Theosophy and Gnosticism: Jung and Franz von Baader
by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen © 2008 Revised notes from lectures given at the C.G. Jung Institute, Küsnacht (June 21-22, 2005) I. Introduction

In Lecture 1 of this series, we saw that Jung’s idea of individuation needs to be understood in relation to his idea of totality. Totality is the center beyond time that is both the source and the goal of all temporal functions. And individuation, which is the purpose and goal of Jungian analysis, is not to be understood in terms of individualism, but in terms of our relating our temporal ego to our supratemporal, supra-individual and central selfhood. In this second lecture I will look at how this idea of totality is related to the philosophy of the German Christian theosophist Franz von Baader (1765-1841), and how this Christian theosophy differs from Gnosticism. The Philosophy of Totality is related to a renaissance in interest in Baader’s philosophy. In the 1920’s, many of Baader’s works were republished, and Jung read Baader at that time. As we shall see, many of Jung’s ideas are related to Baader. This does not just apply to the idea of totality and individuation, but also to Jung’s ideas of alchemy and quaternity. We will also examine Jung’s relation to Gnosticism and to Kabbalah, and how those ideas compare with Christian theosophy. II. Who was Baader?

Franz von Baader is known for his Christian philosophy, or more accurately, for his Christian theosophy. It has been said that he was ‘the only Christian philosopher in the grand style that Germany ever had.’1 Baader was a Roman Catholic, but he believed that the Russian Orthodox Church represented the best Christian path. He considered Protestantism to be too literal and rationalistic, and he found Catholicism too rigid and ‘petrified.’ We can see in Baader the ideas that became so prominent in the philosophy of totality, and that we discussed in Lecture 1: the rejection of mechanistic atomism, the idea of an organic whole, the emphasis on center and periphery and the idea of heart as the center. Baader opposed the Enlightenment’s mechanistic and atomistic idea of nature.2 He is therefore sometimes referred to as a philosopher of Romanticism, which also opposed an over-use of

Hugo Ball, cited by Poppe: Afterword to Franz von Baader: Über die Begründung der Ethik durch die Physik (Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1969), 108. [‘Begründung’]. References in my article will be to this edition, although it is also found in Vol 5 of Baader’s Collected Works, which will be referred to as ‘Werke.’

Werke 3, 317 fn4: Baader opposed what was atomistic, mechanical; Werke 3, 329: integration is wholeness = holiness [Baader writes in English, using this spelling].
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

2 science and emphasized our ability to have direct, unmediated knowledge by our intuitive experience. But Baader’s Romanticism must not be understood as irrationalism or emotionalism. Unlike an irrationalist Romanticism, Baader emphasizes the importance of theory when it is seen in its proper relation to our experience. Baader was strongly opposed to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, but he was also opposed to any pietistic flight away from rationality. Pietism, especially within Protestantism, sometimes took on a very irrational and subjectivistic nature. Baader kept alive within the western philosophical tradition the mystical philosophy of Jakob Boehme and Meister Eckhart. He introduced the philosopher Schelling to the ideas of Boehme. And he introduced Hegel to the ideas of Meister Eckhart. But Baader disagreed with the use made by Schelling and Hegel of these ideas. In Lecture 3 of this series, we will look at Boehme and Eckhart in more detail. Baader’s most important influences were Jakob Boehme, Meister Eckhart and St. Martin.3 He also studied Tauler, Suso, Ruysbroeck, Paracelsus, Kepler, Aquinas, Anselm, Eriugena, Augustine, the Church Fathers, Angelus Silesius, Oetinger and Swedenborg. Jung read and refers to many of these same writers. It is not generally known that Jung read all the works of Swedenborg, who had a vision of the Stockholm fire when he was not in Stockholm and could not have otherwise known about it. And not generally known that Jung’s appreciation of the philosopher of Kant is probably more due to Kant’s book on Swedenborg, Dreams of a Spirit-Seer than to Kant’s major philosophical works. Baader derived his ideas not only from Christian sources, but also from hermetic and alchemical thought, and from the Jewish Kabbalah.4 Baader’s writings are extremely difficult to read, even for German readers. He uses theosophical language, he frequently uses untranslated words from other languages such as French, and he sometimes invents new words. He often uses symbols and analogies. His writings are not systematic, but merely aphoristic. Baader said he did not mind if his work was regarded as unsystematic; he saw his own work in more organic terms, as ‘ferment,’ or ‘seeds.’5


Louis Claude de St. Martin (1743-1803) wrote under the name of ‘the Unknown Philosopher’ (‘le philosophe inconnu’). He was the author of Des erreurs et de la vérité and Le Tableau Naturel. Le Tableau Naturel showed the relations between God, Man and the universe. St. Martin is not to be confused with the Jewish mystic Martines Pasqualis, who also influenced Baader.

Baader regarded the Sefer Yetsirah [‘The Book of Creation’] as an original revelation to the Jews. But Baader had only a superficial knowledge of Kabbalah. See David Baumgardt: Franz von Baader und die Philosophische Romantik (Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1927), 35 [‘Baumgaradt’].

Franz von Baader: Sämtliche Werke, ed. Franz Hoffmann (Leipzig, 1851-1860) [‘Werke’], 1, 153f. The title of Baader’s 1822 work, Fermenta Cognitionis, reflects this view. This work has been translated into French: Franz von Baader: Fermenta Cognitionis, tr. Eugène Susini (Paris: Albin Michel, 1985). The original is found in volume 2 of Werke.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

3 There is very little available in English regarding Baader, although his Collected Works are 16 large volumes–about the same as Jung’s work. Ramon J. Betanzos has written one of the few books in English on Baader: Franz von Baader’s Philosophy of Love.6 See also my translations of three of Baader’s works: 1. Concerning the conflict of religious faith and knowledge as the spiritual root of the decline of religious and political society in our time as in every time (1833) [Über den Zwiespalt des Religiösen Glaubens und Wissens als die geistige Wurzel des Verfalls der religiösen und politischen Societät in unserer wie in jeder Zeit]7 2. Concerning the Concept of Time (1818) [Über den Begriff der Zeit]8 3. Elementary concepts concerning Time: As Introduction to the Philosophy of Society and History (1831) [Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit: als Einleitung zur Philosophie der Sozietät und Geschichte]9 III. Baader’s Influence Baader had an important influence on his contemporaries Schelling, Hegel, Goethe, Jacobi, Novalis, Friedrich Schlegel, Jean Paul, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Clemens Brentano.10 He visited Friedrich Schleiermacher several times.11 However, Baader became isolated towards the end of his life, and after his death was for a time nearly forgotten. His obscurity is partly due to his dispute with Schelling late in life. After Baader’s death, Schelling even tried to prevent publication of Baader’s Collected Works. Nevertheless, Baader’s writings continued to exert an influence on later writers such as Max Scheler,12 A.W. Schlegel, Kierkegaard and Berdyaev.13

6 7 8 9

Ramon J. Betanzos: Franz von Baader’s Philosophy of Love (Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 1998). Translation online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/baader/Zwiespalt.html]. Translation online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/baader/Zeit.html]. Translation online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/baader/Elementar.html].


Baumgardt, 5-7. Baader introduced Hegel to the thought of Meister Eckhart (Werke 15, 159; Baumgardt, 34), and he introduced Schelling to the thought of Boehme, thereby changing Schelling’s orientation from pantheism to theism (Baumgardt, 41). But influence does not necessarily mean agreement; Baader disagreed with Hegel, Schelling, as well as others that he influenced.
11 12

Werke 15, 105; Betanzos, 72.

Betanzos, 12, 25; Eugène Susini: Franz von Baader et le romantisme mystique (Paris: J. Vrin, 1942), 6 [‘Susini’].

Poppe, Afterword to Begründung, 107-8. In his Concept of Dread, Kierkegaard refers to “the customary power and validity of Baader’s ideas.” (Baumgardt, 7 and 398). Friedrich Heer thought that Berdyaev’s ideas were based completely on Baader (Betanzos, 294). Berdyaev
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4 Baader had an important influence on his contemporaries like Schelling, Hegel and Goethe. After his death he influenced others like Kierkegaard and the Russian Berdyaev. There was a tremendous renaissance of interest in Baader in the years following the World War I.14 And that is of course the time that Jung was developing his psychology. And we know that Jung read Baader. IV. Jung’s Knowledge of Baader Deirdre Bair’s biography of Jung confirms that Jung read Franz von Baader. She reports that after 1920, Jung turned to Baader. Jung concluded that Baader had “damned little to say.” He later read J.J. von Görres, whom he said was “exactly the same.”15 Bair expresses the opinion that none of these writers touched upon “the dark substance, the dark side” to which Jung had always been attracted. Bair links Jung’s disappointment to his childhood dream of God shitting on the church. Bair gives the following detail of this dream, which is not included in Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections: …from under [God’s] throne an enormous turd falls upon the sparkling new roof, shatters it, and breaks the walls of the Cathedral asunder”,” so big that the roof collapses under this load (Bair, 34) Jung had another dream where he was about to enter into ecstasy, opened a door and saw a pile of manure. So Jung’s disappointment with Baader may relate to his idea of evil. If Jung were looking for confirmation that evil exists in God, he would not find that idea in Baader! We will examine the problem of evil as it is discussed in Christian theosophy and in Gnosticism, and how Jung and Baader differ in their idea of evil. Jung does refer to Baader, but only a couple of times. (1) Jung refers to Baader in relation to alchemy and hypnotism: Some day we shall be able to see by what tortuous paths modern psychology has made its way from the dingy laboratories of the alchemists, via mesmerism and magnetism (Kerner, Ennemoser, Eschimayer, Baader, Pasavant, and others), to the philosophical anticipations of Schopenhauer, Carus, and von Hartmann; and how, from the native soil of everyday experience in Liébasult and, still earlier, in Quimby (the spiritual father of Christian Science), it finally reached Freud through the teachings of the French hypnotists.16 (2) Jung refers to the influence of Boehme on Baader in relation to androgyny: the original unity of feminine and masculine (CW 14, 58n). Adam lost this androgyny. Adam was supposed to bring forth without Eve just as Mary later was a virgin. The creation of Eve was as counterinstitution to help prevent a deeper descent of man. wrote on Baader. See N.A. Berdyaev: “Studies concerning Jacob Boehme” online at [http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1930_349.html].
14 15 16

Introduction to Fermenta Cognitionis, tr. Eugène Susini (Paris: Albin, 1985), 9. Deirdre Bair: Jung: A Biography (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 2003), 397 [‘Bair’].

C.G. Jung: CW 4, 748. He cites Baader’s Werke 7, 229: "He who was born in the Virgin Mary is the same who had to depart Adam on account of his fall."
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

5 Those two quotations are important in themselves in showing Baader’s influence. But there are many other similarities between Baader and Jung. We must therefore question Jung’s statement that he found little of relevance in Baader. It is possible that Baader directly influenced Jung, even where Jung does not specifically mention him in the text. Jung’s books did not go through a peer review process, and he may not have been scrupulous in acknowledging his sources. But it is also possible that there were indirect influences and sources that were common to both Baader and Jung. Baader was so important in reviving interest in Meister Eckhart and Jakob Boehme. As we shall see in Lecture 3, Jung frequently refers to Eckhart and Boehme, and so these western mystics are an important common source for Baader and Jung. Baader was also important in providing some of the formative ideas of Romanticism and its quest for wholeness. Many people have shown similarities between Jung and Romanticism. Other common sources include Angelus Silesius, Lazarus Zetzner’s Theatrum Chemicum (a compendium of alchemical works), and Justinus Kerner, the Seer of Prevorst. V. Similarities between Jung and Baader When I first started reading Baader, I noticed some similarities to Jung. I have since found one other article making comparisons between Baader and Jung. It is by Hans Grassl.17 Grassl concentrates on similarities with the idea of quaternity. But there are many more similarities. Here are some of the similarities, which we will examine in detail: • Supratemporal selfhood • Totality, Center and organism • God-image • Shadow • Unconscious • Introversion and Extraversion • Reconciliation of opposites • Androgyny • Alchemy • Archetypes • Quaternity Let us look at these similarities in more detail.


