over a period between about 1914 and 1916. At that point the man is around twenty-one to twenty-four years old, and he doesn’t really know exactly what is going on [Laughter] other than it seems peculiar, and no one else seems to understand it. He thinks he perhaps is a poet, and some of his initial faerie mythology and some initial vision is written in poetic form. Then in 1916, Tolkien goes to the Battle of the Somme which was perhaps the most horrendous sacrifice of World War I. A half million men died in six months at the Battle of the Somme. Twenty thousand British soldiers died on the first day of battle—first day of July in 1916 alone. Amongst the men who died at the Somme were two of Tolkien’s three best friends. He was there for the entire battle. He was a signal officer working on the front lines trying to maintain communication with the rear, and he witnessed this sacrifice.

He came home from battle. In late October he became ill with a malady then known as trench fever. They didn’t know what caused it. The men came down with cyclical, recurrent fevers. Now we understand it was probably conveyed by the lice that infested the soldiers in the trenches. He came home with high fevers, and sick in November of 1916 to England. During that period in hospital, this imaginal realm really opened up. Certainly when he came home, there were times when he was actually suffering from high fevers. He may have even had some hallucinatory events, dream events during that period. That was not it alone. The fevers were not persistent, but he did spend several months off and on in hospital. Then many, many more months in convalescence where he didn’t have much to do. During that period he entered into an imaginal relationship, shall we say, with the Elven realm. He began hearing these incredible stories.

Once again, Tolkien’s sense was not that he was inventing them, but that he was actually hearing them. With them came the Elven tongues. When he got home in November of 1916—in 1916 to 1917 through 1918—he produced a series of stories. A series of imaginal investigations, shall we say, that are really the foundation of everything that followed. He encountered this realm as a given thing, to use his own words. He began recording these stories. He had no idea exactly where it was going. He didn’t understand if it was a literary work, if it was a poetic work, if it was anything that would ever be published. In fact, at the time this was entirely a private matter. He kept these things in notebooks.

The interesting thing, the question you asked to start is, well, how does this relate to Jung? The same thing happened to Jung at almost the same time. In 1913 Jung was a doctor of thirty-seven years of age, and had had a long period of relationship to Sigmund Freud. Had broken off that relationship, and he had understood that in the psyche, there was much more than simply the repressed material of our potty training, and our parental relationships that had gone wrong in youth. That this realm opened out into an infinity, and you realize that he had to meet it. He had to enter into it.

On the 12th of November of 1913, sat at his desk and petitioned his soul. “My soul, my soul, where are you?” is how he wrote his beginning. He sat for a month probing after some communication back from this imaginal realm. From his soul. He entered into what he called the mythopoetic imagination. The imaginative realm from which myth came, and he was looking for his myth. He was not trying to invent it, he was trying to discover it. Over a period of weeks he sat, and slowly words started forming. He started hearing phrases, and word forms.

By December of 1913, things absolutely broke open. He began having visions, full visions. He would sit, and he would actually see things, and he recorded them. Recorded these stories—these story fragments. This was the beginning of Jung’s Red Book. Originally these things were written in diaries known as The Black Books. Over the next—about ten years—he filled six Black Book journals with these events. From these he distilled a manuscript which then he transcribed into his Red Book. 

In 1913—this was before the war had erupted—he was having visions of the coming of a war. Amongst the visionary material he was having, there were many references to a great sacrifice that was about to come.

In England, Tolkien was in a very similar situation. He had gone to the Cornish coast in 1914. While there, he had a vision of one—Eärendil, he called him. It came as a poetic fragment. This word Eärendil—it had come to him from Middle English, and it had some intent. It seemed that this word had existed outside of history. That there was a story connected with it, and began trying to tell that story of Eärendil—one who had sailed into the Heavens with a gem of light. Then after the war broke out, and after Tolkien’s experience in the war, he came home and this imaginative realm opened up for him as well.

You have Jung in Zürich having these visions. This entry into the imaginal, into the mythopoetic imagination. Developing stories, feeling that there is an infinite reality there to be discovered. A given that must be discovered. Jung says that we perceive the outer reality as infinite, but that there’s a reality within just as infinite, and just as interesting, and just as important. That we are incomplete. We are only half until we encounter that lost, and forgotten other within us. That other half waiting to join into consciousness.

This experience of Jung is happening around the time of the Great War. He has images of sacrifices happening around Switzerland, and Tolkien is right there in the middle of the sacrifice. He sees it, he moves through it, he comes home, and he starts his own visionary experience.

If one doesn’t accept the fact that people can have visionary experiences, this is all balderdash. What the hell is going on here? [Laughter] It’s hard to get across to people. I remember how I was at a cocktail party talking to somebody about this. I think I mentioned this at one of the lectures. I was talking about the fact that Tolkien was having these auditory hallucinations— Elven words. He was hearing Elven languages. He was hearing from the Elves their stories, and he was writing them down. The lady said to me, “What you mean here is that Tolkien was crazy. Is that what you’re saying? Tolkien believed in Elves?” My response to that was: “Well no, Tolkien didn’t believe in Elves, Tolkien knew Elves.” He knew Elves by hundreds of names. He knew their history, he knew their stories, he knew their sorrows, and their joys. He knew the beauty of their art. He was discovering Elves, he was getting to know them.

The same thing goes with Jung. People say, “Well what was going on with him? He was having these visual hallucinations; was this a psychotic break? Was he mad? Was this an illness?” My answer to that is no, it wasn’t. The man continued to function in every normal fashion during this event, during the writing of what became The Red Book. He continued to see patients, on average five a day during these years 1914 through 1919 or so when he was having the visions. When he was writing the visionary material down. He was on active duty as an officer in the Swiss Army during this period for extended—in total of over half year on active duty—and was able to maintain his family function. Rather complex family function, should we add, at this time as well.

Tolkien was able to function in England when he was having these visions, when he was writing things down, when he was telling the stories. Some of the time he was definitely in hospital from the time he was sick and weakened by his illness, but he was able to function in every fashion outwardly.

