THE ARYAN CHRIST: THE SECRET LIFE OF CARL JUNG
Chapter 8: Zurich 1916: Abraxas and the Return of the Pagan Gods
In the spring of 1916, as the First World War raged outside the borders of Switzerland and Zurich recovered from its worst outbreak of influenza in recent memory, more than forty eager souls gathered around C. G. Jung to hear the logos, the word of the law. It was as if after a difficult ascent along an arduous and secret path, they found themselves at a precipice, at the edge of an old aeon, and could not quite yet comprehend the brilliant vista of the new age that lay before them.
Even then they knew they were to be the first of a new spiritual race of saviors. Even then they knew that the work they did on their own individual souls would bring all of humanity to a higher state of consciousness. Many were called but few were chosen for special redemption in Zurich, while brother rose against brother and Death rode triumphantly across Europe. "The great problems of humanity were never solved by general laws, but only through a regeneration of the attitudes of individuals," Jung wrote in December of 1916.  The spiritual rebirth of the human race would begin in Zurich with them.
Almost everyone in the room that day was civilized as Swiss and Christian -- an accident of history, of time and place of birth -- but German by culture, language, and the eternal bond of shared blood, landscape, and Fate. Their guide, their "New Light," the charismatic Doctor Jung, spoke to them in the language of their ancestors, in the sounds that resonated with memories deep within their collective soul, in the common German of their Volk. He spoke to them of things of the spirit, of the necessity of descents and self-deification and rebirth, of Holy Orders like theirs whose guiding symbols of transformation were the Holy Grail, the crucifix wound with roses, and the Tree of Life from which Wotan hung upside down in self-sacrifice so that he could learn the secrets of the runes.
Jung spoke slowly, deliberately, and with great solemnity. And with good reason. The year 1916 rewarded years of tremendous dreams and visions that pushed him to the brink of insanity and suicide. He had been practicing a highly dissociative trance-induction technique that enabled him to travel to the realm of the gods and to talk to entities such as Philemon, the spiritual guru who functioned as his spirit control in the way that Ivenes had served Helly Preiswerk. He had also established an ongoing dialogue with an inner feminine voice that he later called the anima. At times he would allow this female entity to take over his own vocal cords and would spend entire evenings in his study asking questions in his own voice and then answering himself in the falsetto of this entity whom he originally thought was one of the ancient female gods of matriarchal prehistory. Later, the anima became many things: his "soul," the voice of the eternal Feminine that Goethe spoke of in the last lines of Faust; the image of Persephone, who lived in the underworld "realm of the Mothers" (the unconscious) and was seen by initiates into the Eleusinian mysteries; the living symbol of the Wholly Other or of the unconscious itself; and the rejected feminine aspects of his own nature that he needed to integrate with his own one-sided, conscious male identity in order to achieve a state of wholeness through psychological hermaphroditism.
"Jung ... could not submit to a personal God"
His former colleagues in the psychoanalytic movement were now his enemies. They cruelly spread rumors about him -- many based on fact -- and they wrote thinly veiled attacks on him in the guise of scientific papers. One, written by Ernest Jones in 1913, diagnosed him as suffering from a "colossal narcissism" because of his "god-complex."  Uncannily, Jones described that man with a god complex as having the belief that he is a god and as having "rebirth fantasies" and dreams of renewing the world. Such a man, claimed Jones, purposefully shrouded his personality with "a cloud of mystery" and was obsessed with "omnipotence phantasies." In addition, Jones said such men maintained an interest in religion to the point where it degenerated into mysticism, and that, being so godlike themselves, "they cannot suffer the existence of any other God." This was a hatchet job on Jung, but it contained elements of truth.
Alphonse Maeder knew this better than most. As a colleague and ally of Jung during the years of the psychoanalytic movement and during the early years of the Zurich School and the Psychological Club, Maeder was first attracted, then repulsed, by Jung's attitude toward religion. At the 1913 Munich conference both Maeder and Jung presented papers in which the "prospective" and goal-directed nature of the unconscious mind was stressed over the causal and reductive approach of the Viennese. This meant, in part, that the unconscious was thought to have a prophetic function, anticipating future developments in the personality. Operating under such assumptions, the analyst became a kind of prophet or clairvoyant who could tell the future of the patient. This places the analyst in a role similar to that of a spiritual adviser or guru, and psychoanalysis openly crosses the line into magic and religion. Yet this was precisely what attracted so many, including Maeder, to Jung in the first place.
