The Seven Sermons to the Dead
The Seven Sermons to the Dead was written by Carl Gustav Jung between
December 15, 1916 and February 16, 1917 under the pseudonym "Basilides
of Alexandria". Jung chose the name of a gnostic writer who taught in
Alexandria around A.D. 125-140. It was a custom for authors of
spiritually oriented material to attribute the authorship to someone
they felt to be their superior on the subject.
Jung distributed this material to a few of his friends and seemed to
publicly reject the label of "gnostic". It can be argued, though,
that Jung's model of human psychology is but a 20th century
gnosticism. As with everything else, interpret this material
symbolically, not literally. Indeed, the very subject of the First
Sermon warns us of the same.
Jung creates some unique images, such as "mother heaven" and "father
earth" along with his attempt to warn us against giving ourselves over
to one archetype. They are there for us to use on our path of
individuation, not to be worshipped as THE god / goddess as the non-gnostic
Christians have done (the "dead").
For an excellent analysis and interpretation, check your local library
or bookstore for:
The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead
by Stephan A. Hoeller
- Sermon One (The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they did not find what they were seeking.)
- Sermon Two (During the night the dead stood along the walls and shouted: "We want to know about god!)
- Sermon Three (The dead approached like mist out of the swamps and they shouted: "Speak to us further about the highest god!")
- Sermon Four (Grumbling, the dead filled the room and said: "Speak to us about gods and devils, thou accursed one!")
- Sermon Five (The dead were full of mocking and cried: "Teach us, thou fool, about church and holy community!")
- Sermon Six (The demon of sexuality comes to our soul like a serpent.)
- Sermon Seven (At night the dead came back again and amidst complaining said: "One more thing we must know, because we had forgotten to discuss it: teach us concerning man!")
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