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The alchemists thought that the opus demanded not only laboratory work,

the reading of books, meditation, and patience, but also love.

Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy

Abaissement du niveau mental: French psychologist Pierre Janet’s term, elaborated by Jung, for a weakening of the ego due to an unconscious drainage of its psychological energy. A lowering of attention or consciousness. Often observed just before creative work or during those incubation periods when the unconscious prepares a new stage of growth.

Absolute knowledge: the acausal foreknowledge, relatively independent of limitations of time and space, possessed by the unconscious and apparent in constellated archetypes and in synchronicity.

Acausal orderedness: the underlying interconnectedness of psychic and physical processes. Synchronicity is one expression. Time is a concrete continuum possessing basic qualities that can manifest simultaneously in different places, as the ancient Chinese thought.

Active imagination: holding an image in awareness while fantasizing and associating to it to bring it to life and discover its nuances and unconscious roots. Also focuses and unifies the four orienting functions of consciousness. Active imagination is the indispensable second part of any deep analysis and bases itself on the imaginal nature of the psyche.

Affect-ego: the modification of the ego or “I” by an emerging strongly toned complex. With painful feelings the modification can bring about a restriction, a withdrawal of many parts of the normal ego.

Aion: a lion-headed, snake-encircled Mithraic God-image of time (also called Kronos or Deus Leontocephalus) who for Jung represented death/rebirth and a psychological union of opposites like light and darkness, male and female, creation and destruction. “Eon,” a long length of time, also meant for Jung the two-thousand-year Christian eon, which coincided with its astrological sign, Pisces, in which one fish represents Christ and the other its future opposite, the Antichrist. Below all this works the archetype of the hostile brothers; too, the astrological characteristics of the fish contain essential components of the Christian myth: the cross, the moral conflict and its splitting into two figures, the son of a virgin, the classical mother-son tragedy, the danger at birth, and the savior. For the alchemist, the fish also symbolized the Lapis; for Jung, unconscious wholeness.

Some history…

Two thousand years ago, the late Roman Empire saw a roar of libido emanating from the collective unconscious, an outpouring we can no longer imagine thanks to the psychological barriers erected by centuries of Christianity. The Roman gods were dying, foreshadowing Nietzsche and our era.

Christian ritual and dogma contained and channeled the animal ancestral forces splashing across Europe and symbolized by the Colosseum, thereby exalting the individual, providing a new ethic, forging a new sense of community, giving people for whom the old religions and myths no longer worked a sense of purpose, and splitting spirit and nature so each could develop independently. The result: modern civilization, standing on the ruins of Rome.

Starting with the Reformation (which was helped along by an interest in antiquity inspired by the fall of the Byzantine Empire under Islam’s onslaught and by the resulting spread of Greek language and literature through Europe) that broke the church’s authority, eroded ritual, and splintered Christianity, religious and traditional containers for the instinctual-archetypal forces began to lose their meaning. “The bridge from dogma to the inner experience of the individual has broken down” (Aion)
The Reformation coincided with the point where the ecliptic intersects the meridian at the second fish’s tail. The enantiodromia (conversion into an opposite) from Christ to Antichrist falls midway between the two fishes, which was around the Renaissance. At that time Post-Reformation Christianity gave the bipolar Self expression (the Incarnation of God in us) but compensated for the Gothic overemphasis on spirit by further dividing spirit from instinct and matter, faith from knowledge.

1750: Enlightenment – tail of second fish – reason replaces faith.

Alchemy and astrology arose by way of further compensation and set the stage for scientific materialism, which could now oppose and control nature by reeling in our identification with/projections onto it.

The result of all this: the vertical development of spirituality gave way to the horizontal development of materialism. Jung speculated that the polarity of the God-image was behind the Reformation and the split of modern society into two armed camps.

Compensating for this: psychology, a symbol system potentially useful for containing and channeling the instinctual-archetypal forces and reuniting the God-image.

Around and because of the French Revolution: an explosion of nonpersonal stuff piled up since the Enlightenment. The pagan in us got much stronger. The decay of traditional symbol systems increased.

Ideally, the autonomous activity of the unconscious is zero; today it’s higher than ever before. The freed surplus of libido also has caused inflation (because attributing things to the gods at least jibed with their nonego status and because an archetype that loses its container becomes identified with the conscious mind) and activated various isms, utopian fantasies, psychic infections, and a longing for herdism and the State (as opposed to the earlier traditions and heirarchical orders). Too, collective ideals compensate the rise of individuality that began with the Reformation.

Meanwhile the rise of exogamous libidinal tendencies (stranger-love) prompted a counterreaction of endogamous (relative-love) libido that powers religions, sects, nations, and isms. Ultimately, however, only individuation can fuse the two tendencies and prevent the endogamous reaction from growing dangerously powerful. See cross-cousin marriage.

“A civilization does not decay, it regenerates.” (Civilization in Transition)

Albedo: “whitening,” the second of four alchemical stages. In it the alchemist cooks, washes, recirculates, and pulverizes the prima materia into a silvery ash ready to be reinfused with soul and spirit. This corresponds roughly to the anima/animus stage of individuation.

Alchemy: the ancient attempt to create the Philosopher’s Stone and mutable gold. In the West, mainly of Egyptian origin and Arabic elaboration, but also with Gnostic roots, especially in the idea that the world soul was trapped in matter. Beginning with the prima materia, the alchemist heated, cooked, and washed the substance until it passed through the four stages of nigredo, albedo, cinitritas, and rubedo and became the Stone. In most texts, the basic idea was to divide up the four elements mixed up in the prime matter, refine and circulate them, and rejoin them in a heirosgamos or “chymical wedding” of opposites. Jung saw the opus alchymicum, the work of alchemy, as an unconscious projection of the process of individuation, which starts with an unconscious content (prima materia) and end with the realization of the Self symbol (Philosopher’s Stone).

The alchemical process, which began in the spring and ended in the fall, was an extended act of active imagination (meditatio) fired by awareness and libido. (See my “Cooking For The Collective Unconscious” for a summary of the parallel of alchemy with Jungian psychology.) Alchemy also bridged Gnosticism and psychology. Jung saw in it a historical counterpart to his psychology of the collective unconscious. Alchemy finally died out in the eighteenth century.

Note: for Dorn, producing the Lapis constituted only the second stage (for Jung the representation of the idea of the Self in visible form). The third: the union of the whole man with the unus mundus. Union with the Ground of all being. Identity or relation of the personal with the suprapersonal atman, or individual with universal tao. A perfect synthesis of conscious and unconscious

Ambitendency (or ambivalence): Bleuler’s concept that every tendency is balanced by an opposite one. Applies particularly to all “feeling-tones” and the bipolar nature of libido, which flows forward and backward.

Amplification: using imagery to create a meaningful context around a symbol needing examination. Also known as elaboration of the symbol. In subjective amplification, a dreamer, for example, uses active imagination to associate to a dream symbol in order to grasp it better. In objective amplification, the analyst collects themes from mythology, alchemy, religion, and other sources to illuminate, or amplify, archetypal symbols produced in dreams or fantasy.

Anima: the feminine component of the unconscious male psyche and inner counterpart to the persona. Possibly she reflects a man’s smaller number of female genes. Ultimately an archetype of Eros and of life itself, this “woman within” functions as a filter, bridge, guide, and mediator between the ego and the deeper layers of the unconscious. As long as she’s not differentiated she stands for the unconscious; later, she stands apart, a daughter to the Wise Old Man who compensates her and sometimes mate of the shadow. Because she carries a man’s “soul” and his “relatedness,” she can be fully realized only with a female partner. “If a man cannot project his anima, then he is cut off from women” (Analytical Psychology).

