Carl Jung tells us that “this longing for the mother is amply expressed in the literature of the Bible” (ibid). One such instance of the divine mother in the Bible is Jerusalem as sacred mother city. Heavenly Jerusalem “is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:27).
The city, in general, is often as “a maternal symbol,… a woman who harbours the inhabitants in herself like children” (para 303). In the Biblical language of the Old Testament the “cities of Jerusalem, Babylon, etc are treated “just as if they were women” (ibid). The heavenly city Jerusalem is not only mother image, but divine mother, mother in whom we may be reborn of spirit. Jung sites Galatians 4:27:
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shalt not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free … (cited in CW5, para 312).
Through rebirth in Jerusalem we are reborn as “children of the Higher City.” With this rebirth we leave behind “the earthly city-mother.” Jung continues with an important insight:
“Those born after the flesh are opposed to those born after the spirit, who are not born from the fleshly mother but from a symbol of the mother” (para. 313).
Through rebirth in the sacred mother we are born again, not of flesh but of the symbolic mother.
- Carl Jung, Cw 5, Symbols of Transformation (in US Pubic Domain, first published 1912)