Rebirth – A process experienced as a renewal or transformation of the personality. (See also individuation.)
Rebirth is not a process that we can in any way observe. We can neither measure nor weigh nor photograph it. It is entirely beyond sense perception. … One speaks of rebirth; one professes rebirth; one is filled with rebirth. … We have to be content with its psychic reality. [“Concerning Rebirth,” CW 9i, par. 206.]
Jung distinguished between five different forms of rebirth: metempsychosis (transmigration of souls), reincarnation (in a human body), resurrection, psychological rebirth (individuation) and indirect change that comes about through participation in the process of transformation.
Psychological rebirth was Jung’s particular focus. Induced by ritual or stimulated by immediate personal experience, it results in an enlargement of the personality. He acknowledged that one might feel transformed during certain group experiences, but he cautioned against confusing this with genuine rebirth.
If any considerable group of persons are united and identified with one another by a particular frame of mind, the resultant transformation experience bears only a very remote resemblance to the experience of individual transformation. A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal. …
… The group experience goes no deeper than the level of one’s own mind in that state. It does work a change in you, but the change does not last. [Ibid., pars. 225f.]
© from Daryl Sharp’s Jung Lexicon, reproduced with kind permission of the author.
Related topics include:
If this topic has given you food for thought, one way to follow up is to engage in a Jungian analysis process.
To help you further explore this, see:
Working with Jungian Theory and Practice looks at going deeper into Jungian work.
Jungian Analysis – an Adventure into the Self explores the topic further.
To learn more about me, see Jungian Analyst – Melbourne.
To listen to a podcast with Laura London in her Speaking of Jung series, check out this Podcast with Laura London.