Theophany, soul’s imagination

Theophany by Pskov- 13th- 14th century, from: US Public Domain via wikimedia.
Theophany by Pskov- 13th- 14th century, from: US Public Domain via wikimedia.

In the image above we see the Theophany. Theophany is an Ancient Greek term from theophaneia, meaning “appearance of a god” [1] . The word describes the the appearance of the deity to the living soul. In Psychology and Alchemy, Carl Jung speaks of “the relationship between God and soul.” (Para. 11) Jung says:

[The soul] “has the dignity of an entity endowed with consciousness of the relationship to deity.”

Inherent in the human being is a knowing, an intuition of the deity. Jung offers a metaphor to help us understand this intimate relationship:

“Even if it were only the relationship of a drop of water to the sea, that sea would not exist but for the multitude of drops. ” (Para. 11)

Jung offers a second metaphor:

“as the eye to the sun, so the soul corresponds to God.” (ibid, para. 11)

Meister Eckhart speaks a similar language:

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”

And the Bible speaks of such knowing:

“I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

This relation is often expressed in terms of the ‘God image.’  Jung says:

“the soul must contain in itself the faculty of relation to God, i.e. a correspondence, otherwise a connection could never come about. This correspondence is in psychological terms the archetype of the God image” (para. 11)


Carl G.Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (1953) (1944). Collected Works volume 12


5 thoughts on “Theophany, soul’s imagination

  1. Great article, Jenna. The intelligence behind it is magnificent. How to genuinely experience the archetypal divine and let go of the limits of literalism is my challenge

  2. I love the painting you posted with this.

    This entry, and your website in general, have been genuinely thought provoking for me.

    I’ve read Jung’s memoirs, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”, and a few books related to Jung and depth psychology, but your writings on the concept of immanence have provided me with a renewed interest in Jung’s ideas.

    For me, the challenge is finding concrete ways to “go within” as you wrote. I recently bought Robert A. Johnson’s book “Inner Work” to help with that and will keep reading your posts.

    Thank you for the work you’ve done here!

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