Selections from “Psychology and Religion” by Carl Jung

“God’s death, or his disappearance, is by no means only a Christian symbol. The search which follows the death is still repeated today after the death of a Dalai Lama, and in antiquity it was celebrated in the annual search for the Kore. Such a wide distribution argues in favor of the universal occurrence of this typical psychic process: the highest value, which gives life and meaning, has got lost. This is a typical experience that has been repeated many times, and its expression therefore occupies a central place in the Christian mystery. The death or loss must always repeat itself: Christ always dies, and always he is born; for the psychic life of the archetype is timeless in comparison with our individual time-boundness. According to what laws now one and now another aspect of the archetype enters into active manifestation, I do not know. I only know—and here I am expressing what countless other people know—that the present is a time of God’s death and disappearance. The myth says he was not to be found where his body was laid. ‘Body’ means the outward, visible form, the erstwhile but ephemeral setting for the highest value. The myth further says that the value rose again in a miraculous manner, transformed. It looks like a miracle, for, when a value disappears, it always seems to be lost irretrievably. So it is quite unexpected that it should come back. The three days’ descent into hell during death describes the sinking of the vanished value into the unconscious, where, by conquering the power of darkness, it establishes a new order, and then rises up to heaven again, that is, attains supreme clarity of consciousness. The fact that only a few people see the Risen One means that no small difficulties stand in the way of finding and recognizing the transformed value.”

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