But by the years of the First World War it became increasingly clear to those around him that while Jung may have been using the metaphors of Christian spirituality to convey psychological ideas, in reality he had a deep-seated hostility to the Christian way of life. "I think Jung had a very strong individuality which could not submit to a personal God," said Maeder. "I mean, a religiosity without this concrete factor was very, very serious and important for him. But in the Christian way of submission, it is different." Maeder said that "Even up to his last day he had a complex against the Church and her mission. He could never use the word 'Church' without swearing; it remained a real father complex." 
The consequences of Jung's Freudian and Christian apostasies were severe. The wild visions from within and the hurtful attacks from without began to take their toll. Jung became paranoid at times, emotionally labile, given to quick fits of anger and rage. His disciples, particularly his male associates, found him intolerant of their ideas and therefore intolerable. Many of his male colleagues broke from him. He kept a loaded pistol next to his bed and vowed to blow his brains out if he ever felt he had entirely lost his sanity. Toni Wolff helped him through this troubled time, and somehow he made it.
Jung spoke solemnly and carefully on that day in 1916, for he was speaking of his innermost experiences, the sacred rhythms of his soul. He revealed the path of initiation, self-deification, and recovery that he had trod, and he was now sharing his formula for regeneration with his disciples for the first time in a public forum. Jung did this, however, without any explicit reference to himself. He would not be ready to reveal his own self-deification experience in a public setting until 1925.
In private, however, within the safe container of his analytic sessions with his most trusted patients, Jung had no resistance to confessing the content of his visions. Sometimes he showed them his magical volume of illuminated manuscript pages that gave concrete form to his visions and dreams and that contained almost six hundred pages worth of his fantasies and conversations with Philemon and other discarnate entities. The "Red Book," as this pagan bible or transformation journal was later known, was begun in 1914 and completed in 1930. His patients could only stare in awe as Jung shared with them his book of life. This intimacy only strengthened their belief that Jung was indeed a holy man, a prophet for a new age, and that they were blessed to be in his presence.
Two early supporters of Jung who were there that day in 1916 were Tina and Adolph Keller. Adolph was a pastor and an author of books that blended religious wisdom and psychoanalytic insights, and Tina was later a physician and psychotherapist. Her analysis with Jung had begun in 1915 and continued, on and off, for some time. Tina Keller was one of the privileged few who caught glimpses of the oracular side of Jung during her analytic sessions with him. "It was during the First World War, and Dr. Jung would occasionally allude to his overwhelming experiences," she recalled in a memoir written in 1968 for the C. G. Jung Biographical Archives Project.  "Once he mentioned that they had caused his hair to turn grey; another time he spoke of the relief he had felt when the outbreak of the war showed him that his visions of blood and destructions were precognitions and did not indicate the threat of psychosis, as he had feared." Such talk made a profound impression on the young woman who, by her own admission, was preoccupied with religious issues. "Whenever Dr. Jung spoke of these experiences I could feel his emotion. Coming to analysis at that time one entered a very special atmosphere."
Jung also shared with Tina the early paintings of his visions that would form the illuminated manuscript pages of his "Red Book." "Dr. Jung was of course gaining experience in those early years," she said. "What he said was tentative, and I believe he was often quite mistaken. He often spoke of himself and his own experience. Sometimes he would show a picture he was painting as illustration of a point he was making. One felt accepted into the very special atmosphere of the discovery of the inner world and of its mystery. No wonder the fascination he exerted."
Tina Keller's memories of those exciting times invoke the spirit of the circle around Jung and confirm the role of the First World War in the intensification of their feeling that they were special and part of a movement that might save the world from madness. "I was one of a group gathered around an explorer trying to penetrate life's mysteries," she recalled. "We were listening with eager anticipation. During the First World War, in the midst of the feeling of catastrophe, when cultural values were breaking down, when there was general consternation and disillusionment, a small group around Dr. Jung participated in his vision of an inner world unfolding."