This was an inner exploration which was not an impairment of rational function. In fact, it is a turning of rational function, a turning of rational attention—instead of outwardly to the activities of the world—inwardly to the activities of the imagination. So both of these guys were going through this intense experience at about the same time. Historically, there is a certain synchronicity there.

Even more interesting, I think many people have visions of sorts, or imaginations, or hear stories, and it’s interesting. Maybe they write it down, and then they go on with their lives. The difference here is that, what happened to Jung between these visionary experiences—I say “visionary” but I could also use the word “imaginal” or I could use the word “mythopoetic”— “myth creating.” These visions that had become the foundation of a life of work. Jung saw this visionary material that came to him between 1914 and 1920 as the precious stone that he did work for the rest of his life.

He spent the next 45 years trying to explain to the world, to people, to patients, the reality of the soul. The reality of the psyche. The reality of an inner world which was just as infinite as the outer. Which was not a result of it. Which was not simply the residue of it, but was an independent reality. In fact, it may come before—this imaginal realm—might come before outward perception. Then, he went and spent 45 years, the rest of his life, as an interpreter to people of this experience, of this reality. From it came his ideas of a collective unconscious. People once upon a time would say, “Well Jung got his theories of the collective unconscious from listening to the dreams of his patients, and correlating experiences, or from perhaps his own dreams.” Well, truth of the matter is, he got the concept by the experience of actually having gone into the imaginal realm and encountered these figures.

Tolkien, in parallel, had this imaginative experience begin in 1914 or thereabouts. Then break open in magnitude around November of 1916 after returning from the battle of the Somme, and over the next two to three years. He spent the next 40 years of his life further investigating, exploring, and developing this experience of the imaginal.

Both men struggled throughout their entire lives trying to explain what they had encountered, what they had seen, what they had experienced to others. Both struggled, shall we say, with limited success in that effort.

MC: Moving on, Lance, don’t you mention in your lecture briefly that the cosmology of Tolkien’s universe is very similar to a specific Gnostic myth? Which one is that?

LO: That becomes both an interesting, and a complex question. First of all you say, “Tolkien had a cosmology.” What was his cosmology? Where did that come from? People have read The Lord of the Rings and it’s like—is there a cosmology in The Lord of the Rings? [Laughter] Or in The Hobbit—is there a cosmology, is there cosmological vision? You start talking about things like that to people who know something about Tolkien, who have read some of his works and it’s like—what the hell is that about?

The point is: the writings that Tolkien produced are unknown. The things he wrote around the time of the First World War—his initial Silmarillion shall we say—these initial stories are not well known. There are a great number of things that Tolkien wrote that are yet unpublished but, material related to his visions, to his Elven stories…

MC: His own Red Book basically.

LO: Yeah, his own Red Book, and that’s exactly what he called it, you know?

MC: Really?

LO: That’s exactly what he called it.

MC: Oh my God!

LO: Yes, his Red Book. He worked for 20 years before The Lord of the Rings was engaged in: 1937-1938. He’d worked for 20 years creating this material. The Silmarillion was not a little book. There was a little book called The Silmarillion published a few years after Tolkien’s death—edited by his son Christopher—but this was just a very brief condensation of his mythology. As a matter of fact, Tolkien’s Silmarillion filled probably two or three file cabinets. The publisher, after Tolkien’s death, he had eight feet of stacked boxes that included his manuscripts of what was The Silmarillion.

Christopher Tolkien, his son, after J.R.R.’s death, had the task of trying to bring this stuff to publication. He initially published a very slim volume called The Silmarillion, which was a recension of some of the primary myths that Tolkien had told. The first of these is called The Ainulindalë. When you get into Tolkien text, this becomes a little bit complicated because many of the texts have Elven names. That’s how he heard them. Ainulindalë means, the music of the Gods.

Tolkien went through this initial series of visions. There were maybe three or four crucial myths that came to him—crucial stories. Stories that related to the origin of human consciousness, and to the origin of Elven consciousness. The origin of the Elves, and the relation of Elves and Men. The relation of these to the powers, to the emanations, to the Gods. There’s one called The Story of Gondolin, and there’s…well, I won’t go through all those three or four myths.

In 1919, after these initial three or four myths had come to him, he received a cosmogonic myth—as he calls it. A story of creation. A story that starts before the world, and tells the story of world creation. That’s relatively unusual, and these are the sorts of things that are the foundations of religions actually. Cosmogonic myths—how Gods form worlds, how God powers interact with human powers—are, for the most part, foundational stories of religions. Tolkien received just such a cosmogonic myth in The Ainulindalë. He sees in this story that he writes— the original text is about, probably ten pages. There is a good recension of it in the little book, The Silmarillion published. I think it was 1977.

In The Ainulindalë, he tells the story of a first force called Ilúvatar, who emanates several God forms called the Ainur. The Ainur come forth from his consciousness. His emanations of consciousness. Each one is a limited form of that consciousness. Each one is a piece of that consciousness, very much like some of the old Gnostic myths where you have the emanational structure of creation.

One of these emanations—whose name is Melkor—is an emanation of discord. Melkor adds—into the music of creation from which the cosmos flows forward—a tone, a song, a theme of discord. Creation itself comes forward from the force, and the song, and the music of the Gods singing. The cosmos is formed thereof. Melkor goes into the darkness. There is a void, in this initial creation myth, there is a void where the light of the Ilúvatar has not shined. There was a place behind the back, shall we say, of Ilúvatar. The first source. A place where his light, his vision has not gone.

Now think about that. It’s a duality. Here we have the first forming god, Ilúvatar, bringing forth emanations but, in that first force, in that first motive, in that first thought—that forethought—

there is a realm of unseen. A realm of unconscious, or a realm of unperceived. Melkor goes into that darkness, and goes probing for things. It is from that darkness that the discord is brought into the creation. Melkor becomes a force of that discord.

