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Christ: Archetype of Archetypes

by David Yeagley · December 9, 2010 · 26 Comments ·

Christmas, the holiday of all holidays, is the supreme event that it is for very specific reasons. The art, poetry, pageantry, and public focus all celebrate the most wonderful of all human events, the birth of a baby. Indeed, we celebrate life on Christmas Day.


The poetic moment: the normal made significant. From
TotalFilm Gallery.

Yet, it seems the more intense our celebrations, the more we reveal our hidden doubts, uncertainties, and even protests about life. We need affirmation, some loud, dramatic vote of confidence. In the simple Christmas story, we find the perfect salute to ourselves, our individual lives, and the hope of humanity.

Of course, Carl Jung has it that Christ Crucified is the real archetype of the Western Collective, Conscious and Unconscious.

The Self is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumfrerence is nowhere…And do you know what the Self is for Western man? It is Christ, for Christ is the archetype of the hero, representing man’s highest aspiration. All this is very mysterious and at times frightening.

This statement is found in Miguel Serrano’s C. G. Jung and Hermann Hesse: A Record of Two Friendships (1966), p.56.


Carl Jung, 1875-1961

Indeed, in the baby Jesus, we find our greatest hero in the most simple, most vulnerable moments–in the arms of a teen-age mother, in a barn, in a small rural village. Homeless, known only of the angels, and the few herdsmen they told, here lay ineffable significance. Here, in human nothingness, lay the pinnacle of hierarchy.

In this rich irony, this golden agony of reversals, every human consciousness can find itself, and the balm for its every ill. Every human soul has a place in the circle. The vortext is so very powerful that it aggrandizes every detail of existence. The wild flowers are magnified. The mountains are humbled. In a very real sense, psychologically, we are made free men. All hierarchy is dissolved. Nothing is insignificant. All is significant. The Divine was here, with us, as us, and for us. Direction and focus are retired. The wind is born. Romance is alive, and adventure is sanctifed. All is home. There is no foreign place. We go where none have gone before, in full confidence.

The Christmas spirit is a consuming passion. It is overwhelming. If allowed its moment, through art, music, or some cherished act or memory, it surges within soul. The home is glorified, however humble. Family is loved and honored, no matter how dysfunctional or tragic. So many stories, films, dramas, and works of music and art have explored the emotional effects of the Christmas story that human fascination with it is abundantly clear. Though not much has been produced in recent years, the only reason is that Christ has been removed from the season. Thus, the world is robbed of itself, of its own birthright. “No room in the Inn,” it seems. The self-righteousness of politicians and other egalitarians hold a wicked sway these days. Enemies of of the Baby Jesus. How cruel. How heartless. They insult every bedtime story in the world.

This season, BadEagle.com will examine various aspects of the socio-psychological realities of the Christmas story and its season. We will ponder the inevitabilites, the impossibilities, and the potentials of such a time. Such aspects are legion, and as varied as human experience. Liberal Jews, atheists, Muslims, and all others who find Christmas offensive, or its public celebration intrusive, or its association with any governmental authority outrageous, will be given consideration.

Today is the last day of Hannukah this season. As long as Hannukah is understood to be what it really is–a celebration of the survival of national identity under extreme duress, I think Hannukah deserves a place in all nations, and certainly among American Indians and all Americans. Hannukah is an kind of archetypal notice of nationhood, a very basic human instinct. It isn’t really a religious holiday at all. Every nation should celebrate it, even though it is ethno-specific, and it does celebrate the key aspect of religion in nationhood, this is all the more reason Hannukah should be acknowledged.


Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882.

So we move to Christmas time now. the opposite end of the spectrum–the individual, rather than the nation. But, as said by the poets and philosophers, the individual’s integrity is the elixer of humanity. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in “Self-Reliance” (1841),

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world…Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

This is another pre-Jungian testimony of the Collective Unconcious. The history of literature is replete with such testimony. On the basis of this phenomenon, this universality born in the individual–if he will but acknowlege it, we shall begin this season’s meditations on the story of stories, Bethlehem, and the charm of the Incarnation.

Posted by David Yeagley · December 9, 2010 · 1:39 pm CT · ·

Tags: Arts · Bad Eagle Journal · Christianity · Religion




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26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pamela K. // Dec 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm   

    The Cross is the primary reason why Jesus comes under major attack every Christmas.

    The purpose for Christ crucified is that The Cross is the basis of God’s total provision for the believer.

    God, also with Jesus, freely gives us all things, through The Cross.