However, she added, "Many of us were later disappointed. The vision was too vast and leads into the future." The Kellers, Alphonse Maeder, Hans Triib, and others eventually distanced themselves from Jung because they could not renounce their Christianity. They could not break with the faith of their families. They could not follow Jung into a neopagan promised land no matter how beautiful the realm of gods and goddesses and ancestors looked to them.
But others could.
In the spring of 1916, Jung was only forty years old, but already to many he was a wise old man. As a healer, his powers were, by all accounts, extraordinary. Jung did indeed bring light and life back into the souls of many who came in contact with him. As the guiding light of the Psychology Club, Jung was the incarnation of the spiritual principle of their sacred order. And he promised redemption to his redeemers.
"The struggle with the Dead and the descent into Hell are unavoidable"
The first words out of Jung's mouth at the 1916 meeting referred directly to his secret epiphany of December 1913, when he became the Aryan Christ.  "In the symbol of Christ lies an identification of the personality with the progressive tendency of the collective soul," Jung said. In 1916, the terms "collective soul" and "collective unconscious" were used interchangeably. Jung said the collective soul had "various aspects," both bad and good, both female and male. One is a regressive tendency, "represented by the Terrible Mother." The other "contains the symbols of redemption for suffering humanity" and is symbolized by Christ. Jung explained that both the human and divine are united in Christ, which is why Christ is the "God-man."
In an individual, especially one plagued by visions and dreams and overwhelmed by the inner mythological symbols shooting forth from the collective unconscious, Jung warned of the danger that "this identification of the personality with the collective unconscious manifests itself always in the phenomenon of self-deification." But this is the unavoidable first step to true individuation. "It is therefore a question of the overcoming of self-deification, which might also be compared with the Death of Christ, a death of the greatest agony." This overcoming of the grandiosity and inflated self-image that comes from experiencing the god within -- indeed, from becoming a god oneself -- is the second and most crucial step to surviving these awful trials.
Jung said that the "freeing of the personality" from the power of the unconscious is "one of the most painful tasks to be accomplished on the road to development to full individuality." But, by doing so, by trying to overcome one's new godlike state, there arises "a chaos, a darkness and a doubt of all that exists, and of all that may be." Indeed, Jung said, hell itself opens up. "This moment brings a feeling of great danger. One is quite conscious of standing before death."
But this separating of the individual personality from the collective soul "seems to disturb phylogenetic ally certain pictures or formations in the unconscious -- a process which we still understand very little, but which needs the greatest care in treatment." And just what are these pictures or formations? In this public lecture, Jung was careful to stay away from what he really meant: transpersonal entities or gods like the ones he regularly met with in his own visions and in those experienced by many of his patients. For the most part, Jung stayed close to the mask that he used to cover up the true essence of the phenomena he described.
But then he said something tremendously interesting.
The process of personality transformation becomes a cosmic drama in which an individual struggles with the spirits of the Dead. But the patient / initiate also serves as a guide or psychopomp -- like Hermes or Wotan -- who can bring the Dead to eternal rest. In other words, Jung told his audience that the work they did on their individual souls in psychotherapeutic treatment would not only heal them and make them whole individuals, but in the process they would redeem their ancestors as well.
"The struggle with the Dead is terrible ... " said Jung. "Here too the parallel with Christ continues. The struggle with the Dead and the descent into Hell are unavoidable. The Dead need much patience and the greatest care. Some must be brought to eternal rest, others have a message to bring us, for which we must prepare ourselves. The Dead need time for their highest fulfillment, only after full duty has been done to the Dead can man return slowly to his newly created personality. This new individuality thus contains all vital elements in a new constellation."
All around him Jung must have seen the astonished, enthralled faces of his people.
