The Divine Urge

Something in you, an urge in you, must lead you to it. . . . This is the divine urge.

—C. G. Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga 

The psyche presents the face of progress. It is inherently teleological and contains within itself the requisite energy for pushing the entire mechanism forward. Some intrinsic a priori urge is spontaneously born and reborn again, and this activity forms the energetic framework upon which the creation of consciousness depends. Jung (2012) imagined ego-consciousness to be surrounded on all sides by “multiple luminosities” (p. 118) that flickered into being and added their psychic payload to the as yet unformed mass. The multiple luminosities are what the alchemists called radii atque scintillae— rays of sparks—whose light derives from the anima mundi which is identical with the spirit of God. “This light is the lumen naturae which illuminates consciousness, and the scintillae are germinal luminosities shining forth from the darkness of the unconscious” (p. 121). Naturally, then—inherently, intrinsically—luminous sparks flicker into being to create consciousness and life. The suggestion is that out of a dark state of unconsciousness, something new is kindled. The alchemists believed this life-giving light originated in a divine source whose otherworldly nature accounts for its autonomy and its strength. This source employs an overpowering numinous quality which inflames an inner urge—a compulsion, a longing, a divine passion—that can scarcely be ignored. Yet the spark alone is insufficient. The urgency it arouses is everything. 

This dark state of unconsciousness prior to the spark is similar to that of the Kundalini serpent which slumbers in the root chakra. Here there is as yet no light, yet the potential for light is inherent. Kundalini is “latent activity” and “concealed consciousness” (Jung, 1996, p. 20), just as the root chakra is the source of life. To awaken the serpent and travel upwards through the energy systems—which in Jungian terms can be understood as the process of individuation—“. . . there must be something peculiar in you, a leading spark, some incentive that forces you on. . . .” (p. 21). This incentive is apparently fostered by a quasi-religious, numinous promise of psychic wholeness. In alchemy, this is the mysterium coniunctionis, the perfect marriage of opposites symbolized by the sun (masculine) and moon (feminine) which results in an authentic hermaphroditus (Jacobi, 1959) while in Kundalini yoga it is likewise a marriage, this time between śakti and śiva, the symbolic embodiments of masculine and feminine knowledge. 

The sparks in deep unconsciousness, it seems to me, are our own dreams, which (autonomously) irrupt—in luminous fashion—and light up the darkness. They project their beguiling numinous images onto the black wall of nonbeing and give rise to an inexorable compulsion within us to not only live but to endure tremendous uncertainty. The divine sparks, primordial images—the archetypes—compel us to marry an imaginal realm of being, to become fused with it in perfect unity, even though this process is lengthy and painful. 

I find myself drawn to this ultimate story of consciousness, which is evidently a love story. The psyche has an inherent dividing line so that everything becoming conscious is split in two. This split is painful, so all our energy is spent trying to restore the split. Before the tear, there was only the realm of infinite potential—where the lovers were united in perfect bliss. But it is inaccessible since unconscious. The bliss exists, but for no one. The fierce urgency of life finds an immediate iteration in the works of love, so it makes sense that the force which compels life to endure the pain of transformation is love. A dialectical relationship between pairs of lovers—conscious and unconscious, feminine and masculine, light and dark—generates this divine urge which ultimately leads us to the consummation of our marriage to God.