THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
Dr. Jung’s psychology sets forth the supposition that there are three levels ("layers") to the mind. Consciousness is the state of being aware, and Jung defines this function of the mind as an active principle that sustains the relation of the psychic contents with ego consciousness. This would be the analytical mind built upon the evidence of the senses. The Hindus say "the mind is the slayer of the real, kill out the mind." They are referring to this part of the mind, but in the West we have to take a different attitude toward the analytical mind. Without this faculty we would have nothing with which to integrate the unconscious contents, as Dr. Jung points out. Not that a simple analytical analysis of the contents rising from the unconscious to consciousness is all there is to the process of integration, as many patients have discovered in Freudian analysis, but the analytical faculty is one tool we cannot do without and hope to live an active life in West. Because the analytical mind is built upon the evidence of the senses, we see why to the Hindus this mind is conditioned by the Maya. If we distinguish between illusion and delusion we will not fall into the trap of thinking that when the Hindus suggest that this mind should be "killed out" that they mean that this part of the one mind should be destroyed. It is all too often the case that if we stop to analyze a psychic experience (an other-worldly experience that does not come to us through one of the five senses) then we will be prone to analyze (rationalize) ourselves out of the impression we have received intuitionally. But the analytical mind, if conditioned to accept the illusionary world as a condition depending on the limited range of registry of the five senses, can be used not only to deal with the objective world, but also to aid us in integrating these forces and impressions rising to consciousness from the unconscious.
Dr. Jung called the second level of the mind the "personal unconscious." This is the submerged portion, which is the storehouse (Fortune called it the "ash bin") of our memories of past events (of this life) and of all repressed emotional content of a personal nature. This implies that this part of the mind bears the imprints of the events and emotions pertaining to the personality, the unit of incarnation. If they are unconscious, they can be assimilated to consciousness, thereby being caused to seek integration with the "higher life" if conscious intention is so oriented. In other words, it, the personal unconscious, can be regenerated and oriented to the higher life, if the conscious mind aims in that direction. The conscious mind is not autonomous in respect to the Collective Unconscious, but it does hold some autonomy over the personal unconscious. This is readily evidenced in the practice of Christian Science, New Thought, control of the emotions and even of the body’s metabolism in bio-feedback, etc. This is one evidence of the benefits to be derived from the practical application of the analytical faculty to the process of integration. In place of allowing the personal unconscious to drive us ragged with impressions from repressed emotions, we can use the analytical mind to determine the cause and to also control the energy that is out of hand. This kind of control does not seek to repress the energy again, but to utilize it to conscious ends. It is not a case of diagnosing the condition and then trusting that somehow the diagnosis will effect a cure. For knowing what is out of order, diagnosis may be half the battle but diagnosis alone never solved any illness, physical or psychological. However, diagnosis is part of the conscious process. The other part is to direct the energy out of the symptom. Here again the conscious mind is most useful, because an attempt to take the energy out of the symptom (out of the complex) by staging an emotional fit (known as an abreaction in psychology) merely leaves the individual in a psychic void, unable to react one way or the other. Being empty is no cure for psychic wholeness. We must somehow be aware of the conflict between God and Devil, in order to retain our balance between the two. If we can totally repress-one or the other, the repressed content will in time flood consciousness with an urgent appeal to be recognized. This is what has happened to Christianity. In the past, Christianity had so effectively repressed the Devil that he is now showing up as the urge-to-power of the Western World. "Onward Christian Soldiers, leading as to war," is an unconscious expression of Western man’s outfrontness in directing world destiny.
Dr. Jung also postulated a Collective, or impersonal Unconscious, something which could revolutionize the practice (and results) of Western psychology if it were generally accepted. This "layer" of the mind, as referred to earlier, has been known under the label "The Astral World" in the teachings of occultism, where it is divided into many planes and sub-planes. Dr. Jung refers to these as layers of the Collective Unconscious. Here in Jung’s system we find the common source, the archetypes of experience which are drawn upon by fantasy, dream imagery and symbolism. Just as our personal dreams and fantasies are peopled with our personal memories-Aunt Jane, our second-grade teacher, the pictures in our first story-books-so are our collective visions peopled with collective images which we as individuals may not have experienced. The concept of the Collective Unconscious is central to Jung’s thought and is one idea which has been most controversial.