"In studying Christ's Descent into Hell I was surprised to find how closely the tradition coincides with human experience. This problem is therefore not new, it is a problem of general mankind, and for this reason probably too, symbolized through Christ." Jung no doubt studied Christ's descent into hell through his own visionary descents. (In this forum, in the presence of persons he may not have known very well, Jung was very careful to stick to Christian metaphors, giving himself the persona of a Christian.) Ancient mystery-cult initiations always involved a descent of sorts and an ordeal before the initiates saw or became a god themselves. Jung knew this from his own experience. It was no longer a matter of believing, it was a matter of knowing, but he wasn't about to let this out in public just yet. In Zurich in 1916, the success of Jung's social experiment was not assured. His next rival, his next Judas, could very well be in the Club. He had to be careful.
Jung said that he would attempt to "elucidate this problem more fully in a work on the Transcendental Function." He did indeed write such an essay in 1916, but it was not published until 1957, and then only in a small, privately printed booklet.  It is one of the most important essays Jung ever wrote, because in it he describes in great detail his method of analyzing dreams and his mediumistic psychotherapeutic techniques.
Most of that essay concerned itself with the technique Jung called active imagination -- the suspension of the critical function of the conscious ego to allow images and feelings to arise from the unconscious mind. One's inner voice could also be found in this way, and like a medium one could speak to it and establish an ongoing dialogue with it, as it represented a higher intelligence in the unconscious mind that was not bound by time and space. Automatic writing, which Jung called "writing from the unconscious," became one of his characteristic prescriptions to his patients. Active imagination could also take the form of making drawings and painting, fashioning things with one's hands, or -- like the dancers from Ascona -- using body movement to express the messages coming from the Dead or other entities in the unconscious. The instinctual, archaic "man" could be freed through such techniques, and once a dialogue was established between the conscious and the unconscious minds, the transcendent function came into play. In current parlance, it was like mediumship or channeling. To Jung, the transcendent function was the process of integrating the unconscious contents with the conscious mind that would lead to the creation of a New Man, a spiritual Ubermensch, who could then save the redeemable remainder of humanity. In 1916, Jung called this process of creating a spiritual Ubermensch the "Menschwerdung," becoming a complete human, or the "individuation process."
Conscious of the spiritual metaphors that would have the greatest impact on his Swiss-German audience, Jung turned to Wagner's Parsifal. But here, too, he referred back to his initiatory visions of wise old Elijah and the erotic Jewess Salome, transposed into the operatic characters of Gurnemanz (an old Grail knight) and Kundry (the Jewish temptress whom Parsifal redeems). Jung gave his audience the following example: "On Good Friday Parsifal comes back to the Gralsburg [the fortress in which the Grail knights live and protect the Holy Grail]. He is entirely in black, the symbol of death, and his visor is closed. The belief in being able to fulfill the work for which he has struggled for so long has deserted him, and it is Gurnemanz and Kundry, both very much changed, who freed him from his madness and show him the way to the Gralsburg."
Jung found the Gralsburg when he became the Aryan Christ. He was brought to that point by Elijah and Salome, but ultimately reached it on his own initiative, much as, at the climax of Wagner's opera, the Aryan Parsifal assumes the magical healing powers of Christ.
Only a chosen few disciples in the audience that day knew that Jung was referring to his own deification process with this example from Parsifal. Others, who would be uncomfortable with a rejection of their Protestant heritage (there were almost no Catholics in these early years of the club, few French, and no Jews), could only look upon him in admiration as he again resorted to Christian themes. This time he even drew the analogy between the members of the club and the apostles of Christ. ''The Collective soul may be brought to constellation in a different way in every individual, but in principle all these manifestations are the same," said Jung. "When the Holy Ghost revealed Himself to the Apostles on Whitsuntide, the Apostles spoke in tongues, which means that each spoke in his own way, each had his own way of praising his own God, and yet all praised the same God." Hence, within the collectivity of the club, each could still be an individual working toward the same spiritual goals. All could be true apostles of the same master and yet each follow the master's path in her or his own way.
