Jung On the
Archetype of the Self
As an empirical concept,
the self designates the whole range of psychic phenomena in [humans].
It expresses the unity of the personality as a whole. But insofar
as the total personality, on account of its unconscious component,
can be only in part conscious, the concept of the self is, in
part, only potentially empirical, and it is to that extent a postulate.
In other words, it encompasses both the experienceable and the
inexperienceable (or the not-yet experienced). It has these qualities
in common with very many scientific concepts that are more names
than ideas. Insofar as psychic totality, consisting of both conscious
and unconscious contents, is a postulate, it is a transcendental
concept, for it presupposes the existence of unconscious factors
on empirical grounds and thus characterizes an entity that can
be described only in part but, for the other part, remains at
present unknowable and illimitable.
Just as conscious as well as unconscious phenomena are to be met
with in practice, the self as psychic totality also has a conscious
as well as an unconscious aspect. Empirically, the self appears
in dreams, myths, and fairy tales in the figure of the supraordinate
personality . . . such as a king, hero, prophet, savior, etc.,
or in the form of a totality symbol, such as the circle, square,
quadratura circuli, etc. When it represents a complexio oppositorum,
a union of opposites, it can also appear as a united duality,
in the form, for instance, of tao as the interplay of yang and
yin, or of the hostile brothers, or of the hero and his adversary
(arch-enemy, dragon), Faust and Mephistopheles, etc. Empirically,
therefore, the Self appears as a play of light and shadow, although
conceived as a totality and unity in which the opposites are united.
Since such a concept is irrepresentable, . . . it is transcendental
on this account also. It would, logically considered, be a vain
speculation were it not for the fact that it designates symbols
of unity that are found to occur empirically.
The Self is not a philosophical idea, since it does not predicate
its own existence, i.e., does not hypostatize itself. From the
intellectual point of view, it is only a working hypothesis. Its
empirical symbols, on the other hand, very often possess a distinct
numinosity, i.e., an a priori emotional value, as in the case
of the mandala, "Deus est circulus . . . ," the
Pythagorean tetraktys, the quaternity, etc. It thus
proves to be an archetypal idea . . . , which differs from other
ideas of the kind in that it occupies a central position befitting
the significance of its contents and its numinosity (CW 6 [Psychological
Types], par. 789 - 791).
On the relationship between the ego and the Self, Jungian
analyst Irene Gad, M.D., Ph.D., in a personal communication,
describes the following metaphor: Consider a symphony orchestra
performance; the Self can be thought of as the conductor and the
musicians coming together in an effort to extract the best music
from the best talents; whereas the ego is the orchestra's manager
who makes the humble but necessary decisions about bookings and
tickets, hotels and transportation and meals. The manager is obviously
not the music, and it would be catastrophic to confuse the manager's
role with that of the conductor, but without the manager's services,
the orchestra doesn't play.
Returning to Jung:
It is of the greatest importance that the ego should be anchored
in the world of consciousness and that consciousness should be
reinforced by a very precise adaptation. For this, certain virtues
like attention, consciousness, patience, etc., are of the greatest
value on the moral side, just as accurate observation of the symptomatology
of the unconscious and objective self-criticism are valuable on
the intellectual side (CW 9/2, par. 46).
are not metaphysical insights; they are habitual modes of thinking,
feeling, and behaving that experience has proved appropriate and
useful (CW 9/2, par. 50).
seems at first sight to be nothing but an abstract idea . . .
, it is nevertheless empirical insofar as it is anticipated by
the psyche in the form of spontaneous or autonomous symbols. These
are the quaternity
occur not only in the dreams of modern people who have never heard
of them, but are widely disseminated in the historical records
of many peoples and many epochs. Their significance as symbols
of unity and totality is amply confirmed by history as well as
by empirical psychology. What at first looks like an abstract
idea stands in reality for something that exists and can be experienced,
that demonstrates its a priori presence spontaneously. Wholeness
is thus an objective factor that confronts the subject independently
of him, like the anima
and just as the latter have a higher position in the hierarchy
than the shadow, so wholeness lays claim to a position and a value
superior to those of the syzygy [anima
The syzygy seems to represent at least a substantial portion of
it, if not actually two halves of the totality formed by the royal
brother-sister pair, and hence the tension of opposites from which
the divine child is born as the symbol of unity.