Jung has hinted that the Collective Unconscious may be rooted in biology, that is, in the human genetic structure. He never pursued this idea in his later writings, to my knowledge, so his intent is unclear. Perhaps he hoped that this might be the key to the body-mind dichotomy, providing the medium whereby psychology could truly become a study of the mind body system as an integrated unit. He had verified the existence of a Collective Unconscious empirically and had mapped a good deal of the territory therein. No doubt he hoped that if some relationship could be found between the Collective Unconscious (or portions of it) and the physical body, then the old rift between body medicine and head medicine would be healed. After all, all ancient healing sciences were so united, even as the African witch doctor of today practices, and as we understand was the case with the Pharoah-priest-physicians of ancient Egypt. But Jung was born in our time so his idea was interpreted as implying different, racially-segregated psychologies.
Others have interpreted his writings as saying that if the unconscious is genetically determined, then each race has its own racial Collective Unconscious with its own unique contents, and each member of that race is forever committed to being dominated by that collective. Where a racial group mind (concepts and mores peculiar to any given people and referred to by occultists as an artificial humanly-created elemental that rules the unconscious conduct of that people) is concerned, it is true that this artificial entity does dominate the ethics, customs, and conventions of the race concerned. Jung, however, was not referring to group minds when he gave us the concept of the Collective Unconscious. But some readers of his works inferred this, and it was unfortunate that it all happened in Germanic Switzerland of the 1930’s. He became personally embroiled in a controversy over anti-Semitism which I am sure will forever haunt him and his students. The controversy arose over a statement made by Jung to the effect that there is a perceptible difference between Germanic (not German) and Jewish psychologies. Anyone who knows that psychology, as a science, includes a personal constituent not generally found in the other sciences, would find no argument with this statement. But it is never wise to point out group differences during a period of racial strife, no matter how true it may be. As it was for Jung, if Hitler had won the war Jung was on the list of those slated for extermination, so it is only too obvious that the Nazis did not think that Jung was sympathetic toward their Movement. In spite of this, the criticism continues even today. Yet neither Jung nor his many Jewish students, some of them world-famous, ever felt obliged to respond to this gossip in public.
Jolande Jacobi, in Complex/Archetype/Symbol does devote considerable space to the exploration of the biological roots of the archetypes, but for the most part, and due no doubt to Jung’s untimely remark, Jungian studies have veered away from this idea. Occultism, however, not contending with the other sciences for popular approbation, does not have to go to any pains to make palatable the fact that the archetypal man of each race was molded in different patterns out of the basic clay of life. To be different does not imply inferiority. Dion Fortune made it clear enough why a student of one race should not follow a "master" of another race, but she in no way implied by this that one race is superior or inferior to another. But when such a statement is made by someone like Dion Fortune or like Dr. Jung, there is always the proletariat in every society ready to latch onto it.
So Jung’s original idea, only a fragment really, will have to wait for another century to explore it fully. In the meantime we are deprived of what we most want to know: what Jung knew about how body and mind are truly interrelated. We can turn to occult theory for our answer, of course, but a good psychologist might say "the Unconscious doesn’t want us to know that." It isn’t really that the Unconscious doesn’t want us to know, however. Dr. Jung said that "it is hard work to become conscious" so it requires hard labor (what the Alchemists called work) on the part of the conscious intentions to be able to get anything out of the Unconscious. This key to body-mind unity may be a very simple (not easy) thing: some physical act we could perform that would instantly reveal unconscious contents to consciousness, as the Alchemists aver. Such knowledge, if it does exist, is understandably sealed in the unconscious. To break this seal on the mind is one aim of Eastern or Western Yoga practices. But both Eastern Yoga and Alchemy require cooperation from the conscious mind, or, as Gurdjieff said, only by "intentional suffering" can we hope to evolve out of the mechanical state of man.
So today we speak of cultural differences
in mass psychology, but not racial differences, and in so doing soften the
terror of determinism. We are today populist-minded and believe in free will
just enough that we are afraid of any idea which implies that we are forever
condemned because of the "sins" of our Fathers. Cultural differences
are culturally acceptable, because they can be modified. Today we fear the
unchangeable even as our fathers feared change, and this may be one reason why
the idea of the Collective Unconscious is -still met with suspicion. Freud, in
mapping the dimensions of the personal unconscious, placed a great deal of
stress on its "evil," that is, destructive aspects. This is our
heritage in psychology. So when we meet the idea of a collective, no doubt we
imagine monsters even greater and more powerful than that little old Id. Indeed
it is true. But one thing which Jung tried so hard to develop was a psychology,
as opposed to psychiatry. That is, a science of the "normal" mind, as
opposed to a technique for treating illness and therefore descriptive of only
non-healthy states. Thus Jung went to some lengths to uncover the
"good," that is, constructive aspects of the Collective Unconscious,
the life-giving and life-sustaining powers. Psychiatry has been better for his
efforts, because how can you heal a sick mind unless you can define what
"health" is first.