First projected onto the mother and always mixed with the mother archetype, she usually appears after a man confronts and integrates his shadow. Unless he addresses her as an autonomous personality-fragment and gets to know her, integrating, not her, but her products, he will project her onto an outer woman and confuse the image with the external reality. (Jung didn’t need to consult his anima once he’d learned to read the meaning of his dreams directly, without requiring a mediator, and to accept whatever surfaced from the unconscious. When she vanishes into the unconscious, the collective contents are constellated. The anima seems immortal until she “brings forth”; then she dies.)

Anima images are usually singular (as opposed to animus images) to compensate both the male habit of seeing a mate as one woman among many and the basically male faculty of discrimination, as opposed to the basically female faculty of unifying and synthesizing. (Jung felt that for the collective state to arise, the anima had to be suppressed.)

The anima passes through four stages corresponding with a man’s maturity: Eve, Helen of Troy, Mary, and Sophia.

Animus: the male component of the unconscious female psyche. Like the anima (Eros), but he personifies “spirit” and “intellect” (Logos). His negative aspect gives a woman her irrational convinctions and opinions. He’s usually plural because women focus on one man only in conscious relationships. He also compensates the basic female faculty for unity. He seems to lack the anima’s historical quality and is more concerned with present and future, which Jung saw as a compensation (it’s women who think more about roots, the past, etc.)–but in his deepest qualities he is as history-oriented as the anima.

He evolves through four stages: the physical man, the romantic man or man of action, the bearer of the word, and the wise spiritual guide.

Anthropos: the Original Man of Gnostic myth. Similar to Jung’s concept of the Self.

Apocatastasis: a resurrection or restoration of an original wholeness.

Apperception: active (attention) and passive (fantasy or dreaming) types; process by which a new psychological content is articulated with similar, already existing contents in order to make it understandable.

Archaic Identity: a primitive consciousness in which subject and object aren’t separated (see participation mystique).

Archetype: (from St. Augustine and Jacob Burkhardt’s “primordial image”; also, a version of Levy-Bruhl’s “representations collectives”): a constitutive prototype or form or Gestalt within the collective unconscious; a ruling “organ” of the psyche and Platonic blueprint for its activity. Complexes of the collective unconscious. Images and emotions (both must be present). The psychic form of preformed mechanism for the development of consciousness by ordering the chaos of perceptions into

meaningful patterns. Instinctive behavior pattern grounded in the fundamental structure of living matter. Archetypes organize our perceptions, collect images, regulate, modify, motivate, and even develop conscious contents, plot the course of developments in advance, set up bridges between the ego and its instinctive and collective roots, lead the channeling and conversion of instinctual energy, and “represent the authentic element of spirit” and a “spiritual goal.”

All of us inherit the same archetypes, the same invisible patterns or motifs built, like emotions, into the structure of the human psyche, but they manifest in personal and cultural experiences. Examples include the Hero, the Divine Child, the Great Mother, Transformation, Death, and Rebirth. The most important are the shadow, anima/animus, Wise Old Man/Wise Woman, and the Self, all nonpersonal, bipolar vessels extending up into the personal unconscious. Also, archetypes interpenetrate and are hard to tell apart.

Archetypes manifest in myths, dreams, tribal lore, fairy tales, visions, isms, scientific advances, numbers, religions, philosophies, historical developments, and schizophrenic hallucinations. Ultimately, they also drive individuation and provide a counterpole (the “violet end”) to instinct (the psyche’s “red end”): image and its dynamism. Instinct is felt physiologically and experienced as numinous images that seem to contrast to mere bodily sensations and mechanisms; so archetypes are instincts “raised to a high frequency,” just as instincts emanate from an archetype’s “low frequency.” Just as instincts impel toward behavior, the archetypes impel toward certain kinds of perceptions.

Consciousness rests upon and is organized by its archetypal forms and foundations. Dig far enough into an intense inner experience and you eventually come to the mythological, ageless themes that indicate an activated archetype. Just as an instinct is activated by a certain situation it bears an image of, so is an archetype. Also, its psychoid base puts it beyond both matter and psyche, though it has qualities of both. Although archetypes are energic power sources, they need libido from the ego for their images to rise into consciousness.

Activated archetypes compensate for the one-sidedness of the times and provide preset ways to adapt. They show that a person’s problem is also a problem of humanity, a basic human concern. It’s healing to know the general human meaning of the problem.

Jung also thought archetypes were Lamarckian deposits of typical subjective reactions of repeated experiences. He also said they entered the picture with life itself.

Archetypal image: forms out of personal experiences and is the “visible” aspect of the permanently irrepresentable archetype. When an archetype constellates in a situation of need, it gathers associational material, which renders it visible and so capable of conscious realization. Archetypes want to return to life, to be shaped in conscious life, to pour energy outward. When their old forms wear out, the motifs cranked out by the collective unconscious always need new forms connecting them to contemporary consciousness, lest we find ourselves sundered from instinct.

Some archetypes: life after death; the Hero (which developed from the primitive symbolism of light and who sacrifices himself voluntarily because he’s an infant longing for mother); the Divine Child; the Mother; the maiden; rebirth (rituals for which evoke mother symbols to direct incestuous libido away from regression and toward new forms); crucifixion (=suspension of ego between the opposites) on a wheel; the hostile brothers; the Golden Age; initiation; the first ten numbers; the quaternity; the fifth (four plus nonego center), the father; the mother; the parents; the family; the syzygy; the Self (which includes all the archetypes); the witch; the coniunctio; the earth-mother; the sacrifice (which is an unconscious transformation of libido: beloved objects are given up so libido can flow into new forms); energy; its conservation; the sun; the moon; the prophet; the disciple; the horse; the archetypes of transformation (places, ways, and means); duplication; the dead who don’t know they are spirits (ghosts).

Artifex: “artificer”: an alchemist.

Art: divides into psychological (personal) and visionary (collective). Art can never be reduced to psychopathology because visionary art is greater than its creator and draws on primordial images and forces. It stands on its own merits. It compensates for the one-sidedness of an era. Rather than a symptom or something secondary, it’s a true symbolic expression, a reorganization of the conditions to which a causalistic explanation reduces it.


Assimilation: a mutual penetration of conscious and unconscious contents. Similar to “integration.”

Association test: Jung’s modification of a test devised by Galton; a predecessor of the lie detector. The subject hears a word from a list and must state the first word that comes to mind. Long reaction times, repeating responses, repetition of the stimulus word, faults, perseverations, use of sentences, use of foreign terms, slips, idiosyncratic responses, and physiological changes, which are deviations from the subject’s median response time, can indicate a constellated complex.

Jung often supplemented this test with the reproduction method, in which he called out the words again and asked the subject to recall his original responses: responses not recalled can indicate a complex.

Assumption: bodily ascent into heaven of Mary in Catholic doctrine, a popular belief which the Pope Pius XII made official in 1950 and which Jung considered the most important religious development since the Reformation. Because of it the Trinity becomes a quaternity now containing its missing dark, feminine, material, earthly, or evil component. Expresses same fundamental thought as the mysterium coniunctionis. Its step beyond traditional Christianity was for Jung proof of the autonomy of the archetypes.

Attitude: one of two basic personality postures: introversion, in which a person is mostly inner-directed, his libido proceeding from object to subject; and extraversion, outer-direct-edness. Conscious introversion is compensated by unconscious extraversion and vice versa. A person’s attitude combines with her most differentiated function to produce a personality type. Each of us alternates between the two attitudes but feels more comfortable in one.

