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Carl Jung's Descent Into Darkness

Dan Delzell Portrait Seagreen Background
Dan Delzell is an exclusive CP columnist. |

Human beings long for spiritual transcendence. And in an effort to achieve this lofty goal, multitudes of people choose to engage in various religious practices. Others try a different route turning to sexual promiscuity or drugs in search of a spiritual high, but this approach only produces physical, mental and spiritual bondage. And then there are those who intentionally open their soul to mysterious spirit guides in hopes of discovering hidden knowledge.

Carl Jung chose this third option about a century ago, and the spirit guides that communicated with this famous psychologist dominated his thinking and shaped his worldview in ways he never fully understood. Like his friend and colleague Sigmund Freud, Jung became obsessed with the realm of the unconscious. And it was here that Jung's unhealthy fixation brought about a descent into darkness.

In a letter to Freud in 1911, Jung wrote: "There are strange and wondrous things in these lands of darkness. Please don't worry about my wanderings in these infinitudes. I shall return laden with rich booty for our knowledge of the human psyche. For a while longer I must intoxicate myself on magic perfumes in order to fathom the secrets that lie hidden in the abyss of the unconscious."

Jung had a dream in 1913 in which a figure by the name of Philemon appeared to him. "In his memoirs, Jung reported that he would often converse with Philemon as he strolled in the garden of his lakeside home in Switzerland." Jung wrote, "Philemon was simply a superior knowledge, and he taught me psychological objectivity and the actuality of the soul. He formulated and expressed everything which I had never thought." This willingness to converse with a spirit guide carried Jung deeper into the dark and seductive realm of the occult.

Spiritual darkness is just as real as spiritual light. You see, God created man not only as a physical and emotional being, but also as a spiritual being. And ever since the Garden of Eden, man has been inclined to listen to spirits and follow their advice. No wonder Scripture instructs Christians to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God." (1 John 4:1)

Rather than testing the spirits with wisdom from Scripture, Jung naively assumed he could trust his spirit guides to tell him the truth. He was sadly mistaken and easily deceived by the spiritual darkness that enveloped him. Rather than turning away from these invisible spiritual advisors and their cryptic messages, Jung pursued their "rich booty" with blind ambition. And by giving himself over to them, these spirit guides gained much control over this impressionable psychiatrist.

Jung wrote in The Red Book, "The years, of which I have spoken to you, when I pursued the inner images, were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me."

Jung "saw visions...heard voices...and even induced hallucinations, or in his words, 'active imaginations.'" Jung would later write, "In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me 'underground,' I knew that I had to let myself plummet down into them." Jung was seemingly oblivious to the spiritual risks of such dark pursuits.

In his zeal for hidden knowledge, Carl Jung even conducted his own seances. F.X. Charet summarizes Jung's attempts to communicate with the dead: "The seances were conducted in Jung's own home, the medium was his cousin, and the participants, members of his own family. In addition, a number of the spirits with which the medium was allegedly in communication were none other than Jung's ancestors."

By engaging in seances and pursuing other magical and mystical obsessions, Jung opened up a door to demonic influence in his heart and mind. The spirit guides didn't come to this ambitious psychiatrist to give him hidden secrets as Jung imagined, but rather, to enshroud his soul in spiritual darkness and keep him separated from the grace of God that is given to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ.

If only Carl Jung had realized that the one spirit guide who can be trusted is the Holy Spirit. And the Third Person of the Trinity leads people to Jesus Christ rather than to seances, induced hallucinations, and conversations with cunning spirit guides. If you are tempted to follow in Carl Jung's footsteps and give yourself over to dark curiosities and occult practices, you would be wise to resist that tantalizing lure.

If you will call upon Christ and trust Him as your Savior, you will find yourself coming out of spiritual darkness into the light of Christ. Simply reach out to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you and set you free from any chains you have brought on yourself by welcoming darkness into your life. There are many ways we can entangle ourselves in sin. Carl Jung's spiritual path represents just one of many spurious approaches people utilize when searching for meaning, hidden knowledge, and spiritual power. (See my recent article entitled, "Comparing Psychology to Theology.")

Some people, like Jung, foolishly attempt to communicate with the dead. Others are wise enough to speak to the living Savior who rose from the dead on the third day. If you have been caught up in your own dark desires and false ideologies, the following prayer can assist in your deliverance. If you would like to experience freedom in Jesus today, tomorrow, and forever, I invite you to pray these words sincerely from your heart:

Lord Jesus,

I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I turn to you today in repentance and faith and I ask you to forgive my sins. Deliver me from any spiritual darkness in my life, and flood my heart, soul and mind with your grace and truth. Set me free Lord by the blood you shed on the cross 2000 years ago. I believe you died to pay for my sins, and I believe you rose from the grave as the victorious King of the universe. Drive away any dark influences and demonic oppression in my life, and fill me with the Holy Spirit. I ask for power Lord Jesus to tell others about your love for them. Thank you for saving my soul and setting me free. Help me to get connected and committed to a Christian church where your Word is faithfully preached and taught. Thank you Jesus for hearing my prayer and rescuing me from spiritual darkness and bringing me into your marvelous light. Amen.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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