“Western reality has no prerogative or supremacy over other brands. It may be the present operating system for modernity on Earth, but its roots are no more rooted, its arising no more fundamental or absolute.
The biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis Chapters 2-3) is foundational to our Western culture and has influenced the upbringing and psychology of all of us, whether we realize it or not. Mythologists as well as many biblical scholars recognize the story as being in the genre of myth, which makes it appropriate to analyze it from the perspective of depth psychology, among other approaches.
Indeed, as Joseph Campbell concluded, “This story yields its meaning only to a psychological interpretation” (2001, p. 50). Further, Carl Jung (CW 9.2, para. 230) had already written that “cosmogonic myths are, at bottom, symbols for the coming of consciousness.” But the literature about the Eden story taking such a psychological approach is scant, largely due to traditional and problematic gaps and tensions between academic disciplines....
The true goal is to move beyond the lapis to the Unus Mundus. This is where our salvation truly lies. In reality, the labor of the alchemist produces a “materialization of the spirit,” according to Jung, elevating “the body into proximity with the spirit while at the same time drawing the spirit down into matter. By sublimating matter he concretized spirit” (Jung 535). This melding of spirit and matter is brought about by a third element, which, in my mind, must be the human soul united with the World Soul. Jung claims this is the synthesis of conscious with unconscious, and is something totally non-rational. The best we can do is speak in paradoxes of this reality.
The great quest of thinkers for over two thousand years has been to fulfill the maxim made popular by Plato through the words of Socrates, “Gnothi seauton,” or “Know Thyself.” It was inscribed in the portico at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. It has inspired many philosophers, seers, mystics, and various other thinkers ever since. But what does it really mean? Better yet, what does it mean for us in the twenty-first century? With his method of “active imagination,” I believe Carl Jung gave us an excellent and very practical way to follow the admonition of Socrates. If you are not familiar with active imagination, you may read my article entitled, Active Imagination: the Bridge to the Unconscious, for background information.
The myth of Psyche (the word psyche means “soul” in Greek), Cupid, her invisible lover (Eros in Greek), and Cupid’s mother, the goddess of beauty and love, Venus (Aphrodite in Greek), illustrates how deeply Beauty, Soul, and Love are interrelated.
This relationship can show up in a modern context of the spa experience. The many spa treatments readily available might be presumed to be merely pampering and possibly even decadent. However, if approached in the right frame of mind, they have the potential to touch us deeply and nurture the soul.
The story of “The Invisible Lover” is a chapter from the greater work of The Metamorphoses (also known as... (Click title for more)...