Autochthonous revival: the tendency of primordial motifs to appear in all times and places (as opposed to being transmitted between cultures).

Axiom of Maria: Maria Prophetissa, a Neoplatonist alchemist of the third century who lived in Alexandria, famous in alchemy for her axiom–“One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth.”–which also progresses from four (original quaternio ground plan) to three (a masculine number) to two to one. Four elements of the prima materia evolve to Mercurius’ three manifestations in the organic, inorganic, and spiritual worlds; then to Sol and Luna; then to the One, the Lapis. Jung thought the numbers add up to ten, a number of high-level unity.

Canalization: the conversion or transformation of libido as it performs various mental activities. Transfer of psychic intensities or values from one content to another. Replaces “sublimation.” Canalization sets up a gradient so instinctual energies can do productive work. It does so via the symbol, which offers a steeper gradient than the natural one. The transformation of instinctual energy is done via an analogue of the object of the instinct: a psychic mechanism imitates the instinct and thereby captures its energy (like a power station at a waterfall). The first achievement of this by primitive man is magic. Compare with psychization, which transforms an instinctual or sensory datum, rather than energy, into an experience.

The primordial images are the true force that shapes and channels instinct.

Chthonic: of gods and spirits and the underworld; of the earth; for Jung, the dark, material side of the psyche.

Circumambulatio: circling and concentrating on a center, as ego does with Self during individuation.

Citrinitas: “yellowing,” the third of the four basic stages of alchemy. In it the purified ash of the albedo (“whitening”) reunites with soul and spirit and acquires a golden color symbolic of growing consciousness. Corresponds roughly to the Wise Old Man/Wise Woman stage of individuation.

Collective consciousness: mass-mindedness dominated by isms and out of touch with instinctuality. Similar to Freud’s superego.

Compensation: the self-regulatory tendency of the unconscious. When consciousness is too one-sided, the unconscious uses its autonomy to compensate by pushing some of its contents upward in order to reestablish organismic balance. Example: a selfish man (conscious posture) suddenly indulges in an impulsive act of generosity (unconscious counterposition). The compensation is intelligent (if instinctive) rather than mechanical.

Complex (or “feeling-toned complex”): from a term borrowed by the German psychologist Zeihen and used by Eugen Breuer, then Jung and Freud: a cluster of emotionally charged associations, usually unconscious and gathered around an archetypal center (and so a blend of environment and disposition). Repressed emotional themes. Complexes were first noticed by Aristotle, who in his Psyche called them part-souls, and behave like little personalities (and have unconscious fantasy systems), often even after partially incorporated into awareness. A more powerful complex will either blend with one less powerful or replace it, and its constellating power corresponds to its energy value.

Complexes are the contents of the personal unconscious, whereas archetypes, their foundations, are those of the collective unconscious. Complexes, found in healthy as well as troubled people, are always either the cause or the effect of a conflict. The complex arises from the clash between the need to adapt and constitutional inability to meet the challenge. They originate in childhood, and their first form is the parental complex.

Jung thought women’s complexes usually simpler and more often erotic than men’s, which focused on work and money.

Complex-sensitiveness: the tendency of an old complex to disturb associations when it’s brought up with similar stimuli.

Condensation: borrowed from Freud, a term meaning the combination of several meanings into one dream symbol.

Coniunctio (“conjunction”): an alchemical operation that combines two chemicals to produce a third, different chemical. Psychologically, this corresponds to an unconscious experience (say, savage lust) which, combined with consciousness, becomes something different (healthy sexual desire). Can also mean a synthesis of ego and unconscious, which generates the reconciling or unifying symbol and which explains its usually incestuous character. Also an alchemical correspondence to psychology’s concept of the transference. Wholeness requires a coniunctio oppositorum (conjunction of opposites).

Consciousness: a continual state of awareness that develops from the unification of fragments of experience. Whatever we are conscious of must be connected to the ego., the center of our field of experience.

Contamination: the tendency of unconscious contents to run together, making them hard to tell apart from one another. Discrimination of each falls to consciousness. As each personification from down under connects to awareness, it differentiates from the other figures contaminating it.

Countertransference: a type of projection. Dangerous when a therapist identifies with emanations from the client’s manifestations of the collective unconscious.

Creed: see religion.

Cross-cousin marriage: based on the archetype of the quaternio, early form of mating that ensured that endogenous (kinship) libido–incest–held the family together but didn’t overpower exogamous libido. The endogamous side wants a sister, the exogamous a stranger, so marrying a cousin balances the two. Marriage of a man’s sister to his brother’s wife is a relic of the “sister-exchange marriage” of many primitive tribes.

Today’s pure exogamy leaves the kinship-libido demands largely unsatisfied and increases their power, which expresses itself in the formation of religions and sects and nations–but only individuation will contain the still-rising force. The incest prohibition, with help from the urge to individuate, created the self-conscious individual, who previously had been mindlessly one with the tribe. See transference.

Daimonic: from the Greek daimone, the half-divine interior being thought to instruct the wise, daimonic for Jung meant a conscious relationship with the psyche’s imaginal-archetypal figures (e.g., the Philemon and Salome personifications he got to know in his dreams and fantasies). James Hillman accurately refers to Jung himself as a “daimonic man.”

Dementia praecox: old name for Janet’s “psychasthenia” and Bleuler’s term “schizophrenia” and Jung’s “introversion neurosis” and encompassing several of what are now different mental disorders. Jung thought it caused by powerful complexes subverting the ego and speculated about an organic “toxin.” Jung also pointed out that psychiatrists saw only the worst cases because these were institutionalized. Jung discovered mythological themes in the delusions and hallucinations of schizophrenics and realized their similarity to dreams and so-called “primitive” myths.

Developmental theory: roughly four stages of life:

In childhood, the baby at first isn’t psychologically separate from parents and has no ego; he’s also close to the collective unconscious, similar to the evolutionary stages in an embryo and whose numinosity the child projects onto the parents. First stage of consciousness: connection between two or more psychic contents. Then islands of consciousness which gradually join. Then with the continuity of memory the ego arises and is charged with energy. Just as the person biologically repeats the species’ past stages during his embryonic development, the psyche does likewise. Identity with parents provides the basis for later identification with them; on it also depends the potential for projection and introjection.

In the presexual substage, the functions of nutrition and growth predominate (which is why when libido regresses past the sexual stage it reactivates the nutritive one), and the child uses rhythmic movements for pleasure. The libido first invests nutritive activity, then rhythmic activity, wanders over the various bodily areas and zones until it reaches the sexual zone but carries traces of previous areas with it. Freud’s latency is the real beginning of sexual development. When libido lingers, the fixation lays the ground of mental disorder. The next substage is the prepubertal stage and goes from later childhood to puberty. The stage of maturity follows.

The child’s sexual interest: actually an attempt to develop thinking and concept-building, which open a channel for the libido to continue further development. Children are not polymorphous-perverse, but polyvalent. (Five main groups of childhood disturbance: backward children (low IQ), psychopathic children (organicity), epileptic children, psychosis, and neurotic children.)

The youth substage (from just after puberty–the true beginning of the “I” as separate from parents–until middle life, from 35-40): the main problem is clinging to childhood consciousness. The person discovers his social being and differentiates his aptitudes, learns limits. Beginnings of a new stage–the “cultural” period–arising from the unconscious: the sunset part of life in which libido is directed inward toward inner individuation rather than outward toward adaptation.

Old age: like childhood, no conscious problems because duality gives way to immersion in the unconscious.

