Personality Cafe banner
1 - 20 of 69 Posts

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see myths, fairytales and religious stories as metaphors for spiritual and/or psychological experiences. For instance:

-The crucifixion of Jesus - psychological death-rebirth/ego death/enlightenment, integrating the shadow self.

-Inanna's descent - psychological death-rebirth/ego death/enlightenment/integrating the shadow self.

-Abduction of Persephone - psychological experience of moving from the role of daughter into the role of wife & mother- severing maternal ties- parental psychological loss & grief.

-Zeus, Cronus & Rhea - parental discipline (masculine aspect) vs parental nurturing (feminine aspect)

-Persephone, Aphrodite & Adonis - reuniting the maiden and the mother archetypes.

-The Snow Queen - psychological separation and reunion of gender opposites.

These are just a few (probably incomplete) examples.

Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,772 Posts
Couldn't agree more. From the opening of a thread I started just over a year ago, which went nowhere, lol:

"So I have this idea about the oft read Cave parable found in Plato's, The Republic. Seems to me the cave is a womb, a great cosmic egg, as it were, that we all live in until such time as we are born and "see the light". The "others" we wish to convince are none other than ourselves, who wish to remain unborn, uninitiated in the ways of the world, preferring the simplicity of shadows and illusions. Let's not forget that the mother of Socrates, Phaenarete, was a midwife, and that the whole dialectical process is a form of midwifery, bringing to light that which we did not think we actually had knowledge of, and until we actively engage in this process, we remain prisoners within ourselves. Ideas?"

I now have to study up or at least read about "Inanna's descent."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
Yes!! A resounding Yes!!

I like to go halvsies on the question of whether or not these things happened at some point or not- and I tend to think they did, but they were exaggerated/extrapolated poetically. The Pantheon translates to easily to the personality types, or archetypes that I tend to believe that they are grounded in reality.

Like- Jesus, real political/social reformer who was matyred and whose teachings were passed on, giving him a kind of immortality.

Humans integrate information, generally, most easily and share information most easily in the storytelling format.

I also believe most witchcraft/religious ceremony/aesthetic ritual has its basis in coping mechanisms that worked for someone at one time well enough that it was shared and became the dogma of that tribe/culture.

Agrarian based civilization makes the practice of seasonal rituals make sense on a pragmatic basis. Hunter gatherer groups tend to have different rituals. Also, personal rituals (be they esoteric or not) are great for divination as the physical mechanics of ritual clear the mind to give the subconscious mind time to answer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,870 Posts
Most, if not all, can be interpreted as such.

I originally thought that "new-age" religions were actually intended to be metaphors, and that the idea was based on the Ancient Greek/Egyptian myths.

I used to call the Bible a "book of discipline", until I was informed that people took it literally.
 

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Couldn't agree more. From the opening of a thread I started just over a year ago, which went nowhere, lol:

"So I have this idea about the oft read Cave parable found in Plato's, The Republic. Seems to me the cave is a womb, a great cosmic egg, as it were, that we all live in until such time as we are born and "see the light". The "others" we wish to convince are none other than ourselves, who wish to remain unborn, uninitiated in the ways of the world, preferring the simplicity of shadows and illusions. Let's not forget that the mother of Socrates, Phaenarete, was a midwife, and that the whole dialectical process is a form of midwifery, bringing to light that which we did not think we actually had knowledge of, and until we actively engage in this process, we remain prisoners within ourselves. Ideas?"

I now have to study up or at least read about "Inanna's descent."
Inanna's descent has a similar theme to the crucifixion. She ventures down into the underworld, rather than being captured. She is also stripped of her ego identity, left essentially naked, before being hung from a hook for 3 days (of course, Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days). Whereas Inanna's persecutor was her sister (shadow?), I wonder if the crucifixion of jesus may be the 'collective' shadow, I'm not sure.

I knew making this thread would result in me having more reading to do. :laughing:

I'd not heard of the cave parable before (yeah, I've lived a sheltered life), so I've just looked it up. I agree with you about it representing the womb and to escape it would be a rebirth. Just like a fetus wouldn't know that the womb isn't everything that exists, until it's born and discovers that there is more. Other similar metaphors are 'womb-like', such as tombs, Jonah's whale, etc.

