Morton Kelsey

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Morton Kelsey (1917-2001) was an Episcopal priest, Jungian therapist, counselor and religious writer.

Quotes[edit]

  • If humankind is open to another dimension of reality, then the dream may be one of the most common avenues through which God reaches out to us.
    • Dreams: A Way to Listen to God (1978)
  • The neurotic, it has been said, worries about castles in the air, while the psychotic lives in them. ...The hysterical person can copy reliably nearly any disease syndrome. ...Destructive emotional causes or influences may play a part in any disease, whatever the class or immediate cause.
    • Healing and Christianity: A Classic Study (1995)
  • The inner journey is as individual as our thumbprint. We need to guide others on their way and never impose our way upon them.
    • The Other Side of Silence (1995) p. 75
  • I learned that all people can be touched, with genuine caring and understanding.
    • Morton T. Kelsey (Interview) Part 1 (2010, YouTube post date) video @7m 12s
  • The success of a ministry depends more upon one's capacity to relate and to care, than [on] one's theological background.
    • Morton T. Kelsey (Interview) Part 1 (2010, YouTube post date) video @7m 26s

Myth, History & Faith (1974)[edit]

VII Psychology, Philosophy & Myth[edit]

  • Western man, religious or not, came to believe that he was nothing but a shell of mechanically functioning matter, built to house his rational consciousness. ...Strangely enough, just as people were trying to get used to that kind of world, science began to see it differently. ...the scientific truths they had once considered universal and absolutely certain were only partly true.
  • One of the most important ways of understanding the unconscious—indeed, as Freud saw it, the royal road to discovering the nature of its contents—is the dream. And what is a dream but a series of images that tell a story?
  • The unconscious reveals its meaning imaginatively, through symbols and images, and it speaks... a basically mythological language.
  • As Jung worked with patients from all over the world, he began to study the mythologies of different peoples... Folklore and mythology... appeared as the collective dreams of a people, expressing for the group what poetic imagination, phantasies, visions and dreams express for the individual. Both the individual and collective types of experience are vital to human life.
  • One interesting confirmation of this viewpoint comes from the widespread dream research of William Dement... Not only did these subjects who were deprived of their dreams step up the frequency of their attempts to dream, but if they continued to be cut off from completing their dreams, they soon began to show signs of nervous breakdown.

VIII Religion and Myth[edit]

  • Man cannot remain well psychologically, let alone socially, if he loses contact with the unconscious and its symbolic and mythological life.
  • The Eastern or Greek Orthodox tradition has never turned its back upon the dream or the myth. ...it has continued to believe that spiritual reality is mediated to men through mythological images in story and actions, and in the pictorial representation of the icon.
  • Protestants have tried to make their religion completely logical and sensible... The result is that the average Western Protestant, completely cut off from his own myth, turns to the Vedas or theosophy, to Masonry, or to a struggle for power, or even war, to give him mythological symbols which his faith does not encompass.
  • Even the church, which in ages past was custodian of man's myths, has turned its back upon myth, has forgotten its meaning, and has lost the ability to interpret and use it.
  • Myth can act almost like throwing open a window to reveal reality that is not being touched by the rational, Aristotelian approach.
  • The problem confronting the modern church is... to discover this new, and yet very old way of looking at reality mythologically. This is the Platonic, the psychological, the Christian way of expressing spiritual reality, through images and symbols, and it is the only way of approaching this realm as a living reality. Otherwise it must be broken down into elements and is dead.
  • Myth and ritual act as transformers in bringing people the value of spiritual reality, just as an electrical transformer... The dream also provides the same kind of stepped-down encounter.
  • There is no painless way of coming into contact with spiritual reality.
  • Religious practice provides three... mythological methods of coming to terms with spiritual reality and finding the treasure within it. One way is to study the myth in its historical context... And for modern Christians this means trying to see the psychological meaning of myth in the development of human consciousness. A second way is through ritual in which the mythological story is acted out... And third, he can sometimes step into the myth imaginatively through meditation, actually entering the spiritual world... and becoming active and effective in it.
  • In the early years of Christianity the Church was known to be a place to bring those who were sick, either mentally or physically... A vital Christianity still has this power.
  • Psychologically and spiritually, whether one calls them complexes or spiritual beings, they can be either upbuilding, creative forces, or negative and destructive influences.
  • Almost any reality which we fail to confront and deal with in some way, will try to possess us. This is as true of autonomous complexes or spirits as of germs and bacteria.
  • The greater the man, the more subject he is to the ravaging effects of the negative side of this reality.
  • How seldom do we look at the mythological pattern as it moves deep within the lives of individuals, prompting them to meet fate, to meet events following almost exactly the meaning outlined by the myth.

Quotes about Kelsey[edit]

  • Morton Kelsey, the most prolific writer among twentieth century Christian mystics.
    • Bob DeWaay, "Contemporary Christian Divination: The False Claims and Practices of Christian Mystics" Critical Issues Commentary, Issue 83 (July/August 2004)

External links[edit]

Morton T. Kelsey Part 1 & Part 2 @YouTube