Jung usually analyzed parents because the child lived out in substitute form whatever they repressed, which is a form of interfamily compensation. Parents, in turn, are the children of the grandparents.

Dominant: an archetype.

Dreams: symbolic expressions of the unconscious (and of the total psyche). A phylogenetically older form of thought. The dream is a fact of objective nature and therefore not a disguise. (Sugar in the blood means sugar and nothing else.) It is its own interpretation and is only misunderstood when we don’t fathom its symbols. The manifest aspect is the dream images themselves, and they contain the “latent” meaning. It’s not what causes a dream, but it’s purpose, that matters.

Stages of the dream: the statement of place and protagonists (statements of time are rarer), the exposition, the plot development, the culmination or peripeteia, and the solution or result (lysis)(a few rare dreams lack this stage). Dream-ego: a fragment of the waking ego. In a dream with several scenes, each usually shows a variation of the working out of a complex. Recurrent dreams mean a recurrent conscious attitude.

Jung distinguished between the dream’s compensatory and prospective (diagnostic or anticipatory) functions. Compensatory dreams occur when the ego is more or less on track; when it’s way off, prospective (a type of compensation) dreams seek to bring it back. There are also reaction-dreams, which are caused by trauma.

Dreams have two levels of interpretation, the objective (analytical), in which the symbols stand for external realities, and subjective (synthetic; “hermeneutic”), in which they stand for aspects of the dreamer’s psyche. If the person dreamed about is of vital interest to the dreamer, an object interpretation is probably appropriate.

Archetypal symbols are the only “fixed” symbols and for assimilation need objective amplification by studies in mythology, folklore, comparative religion, archeology, language, and anthropology. The dreams primitive peoples call “big” are those with archetypal contents. They usually occur around key developmental periods. They also occur when we overlook the eternally human nature of a problem.

Dream series: one in which the changes and recurrences of symbols appear against various backgrounds, much as an unknown word seen in different sentences becomes understandable. The series corrects misinterpretations in later dreams, setting up an ongoing dialog between ego and unconscious. It also shows the underlying development plan beneath the separate compensations. Using dream meanings to clarify existing problems is symbolized alchemically by bathing the substance in water (Dorn’s “solution”).

The first step in interpretation is establishing the context through (a) careful recording of the conscious situation, especially of the previous day, because the dream compensates for it; and (b) subjective and objective amplifications that stay with the dream images rather than running off through free associations to the various complexes–because what matters is what’s done with the complexes.

Ectopsyche: the psyche’s outer layer, oriented by the four functions of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.

Ego: the conscious self; the “I”; the central, experience-filtering complex of consciousness (in contrast to the Self, the central complex of the collective unconscious)–and the most stable complex because it’s grounded in the body sensations. A relatively permanent personification. The most individual part of the person. The ego divides into the ectopsyche and the endopsyche. It’s an object in consciousness as well as a requirement for it. Its two main constituents are bodily sensations and memory.

The ego’s chief job is discrimination of the opposites (which is why the unconscious produces compensatory symbols of wholeness). Its necessarily narrow focus causes repression, which thrusts into unconsciousness what isn’t compatible with self-image. It tends to identify with the dominant function.

For Jung, the ego arose gradually out of unconsciousness–both in the infant and the species–and returns to it every night. (Group consciousness is the primitive form of ego consciousness. It goes on living in our family-consciousness.) The ego separates us from nature and replaces instinctive deciding, valuing, etc. It’s a differentiated aspect of the collective unconscious (compare Freud’s ego, derived from id). The ego, then, is a kind of projection or fiction devised by the unconscious. Without an ego, a perceiving subject, nothing is perceived.

Electra Complex: term coined by Jung to describe the feminine equivalent of the masculine Oedipus Complex. When a little girl wants to possess Dad and get rid of Mom; instead, she renounces Dad and identifies with Mom.

Emotion: has physiological innervations, unlike a feeling, as measured by the psychogalvanic effect. Same as an affect.

Enantiodromia: the tendency of one pole of an experience to change into its opposite (term coined by Greek philosopher Heraclitus). See compensation. For Jung, all life and energy are a play of opposites. To avoid falling into enantiodromia one must value both opposites (see transcendent function).

Endopsyche: the ego layer to which the four functions direct information. Except for some memory recall, it’s not under conscious control and is divided into memory, the subjective components of the functions, the emotions and affects, and the invasions, in order of conscious control. Below the endopsyche lies the personal and collective layers of the unconscious.

Eros: the personal, relatedness element that characterizes a woman’s psychology and a man’s anima. See logos.

ESP: not an abnormal perception, but an abnormal event originating in the unconscious and helped toward consciousness by a lowering of consciousness.

Evolution (psychological): the Self unconsciously groping toward realization in consciousness. Goal-oriented like all biological processes (see finality). Jung also seems to have bought the Lamarckian idea of personal experiences affecting the organism over many generations. In terms of progress, we’ve made none morally but have developed the ego and its functions. Our will has developed. Technology has also developed. We’ve reeled in our projections, which helped science develop: no more gods or demons out there, and the end of our identification with nature. But our civilized layer is only a thin skin over the rest, and we’ve largely split off our instinctual roots, and our inflation endangers us all. See Aion.

The evolutionary process of introjection: 1. Many gods. 2. A supreme God ruling the rest (Self archetype asserts itself). 3. God shares our human fate, is killed or dies, and is resurrected, with a feminine counterpart involved in God’s fate. 4. God becomes man in the flesh; conscious begins to prevail against the unconscious. Matter and spirit split. 5. The metaphysical world is seen as a projection.

Sacrificing the incest wish–to return to Eden, mother, instinctuality, unconsciousness–created civilization. (That backward longing = the death drive.) Libido bound up in mother and family bonds must be channeled into outside human contacts. The incest prohibition isn’t only biological (because primitives don’t know about gene pools); it’s more an instinctive and accurate fear of regression to the womb/unconsciousness/instinctuality: back to death.

Fantasy: the creative matrix. For Jung creative imagination had immense importance. “Everything that the human mind has ever created sprang from contents which, in the last analysis, existed once as unconscious seeds” (Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche). It was bound up with the roots of human and animal instinctuality, unified the functions of consciousness, and liberated the spirit of play. Fantasy: a pre-stage of the symbol, hence the importance of the child’s fantasy life. Play is the dynamic principle of fantasy. Fantasy breaks down into fantasm (complex of ideas without an objective referent) and imaginative activity. Making it concrete enforces study of it and lets its effects manifest fully.

Feminine psychology: Jung didn’t say much about it, though his picture of the animus (“spirit”) suggests that women are long on relatedness and short on logic and meaning. For him there were two basic types of women: the mother and the hetaira. (Tony Wolff added the Amazon and the medial woman.) But in “Women in Europe” he suggests that “masculine” professions, studying and working like a man, women did something not in accord with their feminine nature. He asks facetiously: could a man be a nursemaid or in charge of a kindergarten?

Finality: the tendency of all psychic processes to strive purposively toward a goal. Life can’t be explained only causally because it strives; for it, causes are a means to an end. Processes that develop are both a product and an originator of something to come. Elementary states aren’t explanatory principles that let us grasp later, more developed states even though these derive from the earlier ones.

Freud, some theoretical differences from:

1. Subjective finalism vs reductive materialism. For Freud, religion = father complex.

2. Libido as neutral psychic energy. Less emphasis on sexuality.

3. Incest fantasies seen as gropings for unity and manifestations of kinship libido. Union of opposites. Urge to return to childhood. Only adults are capable of incest because of their formed sexuality, which regresses.

