God and the Devil in Jungian Gnostic Alchemy

Discussion in 'Esoteric' started by Ella S., Nov 14, 2021.

  1. Ella S.

    Ella S. Gnostic Alchemist

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    I thought a post like this might clarify some things, or perhaps obfuscate them further.

    A distinction must be made between the God of Classical Theism and the God of Classical Gnosticism. The former is a personal agent that creates, giving it the nickname of "the Father." The latter is a substance that emanates, giving it the nickname of "the Monad."

    The Monad is not necessarily sentient, so any time it's said to do something, this is a personification. It doesn't make choices. It "does" things in the same way that evolution, gravity, or death does things, not in the way a person makes choices.

    The Gnostics were generally more concerned with an internal and mystical understanding of God as the Monad, rather than as an external being who acts upon the world. As dualists, they also personified the physical, external world through the powers of the Demiurge, making a sharp distinction between the two substances of spirit and matter.

    When Jung enters the scene, he has the pieces he needs to associate God with the Collective Unconscious, manifesting as the Self in the individual. He also associates the Demiurge, who he calls Abrasax, with the Collective Conscious, manifesting as the Persona or Ego in the individual.

    Through this lens, while certainly not atheistic due to having a heavy bend towards mystical idealism, God and the Devil are better understood as psychological forces rather than beings or spirits.
     
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  2. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Only in Christianity really? The concept of God as Father is not really a feature of other Abrahamic religions, nor of most non-Abrahamic beliefs?
     
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  3. Ella S.

    Ella S. Gnostic Alchemist

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    Of course. I could have also said that it earned the nickname, "Bun-e-sitha" (root of creation) or al-Muhaymin (controller.) I figured Father was the more appropriate one due to its connection with Nicene Christianity.

    Within Gnosticism, most sects did not use the term "Monad." They used names like Bythos, Barbelo, Aion Teleos, Proarche, etc. Even some sects of Gnosticism, such as the Valentinians, would call God the father.

    I meant that more as an example of how the two concepts are seen in different ways, but there is also overlap between these approaches to God and they aren't mutually exclusive. I was trying to simplify things to prevent confusion.
     
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  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Of course :)
     
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  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    In the Catholic mass, the recitation of the Lord's Prayer is introduced by the words 'We dare to say: Our Father ...'
     
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  6. Ella S.

    Ella S. Gnostic Alchemist

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    I used to be Roman Catholic. I miss their beautiful churches and ceremonies. Mass was always such an intensely spiritual experience for me, as I'm sure it is to many people.
     
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  7. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Wrong.
    I have already pointed out that Jesus was a Jew.
    Jesus taught us the Lord's prayer.

    "Our Father, whom art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name.."

    and

    A famous Jewish prayer emphasizing this dichotomy is called Avinu Malkeinu, which means "Our Father Our King" in Hebrew. Usually the entire congregation will sing the last verse of this prayer in unison, which says: "Our Father, our King, answer us as though we have no deed to plead our cause, save us with mercy and loving-kindness."
     
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  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    @muhammad_isa
    It's not used often. It's peripheral. Christ used it all the time. Christ brought it front and centre
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Born a Jew. But Jesus was the Incarnation, not just another Jewish teacher, imo

    Why do you need to keep shouting? Heard you the first time.

    We disagree. Shouting and repetition don't change it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
  10. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    [​IMG]

    ..so Jesus was "born a Jew", but at some point became God??
     
  11. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    The disciples were Jewish .. is that right? [ rhetorical question ]
    It is fundamental. Jews have NEVER believed that God could be a man.
    [ correction: that is not strictly true, as in no Jew has ever believed it ]

    Jesus and his disciples couldn't go into the temple, while believing that .. it is daft !

    It is like me going to the mosque with some "sheik" who says he is God :p
    Never, never!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
  12. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    In having an Interfaith discussion, we should respect each other.
    We need to respect that which others hold dear to their hearts.

    A problem arises, when beliefs clash.

    eg. strict monotheism v soft monotheism

    Both Muslims and Christians revere God the Father.
    However, it seems that "God the Father" is not enough for Christians .. they have more..
     