Unity and totality stand at the highest point on a scale of objective
values because their symbols can no longer be distinguished from
the imago Dei. Hence, all statements about the God image apply
also to the empirical symbols of totality. Experience shows that
individual mandalas are symbols of order and that they occur in
patients principally during times of psychic disorientation or
reorientation. As magic circles they bind and subdue the lawless
powers belonging to the world of darkness and depict or create
an order that transforms the chaos into a cosmos. The mandala
first comes into the conscious mind as an unimpressive point or
dot, and a great deal of hard and painstaking work as well as
the integration of many projections are generally required before
the full range of the symbol can be anything like completely understood.
If this insight were purely intellectual, it could be achieved
without much difficulty, for the world-wide pronouncements about
the God within us and above us, about Christ and the corpus
the personal and suprapersonal atman, etc., are all formulations
that can easily be mastered by the philosophic intellect. This
is the common source of the illusion that one is then in possession
of the thing itself. But actually one has acquired nothing more
than its name (CW 9/2, par. 59 60).
The shadow, the
syzygy, and the Self are psychic factors of which an adequate
picture can be formed only on the basis of a fairly thorough experi-ence
of them. Just as these concepts arose out of an experience of
reality, so they can be elucidated only by further experience
(CW 9/2, par. 63).
Outside the narrower
field of professional psychology, these figures meet with understanding
from all who have any knowledge of comparative mythology. They
have no difficulty in recognizing the shadow as the adverse representative
of the dark chthonic world, a figure whose characteristics are
universal. The syzygy is immediately comprehensible as the psychic
prototype of all divine couples. Finally, the self, on account
of its empirical peculiarities, proves to be the eidos behind
the supreme ideas of unity and totality that are inherent in all
monotheistic and monistic systems.
I regard these parallels to be important because it is possible,
through them, to relate so-called metaphysical concepts, which
have lost their root connection with natural experience, to living,
universal, psychic processes, so that they can recover their true
and original meaning. In this way the connection is reestablished
between the ego and the projected contents now formulated as "metaphysical"
ideas. Unfortunately . . . the fact that metaphysical ideas exist
and are believed in does nothing to prove the actual existence
of their content or of the object they refer to, although the
coincidence of idea and reality in the form of a special psychic
state, a state of grace, should not be deemed impossible, even
if the subject cannot bring it about by an act of will. Once metaphysical
ideas have lost their capacity to recall and evoke the original
experience, they have not only become useless but prove to be
actual impediments on the road to wider development. One clings
to possessions that have once meant wealth; and the more ineffective,
incomprehensible, and lifeless they become, the more obstinately
people cling to them. This is unfortunately the fate of metaphysical
Today it is a real problem what on earth such ideas can mean.
The world - insofar as it has not completely turned its back on
tradition - has long ago stopped wanting to hear a "message";
it would rather be told what the message means. The words that
resound from the pulpit are incomprehensible and cry for an explanation.
How has the death of Christ brought us redemption when no one
feels redeemed? In what way is Jesus a God-man and what is such
a being? What is the Trinity about, and the parthenogenesis, the
eating of the body and the drinking of the blood, and all the
rest of it? What connection can there be between the world of
such concepts and the everyday world whose material reality is
the concern of natural science on the widest possible scale? For
at least sixteen hours out of every twenty-four, we live exclusively
in this every-day world, and the remaining eight we spend preferably
in an unconscious condition. Where and when does anything take
place to remind us even remotely of phenomena like angels, miraculous
feedings, beatitudes, the resurrection of the dead, etc.? It was
therefore something of a discovery to find that during the unconscious
state of sleep intervals occur, called "dreams," which
occasionally contain scenes having a not-inconsiderable resemblance
to the motifs of mythology. For myths are miracle tales and treat
of all those things that, very often, are also objects of belief.