4. Sublimation discredited because religious and cultural activities are authentic parts of psychological existence AND manifestations of an autonomous instinct to create, not derivatives of sexual impulses. Jung posited instead a transformation of psychic energy. Jung compared “sublimation” to the alchemical trick of turning lead into gold–“Unfortunately, the secret of converting energy without the consumption of a still greater quantity of energy has never yet been discovered by the physicists” (“Sigmund Freud In His Historical Setting”).

5. Reductive therapy is useful mostly for people in the first half of life.

6. Id: the “red” or lower end of the psychic spectrum rather than the source of all psychic activity.

7. Superego: smuggles in the image of Jehovah in the dress of a theory. Similar to Jung’s “collective consciousness.” Sum of all the collective beliefs, ideas, and values consciously handed down by tradition and undergirded by the primordial images. Also, the Self as long as it’s unconscious and therefore projected onto public opinion.

8. Drive theory: too soon to say what’s biological and what’s psychological.

9. The unconscious isn’t a thing, it’s a process.

10. We cure in spite of transference, not because of it.

11. Nonpersonal forces aren’t just “archaic vestiges.”

12. Death drive is just a play of opposites. Libido has two instincts or urges: to live and to die. The death part = incestuous libido harking back to unconsciousness, womb, instinct.

13. The unconscious isn’t just an appendix of consciousness. It also contains future developments and the archetypes.

14. Dreams don’t disguise (because nature doesn’t); they are factual pictures that speak in a symbolic language our rationalistic minds have trouble with. The manifest disguise is just our lack of understanding of symbolic language. A dream can’t produce a clear thought–that’s the ego’s job. Nor do they usually exhibit fixed symbols. Also, only some dreams are wish-fulfillments.

15. The censor: for Jung, the exclusive directedness of conscious contents that excludes an unconscious content.

16. Regression of libido isn’t just incest, infantile sexuality, fixation, etc., but a vital process.

17. Children aren’t polymorphous-perverse, but polyvalent.

18. The Oedipus complex isn’t a cause of illness, it’s a symptom. Wanting mom = regressive longing for her.

19. Latency is actually the true beginnings of sexuality.

20. It’s not just a matter of getting in touch with the instincts, but also with the archetypes that give them form, meaning, and bounds.

Functions: four mental activities that orient consciousness. They are thinking, feeling (which informs through feeling-tones of the value of things), sensation (conscious perception), and intuition (unconscious perception; a sense of a situation’s wholeness; includes anticipatory dreams and telepathy). One function tends to be highly developed, one a backup (the auxiliary function), and one or two mostly unconscious (inferior). Because the functions arrange themselves in opposing pairs, thinking types have trouble differentiating their feelings, and intuitive types their sensory experiences. In fact, to develop the inferior one must sacrifice the superior to free up libido. (The transcendent function operates between the superior and inferior functions.) If that doesn’t happen, the inferior contaminates the repressing superior and fights back when the superior draws libido from the inferior.

Thinking and feeling are “rational” because they evaluate (e.g., ethics are based mostly on the feeling function’s diffferentiation); sensation (perception through conscious senses) and intuition (timeless perception via the unconscious, which can include paranormal phenomena) occur spontaneously and so are “irrational.” The functions combine with the two basic attitudes, extraversion or introversion, to make personality types. The personal and collective unconscious, including its main archetypes, tend to hit a person through his feminine (in men) fourth function because it’s contaminated with collective, etc. contents and brings the Self with it. The inferior function isn’t grounded here and now because it’s connected to the timeless, the ancestral/future. The third function also tends to be feminine in men and contaminated with the fourth function.

You can tell a function’s differentiation by its control by the ego, moodiness, independence, strength, stability, constancy, trustworthiness, and service in adaptation. For instance, undifferentiated feeling is feeling contaminated by emotion and therefore erratic, impulsive.

All four work together: sensation shows what is, thinking lets us recognize its meaning, feeling tells us its value, and intuition points to its possibilities beyond immediate facts. Also, keep in mind the blended functions: intuition leads to intuitive feeling, feeling to emotional feeling, sensation to empirical thinking, thinking to speculative thinking, etc.

We tend to project the inferior function and attitude onto people who fit it. The inferior function too has an auxiliary function. Also, the three differentiated functions have unconscious counterparts.

Gnosticism: ancient Christian heresy, arising out of it in the second century and eventually dying out. Believed in the antithetical dualism of the spirit, which is good, and matter, which is evil. Spirit (Nous) is trapped in us by matter (Physis) and we need to know that to restore the spark to the godhead. Can be thought of as an ancient counterpart to existentialism. Out of the pleroma (unconscious) arose the Demiurge (ego), who learns about its creator, the Anthropos (original man).

Jung saw in it proof of the existence of the collective unconscious. But he found Gnosticism hard to study (few extant texts) and more speculative and philosophical than experiential. Zosimos was a connecting link between Gnosticism and alchemy.

God-image: from the “imago Dei” of the Church Fathers, who thought it imprinted on the soul. A Self symbol. Whether God lives behind it we can’t say because we perceive every reality via the psyche. Yahweh is a God-image in which the opposites are still undivided because unconscious. See Job. Christ is a Self symbol but lacks wholeness because he only includes the light side. He constellates the Antichrist, God’s other half and the shadow of the Self. Holy Ghost: represents the final stage of God’s evolution and the resolution of opposites between Father (old king) and Son (new, rejuvenated king) and Christ and Antichrist. Man came from God; through the Paraclete God descends to, unifies with, and comes out of man.

Group: everything of worth starts with the individual, who becomes less responsible and even dumber in a group. Only the person can grow to a point that affects other persons.

Heirosgamos: a mystic marriage or union. Symbolized in alchemy by the coniunctio. Stands for conjunction of conscious and unconscious.

Hermes: originally a wind god, a forerunner to Mercurius in his aerial aspect. God of revelation and ultimately derived from the Egyptian Thoth. Hermetic philosophy is based on the Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of Neoplatonic, mystical, and Gnostic writings dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries.


Hero archetype: a Self symbol, but where the god symbolizes the collective unconscious, the hero is a mixture of it with human consciousness. It’s an anticipation of an individuation process approaching wholeness.

Homeric chain: in alchemy, the series of great wise men, beginning with Hermes Trismegistus, which links earth with heaven. Also the chain of substances and different chemical states that appear during the opus.

Identification: being fused to an unconscious content.

Imago: a mental image. The object-imago is different from the perception of an object, though based on it. Used by Jung, it usually means an image of a parent (“parent imago”), a concept he prefers to Freud’s “superego.” The parent imago has a personal and an archetypal manifestation (parent archetype). Normally, this imago recedes as participation mystique fastens onto the tribe or nation. Integrating its contents activates the unconscious with the released energy; parents may be dead, but their imagos pass into unconsciousness, where they continue to attract the same ego-dissolving projections as before. The activated centering process counteracts this danger.

Incest: a taboo that shields the ego from reabsorption in the maternal unconscious. The mother-analogies thrown up by the unconscious canalize libido into productive activity.

Individuation: the process by which a person integrates unconscious contents into consciousness, thereby becoming a psychologically whole individual. Self-realization. Release from persona and identification with the collective unconscious. An ongoing dialog between ego and Self in which the ego is relativized. Individuation can only unfold in the context of a relationship with others.

In life’s first half individuation takes the form of adaptation to culture; in the second half, the ego turns inward and confronts the archetypal ground behind it. Individuation is the human expression of life’s inborn urge toward growth, expansion, and development of innate capacities. It is therefore both a synthesis and an entelechy of the self, a creation of the new and expression of something already present in germinal form.

