Jungian Dream Interpretation of the Virtues

By Midnight Freemasons Contributor
By James Frey 32

My Brethren, it has long been my belief that what truly makes a good man better within our fraternity is our system of ritualistic initiation. Many men can study philosophy but it is only through an initiation that a man can experience philosophy. This experience shapes the Candidate’s individual perception of reality. As every event shapes the way we perceive the world, then the ritual experience of philosophy will shape an unconscious reaction to a sense of duty for high moral attainment. 
 Another reason I believe the Masonic system produces a deeper change is the use of symbols as a method to teach the candidate. Before this new liberal education, which is in a state of constant state of change, was developed by so called experts. Man learned for thousands of years through symbols and symbolic recognition. As masons we realize the importance in symbols and how we give certain symbols psychological energy to create a change within ourselves. To understand how symbols affect our minds we must look at them in psychological terms. One of the main psychological theories concerning symbols and their relation to the unconscious is the work of Carl Jung. Carl believed that there existed a collected unconscious that connected all humanity together; within this collected unconscious exists the perfect form of the archetypes and how we relate to them is through out own individual unconsciousness. It should be noted that one’s personal unconsciousness cannot begin to experience the collected unconscious, so the archetypes of the personal unconscious reflect the cultural symbols in which the individual lives.
Jung theorized that every individual had a personal unconscious that interpreted universal images found throughout all cultures and religions these were deemed these archetypes. Jung theorized that archetypes, or universal images, are passed down through memories and exist in the collected unconscious. So symbols are used by our personal unconscious to interpret these archetypes as to relate them to the conscious mind. This is why we find so many similar characters and themes throughout the world’s religions, mythology, and culture. 
Jung believed that these archetypes were also aspects of ourselves and how we related to symbols were how we related to the world. One of the archetypes Jung described in detail was the anima. The anima was the inner feminine symbol of man. It was how we related to women physically, emotionally, environmentally, and spiritually. 
In masonry the Candidate experiences the Anima through the four cardinal virtues Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. Temperance represents the first stage of the Anima. This is interesting because the first stage is representative of physical love. The mason learns to curve that passion and to keep it in due bounds. What then happens is a psychological balance creating harmony. Albert Mackey, 33 claims the lesson of temperance is to “The mason who properly appreciates the secrets which has solemnly promised never to reveal, will not, by yelling to the unrestrained call of appetite, permit reason and judgment to lose their seats, and subject himself by the indulgence in habits of excess.” p763 
This is interesting because according to forbidden Biblical texts Sex is only a sin when man no longer sees the spirit in a woman and she becomes as only a physical being devoid of spirit in the perception of the individual. (Gospel of Mary Magdalene) So one must overcome their own perception of a woman as only physical beings to establish not only a balanced and healthy relationship but also a healthy view of the feminine side of life.
 In a mythological sense this stage is represented by Eve who brought sexual sensation into the world. You will notice that that temperance pours the water of life into a chalice. In Jungian dream analysis both water and a bowl are representative the passive psychological force. To realize the feminine aspect of our selves we must realize that that feminine aspect exists universally and is a spiritual element within ourselves.
The Fortitude represents the second stage of the anima representing emotional love. This is a step above the first, this representative of a lover, wife, and partner. Often personified in ancient times as Aphrodite, the love goddess of the Greeks. Mackey writes, “it teaches him to let no dangers shake, no pains dissolve the inviolable fidelity he owes to the trusts reposed of him.” (P270) This is symbolic of the pains of emotional love. Projecting the desired aspects of our psyche onto our partner will psychologically cause emotional pain. This is because we unrealistically perceive our partners to embody these archetypes and do not accept them for their flaws and basic humanity. You see her gazing into a mirror; Jung would say this is symbolic with a problem concerning our sense of identity. We must realize to embody those aspects of desire in ourselves and not to seek them in a partner. If we don’t do this we are using a relationship to fill this void within ourselves. This blocks us from psychological advancement. But once we learn this lesson, we learn to become better husbands to our wives, and better appreciate and understand our emotional devotion to them. 
Prudence is representative to the third stage of the anima cycle, which is representative of the mother. Prudence appears with a warrior’s helmet denoting a stern but protective presence. At her feet she nurtures a bush, which shows the great cycle of life and the motherly force reproduction. Preston, another Masonic writer and philosopher who first introduced Prudence writes “Prudence is the true guide to human understanding, and consists in judging and determining with propriety what is to be said or done upon all occasions, what dangers we should endeavor to avoid and how to act in all our difficulties.” We must learn to see that our environment shapes the feminine aspects of ourselves as we progress psychologically. Because it is through our mother how we shape our view of all women.
 This stage is also representative of the development of our relationships with our wife to that of a mother herself. As she progresses from a physical being to an intellectual being, to a loving being, we progress with her learning to love her in new ways. 
The last virtue of the anima cycle is the fourth and highest which is representative of Sophia the goddess of wisdom to the ancient Pythagoreans. In Masonry Justice personifies this. Justice represents the divine feminine within us all, she holds the balance to show we have attained balance of our masculine and feminine forces. She holds a sword, which in Jungian dream imagery is the most masculine of symbols. She wears a crown upon her head, which is representative of the right to rule. Her feet firmly planted on the ground, body upright and true. Mackey writes, “This is the cornerstone on which alone he can expect to erect a superstructure alike honorable to himself and the fraternity.” P374  
Through the virtues we learn as an entered apprentice how to better understand our connections to our feminine side within the universe and ourselves. By doing this we create a psychological balance of our active and passive forces. This balances us emotionally, as well as mentally. As a Mason we are charged to be a good husband, it is within the virtues we learn to grow our connection to our mate physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. These symbols develop the way our personal unconscious interprets the archetype of the Anima and helps us develop our consciousness to a higher plane of existence. 


James E Frey, 32° is a Past Sovereign Prince and current librarian of Valley of Danville AASR. Founder of the R.E.B.I.S Research Society he sits on two Blue Lodge Education committees as well as a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry. He is also a Member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, and Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He also works as a counselor with emotionally and behaviorally challenged children. 


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