Sacred Laws of Psyche: The Law of Love, Part I

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The language of religion defines God as “love,” there is always the great danger of confusing the love which works in man with the workings of God. ~Carl Jung; CW 5, Para. 98.

I don’t think we can separate love from overall human dignity and hope. ~Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978

7. Sacred Laws of Psyche: The Law of Love: Love is the most powerful healing and unifying force in life. It has its roots in the heart — honest feeling, valuing, and respect, not in the head — ideas, words, theories, logic, and reason.

According to the ancient Greeks, there are seven types of love.

  • Eros: Love of the body. Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. Romantic love.

  • Philia: Love of the mind. Philosophy means “love of Sophia,” the spark of life and wisdom in us.  Philia also refers to love between good friends.

  • Ludus: Playful love between partners and friends.

  • Pragma: longstanding, practical, systematic, business-like love of work.

  • Agape: Love of the soul. Charity, the love of human for human, and the love of God for humans and humans for God. The highest form of love.

  • Philautia: Love of the self.  To have regard for your own happiness or advantage. A basic human necessity, many see it as a moral flaw akin to vanity, selfishness, and egotism.

  • Storge: Love of the child. Natural or instinctual affection; family love,

Of these, I’d like to address four that seem most misunderstood and needed in today’s world:  Eros and Philia in this post, and Agape, and Philautia in Part II.

EROS

An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation. It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity. It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us. ~Adrienne Rich

American women rule the home because the American men have not yet learned to love them. ~Carl Jung, NY Times, 1912.

Whoever is in love is a full and overflowing vessel, and awaits the giving. Whoever is in fore thinking is deep and hollow and awaits fulfillment. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 253.

Fred and I married when I was 21. When I saw the above picture my brother recently digitalized from a slide taken in those days, I was surprised and saddened by how naive and unconscious I was.  I was wary, detached, and scattered. Self-conscious, anxious to please, and focused on looking good on the outside. A school-smart, church-religious, idealistic conformist, I thought I was a loving person, but had no conception of who I was or what love is.

Since then, I’ve learned that an intimate relationship is the perfect school for love. When both partners can tolerate the tension of self-discovery and change, they can experience a revitalizing new birth. As the light of consciousness emerges in us, so does love. We’re going on 56 years together now, and so far it seems to be working.

PHILIA

The ancients called the saving word the Logos, an expression of divine reason. So much unreason was in man that he needed reason to be saved. If one waits long enough, one sees how the Gods all change into serpents and underworld dragons in the end. This is also the fate of the Logos in the end it poisons us all. In time, we were all poisoned, but unknowingly we kept the One, the Powerful One, the eternal wanderer in us away from the poison. We spread poison and paralysis around us in that we want to educate all the world around us into reason. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 280.

Until now it has not truly and fundamentally been noted that our time, despite the prevalence of irreligiosity, is so to speak congenitally charged with the attainment of the Christian epoch, namely with the supremacy of the word, that Logos which the central figure of Christian faith represents. The word has literally become our God and has remained so” ~Carl Jung, CW 10, §554.

“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” ~Carl Jung

An alchemical text says: “The mind should learn compassionate love for the body.” ~Carl Jung, Jung-Ostrowski, Page 25.

I love ideas. I love connecting my thoughts in a network that explains the big picture of life. But it’s taken most of my life to take my body, emotions, or relationships as seriously as my mind.

Today, too many people  scoff at subjective inner experiences that can’t be proven. Some even scoff at love. Humanity is paying a big price for our obsession with divine reason.

We’ve lost awe and respect for the miracles of nature, our bodies, our imagination, our myths, our emotions, the search for personal meaning, and our fullest potential. In so doing we’ve lost touch with love. If we destroy ourselves it will be because of one-sided thinking, complacency, psychological ignorance, and the inability to love.

I like this picture better. I see maturity and love in these eyes.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Watch for her new book, The Soul’s Twins, to be launched in October of this year.

