Seven Sermons to the Dead
Seven Sermons to the Dead (Latin: Septem Sermones ad Mortuos) is a text written in 1916 by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and ascribed to the gnostic teacher Basilides. Somewhat in the style of the Red Book, yet more unified, the booklet was printed privately for Jung's friends but not widely available until it appeared as an appendix in his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections in 1961. The text speaks cryptically about the Pleroma, the Abraxas and the soul; therein, Jung also discusses his principle of Individuation and warns of the mystical tendency to "unite" with God, which he interprets as a dangerous psychological desire to identify with the unconscious.
That is one of the great difficulties in experiencing the unconscious—that one identifies with it and becomes a fool. You must not identify with the unconscious; you must keep outside, detached, and observe objectively what happens ... it is exceedingly difficult to accept such a thing, because we are so imbued with the fact that our unconscious is our own—my unconscious, his unconscious, her unconscious—and our prejudice is so strong that we have the greatest trouble disidentifying.
A commentary upon the work was written by the gnostic bishop Stephan A. Hoeller. When Hoeller inquired with the editor of The Red Book, Sonu Shamdasani, about the relationship of the two books, Shamdasani said that the Seven Sermons was like an island, but the Red Book is like a vast continent.
Notes and references
- Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961) ed. Aniela Jaffe, Vintage Books, ISBN 0-394-70268-9, p. 378; also WW Norton edition 2009,ISBN 0-393-06567-7
- Quoted in The Ego in Heart-Centered Therapies: Ego Strengthening and Ego Surrender, p. 14, Journal of Heart Centered Therapies, Autumn, 2000 by Diane Zimberoff, David Hartman
- Stephan A. Hoeller, The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead, Quest Books; 1st ed. 1989, ISBN 0-8356-0568-X
- Hoeller, Stephan. Jung and the Red Book — Lecture Part 3, Video Lecture by Dr Hoeller, at gnosis.org
- The Seven Sermons to the Dead written by Basilides in Alexandria, the City where the East toucheth the West. Complete text of C.G. Jung's Septem Sermones ad Mortuos (translations from the original German by H. G Baynes and by Stephan A. Hoeller).
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