Occultism might "explain" this phenomenon as "remembering a previous incarnation," telepathy, or clairvoyance. I am not aware that Jung ever claimed to believe in reincarnation; instead, he postulated a Collective Unconscious, a super reservoir of all such images. Modern esoteric students seem to feel that all these explanations are really the same. Jung has in this way given occultism an "acceptable" (when Jung’s ideas do finally become fully acceptable) way of explaining their favorite ideas. But more importantly, he has given psychology a means to absorb all the hitherto unexplained "weird" phenomena of the mind into the mainstream of "normal" psychology. To use classical occult descriptions instead can be very confusing at times, because of the great variety of terms and the fact that not all occultists agree on these terms. In fact, occultists of different persuasions seldom agree on anything! But, be that as it may, the great variety of terms is due in part to the long and varied history of the Western Tradition, and that its contributors have come from all walks of life and written in different languages. Modern students can be understandably confused by ancient works such as the Zohar, written in medieval Hebrew and translated first into 19th century French and then into Victorian English. It is a wonder that any of the depth of meaning comes through at all.
Sometimes this confusion of terms is due to our modern inclination to redefine traditional terms which had broad meanings, such as `planet’ or `atom,’ and to give them more specific definitions. Our word `planet’ comes from the Greek `planetos,’ meaning "wanderer." The ancients gave this name to any heavenly body which appeared to "wander" or move relative to the background of fixed stars. Under this definition, the sun and the moon were planets, like Mercury and Jupiter. The Earth was not a planet because it was not an observable heavenly phenomenon. Today we choose to redefine the ancient word to mean "a satellite of the sun," and then we snicker at the ancients and say, "Those Greeks weren’t as smart as we are because they thought the Sun was a planet." How superior we are! But if we cannot respect our ancestors, we could at least try to understand them. They cannot answer our petty criticism; they can only stand silent and wait, and wait, and wait. Given enough time we may eventually catch up with their intuitive grasp of how the universe functions. They knew, for example, the location of planets such as Pluto and Uranus, long before telescopes were discovered so we could see them.
Another example of modern confusion of terms relates directly to the subject of the Unconscious. The ancients did not have words like `unconscious’, but they had similar concepts. In their view, man was a triune being, composed of body, soul (psyche) and spirit. These other parts were sometimes represented as bodies in their own right; as the "psychic body" or the "spiritual body." Today this idea is still accepted in Hindu philosophy where the mind, for example, is as much a body, and as real in its own plane, as the physical body is in its plane. The spiritual body is called, traditionally, the "diamond body" or the "body of light." This is the spark of pure existence itself. Paracelsus called this the "starry body," to imply that it was made of pure Light itself. When we translate the works of Paracelsus, we leave some of his Latin in the original, and we render this term as `Astral body.’ Eliphas Levi also used `Astral body’ to mean the spiritual body. But Blavatsky chose to use the term `Astral body’ to refer to the psychic nature, or the soul. Since her time, it has become conventional in Western Occultism to use `Astral body’ to refer to the psyche or the personal unconscious. This mixing of terms makes the study of our Western Tradition even more difficult. The concepts themselves are difficult enough to grasp without mixing terms for them. The students of the East-of Tibet or India-have some continuity of language and culture behind their wisdom. But ours is a polyglot of ideas in many languages. Blavatsky attempted to bring these together in Isis Unveiled, but it was a difficult (if not impossible) task.