The story proceeds after the formation of the world. After the formation has taken place, the Ainur—the emanations of the first god—enter into creation. They actually come down into the world, and become what men would call gods. There’s not one, there are many and they all have their different elements. There’s Manwë, who is really the God of the Winds, the intelligence. He has a syzygy, a female companion, Varda, who is the Queen of Stars, the creator of the first lights. Readers of Lord of the Rings will remember her as Elbereth Gilthoniel, Star Queen, or Star Creator. To whom Sam prays when they meet Shelob in the caves of Cirith Ungol. There is a force of the water, Ulmo, who’s really a prophetic voice. There’s Aulë, who is a creator, a manipulator of matters.

These various emanations come into the world, and they have relationships with the children of the Ilúvatar. There are two types of children of Ilúvatar in the world. There’s the Human, and then there are the Elves. The whole drama has been set up before Elves or Humans awaken.

Now you asked, “What myth is this like?” I’d say, first of all, it’s a lot like most Gnostic creation mythologies in that it is emanational. That there is a first source. That first source emanates into a variety of powers—forces of different types—often referred to as children. That these enter into the direct relationship of creation. That they are demiurges—this is exactly the word that Tolkien uses. He refers to the Ainur as demiurges, demiurgic forces, forming forces. In this creation, a darkness enters in. A darkness of chaos. A darkness that would control the world, and order it to its own power, who is Melkor—this dark, chaotic force.

I’d say this myth has its most interesting focus of conjunction with the Manichean myth. In Mani’s myth, there is a realm of light. The realm of light is invaded by a dark force, by a force from outside of the light which hungers after the light. That is really the beginning of the whole cosmogonic story. The Manichean myth has a period of, before the mixing of the elements, during the mixing of the light and the dark, and a period that will happen after. We live in a period of the mixing. That’s cosmos. The entire Manichean myth sets a stage of what happened before cosmogenesis. Cosmogenesis itself is an effort to rescue the light from the mixing.

In the Manichean myth, the realm of light is invaded by a darkness. Into the darkness are thrown—sort of as a sacrifice, or as a battle plan—five of the sons of the God force. That’s the beginning of the mixing. These five children of light enter in through a mix in the darkness, are essentially consumed by the darkness, and thereby enter into the creation.

One sees some of this in Tolkien’s image. There’s no exact parallel. The point is, is that there is a mythopoetic imagination which is working with just these sorts of themes, which is really quite extraordinary.

MC: It’s very extraordinary. Beyond that, and beyond the evidence you showed us of how Tolkien entered into the world of archetypes, which I guess he called the Faerie world, and Jung took a similar journey, his world view seems to be eerily Gnostic. You do quote him in your lectures saying that he said, “We are free captives, undermining shadowy bars.” and that, “We’re trapped in a great artefact.”

LO: Yeah. One can look at Tolkien’s cosmogonic myth as a literary creation, but one must understand that Tolkien was drawing conclusions. Tolkien was discovering something in the imaginal and was then drawing conclusions from it about the nature of life, of human reality, about how we humans stand at this particular point in time. He came to see that indeed, we are imprisoned.

That particular story, that poem that you just quote, was written to C.S. Lewis in 1931. 1931 would be 12 years after the Ainulindalë has come—the music of the Gods, the creation myth—has come to Tolkien. He’s trying to indicate to C.S. Lewis, who at that time is relatively agnostic. He believes there may be a God, but he can’t see how the myth of Christ has anything to do with anything. Tolkien writes this long poem called Mythopoeia—the source of myth. He writes it from Philomythus to Misomythus: the lover of myth to the hater of myth. Himself being a lover of myth, Tolkien  being a hater. He goes through this very long, probably about 8 pages long poem, and double spaced. He gives exactly that sense, trying to explain creation he says:

 

[Yet] trees are not ‘trees’ until so named [and seen]

and never were so named, till those had been

whose speech’s involuted breath unfurled,

faint echo and dim picture of the world.  

He goes on to say that:

 

 

But neither record nor photograph,

being divination, judgment, and a laugh,

response of those that felt astir within

by deep monition movement that were kin

to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars.

 

Then comes this description of who these people were. This image of the human consciousness says, “we are free captives, undermining shadowy bars” – “ free captives, undermining shadowy bars”—  isn’t that the key image of the exile in Gnostic mythology?

MC: Oh yeah…

LO: He says, “Digging the foreknown from experience, and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.” “Digging the foreknown from experience.” Well, what sort of experience is that? It’s the foreknown, that thing, that epinoia. That first knowledge is being dug from experience. What sort of experience? Imaginal experience. Experience of the inner realm.

Then he goes on, “Digging the foreknown from experience, and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.” Here we have this sensory perception of the outer world, but there is also a spirit. We pan that vein of gold, of spirit out of sense.

Then he goes on speaking of the evolution of human consciousness. He says, “Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,”—speaking of mankind.

 

Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves,

and looking backward they beheld the Elves.

that wrought on cunning forges in the mind,

and light and dark on secret looms entwined.

 

He sees no stars who does not see them first,

of [living] silver made, that sudden burst

of flame like flowers beneath the ancient song,

whose very echo after-music long

has since pursued. There is no firmament,

only a void, unless a jeweled tent

myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,

unless the mother’s womb, whence all have birth.

 

LO: So, the Heaven is just a void unless we see it as that jeweled, myth-woven tent. The inner reality of our imagination which gives meaning to that void of stars. We project out into that realm, our stories, the stories we tell, that myth-woven tent within which we reside.

So, he’s dealing with this mythology. He’s dealing with this sense of exile throughout his mythology. That sense of the Gnostic exile is very much present in all of Tolkien’s work.

via Gnostic themes in Tolkien\’s Lord of the Rings: Interview with Lance Owens (Part 1) – Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio.