Hans Grassl: “Baaders Lehre vom Quaternar im Vergleich mit der Polarität Schellings und der Dialektik Hegels; Mit einem Nachtrag: Baader und C.G. Jung.,” in Peter Koslowski, ed.: Die Philosophie, Theologie und Gnosis Franz von Baaders (Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 1993).
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6 A. Supratemporal Selfhood In Lecture 1, we discussed how Jung regards the Selfhood as supratemporal. The supratemporality of the Self is also a central theme for Baader. Baader distinguishes this supratemporality from both the temporality of the world and from the eternity of God. The supratemporal is therefore in between the temporal and the eternal. Baader has another category, the infernal, which is below even the temporal. I am not aware of Jung’s use of that category. B. Totality, Center and Organism In Lecture 1, we saw how Jung’s psychology is related to the Philosophy of Totality. The Philosophy of Totality, as it developed in the 1920’s, and the same ideas that we saw in Jung can be found in Baader: (1) Totality is more than a sum of its parts (2) Opposition to mechanical, atomistic view. (3) The idea of an organic whole (4) Innerness and meaningfulness (5) Totality is a center related to a periphery Baader says that our outer perception is just mechanical addition and subtraction. But inner perception is dynamic through multiplication, exponential increase, division, and extraction of roots. The explanations of physics with its dead arithmetic, are a mechanical “next to and to and from each other.” But the dynamic is “in and out of each other.” The mechanical is just the shadow of the dynamic. You cannot remain with the construction of the outer. What is worse is to drag the mechanical over to the inner sense. With respect to the idea of Center and periphery, Baader says that the Center is not identical with the sum of its Radii (Anal d. Erk, Werke 1, 42). Baader refers to the same quotation that Jung often uses: God is a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Deus est sphaera, cuius centrum ubique, circumfrentia nusquam (Werke 8, 283; 11, 371). The resting in the Center is what determines the free movement in the periphery.18 Baader emphasizes that the Center is the source of its temporal members, which all exist in potential in the Center.19 Baader also speaks of the Center in terms of the Pleroma, or fulfillment. (“Anthropoph.,” Werke 4, 227). And as we have seen, Pleroma is also an idea emphasized by Jung. The relation between Center and periphery is that also of Idea and Nature, Ideal and Real, the one who eats and his food, fire and water, man and wife [Esser und Speise, Feuer und Wasser, Mann und Weib]. (“Sold Verb,” Werke 4, 300).

“Die Ruhe des Centrums bedingt die freie Bewegung in der Peripherie.” (“Zeitbegr” Werke 2, 53).

“…Ausgangspunkt eines Organismus, worin die einzelnen Glieder vorerst noch ungeschieden (in potentia) liegen. (“Geistersch,” Werke 4, 214).
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

7 C. The Self as God-image As we have seen in Lecture 1, Jung refers to the Self as the God-Image. The idea of the Godimage is enormously important in Baader’s philosophy. (1) The image of God is the deepest mystery in us (“Tageb,” Werke 11, 61), the soul of our soul (Werke 12, 283). (2) The image of God is Idea, Sophia, the Virgin (“Spec Dog.,” Werke 8, 291). The Logos is the male power (interior) and distinguished from the Word of life, which is female power (exterior). (3) Jung acknowledges the Upanishads as the source for his idea of the Self. Baader links Brahmanism with Boehme. He says that the oldest Brahmanic religion has much in common with Boehme (“Fermenta,” Werke 2, 301). According to Baader, this original Brahmanic religion was not pantheistic, but an acknowledgement that something human expressed itself in all phenomena of nature (“J.B. Theol,” Werke 3, 361 ff). Elsewhere, Baader says that selfconsciousness is knowing myself in something and knowing something is in me (these are the same thing) (“Fermenta,” Werke 2, 76). (4) We are not yet the image of God, but the seed is created in us (“Espr,” Werke 12, 347). (5) Our sinking in God is the giving up of our false selfhood (Werke 12, 346). (6) Baader sees this God-image in dynamic terms. Just as there is a development in God, so there is a development in the Self. But these two dynamics must be distinguished. We will discuss this important distinction in Lecture 3. D. Shadow The Shadow is of course one of Jung’s main ideas. But references to the shadow are also found in Baader. He says that light cannot exist except by the shadow. We do not serve the flame well if we remove the black carbon, nor do we serve the plant well if we take out its subterranean roots (Werke 1, 66). Baader refers to phenomena that come and go, without our knowledge or will. They can lift us up to heaven or throw us into hell: The Spirit as well as the body throws its shadows (Werke 4, 98 ff). E. Unconscious Jung was not the discoverer of the unconscious. Baader makes many references to it. (1) Self-consciousness is not the root (Wurzel) itself, but the first growth (Erstgezeugte, Erste Gewüchste) (“Über der Urternar,” Werke 7, 35-6). (2) Spirit [Geist] is conscious; Nature is unconscious. Nature feeds us (“Begründung,” Werke 5, 18). (3) True genius is unconscious, instinctive (“Fermenta IV, 12; Werke 2, 294). When we are detached from idea, the law appears external to us, as something without liberty opposed to my artistic liberty, which is free of all law. True genius is unconscious, instinctive; this is an independent activity (4) Supernaturalism wrongly wants to separate the will from its unconscious drives The supernaturalists see the coherence between Nature and Spirit (Geist) as contingent. They want to separate the will from its unconscious drives, whereby the creature outside of all nature becomes
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

8 pure Intelligence, as Will and a Reason without desires or senses. Morals are divorced from God and nature, because these are built on the concept of a pure autonomy (“Begründung,” Werke 5, 18). F. Introversion and Extraversion Jung’s first use of these terms is in his 1921 book Psychological Types: Activity itself, as a fundamental trait of character, can sometimes be introverted; it is then all directed inwards, developing a lively activity of thought or feeling behind an outward mask of profound repose. Or else it can be extraverted, showing itself a vigorous action while behind the scenes there stands a firm unmoved thought or untroubled feeling (Psychological Types, CW 6, para. 247). (1) Baader uses the same terms extraversion and introversion, with the same spelling (he writes this in French): Les sages réconnoissent cette matérialisation inférieure comme l’effet d’une translocation du principe divin ou de lumière et par une introversion du principe de la lumière et par une extraversion de celui de la nature, comme la clarification de la créature (laquelle proprement proprement n’est que son accomplissement) se fait par l’Extraversion de la lumière, laquelle ne peut se réaliser que par l’introversion (ou le sacrifice) du principe naturel. Au reste il faut rémarquer, qu’un être actif comme l’homme n’ouvre son ame à un attirement qu’autant qu’il se laisse saisir par cette force attirante, c.à.d., qu’il se rende saisiisable (passif) pour elle, ou pour ainsi dire, matière, dans laqualle le Principe attirant (le Père) puisse imprimer sa forme (son image). (“Sur l’Eucharistie,” Werke 7, 6n). (2) Baader uses the terms ‘introversion’ and ‘extraversion’ in relation to the ideas of center and periphery. Extraversion is being the center for something; introversion is the acceptance of the light of the center. In introversion we accept the light of the center. But the central light that we accept is an extraverted light. And the acceptance of the center can only take place by what Baader calls the sacrifice of the natural principle. This is done when we just let ourselves be attracted by attractive force, we are passive, allow ourselves to be seized by it. Such a proper balance clarifies the creature. As I understand this, introversion is human acceptance of a light that is given for us as our center; extraversion is our acting as the center for other creatures and the world around us. When we act as this center for the world, we are imaging God from Whom we receive our light, and we can only be truly extravertive when we have been truly introvertive. (3) Baader refers to proper and improper uses of extraversion and introversion (balance and imbalance). Improper extraversion is where we make the center temporal, instead of opening ourselves to the supratemporal center. This is an extraversion of nature, instead of the needed introversion of nature. In other words, nature should seek its center in man as supratemporal. Not to do so is to seek the periphery at the expense of the center. Recall what we discussed in Lecture 1 about what Jung says about idols. (4) Improper introversion is a flight from the periphery, seeking the center at the expense of the periphery [pietism]. It seems to me that this spiritualistic pietism, the fleeing of the world at the expense of the periphery, was the world of Jung’s father, who was a pastor.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

9 (5) It is beyond the scope of these lectures, but I believe that Baader’s use of these terms in this way greatly clarifies the meaning that Jung gives to these terms. Could we say that in extraversion, we act as the center of the world that we perceive? And that introversion is our acceptance of the light from our supratemporal center? And that both need to be in the right balance? Introversion and extraversion are then not just temporal functions as in a Myers-Briggs test. They are not just a matter of temporal types, of preferences of behaviour. e.g. a desire of being alone. But they refer to how we relate to our center. They are attitudes with respect to center and periphery. We will see this again when we discuss the idea of quaternity. G. The reconciliation of opposites Jung believed that mental energy is created through the conflict of opposites. He said, "there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites" (Jung, “Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” CW, Vol. 7, 63). He called this energy libido. Jung's last great work Mysterium Coniunctionis was devoted to the alchemical symbol of the conjunction. The conjunction was a point at which two opposites were joined, were dissolved, to in turn create a third, a new level of understanding. Jung saw in the conjunction a symbol of the process of individuation. But this idea of reconciliation of opposites is also in Baader: (1) There is a polarity in all of existence (“Polaritât alles Daseienden.” “Spec Dogm,” Werke 9, 231f). Each polarity has three moments: involution, opposition, subordination (Ferm, Werke 2, 255). There are three principles in man just as in other creatures: the heavenly or Light Principle, the dark or fiery Nature Principle and the temporal-earthly principle (“Spec Dog,” Werke 8,100). At the acme of the opposites there is a depotentiation and a transformation [Depotenzirung and Umwandelung] (“Blitz,” Werke 2, 39ff). (2) The existence of the creature brings with it an inner contradiction and duality. For Baader, this is due to our fall into temporality. (“Blitz,” Werke 2, 33: “mit der Enstehung (dem Setzen) der Kreatur is ihr innerer Widerspruch (Zweiheit oder Entzweiung) schon gegeben”). The opposition between one and many, light and darkness, joy and fear, organic and anorganic is the limitation [Bedingung] of all Life (“Starr. u. Fliess.,” Werke 3, 275). (3) There is a conjunction of the Eternal and the temporal (“Segen u fl,” Werke 7, 142). (5) The Pleroma is fulfillment. The soul is fulfillment of the spirit, and the body is the fulfillment of soul. (Pleroma=Erfüllung. Die Seele ist pleroma dem Geist, der Leib der Seele. Antrhopoph., Werke 4, 227). (6) The symbolism of the cross. For both Jung and Baader, the cross is related to our experience of quaternity. Jung refers to the cross as a symbol of the reconciliation of opposites: The factors which come together in the coniunctio are conceived as opposites, either confronting one another in enmity or attracting one another in love. To begin with they form a dualism; for instance the opposites are humidum (moist) / sicum (dry), frigidum (cold) / calidum (warm), superiora (upper, higher) / inferiora (lower), spiritus-anima (spirit-soul) / corpus (body), coelum (heaven) / terra (earth), ignis (fire) / aqua (water), bright / dark, agens (active) / patiens (passive), volatile (volatile, gaseous) / fixum (solid), pretiosum (precious, costly; also carum , dear) / vile (cheap, common), bonum (good) / malum (evil),
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10 manifestum (open) / occultum (occult; also celatum , hidden), oriens (East) / occidens (West), vivum (living) / mortuum (dead, inert), masculus (masculine) / foemina (feminine)., Sol / Luna. Often the polarity is arranged as a quaternio (quaternity), with the two opposites crossing one another, as for instance the four elements or the four qualities (moist, dry, cold, warm), or the four directions and seasons, thus producing the cross as an emblem of the four elements and symbol of the sublunary physical world. This fourfold Physis, the cross, also appears in the signs for earth, Venus, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter. (M y s t e r i u m Coniunctionis, CW 14, para. 1). Baader also refers to the cross as the symbol of union of opposites. There is an androgyny of the spirit. The feminine element in the soul is vitality. The masculine element gives soul or “plénitude intérieure,” and the cross shows the union of the two (Fermenta V, 1; Werke 3, 325). Baader also relates the cross to Pythagoras and the idea of quaternity: …diese Kreuz meinte schon Pythagoras mit seiner Tetras, wie denn auch das zahlzeichen 4 Selves bezeichnet, und worüber (nemlich ¨uber den Quaternar als vierte Naturgestalt und Lichtwurzel) J. Böhme die tiefste eingsicht gewonnen hat. (“Spec Dogm,” Werke, 8, 261). We will discuss the idea of quaternity in more detail below. H. Androgyny As already mentioned, Jung specifically refers to Baader in relation to the idea of androgyny. (1) Baader says that Man was originally an androgynous being. The division into the different sexes was occasioned by the fall (“Genesis,” Werke 7, 238). (2) Christ is the restorer of our androgynous nature (“Genesis,” Werke 7, 238). (3) Our mind has an originally androgynous nature: i.e., every mind, as such, contains its nature (Terre) within itself, not outside itself (Werke 4, 194; Betanzos 272). (4) Androgyny of the spirit. The feminine element in the soul is vitality. The masculine element gives soul or interior plenitude. And the cross shows the union of the two (Fermenta V, 1; Werke 3, 327). (5) Love and eros as the relation of two people to something higher that they have in common: Baader refers to the wonderful alchemy of love (Relig. Phil, Werke 1, 229). Baader wrote “Propositions from the erotic philosophy” (Sätze aus der erotischen Philosophie”).20 Here are two of those propositions: #1. Wenn man das Wesen der Liebe mit Recht in das Vereint- und Ausgeglichensein, in die Vollendung und wechselseitige Ergänzung der Einzelnen durch ihren Eingang und Subjektion unter ein gemeinschaftlich Höheres — den Eros — setzt, denn jede Union kömmt nur in einer Subjektion zustande