I think the cave also represents the mind in the same sense as the tower does. A tower having a window instead of shadows on a wall, but limiting our perspectives in the same way. Our beliefs put our mindset into a cave or a tower. To escape the cave it first would be necessary to doubt our beliefs and consider that there is more than what we think we already know. We can't see what's outside the cave if we refuse to believe that there's anything there. You probably know this already, I'm just rambling about my thoughts on it.

When our whole belief system breaks down, we experience pain and suffering or 'ego death' because our ego is so invested in our current beliefs, it will fight tooth-and-nail to keep holding on to them. Ego death leading to a re-birth, so yeah definitely.

Also, It seems to me that the shadows are like Jung's archetypes which we project onto the things that we perceive and don't realise that we aren't seeing the real objects which we are looking at.

This parable seems to work on so many levels, it's very interesting.

Thanks for bringing it up.
 

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes!! A resounding Yes!!

I like to go halvsies on the question of whether or not these things happened at some point or not- and I tend to think they did, but they were exaggerated/extrapolated poetically. The Pantheon translates to easily to the personality types, or archetypes that I tend to believe that they are grounded in reality.

Like- Jesus, real political/social reformer who was matyred and whose teachings were passed on, giving him a kind of immortality.

Humans integrate information, generally, most easily and share information most easily in the storytelling format.

I also believe most witchcraft/religious ceremony/aesthetic ritual has its basis in coping mechanisms that worked for someone at one time well enough that it was shared and became the dogma of that tribe/culture.

Agrarian based civilization makes the practice of seasonal rituals make sense on a pragmatic basis. Hunter gatherer groups tend to have different rituals. Also, personal rituals (be they esoteric or not) are great for divination as the physical mechanics of ritual clear the mind to give the subconscious mind time to answer.
What kind of rituals/ceremonies? Can you post some examples?
 

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Eska why do think they're taken literally, when literally doesn't really make sense?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,870 Posts
@Eska why do think they're taken literally, when literally doesn't really make sense?
I think it may largely be due to certain authorities (pope/priests/etc.) interpreting as such and the masses following them, or/and children being taught so from their parents, at an early age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
What kind of rituals/ceremonies? Can you post some examples?
I'm no scholar- but here are is what I was thinking when I wrote about that:

1. Sacrifice and Messengers of the Gods; I think started out as people who fed the wild birds; which also attracted small mammals, as well as predator animals and increased the bounty of the land over time through expanding biomass and fertilization of the land in a "Circle of Life" kind of way. Other people would see the healthy balance in the enviorment, and go to those people for advice. Fast forward- and boom, you have a priest cast that stores wheat and makes sacrifices (ie, feeds the birds and small mammals) and uses their knowledge from watching the land to predict upcoming things.

2. There are many detailed elements where symbolic objects are placed, creating a message for the unconscious mind. The participant undergoes some kind of detailed ritual where they are using sound, visual, kinesthetic, scent and probably taste too in order to build a strong mental association with whatever is trying to be accomplished. The participant puts themself in trance while in a heightened state of awareness- either distress or pleasure- and while in trance programs themselves through their senses to take in that desire1d information. The subconscious accepts it- and later, when the participant is out of the ritual- they eat and drink and socialize, linking a positive association to the ritual's meaning. This works no matter what the belief is-or the culture around the belief.

I'm sure if you wanted to research and look for the similarities, someone who is more detail-oriented can help; it's the general concepts I dig, as there's no argument in the mechanics working; that's hardware stuff. The philosophy, legends, etc, are the software; and I'm not for a PC/MAC debate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,772 Posts
Well, sucks to be Dumuzi, Inanna's hubby, but I guess he got what was coming to him for not mourning Inanna sufficiently. Wow, I had never read that one up till now. She definitely went through a whole deconstruction of self to attain some individuation; I can see it that way now. I'm not sure of the significance of the number 7, the amount of things she had to shed to gain passage to the underworld, but I suspect it is not a random number. I might have to go back now and re-read Gilgamesh since my appetite has been whetted.