Jung's views of the utopian nature of such an analytical collectivity soon became clear: "Only after the overcoming of self-deification, only after the human being has been revealed to himself, and man recognizes the human being in mankind, can we speak of a real analytical collectivity -- a collectivity which reaches out (extends) beyond type and sex." Only after the god within has been fully experienced through its manifestation in an individual can the limitations of personality type and gender be overcome. A community of such god-men would then manifest this transcendent functioning in a collective. Jung's followers would be the first to try this, something never before done in the history of humankind, and to then redeem it from the misunderstandings and even violence caused by the limitations of psychological type and sex. But Jung cautioned his flock that there was still much work to be done in their analytical collectivity before they could alter human destiny.
"But we have not yet come so far, we are on the way to the Menschwerdung. The recognition and the acceptance of the personal life's task leads to the Menschwerdung. The recognition that each has to fulfill his especial task, and to his own especial way, leads to the respect for the individual and his especial path," said Jung. "Only those who have been forced through their own individual laws to go their own ways, and thereby have come in conflict with the prevailing traditions, come to Analysis." By "prevailing traditions" Jung meant religious ones. Hence, analysis as Jung conceived it was a separate spiritual path that one could take only after rejecting the faith of one's birth.
Near the end of his introductory remarks on his theory of spiritual transformation -- he never uses the words "psychology" or "psychological" or "psychotherapy" but always the language of the spirit or of his mysteries -- Jung listed his ideas for the principles of the new club. He said that the analytical collectivity should always have "respect for the individual and his individual purpose." The "original groups" of such a community of analyzed persons will pass through their own development, and there should be "perfect freedom to build an endless number of small groups." Difficulties, if they arise, "must be solved according to analytical principles." If difficulties persist, Jung said, "they must be brought before an analytical tribunal." One can only wonder if Jung was aware of how much this last remark recalled the institutions and inquisitions of the Roman Catholic Church.
Jung's closing remarks to his disciples were the most telling. Here, in undisguised language, was Jung's "guiding fiction" or group fantasy that would sustain them.  Here we do not find mention of the group's cultural activities or of its intellectual or psychological or medical aims. Instead we find the guiding fantasy of the holy order or secret society engaged in the redemptive work of the spirit. Here we find Jung reaching back to his grandfather, hence completing the spiritual arc between them, invoking the words of Goethe and the occult symbols of the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians. Here again are references to Wagner and to the Tree of Life -- and we find a reference to the sun. Jung said:
The applause Jung received after this last line was well earned. In this very brief address he not only spelled out the path of individuation -- a road that led to self-deification -- but he also inspired his audience with the guiding fiction that they were fellow members of a mystical order on a quest for the creation of a new type of spiritually superior human being and for a new utopian society that would transcend type and sex.
The world-redeeming process had now officially begun. Patients became apostles. Analysis became initiation. Cures became secondary to conversions. Their formerly mundane and spiritually bankrupt lives took on cosmic dimensions. They were on the path.
These were precarious times for C. G. Jung. He was in danger of losing everything he had so carefully built up over the years. His adoption of polygamy threatened his marriage and family life. His decision to cut himself off from almost all external professional activities -- his hospital job, his university lectureship, and his presidency of the psychoanalytic association -- left him, by late 1914, with only his private practice and the most devoted of his followers. Would he still have them in five years? Ten? There was no guarantee that his decision to found his own movement of spiritual revitalization would lead to success.
But his heart told him he must assume the mantle that had been offered to him by fate. He had been initiated into the most ancient of mysteries and had become a god. The gods had shown him the mysteries of life and human history, visions of the future and of a New Man. He saw the absolute lies of Christian dogma and its belief in a single, unreachable god. He could redeem those biologically capable of rebirth -- Aryans -- by returning them to their natural pagan roots, to the archaic man still within. He could save the world. Having been blessed with the direct knowledge of the divine, who better than he to be the prophet of a new age?
But despite his disengagement from most professional activities, Jung knew he had to maintain at least a modicum of respectability. He was, after all, a physician, a world-renowned scientist, and a man who was increasingly identified as one who was offering a spiritual alternative to the atheistic Jewish science of Sigmund Freud. He continued to give occasional talks in such places as England, Scotland, and America to professional societies of physicians. Occasionally, he wrote papers that were printed in respected scientific journals. And, of course, he made sure to keep writing and publishing dense works of scholarship.