    The Cross is the basis of Christ’s total defeat of Satan.
    Conflict with Satan without the deliverance provided by The Cross will be a defeat,

    The Cross is intended in the believer to be deliverance from this present evil age.

    Satan has established a tenacious foothold in The Church and has obscured the vision of Christ crucified. As a result, many churches have succumbed to carnality and legalism.
    The soul has been substituted for the spirit. In other words, the intellect of man has replaced the Holy Spirit.

    Seven Examples:

    1.Theology replaces divine revelation

    2. Education ( in the Seminary) taking the place of character building. It is very dangerous to train peoples’ intellect without building their character. The educated, carnal mind is an enemy of God.

    3. Religious programming takes the place of the leading of the Holy Spirit

    4. Psychology replaces spiritual discernment

    5. Eloquence replaces supernatural power

    6. Man’s reasoning replaces faith

    7. Laws (legalism) adding requirements to achieve righteousness with God, has replaced the unmerited favor of God (Grace). Legalism is also devoid of the love and mercy of God.

    A good example of this is the Pharisees. Jesus performed the miraculous right before their eyes, healing the sick, and the blind, yet, all that concerned them was that He was breaking their Sabbath laws!

  • 2 Thrasymachus // Dec 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm   

    Righteous nationalism in any nation is a very good thing; self-righteous “nationalism” is a disaster. In the former, God is respected as the Author and Source of all nations, and humility naturally results; in the latter, vanity rules and brings destruction on “the house” (i.e., the nation — even if liberal and multicultural, and thus unnatural).
    ———————————–

    A Christmas without Christ is the most absurd observance ever practiced! Materialism is idiotic to the core. Without God and spirituality, Life cannot have real meaning. In fact, the human drama on this earth is, in itself, absurd and pathetic. Unless Man has a relationship with his Creator, all the suffering and trials of life can serve no ultimate purpose — and even little immediate purpose!

  • 3 Thrasymachus // Dec 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm   

    Though not exactly Christmas, this is Gospel, and pertains to the meaning of the Holiday and restates my earlier post, filling out its meaning.

    Without Him

  • 4 David Yeagley // Dec 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm   

    Personally, I propose to avoid theological terms and tenets this time around, to see if we can get more of a vicsceral Incarnation, a more tactile take, a more inescapable encounter–through poetry and prose, no less!

    A rabbi (David Blumenthal) once told me truth is an experience, not a postulate. While I believe there is such a thing as “sound doctrine,” I do also think there is truth hovering above the rocks. We all have to light, for our wings tire. The rock is home. But, we have wings, too.

    I confess, I absolutely hated theology at Yale. I just killed my soul. Never really knew why. It was horribly uncomfortable. It seemed to insult God. If any argument every “proved” His existence, I’d say right there, that very argument proved He did not exist. If He were a construct of logic, of human thinking or verbal abstraction, then that would be the supreme proof He did not exist.

    Somthing like that.

  • 5 Pamela K. // Dec 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm   

    Heaven Cannot Hold Him

    In the bleak midwinter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak midwinter
    Long ago.

    Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
    Nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away
    When He comes to reign;
    In the bleak midwinter
    A stable-place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty
    Jesus Christ

    Enough for Him, whom cherubim
    Worship night and day,
    A breastful of milk
    And a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him, whom angels
    Fall down before,
    The ox and the camel
    Which adore.

    Angels and archangels
    May have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim
    Thronged the air;
    But only his mother
    In her maiden bliss
    Worshipped the Beloved
    With a kiss.

    What can I give Him,
    Poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd
    I would bring a lamb,
    If I were a Wise Man
    I would do my part…
    Yet, what I can give Him,
    Give my heart.

    -Christina Rosetti

  • 6 Sioux // Dec 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm   

    Thanks, Doc – I needed that and look forward to more. I have heard several other people describe their seminary experience as a soul sucking negative experience — how can you academicize our Lord and not fail miserably?

    Check this out for a real soul lifter:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

  • 7 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 10:25 am   

    Thank you, Sioux! I’d heard about that video. First I saw it. Thanks! Glorious, indeed.

    Jesus in the street, in the common place. Public. God is a great people’s man, as it were.

    Pam, beautiful thoughts in the poem. Nothing makes humanity more ennobled than its thoughts toward Jesus, expressed in genuine human feeling. That is, after all, the most we can do. That is in fact all we have. Yet, this is cherished by the Lord who made us, and shares our bewildering human experience.

  • 8 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 11:18 am   

    Pam, you are quite right, the Cross was the whole reason for the Incarnation.