Good analysis on the shadows being projections of our own unconscious design, of that which we'd like to see, rather than what might really lie out there. You've been doing your homework, lol!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kynx

·
Retired Administrator
Joined
·
18,071 Posts
I would love to participate, but I'm not sure how concise I can be.

What do you think about the story of Cupid and Psyche? It reminds me a little of beauty and the beast in that it is a story about marriage, but where the husband is somewhat unseen or obscured, and the wife is expected to respect their unusual arrangement (with the invisible or beast husband), but she ends up wavering while visiting her family. And then there is a betrayal and a redemption on her part.

Another story in which the wife is expected not to look, but does is Bluebeard where the beastly husband tells the wife not to open one door in the castle. While her sister is visiting, she does, and she discovers the secret of all his murdered wives. When he returns home, he attempts to kill her, but she flees and her brothers break in and kill him.

So, all these stories seem to have to do with the intimacy of living together, and the issue of secrets and respecting the husband's secrets. And in all stories the wives succumb to questioning their husband's authority...with the first two the women yield to their sisters and also to anxiety or fear. In Bluebeard, the woman goes against her sister's wishes, and follows her own intuition, discovering the dead bodies. So...perhaps one element of this is trusting the intuition rather than social pressure, in regards to marriage? It is almost like the wives are testing their husbands as well, and the results show how beautiful, true, or murderous the husband is.

But IDK...I'm really slow with analyzing these stories. I just noticed what I thought were common themes between them.
 

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, sucks to be Dumuzi, Inanna's hubby, but I guess he got what was coming to him for not mourning Inanna sufficiently. Wow, I had never read that one up till now. She definitely went through a whole deconstruction of self to attain some individuation; I can see it that way now. I'm not sure of the significance of the number 7, the amount of things she had to shed to gain passage to the underworld, but I suspect it is not a random number. I might have to go back now and re-read Gilgamesh since my appetite has been whetted.

Good analysis on the shadows being projections of our own unconscious design, of that which we'd like to see, rather than what might really lie out there. You've been doing your homework, lol!
The significance of the number 7 is usually the physical 4 (earth, air, water, fire) combined with the spiritual 3, represented by the holy trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit/the top of the kabbalah 'tree of life', Kether, Chokma, Binah/Hindu trinity Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. 3 making up the triangle which represents the third eye/eye of Horus often stuck on foreheads in different pictures and ancient art.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Paulie

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@angelcarnivore
I think it's possible that the knowledge existed first. Rather than rituals being a conscious message to the unconscious mind, perhaps they were unconscious messages to the conscious mind.
Lots of myths speak of characters receiving knowledge and insights from 'the Gods'.
Perhaps, Jung's 'collective unconscious' (most of the ideas I'm discussing here tie in with his theory) is what people were referring to as 'Gods'.
Using your example, it's possible that someone gained insights from the (collective) unconscious (essentially how Ni is supposed to receive it's insights) about what would happen if they fed the birds.

What do you think?
 

·
Premium Member
INTP
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Meltedsorbet

I remember reading an interpretation on Eros & Psyche (Greek version) a while back, which explained how it depicted a woman's journey to discover her own sexuality. Unfortunately, I can't remember the details or find it again to re-read it.

I think these stories are timeless because they work on so many levels. When I try to interpret them at a psychological level, I try to think of each character existing as a different aspect of an individual personality, different potential characteristics within the same mind.

So, going on the same theory, I would guess that Cupid could symbolise the Animus.
Since women aren't aware of their Animus at first (if ever) , he works behind the scenes, projecting himself, both positively and negatively onto men she encounters. So in that sense he's invisible.
Then the Animus starts to appear in her dreams, the first available 'window' to her unconscious mind. So Cupid coming after dark and leaving before dawn could indicate that.
Once Psyche sees Cupid, he flees from her. When a woman sees her Animus she then sees the illusions he creates through his projections and they begin to disappear.
Then Psyche goes to find him, she needs to cross the water (often represents the unconscious). She encounters obstacles and trials (accepting and integrating parts of herself which she had previously denied).
After overcoming the obstacles, Psyche is reunited with Cupid, perhaps symbolising the reunion of gender opposites.

