CG Jung and the Holy Grail
Updated: Oct 23, 2022
To get right to the point: the main problem with CG Jung is his relation to the Holy Grail. A while ago, I noticed a commentary that observed the one symbol Jung did not explore in his extensive researches into symbolism was the Grail—and this is significant because the Holy Grail is the European symbol par excellence. It was only when I examined Jung’s biography that I realised why he overlooked the Grail: it was no chance omission, it was not simply that he “never got round to it”—no, it was a conscious decision to delegate the Grail to his wife. For about thirty years, Frau Jung worked on a book about the Grail—with help from another female Jungian—and Jung himself swore that he would not look into the Grail.
I have glanced at Frau Jung’s take on the Grail; it seems like a reasonable book, heavily indebted to Jung’s psychology, as far as a general exposition of ideas around the Grail goes—yet it is not the Grail, it is not close to what the Grail is; and, if Jung had investigated the symbolism himself, his take would have been considerably different. Ultimately, it is a female work—so it is narcissistic and does not grasp the objective reality; and, further, the Grail quest is itself a task for men—for knights—and not for women. So Frau Jung was never going to “get” the Grail, even come close, in her investigations—and what we have instead is a typical Jungian “psychological” approach where the Grail stands for the Self, the psyche.
Jung’s decision to delegate the Grail to his wife explains why he never fully liberated himself from materialism. The odd thing about Jung is that he was not really suited to be a scientist; he was always bad at maths—and if you want to be a scientist, then you should be good at maths. Further, his earliest studies as a psychiatrist concerned the occult—not really respectable scientific fare even in the early 20th century. Jung persisted throughout his career with the view that he was “engaged in science”; however, few took this seriously even then, at a time when “science” had a wider meaning than today, and in the contemporary world nobody who calls themselves a scientist would take Jung seriously as a scientist.
Yet Jung remained adamant that his ideas were not metaphysical or philosophical but instead represented activities that could be examined with empirical science—although, in a sense, he contradicted himself because his central contention was “the reality of the psyche”; and that could be taken as “the reality of the qualitative subjective perspective and its ability to change reality”—given that science is a means to investigate regularities through experiment and mathematics, to assert “the reality of the psyche” in this way is essentially non-scientific and non-objective in the materialist sense.
Jung moved a long way from simple materialism, yet he never fully divested himself from it—and the reason lies in his refusal to seek the Grail. His refusal to seek the Grail was connected to his infatuation with the feminine. A problem with psychoanalysis is that the analysand often falls in love with the analyst—often referred to as “transference and counter-transference” in psychoanalytic jargon; and Jung had at least two affairs with his patients—and this is a problem with analysis itself; it is too sexual—Freud was sex-mad.
Jung broke with Freud because Freud reduced everything to sex—Jung thought there were higher spiritual motivations for human actions as well; further, he thought the occult was real whereas Freud wanted to form a solid bulwark against the “black muck” of occultism. Freud wanted to erect the “sexual motivation” as a dogma—and as soon as he said that Jung began his break with him because he realised that Freud wanted to form a sex cult with no interest in truth.
However, Jung continued to practice the essence of Freud’s psychoanalysis—although he did not reduce human motivations to sex. The problem with this approach was that it maintained the view that everything springs from the lower—from the unconscious. Hence Jung explicitly referred to “the rhizome” from which consciousness springs—and here we see an analogy to Deleuze and Land’s rhizome-based philosophies. For Jung, the psyche springs from the rhizome, the root network, and this is linked to the “collective unconscious”; and this is not a purely sexual id, per Freud, but includes myths and folktales. Notice that Jung still asserts that what is higher, the psyche, comes from the lower and should be explained in terms of what is lower—even if this is not purely sexual.
The collective unconscious is supposed to be an empirical reality, although, to my knowledge, nobody has developed a test that could demonstrate if Jung’s hypothesis is true or not—indeed, it is probably unfalsifiable, so that a contemporary scientist would reject it as “woo”. It is meant to be, by analogy to chemistry, like those solutions which turn into crystals after a certain chemical reaction—the collective unconscious exists as a “liquid”, then, after a certain reaction, forms into a crystal (the psyche). This approach has European antecedents in Goethe and also in Stendhal—the latter had an idea that the process by which we fall in love is a crystallisation; rather like a pilgrimage to Florence, at the end you are overcome by beauty. La grande belleza.