In the every-day world of consciousness, such things hardly exist;
that is to say, until 1933 only lunatics would have been found
in possession of living fragments of mythology. After this date,
the world of heroes and monsters spread like a devastating fire
over whole nations, proving that the strange world of myth had
suffered no loss of vitality during the centuries of reason and
enlightenment. If metaphysical ideas no longer have such a fascinating
effect as before, this is certainly not due to any lack of primativity
in the European psyche, but simply and solely to the fact that
the erstwhile symbols no longer express what is now welling up
from the unconscious as the end result of the development of Christian
consciousness through the centuries. This end result is a true
antimimon pneuma, a false spirit of arrogance, hysteria, woolly
mindedness, criminal amorality, and doctrinaire fanaticism, a
purveyor of shoddy spiritual goods, spurious art, philosophical
stutterings, and Utopian humbug, fit only to be fed wholesale
to the mass [humans] of today. That is what the post-Christian
spirit looks like (CW 9/2, par. 64 - 67).
-Carl Jung, "The Self," in Aion: Researches into
the Phenomenology of the Self
Further readings in Jung: Since knowledge of the world
dwells in the adept's own bosom, [one] should draw such knowledge
out of [one's] knowledge of [one's]self, for the Self [one] must
seek to know is part of that nature which was bodied forth by
God's original oneness with the world. It is manifestly not a
knowledge of the nature of the ego, though this is far more convenient
and is fondly confused with self-knowledge. For this reason, anyone
who seriously tries to know [one]self as an object is accused
of selfishness and eccentricity. But such knowledge has nothing
to do with the ego's subjec-tive knowledge of itself. That is
a dog chasing it's own tail. The other, on the contrary, is a
difficult and morally exacting study of which so-called psychology
knows nothing and the educated public very little. The alchemist,
however, had at the very least an indirect inkling of it: he knew
definitely that as part of the whole he had an image of the whole
in himself. . . . This interior microcosm was the unwitting object
of alchemical research. Today we would call it the collective
unconscious, and we would describe it as objective because it
is identical in all individuals and is therefore one. But out
of this universal One, there is produced in every individual a
conscious, i.e., the ego (CW 9/2, par. 251).
knowledge of the self [is what is meant by]: "No one can
know himself unless he knows what, and not who, he is, on what
he depends, or whose he is (or to whom or what he belongs) and
for what end he was made." This distinction . . . is crucial.
. . . Not the subjective ego-consciousness of the psyche is meant,
but the psyche itself as the unknown, unprejudiced object that
still has to be investigated. . . . "What" refers to
the neutral self, the objective fact of totality, since the ego
is on the one hand causally "dependent on" or "belongs
to" it, and on the other hand is directed toward it as to
a goal (CW 9/2, par. 252).
We know only a small
part of our psyches. The
causal factors determining [one's] psychic existence reside largely
in the unconscious processes outside consciousness , and in the
same way there are final factors at work in [one] that likewise
originate in the unconscious. . . . Causes and ends thus transcend
consciousness to a degree that ought not to be underestimated,
and this implies that their nature and action are unalterable
and irreversible [to the degree that] they have not become objects
of consciousness. They can only be corrected through conscious
insight and moral determination, which is why self-knowledge,
being so necessary, is feared so much (CW 9/2, par. 253).
The final factors
at work in us are nothing other than those talents which "a
certain nobleman" entrusted to his "servants,"
that they might trade with them (Luke 19:12 ff.). It does not
require much imagination to see what this involvement in the ways
of the world means in the moral sense. Only an infantile person
can pretend that evil is not at work everywhere, and the more
unconscious s/he is, the more the devil drives her/him. . . .
Only ruthless self-knowledge o the widest scale, which sees good
and evil in correct perspective and can weigh up the motives of
human action, offers some guarantee that the end result will not
turn out too badly (CW 9/2, par. 255).
We find the crucial
importance of self-knowledge [for the sake of the transformation
process] expressed most clearly [by the alchemist Dorn]. . . .
The transformation is brought about by the conjunctio, which forms
the essence of the work (CW 9/2, par. 256).
Since the [philosopher's]
stone is a matter of "knowledge" or science, it springs
from man. But it is outside him, in his surroundings, among his
"equals," i.e., those of like mind. This description
fits the paradoxical situation of the self, as its symbolism shows.