This works similarly on the Beauty & the Beast story. Except the beast is created from the negative Animus. When Beauty accepts him, he turns into a prince. (I think, going on the Disney version, lol, I'm so sophisticated :tongue: )

I don't know about the bluebeard story, but again it could be a similar theme.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
@angelcarnivore
I think it's possible that the knowledge existed first. Rather than rituals being a conscious message to the unconscious mind, perhaps they were unconscious messages to the conscious mind.
Lots of myths speak of characters receiving knowledge and insights from 'the Gods'.
Perhaps, Jung's 'collective unconscious' (most of the ideas I'm discussing here tie in with his theory) is what people were referring to as 'Gods'.
Using your example, it's possible that someone gained insights from the (collective) unconscious (essentially how Ni is supposed to receive it's insights) about what would happen if they fed the birds.

What do you think?
Oh, most definitely. I think there's a back and forth conversation. We ask consciously, we are answered unconsciously- and vice versa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,134 Posts
When I think of psychoanalytic interpretations of mythology I immediately think of Joseph Campbell, who was heavily influenced by Jung.

Just out of curiosity, what is your interpretation of Orpheus and Eurydice?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,134 Posts
I once made this thread btw, on why we need myths: http://personalitycafe.com/critical-thinking-philosophy/173192-we-need-myth.html

Couldn't agree more. From the opening of a thread I started just over a year ago, which went nowhere, lol:

"So I have this idea about the oft read Cave parable found in Plato's, The Republic. Seems to me the cave is a womb, a great cosmic egg, as it were, that we all live in until such time as we are born and "see the light". The "others" we wish to convince are none other than ourselves, who wish to remain unborn, uninitiated in the ways of the world, preferring the simplicity of shadows and illusions. Let's not forget that the mother of Socrates, Phaenarete, was a midwife, and that the whole dialectical process is a form of midwifery, bringing to light that which we did not think we actually had knowledge of, and until we actively engage in this process, we remain prisoners within ourselves. Ideas?"

I now have to study up or at least read about "Inanna's descent."
It's an interesting interpretation. Just like to notice that the allegory of the cave is to express the theory of Forms, especially the Sun as the Form of the Good.

I posted this once on the difference between Plato's Forms and Jung's Archetypes:

I think they are different concepts, but there's obviously a connection, since Jung partly based his theory of Archetypes on Plato's Forms. Both are about innate forms and both seem to display a metaphysical disposition.

Plato's Forms are ideal states, abstract, infinite. Such as perfect beauty, justice etc. This concerns virtue and morality and is not far off from the concept of a single transcendental God.

Jungs archetypes consists of shadow, ego, anima, animus, persona, trickster, hero etc. These are all about the self (also an archetype) and have to be understood in the context of the psyche.

They can be synthesized, but I think Plato's Forms is a broader concept, encompassing the whole of nature, while Jungian archetypes is a 'smaller' concept concerning the psyche. Also, a Form is not something that can be represented (take a look at the divided line), while archetypes can be represented in various ways. Patterns seen around cultures define the archetype, which has a bottom-up approach. The primordial images are inhereted from our ancestral past and seem universal: the archetype is born. Forms seems to have a top-down approach. And the top is unreachable. It starts with The Good, the Sun, the Forms, not with representations or shadows.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kynx and Paulie

·
MOTM Feb 2010
Joined
·
4,773 Posts
I tend to define "religion" as "cultivating a relationship with one's unconscious." I then tend to measure religions by how willing they are to relativize their own myth, how much they allow the individual to participate personally in the myth, and then to what degree the myth is controlled by a person on earth (c.f. "Has Jesus been Highjacked?" thread).
 
1 - 20 of 69 Posts
Top