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The Kabbalah’s Remarkable Idea

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by Paul Levy

During the question and answer period for the book release of my new book Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil, someone asked what was I going to write about next. Without having to blink, I responded “Kabbalah,” which is considered to be one of the most profound spiritual and intellectual movements in all of human history. Soon after the publication of my book I had discovered, much to my surprise, that the Kabbalah had a similarly radical view on many of the things I had written about, particularly the nature and role of evil in the cosmic drama. In my book, I contemplate how the wisdom traditions of alchemy, Gnosticism, shamanism, Buddhism, mystical Christianity and the depth psychology of Jung were pointing at and could help us to deepen our understanding of what the Native Americans call “wetiko” (which, simply put, refers to the spirit of evil), but I hadn’t written about the Kabbalah because I hadn’t realized that it was pointing at wetiko in a particularly unique and creative way.[i] In Dispelling Wetiko, I point out, in as many ways as I can imagine, that encoded in the deepest evil of wetiko, which is the evil that inspires humanity’s inhumanity to itself, is actually a blessing in a very convincing disguise to the contrary, such that if we recognize what it is revealing to us about ourselves, it can help us to wake up. In essence, the Lurianic Kabbalah of Isaac Luria (1534-1572) says the same thing, i.e., that evil, which by definition is diametrically opposed to good, is, paradoxically, at the same time its very source.

Upon studying the Lurianic Kabbalah (henceforth referred to simply as “Kabbalah”), a place of deep recognition stirred within me. In reading its creation myth, it was as if images were being activated within my mind which matched a deep inner experience I had been having for years. According to the Kabbalah, when it first arose within the divine will to create a universe, there was a contraction (known as the “Tzimtzum”), a localized withdrawal and concealment of God so as to prepare a space and “make room” for a finite creation with all of its distinctiveness, multiplicity and limitation to be brought about. At the very moment that God then conceived of the world and poured his[ii] infinite light into the “vessels” that he had prepared for this very event, the vessels were instantaneously filled and shattered by this influx of divine light. This catastrophic event, called “The Breaking of the Vessels” shattered the vessels into shards which fell through primordial space, the metaphysical void, while at the same time severing the previously united (and unconscious) opposites that constitute the underlying unified structure of the universe. Each shard entrapped a portion of divine light, seemingly separating this primordial light from its source.

These shards, known as the “kelipot” (pronounced k’lee-pote), represent malevolent constrictions in being, which, according to the Kabbalah, became the source of evil and personal suffering. The negation and mirror image of divine holiness and purity, the kelipot were like envelopes that concealed holiness just as a peel hides the fruit within. The kelipot were likened to husks or shells that imprisoned within themselves the divine light of God, which, because of its estrangement from its source, becomes malevolent. The kelipot altered the appearance of the light, but didn’t, however, change the essence of the light itself. The kelipot are themselves infertile and lifeless, with no independent existence, vacuous apparitions sustained in their seeming vitality and existence only by the very divine light that they have captured. According to the Kabbalah, evil has no life of its own, as the very source of evil is both intrinsically connected to, and yet, parasitic in relation to the divine light. From the perspective of the Kabbalah, though parasitically dependent upon the light of God, evil seeks to destroy holiness, which is to ultimately destroy everything, including itself. By severing the primary reality from its source of being, the kelipot had assumed an illusory reality, becoming a lethal mirage that, though ultimately not truly existing, could potentially destroy our species. The kelipot were also thought to imprison and bind aspects of human souls as well, feeding parasitically on the divine light within them, which is to say that the Kabbalah’s view of cosmic events was also a description of the dynamics within humanity’s soul. The entrapped divine sparks of light symbolize each individual’s essential but forgotten reality. Significantly, just like the spirit of wetiko, the kelipot contained within themselves the source and very energy for their own undoing, and ultimately, the potential for their own redemption.

Like autonomous complexes within the psyche, the kelipot appeared to obtain a measure of independent existence, as if they had become separated from, and other than, the light of God itself (something which is inherently impossible). For the Kabbalists, evil emerges out of separating things that should (and necessarily do) remain united, a “splitting” of a deeper unity. It was as if the universe itself had been subject to a cosmic “dissociative reaction,” in which the underlying unity of the universe had been fragmented into a multiplicity of selves. Both the kelipot and affect-laden complexes become relatively inaccessible to consciousness, shrouded in the darkness of the unconscious. Becoming “exiled” from their source, these split-off complexes become the source of much suffering in the personal realm, just as the kelipot become the source of evil on the cosmic scale. Just as the divine light estranged from its source becomes evil, when our psychic energy becomes encapsulated through repression and severed from the wholeness of the psyche from which it arose, we develop all sorts of negative, neurotic and self-destructive symptoms.

It was as if in the process of creation, God (or in psychological terms, “the Self”), had become alienated from itself, as if “Being” was in exile from itself. And yet, according to the Kabbalah, this cosmic cataclysm was no accident, but was inherent in the overall scheme of things, built into the very design of the universe, as if God had to become estranged from himself in order to become more fully himself. To quote Jung, “And where would God’s wholeness be if he could not be the ‘wholly other’?”[iii] In becoming concealed and eclipsed from himself, the infinite God creates the illusion of finitude, limitation and separation.

As if clothing himself in a garment that is our world, God creates a very convincing illusion that is akin to a dream. According to the Kabbalah, our world is itself like a dream in the infinite mind of God. Dreams themselves are tailor-made so as to help us understand Kabbalistic thought in general. As long as we are under the spell of the dream that we are having, all of the people and objects within the dream seem separate and objectively existing. It is only upon awakening to the dreamlike nature of our situation that we recognize that who we thought we were is nothing other than a model of ourselves being dreamed by something deeper, and that the dream in which we find ourselves is a display of, and not separate from, who we have discovered ourselves to be. Similarly, it is only when God is differentiated into, and includes within himself, a seemingly boundless expanse of apparently finite entities, which are then understood as all participating in his unified essence, that God completes himself as the Infinite All and his full infinity is achieved. This is to say that the deepest unity isn’t opposed to multiplicity, but, rather, requires and embraces it.