    Yet, the birth, that is the part everyone immediate receives with joy. The Cross? We have a long way to go, I’m afraid.

    We can get high on the “Lord of Lords” thing, like the winning football team, the hero, etc. That in itself requires no sacrifice.

    It is the blood we avoid.

    But I think we can rejoice in the public praise of the Lord, sincere or insincere. It is an archetype! That’s the glory of it.

    It is a kind of rock concert, but, that’s only an archetype, too.

  • 9 Thrasymachus // Dec 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm   

    A more appropriate selection of pictures for the song Without Him.

  • 10 Thrasymachus // Dec 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm   

    Another song that explains the true meaning of the Divine Incarnation:

    Who Am I?

  • 11 Thrasymachus // Dec 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm   

    Again, the song with appropriate religious pictures and Bible verses:Who Am I?

    And here a Christmas song: Silent Night (Dutch/English/German) – Jantje Smit.

    The prettiest version of this that I have heard was sung live in Dutch by Heintje Simons, but alas! I cannot find this performance on YouTube.

  • 12 Pamela K. // Dec 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm   

    Jesous Ahatonhia
    ( Jesus Is Born)

    ‘Twas in the moon of wintertime
    When all the birds had fled,
    The Mighty Gitchi Manitou
    Sent angel-choirs instead;
    Before their light the stars grew dim,
    and wond’ring hunters heard the hymn…
    Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
    In excelsis gloria.

    Within a lodge of broken bark
    The tender Babe was found,
    A ragged robe of rabbit skin
    enwrapp’d His beauty round;
    But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
    The angel song rang loud and high…
    Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
    In excelsis gloria.

    The earliest moon of wintertime
    Is not so round and fair
    As was the ring of glory on
    The helpless Infant there.
    The Chiefs from far before Him knelt
    With gifts of fox and beaver pelt…
    Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
    In excelsis gloria.

    O children of the forest free,
    O sons of Manitou,
    The Holy Child of earth and Heav’n
    Is born to day for you.
    Come kneel before the radiant Boy,
    Who brings you beauty, peace, and joy…
    Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
    In excelsis gloria.

    This lovely carol, translated into English by J.E. Middleton, was written for the Huron Indians in their own language by Father Jean de Brebeuf, Jesuit missionary to Canada. It was first sung in 1642

  • 13 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm   

    That’s pretty early. Do you think the Indians were impressed? I don’t know. I’ve always thought that the reason plains Indians responded to the story of Christ was in fact the crucifiction. It was about torture and blood, and self-control. That speaks to any warrior.

    I wonder how the Indians responded to the baby Jesus story. It seems so foreign to Indian sentiments. It was just a birth of a child. How could that be made significant?

    The morals of the story, the ironies, the humility, the grandeur. How on earth could those things in the baby story be communicated to people not knowing the Hebrew God?

    That significance is born of humility and love. I suppose that is the essence of the baby Jesus story. Imagine that. People have feelings of tenderness. An infant may bring that out. But, humility. What in the world is that?

  • 14 Pamela K. // Dec 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm   

    The Plains Indians seemed to respond positively to the Jesuit order of priests message about Christ. They might have been ignorant of knowing the Hebrew God, yet, God’s spirit lived in them. Furthermore, the Indians lived close to nature and they knew there was a Great Spirit, Someone greater than themselves, Who controlled the natural order of things.
    I recently bought a copy of the journal of Father Pierre Jean De Smet, a Belgian Catholic Jesuit priest who did missionary work primarily among the Flathead Indians. The Indians called him and other Jesuits “blackrobes” because they wore the long black cassocks.
    The gospel is the most radical message ever presented to the world. It seems to me that the missionaries led by the Holy Spirit to witness to the Indians, saw a better response to it’s message from them than from the so-called “civilized” white Christians.

    Of all the sins of humanity, the most common and perhaps the greatest sin is the sin of pride.
    I say this because it was pride which was used to transgress the heavenly order and as a result Lucifer was cast out. As the god of this world, he uses pride to blind and deprive men of the Truth.
    Jesus’ answer to pride was humility.

  • 15 Thrasymachus // Dec 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm   

    I think it is unfair to say that the Indians responded in a better (or worse) way to the Gospel than the Europeans did. At one time — and that not so long ago — Europe was a Christian civilization.

    The major religions / world philosophies (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism) are all opposed to egoism and the sin of pride. But we really need to define this sin clearly and definitely.

