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experienced individually, have passed over onto institutions and collectively recognized rituals and litanies. Christ himself was first experienced as the divine God-man by the small circle of his apostles. Saint Paul experienced him in his vision.32 The fact that Christianity spread so quickly was due to a great extent to the dreams and visions of the individuals. The description of the lives of monks, martyrs, and saints report, for example, a figure clothed in light, wearing a crown of roses on his head, or of an oversized shepherd. Such dreams often do not specify that they concern Christ, but every masculine divine figure was immediately interpreted as such, which then for men became the carrier of all visions of the Self, or, for the women, the positive animus.33 In this way Christ was still a living archetype, with whom many individuals were connected through a personal inner experience. Christ for them was a divine being that could be experienced, someone who lived amongst them, circulated at the heart of the community, and had influence on their lives. Later, the living symbol faded, it lost its emotional quality and numinosity, which means more and more people knew only from what their grandmothers taught them that there was such a god, but they themselves had no longer a feeling of relationship to him. They still prayed in the old form, because they had been taught to do so, but they could not speak of a personal religious experience. That is why Nietzsche, in a crucial moment of his life, said that “God is dead.� However, he is not dead, only his life has become invisible, returned to the womb from which he was born, in his unconscious archetypal original form; in this state he is the god contained in the jar. One can thus say that the round vessel symbolizes the secret of the human psyche, containing the living god substance, in other words, an imperishable divine reality which is eternal. Although man sometimes worships God and sometimes does not believe in him, yet there subsists always in the psyche an eternal essence of God which cannot die. The figure of Christ is today in danger of becoming a dead god, but as far as he personifies an archetype his figure is eternal. He embodies the experience of an archetypal reality and in this sense he is immortal. He survives his own death through a return into the womb of the unconscious human psyche, from which he came. The vessel and the god substance therein are the symbol of a psychological attitude and experience, in which everything religious is experienced within the individual, and nothing is seen any more in outer forms. Nothing is projected any longer in pictures and rituals, or in an institution. It has again become the

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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