In the same way that God has to become estranged from himself in order to become who he is, according to the Kabbalah, it was only after the vessels break that humanity’s potential to become fully itself is set in motion. It is as if some form of destruction, deconstruction, or disintegration is a prerequisite for individuation and is necessary for the birth of the Self. Seen symbolically, the Breaking of the Vessels is an expression of the inevitable brokenness that everyone experiences at one point or another within, and even throughout, the course of a lifetime. It is when things seem most broken and shattered─when we hit bottom─that the deeper process of healing and transformation can begin. This archetypal idea is also expressed in the figure of the wounded healer, who accesses the ability to heal by going through and adding consciousness to the process of being wounded. Seen psychologically, the archetype of the wounded healer expresses the idea that the ego, if it’s to undergo transformation, must be wounded or broken in some way in order to open up to its connection to the healing energies of the unconscious. This idea of being broken, of experiencing failure, feeling psychologically and spiritually impotent, and going through a symbolic “death” experience is also related to the archetypal “Dark Night of the Soul,” an inner, psychospiritual experience which involves descending into the darkness─similar to the archetypal descent of the shaman into the underworld─which is the very process through which the light is discovered. This is similar to the personal process of spiritual emergence, which almost always looks like a nervous “breakdown.” The person who is spiritually awakening is typically experienced to be “falling into pieces,” as their psyche “melts down” and disintegrates, all potentially leading towards a higher form of integration more in alignment with their deeper, intrinsic wholeness. This process of falling apart is an iteration of the same fractal, a recapitulation on the microcosmic scale of an individual psyche, that the Kabbalah describes as initiating the process of divine evolution on a cosmic scale. The shattering of the vessels can also symbolize moments when life so shakes us up that we snap out of our fixed patterns of thought, rigid beliefs and assumed ideas about both the world and ourselves, such that a divine spark of creativity can come through us.

One of the striking features in the Kabbalah’s account of the origin of evil is that, unlike the Biblical myth, whose notion of the Fall of Humanity is attributed to a human act as described in the Garden of Eden story, the Kabbalah sees the origin of evil as an inescapable feature of the very process of cosmogenesis itself. Instead of seeing evil as existing outside of God, the Kabbalists saw evil as an essential component of the deity, woven into the very fabric of creation. From the point of view of the Kabbalah, evil issues forth from God himself, originating in the very heart of divinity, and is a logically necessary consequence of the very act of creation itself. In the earliest Kabbalistic writings it says “The Holy One praised be He has a trait which is called Evil.”[iv] From the Kabbalah’s point of view, to deny evil its rightful place in the cosmos is to do away with the Good as well. To quote Sanford L. Drob, author of Symbols of the Kabbalah: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives, “Evil is to creation, and the individual finite existence that is creation’s very essence, as the outside of a container is to the space it contains.”[v] To one-sidedly strive after good and unilaterally reject and exclude evil would be like trying to grasp the container without taking hold of the boundary which defines it.

This “crisis in creation” was built into all things, both human and divine, into the molecular and subatomic structure of the cosmos itself. The dialectical tensions of the cosmos are mirrored in the psyche of each individual. This primordial rupture, which was a form of trauma on a cosmic scale, became the in-forming force behind human history itself, conditioning the experience of each individual, as well as our species as a whole. It is as if our entire species is suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Seen as a whole person, it is as if the wholeness of the universe had split into cosmic multiple sub-personalities who are dissociated from and seemingly separate from each other, desperately in need of recognizing their connection so as to come together and reintegrate.

When Freud was first introduced to the Kabbalah, he was so beside himself in excitement that he exclaimed “This is gold.” When Jung, who to my mind has the deepest insight into the nature of evil of anyone I have yet encountered, had his eyes opened to the profundity of the Kabbalah, he realized that his entire psychology had been anticipated by certain of their adepts. In an interview on his eightieth birthday in 1955, Jung declared, “the Hasidic Rabbi Baer from Mesiritz anticipated my entire psychology in the eighteenth century.”[vi] I can relate to how Jung must have felt, as the more I studied the Kabbalah’s cosmology, the more my mind was being blown, feeling as if I had found an alternative─and complementary─rendering of what I had written about in Dispelling Wetiko. The Kabbalah provides an ingenious model of how we have become entranced by the spell-binding powers of our own mind. It was as if the Kabbalist’s had been tracking wetiko for centuries, had created their own mythology and symbol system which “captured” it, and in so doing had presciently realized how to “break the curse of evil.”

Jung writes, “In a tract of the Lurianic Kabbalah, the remarkable idea is developed that man is destined to become God’s helper in the attempt to restore the vessels which were broken when God thought to create a world.”[vii] Commenting on this novel idea, Jung writes, “Here the thought emerges for the first time that man must help God to repair the damage wrought by creation. For the first time man’s cosmic responsibility is acknowledged.”[viii] Jung was appreciating the Kabbalist’s (r)evolutionary insight that humanity was playing the crucial role of co-partnering with God so as to complete the creative act of his Incarnation. The radical and taboo thought was, “for the first time,” emerging into a monotheistic worldview that, to put it into religious language, humanity didn’t just depend upon God, but that God, as if to complete the circle, depended upon humanity as well. From the Kabbalah’s point of view, God did not just create humanity, but in a joint venture, humanity is reciprocally helping to create God as well – talk about a “cosmic responsibility!”

According to the Kabbalah, it was as if divine sparks, psychic/spiritual treasures were encoded within us and hidden throughout the physical universe. It is a Sethian[ix] notion, as expressed by Hippolytus, that the darkness “held the brightness and the spark of light in thrall,”[x] the wording of which suggests that the darkness seems to have the light under a magical “spell.” This is quite remarkable, considering that, as mentioned earlier, the darkness parasitically requires the energy of the light in order to maintain its seeming existence and appear real. Ultimately speaking, the light has used its own creative energy to constrain its infinite radiance, as if the light has cast a spell upon itself. Seen as a reflection of a process happening within each of us, this expresses how something so incredibly powerful (i.e., ourselves as the radiant plenum – the boundless luminosity which is the very fabric of our being) can fall under the spell of a nonexistent phantom appearance that arises from the immense creativity of our own mind such that it entrances the light within us into believing that this imaginary, illusory phantom of darkness is more powerful than the light that we are. These apparition-like “darker forces,” the result of a timeless, acausal, nonlinear and insidious feedback loop within our own mind, only have power over us to the extent that their illusory nature is not seen through. The powers of darkness cannot take our intrinsic power from us, rather, they can only take on seeming reality by tricking us into giving our power away to them.

