“Bathed in a gloriously blue light”

“Bathed in a gloriously blue light” September 22, 2018


Mir from Atlantis
The Russian space station Mir, photographed from the American shuttle Atlantis on 4 July 1995
(NASA public domain photo)  Mir’s orbital altitude averaged about 223 miles above Earth’s surface, which, I’m guessing, is closer to Carl Jung’s seeming altitude than his own estimate.


Here, I offer two more reports of near-death or out-of-body experiences, both of them taken from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010).


The first comes from the very famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), the founder of analytical psychology.  In November 1944, he suffered a serious heart attack.  Here is a portion of his account of what happened at that time:


It seemed to me that I was high up in space.  Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light.  I saw the deep blue sea and the continents.  Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India.  My field of vision did not include the whole earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light.  In many places the globe seemed colored, or spotted dark green like oxydized silver.  Far away to the left lay a broad expanse — the reddish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the earth had there assumed a reddish-gold hue.  Then came the Red Sea, and far, far back — as if in the upper left of a map — I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean.  My gaze was directed chiefly toward that.  Everything else appeared indistinct.  I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy.  I did not look to the right at all.  I knew that I was on the point of departing from the earth.

Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view — approximately a thousand miles!  The sight of the earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.  (22-23)


Please keep in mind that, when Carl Jung died on 6 June 1961, the “space age” had only barely begun.  The first artificial satellite, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, had been launched into low Earth orbit in October 1957.  The first human to journey into outer space was the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who had completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961, less than two months before Jung’s passing.  Photographs of Earth from space, let alone full color images, weren’t exactly common in June 1961.  Or in November 1944


And now, second, here is the interesting account of someone who was color-blind:


I saw the most dazzling colors, which was all the more surprising because I’m color-blind.  I can distinguish the primary colors, but pastels all look the same to me.  But suddenly I could see them, all kinds of different shades.  Don’t ask me to name them because I lack the necessary experience for that.  (23)



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