Franz von Baader: Sätze aus der erotischen Philosophie, online [http://www.anthroposophie.net/bibliothek/religion/mystik/baader/bib_baader_eros.htm].
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen


11 #18. J. Böhme hat nachgewiesen, daß und wie, nachdem der Mensch ins Irdische gelüstend und aus seinem jungfräulichen (Gottes-) Bild in das Mannes- und Weibesbild verstaltet und verbildet ward, ihm doch diese Jungfrau (Sophia oder himmlische Menschheit) sich wieder ins Lebenslicht als ein in der Nacht leuchtend Gestirn (Engel oder Guide) einsetzte oder vorstellte, als ihn in und aus seinem Elend (Fremde) zur verlornen Heimat wieder weisend (Weisheit ist Weiserin). In the extasis of love, we achieve a view of unity [Silberblick] through the heavenly Virgin. The Silberblick, an experience of unity,21 is achieved by our intuition (Anschauen). Ecstasy is also an anticipation of this integrity (Concerning the Concept of Time, 58, fn 14). (6) The influence of the idea of androgyny in romanticism: Baumgardt refers to other sources of this idea of androgyny: androgyny in Philo, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus Confessor, Eriugena, Kabbalah, Novalis (Baumgardt 295). (7) The idea of androgyny in alchemy: The Hermaphrodite as symbol of wholeness plays a great role in alchemy.22 Jung says: Biologically, therefore, a man contains female-producing elements, a woman male-producing elements, a fact of which each, as a rule, is quite unaware. Certainly there are few men who could or would care to tell us what they would be like if they were females. Yet all men must have more or less latent female components if it is true that the female-forming elements continue to live and perpetuate themselves throughout the body cells of the entire male organism.23 He continues: Should you study this world-wide experience with due attention, and regard the ‘other side’ as a trait of character, you will produce a picture that shows what I mean by the anima, the woman in a man, and the animus, the man in a woman.


The Silberblick, or experience of unity, is similar to what Stace called ‘extravertive mysticism’–a feeling of unity with all of nature.

Jolande Jacobi: The Way of Individuation, tr. R.F.C. Hall (New York: Meridian, 1983, originally published 1965), 150. See also Jolande Jacobi: Complex, Archetype, Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung (Princeton, 1959), 96, 144-45.

C.G. Jung: “The Meaning of Individuation,” The Integration of the Personality, tr. Stanley M. Dell (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939). Online at [http://www.jungland.ru/Library/EngMeanInd.htm]. This lecture was later revised and enlarged as “A Study in the Process of Individuation,” Mandala Symbolism (Princeton, 1959). See CW, Vol. 11.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

12 I. Alchemy 1. Jung’s views on alchemy Alchemy is the attempt to transmute base metals, such as lead, into silver or gold. Alchemists tried to discover a substance called the philosopher's stone, which would enable such a transformation. Sanford L. Drob gives an interesting explanation of how Jung viewed alchemy.24 He cites Jung, that what the alchemist sees in matter, and understands in his formulas for the transmutation of metals and the derivation of the prima materia, “is chiefly the data of his own unconscious which he is projecting into it.” The alchemist’s efforts to bring about a union of opposites in the laboratory and to perform what is spoken of in alchemy as a “chymical wedding” are understood by Jung as attempts to forge a unity, e.g., between masculine and feminine, or good and evil aspects of the psyche. Jung says, “The alchemical opus deals in the main not just with chemical experiments as such, but with something resembling psychic processes expressed in pseudochemical language.” Jolande Jacobi also gives a good description of Jung’s use of alchemical symbols.25 The alchemical work (or opus) starts with prima materia; using the principle of dissolve and coagulate, one separates and combines the material of the conscious and unconscious. The confrontation with shadow represented by the state of blackness or negredo, after division of prima materia into four parts. The typological dominant function is differentiated; shadow integrated: corresponds to the crystallization of the ego. This is followed by a second negredo stage: descent of the ego into the underworld. After this death, the reascent begins: anima and animus qualities are made conscious. Distillation or purification follows; what was originally one is again divided and reunited. Coagulatio can take place; this is analogous to confrontation with the archetypal figures, the mana-personalities. The opus ends with transmutation of lead into gold; the birth of philosopher’s stone, the lapis. Mark Dotson describes the alchemical process this way: If a patient is in a state of deep depression, Jung would say that it corresponds to the alchemical stage of nigredo, or blackness. Just as the prima materia (the substance being worked on) must be washed and distilled before it is purified, so also the individual must undergo a process of cleansing and distillation before achieving wholeness (individuation). The purified state is known as albedo, or whiteness. The process, according to Jung, usually begins at the nigredo stage, which is characterized by self-reflection and a state of dissolution. In alchemical literature, the procedure moves through various stages of distillation and purification. To Jung, this means that a patient will gradually gain sufficient knowledge of the unconscious until one's inner life becomes integrated and balanced (all projections are withdrawn). When this occurs, one enters a state of

Sanford L. Drob: “Jung and the Kabbalah,” History of Psychology. May, 1999 Vol 2(2), pp. 102-118.http://www.newkabbalah.com/Jung2.html [‘Drob’]

Jolande Jacobi: The Way of Individuation, tr. R.F.C. Hall (New York: Meridian, 1983, originally published 1965).
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

13 great peace and tranquility. Jung claims that this is the pure gold spoken of by the alchemists.26 2. The development of Jung’s ideas of alchemy: Jung describes the development of these ideas: Alchemy is not an old hobby of mine; I began a thorough study of the subject only within the last few years. My reason for making a fairly extensive use of alchemistic parallels is that in my Psychological practice I have observed quite a number of actual patients’ cases which show unmistakable similarities to alchemistic symbolism. In my next chapter I deal with one of those cases. Because a psychologist must be particularly careful not to suggest his own theories to a patient, I wish to point out that none of the cases mentioned were under my care after I had begun the study of alchemy. The reason it took me so long to bridge the gulf between Gnosticism and modern psychology was my profound ignorance of Greek and Latin alchemy and its symbolism. The little I knew of German alchemistic treatises did not do much to enlighten me about their abstruse symbolism. At all events, I was unable to make the connection with what I knew of psychological individuation. That the parallel dawned upon me at all is due to the visionary dreams contained in the next chapter. I must confess that it cost me quite a struggle to overcome the prejudice, which I shared with many others, against the seeming absurdity of alchemy.27 In 1929, Jung wrote a commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower, which he said was “not only a Taoist text concerned with Chinese Yoga, but is also an alchemical treatise.”28 As a result, he began to collect alchemical writings. Some years later, Jung began to see parallels between the writings of the alchemists and his own psychological theories. He says, “I had stumbled upon the historical counterpart of my psychology of the unconscious.”29 He said that the alchemists were not writing in a literal fashion, but in symbols. According to Jung, these symbols assisted him in understanding process of psychological development: When I pored over these old texts everything fell into place: the fantasy images, the empirical material I had gathered . . . and the conclusions I had drawn from it. I now began to see what these psychic contents meant when seen in historical perspective.30


Mark L. Dotson: “Jung and Alchemy,” [http://members.core.com/~ascensus/docs/jung3.html]
27 28





C.G. Jung: The Meaning of Individuation (see endnote 23 above).

C.G. Jung: Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” Psychology and the East (Princeton, 1978), Foreword, p. 6, and p. 23; CW 13, para. 29.

C.G. Jung; Memories, Dreams, Reflections, ed. Anniela Jaffé (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), 205.


© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

14 But it should be noted that Jung read these texts many years after he had read Baader. And Baader makes the same use of alchemical symbols. Centuries before Jung, and even before Baader, Angelus Silesius (1624-1677) was already reading alchemy psychologically. Silesius says in Cherubinischer Wandersmann: Ich selbst bin das Metall, der Geist ist Feu’r und Herd, Messias die Tinktur, die Leib und Seel verklärt.31 Baader cites this same work (“Br.,” Werke 15, 236, 238), but also makes many other references to alchemy. Jung was not the first to link alchemy to the development of our psyche. 3. Baader’s ideas of alchemy: As already noted, Jung specifically refers to Baader in relation to alchemy. But did he give Baader enough credit for these ideas? First, it should be noted how alchemy is linked to the idea of totality. Jung himself makes this link: Thus the symbolism of the alchemical process represents a centralising and unifying instinct which culminates in the production of the self as a new centre of totality.32 But apart from this general link to the Philosophy of Totality, consider the many specific references by Baader to alchemy: (1) Baader refers to alchemy as the “divine art;” it is determined by the idea that redemption of the God-image (man) must also lead to the redemption of nature (“Euch.,” Werke 7, 25; “Spec. Dogm.,” Werke 8, 47n). The possibility of acting as mediators is given in time. Time gives us the possibility of conferring a substance on that which does not possess it. (Fermenta I, 3; Werke 2, 153; Susini II 351). It is a freeing from its binding within time. Baader refers this process to the older teaching of the alchemists. In this way, we can free these beings from the bounds of their temporal individuality. (2) Transmutation is the key of Christendom and of the higher physics (alchemy) (“Br.,” Werke 15, 598, 654, 657). The purpose of physics is to make earthly material more divine (Gottförmig) so that the prima materia, the Light substance could live in it purely and unmixed.33 (3) Baader cites Paracelcus, that there are three chemical attributes or chemical bases that are found in each of the four elements: Sulfur, mercury, and salt. (“Spec. Dogm.,” Werke 8, 252, 9, 127). (4) Baader finds the basic idea of alchemy in Boehme’s Signatura rerum (“Br.,” Werke 15, 659). Alchemy is the art of transforming Gold (the divine substance or the active and higher nature) from the earthly substances. (5) The philosopher’s stone, sought by the alchemists, is the one element dwelling within the four elements. (“Gnadenw.,” Werke 13, 266)
31 32

Cited by Rufus Jones in introduction to Boehme’s Way to Christ (New York: Harper, 1947).

C.G. Jung: Psychology and Alchemy, trans. R. F. C. Hull, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton, 1970), 115.

