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Re: Re: VMs: Modern Astrology vs. Traditional Astrology
Now you've gone and done it. . . I'm usually quite
cautious about reading very many modern historians so
I won't become too biased to modern thinking. But now
I have become curious about the ideas behind Jung's
development of "psychological astrology."
I found this article shed an interesting light, if you
don't object to looking at it from my point of view
for a moment.
Let's say it's my contention that Ficino was not the
originator of "modern psychological" astrology except
by Jung's own hand; that Ficino himself had
antecedents which were known to Jung, and used by him;
and that the reason "modern psychological" astrology
fits so well with certain conceptual themes of Ficino
is that Jung pretty much modelled his work on that of
Ficino, Plato, neoplatonists, gnostic tradition,
alchemy, etc. And that Ficino was not the founder of
Jung's school, but rather that Jung was indebted to
Ficino, as well as others.
So if it were not for Jung and his openness to these
themes, you would not have a Ficinian basis of "modern
And as several of Ficino's acknowledged antecedants
were consciously utilized by Jung as well, Ficino is
actually a questionable founder of "modern
psychological" astrology, as far as I can tell.
This is apart from the question of technique,
intention, and application of astrology.
I would have no problem saying that conceptually(apart
from the problem of intention, technique, and
application) Ficino was an antecedent or precursor of
"modern psychological" astrology, right along with
Plato, Hermes Trismegistus (I know he is perhaps not a
historic figure, but the writings nevertheless are
there), and others. . .but to say he founded it, no.
I also disagree with the statement that he practiced
"modern psychological astrology", for reasons we have
already discussed. IMHO, it required Jung to found the
movement. The techniques employed did not exist until
the twentieth century.
I would call attributing "modern psychological"
astrology to Ficino reading history backwards from
Jung. The problem is, if we keep going backwards,
where do we stop? Gnosticism. . . Neoplatonism . . .
Plato? Please, surely we can agree these guys were
not "modern psychological astrologers", right?
Anyway, I hope you find this interesting!
III. Connections with Neoplatonism
Jung?s Debt to Neoplatonism
For our purposes, the important point is that the
archetypes are essentially the Platonic Ideas. This,
in itself, is not a new notion, nor is it surprising.
Indeed, Jung (CW 9, pt. 1, ¶5) says,??Archetype? is an
explanatory paraphrase of the Platonic ei]doj,?and he
cites its use by Philo Judaeus (De opf. mundi,
I.69),Irenaeus (Adv. haer., II.7.5), the Corpus
Hermeticum (I.8, II.12),and pseudo-Dionysius (De cael.
hier., II.4; De div. nom., I.6); theterm is also used
by Plotinus (e.g., 5.1.4). Indeed Jung (CW 8,¶154)
defines archetypes as active living dispositions,
ideas in the Platonic sense, that preform and
continually influence our thoughts and feelings and
actions. Certainly Jung seems to have been influenced
more directly by Gnosticism than by Neoplatonism, for
the Gnostics, as Jung(1965, 200) says,had been
confronted with the primal world of the unconscious
and had dealt with its contents, with images that were
obviously contaminated with the world of instinct.
But Gnosticism itself has many connections with Middle
Platonism and Neoplatonism. Eventually Jung became
interested in alchemy because he saw it as a ?bridge
that led from Gnosticism ? or neo-Platonism ? to the
contemporary world? (op. cit., 201). As psychologist
James Hillman (1975a, 198) remarks,?There are striking
likenesses between the main themes of Neoplatonism and
archetypal psychology.? He notes (Hillman1975b) that
although Jung cites Neoplatonists infrequently, he was
4inspired at an early stage of his career by the
Neoplatonist scholar Friedrich Creuzer, who later
edited the works of Plotinus, Proclus,and
Olympiodorus. Jung (1965, 162) says that he ?read like
mad?Creuzer?s Symbolik und Mythologie der alten
Völker, and ?worked with feverish interest? through
this Neoplatonic analysis ofmythology. Hillman
refrains from claiming a direct dependence of Jung on
Plotinus via Creuzer, but he does want to suggest, and
strongly, that the reason Jung was so fired by Creuzer
was because he and Creuzer shared the same spirit, a
profoundly similar psychological attitude,
anarchetypal attitude, which tradition calls
Neoplatonist(Hillman 1975b, 149).He notes further
affinities, calling the Florentine Neoplatonist and
theurgist Marsilio Ficino the Renaissance patron of
archetypal psychology (1975a, 200), and claiming,
?Ficino was writing, not philosophy as has always been
supposed, but an archetypal psychology? (1975a, 202).
(See also Hillman 1975b on Ficino.)In summary, there
is reason to conclude that Jung was influenced by
Neoplatonism both directly and indirectly (via
Gnosticism and alchemy), but even were he not, we can
see the connections now and use each to illuminate the
> --- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > Hi everyone,
> > I've learnt a tremendous amount from this thread
> > (especially from Pamela's
> > most recent posts), and so don't think it's quite
> > time to take it off-list
> > (sorry Elmar).
> > FWIW I think of "modern astrology" as Ficino
> > and (say)
> > "contemporary astrology" as roughly 1850 onwards,
> > but that is informed by a
> > literature (primarily historian-driven, and more
> > specifically historians of
> > ideas) quite parallel to the literature (primarily
> > practising-astrologer-driven) on which Pamela is
> > relying. Essentially,
> > "modern" is one of those
> > words-that-mean-what-you-want-them-to-mean (as per
> > Humpty Dumpty), so we should be careful with it.
> > This is particularly important if we want to
> > the VMs to the
> > literature(s) of history of astrology - we have to
> > know *which tradition*
> > we're talking about.
> > I also completely take Pamela's point per Jung and
> > alchemy (IIRC, he bought
> > a book on alchemy and had a dream, and that's
> > his ideas basically all
> > came from) - very much like the enneagram, Wicca,
> > and numerous other 20th
> > Century inventions. I need to think about this
> > Pamela: (as mentioned above) I do believe that our
> > readings are from quite
> > two parallel literatures. Which is why your kitten
> > is ~fairly~ safe (though
> > I'd predict that Ioan Couliano did practise some
> > medieval predictive
> > astrology - he did lecture on a mixture of
> > predictive techniques at his
> > university). :-/
> > Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
> > To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx
> > with a body saying:
> > unsubscribe vms-list
> "I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing, than to
> teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
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