Friday, April 2, 2010

The Psychological Relevance of Good Friday

Carl Gustav Jung, the founder of analytical psychology was one of the first psychologists to explore the Christian myth as psychological experience. The themes around Good Friday and the cruxification are particularly relevant to the individuation process, that is, the life long journey towards psychological wholeness and to live the Self's experiement in life.

In the Christian Myth, Good Friday marks Jesus's cruxification and the beginning of the three days of waiting for the ressurection on Easter Sunday. The symbols of the cross and the waiting 3 days are found in many other myths and fairy tales. The central theme of which reflect the psychological experience of the death of something in order that something else can rise.  Three days is symbolic of the night sea journey with its themes of descent and return. In these journeys, a part of the ego's energy retreats from daily life for inner exploration to find the truth of the soul. 

For Carl Jung and Jungian Analyst, Edward Edinger, the cruxificiation and the cross are the psychological experience of that moment when the divine and the ego are locked in a tension of the opposites. Both are on the cross. Both must sacrifice something for transformation to occur.  The Self / the Divine must come down from heaven and become conscious in the individual as life energy.  The ego must sacrifice the inflated notion that it is the master of its own house and serve the larger call of individuation.  The drama of the cruxification is symbolically a fundemental experience of the individuation process.

This process is described by Edward Edinger in Ego and Archetype  " This state is a transition period. It is the limbo of despair following the death of an old life orientation and preceding the birth of a new one. Jesus' ressurection symbolizes the birth of a more comprehensive personality which can result from the conscious acceptance of the cruxification ordeal" p 150.

Christina Becker is a Jungian Analyst, Professional Astrologer and Consultant with a private practice in Toronto, Ontario Canada. She is graduate of the C.G. Institute Zurich. Her practice purpose is to empower individuals, couples, teams and organizations on their path of transformation. Her website is

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