Part 10, "C.G. Jung and the Kabbalah of Tikkun Ha-Panim" ("Repairing the Face of God")
C. G. Jung once wrote, "My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious [Psyche]. Everything in the unconscious [Psyche] seeks outward manifestation." (Memories, Dreams, Reflections 3/17), which he subsequently clarified by stating, "My raison d'etre consists in coming to terms with that indefinable Being we call 'God'" (Collected Letters, 13 March 1958). To do this, he wrote, "The knowledge I was . . . seeking still could not be found in the science of those days. I myself had to undergo the original experience, and, moreover, try to plant the results of my experience in the soil of [modern] reality." (op.cit., 192/184)
By "original experience," Jung meant the direct confrontation with God, whom he variously called the collective unconscious, psyche, Imago Dei, etc. The terrifying and often horrific details of this primal, six-year encounter with "God" (1913-1919) are to be found in the personal diary he kept at that time, known as the Red Book because it was bound in red leather.
Although the Red Book was never published for mass distribution, portions of it -- including the beautiful and vivid color drawings Jung used to record his experiences of God -- can be found in C. G. Jung: Word and Image, (edited by Aniela Jaffe and published in 1979 by Princeton University Press.) Of it, Aniela Jaffe (one of the two Jews in Jung's original inner circle, the other being my mentor, James Kirsch) writes:
"In 1913, after eight years as a lecturer at the University of Zurich, [Jung] resigned the post . . . At that moment of uncertainty Jung began a 'self-experiment,' trying to understand the fantasies and other contents that surfaced from his unconscious and to come to terms with them. This involved a sort of meditation, often accompanied by strong emotion. Contrary to his expectations, it turned out that no fantasy, none of the numerous images, no figure, could be traced back to personal, biographical events. The contents were mythic, originating in the impersonal psychic realm, the 'collective unconscious.' Not until six years later did Jung end the experiment. He transcribed his inner experiences in the Red Book, a folio volume bound in red leather, which he richly illustrated. He painstakingly painted in the art nouveau style of the time, but he never regarded the paintings as art, only as an expression of what he was experiencing." (ibid, p. 66)
Whereas the Red Book was the record of Jung's inner experiences -- the "raw data" of them, if you will -- his monumental little book, Answer to Job, that followed from them, were their analysis. In the latter, Jung builds a modern, "scientific" theology from the contents of the former -- and presents them to us as a roadmap by which we can navigate our own spiritual excursion. Thus, Jung found in his own "self-experiment" (as Jaffe calls it) the "knowledge [he] was seeking" but that "could not be found in the science of those days" out of which he creates his own Science of God for modern man.
The late Edward Edinger (with whom I was also privileged to study) is often thought of as Jung's "St. Paul," in that he became perhaps his most noted interpreter -- at least among his fellow Jungians. Of Jung himself, Edinger wrote:
"It is my conviction that as we gain historical perspective it will become evident that Jung is an epochal man. I mean by this a man whose life inaugurates a new age in cultural history . . . The epochal man is the first to experience and to articulate fully a new mode of existence. His life thus takes on an objective, impersonal meaning. It becomes a paradigm, the paradigm, the prototypical life of the new age and hence exemplary." (Edward Edinger, The Creation of Consciousness: Jung's Myth for Modern Man, p. 12)
Here, Edinger groups Jung with other "epochal men," as he calls them, such as Buddha, Christ, and (I would add) Sabbatai Zevi -- and, just as they had their "Gospels," so, too did Jung have his:
"At the outset, let me state candidly my appraisal of [Answer to Job]. . . It has the same psychic depth and import as characterize the major scriptures of the world-religions . . . It lays the groundwork for a new world-view, a new myth for modern man, a new dispensation that connects man to the transpersonal psyche in a new way. In Jung's words, his insights 'may well involve a tremendous change in the God-image'." (ibid, p. 60)
As for the "Continuing Incarnation of God" in Answer to Job, Edinger goes on to state:
"The central theme of 'Answer to Job', as of the Hebrew-Christian myth, is the relationship between man and Yahweh . . . The Book of Job can be considered as the pivot of the Old Testament. Here for the first time Yahweh engages man as an individual rather than as a representative of Israel, the collective nation . . . Yahweh suffered a moral defeat in his encounter with Job and the unnoticed result was that man was elevated above Yahweh. This required Yahweh to 'catch up' with man. God must now become man. He must incarnate." (op. cit. p. 65, 68, 73-74)
As Jung himself put it:
"Since the Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Trinity and God is present entire in each of the three Persons at any time, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost means nothing less than an approximation of the believer to the status of God's son. One can therefore understand what is meant by the [Biblical] remark 'you are gods' . . . The continuing, direct operation of the Holy Ghost on those who are called to be God's children implies, in fact, a broadening process of incarnation. Christ, the son begotten by God, is the first-born who is succeeded by an ever-increasing number of younger brothers and sisters . . . The indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the third Divine Person, in man brings about a Christification of many . . . The future indwelling of the Holy Ghost in man amounts to a continuing incarnation of God." (C. G. Jung, Answer to Job, pp. 51-52, 108, 70)
In passing, I should mention that the concept of the "Holy Ghost" (actually, more accurately called the "Holy Spirit") is not an exclusively Christian one, but originally Judaic. For example, Scholem writes:
"The glory of God, the Kavod, i.e.. that aspect of God which he reveals to Man . . . is not the Creator but the First Creation . . . According to [Saadia], God, who remains infinite and unknown also in the role of Creator, has produced . . . this Kavod [as] 'the great radiance called 'Shekhinah' and it is also identical with the ruach ha-kodesh, the 'holy spirit,' out of whom there speaks the voice and word of God." (Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, p. 11)
Thus, Jung's discussion of the implanted "Holy Ghost/Spirit" in Man is by no means alien to Jewish thought, particularly when it is of a Kabbalistic orientation, to a brief discussion of which I now turn.
The two central themes of Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah are Shikrur Elohim ("The Liberation of God") and Tikkun HaPanim ("Repairing the Face of God"). These two modern conceptions -- both based on the 17th century Sabbatian reconfiguration of Lurianic Kabbalah -- presuppose that the unity of God was destroyed by the catastrophe of creation (in Lurianic Kabbalah the Shevirit HaKelim; in 21st century physics, the Big Bang), and the split-off fragments of God (the Nitzotzot, or "Holy Sparks") are now trapped in the world of matter (the Kelipot, or "Evil Shells") yearning to be reunited with Itself.
Within this cosmic tragedy, Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah asserts, it falls upon man to partner with God in the Tikkun, or "repair", of His "face" -- symbolized in Lurianic Kabbalah by the YH splitting away from the VH at the moment of creation to form the "Greater Countenance" (Sefirah Keter/Arikh Anpin) and its split-off "Lesser Countenance" (Sefirah Tiferet/Ze'ir Anpin), the former of which represents "God-the-Father" and the latter His "son", the Messiah, both of which need to be reunited by man in himself in order to return them to their premundane condition of wholeness. Jung speaks of the "continuing incarnation" in almost a word-for-word way:
"In the experience of the self, it is no longer the opposites 'God' and 'man' that are reconciled . . .but rather the opposites within the God-image itself. That is the meaning of divine service, of the service which man can render to God, that light may emerge from the darkness, that the Creator may become conscious of His creation, and man conscious of himself." (C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 338)