Archetypes

Oneiromancy is a form of divination based upon dreams. It is a system of dream interpretation that uses dreams to predict the future.

The word comes from the Oneiroi, the sons of Hypnos the Greek god of sleep. Usually such dream interpretation is of a prophetic nature as opposed to the modern psychological version whereby dreams are often seen as clues to the present state of the dreamer, as in the scientific field of oneirology.

The interpretation of dreams was particularly prevalent in ancient Egypt where the dreams of the Pharoah were given great prominence. Oneiromancy also occurs in the Christian bible, as when the Magi are told in a dream to avoid Herod on their journey home.

For many cultures in the past, oneiromancy was seen as a science rather than an art. The use of flexible imagery and artistic interpretation is similar to some of the modern psychological approaches to dreams such as Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and archetypes.

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Allegory

Zosimos was an alchemist from the end of the 3rd century AD. He provided one of the first definitions of alchemy as the study of the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying and disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies.

One of Zosimos’ texts is about a sequence of dreams related to alchemy. In his dream he comes to an altar and meets a priest of inner sanctuaries, submitting himself to an unendurable torment. The priest fights and impales Zosimos with a sword, dismembering him “in accordance with the rule of harmony”.

Returning to the same altar, Zosimos finds a man being boiled alive, yet still alive, who says to him, “The sight that you see is the entrance, and the exit, and the transformation. Those who seek to obtain the art enter here, and become spirits by escaping”. Zosimos also dreams of a place where all who enter immediately burst into flames.

Carl Jung believed these visions to be a sort of alchemical allegory, with the tormented personifying transmutation, burning or boiling itself to become something else. In ancient alchemy, dual nature is constantly emphasized, two principles balancing one another, active and passive, masculine and feminine, which constitute the eternal cycle of birth and death.

Similarity

Cryptomnesia, or inadvertent plagiarism, is a memory bias whereby a person falsely recalls generating a thought, an idea, a song, or a joke, when the thought was actually generated by someone else. In these cases, the person is not deliberately engaging in plagiarism, but is rather experiencing a memory as if it were a new inspiration.

Self-plagiarism is not as costly as plagiarizing the work of others. In a famous case, George Harrison was sued over royalties for his first solo song “My Sweet Lord”, a song that sounded too similar to the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”. Harrison lost the case when a judge said he “subconsciously plagiarized”, and was ordered to pay $587,000 to Bright Tunes Music, who owned the copyright. Plagiarism of this sort is a kind of sleeper effect whereby old ideas come to feel new.

As explained by Carl Jung in Man and His Symbols, “An author may be writing steadily to a preconceived plan, working out an argument or developing the line of a story, when he suddenly runs off at a tangent. Perhaps a fresh idea has occurred to him, or a different image, or a whole new sub-plot. If you ask him what prompted the digression, he will not be able to tell you. He may not even have noticed the change, though he has now produced material that is entirely fresh and apparently unknown to him before. Yet it can sometimes be shown convincingly that what he has written bears a striking similarity to the work of another author, a work that he believes he has never seen.”

Helen Keller seriously compromised her and her teacher’s credibility with an incident of cryptomnesia which was misapprehended as plagiarism. The Frost King, which Keller wrote out of buried memories of a fairytale read to her four years previously, left Keller a nervous wreck, and unable to write fiction for the rest of her life.

Cryptomnesia may be the result of some memories becoming forcibly unconscious, due to lack of reinforcement through use. There may be enough of the memory left to recall it but not its origin. Therefore it does not always take the shape of plagiarism, as it would in writing, as well as musical compositions, but can also be the basis of philosophy.

Archetype

The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. It often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end.

It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus.

Carl Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche. The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego dawn state, depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

Snakes are sacred animals in many West African religions. The demi-god Aidophedo uses the image of a serpent biting its own tail. The Ouroboros is also seen in Fon or dahomean iconography as well as in Yoruba imagery as Oshunmare. The god Quetzalcoatl is sometimes portrayed biting its tail on Aztec and Toltec ruins.

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Reflections

Pleroma refers to the totality of divine powers. The word means fullness and is used in Christian theological contexts, both in Gnosticism generally, and by Paul of Tarsus in Colossians 2.9.

Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by archons, among whom some versions of Gnosticism claim is the deity of the Old Testament, who held aspects of the human captive, either knowingly or accidentally. The heavenly pleroma is the totality of all that is regarded in our understanding of divine. The pleroma is often referred to as the light existing above our world, occupied by spiritual beings who self-emanated from the pleroma. These beings are described as eternal beings and sometimes as archons. Jesus is interpreted as an intermediary aeon who was sent, along with his counterpart Sophia, from the pleroma, with whose aid humanity can recover the lost knowledge of the divine origins of humanity and in so doing be brought back into unity with the Pleroma. The term is thus a central element of Gnostic religious cosmology.