Anyway, the fact remains that for Jung the psyche was likened to a chemical reaction in the scientific sense; and men like Enoch Powell had similar ideas as regards how political rhetoric works—Powell said that men have certain ideas in their minds, latently, that they cannot express; the political orator works as a solvent or reactive chemical element to crystallise what is latent in the masses—they “know” these truths really, as what the Germans call a hintergedanken, yet they only “know that they know” when the orator speaks and crystallises the psychic solution. Hence the successful orator will find that after a speech, people will approach him and say, “You said what I’ve always thought but have never been able to say.”
This process is not just about whether or not the audience has the intellect or vocabulary to express those ideas, it is also about whether the orator himself has brought those latent ideas within himself to the surface—he must have “self-reacted” and this self-reaction or abreaction is akin to Jung’s individuation process, for he has united the unconscious and conscious realms within himself. Hence, when he speaks, he crystallises those common unexpressed thoughts in other people and “awakens” them—and this process is what we mean by “the collective unconscious” (i.e. “You said what I always thought but could never say.”); and this, in turn, has a racial aspect—there are different “tribal truths” that lie latent within different peoples, ready to develop.
The process by which this abreactive state can be attained is the core to Jung’s psychology: the union of anima and animus, the feminine and the masculine—the unconscious and the conscious; and once this process is underway there is no end to it, it is a constant alchemical improvement through which a person will become less and less driven by unconscious processes. Hence, for example, Jung’s concept of projection relies on the view that repressed unconscious ideas—say, for example, violent ideas—are denied by the conscious psyche and then projected onto the enemy who becomes “utterly barbaric, a totally evil killer”. Here evil is dealt with through an alchemical reaction whereby it is brought to consciousness, acknowledged as the individual’s own responsibility and own capacity for evil, and not placed on external people with whom you may be in conflict but do not need to be demonised.
Hence “good” and “evil” are, per Paracelsus, about amounts—evil is necessary for creation and can produce goods; good itself can produce evils if excessive. The outlook is really non-dualist, alchemical, and solves the problem of evil, since God has two aspects that interrelate—as with the Yin-Yang symbol—in order to create the world. When these dualities are acknowledged, one sees that creation is perfect—evil exists so that there can be anything at all; through the interplay between good and evil the world is created, we come know ourselves—ultimately God comes to know Himself.
This is all true; and the union between the masculine and feminine is an old alchemical technique—it leads to the hermaphrodite, the awakened one. The intersection between the two circles is the vescia piscis, often used in Christian symbolism, and the intersection also represents the third eye—it is like a cosmic slit, a vagina, through which spiritual energy flows (Mary is often depicted within such an intersection of circles, within a fish, to convey this idea in Christian symbology).
The problem with Jung is that he keeps this all in the material realm—when he speaks about the anima and animus he refers to that which takes place in and comes from the rhizome, in the lower realm. His process puts the accent on the idea that everything springs from matter, from the mater (matrix)—or, as noted, from the rhizome. So Jung had several affairs and these occurred because, per Freud, he delved into matter and became dominated by the feminine and the sexual; he wanted to reconcile matter with light—with consciousness—but he subordinated light to dark and said the light comes from the darkness (a biological analogy—man evolved, per Darwin, until at a certain point he attained consciousness).
Hence Jung came to feel guilt over his affairs, and he granted his wife a special task—to investigate the Grail. The Grail is contained within Dante’s Divine Comedy: the Commedia is about a descent into matter, similar to Jung, but Dante goes through matter into Heaven—the way to Heaven is through Hell. However, Jung suggests that “Heaven” (consciousness) springs from Hell—it comes out of Hell, out of the rhizome.
This was his error: he was still dominated by the feminine, dominated by matter, and this was because psychoanalysis was invented by Freud—all of whose associates, aside from Jung, were Jews—and Freud, as a Jewish materialist who abominated God, purely orientated his ideas to the material sexual realm. Jung never fully emancipated himself from his “father” Freud—and Freud had especially seen Jung as important because he would be an “apostle to the Gentiles” whereas all other psychoanalysts were Jews. The problem for Freud was that his entirely sexual theory was anti-Christian, since Christianity sees free sexuality as related to man’s primal Fall.