My teacher tried to bring the Greek and Hindu systems together in the terms of General Semantics. This is one reason why he chose not to refer to his teachings as occult, because modem students want their truths in terms science uses today. To show how important my teacher thought it was to update the terns in which the Western Tradition is given, in 1955 he wrote to me (and he was not given to writing personal letters to anyone!) and asked me if I would modernize the language in which the Qabalah is clothed. He realized at that time that the Qabalah would elicit considerable interest from students in the West before the end of this century, and he felt that some attempt should be made to modernize the terms of the Yetziratic Text. I did not feel at that time that I had sufficient grasp of the Sepher Yetzirah or sufficient time to give to a scholarly research of the subject, nor do I claim to be in any position to do adequate justice to it today. But, in memory of my teacher, I am trying to correlate terms as best I am able to do with my limited knowledge of our Western Tradition. To this end I chose to correlate the modern Qabalah with Dr. Jung’s psychology, because both the modern Qabalah and Dr. Jung’s psychology are claiming the attention of so many of today’s Western searchers. Even now it is impossible for anyone who claims to an interest in philosophy, to ignore some reference to the Qabalah and to Dr. Jung’s psychology. The interest in these can only become more demanding with time. Perhaps, however, the only real hope we have in the West is that the student will eventually, through intuition or initiation, come to some understanding that transcends language and the barriers it places on the mind. How to lead the student to that point is a major task in itself, debilitating and often hopeless, and rarely rewarding, as I often heard my own teacher declare. To do this is to travel with the student through the Unconscious, seeking the demons which afflict him and the gods which are the source of strength and inspiration. The vast majority of people live totally within the personal psyche and have little conscious awareness of even their personal demons. To them, the concept of a Collective Unconscious is not so much incomprehensible as it is irrelevant. But anyone who has touched upon The Collective Unconscious the numinous in his dreams or imaginings, and has felt the jolt of power from an otherwise innocuous image, knows that he has made contact with a depth and root of Being of extraordinary power. Those who claim that the path to Self-realization is strewn with roses, or at least that it should be, that the thing to expect from the journey is peace-of-mind, physical and emotional well-being, are still laboring in the grip of the personal unconscious that has been conditioned on slogans such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." There is no other way in this "vale of tears" except to stand at the "Wailing Wall" with Binah, the Mother of sorrows. "All is sorrow" as the Third Intelligence of the Qabalah tells us. "All" means everything doesn’t it? Happiness then is incidental to our search. If we are seeking for a way out of our misery we have taken the wrong world to pass through. Or, as Blavatsky said, "Who can dare say they are happy and still hear the whole world cry?" I am not arguing here with those who do try to alleviate some of the suffering of this world either. We all try to make it easier for each other as we pass this way together. But looking for happiness for ourselves or others merely expresses our childish search for Utopia. Utopia is an ideal to be hoped for, but that is all it is if one is looking for it in this world.
The unconscious is itself composed of many levels or layers. For example, we could plot it in this way:
0. conscious mind
1. short-term memory (events of recent past)
2. long-term memory (events of childhood)
3. familial memory
4. national or ethnic memory
5. racial memory
6. human memory
7. planetary memory
8. cosmic (angelic) memory
(For Jung’s readers this has been otherwise categorized by Jolande Jacobi.) There are additional levels, and many sublevels, so this chart is intended only as a sketch of a possible structure. But it does suggest that the term `unconscious’ is very broad and general and covers a multitude of sins.
Short-term memory contains all the trivia necessary for us to maintain our daily lives, such as phone-numbers and addresses and what happened last Wednesday. These things are not truly conscious, because they are not what I am immediately thinking about while I write this sentence. But they are easy to recall when I need the information. As time passes, these events fall into long-term memory, where they are more difficult to recall. In fact, we think we have "forgotten" them, until a dream of a childhood summer or an old injustice reminds us that they were always there.
Jung asserts that these long-term memories eventually (as we die) fall into the Collective Unconscious. Whether they stay there forever or eventually decay from disuse, has been a matter for some speculation. We do know that constant use has a reinforcing power. Just as with short-term memory, if I constantly use a particular phone number, then that tends to stay in my short-term memory. And we know that childhood events which were emotionally powerful are more easily remembered than ordinary events. So it is with collective images and events; the constant meditation of Tibetan monks on a particular image infuses it with a power that tends to "fix" this image in the collective psyche. Such an image can arise spontaneously in the minds of people of other cultures or ages. Just as we can remember childhood events with some effort, so we can "remember" collective events in which we may not have participated personally. This is not common, but it has happened and it can be done. To deliberately accomplish this requires considerable training and effort; more effort than most people are willing to devote to something which has little obvious value. The adherents of reincarnation say that when a collective event rises to consciousness this way, that one is remembering something from one’s own past life. This may be true, but it also is equally as true that the general storehouse of memory can be recalled by anyone, either in dreams, visions, or as an impression in the mind. The life of humanity lays down the planetary memory, the subconscious of the race. This planetary "spirit" is available, for good or ill, to anyone who knows how to "remember" it. It also can break in on the mind of a given person spontaneously. Nostalgia for the past is a cyclic recrudescence of the power of this "spirit" that serves as an inertia on the present. So the past of humanity is constantly being "remembered" by humanity, and thus are "the good old days" repeatedly reinforced.