Poppe, Afterword to Begründung, 122.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

15 (6) In his theory of sacrifice, Baader speaks of tinctures or essences in the world, which help man and ensoul him. Baader distinguishes between tincture and fire. The tincture is light, that makes essence as against fire, which takes away essence (“Studienb.,” Werke 13, 342, 345). The white and the red tinctures (the life giving water of the moon and the life-giving blood of the Son), unite inseparably (“S. Tinctur. Opf.,” Werke 7, 400 fn). He refers to the red fiery lion and the white lamb (“Br.,” Werke 15, 646). After maturation of the Tincture, God as Alchymicus or Spagyricus does not throw away the earthenware, but glorifies (verherrlicht) it. (“Br.,” Werke 15, 312 ff). (7) Verjüngung or Rejuvenation: the reintegration of a being in its principle Cosmic time is a “suspension of the eternal.” Everything temporal has a beginning and end, and is fully seen in the nontemporal. Each particular now and here is only seen in the always and everywhere (als begriffen geschaut). Everything proceeds out of eternity, has its time, and must make its way through time in order to return to eternity. The return to eternity is the reintegration of a being in its principle: Die Reduktion oder Reintegration eines Wesens in seinem Prinzip hiessen na mlich die alten Chemiker die Verjngung, weil jung ist, was seinem Ursprunge nahe steht, und alt, was ihm enfernt ist (Elementarbegriffe 537). [The reduction or reintegration of a being into its principle was referred to as a rejuvenation by the old alchemists, because whatever stands near to its origin is young, and whatever is distant from its origin is old]. He refers to this reintegration by the alchemical expression ‘Verjüngung.’ (rejuvenation). There is either progress or regress in time: one cannot just stand still (Elementarbegriffe, 537, 538). (8) Baader refers to Hermeticism as the foundation of alchemical wisdom (Tabl, Werke 12, 177). K. Archetypes (1) In Elementarbegriffe, Baader refers to the mundum archetypum [archetypal world] as an emanation (Aziloth). For Baader, the archetypal world is followed by the angelic, sidereal and elemental worlds. He uses Kabbalistic terminology to distinguish emanations from that which is created, formed, and made. Support for these distinctions is found in Isaiah 43:7 (“for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, yea I have made him”; KJV translation). So in addition to the mundum archetypum, there also exist three lower worlds: –the mundum angelicum [angelic world], which was created ( Briah ) –the mundum sidereum [sidereal world], which was formed ( Pezirah ), and –the mundum elementarem [elementary world] , which was made ( Asiah ) (2) Man, who appears last, is more closely related to the mundum acrchetypus (the Sophia) than are the created angels. The mundus archetypus has here the meaning of “gloria (doxa) dei” [the Glory of God], or His Shekinah. Therefore, Isaiah’s words cover all four worlds, within the meaning of the Kabbalah. (3) Archetypes are the Wisdom of God, His Sophia, the fourth in the Quaternity, or His Shekinah (Glory of God).
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

16 (4) Archetypes are ideals, goals of perfection or ends. As we have seen in Lecture 1, one of the meanings of ‘archetype’ is “goals.” But Jung also uses ‘archetype’ to refer to the past, from where we came, as in ancestral images. In Lecture 1, I referred to Ken Wilber’s criticism of Jung’s confusion between past archetypes and archetypes as future goals as the pre-trans fallacy. Why are past archetypes not the same as archetypes in the sense of future goals? My answer is that for Baader, the past is a fallen reflection of the archetypes. To merely go back to past forms is a regression. L. Quaternity 1. Quaternity is a central idea for both Baader and Jung Grassl observes that the idea of quaternity is central to both the work of Jung and of Baader.34 There are some similarities in the ways that Baader and Jung use the idea of quaternity. But as we shall see, there are also differences. The issues are complex, and deserve a more extended treatment. But the following comparisons will give some guidance for the further research that is required on this point. Grassl says that for Baader, quaternity was a figure of thought taken from neo-Platonic and alchemical traditions. It is a Pythagorean inheritance that is simply there or given. It is not an idea that Baader obtained deductively (Grassl 45). Baader circles aground the idea, giving ever more variations to it. Baader first developed the idea of quaternity in his Über das pythagoräische Quadrat in der Natur oder die vier Weltgegenden (Pyth. Quadr. Werke 3, 247-268). In a letter to F. Schiller of August, 1800, Goethe expressed his pleasure in reading it.35 As we shall see in Lecture 3, Baader finds the idea of the quadrat or quaternity in Jakob Boehme. And so does Jung, who refers to Boehme’s mandalas. Jung says, “It makes an enormous practical difference whether your dominant idea of totality is three or four.” (CW 18, par 1610). He attributes the idea of quaternity to Plato and Pythagoras: …ever since the opening Plato’s Timaeus (“one, too, three… but where, my dear Socrates, is the fourth?”) And right up to the Cabiri scene in Faust, the motif of four as three and one was the ever-recurring preoccupation of Alchemy.36 Jung also refers to Goethe’s use of the idea of quaternity CW 9, para 425), but seems unaware of how Goethe was influenced by Baader. Apart from Pythagoras and Goethe, another common source for the idea of quaternity in Baader and Jung is Justinus Kerner, the Seer of Prevorst. Kerner is important for the view that images of quaternity are laden with numinosity or psychical energy. Grassl refers to Jung’s 1961 Symbole

Hans Grassl: “Baaders Lehre vom Quaternar im Vergleich mit der Polarität Schellings und der Dialektik Hegels; Mit einem Nachtrag: Baader und C.G. Jung.,” in Peter Koslowski, ed.: Die Philosophie, Theologie und Gnosis Franz von Baaders (Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 1993).
35 36

J.W. v. Goethe: Gedenkausgabe, Vol. 20 (Zurich: Artimis, 1950), 809. Cited by Grassl 31. C.G. Jung: Mandala Symbolism (Princeton, 1959), p. 4, para 715. CW 9, para. 715.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

17 und Traumdeutung. This book shows that Jung studied Kerner’s “Blätter aus Prevorst.” Kerner wrote about possession and the occult. He used blots of ink on folded paper in order to recognize live figures of “ghosts,” and then he wrote poems about these figures.37 Jung regarded Kerner as a forerunner of clinical psychology. Alchemists were similar to clinical psychology in their emphasis on the living life experience of the quaternity. Baader was also interested in Kerner’s “Blätter aus Prevorst” (Grassl, 24, 47). Another common influence is Lazarus Zetzner’s 17th century work, the Theatrum chemicum. It is a compendium of alchemical and hermetical writings. Jung refers to it in his 1944 work “Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process.”38 One of the references is in the way that one leads to the four. “Eins und es ist zwei, und zwei und es sind drei, und drei und es sind vier und vier und es sin drei, und drei und es sind zwei und zwei und es ist eins.” Jung comments that this is the Vierteilung (Tetramerie), or division of the One, and the synthesis of the four into One. Baader also refers frequently to this same work Theatrum chemicum and to the same statement. (See Grassl 46). 2. Quaternity and Trinity a) Jung’s early questions The relation between quaternity and trinity has not been sufficiently explored in Jung’s writings. Jung was interested in the doctrine of the Trinity from a very early age. He asked his father, a pastor, about the doctrine: One day I was leafing through the catechism, hoping to find something besides the sentimental-sounding and usually incomprehensible as well as uninteresting expatiations on Lord Jesus. I came across the paragraph on the Trinity, here was something that challenged my interest; a oneness which was simultaneously a threeness. This was a problem that fascinated me because of its inner contradiction. I waited longingly for the moment we would reach this question. But when we got that far, my father said, "We now come to the Trinity, but we'll skip that, for I really understand nothing of it myself." I admired my father's honesty, but on the other hand I was profoundly disappointed.... (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 52-53). One wonders what would have happened if Jung’s father had attempted to answer the question that for Jung was so important. Later in life, Jung gave a psychological explanation of the Christian dogma of the Trinity. It represents a symbol for the collective psyche: the Father symbolizes a primitive phase; the Son an intermediate and reflective phase; and the Spirit a third phase in which one returns to the

37 38

See discussion at [http://members.tripod.com/vismath9/ljkocic/artel2.htm]. C.G. Jung: Traum und Traumdeutung (Munich, 1990), 240.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

18 original phase, though enriching it through the intermediate reflections.39 But Jung also argued that Trinity is incomplete, and must be completed as a quaternity? What does he mean? That there is a center to the Trinity, as in Baader’s view? Or that there is a fourth personality to be added? What is the relation between three and four, between Trinity and quaternity? Let us look at this in more detail, first examining Baader’s views and then Jung’s. b) Baader’s idea that the Tetras (four) is prior to the Trias (three) Baader says that the Tetras (the Quadrat or Quaternity) is earlier than the Trias (triangle) (“Br.,” Werke 15, 109). A trinity or triad is also referred to as a ‘Ternar.’ Examples of Ternars are Fire, Air and Sun (Light) (“Rel Phil,” Werke, 1, 299). In the first volume of his Spekulativen Dogmatik, Baader gives examples of 23 such Ternars. A Ternar or trinity has a center, and that center is the fourth. Thus, a quaternity is not a series of four, but rather three with a center.40 Baader’s symbol for quaternity is a triangle with a dot in the center (“Pyth. Quadr.” Werke 3, 266). Baader uses the idea of quaternity to give a different explanation of nature and the four elements. There are three forces within bodies, penetrated by a fourth power. The fourth power is what gives it life. Without it, nature would remain at rest. The inner powers are fire, water and earth, the outer power is air. In alchemical terms, the first three are sulfur, mercury and salt (Werke 8, 252). The outer force works from within. There is a reciprocity of forces. The third element unifies the first two (contraries). It separates in order to unite. But this third is not the fourth (“Pyth Quadr.” Werke 3, 263, 267). Similarly, Baader uses quaternity to contrast a mechanical view of man with an organic view. He says that we have three inborn powers (thinking, willing, and acting), and three attributes or organs (spirit, soul and body), which are permeated throughout by a fourth power (“Spec Dogmatik,” Werke 8, 252). The unity of our powers comes only through organ-ization (Gliederung), and such organization is only possible out of One Principle. There is a systematic division of labour of its functions; the central One Principle uses the outer three as its organs. Such organ-ization cannot be done in the outer sense of juxtaposition, but only in the inner sense, in the unity of time by Intus susceptionem (Werke 215-16). Just as air penetrates the three other elements, so what Paul refers to as our spiritual body [Geistleib] penetrates the other three forces and attributes of our nature. Elsewhere, Baader refers to this spiritual body, our central inner being, as our “heart” (Werke 7, 232). Creatures with a self (man and angels) have such a center (animals do not have such a center). It is the purpose of creatures with a selfhood to raise up this center to its ground, and to fix it there, thus fulfilling it. Baader refers here to Tauler and Eckhart (“Spec Dog.” Werke 8, 131) and to Boehme (Werke 8,134). Thus, for Baader, quaternity involves both immanent and emanent powers or principles (Grassl 33). The triangle represents the immanent play [Wechselspeil] of the principles. It flows back

Italian newspaper L'Europeo 5 December 1948, “The Psychoanalyst Jung Teaches How to Tame the Devil.” Cited by Michael J. Brabazon: “Carl Jung and the Trinitarian Self,” Quodlibet Journal 4 (2002), online at [http://www.quodlibet.net/brabazon-jung.shtml]. [‘Brabazon’]

See Baader’s letter to Jacobi of Feb 8, 1798 (“Br.,” Werke 15, 181f). Baader says that the philosophies of Kant, Fichte and Schelling have only two sides. They must first be three and then find the point in the middle, the relation of the active elements to the three passive ones.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

19 into itself. But the fourth element, the spiritual body, gives the inner point of the surrounding spheres, and is emanent. This central inner point is not to be confused with any duality of powers in the circumference. This central point is spontaneity. Baader’s idea of quaternity helps to distinguish his philosophy from that of Schelling and Hegel. He says that Schelling’s natural philosophy has correctly understood the dualism of nature (its inner polarity or Zwiespalt). Schelling’s first principle is that of polarity and dualism; he speaks of an original dualism [“ürprunglichen Duplicität”] which arises from an absolute identity (or One). Schelling’s idea of the “world Soul” [Weltseele] remains caught in this viewpoint. But Baader objects that dualism or polarity only count to two. Baader wants to count to four (Grassl 34; “Pyth. Quadr.” Werke 3, 249). Instead of two, there is an interaction of three in a Ternar. Trinity overcomes duality (Werke 1,205; 2,105; 7,159; 12,505; 15,447). And the Ternar is permeated by a transcendent fourth. Let us look at this in more detail. For Baader, the idea of trinity is not contradictory. Multiplicity and unity are not polar opposites, but can only be thought as deriving from a common third. This is a circular kind of thought, instead of Schelling’s linear idea of two polar opposites. The members of a trinity have three oppositions against each other; there is a dynamic relation among the three. But with an inner fourth point, three further possible oppositions appear (between that fourth point and each member of the trinity). Quaternity can be thought of as divided in an active Ternar and in a Recipiens (“Spec Dogm” Werke 8, 68). The third is that without which neither of the other two can be thought. The third is thus a kind of middle [Mitte] of the other two. But middle is not the same as the transcendent center or Ground, which is the fourth that permeates the entire Ternar. Nor is this opposition of the fourth to the other three the same as a dualism in the sense of Schelling’s polarity of only two (“Pyth. Quadr. Werke 3, 267). Quaternity is also important for Baader’s ideas of subject and object. Here he uses a diamond shape. At the top point, both subject and object are sublated; on the corners of both sides, the object is in the subject and the subject is in the object; on the bottom point of the diamond, subject and object are not sublated. He points out four possibilities: opposed reciprocity, in rest, and in the action forcing outwards. But the four can be understood in 3: (1) where both moments (innerness and outerness) are sublated in each other (at rest) 2) where both are separated and sublated (active) and 3) where both at the same time unsublated (active). (“Spec Dogm” Werke 8, 66). c) Jung’s idea of quaternity as 3 + 1 For Jung, as for Baader, quaternity involves a relation between three and four. There is an “opposition” between three and four; threeness or Trinity is incomplete, but fourness is wholeness. Threeness or trinity denotes polarity, and one triad always presupposes another triad. (“The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales, ” CW 9, paras 425-6). The vacillation between three and four is a vacillation between the spiritual and the physical (CW 12, para. 31). This idea that Trinity is related to polarity reminds us of what Baader says about two being related to duality, and needing a Ternar in order to find a middle that both relate to. The fourth brings wholeness. So three needs to be completed by four. The fourth brings wholeness, but the fourth is different from the other three. Jung says that the oldest representation of this problem is
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