Jung remained surrounded by Jews throughout his life; indeed, his famous best-selling memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections (1962) was really written, by Jung’s own account, by Aniela Jaffé—his Jewish assistant; and Jung himself, despite being criticised for not being overtly critical of National Socialism, made many positive comments about rabbis and kabbalists, especially after the war (probably to rebut critics who claimed he sympathised with National Socialism).
The Grail is about loyalty: the lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors (Brutus, Judas)—if you want the Grail you have to move beyond that. Jung could not seek the Grail, subordinated it to his wife, because he was not loyal—not loyal to his wife. He had this concept “anima possession”—possession by the feminine—well, he was himself anima possessed and this was because he remained fixed to the idea that everything comes from mater (from matter, from the matrix, from Hell).
Hence he refused to seek the Grail and could not fully surmount his materialist outlook. He could not accept that there is a higher reality beyond, a supraconsciousness—a spiritual reality, per Guénon and Evola. Rather, he stuck doggedly to the unconscious, to a duality within the unconscious, and maintained that everything sprung forth from there—and so his interpretations always maintained a materialist-scientific bent; and, with reference to the post-war explosion in UFOs, he maintained a stance that said they were “projections of the psyche” when in actuality the UFOs are objective spiritual phenomena (i.e. gods).
As it happens, Jung dreamed about the Grail while he was in India—he saw the Grail castle, although it disappeared before he approached it (as it does for those who fail the quest). The Grail is an old Indo-Aryan legend—and its roots, as with Arthur and the Lady in the Lake, can be traced back to Iran (Aryan-Iran, it is the same name). Hence the Grail is the primordial Indo-Aryan religious experience passed on down the centuries in a rather degraded form by esoteric brotherhoods such as the one to which Dante belonged—it appears in the stars, just as the old Greek heroes were elevated to the stars. So it is no surprise that Jung dreamed about the Grail when he was in Indo-Aryan India where these mythologies and legends are still very palpable.
Yet he did not seek the Grail, he spurned the quest and left it to his wife. He claimed the dream meant that he had spent too much time in India, with foreign legends, and that he must return to Christian Europe—Jung had it the wrong way round, he saw the Grail because he was closer to it in India with her Indo-Aryan legends; and yet he refused to follow the Grail—and he refused to do so because he had submitted to the feminine, to sexually louche behaviour, and to betrayal of his wife (who ironically was trusted with the Grail—she could be loyal, not Jung).
Jung was called to seek the Grail but he refused. This is why his work remains good but it is not at the highest level, it is not the truth. It is not science, nor is it religion. Jung was not a malevolent man and there is much value to be had from his work, and his work radiates a warmth and generosity—and that is because, with his mandalas and stonemasonry, he did develop his soul to a considerable degree. Hence, when he had a near-death experience, he rose to the Heavens and looked down on Earth—everything was suffused with a certain blue note and he felt complete; so he was an elevated person—and yet he could have elevated himself even higher, he was not a saint nor even an ordinary religious figure.
He could not move higher because he never made the final break with matter and femininity—he remained stuck in the feminine, stuck with matter and betrayal. It is not that reality subsists on the rhizome, grows from it, rather it is that matter relies on the spirit—the Sun illuminates the Moon. This was Nietzsche’s error also, and Jung favourably quotes Nietzsche’s idea that in order for a tree to grow its branches to Heaven it must sink its roots to Hell (i.e. you must explore the unconscious to become whole). Yet in spiritual terms there is a certain confusion here as regards the world tree: the world tree is in fact an inverted tree planted upside down—its roots are in the air, where they radiate spiritual energies. So Jung’s “tree” finds its energy from Hell, from matter—and so it remains earthly; the true tree has roots that reach to Heaven—so Jung and Nietzsche were wrong, upside down.