The student of the Wisdom, however, consciously journeys into the collective to search out the wisdom of the ancients. His concern is not to renew the longed-for past, but to unleash the inspiring power bound up in the images left there by the ancients. As the Vagrom Angel said, "If you know an angel’s name you can call him by it." You can also call up the power of the pagan gods if you can "remember" their forms. "If you wear the mask of Horus you will speak with the voice (power) of Horus" This is where esotericism parts company with those teachings that stick to scientific hermeneutics. Going to the pains to insist that occultism is a dead issue in this day of scientific descriptions does not obviate the fact that scientific terminology does not serve as mantra for hidden powers. To say, as we do today, that the Sun is a ball of fire, or an atomic body, has cut us off from the intimate contact the American Indian has with The Great Spirit.
We can depict the layers of the Collective Unconscious as rock strata in the earth, as Jolande Jacobi has done in her book on Jung’s Psychology, with persons being little hills rising above the plain of the collective. If we cover the plain with water, the persons become islands which are apparently separate, but in reality are connected below by common strata of rock (the collective). The water level is the boundary between conscious and unconscious. Everything below water is "unconscious," some of it personal, some of it collective. We all seem to be little islands, separate and distinct, wandering around and talking to each other across the waves, arguing about war and property rights and high taxes. Yet we are connected below, and at some level (in the basic clay of life) we are all One, for good or ill.
Generally speaking, however, the Collective Unconscious is equivalent to the Astral World. In Qabalistic terms the Astral World is the world of Yetzirah, the world of Formation. Depending on whom you are talking to, the Astral World is a place of spirits (good and/or evil spirits), of fantasmal images or absolute truth, the residence of the souls of the dead and of the unborn. All the gods of Greece and Egypt live there, along with all the long-dead gods of civilizations we know not of. To a Spiritualist, his dead Uncle Joe lives there. To Jung, all that Uncle Joe said and thought and desired resides in the Collective Unconscious as a memory bundle, together with all that anyone ever thought about Uncle Joe. Furthermore, this Uncle Joe lump is autonomous, according to Jung. That is, it has a life and a will of its own, independent of me or you. The Spiritualist would say that his Uncle Joe is independent of me or you, too, so, while Jung and the Spiritualist differ on this, still there isn’t all that much difference to be able to argue about it. Either opinion, at any rate, is opposed to personal psychology, where Uncle Joe exists only as a memory in my personal unconscious or in yours, and when I die, my memory of him dies.
But in the concept of the Collective Unconscious, an archetype lives as a unit, autonomously, Dr. Jung referred to this aspect by calling the Collective Unconscious the objective unconscious, or the objective psyche. As objective psyche it would have to be equated as well with the over-soul of the human race, but if Jung had this in mind he did not make it clear. Being objective to the personal unconscious or psyche, and autonomous, anything within the Collective Unconscious functions beyond my will, just as the world around me, the weather, human beings, etc., function without my consent, and may have an effect on me without my consent, too. All of which reminds me of the man I know who was undergoing Freudian analysis, and one of his dreams gave his analyst quite a problem in trying to analyze it. This man dreamed that one of his friends came up to him in his dream and said to him, "What am I doing in your dream?" This man awakened as soon as the dream was over, and as he had been keeping a record of his dreams, he recorded this one and the time in his dream notebook and went back to sleep. The next morning he phoned the friend he had dreamed about to tell him about the dream but before he could tell him, his friend said, "Last night I dreamed that I was in your dream and I walked up to you and said, `What am I doing in your dream?’"