    I shall here give you the definition shared with us by Bruce Lee, the Chinese martial artist and film star (who was a Buddhist by religion):

    “A gung fu man, if he is really good, is not proud at all. Pride is a sense of worth which derives from something that is not organically part of oneself. Pride emphasizes the importance of the superiority of one’s status in the eyes of others. There is fear and insecurity in pride because when one aims at being highly esteemed, and having achieved such status, he is automatically involved in the fear of losing his status. The protection of one’s status appears to be his most important need, and this creates anxiety.

    The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. One is proud when he identifies himself with an imaginary self; the core of pride is self-rejection.” — Bruce Lee

    Sherlock Holmes — yes, a character of fiction — said, in so many words, that honest pride is not a sin. This means a just and true evaluation of, and confidence in, one’s actual abilities. This is something, as we see, entirely different from sinful pride.

    I think that Christianity is the right religion because the Christian finds his salvation in Jesus alone — and this, properly received, necessarily eliminates all spiritual pride.

  • 16 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm   

    As a general thing, the Catholics did not make it well with plains Indians–simply because the plains Indians were nomadic. Catholicism is all about domisticism–civilization, agrarianism, etc. The hunter’s life did not relish such things.

    But that’s the early days. The Catholics had more success later. There was a magic influence, with their relics, gold things, strange clothing, etc. Primitives are always impressed by appearances.

    But, somehow, a number of Indians did pick up on the story of Jesus. Oh, how I wish I could relive those initial moments, when the story came into the heart of an early Indian.

    How could it–when they that brought him the story were ripping off everything he had, chaning his life, and even killing him?

    This is a mystery.

  • 17 ELIAKIM // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm   

    Well here’s a Christmas present for you from our heavenly Father, Abba, who was not born on Christmas day. LOL.

    The English poet William Blake wrote “And did those feet in ancient time, that is now known as the hymn Jerusalem and he mentions the dark satanic mills of the North of England.” Beneath this poem Blake inscribed an excerpt from the Bible: ‘”Would to God that all the Lords people were Prophets” Numbers XI. Ch 29. v.(Book of Numbers 11:29)”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyn0ongj0F8&feature=player_embedded

    When will Christians learn that the Son of God as a new name?

    The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Rev 3

    ANOINTED WITH NEW NAME
    The renowned biblical and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Geza Vermes wrote the following in his book ‘Jesus the Jew.’

    The Hebrew phrase, ‘to call a person by name’, of Exodus 31:2 is variously Aramaicized in the Targums as, ‘to appoint by name’, (Onkelos), ‘to establish and call by name’, (Neofiti), or ‘to appoint and call’ (Neofiti margin). In other words, the same Aramaic verbs are employed to render both the plain idea of nomination and the ritualistic metaphor of anointment.

    In Exodus 28:41, ‘You will anoint them’ is translated as ‘You will appoint them’.

    Likewise, ‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me’ is reinterpreted in the Targum of Isaiah 61:1 as, ‘The spirit of prophecy from the Lord is upon me, therefore he has appointed me’.

    In my divine experience when you are chosen and called by God he does call you by name. Not the name that your parents gave you, but the name that he gives you when he calls you. When he anoints you, he calls you very loudly, so loudly, there can be no mistake or misunderstanding, because the sound of his voice is like thunder.

    You know exactly who he is talking to, and you know who is talking to you.

    As far as I am aware the prophet of Islam did not receive a new name from God, as I was destined to receive. Nor is there any indication in the scriptures that God called Jesus by his name, or by a new name given to him by God.

    The song given to us for this season is ‘CAROL OF THE BELLS.

    As far as Yale is concerned David, you have to look at the texts through the eyes of a prophet and a healer.

    Any bells ringing yet?

  • 18 ELIAKIM // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm   

    Our gift to everyone this year is to be a BELL and when they ask why a bell? You can tell them it is to wake them up so that they don’t miss the boat.

    CAROL OF THE BELLS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gp5Vd44AJQ

  • 19 ELIAKIM // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm   

    On Archetypes David, I enjoyed seeing the story within the story of OLIVER TWIST.Charles Dickens really was amazing on how he laid the biblical prophecies about the end times within his text. So many meanings and different Christian symbolism. Simply wonderful through the eyes of the mystic.

    Apparently OLIVER in Latin means OLIVE TREE and the TWIST is to do with the twist in the story and the mystic rope.

    He even included a character called MONK who tries to take the innocent OLIVE TREE’s inheritance.

    Now what does the MONK represent? Religion and the religionists.