Classic individuation falls very roughly into four categories, all of which recur and interpenetrate: shadow work, anima/animus work, Wise Old Man/Wise Woman work, and Self work. At each stage the ego integrates the personal aspect of the constellated key archetype; energy from its nonpersonal aspect regresses into the unconscious to activate the next archetype. Individuation is not a road, it’s a spiral around the Self.

Individuation begins with guilt and need for expiation due to splitting with conformity, for which the person must give some equivalent: values that help the community.

Inflation: identifying with a nonpersonal part of the psyche as though it were acquired individually. A regression into unconsciousness. Positive and negative inflation supercharge the collective unconscious and can alternate. Inflation causes dissolution of the ego into its paired opposites (inferiority/megalomania, good/evil, etc.).

Culturally, our identification with reason and will is an inflation, particularly because with the breakdown of religious and spiritual symbols we can’t experience nonpersonal forces as out there, in the realm of the spirits. Ego assimilated by Self or Self by ego both lead to inflation. The solution is a dialog between the two separated entities.

Archetypes that lose their containing symbols also become identified with and reshape the conscious mind, thereby inflating it.

Instinct: a uniform, inherited, regularly recurring impulsion toward a certain activity. Polar opposite and complement to the archetype. The most conservative force in man, usually expressed via traditions. Instinct in its primary form is composed of an endogamous tendency and an exogamous one. Power source for symbols, which convert it into useful forms. All processes whose energies aren’t under conscious control are instinctive.

Five main groups of instincts: hunger, sexuality, drive to activity, which arises when other urges are satisfied (Maslow’s self-actualization), reflexive instinct, creative instinct (but this is only similar to true “instinct”).

Instincts aren’t isolated–they bring the archetypal contents along too, which are both its foundations and its limitation.

Emotional conditions always call up instinctive reactions, and emotional reaction always means regression.


1. An involuntary flood of emotionally charged material from the unconscious. Same as an artistic inspiration. Fourth layer of the endopsyche.

2. The reaction against an inflated ego identifying with an archetype or its contents. When the ego is too fragile or rigid, it may suffer a bombardment of collective images, sometimes to the point of psychosis.

Isms: psychic infections that spread across whole peoples. Origin: pressure on the collective unconscious: constellated archetypes that compensate for the psychological deficiencies of the times. Jung saw in the average person’s unrelatedness to the unconscious a dangerous, even world-threatening weakness to being swept along in mass movements. Realizing the shadow would handle a lot of this. The catastrophe of mass movements is avoidable only if a large enough number of people can assimilate the archetype’s effect.


Janet, Pierre: student of the hypnotist neurologist Charcot and discoverer of the dissociability of the unconscious, which when split acts like a collection of mini-personalities. Jung would come to see these complexes as possessing an archetypal core.

Job: for Jung, the man whose failure to be corrupted by the unconscious Old Testament God (Yahweh) forced the God-image to confront His own opposites, thereby changing His nature, and, later, incarnate as Christ to realize Himself in consciousness. God’s incarnation and subsequent suffering as a man, undergone earlier by Job, is God’s “answer to Job” on the issue of God’s injustice and abandonment.

Basic theme: the ambiguity of the divine image (the Self when unconscious mixes its poles). God needs Man for Self-knowledge. Jung had long been troubled by Yahweh’s uncaring brutality and by the volume of evil in the world, which obviously came from God’s dark half (split off into the Devil by Christians).

Kinship libido: the endogamous aspect of the libido. Holds the family together but gives rise to incestuous tendencies that need balancing from the ego’s exogamous tendency. See cross-cousin marriage.

La fonction du r(el: Janet’s term for the sum total in awareness of external facts provided by the senses. Reality-testing. Similar to Jung’s sensation function.


Lapis Philosophorum: Also known as the ultima materia, aqua permanens (=its libido aspect), rubedo tinctura, filius macrocosmi or philosophorum, quinta essentia, panacea, medicina catholica, rotundrum, elixir vitae, lapis exilis (stone of no worth), everlasting food): the Philosopher’s Stone, prized goal of alchemy. According to legend, the Stone, a freed form of the spirit of Mercurius trapped within the prima materia or initially unprocessed raw material, grants immortality, heals all disease, and transforms base metals into gold. Jung saw it as a Self symbol–one compensating Christ–and the goal of individuation.

Mercurius: an unconscious, earthy compensation for the Trinity. He’s a triad because of his inorganic, organic, and spiritual manifestations.

Libido: psychological energy (don’t confuse with Freud’s “libido,” an inherently sexual drive energy) that is finalistic and founded not on substances but their relations and movements. Always in advance of consicousness, calling us into new activity. Libido in turn is a part of the life energy that drives all organisms to grow and develop. Its first expression is in the energy of growth that causes cell division, budding, etc. (so it IS sexual at first). As you climb the phylogenetic ladder, libido used for sexuality loses its sexual character and flows into other forms.

Libido contains two opposite urges or instincts (see ambivalence/ambitendency): to live and to die, to go forwards and backwards (death drive) into instinctuality/womb/uncon. The libido contains both or no movement could happen. In youth the life instinct is stronger. It’s not split; it just flows between the two poles. All energy flows from a difference in potentials. (Libido also splits into endogamous and exogamous tendencies–see cross-cousin marriage.) Incestuous libido connected to mother and family must be directed outward or it will remain fixed in the incestuous bond. Mysteries and their symbols reapply this libido productively. Work makes true individuality possible.

Some important ideas:

— The principle of equivalence: energy disappearing from one psychological content will appear in another (similar to the first law of thermodynamics). When energy disappears, it must invest an unconscious content, and it will carry along features of the system losing it.

— Highly developed systems tend to seize energy from others.

— Energy flows down a gradient from highly charged inner realities to those with a lower charge (similar to the second law of thermodynamics, which describes entropy).

— Energy regresses when it flows out of some system, depotentiating the opposites and adapting to the unconscious, and progresses when it flows in to enhance outer adaptation (adaptation has two stages: attainment of attitude and completing adaptation by means of the attitude)(note: intro- and extraversion can be both). Infantile regression is more permanent and aims at incest and nourishment; mature regression avoids this, fasts instead, and its libido switches over to a symbol or symbolic equivalent of the “alma mater,” the collective unconscious. But the psyche doesn’t succumb to entropy because it’s a relatively closed energy system.

— The whole psyche tries to maintain an energic balance but sometimes fails temporarily, as shown by important contents that, deprived of energy, slip into unconsciousness.

— Aspects of the outer world and the archetypes act as power sources that resupply the psyche.

— The polarity between the instincts and their archetypal images creates the gradiant that makes psychological energy possible.


The polarity is like that between the terminals of a charged battery. Drives are specific energy manifestations.

Some libido symbols: energy, fire, sun, magic, gods and goddesses, electricity, sex, fertility, potency.

Logos: the impersonal, discriminating factor that characterizes male psychology and a woman’s animus. See Eros.

Mana: primitive, animistic conception of psychic energy. A developed person gives off this “mana” and has an unconscious, positive influence on other people. Also includes magic, spirits, demons.

Mana Personality: anarchetypewith which an inflated ego identifies. Great way to bring on an invasion from the collective unconscious. The term is usually applied to the Wise Old Man archetype.