Now it is things like this that show us
that we had better find out whether we know all we should know about what Jung
called the Collective Unconscious. Is the dream merely a dream, or do we have a
life that we live at night when the body is asleep? Do we dream in the
personal unconscious and live in the Collective Unconscious very much the
same as we live in the waking state? At any rate, if there is any difference at
all between Dr. Jung’s three layers of the mind and the mind as viewed by the
Qabalists, it is in a lack of stress made in Dr. Jung’s teachings anent the
four worlds. But in reading the many references Dr. Jung makes to the
The difference, or one difference is that there is no time in the Astral World. That is, the fourth dimension is time, and therefore there is not time within it, in the same way that we cannot measure height (the third dimension) except by reference to the other two dimensions ("ten feet above ground"). There is no height in height itself. To say that the Astral World lacks time does not just mean that "travel" in that World is instantaneous. We must remember that all frequency is measured by time ("four hundred cycles per second"); therefore in a world where time is manipulable, frequency itself is pliable (mutable). So sounds become colors, and colors become smells, and atoms of one kind become atoms of another kind. A fantasmal world indeed! A scientist who understands antimatter (and who does?) knows it exists only because of negative time. And if there is negative time and positive time, then there must be a point in between where there is zero-time or no-time. This zero point is the place from which we drop a perpendicular into the fifth dimension, the realm beyond even the Astral World. Mathematically, this is similar to a singularity in the space-time continuum, where all dimensions meet (or disappear) at some zero-point. This is the World of Briah on the Otz Chum, the world of the mind. If, for example, we are in the Astral World and we think of a given place in time and space, we find ourselves there instantly. This is one reason why the Yogins put so much stress on learning to concentrate, to control thought, hold the mind still.
This also gives us a far better theory about where the U.F.O.’s come from than does the theory that they come from outer space. Perhaps the U.F.O.’s do not travel through time and space to arrive here from another planet. Perhaps they just eliminate time and space altogether until they "arrive" here. Then, of course, they would be subject to time and space as we know it, but not subject to our gravity and therefore can travel in our skies at rates of speed that seem impossible to us. For example, if an Eastern Yogin or a Western Adept needs to be in some distant place in the matter of a split second, he leaves his physical body and, placing himself in this zero point (eliminating the sense of time) he is where he wants to be. He does not need to "Travel in the Astral." He then builds up, in the matter of a split second, a body that in the East is called the Mayavi Rupa (in the West we call this the Body of Illusion), which, owing to the fact that it is built up out of the material of his etheric body is, therefore, a very physical-like body that will hold together as long as he needs it. In doing this he does not use his astral body to take an "astral journey" because those who travel astrally still use a sense of time. Generally, in fact, they do not project out of their cellular bodies any further than "into" the surrounding atmosphere of the physical world. It requires a knowledge of the many different planes of the astral world to be able to project into one of them. Without this knowledge, projection "out" of the physical body "into" the astral body merely puts one into the atmosphere of the planet. One then travels around looking at the same old familiar world. One hasn’t really gone anywhere, except that "in" the astral body one can travel faster than in the physical body and can therefore cover more territory. What has happened in such a case is that the individual has projected his astral body but has left his etheric body with his physical body. But the Yogin or Adept who uses his etheric body takes a "trip" that does not require time, and the purpose for taking this non-trip is to do something in the physical world, but at a distance that would take too much time and effort were he to go there in his physical (material cellular) body. This is as much an impossible wonder to us as space travel is to Australian aborigines. But space travel is possible and is accomplished whether or not aborigines understand it! So our disbelief does not prevent Yogins or Adepts from exercising their powers!
There is not space in this book to go into a detailed account of the esoteric concept of the origin of matter in order to clarify the subject of "inner" bodies, but briefly, esoteric science says that there are seven planes in a Universe, and seven sub-planes to a plane, and that Man is a replica, in miniature, of the Universe, or in other words, that he has "bodies" that live in each of the seven planes of his universe. Physics and chemistry do not recognize the many forms of matter that are known to esoteric science. Physics does, however, recognize an ether that is a medium permeating all space and which transmits transverse waves, as in the undulatory theory. If science can postulate this ether that they have never seen and find that it works for their purposes, then why not an ether for esoteric science? Applied esoteric science has found that their ether works as well for their purposes as does the ether of modern science. This esoteric ether is as much a form of matter as is the ether of modern science. It is, in fact, the super-structure of the physiological organism. Therefore it is a definite part of the physical body, and/or of the physical world. It is not at all difficult for a trained Yogin or Adept to separate this etheric body out from the so-called physical body and then to use this etheric body as a very tangible material body right here in the world of "stuff" and "things."