  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    @muhammad_isa
    Start a new thread for this
    Moderator speaking
     
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  14. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    If this is in reference to referring to G-d as father in Judaism, you’re wrong.
     
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  15. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Is it often used, then?
     
  16. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    @RabbiO

    Then I will have to stand corrected, if not educated, and offer apology as due
     
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  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Have you looked at discussions regarding Monad and Trinity in the Christian Traditions? (I think maybe more the Orthodox than the Catholic?) Not so much to focus on the Trinity, but more on the nature of the Deity. I don't know if there are any Gnostic dialogues along those lines.

    I mentioned elsewhere (in talking about the Trinity) of the distinction between oikonomia and theologia, the former is with regard to God's self-disclosure in the work of human salvation, the latter speaks of God as such, God's essence, perhaps Monad. Once we speak of God in Himself, as it were, the term 'Father' might be (pastorally) useful, but not philosophically accurate ... and then we're off into Eckhart's ürgrund, the place in which 'all distinctions disappear', which itself traces back to the 'superessential Godhead' of Dionysius the pseudoAreopagite.

    And then you must forgive me wheeling out a hero of mine, Johannes Scottus Eriugena, and his Four Divisions of Nature.

    (You'll also have to forgive the fact that I'm an inveterate namedropper!)
     
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  18. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Thanks for the overview.

    If Jung drew such parallels between Gnostic cosmology and the structure of the human psyche, did he identify anything with the divine spark?

    I also got a strong impression of existentialist thought off your description of the monad existing as a non-sentient substance emanating the more elaborate, and ultimately self-conscious aeons: "Existence precedes essence" in a nutshell, so to speak.

    Is existentialism compatible with Gnostic thought?

    And, from my own position as a materialist mystic, I can understand the Monad as the physical universe, or perhaps the Big Bang singularity, which emanates space, the four forces, the particles and atoms and elements and compounds and stars and planets and organic molecules and, via some additional levels of emanation, us conscious humans and our clever communication devices, talking about the essence of all this existence we find ourselves in.

    But from the Gnostic point of view, I am putting the cart before the horse, right?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
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  19. Ella S.

    Ella S. Gnostic Alchemist

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    You have given me some topics to look into! Much of the discussions between the Monad and the Trinity that I've studied are more in the context of sects like the Bogomils, who were Neo-Gnostics that may have held to Trinitarianism.

    Jung actually incorporates Sophia directly into his method as a name for the developed Anima, but it is considered to be the same figure as the Shadow, Senex, and the Self. The different archetypes just represent different phases, beginning with the Shadow in Nigredo, which clarifies to reveal the Anima or Animus in Albedo, who matures into the Senex in Citrinitas, and finally gives way to reveal the Self in Rubedo. So while Sophia is used for the name of the developed Anima, this is because this is the first time that this figure becomes clear in the process; each of the other archetypes are Sophia, too. So you see here how the Self is a manifestation of God, like I mentioned in the op, since it is the divine spark, Sophia, in its most refined form.

    Hans Jonas, and some later Jungian-inspired archetypal psychologists, have claimed that Gnosticism was a sort of ancient Existentialism. I can't say that I hold any strong opinions one way or the other on that, unfortunately. I do see a lot of compatibility between Jungian Gnosticism and Kant's Transcendental Idealism.

    I think, from a materialist point of view, you would have just described the Demiurge, not God. God would still be the Collective Unconscious, just filtered through one of the many ways of approaching that concept naturalistically rather than with Jung's psychic idealism.

    That said, this approach would completely change the cosmogony. Rather than God emanating the Demiurge, we would see God instead as a collective of individual divine sparks that came from the Demiurge. It would be more of a spiritual evolution than a return home, which is very different from the alienation of Classical Gnosticism, but it would still roughly keep the same mystical and spiritual practices that lead to self-transcendence in tact with the same language referring to the same phenomena. It would just be interpreted a bit differently, as far as narrative meaning goes.
     
  20. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    But in idealism, the narrative meaning determines the physical circumstances, I think? Differences in narrative meaning are differences between two specific idealist views.
     
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