Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wizard of Oz analysis - part 10: The holy spirit; Jungian interpretation of religion


The Holy Spirit in Christianity
For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the third person of the Trinity: the "Triune God" manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each person itself being God.

The New Testament includes over 90 references to the Holy Spirit. The sacredness of the Holy Spirit is affirmed in all three Synoptic Gospels which proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin.[a]

In the bible's Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 20-23, a correspondence is drawn between breath, and the Holy Spirit:

20. [T]hen the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22. When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
23. "If you received the sins of any, they are forgiven them. ..."

[New Revised Standard Version; emphasis not in original.]

The Holy Spirit in Judaism
In the Hebrew Bible, the word ruach (also ruwach) (Hebrew: רוּחַ) is generally used to mean wind, breath, mind, spirit.[b] For example, it is used as part of the expression meaning "and the spirit of God" (וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים) in Gen. 1:2: "Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters." An example of its being used to mean "breath" appears in Gen. 7:15: "And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh wherein is the breath of life." Taking "spirit of God" to be the same as 'holy spirit', all of the foregoing, taken together, implies that Judaism considers there to be a connection between breath and holy spirit.

Above left: Both Dorothy (with her hand on her forehead) and the Lion (with his hands over his abdomen) experience labored breathing, after running across the poppy field. Due to the association between the Christian Holy Spirit, and breath, Dorothy running out of breath here represents corruption of, and blasphemy against, the Christian Holy Spirit, which, as indicated above, is one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, each of which is God. Since the Lion represents a (cowardly) Jew, his running out of breath indicates corruption of the Jewish holy spirit. Above right: Recall from earlier in the analysis that in Dante's Inferno, blasphemers are seen lying down, in the ninth circle of Hell. Dorothy and the Lion are seen lying down in the poppy field (the Lion can be taken to be in a position such that he is sitting - note his raised legs, bent at the knees - and lying); this confirms that these two have committed blasphemy.

Jungian Interpretation of Religion
In "Psychology and Religion", Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung maintains that "[Religious] dogma owes its continued existence and its form on the one hand to so-called "revealed" or immediate experiences of the "Gnosis" — for instance, the God-man, the Cross, the Virgin Birth, the Immaculate Conception, the Trinity, and so on, and on the other hand to the ceaseless collaboration of many minds over many centuries. It may not be quite clear why I call certain dogmas "immediate experiences", since in itself a dogma is the very thing that precludes immediate experience. Yet the Christian images I have mentioned are not peculiar to Christianity alone (although in Christianity they have undergone a development and intensification of meaning not to be found in any other religion). They occur just as often in pagan religions, and besides that they can reappear spontaneously in all sorts of variations as psychic phenomena, just as in the remote past they originated in visions, dreams, or trances. Ideas like these are never invented. They came into being before man had learned to use his mind purposively. Before man learned to produce thoughts, thoughts came to him."[c]

In accordance with the above, ideas such as the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception are effectively archetypes, i.e., they are elements of the collective unconscious, and as such, are shared among all human beings. This fact will come into play later in the analysis.

a. Wikipedia, 'Holy Spirit in Christianity'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Blue Letter Bible, "Lexicon :: Strong's H7307 - ruwach." Web, n.d. URL =
c. Jung, C.G. "Psychology and Religion" in The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 11. Princeton University Press, 1969. para. 81.


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