9/1/06

Reposted: Dark night of the soul 3 (2003)

There is a plethora of authors who reference the work of CG Jung. I have also made reference, based of the information that I had available through those authors and my classes in Psychology. I didn't realize just how little information was given to us in those classes or just how little the authors explain of Jung's theories until I sat down and actually read his theories as recorded by a graduate student that worked as his assistant for several years. As I read Jung's theories, I discovered that much of what he presented in his theories coincides very closely to Freud and I was forced to disagree with his idea of how the psyche is constructed and how it functions.

I realized that much of what was presented by the current authors in the Wiccan and Pagan community is a combination of excerpts from his work that make some sembelance of sense when they stand alone. When the concept such as the Archetypes is taken in the context of the whole of Jung's theory, it presents an almost disturbing image of the mind as this teeming but stagnant pool of sludge. Jung essentially argues that we're controlled by base instincts and our higher mind is but an illusion that we use to placate ourselves and fool others into thinking that we're at a higher evolutionary status then animals. It is a concept that deeply disturbs me and strikes me as implicitly flawed when one recalls that Jung was one of the founding fathers of cognitive psychology.

Many of the contemporary Wiccan documents point to texts such as Leland's Aradia, The Witch's Rede, and the work of Robert Graves (ex. The White Goddess). As I read Leland's Aradia and I researched that particular text, I discovered that Leland had a history of plagarism and large portions of the text were fiction that Leland invented to palace between excerpts from an obscure Italian opera that he plagarized and botched renditions of early Tuscan mythology of Diana and Apollo. The often quoted "ancient" text of The Witch's Rede is actually Doreen Valentine's frequently plagarized poem, a modern text written to express her beliefs. It was the discovery as to Graves's work that I found most disturbing because his work influenced a very prominant anthropological theory and a foundational concept of Wicca.

In an autobiographical note by Graves, he states that the entire work of his book The White Goddess was fiction. This book has had an enormous impact on the literature of the Pagan movement in the United States, at least. It also may have been, with Jung's theories, a part of the concepts that gave birth to what I've come to call the matrifocal Golden Age myth. This is a modern myth that has unfortunately been upheld as anthropological fact where there is no basis for such an argument. It is argued that the people of the LaTiene period (the late Neolithic period of history) lived in a matrifocal/matriarchal society that worshiped a Great Goddess. The introduction of the God came with the Aryan Invasion, as well as the shift away from the idyllic agrarian culture.

Unfortunately, anthropological and archeological evidence does very little to prove the societial elements of this myth. At best, it is inconclusive and delegates the necessity for one not to commit to one theory for the sake of progression in the research. An utter lack of written records makes it virtually impossible to determine with a signifigant measure of certianty that the theological elements of the myth are correct. It's impossible in the light of this very simple fact to say that Wiccans or any other form of the Craft has an unbroken lineage from this period. We simply don't know what happened in that period of history, until we do, one can only say it is possible.

How can one build a religious system on the foundation as unstable as this? And this is before we consider the early figures of what one might call modern witchcraft, such as Alexander Gardner. Many of the individuals involved in the mystery cults that were becoming popular during Gardner's literary career were known charlatans and frauds. Some had severe psychologial illness, such as Alister Crowley. Going back before these individuals to the mystery cults of the 1700s, there is an increase in the numbers of unscrupleous individuals involved in these groups. Also, these mystery cult members were staunch Christians who were using the language of the cults for the sake of expressing political and ideological concepts that were potentially very dangerous.

Ceremonial magic was more a tool of showmanship then serious study at that point in time. The fact that the majority of the Founding Fathers of the United States were members of the FreeMason's society were because of the fact that the FreeMasons were the elite's political hiding place. Their expression of liberty and freedom were couched in the pesudo-religious terms of the mystery cult and thus escaped the detection of the Crown.

All of these things combine to place me in a very uncomfortable postion. Do I continue to believe as I have in the face of what I learned, willfully rejecting the truth before me? Or, do I start my spiritual search over again at square 1, feeling angry at the lies that were touted as truths?

It is a difficult question to face.

No comments: