Carl Jung on Demons

Carl Jung on Demons

Many do not realize it, but Carl Gustav Jung, the father of analytical psychology, believed in demons.

But what Jung determined to be the demonic definitely blows holes in superstitious and most religious beliefs about the same.

"Unfortunately, it is my fate that other people, especially those who are themselves possessed by demons, think me mad because I believe in these powers. But that is their affair; I know they exist. There are demons all right, as sure as there is a Buchenwald (WWII German concentration camp)." - Carl Jung

Ancient Beliefs in Demons

The earliest beliefs in gods and demons originated from the idea that forces outside of us were in control of the cosmos and, therefore, our good and bad experiences. They believed something external, something not part of them, was influencing humanity: something evil.

Similar thinking still exists today, of course. Certain religious teachings have created and enforced monsterous ideas about demons. We do not realize that our beliefs in demonic influences are really just self-created mental projections placed upon our outside world.

Carl Jung and the Demon Within

Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us.Jung theorized that our own psyche, or at least a part of it, can produce negativity.

When this happens, we are often not aware that this part, call it the demonic, is us. And when we resist it, when we react to it, we create more fear inside of ourselves and it strengthens. It's like having another person inside, an entity, that we do not know is us.

"...we discover that the ‘other’ in us is indeed 'another,' a real man, who actually thinks, does, feels, and desires all the things that are despicable and odious.. A whole man, however, knows that his bitterest foe, or indeed a host of enemies, does not equal that one worst adversary, the 'other self' who dwells in his bosom."  - Carl Jung

"...the psychic conditions which breed demons are as actively at work as ever. The demons have not really disappeared but have merely taken on another form: they have become unconscious psychic forces." - Carl Jung

When negativity, the demonic, takes control of a person, that person may come to realize that they are not the master of their house. We may come to perceive a good and a bad, opposites inside of us at war.

Jung wrote quite a bit about what he called 'the shadow.' He knew that mankind had two people within with 'the shadow' being the inward hostile, a dark side, if you will, an inner demon. The question is whether or not we can recognize the demon within:

"The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge." - Carl Jung

"...the shadow belongs to the wholeness of the personality."  - Carl Jung

In Christianity, Satan (which means 'adversary') or The Devil, we are told, is at work in the world. But most do not know who, what or where the enemy is. But Jung knew:

"...the 'adversary' is none other than ‘the other in me.'" - Carl Jung

Getting Free From Demons According to Jung

Carl Jung asserted that we must embrace the inner darkness. The shadow must be faced to overcome it. It is our awareness of this inner demon's existence that brings freedom from its control.

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung

To depower or dethrone the demonic from dominating human thinking, the key is not to deny or resist it when at work. To do so only strengthens one's foe.

"...if it (the Shadow) is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions." - Carl Jung

"The educated man tries to repress the inferior man in himself, not realizing that by so doing he forces the latter into revolt." - Carl Jung

Carl Jung: Shining Light on the Devil and DemonsAs we understand more about our mind and its traps, we become more aware of our deeper being. And our deeper being does not need to war against the shadow. 

The shadow needs to be seen for what it is: something created by the mind. It is not real. It is a mental construct. Recognition of this inner darkness along with our ability to stop the thinking mind from running loose on its own is all that is needed to depower the demonic, false self.

If our inner demons are left in control, our mind will continue to disconnect us from our source, that is to say our deepest part. The condition created from this effect could be called 'a house divided.' This is the duality that Jung acknowledged as being the opposites inside of us.

Learning to silence the mind, meaning to turn off thought, brings us back to the present moment. Excessive thinking keeps us in the past or future and severs us from 'now.' That is the key to silencing the demonic: remaining present and taking back control over the mind.

Explore Your Darkness. Do Not Be Afraid.

