Carl Jung was born July 26, 1875 in Kesswil, Switzerland and died in 1961. His father was a pastor, and was the fourth and only surviving child. Jung was a quiet child that was most happy when we had solitary time to think.
Carl Jung studied medicine, but had a keen interest in spiritual phenomena and mysticism. These combined interests led him to study psychiatry, allowing him to pursue both areas of study.
His doctoral dissertation was titled “On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena” from the University of Basel. He soon after became good friends with Sigmund Freud, whom he met in 1907, which helped Carl Jung develop a fascination with the unconscious mind. Jung was extremely interested in developing an understanding of the mind through myths, art, philosophy, and dreams.
Carl Jung and His Mystical Experiences:
Vision While Sick In Bed in 1944:
“It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light…the sight of earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen…
Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.
An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench…I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside…was the gate to the temple. As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me—an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carrried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been, and what has been accomplished.
This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness.”
First Recorded Active Imagination Experience – December 12, 1913
Jung sits at his desk and decides to “just let himself drop.” He finds having the sensation that the ground has literally given out under his feet. He plunges into the dark depths. Not too long in his fall he lands on soft ground, actually a “sticky mass.” Once his eyes adjusts he begins to see some details in the near darkness. Before him is an entrance to a cave, in which stood a dwarf with leathery skin. Jung squeezes past this person and soon begins to wade through icy water which is knee deep. At the other end of the cave he sees, on a projecting rock, a glowing red crystal.
Lifting the crystal he sees that that there is a hole in the ground allowing him to see down to a river. He soon sees a corpse floating by (a boy with blonde hair). He is followed by a gigantic black scarab and then by a red, newborn sun, rising up out of the depths of the water. Blinded by the sun, Jung wants to replace the crystal in the hole to block the sun’s rays but a fluid starts to pour out of the whole. It is blood. Blood pours out and Jung feels nauseated. On it pours until finally, it comes to an end. Jung’s Active Imagination ends.
Carl Jung Quotes on Mysticism:
People call me a mystic, but [humans] really are chock-full of mysticism; that word covers a large area of facts which we cannot understand.
It is a figure comparable to Hiranyagarbha, Purusha, Atman, and the mystic Buddha. For this reason I have elected to call it the “self,” by which I understand a psychic totality and at the same time a centre, neither of which coincides with the ego but includes it, just as a larger circle encloses a smaller one.
When a woman realizes her shadow the animus can be constellated. If the shadow remains in the unconscious the animus possesses her through the shadow. When she realizes her animus, mystical generation can occur. Sarah was Abraham’s legitimate wife, but Hagar, the dark one, had the procreative animus. Out of darkness the light is born.
Everything psychic has a lower and a higher meaning, as in the profound saying of late classical mysticism: ‘Heaven above, Heaven below, stars above, stars below, all that is above also is below, know this and rejoice.’ Here we lay our finger on the secret symbolical significance of everything psychic.
We can find clear proof of this fact in the history of science itself. The so-called “mystical” experience of the French philosopher Descartes involved a . . . sudden revelation in which he saw in a flash the “order of all sciences”. The British author Robert Louis Stevenson had spent years looking for a story that would fit his “strong sense of man’s double being,” when the plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was suddenly revealed to him in a dream.
Selected Works of Carl Jung:
Jung, C. G. (1904–1907) Studies in Word Association.
Jung, C. G., & Long, C. E. (1917) Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology
Jung, C. G., & Shamdasani, S. (1932) The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga
Jung, C. G. (1947) Essays on Contemporary Events
Jung, C. G. (1988) Psychology and Western Religion
Also published on Medium.