To make his spiritual movement a success, Jung had to adopt at least three false faces or masks. In his professional talks, his professional publications, and in his books (at least until the 1930s), he equivocated. He could not talk about the living mystery of the gods and of the ancestors in a public forum if he wanted to be taken seriously. To get around this problem, he constructed a confusing but somewhat poetic pseudoscientific vocabulary to cover up the true meaning of his experiences. Terms that he used in print and in lectures in 1916 such as "personal unconscious," "collective unconscious," and "persona" were in reality Decknamen, or cover names, that hid the true nature of the phenomena from outsiders. Jung here emulated alchemists, who developed an elaborate vocabulary of symbols and metaphors to hide actual chemical names and processes from competitors. Only those adepts initiated into the special code by the author of such works could then understand them.  To some degree, Jung reversed the function of cover names: he invented "scientific" terms to obfuscate the direct experiences of living mystery that he offered his initiates through analysis. This is the Jung of the Collected Works and of his many apologists who continue to insist that there is something legitimately scientific about Jung's ideas.
For those members of the initial core group surrounding him in 1916, there were two publications that provided them with the terms they could use in their conversations with outsiders. The first of these was a French translation of a talk given to the club in 1916 on "The Conception of the Unconscious" in which the terms "collective unconscious" and "personal unconscious" were used for the first time in print.  In this publication, the German transcript of which must have been available to the club members, Jung talks repeatedly and openly about the deification process and about the wonderfully mystical experience he could promise those who underwent his brand of treatment. Jung tempted the spiritually hungry with statements such as "The wealth of the possibilities of the collective psyche is both confusing and dazzling. The dissolution of the persona results in the release of phantasy, which apparently is nothing else but the functioning of the collective psyche. This release bring materials into consciousness of whose existence we had no suspicion before. A rich mine of mythological thought and feeling is revealed."  Who wouldn't be curious about such things?
In early 1917, his little volume entitled Die Psychologie der unbewussten Prozesse (The psychology of unconscious processes) became a textbook of sorts for those in Jung's circle.  It is the first published statement of the theory and methods of treatment that we still recognize as Jungian. Appropriately, the cover design for the original edition shows a chalice -- the Holy Grail -- with a large blazing sun positioned just above it.
In these publications and lectures Jung was careful to always speak and write in code. The Land of the Dead, the eternal realm of the gods, indeed the whole divine realm of the Hellenistic world, became the collective unconscious. The mortal shell that hides the god within us is the persona, or mask of false individuality. The gods themselves, including otherworldy entities such as Elijah, Salome, and Philemon, were given the name "dominants" of the collective or suprapersonal unconscious. When introducing this term for the first time, Jung even wrote that "These dominants are the Ruling Powers, the Gods."  Jung said the dominants (in 1919, the "archetypes") are a fact of "psychological reality," which itself is a Deckname -- still very much used by Jungians today -- for direct mystical experience of the spirit world or of the divine. All of this makes up Jung's first mask.
In a more familiar setting, such as his lecture to the Psychological Club, Jung was not afraid to make pointed allusions to metaphors of the spiritual. Particularly after 1930 or so, he was less afraid to speak publicly in the language of the spirit, but he was not very self-disclosing, and he stuck close to Christian metaphors to hide the pagan undertow of his stream of thought. This was his second mask.
In intimate settings -- such as an analytic session -- he could, on occasion, be quite explicit about the mysteria that awaited his patients if they continued along the path of initiation that would bring them a new experience of the gods. Still, even in these intimate moments of self-disclosure, Jung was still very much in his role as a religious prophet and leader of a charismatic cult of individuals looking up to him for guidance. This was his third mask.
These three levels of persona, these three faces of Jung, hid further mystical experiences from everyone except, perhaps, one person: Toni Wolff. How far Jung had gone down the path of the pagan only she knew. Jung still needed to use familiar Christian metaphors to wean away from Christianity those who earnestly sought rebirth. At times he turned to the confusing heretical Christians that we call the Gnostics. And he even taught Gnostic heresies to the Dead.
The year 1916 not only brought a return of the pagan gods to the dreams and relationships, to the sexuality and spirituality of the pilgrims who flocked to his consulting room, it brought dead Christian knights to Jung's doorstep. And they were angry.