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16 Responses

  1. Oh, I’m really enjoying your “Sacred Laws of Psyche” series! Thank you so much Jeanie for continuing to share your rich insights, learning and wisdom with us. As I read the different types of love, suddenly I found myself back at college in my psychology class learning all about Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love again … which (in white lab coats for comic effect) me and a friend gave a presentation on “Love” later that term. Ha-Ha! We called ourselves “the doctors of love”… thankfully the tutor had a great sense of humour!
    The beautiful yet unconscious Persephone comes to mind as I look at your younger photo. (Great, there’s a larger version to see for us short sighted folk if you click on the image!) You appear more or less sweet, simple and trusting, uninitiated I guess. And then in your older photo there’s that “knowing look” in your eyes that Persephone must’ve acquired when she returned to her mother Demeter. The difference between your two ages or stages is palpable, profound even. Those changes are there for Fred too. What a handsome couple you are!
    I love how Jung poetically refers to the “eternal wanderer” within, and how the poison (logos) is kept away from the Powerful One. It makes me want to pull out the Big Red Book. Such a great quote for this subject! Thankfully in mid-life the awe and respect for Mother Nature, my body and most especially my inner life continues to return, alongside my ability to love myself and others, in a world where pushing the like button is all too easy. I’m looking forward to part two already! Sending love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    1. Thank you Deborah,
      I haven’t heard of Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. I’ll have to check it out. Your presentation on it in college sounds like great fun!
      Persephone is a perfect image for the way I was then. Talk about innocent and unconscious! I was all those things. After re-reading that paragraph a while ago I re-wrote it a little and added a few more words: “wary,” “detached,” and “scattered” seemed more appropriate than “hollow” which wasn’t quite right. Oh, to be a poetess with ready access to all the resonant words! As to sweet and trusting, I still am, but I’m also initiated now, so sometimes the “fierce” comes through.
      I love Jung’s language in that quote too. His own encounter with the unconscious (the mother lode of creativity) gave him all the mythic images and language he’d ever need for his life’s work.
      Much appreciation for sharing your insights here. Blessings, Jeanie

  2. Thank you Jeanie, this is truly lovely, real words of WOW – ie words of wisdom … I reckon words have their place, as does reason, but let’s face it, excessive reason and thinking has done us in. The battle is fearsome that requests us to let go and let love …
    Your younger photo is lovely, as is the recent one!
    I was reminded of reading Ronald Laing’s “Knots’ at an early age, 17 or 18. Already a learning of the opposite also being true … (which fits my Gemini nature). If I look back over my childhood and adolescence and young adulthood, I’d had many experiences already. One that comes to mind, is one day, or one evening, I reckon I must have been 21 or so, that I said to myself, no, no more, no more being like my father, reason reason reason … yet, I know its value, and am grateful for it. I could see how being overly invested in reason and thinking can bar love from entering …. all those kinds of love you write about.
    I thank G-d that I can see the beauty in the world even if it is pretty dystopic. Maybe all has to fall down so that it can get up again … I don’t know.
    I’m reminded of ‘that which can kill, can also cure”. The poison may be bitter
    – can we take it, and ingest and digest it – and let it go through all it’s phases. I’m thinking of The ‘Rosarium Philosophgorum’ …
    Thank you again Jeanie, I hope this finds you and family well. I’m watching the US nomination race – What about Elizabeth Warren?

    1. Hi Susan,
      You and Deborah always seem to come up with interesting resources I’m not familiar with. I don’t know Laing’s “Knots” but if it’s about the tension and resolution between the opposites, one of my favorite subjects, I’ll have to check it out.
      Your early experience of recognizing the limitations of reason sounds unusual and precocious. Perhaps because of your father’s strong influence…. I had no such social modeling, and only began to learn about the conflicts between Logos and Eros after my marriage. It wasn’t until I learned that Fred is a very reasonable and logical T (Thinking) on the Myers-Briggs, and I’m more of an F (Feeling) type, and that there’s nothing wrong with either one of them, that I began to get it. I would have been around 38 by the time I started figuring that out.
      It’s interesting that you mention the Rosarium Philosorum. There’ll be an image from it in my new book: the one where the sun king and moon queen meet for the first time. Speaking of that, I now have a beautiful book cover image and a launch date of late October. I’ll be posting something about that soon. I’m starting to get excited about it. 🙂
      Thank you for your good wishes. We are all well. I wish the same for you and yours.
      Yes. The US Presidential race. I liked Elizabeth Warren a lot. I guess it’s just not her time. I’m trying not to get too attached to this process. It’s too painful.

