Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Religion and the Sacred Marriage November 30, 2010

That a man cannot be whole without accepting his feminine side and that the Sacred indwells all of us are not new ideas. But what is less commonly known is that these ideas were accepted by many early Christians.

Dr. Stephan Hoeller has examined the Dead Sea Scrolls and the lost gospels found in the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt. In Jung and the Lost Gospels he notes that in the Gospel of Thomas Simon Peter asks Jesus to send Mary away from the disciples because he believes women unworthy. In response to Peter’s chauvinism, Jesus tells him in the only way he is capable of understanding, “…every woman that becomes male will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus shows that the opposite is also true when he says, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inmost as the outermost and the outer as the inner and the above as the below, and when you make the male and female into a single unity, so that the male will not be only male and the female will not be only female…then surely you will enter the kingdom.”

Dr. Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton, has also studied the lost gospels. In Beyond Belief she describes the writings and actions of many early church leaders who, despite the assertion in the book of Genesis that we were made “in the image of God,” simply could not conceive “that God’s light shines not only in Jesus but, potentially, at least, in everyone”. One example was Irenaeus, the Christian bishop of Lyons (c. 180) who vigorously warned his flock to despise “heretics” who suggest that we have inner spiritual resources. Nonetheless, what Irenaeus dismissed “as heretical later became a central theme of Jewish mystical tradition — that the ‘image of God’ is hidden within each of us, secretly linking God and all humankind”.

The lost gospels show that Jesus gave special teachings to those of his disciples who could understand them. One of these was Mary Magdalene who succeeded in making the “male” (masculine mode of energy) and “female” (feminine mode of energy) into a single unity, thus experiencing the Sacred Marriage  and entering the kingdom within.

In psychological language we would say that her ego died to the world’s opinion and established the proper relationship with the Sacred Self within. We can imagine how mind-blowing this inner re-centering must have been at a time when no one had any understanding of psychology. In freeing herself from narrow conventional thinking she must have been a revolutionary role model for women, a formidable proponent of the new religion, and an easy target for misogynists like Pope Gregory who, over 500 years later, labeled her a fallen, sinful woman.

In the first century Middle East the concepts of femininity being as worthy as masculinity and humanity containing divinity were incomprehensible to most people and documents promoting these ideas had to be hidden away to prevent their destruction,. Thus, much of the wisdom of the early “Jesus Movement” was lost to the masses for two thousand years. Fortunately, it is being resurrected today by Spirit Warriors from every religion who honor the authority of God’s kingdom within each of us over limiting beliefs imposed by human hierarchies from without.

 

The Anima’s Role in a Man’s Spiritual Journey August 28, 2010

In my previous post I wrote about a man who, in the middle of his life, had a powerful dream in which he briefly identified with being a woman. I’d like to explain what this means from the perspective of Jungian psychology. In his work life, this man had become a highly successful and respected authority in his field. He was a responsible, law-abiding citizen and a loving husband, father, and social benefactor. Looking from the outside, one might ask, “What more could he possibly lack or want?” What more but a satisfying and meaningful inner life?

This introspective, scrupulous man is aware of the universe beneath the surface of his life. For him, filling society’s roles, following conventional rules, and acquiring worldly success are not enough. He is realizing his fulfillment lies in coming to terms with his whole self, including his unconscious feminine side. Something deep within him wants more than external observances: it wants internal congruence. It wants more than the appearance of caring and compassion: it wants the deeply felt reality. It wants more than the attainment of social power and authority: it wants a connection with his inner spiritual power and authority.

In his book Jung and the Lost Gospels, Dr. Stephan Hoeller summarizes the psycho-spiritual task of the serious seeker: “In Jung’s psychology, women need to integrate their animus, and men must do the same with their anima; the bringing to consciousness of the contrasexual image of each person permits entry into the kingdom of individuation and consequent wholeness.”

The word anima literally means soul. Jung saw the main qualities of the anima as relatedness and mediation, both between self and other and between ego and unconscious. The foundation for these qualities is love, or Eros, with its attributes of intimacy, harmony, tolerance, empathy, compassion, etc. In Volume 16 of Jung’s Collected Works he summarized the four stages in which a man’s anima develops: from the purely biological in which a woman is equated with the mother and only represents something to be fertilized; to an aesthetic and romantic level in which sex still dominates but woman has acquired some value as an individual; to a stage of religious devotion in which Eros is elevated to spiritual motherhood; and finally to Sophia, Wisdom.

Dreams of women show men at least two things about their unconscious selves: unknown feelings and attitudes toward femininity, and the health and maturity of their anima. In the dreams of a man who fears, distrusts, or disdains women and represses his “feminine” qualities, his anima will show up as an angry shrew, hag, witch, nag, victim, tease, or dangerous siren, and his dream ego will respond in ways typical for him in waking life. Conversely, the dreams of a man who is accepting his feminine side — i.e. getting in touch with his feelings, developing respect for women, learning to express tender emotions, becoming comfortable with intimacy, growing more understanding and nurturing in his relationships, etc. — will be visited by increasingly friendly, kind, helpful, loving, trustworthy, and profoundly fascinating women. Thus is the wicked witch transformed into the beautiful princess who awaits the prince’s kiss.  Thus does the feminine Spirit Warrior awaken and bestow her blessings of self-acceptance and spiritual meaning.

Next time I’ll discuss the role of men in women’s dreams.

 

 
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