20 …that of the four sons of Horus, three of whom are occasionally depicted with the heads of animals and the other with the head of a man. Chronologically this links up with Ezekiel’s vision of the four creatures, which then reappear in the attribute of the four evangelists. Three have animal heads and one a human head (CW 9, para 425, fn 39). In “The Symbolic Life,” he speaks of the “empirical quaternary structure” in terms of a 3+1 structure (CW 18, paragraphs 1603-4). And he specifically refers to a “quaternity with a 3 +1 structure,” “the One differentiated from the Three” (CW 10: 750-51). Jung also refers to an alchemical diagram showing “the Three and the One,” the “Alchemical Quaternity” (CW 12, para. 29, fig. 235). We can therefore refer to quaternity as having a “3 + 1 structure.” There are three and a fourth that is different. This is reminiscent of Baader’s idea of a triangle with a dot in the centre. (d) Jung’s theory of types The 3 + 1 structure of quaternity is important for understanding Jung’s Ideas of Personality Types. But first we must distinguish his Theory of Types from the Myers-Briggs view of personality. Myers-Briggs uses 16 different categories, using 8 different contrasts: introvertive/extravertive, intuitive/sensing, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. The final contrast judging/perceiving is not in Jung, but was added by Myers-Briggs. The first contrast introvertive/extravertive is important for Jung, and we have already discussed it. But it is not what Jung uses in his idea of quaternity for personality. For that, Jung uses only the two contrasts intuitive/sensing and thinking/feeling. Of those four categories, one function is dominant in a personality, two are auxiliary to that function and only partially differentiated, and the fourth is “inferior” and not differentiated at all, but unconscious. Jung illustrates in a diagram how, if the thinking function is dominant, the function of feeling is wholly unconscious, and the other two functions are partly conscious (CW 12, para. 137, fig. 49). Although three functions are differentiated, only one is successfully differentiated—the superior or main function has associated with it 2 partially differentiated auxiliary functions (C W 9 par 426). The inferior function is “contaminated” with the unconscious, and thus has the ability to help us bridge the conscious and the unconscious (CW 9 par 582). Sometimes Jung refers to the three differentiated functions in contrast to the one undifferentiated one. At other times, he refers to the dominant function, which is the only one that is successfully differentiated, in contrast to the three partially or wholly unconscious functions. In “Flying saucers,” Jung refers to these two ways of looking at a “quaternity with a 3 + 1 structure.” …the One differentiated from the Three, the one differentiated function contrasted with the three undifferentiated functions and hence the main function (or, alternatively the inferior function). The four together form an unfolded totality symbol, the self in its empirical aspect. (CW 10: 750-51). In any event, in Jung’s theory of types, the fourth element is not on the same level as the other three. This is something that is not often understood by those who refer to Jung’s theory of

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

21 personality types. One analyst who did understand that distinction was Marie Louise von Franz.41 Jung’s quaternity of types therefore has a 3 + 1 structure. But is this similar to Baader’s view of quaternity as a Ternar with a center, a triangle with a dot in the center? There is an important difference in that for Baader, the Center is unique, and never a part of the periphery. In Jung’s case, at least in his theory of personality types, the inferior function can be any one of the four functions. Thus, a function that is dominant for one person may be inferior for another. Perhaps this can be reconciled if we regard the fourth not as a supratemporal center, like the Selfhood, but as a center in the temporal personality. Jung indeed seems to say that that is the case. The four personality types in the quaternity appear only in the temporal differentiation from the ego, and do not represent the undifferentiated ego itself. This is evident from the following: In psychological language we should say that when the unconscious wholeness becomes manifest, i.e. leaves the unconscious and crosses over into the sphere of consciousness, one of the four remains behind, held fast by the horror vacui of the unconscious. There thus rises a triad which ….constellates a corresponding triad in opposition to it. (CW 9 par 426) The unconscious wholeness or Totality is not the same as the inferior fourth. The fourth is a part of that original wholeness. But the problem of the fourth and the two triads arises only in the temporal manifestation of the unconscious wholeness. The totality appears in quaternary form only when it is not just an unconscious fact but a conscious and differentiated totality (CW 14, par. 261). We could therefore argue that a personal type is not a primary quaternity, like Baader’s supratemporal/temporal quaternity, but rather a secondary quaternity that only arises when the original ego is manifested in temporal consciousness. For Jung does not identify the inferior function with the selfhood per se. The selfhood, as we saw in Lecture 1, is a totality of everything, including inferior and dominant functions. Certainly the inferior function is not the same as the ego. (e) Quaternity and Mandalas But what about mandalas? Are they not a quaternity? How do they fit in with this theory of a quaternity as 3 + 1? For do not mandalas have four sides? Jung says that the sacred quaternity symbolised by the square may actually be none other than a pair of triangles: If one imagines the quaternity as a square divided into two halves by a diagonal, one gets two triangles whose apices point in opposite directions. One could therefore say metaphorically that the wholeness symbolised by the quaternity is divided into equal halves, it produces two opposing triads. [The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW, vol 9, par. 426.] A quaternity is then made up of two opposing triads, each pointing in opposite directions. Elsewhere, Jung relates this idea of two triangles to the Star of David symbol (CW 10, para 771). But here he relates the double triad to the alchemists:


Marie Louise von Franz: Jung’s Typology (Woodstock: Spring Publications, 1986).

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

22 Among the alchemists we can see clearly how the divine Trinity has its counterpart in a lower chthonic triad (similar to Dante’s three-headed devil) (Ibid, para. 425). And elsewhere he refers to this as a result of an original “pleromatic split”: …the doubling and separation of the quaternity into an upper and a lower one, like the exclusion of the Satans from the heavenly court, points to a metaphysical split that had already taken place” “pleromatic split” (CW 11, par. 675). In relation to such double triads, he mentions that there can be an upper triad with evil in the unconscious, and a lower triad with good in the unconscious. So again we have a triangle with something unconscious making up a quaternity (“The Symbolic Life,” CW 18, para. 1604). The implication seems to be that each of these triads has a fourth that completes it. This is confirmed elsewhere where he refers to two triads, each completed by a fourth. The first is a triad of good, completed by a fourth of evil, and the second is a “lower triad” where 1 is good and the three are evil (“The Symbolic Life,” CW 18, para. 1604). Jung uses symbols of both trinity and quaternity. Michael J. Brabazon refers to the figure of Mercurius, who is referred to more frequently as a trinity than a quaternity: Jung's favourite symbol of the collective unconscious was the spirit Mercurius, the central figure of alchemical experience and speculation. Jung admits that Mercurius is referred to more times as a trinity than a quaternity, which accords with the Taoist alchemical, meditative practice of uniting the three golden flowers. At one point Jung describes him thus: “....his positive aspect relates him not only to the Holy Spirit, but....also to Christ and, as a triad, even to the Trinity.” (CW 13, par 289) 42 Edinger discovered the same reference to trinities in Jung’s descriptions of quaternities: I turned to a collection of mandalas published by Jung [in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious] and was surprised to find how frequently there was trinitarian imagery embedded in pictures which had been selected to demonstrate the quaternity.43 Edinger gives the example of the Tibetan world wheel, a mandala with three animals (cock snake and pig) in the center, with 6 spokes of the wheel and twelve outer divisions. He cites what Jung says about this mandala: The incomplete state of existence is, remarkably enough, expressed by a triadic system, and the complete (spiritual) state by a tetradic system. The relation between the incomplete and the complete state therefore corresponds to the proportion of 3:4 (CW 9, par. 644). And yet if we regard the center of the mandala as the fourth, then we have a 3 + 1 structure, even


Michael J. Brabazon: “Carl Jung and the Trinitarian Self,” Quodlibet Journal 4 (2002), online at [http://www.quodlibet.net/brabazon-jung.shtml].

E. Edinger: Ego and Archetype, (Boston: Shambhala, 1992), 189.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

23 in the triadic center. This is evident from Jung’s discussion of another mandala in rotation around a center. He refers to a mandala in a Gothic window in the cathedral at Paderborn, showing three hares rotating around a center (CW 9 par. 694, fig. 39). But again we are faced with the same problem that we saw in discussing the quaternity in relation to personality types. Does Jung regard this fourth as the totality from which the other three arise? Or is it merely something that completes the other three in an additive way? If so, the fourth here is not the same as the Selfhood as totality that we discussed in Lecture 1, and so the parallel with Baader would not be exact. The idea of an additive completion is not the same as Baader’s view of Totality as the center of a Ternar. (f) Did Jung change his view of the 3 + 1 structure of quaternities? It must be pointed out that, although Jung speaks of a quaternity in terms of a 3 + 1 structure, he inconsistently also seems to speak of a quaternity as four things or aspects alongside each other: The quatemity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgment. If one wishes to pass such a judgment, it must have this fourfold aspect. For instance, if you want to describe the horizon as a whole, you name the four quarters of heaven. . . . There are always four elements, four prime qualities, four colours, four castes, four ways of spiritual development, etc. So, too, there are four aspects of psychological orientation ... In order to orient ourselves, we must have a function which ascertains that something is there (sensation); a second function which establishes what is (thinking); a third function which states whether it suits us or not, whether we wish to accept it or not (feeling), and a fourth function which indicates where it came from and where it is going (intuition). When this has been done there is nothing more to say. . . . The ideal of completeness is the circle or sphere, but its natural minimal division is a quatemity (CW 11, p. 167, para 246). In an interesting, although incomplete article, Remo F. Roth refers to this inconsistency in Jung. He argues that Jung moved from a 3 + 1 structure of quaternity to a view of four without a center. He says, The trouble with Jung's preference for the quaternity as a symbol of the Self is the fact that we never know if it is some sort of a (3+1) structure, as in the concept of his typology, or if he speaks of a fourfold symmetry, in which all members having equal rights. As we have seen, in his typology the (3+1) structure serves the distinction between the "trinity" of the conscious functions and its opposite, the monistic unconscious one. But in his model of the unconscious' center, the socalled Self, he prefers the quaternity in the shape of a square, which means that all members are equally weighted. Thus, we can already conclude here that this ambivalence shows a certain unconsciousness of Jung in relation to the problem of the fourth.44


Remo F. Roth: “The Return of the World Soul: Wolfgang Pauli, Carl Jung and the Challenge of the Unified Psychophysical Reality,” [http://www.psychovision.ch/synw/ jungneoplatonismaristotlep1.htm].
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

24 In support of this accusation of ambivalence in Jung, Roth refers to several letters from Wolfgang Pauli, in which Pauli criticizes Jung’s idea of quaternity and argues for a “psychophysical monism.” Roth argues that the fourfold quaternity represents a neo-Platonic devaluation of matter (as does the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary). In place of this, Roth argues for the Hermetic view of quaternity, which is a double triad, the Star of David. The triangle can seek its unity in the One, which is a union or chemical wedding. Another argument for the double triad as the better interpretation is given in the article by Brabazon to which I have already referred. But Brabazon does not deal with the 3 + 1 view of Trinity and Quaternity. Both Roth and Brabazon raise issues that I believe are worth pursuing, but are beyond the scope of this lecture. It does seem to me that the 3 + 1 structure of quaternity is more fruitful than a fourfold symmetry where all members have equal rights. If a quaternity means nothing more than four members in a group, we get the strange (and in my opinion, superficial) interpretations of quaternity such as the view that Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and their two sons are a quaternity45 or that the four cartoon characters the Teletubbies represent a quaternity.46 In my view, the 3 + 1 structure gives a deeper sense of quaternity, showing the relation between supratemporal and temporal, and between consciousness and the unconscious. It can also be interpreted more along the lines of Baader’s quaternity, the triangle with a dot in the center. But I would disagree with Roth (and Pauli) that such a center is to be regarded in a monistic way.47 (g) Completion of the Trinity by God’s Sophia, Wisdom, Virgin Both Jung and Baader emphasize the role of Sophia [God’s Wisdom] within the quaternity (Grassl 48-49). In Answer to Job (CW 11), Jung speaks of the role of Sophia or Wisdom in God’s self-reflection. Sophia was with God before time and at the end of time will again be bound with God in the holy wedding. Sophia completes the Trinity. Jung sometimes refers to this as the Virgin, and for this reason he believed that it was such an important event when the Catholic Church recognized the Assumption of Mary. At other times, it seems as if it is the feminine that is the fourth that is being added to the Trinity, and Jung seems to ignore the idea of Sophia, which is so crucial in Baader’s Christian theosophy. For example, he says that woman, as anima, represents the fourth inferior function, feminine because associated with the unconscious (CW 12, para. 29).