The idea of sparks of divine light becoming trapped in the dark denseness of matter, and this state of affairs being linked with human salvation is a quintessentially Gnostic idea. The Gnostic Gospel of Phillip says, “I am scattered in all things, and from wherever thou wilt thou canst gather me, but in gathering me thou gatherest together thyself.” It was as if sparks of the divine, of our very Self were dispersed throughout the manifest world, waiting to be discovered and liberated.

To the Kabbalists, it was humanity’s divinely appointed task to find, extract and free this light that is hidden in the darkness of the material realm (this is called “The Raising of the Sparks”), thereby helping this light return to its divine source. It is the mission of each one of us to raise the sparks hidden within those kelipot that reside within our soul or that come our way over the course of a lifetime so as to fulfill our part in the healing of the world. According to the Kabbalah, humanity plays a key role in the repair and restoration of the world, called “Tikkun ha-Olam” (henceforth “Tikkun” for short). Tikkun is a project in which humanity, the world, and God himself becomes more fully themselves, as if humanity plays a vitally important role in the completion and actualization of the universe, and if we can talk in such human terms, of God himself. The profound viewpoint of Tikkun reveals that the purpose and significance of evil in God’s plan is to provide a context for humanity’s redemption, which is to say that the vision provided by Tikkun puts evil, humanity, and God himself in their proper places within the cosmos.

This cosmic process is mirrored in humanity through the process of individuation, of becoming an indivisible unity or “whole,” which entails a gathering, recollecting and remembering of all of the split-off, projected parts of the psyche. Etymologically, the root of the word individuation means “un-divided,” as if the process of individuation is the antidote to the “diabolical” (whose etymology means “that which separates and divides”), disintegrating effects of evil. To quote Jung, “Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself.”[xi] Elsewhere Jung writes, “Everything living dreams of individuation, for everything strives towards its own wholeness.”[xii] As Jung suggests, just as each one of us dreams of individuation as we strive towards the wholeness of our nature, can’t we say the same of the universe itself: that it too dreams of individuation, of gathering its nature to itself, and re-membering all of its split-off parts? Are we all just playing roles in a cosmic process of individuation─a universal awakening─that is mysteriously being revealed and catalyzed through our darker half?

It is an age-old, archetypal idea, expressed in both alchemy and Gnosticism, that light is to be found hidden within the darkness, which suggests that evil is connected to the process of redemption and individuation. Jung comments, “that not only darkness is known through light, but that, conversely, light is known through darkness.”[xiii] According to the Kabbalah, the extraction of the light requires an acknowledgement of, and sojourn into the realm of darkness, which psychologically speaking, can be thought of as making a descent into the underworld of the unconscious and coming to terms with our base desires, what in Kabbalah is referred to as a “descent on behalf of the ascent.” Going inward is going upward in consciousness, dimensionally speaking. This descent always involves a coming to terms with the “shadow” of ourselves (which has both a personal, as well as transpersonal/archetypal component). Our totality must include a dark side if we are to be whole. Jung writes, “Where there is no shadow, there is no light.”[xiv] By entering the dark realm of the unconscious, we are offered the possibility of refining ourselves as if in a crucible, as if the shadow-world of the unconscious is a divine furnace of purification. If we fail to take into account the shadow aspect of ourselves, we are unwittingly feeding it, increasing its power over us; if we don’t acknowledge and see our darkness, we deliver ourselves into its hands.

The kabbalistic idea of finding the light hidden in the darkness is also a basic psychoanalytic idea, having to do with making the unconscious conscious, as well as connecting split-off complexes to the wholeness of the Self. If we don’t acknowledge and pay our dues to the darkness, like the return of the Freudian repressed, it will take its due on its own terms, with a vengeance. In alchemy, the prima materia, which is considered the primal chaos that includes within itself elements of negativity and evil (and is symbolized by the element “lead”), is necessary and indeed indispensible for the making of the “gold” (which is the awakened consciousness) and the completion of the opus.

The entire process of Tikkun proceeds out of what the Kabbalah refers to as “The Other Side” (called “The Sitra Achra,” a nether realm of evil inhabited by and composed of the kelipot), which is to say that, kabbalistically speaking, there is no liberated light except that which issues forth out of the evil realm. The Zohar, the key Kabbalistic text, makes this very point when it makes the remarkable statement, “There is no light except that which issues from darkness…and no true good except it proceed from evil.”[xv] According to the Kabbalah, evil is the very condition of good’s realization. Evil, at cross purposes to the good at its core, is at the same time, paradoxically, its very foundation. It is only by attending to the darkness within ourselves and making the darkness conscious, however, that we become secure in the attainment of the good and begin to wake up. Jung writes, “He who comprehends the darkness in himself, to him the light is near.”[xvi]

From the Kabbalistic point of view, evil brings into the world the possibility of choosing between sin and virtue, which is to say that evil is the very origin of the possibility of the highest good. Freedom of choice is a necessary postulate for responsibility, morality and the creation of values. Evil becomes the condition for free choice, and hence, the condition for the full realization of good. As if the revelation of everything is through its opposite, an idea is only complete when it reveals its opposite to be inextricably linked to its very significance, e.g., darkness is only known through light, just as light is only known through darkness. According to the Kabbalah, the world and the soul of humanity are partly immersed in the “Other Side,” which is to say that the evil impulse can’t be banished, but needs to be harnessed for the good. To quote Jung, “You can’t reject evil because evil is the bringer of light.”

Evil, according to the Kabbalah, reciprocally co-arises with the possibility of humanity’s freedom, as if God could not create true freedom for humanity without providing a choice for evil. Freedom and evil are thus two aspects of the same process. It is as if the Breaking of the Vessels, the seeming exile of divine light, and the production of evil which resulted made possible the process by which humanity can attain its autonomy and potential freedom. Only in an evil and tragic world can compassion and kindness be most fully realized. Jung succinctly expresses this realization when he writes, “The evil one is holy.”[xvii] This is not to justify, sanction or condone evil, but rather, to contextualize it. The chaos and negativity that resulted from the Breaking of the Vessels was, for the Kabbalists, the inevitable result of, and the price to be paid for, the infinite taking on finite form, of divine unity giving itself over to distinction, individuality and freedom. From the Kabbalistic point of view, evil is created by and for freedom, and it is only through freedom by which it can be overcome.