It is the smallest of the small, easily overlooked and pushed
aside. Indeed, it is in need of help and must be perceived, protected,
and as it were built up by the conscious mind, just as if it did
not exist at all and were called into being only through [our]
care and devotion. As against this, we know from experience that
it had long been there and is older than the ego and that it is
actually the secret spiritus rector of out fate. The self does
not become conscious by itself, but has always been taught, if
at all, through a tradition of knowing . . . . Since it stands
for the essence of individuation, it is impossible without a relationship
to one's environment, it is found among those of like mind with
whom individual relations can be established. The self, moreover,
is an archetype that invariably expresses a situation within which
the ego is contained. Therefore, like every archetype, the self
cannot be localized in an individual ego-consciousness but acts
like a circumambient atmosphere to which no definite limits can
be set, either in space or in time. (Hence the synchronistic phenomena
so often associated with activated archetypes.) (CW 9/2, par.
[From a comment
on an alchemical tract, we learn] that the stone is implanted
in [us] by God, that the laborant is its prima materia, that the
extraction corresponds to the so-called divisio or separatio of
the alchemical procedure, and that through [our] knowledge of
the stone [we] remain inseparably bound to the self. The procedure
here described could easily be understood as the realization of
an unconscious content. . . . [W]ithout the existence of conscious
concepts, apperception is . . . impossible (CW 9/2, par. 259).
The old master saw
the alchemical opus as a kind of apocatastasis, the restoring
of an initial state in an "eschatological" one ("the
end looks like a beginning, and contrariwise"). This is exactly
what happens in the individuation process, whether it takes the
form of a Christian transformation ("Except ye become as
little children"), or a satori experience in Zen ("Show
me your original face"), or a psychological process of development
in which the original propensity to wholeness becomes a conscious
happening (CW 9/2, par. 260).
For the alchemist
it was clear that the "centre," or what we would call
the self, does not lie in the ego but is outside it, "in
us" yet not "in our mind," being located rather
in that which we unconsciously are, . . . which we still have
to recognize. Today we would call it the unconscious, and we distinguish
between a personal unconscious, which enables us to recognize
the shadow, and an impersonal unconscious, which enables us to
recognize the archetypal symbol of the self (CW 9/2, par. 261).
The union of opposites
in the stone is possible only when the adept has become One him/herself.
The unity of the stone is the equivalent of individuation, by
which [we are] made one; we would say that the stone is a projection
of the unified self. This formulation is psychologically correct.
It does not, however, take sufficient account of the fact that
the stone is a transcendent unity. We must therefore emphasize
that though the self can become a symbolic content of consciousness,
it is, as a supraordinate totality, necessarily transcendent as
well (CW 9/2, par. 264).
-Carl Jung, "The Alchemical Interpretation of the Fish,"
in Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self
The symbols of the self arise in the depths of the body, and
they express its materiality every bit as much as the perceiving
consciousness. The symbol is thus a living body (from "The
Psychology of the Child Archetype" in CW 9/1, par 291).
[The alchemist Gerhard] Dorn . . . says, "In the body
of man there is hidden a certain substance of heavenly nature
known to very few" (from "Psychology and Religion"
in CW 11, page 93, note 47).
The old natural philosophers . . . said that the miraculous
substance, whose essential nature they symbolized by a circle
divided into four parts, was man himself (from "Psychology
and Religion" in CW 11, par. 153). One might almost say that
man himself, or his innermost soul, is the prisoner or the protected
inhabitant of the mandala (from "Psychology and Religion"
in CW 11, par. 157).
The spiritual man says to the worldly man, "Are you capable
of knowing your soul in a complete manner? If you knew it, as
is fitting, and if you knew what makes it better, you would be
able to recognize that the names the philosophers formerly gave
it are not its true names. . . . O dubious names that resemble
the true names, what errors and agonies you have provoked among
men!" The names refer in turn to the philosopher's stone.
. . . (from "Psychology and Religion" in CW 11, par.
[From an early treatise]: "Thus it [the stone] comes
from man, and you are its mineral (raw material); in you it is
found and from you it is extracted . . . and it remains inseparably
in you"(from "Psychology and Religion" in CW 11,
And Gerhard Dorn cries out, "Transform yourselves into
living philosophical stones!" There can hardly be any doubt
that not a few of those seekers had the dawning knowledge that
the secret nature of the stone was man's own self. This "self"
was evidently never thought of as an entity identical with the
ego, and for this reason it was described as a "hidden nature"
dwelling in inanimate matter, as a spirit, daemon, or fiery spark.