Mandala (“magic circle”): a symbol of the Self “seen in cross-section” (whereas the tree is a profile view), of wholeness, of psychological totality, balance, and of centering. Has a clear periphery and a center and is often build on the quaternity archetype. A protective circle (see temenos). Circles, squares, and multiples of the number four or eight represent this wholeness. Jung came up with this concept after seeing the round mandalas used for meditation in the Far East (“yantras”), and he considered those of Tibetan Buddhism the finest examples. Circles tend to mean spirit, whereas squares mean earth. Mandalas tend to occur during times of psychic disruption, and they compensate for it and sometimes suggest that it will be resolved. They also mediate between conscious and unconscious.

Three types of mandala: static, circumambulatory, and performed in life. All imply rotation. Disturbed mandalas: those that deviate from the circle, square, or cross, and also those based on the numbers three (reflecting ideation and will) or five (reflecting the bodily man) rather than four.

The alchemical vessel is a counterpart to the mandala.

Mercurius: in alchemy, the supreme spirit imprisoned in matter. When freed by the alchemist, Mercurius took his/her form in the hermaphroditic Philosopher’s Stone but also stands for the prima materia and the opus. For Jung, Mercurius symbolized the unconscious Self. He/she also provided the alchemical counterpart to the all-good and therefore incomplete Self-symbol of Christ. The anima and Wise One archetypes flow together in Mercurius’s androgynous symbolism. The lion and the metallic man as well as dragon, raven, black eagle and hermaphrodite also symbolize him.

A list of his aspects: all conceivable opposites; both material and spiritual; process by which lower/material is transformed into higher/spiritual; a trickster and God’s reflection in nature; reflection of the artifex’s mystical experience and opus; the self; the individuation process; the collective unconscious. As Christ is thearchetypeof consciousness, Mercurius is that of the unconscious.

Mind/body problem: for Jung, two poles of the same thing seen from within and without, divided by ego-consciousness. Neither therefore could be independent. Influenced by French philosopher Henri Bergson, Jung liked the idea of the brain as a transformer station in which the relatively infinite tension or intensity of the psyche is transformed into perceptible frequencies. Physical base of consciousness: the corpus callosum, a bridge (symbolized by a bird).

Morality: not imposed from outside, but innate and can even be unconscious. We have a fundamental urge to connect. Ultimately, it’s our moral qualities that force us to live in harmony with the unconscious; doing so is the highest form of morality. Morality is individual; the morality of a group decreases as its size increases. (In Civilization In Transition, Jung differentates between moral code and conscience, which is anterior to it. Real conscience comes into play when two customarily moral ways of behaving collide.) Ethics are a function of the whole person.

Mysterium Coniunctionis (“mysterious conjunction”): the final alchemical synthesis (for Jung, of ego and unconscious, matter and spirit, male and female) that brings forth the Philosopher’s Stone (the Self). Its highest aspect, as for alchemist Gerard Dorn, was the unus mundus, a unification of the Stone with body, soul, and spirit.

Myth: a (usually collective) tale, fable, or dogma that unconsciously symbolizes the activities of the collective unconscious. Natural, intermediate stage between conscious and unconscious cognition. Like religious symbols, myths aren’t invented, they arise from the unconscious. Example: legends of the “treasure hard to attain” symbolize the inward treasure of contact with the real Self we must struggle through so many issues to locate. Jung says myths describe inner reality more accurately than so-called scientific truths. They are a kind of therapy for the problems of humanity. They also let a person know what’s going on in his unconscious (it’s not you, but the “gods” talking).


Nekyia: a journey to the underworld. The term comes from the descent of Odysseus into the realm of Hades.

Neurosis: a chronic characterological split between the ego and a content of the personal unconscious, resulting in a present (not just past) failure to achieve full maturity, adaptability, and awareness. Developmental disturbances. A sick system of social relationships. Jung was among the first to see neurotic conflicts as warped attempts to grow, an insight later taken up by Abraham Maslow. One shouldn’t get rid of it, but experience it fully and see what it teaches, what’s its purpose. We don’t cure it; it cures us. A neurosis is just an extreme of a normal event. He also saw in neurosis a substitute for authentic suffering and, at bottom, a moral conflict involving a split of opposites needing reconciliation in the “third thing” (tertium comparationis) or reconciling symbol.

Two main categories of neurosis: collective people w/ underdeveloped individuality, and individuals with atrophied collective adaptation. Two more: diminished adaptation to outer or inner conditions. In the young, neurosis is mainly a failure to adapt; in the middle aged, an attempt to hang onto youth. Many people also suffer from neuroses that come from the emptiness and senselessness of their lives, symptomatic of our neurotic times (see Frankl’s “noogenic neurosis”). They need meaning (like the body needs food–compare Maslow’s B-needs) and spiritual development, and meaning only comes when the ego serves a supraordinate power outside the person (Frankl). “The important thing isn’t the neurosis, but the man who has the neurosis” (The Practice of Psychotherapy).

Jung pushed for a study of the healthy psyche, like Maslow, and felt that analytical psychology should treat the sick, but beyond that facilitate individuation. The outbreak of neurosis comes when a new adaptation is needed.

Neurosis always means libido piled up where it shouldn’t be or deprived of where it should. Also means regressed or fixated libido, which, encountering an obstacle its healthy regression can’t overcome, activates the infantile parent imagos, immature emotions, and unconscious infantile fantasies.

Night sea journey: archetypal theme noted by Leo Frobenius. For Jung, describes the typical hero: born of two mothers (because his birth is really a rebirth), movement over sea from west to east, consumed by a womblike monster (whale; Christ in hell; Jonah), cuts off a vital organ or starts a fire within it, is expelled, hair falls out due to heat, finds land, frees self and everyone else imprisoned.

Nigredo (“blackening”): the first of the four alchemical stages. Jungian equivalent: en-countering the shadow; also, the deflation that follows when an inflated ego invades the collective unconscious (a deflation described by St. John of the Cross as a “dark night”).

Numbers: make qualitative statements and are therefore between myth and reality, partly discovered and partly invented. 1-10 are archetypes. Mediators of human and higher world.

Numinosity: the emotional glow or fascination or power an activated archetype inspires in the inner experiences it gathers to itself.

Numinous experiences, whether encountered inwardly or outwardly, tell us something essential about ourselves if we study them with care. Rudolf Otto’s term (in his Idea of the Holy) for the mysterious, terrifying, directly experienced, and pertaining only to the divinity.


Objective psyche: the collective unconscious.

Ogdoad: double quaternity and part of the symbolism of the mandala.

Paracelsus: Philippus Aureolus Bombast von Hohenheim, known as Theophrastus Paracelsus, born 11/10/1493 at Einsiedeln, Switzerland, physician, alchemist, astrologer, and philosopher. His concept of the lumen naturae, the light of nature, an inner heaven, was of great historical importance, and its materialism paved the way for modern science. With Jacob B(hme, split alchemy into natural science and Protestant mysticism. Knew that the physician had to be whole and complete to help the patient. Also stressed compassion: “Where there is no love, there is no art.” A recurrent theme in his works was the authenticity of one’s own experience against the authority of tradition. Jung seems to identify with him. Like the other alchemists, Paracelsus pioneered analytical psychology. Paracelsus sought to reverse the turning away from the psyche begun by Scholasticism and Aristotelianism.

Participation mystique: French philosopher Lucien Levi-Bruhl’s term, recanted later after a mauling by his critics, for an unconscious identification with an object, as seen in the animistic and magical beliefs of so-called primitive cultures. Projection.

Persona: the socially acceptable “mask” self we wear to adapt to the outer world. A segment of the collective psyche that thinks its an individual. identification of ego with persona creates the chronic conformist, who experiences himself as whatever he “should” be. Just as the anima is the face we turn toward the unconscious, the persona is the face we turn to the outer world. Identifying with the persona means doing the same with the anima because an ego not differentiated from the mask can’t have a conscious relation to the unconscious.