If the kelipot are solely the source of evil, how do we explain that is it is through their evil that we potentially actualize our freedom? Are the kelipot expressions of a higher intelligence, part of the divine plan to bring about a higher form of good that couldn’t be achieved without their existence?

As if intimately related, there is a deep interconnection between the forces of light and dark, as if at a certain point the dark and the light become indistinguishable from one another, a “coincidentia oppositorum” (co-incidence of opposites). The idea of the interpenetration, interdependence and the coming together of the opposites is at the root of every wisdom tradition on our planet, and is an idea that underlies, informs and animates the Kabbalah’s entire cosmology. In addition, the principle of coincidentia oppositorum can be considered to be the cornerstone of Jung’s entire psychology. In Jung’s personal journal, the recently published Red Book, whose reflections are the basis of his life’s work, he refers to the coincidentia oppositorum as producing the “supreme meaning.”[xviii] The part of us that is having the realization of, in Jung’s words, the “mysterium coniunctionis” (the mystery of the conjunction – the co-joining of things typically conceived of as being opposites) is the Self, the wholeness of our personality. The Self─who we are─is simultaneously the sponsor and result of this realization.

Through its choices, humanity can realize and actualize the values that are only abstractions and ideas in the mind of God. Humanity’s actions can instantiate, embody and make fully real the higher, spiritual values of our universe, helping God to see, and experience the totality of himself in the process. It is as if humanity is the vessel which God has created in order to complete and incarnate himself. It is the Kabbalah’s perspective that the unity and perfection that is provided with humanity’s help is of a higher-order than the unity that existed before the Breaking of the Vessels and prior to creation itself. This is similar to how, in the alchemical operation of “solve et coagula” (dissolve and synthesize), an original unity is separated into its opposing parts, and then reunited in a process that brings about a superior wholeness. From the Kabbalah’s point of view, it is as if God creates the world in order to fully realize himself in it. In a case where the microcosm mirrors the macrocosm, this is similar to how the unconscious manifests itself in a reflective ego in order to complete and know itself as a conscious “Self.”

It is only a broken and disordered state of affairs─such as we have in the world today─that provides the optimal environment within which humanity can best exercise the greatest spiritual, moral, aesthetic and intellectual virtues that truly make us a reflection of God. The discordant, unassimilated and antagonistic effects of both our personal complexes and the kelipot of the Kabbalah all serve to call forth our highest potentialities, similar to how a road test for a car involves being put under the most difficult conditions to push it to its edge and elicit the limits of its performance capabilities. This world is truly a perfect realm for the “road-testing” of our souls. Humanity’s highest virtues are called upon when confronted by evil.

Jung writes, “The self is made manifest in the opposites and in the conflict between them; it is a coincidentia oppositorum. Hence the way to the self begins with conflict.”[xix] Conflicting energies exist relative to, by virtue of, and at the expense of each other. Reciprocally co-arising, they belong together precisely insofar as they oppose each other; their antagonism is the very source of their essential oneness. The conflict that arises from the Breaking of the Vessels and the creation of evil is inherent to, and necessary for, the cultivation of the human spirit. Jung writes, “The stirring up of conflict is a Luciferian virtue in the true sense of the word. Conflict engenders fire, the fire of affects and emotions, and like every other fire, it has two aspects, that of combustion and that of creating light.”[xx] In other words, the conflict and friction that is the result of the Breaking of the Vessels can potentially create separation, hurt and misunderstanding─producing more trauma─or it can create light, the light of consciousness itself. From this meta-perspective, the shattering of the vessels allows, potentially, for more light to be revealed. To quote Jung, “But that which brings division ultimately creates union.”[xxi]

Though the Kabbalist’s envision the Breaking of the Vessels (and the kelipot entrapping the divine light and bringing evil into the world) as a cosmic event that happened back in the dawning of time─at the very moment of the creation of our universe─this process is also atemporal, in that it happens outside of time, which is to say that it is happening right now. The Breaking of the Vessels is a symbolic articulation of a process that is active in us right now and is informing our human condition in each and every moment.

Like the prototypical Adam, whose situation in the Garden is a metaphor for the archetypal human dilemma, as well as for all subsequent human decisions, each one of us stands at a fork in the road─a place of great opportunity─between the paths of Tikkun (and life) on the one hand, and feeding the kelipot and evil (and death) on the other.[xxii] Adam’s sin was catastrophic precisely because it was an act of free choice, and for this reason it strengthened the kelipot and the power of the “Other Side.” Similarly, whenever any of us is “unconsciously” taken over by evil in the form of compulsive, addictive behaviors (as compared to “acting out” our compulsions as the medium through which we become conscious of them), we are unwittingly investing in the grip of the kelipot over our soul. When we are able to choose differently, however, and redirect our psychic energy so as to “re-turn” (a word which, etymologically, has to do with the word “repentance”) to the true spiritual home within ourselves, the energy that was bound up in the compulsive re-creation of our habitual patterns becomes freed up and available for the expression of love and creativity (which, in religious language, would be to serve God). To “turn away” from the “self and/or other” destructive evil impulse within ourselves and to “turn towards” and reorient ourselves towards the good is to genuinely “repent.” Repentance is the highest expression of humanity’s capacity to choose freely – it is a manifestation of the divine in humanity. Repentance is a living manifestation of the power within us to extricate ourselves from the binding power of the kelipot, from the chains of endless causality that otherwise compel us to follow a path of “no return.” As Jung points out, “The sin to be repented, of course, is unconsciousness.”[xxiii] From the Kabbalah’s point of view, a “sinner” who “repents” is on a higher level than the saint who has never sinned.