By means of the philosophical opus, . . . this entity was freed
from darkness and imprisonment, and finally it enjoyed a resurrection.
. . . It is clear that these ideas can have nothing to do with
the empirical ego, but are concerned with a "divine nature"
quite distinct from it, and hence, psychologically speaking, with
a consciousness-transcending content issuing from the realm of
the unconscious (from "Psychology and Religion" in CW
11, par. 154).
The self is defined psychologically as the psychic totality
of the individual. Anything that a [person] postulates as being
a greater totality than [oneself] can become a symbol of the self.
For this reason the symbol of the self is not always as total
as the definition would require (from "A Psychological Approach
to the Trinity" in CW 11, par. 232).
The goal of psychological, as of biological, development is
self-realization or individuation. But since [we] know [our self]
only as an ego, and the self, as a totality, is indescribable
and indistinguishable from a God-image, self-realization . . .
amounts to God's incarnation. . . . And because individuation
is an heroic and often tragic task, the most difficult of all,
it involves suffering, a passion of the ego: the ordinary empirical
[person] we once were is burdened with the fate of losing one's
self in a greater dimension and being robbed of [our] fancied
freedom of will. [We] suffer, so to speak, by the violence done
to [us] by the self. . . . The human and the divine suffering
set up a relationship of complementarity with compensating effects.
Through the Christ-symbol, , [we] can get to know the real meaning
of [our] suffering, [and we are then] on [our] way toward realizing
[our] wholeness. As the result of the integration of conscious
and unconscious, [one's] ego enters the "divine" realm,
where it participates in "God's suffering." The cause
of the suffering is in both cases the same, namely "incarnation,"
which on the human level appears as "individuation."
The divine hero born of [wo]man is already threatened with murder;
he has nowhere to lay his head, and his death is a gruesome tragedy.
The self is no mere concept or logical postulate; it is a psychic
reality, only part of it conscious, while, for the rest, it embraces
the life of the unconscious and is therefore inconceivable except
in the form of symbols. The drama of the archetypal life of Christ
describes in symbolic images the events in the conscious life
- of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny (from
"A Psychological Approach to the Trinity" in CW 11,
The symbols aiming at wholeness . . . are the remedy with
whose help [illness] can be repaired by restoring to the conscious
mind a spirit and an attitude which from time immemorial have
been felt as solving and healing in their effects. They are "représentations
collectives" [collective images] that facilitate the much
needed union of conscious and unconscious. This union cannot be
accomplished either intellectually or in a purely practical sense
because in the former case the instincts rebel and in the latter
case reason and morality. . . . [T]he conflict can only be resolved
through the symbol. . . . The synthesis of conscious and unconscious
can only be implemented by a conscious confrontation with the
latter, and this is not possible unless one understands what the
unconscious is saying. During this process we come upon the symbols
. . . , and in coming to terms with them we reestablish the lost
connection with ideas and feelings that make a synthesis of the
personality possible (from "A Psychological Approach to the
Trinity" in CW 11, par. 285).
The term "self" seems a suitable one for the unconscious
substrate whose actual exponent in consciousness is the ego. The
ego stands to the self as the moved to the mover, or as object
to subject, because the determining factors that radiate outward
from the self surround the ego on all sides and are therefore
supraordinate to it. The self, like the unconscious, as an a priori
existent out of which the ego evolves. It is, so to speak, an
unconscious prefiguration of the ego. It is not I who create myself;
rather, I happen to myself (from "Transformation Symbolism
in the Mass" in CW 11, par. 391).
So long as the self is unconscious, it corresponds to Freud's
superego and is a source of perpetual moral conflict. If, however,
it is withdrawn from projection and is no longer identical with
public opinion, then one is truly one's own yea and nay. The self
then functions as a union of opposites and thus constitutes the
most immediate experience of the Divine that it is psychologically
possible to imagine (from "Transformation Symbolism in the
Mass" in CW 11, par. 396).
Every sacrifice is . . . to a greater or lesser extent a self-sacrifice.
