Jung, C G - The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature - On the dive
Type of Spiritual Experience
In ancient Greek cult-practice and literature, a nekyia is a "rite by which ghosts were called up and questioned about the future,". A nekyia is not necessarily the same thing as a katabasis. While they both afford the opportunity to converse with the dead, only a katabasis is the actual, physical journey to the underworld undertaken by several heroes in Greek and Roman myth.
In common parlance, however, the term "nekyia" is often used to subsume both types of event, so that by Late Antiquity for example 'Olympiodorus...claimed that three [Platonic] myths were classified as nekyia (an underworld story, as in Homer's Odyssey book
A description of the experience
C G Jung – The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature
The Nekyia is no aimless and purely destructive fall into the abyss, but a meaningful katabasis eis antron, a descent into the cave of initiation and secret knowledge. The journey through the psychic history of mankind has as its object the restoration of the whole man, by awakening the memories in the blood.
The descent to the Mothers enabled faust to raise up the sinfully whole human being – Paris united with Helen – that homo totus who was forgotten when contemporary man lost himself in one sidedness. It is he who at all times of upheaval has caused the tremor of the upper world and always will…….
With my patients, accordingly, the katabasis and katalysis are followed by a recognition of the bipolarity of human nature and of the necessity of conflicting pairs of opposites. After the symbols of madness experienced during the period of disintegration there follow images which represent the coming together of the opposites; light/dark, above/below, white/black, male/female etc…………
This state of things in the psychic development of a patient is neither the end nor the goal. It represents only a broadening of his outlook, which now embraces the whole of man’s moral, bestial and spiritual nature without as yet shaping it into a living unity