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Lloyd, Robert
Gnostic Myths Behind Jung’s
Theory of Individuation
Xlibris (263 pp.)
$28.79; paper $18.69
March 26, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4257-4652-0
Paper: 978-1-4257-4651-3

Did Carl Jung’s principles of psychology have Gnostic origins? A Marine Corps Ph.D. explores the complex mystical possibilities. Lloyd splits his expansive hypothesis of the soul’s journey into three vital steps (preparation, undertaking and re-birth) in discovering Jung’s “path to wholeness.” He credits Jung with saving his life by way of unlocking his imagination (the soul’s voice) and spiritual mindset. The author familiarizes readers with the Gnostic religious movement, practitioners of an intensely spiritual inner exploration, who believed that humans are not bound to experiences solely of the body and mind. His literary gift to Jung is these comparative ruminations, all exuding a great amount of imagination and provocative thought. Running parallel to the author’s spiritually progressive interests is his adventuresome interaction with an “imaginal dog” named Gold, who discovers two seeds of knowledge. The first rediscovers the “spark of divine life,” whereby humans are one and the same with God, and the second amplifies Jung’s individuation theory that the human ego must relate to the unconscious mind to achieve psychological health. Unerringly throughout his narrative, Lloyd grafts Gnostic myths with Jungian wisdom. He focuses on the psychic creator and “king of the material world” Demiurge in association with second-century Gnostic visionary Valentinus, whose tragic myth of Sophia tells of a restless female deity who travels outside of herself searching for wholeness rather than looking inward, and her ultimate repentance. Comparatively, Jung also writes of humans who restrict themselves to their five senses rather than tapping into the core strength of their imaginative visions where “uncanny experiences” might spring forth. As Lloyd (and Gold) survey principles of higher consciousness, the self, the transformative life-cycle process, and the concluding Syrian lyrical myth “Song of the Pearl” as they are juxtaposed against Jung’s theories, the author also cites Gnostic challenges to contemporary religious beliefs as in the re-imagined genesis of Jesus of Nazareth. Most interestingly, Lloyd inserts Jung into his narrative to quiz his arbiters as to whether they have the “desire to discover the mystery” of their existence. Unfiltered hokum for some, but those who are open to it will find much-needed nourishment and direction for their searching souls.