Robert B. Clarke. An Order Outside Time: A Jungian View of the Higher Self From Egypt to Christ. Charlottesville, Va.: Hampton Roads, 2005. Paperback, xxxiii + 453 pp.
When we think of Western spirituality, we often have Christianity in mind. Yet, our Western spiritual roots go beyond the era of Jesus of Nazareth to Persia and pharaonic Egypt. This book pays attention to the Egyptian connection without which Christianity is not fully understandable.
Clarke, an independent scholar, also is the author of The Four Gold Keys (Hampton Roads), which relates his own spiritual journey. Here his concern is with the archetypal symbolism of the central myths of Christianity, which have their precursors in the rich mythology of ancient Egypt.
After furnishing an introductory overview of Egyptian mythology/theology in the first three chapters, he discusses in the next six chapters various relevant historical and mythological aspects of Judaism, which was clearly influenced by Egypt. The final four chapters focus on Christianity, which adopted many of the central motifs of pharaonic Egypt via Judaism.
Basing himself on his own spiritual quest over many years, which brought him in touch with the Jungian world of collective archetypes, Clarke has a unique approach to cultural history. He believes that through an intelligent encounter with the past (a kind of Jungian amplification exercise), we can recover our own inner wholeness, which revolves around the archetype of the Higher Self. The Higher Self, as he sees it, is the Divine Son through whom/which one can experience the Divine itself and thereby become whole.
An Order Outside Time purports to be far more than a historical inquiry. It is meant to be a roadmap to personal integration through an intensive dialogue with and assimilation of the key archetypes that underlie the cultures of pharaonic Egypt, Judaism, and Christianity. As an independent scholar, Clarke is not beholden to any academic expectations and therefore can explore his subject freely, which leads to often refreshing insights.
Clarke concludes on a note that is very familiar to me from the Buddhist tradition: “[I]t dawned on me what the secret ingredient that makes all the difference is, and lo and behold, it had been there all the time, and absolutely needed to be, though I often fell short of it or sometimes lost it for periods. The secret ingredient turned out to be simple kindness” (p. 434).
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.