Albrecht Dürer – 12 The Hanged Man
Type of Spiritual Experience
The religious ideas in alchemy – C G Jung
All the myth and pictures [in alchemy] represent a drama of the human psyche on the further side of consciousness, showing man as both the one to be redeemed and the Redeemer…In Christianity, man attributes the need of redemption to himself, but leaves the work of redemption to an autonomous divine figure. In alchemy man takes upon himself the duty of carrying out the redeeming work and attributes to the state of suffering and consequence need of redemption to the [immortal soul and soul] imprisoned in matter.
In both cases redemption is a ‘work’.
The ideology of the ‘God-man’ who by a unique sacrifice brings about the reconciliation of man, who craves redemption and is sunk in materiality, is anticipated in the myths of Osiris, Orpheus, Dionysus and Hercules and in the concept of the Messiah among Hebrew prophets. The projections upon Attis and Mithras, more or less contemporary with the Christian one, are also worth mentioning. The Christian projection differs from all these manifestations of the mystery of redemption and transformation by reason of the historical and personal figure of Jesus. The mythical event incarnates itself in him and enters the realm of world history as a unique historical and mystical phenomenon.
At this point Jung points out the very important difference between all similar myths and the story of Jesus and indeed why it has captured the imagination of so many. God ‘joins in’ to show it can be done…...
In the form of the divine hero, God himself wrestles with his own imperfect suffering living creation, he even takes its suffering condition upon himself and by this sacrificial act accomplishes the opus magnum, salvation and victory over death.
The problem of course is that instead of saying ‘well if Jesus can do it with a bit of help, so can we’, the church - mostly via people like Saul, - said from now on this sacrificial lamb will do everything for you, thus negating the whole point of redemption. The Church even repeats and reinforces this mis-telling and mis-interpretation of the act by incorporating it into Mass.
There are apparently some Christians – the Thomists for example – who recognise that WE were supposed to take the sacrifice this man made, as an example of what is possible, but that the responsibility lies with EACH PERSON; but in the established Church it has become almost a ‘get out of jail free’ card
Whereas Catholicism emphasises the effectual presence of Christ, alchemy is interested in the fate and manifest redemption of the [human being as a whole] for in them the divine soul lies captive and awaits redemption that is granted to it at the moment of release. The captive soul then appears in the form of the ‘Son of God’. For the alchemist, the one primarily in need of redemption is not man but the deity who is lost and sleeping in matter.
The philosopher’s stone
A description of the experience
The Sephirot needs to be turned upside down to match the idea of the picture