psychology of sacrifice

The psychology of sacrifice may be understood as follows:


The psychology of sacrifice relates to the law of oppositesthe fact that the conscious experience of one side constellates its opposite in the unconscious. In Goethe's words, stirb und werde, die and become. To the extent that the ego consciously embraces death it constellates life in depth. This fact is related to the psychology of sacrifice

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The outstanding alchemical example of the sacrificial theme is found in the visions of Zosimos, where we read: “I am Ion, the priest of the inner sanctuaries, and I submit myself to an unendurable torment” ( CW13: par. 86 )

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Ion, the priest of the inner sanctuaries, is a personification of both the prima materia and the Philosophers' Stone. He is both the sacrificer and the sacrificed. In this respect he corresponds to the figure of Christ as pictured in Hebrews

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Ion, the priest who submits himself to an unendurable torment, is reminiscent of a remarkable passage in an unpublished letter by Jung

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Jung says: The problem of crucifixion is the beginning of individuation; there is the secret meaning of the Christian symbolism, a path of blood and sufferinglike any other step forward on the road of the evolution of human consciousness. Can man stand a further increase of consciousness?I confess that I submitted to the divine power of this apparently unsurmountable problem and I consciously and intentionally made my life miserable, because I wanted God to be alive and free from the suffering man has put on him by loving his own reason more than God's secret intentions ( Adler, “Aspects of Jung's Personality and Work,” p. 12 )

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The idea of deliberately making oneself miserable is difficult doctrine. We must remember, however, that Jung is speaking to a particular person in this letter. There is much evidence that Jung adjusted his mode of speaking to the reality of the person he was talking to.To pay attention to the unconscious does mean to deliberately make oneself miserable in order that the autonomous psyche will be able to function more freely. It has nothing to do with masochism but is rather a conscious participation in the process of actualizing the Deity

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