      1. Thanks for your response Jeanie – RD Laing’s Knots is barely a treatise on anything – from what I remember, it starts out as
        “I am playing a game
        I am not playing a game
        I am playing at not playing a game
        I am not playing at not playing a game … ‘
        And proceeds from there … a small Black book. Everything he posits in prose form is turned into everything else – a real mind twister. He has written much else, some of which I’ve subsequently read. He may have been of the Tavistock School. I’m going to have to find that tiny book and see if my memory serves me well.
        My husband Neil is also Logos. Trained medically that way. But, he is also a Gemini, and both my sons are air signs. Thankfully, they are well tempered and are of the feeling type as well. For me, its an exciting journey to get more into my feeling function.

        1. Laing’s book sounds very interesting. I usually like experimental prose and look forward to reading it.
          Fred is Logos and Pisces….a very interesting combination. It has been an exciting, though sometimes difficult, journey for both of us. We married so young, but thankfully we were here for each other during the growing up years. In retrospect we both know we’re the best thing that could have happened to each other. 🙂

  3. Thank you, Michael.
    I love your quote. Yes, constancy, persistence, and diligence apply equally to writers, painters, musicians, and all who desire self-knowledge and love. It’s a work of a lifetime — our magnum opus — that need not become an obsession, yet we need to practice it every day. 🙂

  4. LOVED the before – and now photos! We should should all do that – with our partner – to show what has transformed through love and relationship. Made my day!

    1. I’m so glad this made your day! 🙂 Your comment made mine!
      And that’s a great idea. I can see a photographer having a field day putting before and after pictures of couples into a book. Any photographers out there? But I do have to confess that the “after” picture I posted here was taken around 10 years ago. I don’t have a really great one of us now. I must see to that.
      Thank you for writing, Diane. When are you going to write another book? I don’t know if you saw in the comment above, but I have a book cover and a launch date of late October. Now the real work begins. I know you know what I mean. Warm spring blessings to you.

  5. RD Laing: Knots I found my little book. Page 1
    They are playing a game. They are playing at not
    playing a game. If I show then I see they are, I
    shall break the rules and they will punish me.
    I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.
    Other books include, ‘Self and Others’; Madness and the Family; The Divided Self; The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise.

    1. Knots sounds a bit like the 1964 book, Games People Play, by Eric Berne. A very influential book that came out when I was in college. I think I read it, but no longer remember much about it, except that he pointed out the obvious to people who had never noticed it before, or else, who had, but had no name for it until he wrote about it. I was one of those people. Thank you.

      1. Me again, I just checked out the publishing date of Knots: It was 1970. Yes, there was a burgeoning awareness of the inner life of the psyche in my outer and inner worlds in those days, but it took me two more decades to get serious about the latter. By the say, I’ve just realized that today is the 10 year anniversary of Matrignosis. I published my very first post on this day, March 10, in 2010. 🙂 I guess there’s been a lot I’ve wanted to say. And there’s still more.
        Who knows how much longer I’ll be doing this? You’ve been one of my favorite people I’ve met along the way because of Matrignosis. I’m very grateful for that.

  6. I love the second photo, too. We grow into each other. I’m grateful for every photo I have of Vic and me. Vic called our relationship The Path of Marriage–like the Path of Knowledge (Jnana) or Devotion (Bhakti)–but it’s own path for developing all those levels of love plus patience. That always felt right to me and I now know that path continues on when one partner dies. I have inner conversations with Vic (especially in hard times as this one) and know what he would answer. I’m grateful I could continue creating our imagined life on my own.

    1. We grow into each other!” I love that. Thank you, Elaine. Your personal experiences with Vic always bring more clarity and meaning to issues about personal growth and love relationships.

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