To be active in the region (world) of non-time, an Adept must have access to the fifth dimension, equivalent to the Qabalistic World of Briah. Only an Adept based in Briah has the Mayavi Rupa (body of illusion) controlled to a degree that it can be used in such "travel." Astral travel could be said to be travel in the Collective Unconscious, if we equate the two worlds. But, as mentioned before, very few people ever project their astral bodies beyond the confines of the material world. The astral faculties are merely extensions of the five physical senses anyway, so, like the physical body, the astral senses can only register more attenuated aspects of the physical world than the five physical senses can register. The sixth sense, which is not developed in mass humanity, is the sex sense and properly functions in the sixth plane body. It is a function at this level that can be applied to creating ideas that are born out of the unconscious into the world of men, in place of being used merely to create havoc by over-populating the world. Man does not use this sense. It uses him to preserve the species. To this end it acts through sensation rather than through the vehicle of a controlled mind. One of the aims of Yoga is to develop this sixth sense as a functional faculty of the thinking principle. As it acts in mass man, it swamps his mind through his sensation center and thus uses him unconsciously in the service of the species. This is not bad, however, where mass man is concerned, except where false conventions cause him to repress his sex energies or to put them into mass culture for the benefit of those institutions (governments, etc.) that control society.
I have discussed this at some length, however, merely by way of showing that the general understanding of the Collective Unconscious does not at all make clear what this part of the mind is, and even then it is not a sufficient model to explain all "unconscious" phenomena. There is always something left over that, Horatio, is not dreamt of in our philosophy, just as our governments must constantly pass new laws to take care of loopholes in the old laws. So there is a fifth dimension, and then a sixth, and then a seventh. But just trying to map out the fourth dimension is a labor to keep all of us busy for some time. The esoteric Qabalist would take the "layers of the unconscious" given earlier, and then turn them upside down to put them on the Tree. For him, the "highest up is the deepest in," so the deepest depths of the "unconscious" thus map onto the planes of the Astral World, and in reverse order to the way the esoteric Qabalist gives them. This idea is supposed to be one of the "hidden" truths, so it is not a subject for publication. The Tree in any system, however, is always shown upside down with its roots at the top. We miss the significance of this because we are not aware of what center our own roots are planted in, but the esotericist says that "the lowest center in man is the highest center in God" and that should give us some hint about how to "look" at the Tree. I know that this will be confusing to people who wear their crowns (Kether) on their heads, but so be it!
If we believe that when a man "dies" he is not really dead, but remains "living" in the Astral World (the Collective Unconscious) then our whole set of values toward death and dying, murder, suicide and war requires reevaluation. In the end we may wind up with the same conclusions, but for different reasons. One example is the attitude toward capital punishment. If we do not believe in the finality of death, we could be tempted to use this as an endorsement of capital punishment, reasoning that you cannot really kill a man anyway, and therefore execution is not a "sin" on society because the man, as a soul, is not really dead. But if his "home" as a "dead" man is really the Collective Unconscious, then we see that we have neither cured the criminal of his tendencies nor insulated him from society. We have merely forced the complex into the unconscious (classical Freudian repression) where it will live until it gathers sufficient strength to break out again. When a criminal is forced into The Collective Unconscious the Astral World, because this is the Collective Unconscious, his tendencies are free to come up through the consciousness of anyone still "living."
A man with criminal tendencies should be rendered the mercy and the justice of having an opportunity to be rehabilitated, and to rejoin society and live a useful life so that he can, when death comes to him naturally, die in that state of consciousness in place of in the belief that he is a criminal. I would venture to say that at least fifty percent of our crime would eventually end if we stopped using capital punishment and rehabilitated the emotionally sick criminals who are as much victims of society as society is of them. (I am referring here to real crime, such as murder, robbery, kidnapping, etc., and not to prostitution, smoking pot, pornography, etc.,-those victimless "crimes" that use up most of the taxpayers money and most of the time and effort the police should be giving to apprehending those who perpetrate real crime.) The fifty percent who probably would not respond to rehabilitation would simply be those who cannot be "cured" by psychology, at least until we learn to step back of the personal unconscious and take a broader view. There are a myriad of cases from throughout history which bear this out: rock outcroppings in the mountains called "suicide rock" from the number of suicides that occurred, or the little alleys in the bowels of London and other cities with names like "axe-murder alley," so called because of the number of identical murders which took place there by people who knew nothing of the local history but who were "suddenly overcome" by a terrible desire to murder someone. These are often cases of obsession or possession. The little axe-murder alleys border on the hells of the Astral World, proving why we should not encourage the existence of these festering sore-spots in the tenderloins of the great cities. If for no other reason than self-preservation (a very selfish reason I admit) we should bring our love (and that includes our money and our time) to bear upon the conditions in these sinks of poverty and degradation. But even the so-called best of us "get lived" more than we live by conscious will, so what we neglect to do to alleviate the misery in our nation may prove that as a nation of people we are all unconsciously in cahoots with the powers of darkness. Be this as it may, we are at any rate a nation of metaphysical illiterates who by neglect permit criminals, alcoholics and drug addicts to rot and die in prison, thus throwing them into the Astral planes while still in a distressed state of mind. This sets them free to obsess anyone who will respond to their frequency state. The idea of treating others as we would be treated is not only moral, it is ethical.
