The Virtue of Limitation
William N. Greer
We know as little of a supreme being as
of Matter. But there is as little doubt of
the existence of a supreme being as of
Matter. The world beyond is a reality,
an experiential fact. We only don't
understand it. — C. G. Jung
This essay blends astrology and archetypal psychology — a discipline formulated by James Hillman that in the late 20 th century emerged as a distinct field of inquiry from the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. Before considering the main theme of this essay, a few remarks highlighting the principles of archetypal psychology will be given. In doing so, the ramifications of the Saturn archetype and its underlying principle of limitation may be more fully realized.
The Nature of Archetypal Psychology
Archetypal psychology considers psyche to be first principle or final cause, embodying all existence both phenomenal and noumenal.
psychology is defined as the study of a psyche thought to incorporate all worldly processes, no area of knowledge, no discipline nor specialty of human interest falls outside the purview of archetypal psychology. The imaging function is the means by which psyche is manifested. Truly profound psychological study necessitates imaginal study — and this is especially true of archetypal images. Images are considered archetypal if they meet the criteria of being universal, teleological and theophanic. Furthermore, archetypal images have generative power, and are necessary for physicality. Culture is permeated with archetypal images and derivative symbology, therefore cultural study provides rich opportunity for expanding knowledge of how archetypes affect humanity.
Archetypal psychology is a creature of the intellect which evolved from people originating in the region of the Mediterranean Sea. Believing Occidental culture to be a fount of ubiquitous archetypal images, attention is generally confined to the culture which spawned archetypal psychology. Hence little regard is accorded other cultures, since most imaginal study directed away from the Mediterranean legacy would largely be a redundant effort, involving cultural significance of questionable applicability to the Western mind.
Unlike Jung who pioneered archetypal study, archetypal psychology does not accept the concept of transcendant archetypes. Archetypes are deemed to be phenomenal; that is, as psyche manifests through its imaging facility, archetypes arise in consciousness as a mode of expression.
Although one might at first think so, archetypal psychology is not concerned solely with theoretical speculation.
Those involved with archetypal
psychology strongly assert that it should and does have a therapeutic function. They see its main task as that of restoring to persons a sense of soul which members of Western societies have lost as science and technology gained their ascendancy. These practitioners also charge that we in the West have developed an unwholesome regard for an egoistic
Mythology was to [Joseph Campbell] the
song of the universe — music so deeply
embedded in our collective unconscious
that we dance to it even when we can't
name the tune. — Bill Moyers
approach to life. Hence, archetypal psychology strives, even more than Jung, to lessen the relevance of ego.
Given the importance of cultural investigation, psychological study is especially concerned with all forms of culture: the arts, language, religion, superstition, and so forth. In all of these areas, and more, the Saturn archetype will be found, and its antecedent principle of limitation exerts a pervasive influence of infinite scope and diversity of application. Possibly the most important area of cultural concern is that of mythology.
The Nature of Myth
It is unfortunate that, in modern times, people have come to equate myth with fiction. Perhaps this situation emerged from the Renaissance and evolved alongside an increasing belief in the...
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