Carl Jung used the word in his mystical 1916 unpublished work, Seven Sermons to the Dead, which was finally published in an appendix to the second edition of Jung’s autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections in 1962. According to Jung, pleroma is both nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about pleroma. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities.

The Egyptian sage known as Hermes Trismegistus’s Pymander gives an interesting account. Hermes states that the divine sovereign showed him that this world is a copy of an ideal world in heaven, created by the darkness to ensnare mankind.

Entrapment

Gnosis is the spiritual knowledge of a saint or mystically enlightened human being. In Byzantine and Hellenic cultures, gnosis was a special knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all and above all, rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world. It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge and intuitive knowledge, mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis itself is obtained through understanding at which one can arrive via inner experience or contemplation.

Carl Jung worked on trying to understand and explain the Gnostic faith from a psychological standpoint. In many ways, Jung’s analytical psychology schematically mirrors ancient Gnostic mythology. Jung understands the emergence of the creator out of the original, unified monadic source of the spiritual universe by gradual stages to be analogous to the emergence of the ego from the unconscious.

However, it is uncertain as to whether the similarities between Jung’s psychological teachings and those of the gnostics are due to their sharing a similar philosophy, or whether Jung was unwittingly influenced by the Gnostics in the formation of his theories. Jung’s own writings would tend to imply the latter, but after circulating one of his related manuscripts, Jung declined to publish it during his lifetime. Since it is not clear whether Jung was ultimately displeased with the book or whether he merely suppressed it as too controversial, the issue remains contested.

On the other hand, it is clear from a comparison of Jung’s writings and that of ancient Gnostics, that Jung disagreed with them on the ultimate goal of the individual. Gnostics in ancient times clearly sought a return to a supreme, other-worldly God state. To contend that there is at least some disagreement between Jung and Gnosticism is at least supportable. The Jungian process of individuation involves the addition of unconscious psychic tropes to consciousness in order to achieve a trans-conscious centre to the personality. Jung did not intend this addition to take the form of a complete identification of the self with the unconscious.

Gnostic believers today retain much of the gnostic mysticism of early Christian centuries, in particular that human minds are independent of the realm of matter, and are emanations of the One, the non-physical Spirit, and that the physical world is a result of the creator manifesting itself, and it is ruled by demons which prevent the spiritual progress of the mind in every possible way and maintain its entrapment in matter.

Control

Projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one attaches one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. It is a common process that every person uses to some degree.

To understand the process, consider a person in a couple who has thoughts of infidelity. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, he or she subconsciously projects these feelings onto the other person, and begins to think that the other has thoughts of infidelity and may be having an affair. In this sense, projection is related to denial, arguably the only defense mechanism that is more primitive than projection. Projection, like all defense mechanisms, provides a function whereby a person can protect their conscious mind from a feeling that would otherwise be repulsive.

Compartmentalization, splitting and projection are ways that the ego continues to pretend that it is completely in control at all times, when in reality human experience is one of shifting beingness, instinctual or territorial reactiveness and emotional motives. Further, individuals will sometimes be unable to access truthful memories, intentions and experiences, even about their own nature, wherein projection is just one tool.

It has been described as the operation of expelling feelings or wishes an individual finds wholly unacceptable, too shameful, too obscene, or too dangerous, by attributing them to another. The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection, in the sense that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man’s anxieties and desires.

Projection is the opposite defense mechanism to identification. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have. It is a defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that which he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits.

When addressing psychological trauma the defense mechanism is sometimes counter-projection, including an obsession to continue and remain in a recurring trauma causing situation and the compulsive obsession with the perceived perpetrator of the trauma or its projection. Jung writes that all projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject.

Unexplainable

An unidentified flying object or UFO is a popular term for any aerial phenomenon whose cause cannot be easily or immediately determined. Popular culture frequently takes the term UFO as a synonym for alien spacecraft.

Unexplained aerial observations have been reported throughout history. Some were undoubtedly astronomical in nature such as comets, bright meteors, or atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia and lenticular clouds. Sightings throughout history were often treated as supernatural portents, angels, or other religious omens. Some objects in medieval paintings are strikingly similar to UFO reports. Art historians explain those objects as religious symbols, often represented in many other paintings during the Renaissance.

Carl Jung theorized that UFOs might have a primarily spiritual and psychological basis. He pointed out that the round shape of most saucers corresponds to a mandala, a type of archetypal shape seen in religious images. Thus the saucers might reflect a projection of the internal desires of viewers to see them. However, he did not label them as delusions or hallucinations outright, defining them as more in the nature of a shared spiritual experience.