Jung’s grandfather was a notable Freemason and he introduced many baleful influences into the Jung family. For example, the Jung family crest was a phoenix—Jung’s grandfather changed it to a Masonic symbol with grapes; Jung painted it on his ceiling. The phoenix is a primordial symbol, connected to alchemy—whatever changes Jung’s grandfather made to the family crest were not for the best. Freemasonry has been corrupted for quite some time and its legacy probably explains why Jung could not seek the Grail—the Masons tend to be for republics, materialism, and atheism; they want to sink everything into matter.
During the Hitler period, Jung retained a position with a German psychological association run by Göring’s brother—he also noted that Jewish and Aryan psychology differed, although he made no value judgement about this fact (Freud himself stated there was a difference between Jewish and European psychology). In 1939, Jung cut all ties with the Germans. Even this very minor association with Hitlerism was too much post-war—and Jung has been pilloried as an “Aryan Christ”, despite the fact that his key assistant was Jewish and that he associated with many Jews and had publicly denounced Hitlerism.
Indeed, he even helped his old friend Allen Dulles, from the OSS and later head of the CIA, to produce psychological profiles of the German leadership during the war; and this again should give us pause for thought. Jung was not only involved with Freemasonry, he also associated with the man who founded the CIA (not a positive organisation). As a Swiss, Jung was neutral—hence he maintained ties with the Germans even under Hitlerism; and yet he actively aided the Allied cause, aided their intelligence services. Actions speak louder than words: Jung helped the Allies against Hitler, so Jung was more for the Allies than the Hitlerites—although, being Swiss, his support either way was tepid. This makes sense because it was the Allies in that conflict that represented Freemasonry and materialism, the forces with which Jung was aligned.
Really, his crime was to be too residually spiritual in a world where the only respectable position is total atheism. However, being still technically neutral, Jung did meet extensively with the Chilean diplomat and Hitlerist Miguel Serrano in the post-war period. He was among the last to see Jung alive. With reference to Serrano, Jung said: “The spirit attracts the spirit—only the right ones come.” To my mind, this indicates that Jung, in his heart, acknowledged that men like Serrano who took a spiritual path and asserted that the Grail is real were true to what he really thought—hence the hysteria around “Jung the Nazi” contained a certain truth, not in Jung’s actions but as regards his inner orientation. As his vision in India demonstrated, Jung knew the he should seek the Grail—yet he had spurned it to serve matter, Freemasonry, women, and the Jews.
If you read pick-up artists, such as Rollo Tomassi, you will find harsh words against Jung. He is held responsible for the entire 1980s and early 1990s phenomenon of the “new man”—the idea that men must get in touch with their “feminine side” and stay at home rocking baby in a papoose (native American, very spiritual). This corrupts Jung’s work; he did not suggest that men and women need to swap roles, or that men should become women—his work is more spiritual than that, general material orientation aside. However, it is true that Jung was orientated towards the feminine—worshipped the feminine—and was enthusiastic when the post-war Vatican elevated Mary’s position. Feminists would generally reject Jung as being too masculine, too religious—yet his idea of the “undervalued” feminine did support feminism in an indirect way (his main mistress with whom he explored esoterica, incidentally, was called Toni Wolff—Jung was ultimately eaten by a female wolf).
Pick-up artists are themselves feminine, since they are even more materialist than Jung—they teach men how to behave like women (i.e. flightily, superficial, whorish—fashionable and “exciting”); and they are substantially wrong about Jung; however, Jung did overvalue the feminine—and in that respect he did contribute to feminism’s rise, especially when connected to his contention that the Christian aeon had ended and that although Christianity would survive it would take on a new form (an idea that could be used to support feminist infiltration into the Church).
Jordan Peterson, the man most associated with Jung in recent years, is not in fact very Jungian if you look at his work—he is much, much more materialistic and scientific; however, what he has taken from Jung is the overvaluation of the feminine, so that he promulgates “yesterday’s feminism” as a progressive conservative against “insane feminism”—and that is partly due to the Jungian legacy where spiritual realities are reduced to metaphors, symbols, and patterns scientifically understood when in actuality the Grail is real and the gods are real. Conclusion: Jung is not a malevolent figure, there is much value in his work—yet today I would say go direct to Guénon, Evola, and Dante. Never give up on the Grail.