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personal, numinous experience of the individual human being. That is the moment when the dead god is returned to the vessel, out of which he comes again as that which he has always been: an eternal psychic reality. That is why the Egyptian symbol of the jar with the essence of the god has survived even in late Christianity. When certain doubts arose about the figure of Christ, suddenly all those legends came to life which circled around the idea of the Holy Grail, from which a new orientation could take place. The Church saw in the Grail material a certain danger, because of the individual element in it. Therefore, for a time it fought these ideas and called them heretical. But the ideas continued to live in alchemy and in the secret societies of the fedeli d’amore, a group to which Petrarch and probably also Dante belonged. But how far, in that time, was it understood that the Grail vessel symbolized the unconscious psyche of the individual or the individual as a vessel of the divinity? How far did one understand that every individual is really the vessel that contains the god? We cannot judge this. But at least the poets had some notion about this, as one can see from some of their writings. The secret paths of the world of the courtly love, which carried further the psychic experience of the antique mysteries, disappeared almost completely in the seventeenth century. They were superseded by the Enlightenment, the rationalism and scientific and technical development with which we live today. But since archetypal values cannot die, in our day they reappear everywhere in the proliferation of sects, in drugs, in an infatuation for the esoteric in all its thinkable forms. At the same time these irrational values, which nowadays have disappeared from collective consciousness, live again in an unexpected form in Jungian psychology. By being willing to descend into himself and to confront himself with the unconscious forces (“to worship the lower and upper gods”), Jung has shown us a way of dealing with these forces. It takes a strong consciousness, which is flexible and modest enough, to be able to accept what the unconscious—the gods—has to say to us, and to realize the will of the gods, of the god who manifests himself in us, and to put us into his service, without forgetting the individual limits of our human nature. It is not for nothing that Jung inscribed over the door of his home in Küsnacht the words of the ancient oracle: Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit—ȍCalled or not called, the God will be there.” Even if we are unconscious of it, the god survives his death in the vessel of our soul, as in the jar of Osiris, or of the Grail.34 It is up to us to pay attention and to allow

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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