Rock Art and Golems
Thomas R. Hersh
Los Angeles, California
Published in: Rock Art Papers, Volume 9. Edited by Ken Hedges, San Diego Museum Papers No. 28. Copyright © 1992.
San Diego Museum of Man, 1350 E1 Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. (171-182.)
A Jungian Approach to the Golem Tradition
According to G. Scholem (1974, p. 351), a golem "is a creature, particularly a human being, made in an artificial way by virtue of a magic act, through the use of holy names." The possibility of making such a creature is connected with the "magical exegesis of the Sefer Yezirah and with the ideas of the creative power of speech and of the letters." It is the purpose of this paper to analyze the golem tradition in terms of modern psychological ideas, in particular, the ideas of C. G. Jung.
People become interested in learning about psychology for different reasons. One reason is to understand someone who has caused problems for the person. One man might want to understand why his father abandoned him. Another is trying to understand why his father used to drink and beat him. And so on. Sometimes the person has a secret fear that he or she will turn out like the problem person and is trying to figure out how to prevent this.
Longer Observation (4): Dream of a Raging River: If a patient can’t cross a raging river in a dream, this can be the whole focus of therapy, and it may take many years for her to discover if she needs to and wants to cross and then how to cross and if she can. And then there is the crossing itself and, finally, the beginning of life on the other side. These are difficult goals to explain to insurance companies.
Short idea (86): When good people become bad, they often become very very bad, and when bad people become good, they often become very very good.
Short idea (100): People change all the time, like it or not. But there is much argument about whether or not "people can really change," change their personalities. Does psychotherapy lead to real and deep and profound changes or only some more or less temporary and more or less superficial changes of behavior? Psychological observation shows there is such a thing as a complete transformation of the personality. This is not the same thing as willing yourself to change your behavior or deciding not to focus on yourself so much or anything on this level. And it is not the belief that you have changed or a dream or fantasy that you are a new person. It involves a complete and total metamorphosis of the way we think, the way we feel about things, the content of our fantasy life, and a re-valuing of all our values (to use Nietzsche's term). It takes time. Some people say it feels as if they are being reborn.