The degree to which it is so depends on the significance of the
gift. If it is of great value to me and touches my most personal
feelings, I can be sure that in giving up my egoistic claim I
shall challenge my ego personality to revolt. I can also be sure
that the power that suppresses this claim, and thus suppresses
me, must be the self. Hence it is the self that causes me to make
the sacrifice; nay more, it compels me to make it . The self is
the sacrificer, and I am the sacrificed gift, the human sacrifice
(from "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass" in CW 11,
[S]ince the relation of the ego to the self is like that of
the son to the father, we can say that when the self calls on
us to sacrifice ourselves, it is really carrying out the sacrificial
act on itself. We know, more or less, what this act means to us,
but what it means to the self is not so clear. As the self can
only be comprehended by us in particular acts, but remains concealed
from us as a whole because it is more comprehensive than we are,
all we can do is draw conclusions from the little of the self
that we can experience. We have seen that a sacrifice only takes
place when we feel the self actually carrying it out in ourselves.
We may also venture to surmise that insofar as the self stands
to us in the relation of father to son, the self in some sort
feels our sacrifice as a sacrifice of itself. From that sacrifice
we gain ourselves - our "self" - for we have only what
we give. But what does the self gain? We see it entering into
manifestation, freeing itself from unconscious projection, and
as it grips us, entering into our lives and so passing from unconsciousness
into consciousness, from potentiality into actuality. What it
is in the diffuse unconscious state we do not know; we only know
that in becoming our self it has become [hu]man (from "Transformation
Symbolism in the Mass" in CW 11, par. 398).
This process of becoming human is represented in dreams and
inner images as the putting together of many scattered units,
and sometimes as the gradual emergence and clarification of something
that was always there. The speculations of alchemy, and also of
some Gnostics, revolve around this process. It is likewise expressed
in Christian Dogma, and more particularly in the transformation
mystery of the Mass (from "Transformation Symbolism in the
Mass" in CW 11, par. 399).
[T]he integration or humanization of the self is initiated
from the conscious side by our making ourselves aware of our selfish
aims; we examine our motives and try to form as complete and objective
a picture as possible of our own nature. It is an act of self-recollection,
a gathering together of what is scattered, of all the things in
us that have never been properly related, and a coming to terms
with oneself with a view to achieving full consciousness. (Unconscious
self-sacrifice is merely an accident, not a moral act.) Self-recollection,
however, is about the hardest and most repellent thing there is
for [us], who are predominantly unconscious. Human nature has
an invincible dread of becoming more conscious of itself. What
nevertheless drives us to it is the self, which demands sacrifice
by sacrificing itself to us. Conscious realization or the bringing
together of the scattered parts is in one sense an act of the
ego's will, but in another sense it is a spontaneous manifestation
of the self, which was always there [insofar as it is the self
that actuates the ego's self-recollection (note 19)]. Individuation
appears, on the one hand, as the synthesis of a new unity that
previously consisted of scattered particles, and on the other
hand, as a revelation of something that existed before the ego
and is in fact its father or creator and also its totality. Up
to a point, we create the self by making ourselves conscious of
our unconscious contents, and to that extent it is our son. This
is why the alchemists called their incorruptible substance - which
means precisely the self - the filius philosophorum. [son
of the philosophers] But we are forced to make this effort by
the unconscious presence of the self, which is all the time urging
us to overcome our unconsciousness. From that point of view, the
self is the father. This accounts for certain . . . psychological
connections [that] are seen most clearly in the ancient conceptions
of the Original Man, the protanthropos, and the "Son of Man."
As the Logos, he is the world-creating principle. This corresponds
with the relation of the self to consciousness, without which
no world could be perceived at all. The logos is the real principium
individuationis [principle of individuation] because everything
proceeds from it and because everything that is, from crystal
to [hu]man, exists only in individual form. In the infinite variety
and differentiation of the phenomenal world is expressed the essence
of the auctor rerum [author of things]. As a correspondence, we
have on the one hand, the indefiniteness and unlimited extent
of the unconscious self (despite its individuality and uniqueness),
its creative relation to individual consciousness, and on the
other hand, the individual human being as a mode of its manifestation.
Ancient philosophy paralleled this idea with the legend of the
dismembered Dionysus, who as creator, is the . . . undivided .
. . and as the creature, [he is] the . . . divided. Dionysus is
distributed throughout the whole of nature, and just as Zeus once
devoured the throbbing heart of the god, so his worshippers tore
wild animals to pieces in order to reintegrate his dismembered
spirit. . . . The psychological equivalent of this is the integration
of the self through conscious assimilation of the split-off contents.