"We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought"
The story Aniela Jaffe relates in Jung's voice in MDR is one of the most unforgettable in the book.  On a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1916, Jung's doorbell began ringing "frantically." Everyone in the house looked out the window but no one was seen. Jung himself was sitting near the doorbell, "and not only heard it but saw it moving." The place was haunted!
"The atmosphere was thick, believe me!" he said. "Then I knew something had to happen. The whole house was filled as if there was a crowd present, crammed full of spirits. They were packed up right to the door, and the air was so thick it was impossible to breathe. As for myself, I was all a-quiver with the question: 'For God's sake, what in the world is this?' Then they cried out in chorus, 'We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought.'"
For the next three nights, "compelled from within to formulate and express what might have been said by Philemon," Jung wrote his famous "Seven Sermons to the Dead."
"Seven Sermons" is written in an oracular style, under the pseudonym of a famous Hellenistic Gnostic by the name of Basilides of Alexandria, a second-century Christian who was eventually branded a heretic. Although none of the original writings of the Basilidean Christians have survived, images of Abraxas, one of their most important deities, can be found on magical medallions and stones. Abraxas was a powerful rooster-headed god with snakes for legs and who brandished a whip. Sometimes, however, Abraxas is seen with the head of a lion. Abraxas was thought to be the master of the hundreds of other gods who are his slaves and was therefore the supreme god of this planet -- the demiurge -- in which all contradictory forces and oppositional deities were contained.
The Dead came to Jung' s house for help because they "found not what they sought" in Jerusalem, the promised land of salvation. These spirits are Christian Crusaders who realized only after death that no redemption awaited them in the Holy Land. They felt cheated out of their immortality. They had been deceived by a false religion.
Jung preached to them in the form of seven sermons. By the end of the seventh, he had converted these disaffected Christians to his own pagan philosophy and to Abraxas, a god both good and evil. Abraxas is a terrible, hidden god that humans cannot directly perceive. Abraxas is behind the sun and the night. Abraxas is the creator and destroyer of world, truth and evil, light and darkness. Abraxas is "the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning." Abraxas is the operation of all the gods and devils, and is "the world, its becoming and passing." There is no deity more powerful.
In the seventh sermon, Jung tells the knights that they were mistaken to seek salvation outside of themselves by journeying to Jerusalem. Instead, the real secret of rebirth can only be found in the "innermost infinity." If they would only look inward they would see at a distance on the inner horizon a "single Star in the zenith." The inner star is the "one guiding god" and the "goal of man." Invoking familiar pagan beliefs, Jung tells the howling Christians that after death the soul does not go to the Christian promised land but toward God as the sun or the star within. With this revelation of the pagan path of redemption, the Dead become silent and vanish up into the night sky to find their eternal rest.
The idea that the god within is experienced as the sun or a star on the inner horizon is one of the most central ideas of Jung's teachings during these early years. Indeed, in 1916, Jung himself drew and painted an image that he later interpreted as a representation of his personality.  It is a series of concentric circles within a larger one. Weird gods and daemons crawl about its various levels. What is most significant, however, is that at its core -- like the magma at the center of the earth -- is a fiery sun.
From 1918 on, he called these images "mandalas." The Sanskrit word mandala means "circle" and is thought to refer to the sun. For the rest of his life, Jung continually pointed to the Indian (Aryan) mandala as the best symbolic representation of wholeness or completeness in an individual or as the supreme God in which all opposites are contained.
In the seventh sermon are Jung's final words to the Dead, in which he instructs them about mankind. The seventh sermon is an interpretation of the mandala that Jung painted in 1916. With it, we see the inner pantheon of gods and daemons that Jung experienced within himself. We see that the sun or a star is at the very core of his being, the supreme god hidden behind all the others.
At the very bottom of the sun circle of Jung's soul, on the outermost circle, we see the demiurge, the dominus mundi or lord of the physical world. He is Abraxas, and the rays of the sun shine forth as a halo around his head. He is Abraxas the Leontocephalus, the lion-headed variant of the Gnostic god.