Maureen B. Roberts claims that Charles, William, Harry and Diana form a quaternity whose feminine fourth has undoubtedly helped awaken the feminine principle along with its attunement to feeling in the three males. It is surely significant, for instance, that among the Royals at Diana's funeral, these three were the only ones to openly cry (A corresponding negative quaternity was evident in the '3+1' configuration that featured in the car crash that killed Diana and two of her male companions) [http://www.jungcircle.com/diana.html]

Rev. Kenneth M. Kafoed: “Teletubbies: A Psychoanalytic Perspective,” [http://members.cox.net/sovpont/teletub.htm]

See J. Glenn Friesen: “Monism, Dualism, Nondualism: Problems with Vollenhoven’s Problem-Historical Method,” [http://www.members.shaw.ca/hermandooyeweerd/Method.html].
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

25 But again we have the problem of whether Sophia as the fourth is a separate being. Jung acknowledges that it was a heresy for the church to say that there were four persons in the Godhead, but it is unclear what his own view is. Baader also refers to the Virgin as completing the Trinity, but says this Virgin or Wisdom is not a separate personality in God, but the mirror of God: Der Spiegel (das Auge), sagt J. Böhme ferner erzeugt das Bild nicht, das in ihm eröffnet wird, sondern er hält stille dem ihn beschattenden, eröffnenden Geist und er nennt diese Idea darum Jungfrau, weil sie gegen den Ternar willenlos und nicht per se agens ist, folglich nicht etwa eine 4. Persönlichkeit in Gott. Von dieser Idea (eigentlich von der von ihr aus-, nicht abgehenden und der Creatur inwohnenden) sagt J. Böhme ferner, daß …(Br., Werke 15, 448) [Further, J. Böhme says that the mirror (the eye) does not generate the image that is opened in it, but it holds still before the overshadowing opening Spirit, and he therefore calls this Idea ‘Virgin,’ since it is without a will before the Ternar and not per se an agent. Therefore, she is not something like a fourth personality in God. J. Böhme says further about this Idea (or really of that which issues from her but does not begin there, and which lives within the creature)…] I suppose that Jung’s response is that he would not want to speculate about God or the Trinity, but only about the God-image, which is psychologically and empirically investigated. If by Godimage, Jung means humanity, then it can make sense to say that there are aspects like the feminine that need to be integrated. But in relating this to dogmas of the Church, like the Assumption of Mary, Jung seems to be going well beyond a merely psychological interpretation. This is even more the case when he refers to the fourth as evil within God. (h) Quaternity and Evil A further important distinction from Baader is that Baader distinguishes a quaternity within God (Godhead as the center of Trinity) and a quaternity within humanity (Heart as center of our body, spirit and soul). Baader says that if we identify the two quaternities, this will lead to pantheism, and to finding evil within God. We shall discuss both the issue of pantheism and the issue of evil in more detail in Lecture 3, where we will also look at Jung’s discussion of mandalas in the work of Jakob Boehme. It is interesting to point out that Jung was aware of the alchemical idea of a double quaternity (CW 8, par. 539), but he does not seem to have followed the idea, at least not in the way that Baader did. For now, it is sufficient to point out that Jung is inconsistent with respect to the nature of the fourth term of the Trinity. As we have seen, Jung refers to Sophia or the Virgin as completing the Trinity. And yet he sometimes says that it is evil that completes the Trinity. This confusion is evident in the following quotation: The medieval philosophers of nature undoubtedly meant earth and woman by the fourth element. The principle of evil was not openly mentioned, but it appears in the poisonous quality of the prima materia (primeval matter) and in other allusions. The quaternity in modern dreams is the product of the unconscious... [The] unconscious is often personified by the anima, a female figure. Apparently the symbol of the quaternity issues from her. She would be the matrix of the quaternity, a theotokos or Mater Dei, just as the earth was understood to be the
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

26 Mother of God. But since the woman, as well as evil, is excluded from the Deity in the dogma of the Trinity, the element of evil would also form a part of the religious symbol, if the latter should be a quaternity. It needs no particular effort of imagination to guess the far-reaching spiritual consequence of such a development.48 Jung is clearly speaking not only of the God-image, but of God Himself, the Deity, containing evil. And so Jung is breaking his own Kantian principles, and engaging in metaphysical speculation. We will look at the issue of evil in more detail in Lecture 3. But first we will look at evil in relation to Gnosticism, and how Jung’s psychology relates to that. VI. Jung and Gnosticism

A. Gnosis and Knowledge In his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung says: “The possibility of a comparison with alchemy, and the uninterrupted intellectual chain back to Gnosticism, gave substance to my psychology (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 205). (1) Etymology. First, let’s look at the word ‘gnosis.’ The ‘g’ is silent in English, but not in many other languages. The word ‘gnosis’ means ‘knowledge,’ and in fact is related to our word ‘knowledge.’ The Greek root of this word ‘gnosis’ is ‘gno.’ It is transformed to ‘kno’ in ‘knowledge.’ The ‘k’ is silent. In other forms of this word, we still pronounce the ‘g’ as in ‘ignorance.’ Or in ‘acknowledge.’ ‘cognizance.’ ‘incognito’, ‘recognize’ ‘cognition.’ Other derivatives of the word are: canny, uncanny [meaning unknowable], cunning [someone with powers] The word ‘gnosis’ is related to the Sanskrit word ‘jñana.’ That is one of the paths of liberation in Hindu thought, for jñana is a saving knowledge, especially knowledge based on meditation. It relates to an experiential knowledge that our selfhood and the reality of God or Brahman are one. (Tat tvam asi. That art thou). (2) Gnosis is an experiential, transforming knowledge. It is a knowledge that itself saves. We are not talking about logical propositions that we have to believe, but of an experience that liberates us. Such an experience is not to be seen as a subjective, individualistic experience. For participation in our selfhood is not individualistic. As discussed in Lecture 1, Jung distinguishes between our individual ego and our Selfhood as supra-individual totality. So the experience is one of going beyond our individualistic ego to find our true, transpersonal self. It is a transforming knowledge. Experiencing the self means knowing all there is to know about yourself, your life, your destiny, your meaning, and the meaning of life in general. Quispel said in his 1951 work that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, which then manifests itself in myth or ritual. For Jung what was important was the experience of fullness

C.G. Jung: Psychology and Religion, (Yale University Press, 1938), 76-77. This was originally given as the Terry Lectures at Yale in 1937. In 1940, Jung revised it, and the revised version is found in CW 11.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

27 In his 1959 BBC Interview by John Freeman, Jung expressed just this kind of experiential knowledge: Freeman: Jung: Freeman: Jung: Freeman: Jung: And did he make you attend church regularly? Always, that was quite natural. Everybody went to the church on Sunday. And did you believe in God? Oh yes. Do you now believe in God? Yes. Now? … [long pause] Difficult to answer. I k n o w . I needn’t…I don’t need to believe. I know.49

There was such a large response to this interview that Jung felt he had to clarify what he had said. He wrote a letter to The Listener, which was published on January 21, 1960. Here are some excerpts from that clarification: • “…I am entirely based upon Christian concepts. I only try to escape their internal contradictions…” • “I did not say in the broadcast, 'There is a God.' I said 'I do not need to believe in God; I know.' Which does not mean: I do know a certain God (Zeus, Jahwe, Allah, the Trinitarian God, etc.) but rather: I do know that I am obviously confronted with a factor unknown in itself, which I call 'God' in consensu omnium…” • “This is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.” (3) Gnosis is an esoteric or secret knowledge, such as secret revelations of Christ or the apostles. But “secret” in what sense? Is it secret in the sense of deliberately kept from others, or is it secret in the sense that unless one experiences the truth, one cannot understand it? It is sometimes a claim to have knowledge of the entire visible and invisible world. This is known only to the elite initiates or gnostikoi. (4) Gnosticism is a heretical movement within Christianity. The main representatives of that movement were Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion. (5) A broader view of Gnosticism is that it includes non-Christian traditions such as Hermeticism, or the traditions that influenced neo-Platonism. B. Jung’s visions and the Seven Sermons to the Dead Jung’s interest in Gnosticism goes back to at least 1912, when he told Freud about the Gnostic idea of Sophia. Thus, his interest in Gnosticism was prior to his reading of Baader. This is


The website of the Jung Society of Atlanta contains an audio recording of this part of the interview [http://www.jungatlanta.com/audio.html].
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

28 interesting, because Baader’s theosophy is distinct from Gnosticism50 and Baader may have influenced Jung to move from a Gnostic to a more theosophical position. We will look at this later when we discuss Christian theosophy and how Jung’s psychology is not really Gnostic. Beginning in 1914, Jung painted images that he recorded in the Red Book (not yet published, although Psychological Types was written on the basis of 30 pages of material from the Red Book). These images were based on visions he had at the time. Jung first had a vision of a female. He remembered a female voice speaking quietly, but with authority. She referred to Jung’s work and said, “That is art.” This made him angry, because he thought he was constructing an empirical science (Bair, 291). Later in the Protocols (which eventually became Memories, Dreams, Reflections) Jung identified the female voice as belonging to his patient Maria Moltzer. He thought the patient was inside of him. Then her voice was taken over by that of a male, Elias. Finally, there was a third separate male voice–that of Philemon, an old man of “simply superior knowledge.” When the female voice returned, he called her Salome. A. Philemon Jung painted Philemon with wings on his back, against a background of a brilliant blue sky. Where did Jung get this image of Philemon? Philemon and his wife Baucis are a couple from Greek mythology. They offered refuge to Zeus and Hermes, not knowing them to be gods. Baucis was about to sacrifice her last goose for them, and then the gods made themselves known, the humble cottage was changed into a temple, and Zeus made them guardians of his temple until they died. Philemon became an oak tree and his wife a linden tree. Jung relates this mythological tale, in its Roman form, in Psychology and Alchemy (par 561) as an illustration of the folly of the Nietzsche-like drive for superhuman power (ego inflation): Philemon also appears as a character in Goethe’s Faust. In his urge for superhuman power, Faust brings about the murder (by Mephistopheles) of Philemon and Baucis. Jung believed that a special journal was necessary for the “language metaphors” of Philemon. Until he wrote Seven Sermons to the Dead, Jung recorded what Philemon told him in the Red Book (Bair, 292). Shortly before 1920, Jung concluded that “Philemon was a Gnostic” because Philemon had esoteric knowledge of spiritual things (Bair 396). Later that year, Jung dreamt that he was locked in the seventeenth century and could not get out; he realized that Gnosticism was not relevant because it was “all still too far away.” Bair says he could find no intellectual satisfaction in the Gnostic idea that a “godhead” was responsible for creating the world, because there was simply too much detail lacking or left unexplained. He reread scholars who wrote about early religions and various mythologies. B. Basilides Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead purport to be written by Basilides, and written in Alexandria. So we need to know something about Basilides. He lived in Alexandria in the second century,

See Peter Koslowski: Philosophien der Offenbarung: Antiker Gnostizismus, Franz von Baader, Schclling (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2001).