This is the lesson of the Collective Unconscious; that it is the "plane or world of causes;" we merely see and experience the symptoms and in our ignorance think the symptoms are causal. We find the god-images, all of them from all times, in the Collective Unconscious. For good or ill, they are demanding, and they will be served! Because they reflect archetypal instincts we cannot kill them, but we can say no to them or, if we know how, we can consciously cooperate with them so that we shall not be crushed by their pressure in our psyches. The process of Individuation attempts to bring to consciousness and integrate the contents of the personal unconscious. In the mysteries this is called adeptship. The service of the Adept, in addition to helping others achieve the same, is to attempt to bring to consciousness the collective contents, to hunt out the hidden gods and map their territory, to describe their images, their "footprints" and their tendencies. He wants to find the gods before they find him-guerrilla warfare of the soul! To speak of these gods (instincts) as unconscious is only to mean that we are unconscious of them. It is they who are autonomous, not us. It is only a very high grade Yogin or Adept who is aware of the energy of these great instincts anyway. The rest of us only come under their beneficent and malevolent influence in our natal house affairs.
According to Jung the Collective Unconscious is not only autonomous, it contains everything that is not in the time-slice of our immediate conscious attention. My teacher often said that "the deepest in is the highest up" and who can say that we are ever aware of the depths, to say nothing of being aware of the "higher" reaches of the Tree of Life? For the purpose of perspective, then, we may map the "layers of the Collective Unconscious" onto the Tree in their inverted order, so that the "deepest" layers fall at Kether. But of course God, the All Father, is an unconscious entity for all intents and purposes pertaining to the conscious mind, so to become conscious of the source of Being would throw the conscious mind out of focus and render it unconscious of this world at least temporarily if not permanently. This is no doubt what happened to Enoch when he "walked with God and was no more because God had taken him." At the level of the Self (Tiphareth) the Qabalists and also Dr. Jung make it clear enough that this shift in consciousness displaces the ego with the Self so that henceforth one does not function in ego consciousness at all. An abyss has been bridged between ego and Self and inasmuch as "the true center of gravity lies across the abyss" the individual is now totally oriented to The Great Work. The unfulfilled desires that formerly kept the individual bound to the "pursuit of personal happiness" have suddenly and autonomously been granted in full in the realization of union with Self: that one value that transcends all values. But until this state is attained, the source of energy flows from Kether drilling its zigzag way as a lightning flash back and forth between the two side pillars of the Tree, until it strikes in Malkuth. This is therefore the medium for cause and effect which does not depend on anything Man does or does not do. Action describes karma. In the West we call this the law of cause and effect. But the master who gave The Cosmic Doctrine through Dion Fortune, said, metaphorically, that "In the beginning space (Kether) moved." We can hardly blame or give credit to Man for this original action. So at last we have found the culprit-space is the cause of it all! And so are the deeper layers of the Collective Unconscious positive to the conscious mind, which often reflects them directly as a mirror does. We have all met some people, for example, whom we could swear were constantly under the rule of the unconscious and could scarcely be called conscious even in everyday speech!
So the Collective Unconscious as the Astral World has long been taught by occultism. It is a common concept in esoteric thought. It is perhaps too common, because each branch of occultism (and even those schools that refuse to refer to themselves as occult) has its own peculiar vision of what the Astral World is, and of what is there, and each thinks that his idea is the one and only correct one. But this is all good, because it gives diversity to the Astral World that it would not have if everyone imagined it to be the same. The Astral World has its own "matter"-emotional "stuff" that is real enough to be manipulated by thought and feeling. It is not an imaginary world ("such stuff as dreams are made of") but its "stuff" responds to imagination, so that we find there the Christian Heaven and Hell, Dante’s Inferno, Purgatory, the Islamic Land of the Houris, the Summerland of the Spiritualists, and the Happy Hunting Ground of the American Indian. All these are different "places" within the Astral World, so it is probably best to call it the Collective Unconscious and be done with it. Its "stuff" can be molded by an idea that is factual, or by one that is not factual, and its "places" change, for better or for worse, as Man’s concepts about Reality change.