This is Post 3 in the ‘Mandala of Love’ book blog series.
The Mandala is an archetype – a universal symbol or pattern. Images that reflect this archetypal pattern are found in all cultures throughout history, and in the dreams and visions of humanity since the beginning of recorded history. For Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, the Mandala was a symbol of the wholeness of the psyche and of the cosmos – even a symbol of God. The Cross, the symbol of Christianity, is the most prominent example of a Mandala image in world history. For Jung, the life of Jesus was a profound spiritual mystery – one that preoccupied him for the whole of his life. For him, Jesus was a man who lived a mythic life; and the crucifixion of Jesus was, for Jung, both an historical event and a mythic Mandala image. It was one of the most important parts of his life’s work, that humanity should better understand this great symbol. Indeed, he found the lack of understanding of that symbol, and of the person of Jesus, to be both tragic and dangerous for the future of humanity.
Carl Jung’s Mandala Archetype
Carl Jung passionately wanted to bring about a healing and a renewal of Christianity, so that it could meet the modern world with a new wisdom and integrity. His search for understanding of the Mandala archetype played a key part in that quest. To understand the depth of Jung’s passion in this regard, it is important to understand that he was the son of a protestant pastor, and that he had witnessed, in the course of his childhood, his father’s loss of faith, a painful experience whose impact never left him. He was also painfully conscious by the end of his life that Christianity had failed to prevent a bloody revolution in Russia, two horrific world wars, the rise of modern fascism, the Holocaust, and the nuclear arms race of the cold war era. Continue reading