The Addams Family Musical has a song within it entitled, Move Toward the Darkness. Here is an excert of the lyrics that are full of truth:

Move toward the darkness
Welcome the unknown
Face your blackest demons
Find your weakest bone
Lost your inhibitions
Love what once was vile
Move toward the darkness and smile

When you face your nightmares
Then you'll know what's real

Move toward the darkness
Conquering your pain
Let each foreign forest
Offer you its rain
Only at our lowest
Can we rise above
Move toward the darkness and love

Additional Quotes from Carl Jung About Demons and Inner Darkness:

"Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people." - Carl Jung

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." - Carl Jung

"To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle." - Carl Jung

"A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour."  - Carl Jung

"Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung

"The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing. A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within reach. It is certainly a good thing to preach reason and common sense, but what if you have a lunatic asylum for an audience or a crowd in a collective frenzy? There is not much difference between them because the madman and the mob are both moved by impersonal, overwhelming forces." - Carl Jung

"Whenever contents of the collective unconscious become activated, they have a disturbing effect on the conscious mind, and contusion ensues. If the activation is due to the collapse of the individual’s hopes and expectations, there is a danger that the collective unconscious may take the place of reality. This state would be pathological. If, on the other hand, the activation is the result of psychological processes in the unconscious of the people, the individual may feel threatened or at any rate disoriented, but the resultant state is not pathological, at least so far as the individual is concerned. Nevertheless, the mental state of the people as a whole might well be compared to a psychosis." - Carl Jung

"Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected." - Carl Jung

"We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous breakdown. What is so difficult for the layman to grasp is the fact that in most cases the patients themselves have no suspicion whatever of the internecine war raging in their unconscious. If we remember that there are many people who understand nothing at all about themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts." - Carl Jung

"It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware." - Carl Jung

"If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against… Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day." - Carl Jung

"Taking it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it." - Carl Jung

"We carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis, we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow. And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together." - Carl Jung

"The world is as it ever has been, but our consciousness undergoes peculiar changes. First, in remote times (which can still be observed among primitives living today), the main body of psychic life was apparently in human and in nonhuman objects: it was projected, as we should say now. Consciousness can hardly exist in a state of complete projection. At most it would be a heap of emotions. Through the withdrawal of projections, conscious knowledge slowly developed. Science, curiously enough, began with the discovery of astronomical laws, and hence with the withdrawal, so to speak, of the most distant projections. This was the first stage in the despiritualization of the world. One step followed another: already in antiquity the gods were withdrawn from mountains and rivers, from trees and animals. Modern science has subtilized its projections to an almost unrecognizable degree, but our ordinary life still swarms with them. You can find them spread out in the newspapers, in books, rumours, and ordinary social gossip. All gaps in our actual knowledge are still filled out with projections. We are still so sure we know what other people think or what their true character is." - Carl Jung

"I have already suggested that the only salvation lies in the piecemeal work of educating the individual. That is not as hopeless as it may appear. The power of the demons is immense, and the most modern media of mass suggestion – radio, film, etc. — are at their service. But Christianity, too, was able to hold its own against an overwhelming adversary not by propaganda and mass conversions — that came later and was of little value — but by persuasion from man to man. And that is the way we also must go if we wish to conquer the demons." - Carl Jung

"No, the demons are not banished; that is a difficult task that still lies ahead. Now that the angel of history has abandoned the Germans, the demons will seek a new victim. And that won’t be difficult. Every man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into self-righteousness, is their prey…. We should not forget that exactly the same fatal tendency to collectivization is present in the victorious nations as in the Germans, that they can just as suddenly become a victim of the demonic powers."  - Carl Jung

--final notes--

  • When we feel inner resistance to situations, when we find ourselves doing the things we do not want to do, take a step back and accept it. 'It is OK. I blew it.' Become aware of when these things happen and who is doing them - a possessing entity you have created is in control.
  • Doing will not undo the devil, the ego, when empowered. Recognizing what is happening and accepting it for what it is depowers the demonic.
  • Becoming aware of what is happening allows one to break the mental control, the possession.