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

29 and is the oldest Gnostic thinker that we know of. Jung’s knowledge of Basilides was based on the Philosophumena, written by Hippolytus (one of the church fathers). A very different account is given by Irenaeus, another church father. Although most scholars regard the version in Irenaeus as more original, recent scholarship would tend favour Hippolytus, the version relied on by Jung.51 Quispel says that Basilides was a mystic.52 But it is difficult to determine the exact nature of his teachings. Was he a monist? A dualist? Basilides speaks of two eternal principles, light and darkness. He divides being into the world (cosmos) and a transcendent world. He refers to a time before creation, and attempts to introduce the idea of creatio ex nihilo into gnosis. His view of the world is that there is a zone of pneuma, a zone of ether and finally a zone of air, beneath which is the earth. The pneuma is at the same time the Holy Ghost, the ninth sphere beyond the fixed heavens. It is the highest part of the perceptible world. There are four divine intellectual entities: the godhead, the total intellect, the intellect of the world, and the intellect of man. The Gnostic God is nothingness; it is beyond thought and will; it is unconscious, containing within it the future universe in a state of unconsciousness. In this Pleroma, thinking and being cease, because the eternal is without qualities. Man by himself cannot know God; only Christ reveals the unknown God. Man is already the son of God but does not know it. There is an antithesis between pneuma (spirit) and psyche (soul): pneuma feels nostalgia for the transcendent world; psyche remains by nature in this world. It is the job of spirit to perfect the soul. But the spiritual ascent of the spirit (pneuma) to God is also not possible unless soul frees itself from matter by asceticism. He therefore teaches a mystic ascent, the freedom of spirit from the visible world. C. Abraxas In 1891, Albrecht Dieterich published a work Abraxas, supreme God of the Gnostics in whom all opposites and partial realities meet.53 Jung was aware of Dieterich’s work. In the Seven Sermons to the Dead Jung, through Basilides, ‘reveals’ Abraxas to be the true and ultimate God. Abraxas combines Jesus and Satan, good and evil all in one. This is why Jung held that “Light is followed by shadow, the other side of the Creator.”[Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 328]


Abraham P. Bos: Basilides as an Aristotelianizing Gnostic (Brill, 2000). Abraham P. Bos: “De Gnosticus Basilides en zijn theologie over de levensfasen van de kosmos,” Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005) 41-63.

Gilles Quispel: “Gnostic Man: The Doctrine of Basilides,” in The Mystic Vision, ed. Joseph Campbell (Princeton, 1968). This is from the 1948 Eranos lectures.

Stephen A. Hoeller: The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead (Wheaton: Quest, 1982), 92 [‘Hoeller’].

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

30 Hermann Hesse, who was influenced by Jung, later refers to Abraxas in his book Demian. Abraxas has a human body, with the head of a rooster and legs like serpents. His hands hands hold a shield and a whip. The whip is inscribed with the name IAO. The sun and moon shine overhead. Hoeller suggests that the rooster symbolizes wakefulness, the human torso suggests logos, and the legs like snakes suggest prudence. Abraxas is still a being, since he is differentiated from the Pleroma. Hoeller says that if the Pleroma were capable of having a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation, and that for Jung, Abraxas was the undifferentiated psychic energy that he later espoused in his Symbols of Transformation (Hoeller, 96). In Abraxas, both light and darkness are united. Let us look at Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead in more detail. D. The Seven Sermons to the Dead Later, in 1916, Jung wrote the Seven Sermons to the Dead. The book purports to be by Basilides. Seven Sermons to the Dead was included in German edition of Memories, Dreams, Reflections, but not in the English translation. Bair 297 Writing the Red Book and the Seven Sermons dispelled ghosts from the Jung family household (Bair, 297). Here is a summary of the Seven Sermons to the Dead. This summary relies to a large extent on Bair’s book. Sermon 1: the dead [the spiritually dead?] return from Jerusalem without having found the salvation and peace of mind they had been seeking. They ask the narrator (Basilides) for help. He begins with the concept of nothingness and expands it into a discussion of the “Pleroma,” by which he means the totality of all the qualities found in a supreme being. There is a meditation on “individuation”: becoming integrated and whole, which Basilides describes “as “the essence of the creature.” Jung’s technique of active imagination is already evident, as are ideas of the personal and collective (suprapersonal) unconscious. In this sermon, Basilides says that the natural striving of the creature tends towards distinctiveness; it fights against sameness. This is called ‘principium individuationis.’ But we are to strive not for difference, but for our own being. The creature must resist both reintegration in the Pleroma and total separation in one-sided distinctiveness. The qualities of the Pleroma are the pairs of opposites. In us the Pleroma has been divided in two. The last paragraph of Sermon 1 emphasizes the importance of differentiation and sameness at the same time [we do not lose our ego, just subordinate it?] That is why you should not strive after differentiation and discrimination as you know these, but strive after your true nature. Sermon 2: questions whether God is dead. It speaks of the Gnostic God Abraxas, described in Sermon 3 as “hard to Know.” Sermons 4 and 5 refer to multiple gods, the Tree of Life and the one god who gives unity through communion. They also refer to aspects of “anima” and “animus,” terms that Jung was later to develop. Sermon 6: the daemon of sexuality approacheth” from the shadows. This is the unveiled anima and animus.
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31 Sermon 7: “man” becomes a united entity in his quest for salvation. There is a final image that rejects the “flaming spectacle of Abraxas” and embraces a single god who will lead to ultimate redemption. In the Seven Sermons to the Dead, Jung wanted to show the transition from antiquity, with its multiple gods to Christianity, with its one God. But the Seven Sermons is more than a monotheistic rejection of multiple gods. It is a guidebook for individuation and peaceful acceptance of the collective unconscious as Jung understood those ideas at that time. But does that mean that Jung’s ideas are themselves Gnostic? Let’s look at some characteristics of Gnosticism. E. Some characteristics of Gnosticism Jung’s interest in Gnosticism is undeniable. Jung was important in publishing the Jung Codex, part of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. Jung said that there were two main representatives of the Gnostic tradition: Jewish Kabbalah and philosophical alchemy. But Gnosticism is a collection of themes, only some of which apply to Jung: 1. The goal of Gnosticism is to escape from temporal world, not to accomplish something in it. As we saw in Lecture 1, Jung believes that individuation involves a relation to the supratemporal selfhood. But Jung does not advocate escape from the world. Jung emphasizes the importance of relating the temporal world to the Self, not escaping from the temporal world. 2. In Gnosticism, time is cyclical. There is no linear notion of continuous progress. One must make an effort to negate time. Gnosticism has the related idea of reincarnation: we are condemned to be reborn. The only reference in Jung that I am aware of that might refer to reincarnation is in his Lectures on Kundalini, where he speaks of the importance to be born, to realize yourself. Jung says that otherwise you must simply be thrown back into the melting pot and be born again.54 3. For Gnosticism, the evil world was not created by God but by an inferior being. Is there an idea of a demiurge in Jung? Hoeller says that in Jung, the alienated human ego functions as this demiurge. It has pulled away from wholeness. The ego proclaims that there is no other God than itself and that it alone determines existence. But Hoeller’s interpretation seems to be a total devaluation of the ego, and I don’t think that that is a correct interpretation of Jung. Hoeller compares this idea to Buddhism. But if we look at Jung’s dialogue with the Buddhist Hisamatsu, we see that Jung disagrees with that idea.55 It is true that Jung, at least in these early writings, differentiates God from the Pleroma. And Jung does oppose the God of Christ to Yahweh.56

54 55

C.G. Jung: the Psychology of Kundalini Yoga (Princeton, 1996), 28. [‘Kundalini’]

Daniel J. Meckel and Robert L. Moore (ed.): Self and Liberation: The Jung/Buddhism Dialogue (Paulist Press, 1992).

See especially Answer to Job. Jung interprets Gnosticism and Christianity as a transition from the jealous creator God Jahwe to the Salvation God of love
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

32 4. Gnosticism emphasizes opposites (binaries or Syzygies). An example is male and female, which are wholeness rent in two (Hoeller, 74). This is a feature of Jung’s work, although other influences may also be involved, such as Nicholas of Cusa, or Baader’s theosophy, emphasizing androgyny. For there is a difference from Gnosticism, which has no concept of the uniting of opposites in relation to the visible world and God’s relation to it. For Gnosticism, the uniting is only beyond this world. 5. Gnosticism is a revolt against science; we do not see God in the world. But Jung emphasizes the importance of science, and strives to show that his work is scientific and empirical. 6. For Gnosticism, the universe is hierarchical, descending by degrees from celestial beings to earthly realities. There is some hierarchy in Jung, particularly in the idea that archetypes pull us higher towards the higher Self. But again, the idea of hierarchy is not restricted to Gnosticism. 7. Gnostics believe that our “true self” is chained to the world of flesh as a result of a fall. Jung certainly speaks of our true self. But the idea of being chained to the world of flesh implies a devaluation of the temporal world that I do not find in Jung. Jung says he got the idea of the self from the Upanishads, but he also refers to Gnostics in support: "Self-recollection is a gathering together of the self. It is in this sense that we have to understand the instructions which Monoimos gives to Theophrastus: Seek him [God] from out thyself, and learn who it is that taketh possession of everything in thee, saying: my god, my spirit [nous], my understanding, my soul, my body; and learn whence is sorrow and joy, and love and hate, and waking though one would not, and sleeping though one would not, and getting angry though one would not, and failing in love though one would not. And if thou shouldst closely investigate these things, thou wilt find Him in thyself, the One and the Many, like to that little point, for it is from thee that he hath his origin. [Hippolytus, Elenchos, VIII, 15.] 8. Gnostics seek the divine spark within us. Only our “nous” is saved and we return to the Pleroma. In Kundalini, Jung does say something similar: “The Self is the Pleroma from which we came and to which we return” (Kundalini, 28). But in Jung, there is an emphasis on transformation, and not just a return to a previous identity. This idea of transformation is something that is not found in Gnosticism. 9. In Gnosticism, we re-enact the atemporal myths. Certainly, Jung emphasizes the importance of myth. 10. Gnosticism has a preoccupation with evil. And that is something that also preoccupied Jung. 11. For Gnosticism, liberation from the world is also liberation from laws and rules of the lesser demiurge. This leads to antinomianism and libertarianism. Wholeness is better than goodness. There is some affinity here with Jung: Although in crude form, we find in Gnosticism what was lacking in the centuries that followed: a belief in the efficacy of individual revelation and individual knowledge. This belief was rooted in the proud feeling of man’s affinity with the

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

33 gods, subject to no human law, and so overmastering that it may even subdue the gods by the sheer power of Gnosis. In Gnosis are to be found the beginnings of the path that led to the intuitions of German mysticism, so important psychologically, which came to flower at the time of which we are speaking.57 And yet, as we have seen, Jung also says that liberation requires that we adhere to standards… Jung does refer to Gnosticism, but he emphasized the Christian nature of his Gnosticism. Miguel Serrano asked Jung at the end of his life about the Gnostic ring that he wore. Jung replied, It is Egyptian. Here the serpent is carved which symbolizes Christ. Above it, the face of a woman; below the number 8, which is a symbol of the infinite, of the Labyrinth, and of the Road to the Unconscious. I have changed one or two things on the ring so that the symbol will be Christian.58 Jung said that what he had tried to do was to show to the Christian what the Redeemer and the resurrection really means. If Jung’s psychology differs so much from Gnosticism, how are we to account for the differences? I suggest that we need to look at Christian Kabbalah and Christian theosophy. We will look at each of them in turn. VIII. Kabbalah A. Kabbalah is not other-worldly like Gnosticism Although Jung uses Gnostic terminology, most of his ideas are not really Gnostic. Jung says that the most important thing that someone can do is to become individualized. But for Jung, becoming individualized means entering fully into the diversity of the world while entering into the unity of the Self. It does not mean the Gnostic divorce from outer reality. The influence of Baader’s and Boehme’s Christian theosophy may be one reason why Jung’s ideas are not Gnostic. Another influence that prevented Jung from adopting Gnostic ideas was that of Kabbalah (both Jewish and Christian Kabbalah). It is beyond the scope of this lecture to discuss the history of Kabbalah from its earliest beginnings, the possible influence of neoPlatonism (via Islamic sources), Kabbalah’s influence upon alchemy and the development of Christian Kabbalah and the later Lurianic Kabbalah. With respect to Christian Kabbalah, it should be pointed out that Boehme and Baader both had some knowledge of Kabbalah59 and used these ideas in a Christian sense, as did other writers such as Pico della Mirandola,

57 58 59

Psychological Types, CW 6, para 409: Miguel Serrano: C.G. Jung and Herman Hesse, (New York: Schocken, 1966), 101.

Baader refers to En soph (Werke 2, 247), the Schechinah (Werke 2, 43) the Zimzum (divine self-contraction) (Werke 8, 77; 9, 176); ten Sephirot (Werke 3, 385; 7, 192; 14, 32); Adam Kadmon, original Man (Werke 3, 405; 7, 226).