Self-recollection is a gathering together of the self (from "Transformation
Symbolism in the Mass" in CW 11, par. 400).
Self-reflection, or - what comes to the same thing - the urge
to individuation, gathers together what is scattered and multifarious
and exalts it to the original of the One, the Primordial Man.
In this way our existence as separate beings, our former ego nature,
is abolished, the circle of consciousness is widened, and because
the paradoxes have been made conscious, the sources of conflict
are dried up (from "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass"
in CW 11, par. 401).
The figure of the divine sacrificer corresponds, feature for
feature, to the empirical modes of manifestation of the archetype
that lies at the root of almost all known conceptions of God.
This archetype is not merely a static image, but dynamic, full
of movement. It is always a drama, whether in heaven, on earth,
or in hell (from "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass"
in CW 11, par. 402).
The words, "I will be united" must be understood
. . . as meaning that subjective consciousness is united with
an objective center, thus producing the unity of God and [hu]man
represented by Christ. The self is brought into actuality through
the concentration of the many upon the center, and the self wants
this concentration. It is the subject and the object of the process.
Therefore it is a "lamp" to those who "perceive"
it. Its light is invisible if it is not perceived; it might just
as well not exist. It is as dependent on being perceived as the
act of perception is on light. . . . And just as a "door"
opens to one who "knocks" on it, or a "way"
opens out to the wayfarer who seeks it, so when you relate to
your own (transcendental) center, you initiate a process of conscious
development that leads to oneness and wholeness. You no longer
see yourself as an isolated point on the periphery, but as the
One in the center. Only subjective consciousness is isolated;
when it relates to its center it is integrated into wholeness.
Whoever joins in the dance sees him[her]self in the reflecting
center, and his [or her] suffering is the suffering which the
One who stands in the center "wills to suffer" (from
"Transformation Symbolism in the Mass" in CW 11, par.
As a totality, the self is by definition always a complexio
oppositorum [union of opposites], and the more consciousness
insists on its own luminous nature and lays claim to moral authority,
the more the self will appear as something dark and menacing.
(from "Answer to Job" in CW 11, par. 716).
Insofar as this process [of individuation], as a rule, runs
its course unconsciously as it has from time immemorial, it means
no more than that the acorn becomes an oak, the calf a cow, and
the child an adult. But if the individuation process is made conscious,
consciousness must confront the unconscious and a balance between
the opposites must be found (from "Answer to Job" in
CW 11, par. 755).
The difference between the "natural" individuation
process, which runs its course unconsciously, and the one that
is consciously realized is tremendous. In the first case, consciousness
nowhere intervenes; the end remains as dark as the beginning.
In the second case, so much darkness comes to light that the personality
is permeated with light and consciousness necessarily gains in
scope and insight. The encounter between conscious and unconscious
has to ensure that the light that shines in the darkness is not
only comprehended by the darkness, but comprehends it (from "Answer
to Job" in CW 11, par. 756).
[T]here is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness that
manifests itself spontaneously in dreams, etc., and a tendency,
independent of the conscious will, to relate other archetypes
to this center. . . . Consequently, it does not seem improbable
that the archetype of wholeness occupies, as such, a central position,
which approximates it to the God-image. . . . Strictly speaking,
the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such,
but with a special content of it, namely, the archetype of the
self. It is this archetype from which we can no longer distinguish
the God-image empirically. We can arbitrarily postulate a difference
between these two entities, but that does not help us at all.
On the contrary, it only helps us to separate man from God, and
prevents God from becoming [hu]man. Faith is certainly right when
it impresses on [our] mind and heart how infinitely far away and
inaccessible God is; but it also teaches [God's] nearness, [God's]
immediate presence, and it is just this nearness that has to be
empirically real if it is not to lose all significance. Only that
which acts upon me do I recognize as real and actual. But that
which has no effect upon me might as well not exist. The religious
need longs for wholeness, and therefore lays hold of the images
of wholeness offered by the unconscious, which independently of
the conscious mind, rise up from the depths of our psychic nature
(from "Answer to Job" in CW 11, par. 757).
From Volume 11 of the Collected Works of C.G. Jung Psychology
and Religion: West and East Princeton University Press, 1969