However, Jung seemed conflicted as to possible origins. At other times he asserted that he wasn’t concerned with possible psychological origins and that at least some UFOs were physically real, based primarily on indirect physical evidence such as photographs and radar contact in addition to visual sightings. He also considered the extraterrestrial hypothesis to be viable.

It has been speculated that UFOs might have their origins not in space and time as we know it, but outside of it. There has been noted an almost exact parallel between UFOs and  visitations from folklore of fairies and similar creatures. The significance of these parallels is disputed between mainstream scientists, who contend that they are fanciful demonstrations of a poorly understood phenomenon interacting with humans to cause the sightings.

Terence McKenna, in contrast, believed that UFOs are manifestations of the human soul, or collective spirit. He thought they appeared to individuals and groups in order to exert psychological influence over the course of history and might preside, in the year 2012, over history’s end.

A large part of the available UFO literature today is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing and invisible entities as well as phenomena like poltergeist or ghost manifestations and possession. Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to psychic phenomena.

Tendency

Intuition is the apparent ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify. For this reason, it has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural. It is the immediate apprehension of an object by the mind without the intervention of any reasoning process. Intuition is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain.

Intuitive abilities were quantitatively tested at Yale University in the 1970’s. While studying nonverbal communication, researchers noted that some subjects were able to read nonverbal facial cues before reinforcement occurred. In employing a similar design, they noted that highly intuitive subjects made decisions quickly but could not identify their rationale. Their level of accuracy, however, did not differ from that of nonintuitive subjects.

Intuition is one of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s four psychological types or ego functions. In this early model of the psyche, intuition was opposed by sensation on one axis, while feeling was opposed by thinking on another axis. Jung argued that one of these four functions was the most prominent or developed in the consciousness. The opposing function would typically be underdeveloped in that individual.

It can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision making. Gary Klein outlined the “recognition primed decision model” to explain how people can make relatively fast decisions without having to compare options. Klein found that under time pressure, high stakes and changing parameters, experts used their base of experience to identify similar situations and intuitively choose feasible solutions. Thus, the model is a blend of intuition and analysis. The intuition is the pattern matching process that quickly suggests feasible courses of action. The analysis is the mental simulation, a conscious and deliberate review of the courses of action.

The reliability of one’s intuition depends greatly on past knowledge and occurrences in a specific area. Someone who has more experiences with children will tend to have a better instinct or intuition about what they should do in certain situations. This is not to say that one with a great amount of experience is always going to have an accurate intuition, however, the chances of it being more reliable are definitely amplified.

Law enforcement officers often claim to observe suspects and immediately know that they possess a weapon or illicit narcotic substances. On such occasions, these officers are unable to articulate their accurate reactions that may represent building blocks to reasonable suspicion or probable cause indicators. Often unable to articulate why they reacted or what prompted them at the time of the event, they sometimes retrospectively can plot their actions based upon what had been clear and present danger signals.

According to intuitive Abella Arthur, “Intuition is a combination of empirical data, deep and heightened observation, and an ability to cut through the thickness of surface reality. Intuition is like a slow motion machine that captures data instantaneously and hits you like a ton of bricks. Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding, a gut feeling. Intuition is not pseudo-science.”

Splitting

According to Sigmund Freud, projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one inflicts one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. It is a common process that every person uses to some degree.

To understand the process, consider a person in a couple who has thoughts of infidelity. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, he or she subconsciously projects these feelings onto the other person, and begins to think that the other has thoughts of infidelity and may be having an affair. In this sense, projection is related to denial, arguably the only defense mechanism that is more primitive than projection. Projection, like all defense mechanisms provide a function whereby truth about a part of themselves that may otherwise be unacceptable is shielded.

Compartmentalization, splitting and projection are ways that the ego continues to pretend that it is completely in control at all times, when in reality human experience is one of shifting beingness, instinctual or territorial reactiveness and emotional motives, for which the “I” is not always complicit. Further, common in deep trauma, individuals will be unable to access truthful memories, intentions and experiences, even about their own nature, wherein projection is just one tool.

It has been described as the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable, too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous by attributing them to another.

The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach based his theory of religion in large part upon the idea of projection such that the idea that an anthropomorphic deity is the outward projection of man’s anxieties and desires.

Psychological projection is the subject of Robert Bly’s book A Little Book on the Human Shadow. The shadow, a term used in Jungian psychology to describe a variety of psychological projection, refers to the projected material. Marie-Louise Von Franz extended the view of projection to cover phenomena in Patterns of Creativity Mirrored in Creation Myths and notes that wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image.

When addressing psychological trauma the defense mechanism is sometimes counter projection, including an obsession to continue and remain in a recurring trauma causing situation, and the compulsive obsession with the perceived perpetrator of the trauma or its projection.

Carl Jung mentioned that all projections provoke counter projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject.

Projection is the opposite defense mechanism to identification. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have.