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

34 Johannnes Reuchlin, and Knorr von Rosenroth. The following diagram shows a specifically Christian appropriation of the Kabbalistic ideas of Ein-Soph and the Sephiroth: (Woodcut reproduced in François Secret: Les Kabbalistes Chrétiens de la Renaissance (Paris: Dunod, 1964). The woodcut bears two inscriptions: 1. In principio erat verbum [In the beginning was the Word] 2. Qui expansis in cruce manibus, traxisti omnia ad te saecula. [Lord, you who have stretched out your hands on the cross, and have drawn the whole world to you]. The reference is to John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” For other information on Christian Kabbalah, see Joseph Leon Blau: The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance (Columbia University Press, 1944; Kennicott Press, 1965); Chaim Wirszubski: Pico della Mirandola’s Encounter with Jewish mysticism (Harvard university Press, 1989). The main point here is to contrast Kabbalah with Gnosticism. Whereas Gnosticism seeks to flee from temporal reality, Kabbalah is not other-worldly. Kabbalah emphasizes the importance of collecting the divine sparks in the world. It also has the idea of Tikkun, the restoration of the world. That is quite different from a flight from temporal reality. For Jung and the alchemists, the world the ego are necessary and beneficial. Both God and humankind must pass through the world and redeem it in order to realize their full essence. Drob refers to Segal: far from being the superfluous, harmful and lamentable conditions envisioned by the Gnostics, are actually necessary, beneficial and laudable.60 In Lecture 1, we saw how the idea of Totality was important for Jung. Lurianic Kabbalah emphasizes the same idea in how it views God. According to Scholem, Luria adopted the earlier Kabbalistic term Ein-sof to designate the primal, all-encompassing “Infinite God.” This God, according to the Kabbalists, was the totality of being and also the union of opposites. Even the idea that God encompasses both good and evil is not specifically Gnostic, but can be found in Kabbalah’s idea of the left and right side of God. Quispel says that the idea that the godhead encompasses both good and evil is not Gnostic at all.61 Sanford Drob believes that Jung is more Kabbalistic than he is Gnostic, and that he is “alchemical” mainly because the alchemists borrowed from and relied upon Kabbalistic ideas. Two of the alchemists that Jung quotes most frequently, Knorr and Khunrath, also wrote on the Kabbalah. Drob argues that Jung “read Gnosticism in such a manner as to transform a radical anti-cosmic, anti-individualistic doctrine into a world-affirming basis for an individual psychology.” Drob says, In short, by providing a "this-worldly" interpretation of Gnosticism, and a spiritual-psychological interpretation of alchemy, Jung arrived at a view which was in many ways Kabbalistic in spirit. Indeed, Jung, in his interpretation of alchemy, succeeded remarkably in extracting the Kabbalistic gold which lay

Sanford Drob, citing R. A. Segal: The Gnostic Jung (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992) [‘Segal’].

Drob, citing Segal, 236.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

35 buried in the alchemists’ texts and methods (to use an alchemical metaphor). His work can then be profitably understood as falling in the tradition of those thinkers such as Pico della Mirandola, Johannnes Reuchlin (1983), and Knorr von Rosenroth who created a distinctively Christian Kabbalah (Scholem, 1974, [pp. 196-201]).62 and Jung regards the pleroma, within which is contained the undifferentiated unity of all opposites and contradictions, as nothing but the primal unconscious from which the human personality will emerge. The "demiurge", whom the Gnostics disparaged as being ignorant of its pleromatic origins, represents the conscious, rational ego, which in its arrogance believes that it too is both the creator and master of the human personality. The spark, or scintilla, which is placed in the human soul, represents the possibility of the psyche's reunification with the unconscious, and the primal anthropos (Adam Kadmon or Christ), which is related to this spark, is symbolic of the "Self", the achieved unification of a conscious, individuated personality with the full range of oppositions and archetypes in the unconscious mind. “Our aim,” Jung tells us, “is to create a wider personality whose centre of gravity does not necessarily coincide with the ego," but rather "in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious” (Jung, 1929/1968, p. 45). Jung sees in the Gnostic (and Kabbalistic) symbol of Primordial Man a symbol of the goal of his own analytical psychology. (Ibid). B. Jung’s references to Kabbalah: Jung discovered Lurianic Kabbalah in 1954, around that he was writing Mysterium Coniunctionis. In a letter to James Kirsch dated Feb. 16, 1974, Jung refers to how Lurianic Kabbalah seeks to restore the world: The Jew has the advantage of having long since anticipated the development of consciousness in his own spiritual history. By this I mean the Lurianic stage of the Kabbalah, the breaking of the vessels and man's help in restoring them. Here the thought emerges for the first time that man must help God to repair the damage wrought by creation. For the first time man's cosmic responsibility is acknowledged.63 Mysterium Coniunctionis itself contains many alchemical symbols that were imported into alchemy from the Kabbalah. These symbols include that of Adam Kadmon, the divine spark in humanity, the union of the cosmic King and Queen, and the idea of good and evil as both deriving from God. Jung himself notes the connection between Kabbalah and alchemy. He makes numerous references to Kabbalah in Mysteriuim Coniunctionis. There he says:

Sanford L. Drob: “Jung and the Kabbalah,” History of Psychology. May, 1999 Vol 2(2), pp. 102-118.[http://www.newkabbalah.com/Jung2.html]

C.G. Jung: Letters, 1973, Vol. 2, p. 155, cited by Drob.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

36 Directly or indirectly, the Cabala was assimilated into alchemy. Relationships must have existed between them at a very early date, though it is difficult to trace them in the sources. (CW 14, para. 19). Drob comments on this link between alchemy and Kabbalah: Jung points out that by the end of the 16th century the alchemists began making direct quotations from the Zohar. For example, he provides a quotation from Blasius Vigenerus (1523-96) comparing the feminine sefirah Malchut with the moon turning its face from the intelligible things of heaven (Jung, 1955-6/1963, p. 24). He points to a number of alchemists, including Khunrath and Dorn who made extensive use of the Kabbalistic notion of Adam Kadmon as early as the 16th century, and informs us that works by Reuchlin (De Arte Kabalistica, 1517) and Mirandola had made the Kabbalah accessible to non-Jews at that time (Jung, 1955-6/1963, see also Reuchlin, 1983). Both Vigenerus and Knorr Von Rosenroth, Jung informs us, attempted to relate the alchemical notion of the lapis or philosopher_s stone to passages in the Zohar which interpret biblical verses (Job 38:6, Isaiah, 28:16, Genesis 28:22) as making reference to a stone with essential, divine and transformative powers (Jung, 1955-6/1963). He also notes that Paracelsus had introduced the sapphire as an "arcanum" into alchemy from the Kabbalah. C. Jung’s Kabbalistic vision. Jung had a vision that he described as the most tremendous and "individuating" experience of his life. He found himself in the “garden of pomegranates.” This is an allusion to a Kabbalistic work of that name by Moses Cordovero. In the vision, Jung identified himself with the union of Tifereth and Malchuth as it is described in the Kabbalah. Jung describes these visions as occurring in a state of wakeful ecstasy, “as though I were floating in space, as though I were safe in the womb of the universe.” He further describes his experience as one of indescribable "eternal bliss." He reports: Everything around me seemed enchanted. At this hour of the night the nurse brought me some food she had warmed... For a time it seemed to me that she was an old Jewish woman, much older than she actually was, and that she was preparing ritual kosher dishes for me. When I looked at her, she seemed to have a blue halo around her head. I myself was, so it seemed, in the Pardes Rimmonim, the garden of pomegranates, and the wedding of Tifereth with Malchuth was taking place. Or else I was Rabbi Simon ben Jochai, whose wedding in the afterlife was being celebrated. It was the mystic marriage as it appears in the Cabbalistic tradition. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was. I could only think continually, "Now this is the garden of pomegranates! Now this is the marriage of Malchuth with Tifereth!" I do not know exactly what part I played in it. At bottom it was I myself: I was the marriage. And my beatitude was that of a blissful wedding. (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 294) Jung says that the vision changed and that what followed was “the Marriage of the Lamb” in Jerusalem, with angels and light. “I myself was the marriage of the lamb.” In a final image Jung finds himself in a classical amphitheater situated in a landscape of a verdant chain of hills. “Men and woman dancers came on-stage, and upon a flower-decked couch All-father Zeus
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

37 consummated the mystic marriage, as it is described in the Iliad” (p. 294). As a result of these experiences, Jung developed the impression that this life is but a “segment of existence.” During the visions, past, present and future fused into one. According to Jung, “the visions and experiences were utterly real; there was nothing subjective about them” (p. 295). VII. Theosophy is not the same as Gnosticism

Like Kabbalah, Christian theosophy emphasizes our connection to God while at the same time emphasizing the importance of restoring and redeeming the temporal world. Christian theosophy is therefore very different from Gnosticism. And it is also very different from some other kinds of theosophy. A. Jung’s references to theosophy Jung opposes a theosophy that turns its back on science and gets carried away by Eastern occultism (Commentary on “The Secret of the Golden Flower” CW 13, par. 3). Jung says that the mistake of theosophy is to confuse the personal with the cosmic, the individual light-spark with the divine light. If we do this, we undergo a tremendous inflation (Kundalini, 68). This is interesting, since Gnosticism does confuse the individual light-spark with the divine light in a pantheistic way. Christian theosophy does not make this confusion. We will examine this in more detail when we look at Boehme in Lecture 3. Jung says that theosophy is content with metaphysical ideas instead of experience. While that may be true of some kinds of theosophy, it is not true of Baader’s Christian theosophy, which emphasizes the importance of experience from out of our selfhood. B. Baader’s Christian theosophy I have already pointed out the many similarities between Baader’s ideas and those of Jung. Baader is a theosophist. But he is not a theosophist in the sense of Madame Blavatsky’s occultism. Scholem says that ‘theosophy’ should not be understood in the sense of Madame Blavatsky’s later movement of that name. Theosophy postulates a kind of divine emanation whereby God, abandoning his self-contained repose, awakens to mysterious life; further, it maintains that the mysteries of creation reflect the pulsation of this divine life.64 Baader’s theosophy is also very different from Gnosticism. Peter Koslowski has shown how Baader’s ideas are not Gnostic, in contrast to ideas of Hegel and Schelling. Instead, it is a Christian theosophy, a tradition going back to Eckhart and Boehme. We will look at Eckhart and Boehme in Lecture 3. Baader speaks of his philosophy as a “true Gnosis,” True Gnosis is not a row of concepts, but a circle of Ideas, all relating to the center. (“Spec. Dogma,” Werke 8, 11). This opposition of conceptual to central knowledge is the difference between concept and idea. I like what Johann Sauter says about theosophy. Sauter says that wants to see the essential wisdom of God in all our being, and just as much it wants to see eternal wisdom, as in a mirror, the essence of things, the created and uncreated, the essence of the revealed God to be understood intuitively. The

Gershom G. Scholem: Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken, 1961), 206.

© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

38 theosophist always sees (schaut) immediately. This is contrary to Aristotelian method, which wants to be reflexive, through philosophical analysis of concrete things of the world and then to ascend to an absolute being, to lead from individual being to absolute being and the highest laws of being, by analogy, negation and ascent, to get the essential characteristics of God only mediately.65 C. Characteristics of Christian theosophy Here are some characteristics of Christian theosophy: • The world was created by God and His Wisdom. • In the world we can see traces of the wisdom of God, although God is not to be identified with His creation. • The world was created good, but is fallen. Baader says that the error of Gnostics was that they saw the beginning of good and evil in the Cause (causa) and not in the Ground (Spec. Dogm Werke 8, 132). • The universe is hierarchical, descending by degrees from celestial beings to earthly realities. • Theosophy does not urge escape from the world • Theosophy does not reject science, but uses it to transform the world • In our self we know God and are at the same time known by God. Kos says that there is a difference between knowledge of God as man’s being known by God in theosophical Gnosis, and the knowledge of God as the greatest object of human knowledge in Gnosticism (Kos 264). Baader’s Christian theosophy is very much related to the ideas of Jacob Boehme. We will look at Boehme in more detail in Lecture 3.


Afterword to Franz von Baaders Schriften zur Gesellschaftsphilosophie, ed. Joh. Sauter, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1925), 711.
© 2008 J. Glenn Friesen

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