Jung: The Holy Hermit

Jung: The Holy Hermit

Jung’s No. 2 personality brought him "peace and solitude" and a sense of unity with both nature and God (45). His descriptions bring to mind the archetypes of the Hermit and the Mystic, both of which I use as a Sacred Contracts Coach. The archetypal influence of the Hermit was confirmed when he visited an hermitage and thought that it would benefit him to have his "family in one house, while I would live some distance away, in a hut with a pile of books and a writing table, and an open fire where I would roast chestnuts and cook my soup on a tripod. As a holy hermit I wouldn't have to go to church any more, but would have my own private chapel instead" (79).

I totally understand this desire, I've been lobbying for a retreat built in our backyard for the past year and I love the idea of being a "holy hermit" (79). However, unlike Jung in Memories, Dreams, ReflectionsMemories, Dreams, Reflections and traditional thought, I choose to believe we can be, as Caroline Myss has said, “mystics without monasteries.” That we can function in the world and still explore and express our soul’s intent. It is perhaps just a bit harder to hear the voice that tells us in which direction to move.

At about this time, Jung had a wondrous dream where he struggled through the fog and darkness against a headwind, with his hands "cupped around a tiny light which threatened to go out at any moment [and he knew that] everything depended on [his] keeping this little light alive" (88). In the dream he became aware of something monstrous behind him and when he turned he saw a "gigantic black figure following" him, but he knew that he had to keep going "regardless of all dangers” (88).

When he woke he realized that "this little light was his consciousness" and that the shadow had been his own shadow, his No. 2, which convinced him that his No. 1 was the bearer of light and the storm pushing against him was time, "ceaselessly flowing into the past" (88).

Jung felt that this realization was externally inspired, that he could not have hit on it by himself. While he resolved to leave No. 2 behind, he understood that he could in no way deny him or "declare him invalid. That would have been a self-mutilation, and would moreover have deprived [him] of any possibility of explaining the origin of the dreams" (89). Further, he recognized the strength of his No. 2, "a spirit who could hold his own against the world of darkness" (89).

It is a beautiful metaphor for both the unconscious and the consciousness that we all carry, the blending of light and shadow we all are working towards against the relentless passage of time.

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