    I have been a fan of Dickens since I was a child. However, now I am in awe of him and his blessed works.

    May the USA also ponder upon the story of Scrooge this Christmas and adopt a stranger to spend Christmas with them.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/academysounds?feature=mhum#p/u/2/lWP6_Q_SV-k

  • 20 Pamela K. // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:34 pm   

    Back on Subject:

    “And there were in the same country
    shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch
    over their flock by night. And lo, the angel
    of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
    “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David is a Savior; which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

    “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all the things which fill it;
    Let the field be exultant, and all that is in it!
    Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
    Before the Lord, for He comes to judge and govern the earth!
    He shall judge the world with righteousness and justice and the peoples with His faithfulness and truth.”
    Psalm 96:11-13

  • 21 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm   

    E.: Well, I certainly enjoyed that informative video on Blackburn, England, and the Muslim takeover.

    I get a little frustrated, though with the Bell carol thing. (How many different ways can you play same chord? It is a late Renaissance-early Baroque passacaglia bass figure, what the French called a chaconne. I just get burned out after the first repetition. It did become the basis of the “variation” concept of composition. Important, historically.

    All classical forms of music I think touch on some deep psychological archetypes. I confess, too, I use the term “archetype” a lot more freely than a professional would. I just think it applies to so much more than visual symbols.

  • 22 David Yeagley // Dec 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm   

    Pam, unfortunately, when He returns the second time, the world is not happy to see Him.
    “All the tribes of the earth shall mourn.”

    The first advent, as an innocent baby–we could take that. That didn’t demand anything of us. We can volunteer to witness. But, the second Advent, we cannot elude. That’s the killer.

  • 23 Pamela K. // Dec 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm   

    Exchange At The Cross

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvfT4VQ1No0&feature=related

  • 24 David Yeagley // Dec 11, 2010 at 10:18 pm   

    How does the cross play into the significance of the baby? How does it make that baby different? It seems there is a dreamy kind of glory in the baby birth, and yet a wholly different poem in the cross. Are they related?–phenomenologically, or psychologically?

  • 25 Pamela K. // Dec 12, 2010 at 10:08 am   

    I believe that the whole Nativity story is about faith in, and obedience to God from the both the human and the divine perspective.
    Mary, a young Jewish virgin from Nazareth is told by an angel that she has found favor with God and will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit.
    Mary’s response was, “Let it be done to me according to Your will.”
    She made the choice to lean on her faith and trust in God at this crucial moment, when the history of the world would be changed forever. Furthermore, she lived in a time when women accused of adultery were stoned to death.
    Meanwhile, Joseph, Mary’s young fiance, was heartbroken by what he first perceived as a betrayal on Mary’s part. He too, was aware of what might happen to her, and because in Jewish culture a betrothal was tantamount to being married, he sought to divorce her quietly. Instead, an angel came to him in a dream with a message to take Mary as his wife. The angel said to him that the child Mary carried, “would save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1;21. Joseph too, had to lean on his faith in God. But may be he was also thinking, ” What a crazy dream! What the heck did I eat last night?” He probably felt that if he told anyone that he believed he saw and heard from an angel people would think he was crazy or possessed by a demon. Yet, he chose instead to trust in God and married Mary.
    Then there were the shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
    Ordinary people doing ordinary work were suddenly swept up into the realm of the supernatural, when the angels appeared to them and announced the birth of Jesus. And then there were the wise men, who were already aware that Someone very special was about to be born and were following His star. They all came to see and wonder about the Baby lying in the manger.
    None of these principle players in the Nativity story knew the outcome of the unfolding drama, yet all of them stepped out in faith. And like them, Jesus experienced what it was like to be fully human. He laughed. He cried. He showed mercy and compassion to the outcasts of society. He even displayed righteous anger when He beat the moneychangers in the Temple. Yet, he never sinned. He was also obedient to His Father unto death. That moment in Gethsemane, when He surrendered His will to God’s will and felt the horrible rejection from His Father by taking on all the sin and evil of fallen mankind can only be described as perfect obedience.
    The life and purpose of the baby born in a lowly manger came full circle with the broken man hanging on the tree and the utterance, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
    But this is certainly not “The End” of the story.
    Three days later, yet another angel announced to a group of grief-stricken women, “He is not here. He has risen.”

  • 26 David Yeagley // Dec 12, 2010 at 11:12 am   

    Beautiful, Pam. Really good. I’ve been mulling over this matter, and will make a new post today (Sunday), but, I hope everyone sees what you’ve written here!

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