The moment of “metanoia,” of a shift in our attitude, a change in our mind and a softening of our heart, is a moment in which we are participating in the birth of consciousness. Individuation is Incarnation. In this moment of awareness, the energy that was bound up in the recreation of the kelipot and their seeming power over us is instantaneously liberated. The holy sparks imprisoned by the kelipot, like iron filings drawn to a magnet, fly back to their divine source, where they can then assist and inspire the process of a universe-wide Tikkun even further. The kelipot, which had been parasitic on this sacred light are then deprived of their vitality and vanish as though they had never existed, as if a dream that had seemed real vaporizes into the light of awakening consciousness, getting reabsorbed into the very divine light from which it arose.

We, by our very choices, are actively participating in creating (in my language, “dreaming up”) the archetypal process of either feeding the kelipot and their resultant evil or denying them their food in each and every moment by feeding awareness instead. Once we cultivate the compassion that is at the root of this process, the evil impulse─“yetzer ha-ra”─within us is not, like in the psychological process of sublimation, merely redirected while the underlying drive is left essentially unchanged; rather, the redirection implied by this process elevates and alchemically transforms the evil urge into “yetzer ha-tov,” the impulse for good. It is the creative tension between these two primordial urges within us that supplies the energy for humanity to potentially connect with our true power and exercise the divine gift of genuine freedom. For the Kabbalists, the good that we are capable of in our personal life issues forth, and is functionally related to the evil inclination within us; which is to say that the energy that is animating the evil impulse can potentially be channeled to inspire the good. The greater our evil impulse, the greater our potential for good.

At this point, I am left practically speechless, in awe and appreciation for the divine creative imagination as it imagines itself through the Kabbalistic cosmology. My life truly feels enriched after finding the gold of the Kabbalah. The Kabbalist’s vision of the cosmos and the Native American idea of wetiko mutually illuminate and shed light on each other, expanding our vision of who we are in the process. As I become more familiar with the Kabbalah, I am realizing that I have been a “closet Kabbalist,” and that my inner Kabbalistic nature was a secret, hidden and unknown even to myself.

For the Kabbalah, the act of creation itself is an introduction, a mere opening act, a preparation for the process of Tikkun. The Kabbalistic myth of Tikkun, at least in my imagination, is a satisfying myth, as the ‘mystic’ Tikkun is the true coming of the Messiah, which psychologically speaking, is the birth of the Self through humanity. Kabbalistically speaking, the savior does not come to unite humanity with God, but to unite humanity with itself; individuation means becoming who one is. The process of Tikkun involves seeing through and transcending the illusion of the imaginary “separate” self and recognizing our true self, which is a “self” that is interconnected and interdependent with all beings. This is an insight that is not limited to the merely inner domain within our own minds, but requires us to embody its realization and carry its compassion into the world at large. Tikkun doesn’t have to do with leaving the world behind and entering our own personal nirvana, nor does it have to do with transcending the world. The vehicle for Tikkun’s realization is our world.

When we truly become a living representative for the process of Tikkun, we realize the synchronistic dialectic between the outer world and the inner landscape of our mind, which is to say that the outer and inner worlds, just like a dream, are recognized to be reflections of each other. This is to recognize that the outer world is the medium through which our inner realization is made manifest and given form, which is to say that one very powerful way to “work on ourselves” and deepen our inner realization is to engage with, fully participate in and be of service in and to the world. The psychological redemption that is at the heart of Tikkun involves a simultaneous turning inward and outward. As practitioners of Tikkun we seek to discover the core of divinity that resides within ourselves as well as within the world at large. From the perspective of the Kabbalah, it is incumbent upon humanity to discover, recognize, bring out and sanctify the sacramental value of the material world. The world becomes alchemically transfigured in the moment of recognizing that it is, and always has been a pure spiritual realm. We ourselves become transformed in the process. The process of Tikkun will only be complete when the last spark has been raised and the universe, suffused with the inviolable primordial radiance of the divine, reveals itself to be the dream that it is. As we collectively connect with each other in the profound process of Tikkun, we can refresh and restore the world to a state of harmony undreamed of previously.

About the Author

A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergencePaul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books). He is also the author of The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis, An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. Please visit Paul’s website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul at paul@awakeninthedream.com; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them. © Copyright 2013.

This article was originally published on awakeninthedream.com.

[i] It was particularly Sanford L. Drob’s brilliant writings on the Kabbalah that opened my eyes to how the Kabbalah was, through its own divinely inspired creative imagination, describing wetiko in its own unique way.

[ii] For consistency’s sake, I have chosen to use the masculine gender when referring to God, as this is the gender used in referring to God in the Kabbalah, as well as by Jung.

[iii] Jung, CW 11, Psychology and Religion: West and East, par. 380.

[iv] Sefer ha Bahir, par. 109, as cited in Gerhom Scholem, Origins of the Kabbalah, trans. R. J. Zwi Werblowsky (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 149-150.

[v] Drob, Sanford, Symbols of the Kabbalah, p. 329.

[vi] “An Eightieth Birthday Interview,” in C. G. Jung Speaking, ed. W. McGuire and R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, N. J: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 271-272.

[vii] Jung, Letters vol. 2, p. 157.

[viii] Jung, Letters vol. 2, p. 155.

[ix] a Christian Gnostic sect

[x] Elenchos, V, 19, 7 (Legge, I, p. 162).

[xi] Jung, CW 8, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 432.

[xii] Jung, Letters vol. 2, p. xlvi.

[xiii] Jung, CW 9ii, Aion, par. 92.

[xiv] Jung, Visions 1, p. 162.

[xv] Zohar II, 184a; Sperling and Simon, The Zohar, Vol. IV, p. 125.

[xvi] Jung, Red Book, p. 272b.

[xvii] Jung, Red Book, p. 290.

[xviii] Jung, Red Book, p. 229.

[xix] Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, par. 259.

[xx] Jung, CW 9i, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, par. 179.

[xxi] Jung, CW 10, Civilization in Transition, par. 293.

[xxii] “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may have life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

[xxiii] Jung, CW 9ii, Aion, par. 299.

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