The persona is identical with a typical attitude dominated by a single psychological function, which is why the dissolution of the persona (=restoration to the unconscious) is vital for individuation. From the dissolution arises individuality as a pole that polarizes the unconscious, which in turn produces the God-image counterpole.

Rejective restoration of the persona = reburying contents of the unconscious.

Phenomena of assimilation: mythical attributes that collect around archetypally significant historical figures (Christ, Elijah).

Phenomenology: a philosophy that puts experience above conceptualizations about it. For Jung, some implications: all we ever experience comes through the filter of the psyche and is therefore psychological; that being so, we can never directly know of anything beyond the psyche; and psychological experiences are as real as external objects and not reducible to other (deduced) properties. There are really no fixed principles or valid judgments, but only sheer experience, and at this level (but not below it) psychology must abdicate as a science. “Just as the discovery of radioactivity overthrew the old physics and necessitated a revision of many scientific concepts, so all disciplines that are in any way concerned with the realm of the psychic are broadened out and at the same time remoulded by depth psychology.” (The Symbolic Life.)

Philosopher’s Stone: see Lapis Philosophorum.


Pleroma: Gnostic term for primordial unconsciousness before the Creation.

Prima materia: the common, elemental substance or “first matter,” “found in filth,” the “orphan” sought by the alchemists in their attempt to create the Philosopher’s Stone. The original “chaos” or “sea” that constitutes all matter. Alchemist Gerhard Dorn saw it as a substance within man: “Transform yourselves into living philosophical stones!” Jung interpreted the prima materia as an unconscious content ready to surface but needing the “heat” of awareness to cook it into a conscious experience. Also known as “lead” and “Saturn.”

Privatio boni: a Christian doctrine that evil is simply th absence of good. For Jung, evil was quite real and came from the distortion or deformation of something natural and neutral.

Projection: a kind of unconscious identification with the object (participation mystique). All projections cause counter-projections; that and being spellbound into living out the projection are very close to M. Klein’s “projective identification.” There are personal and collective projections. National or global crises feed collective projections.

Psyche: a spiritual/imaginal/somatic spectrum; a system that can’t be studied by dividing into parts like instincts and drives. It is also autonomous and not reducible to simpler systems. A psychic fact only makes sense when we see its position in the whole that influences it.

The psyche is REAL, imaginal rather than imaginary. It has both physical and psychic properties, archetypes and more mental processes at the “top”–this pole has far more energy than its counterpart–and instinct and mechanical systems at the “bottom,” which are two aspects of the same thing and between which energy flows. The spiritual pole is dynamic, the other material. One never reduces to the other.

Psychic infection: see isms.

Psychization: the transformation of an instinct (or of any sensory experience) into a conscious experience. A conscious instinct is already psychized. It’s mainly the psychological component of an instinct that’s transformable, not so much the very conservative biological aspect. And the psychic aspect is a very small part of it. In Freudian sublimation, an instinctual force like sexuality powers cultural activities but isn’t fundamentally transformed by consciousness; but in psychization, the force itself mutates. Example: hunger psychized into greed. Psychization also diverts sexuality from its biological aim into other channels. Contrast with canalization.

Psychoid: neither psychological nor physical, but similar to, and transcending, both. Archetypes have a psychoid or “quasipsychic” quality and are therefore beyond consciousness. See unus mundus.

Puer aeternus (“eternal youth”): a type of man who remains too long in adolescent psychology and usually has a strong attachment to mom. Also the youthful pole of the spirit archetype. Positive traits are spontaneity and openness to change. Female version is the puella aeternus. See senex.

Quaternity: a four-sided figure or statement that symbolizes psychological totality or wholeness. The marriage quaternio archetype: ego, female partner, anima, and Wise One.

Reconciling (later, Uniting) Symbol: a symbol unconsciously generated to unify two opposites held in awareness, thereby relating them while diminishing neither (see transcendent function). Reconciling symbols are often Self symbols.

Religion: a subjective relationship to certain metaphysical, extramundane factors. A kind of experience accorded the highest value, regardless of its contents. The essence is the person’s relationship to God or salvation. Jung called them psychotherapeutic systems and believed they contained, offered a gradiant for, and transformed instinctual (hence asceticism), nonpersonal energies, giving people a cultural counterpole to blind instinct, help through difficult transitional stages, and a sense of meaning. They also help separate the growing person from his parents. For Jung, the unconscious had a religious function, and religion rests on an instinctive basis. Different from creeds, which are codified and dogmatized versions of a religious experience. Creeds usually say they have THE truth and are a collective belief. For Jung, no contradiction existed between faith and knowledge because science has nothing to say about metaphysical events, and beliefs are psychological facts that need no proof.

Increasing exogamous libidinal tendencies over the centuries have caused endogamous libido to react by forming religions, sects, and nations (see cross-cousin marriage, aion).

Religions collect projections of parent imagos (Pope, church as mother, etc.) in a positive way–let the imagos live on in a changed and exalted form within traditions that preserve living connections and roots for centuries. Instinct expresses itself in traditional form, and when the traditions break down or the images are lost, the energy activates the unconscious dangerously. Isms and the State then replace tradition and hierarchical order.

Resistance: for Jung, merely the ego’s narrowness, which excludes what is incompatible with self-image (see Carl Rogers). Jung believed in supporting it because who can say if the ego is sufficient to withstand the assault from the unconscious. The client digs up the material when he’s ready to.

Historically, we have good reason to resist the unconscious, because consciousness so recently arose from it and is therefore still an experiment of sorts.

Rituals: facilitate separation from mother/regression of endogamous libido and turn one inward (regression) so that the archetypes are activated. Rituals also express unconscious forces and help man through difficult transitional stages; participation mystique shifts from the parent imago to the tribe, nation, etc.. See religion.

Rubedo: the last “reddening” of the four alchemical stages. In the reddening, a dawning consciousness makes contact with the Self, symbolized by the Lapis Philosophorum.


1. The central, organizing, governing archetype of the collective unconscious and template for the ego. It contains all the other archetypes. The nucleus of the psyche (central fire). It’s the archetype of growth. Its physiological aspect Jung thought could be located in the brainstem.

2. The entire psyche, conscious and unconscious.

3. An unconscious prefiguration (blueprint) of the ego. Both a mirror of the subjective ego and a reflection of the whole psyche.

The Self image of wholeness provides a new interpretation/container for traditional and worn-out symbols.


Some of its qualities: unitemporal vs. eternal, unique vs. universal.

Images symbolizing the Self tend to appear during times of inward disorganization or after work on the Wise Old Man/Wise Woman archetypes (which are a second liberation from the parent of their gender). Many of the symbols are quaternities. Conscious contact with the nonego Self, an archetype also known as the God-image, is the highest goal of individuation. In that dialog, ego is to Self as planet is to its sun and feels itself contained in the Self. Whether God (or Goddess) lives behind the psychological image is unknown because the psyche filters every experience.

Jung speculated that the Self puts on bodily form–like a diver’s wetsuit–to know itself. Only we can resolve the opposites within the God-image. Jung thought it possible that evolution was a purposeful groping toward Self-realization.

Senex (“old man”): associated with attitudes that come with advancing age. Negatively, cynicism, rigidity, conservativism; positively, responsibility, order, self-discipline. The elder pole of the spirit archetype. A healthy personality balances senex with puer.

Shadow: cast by the more individualized ego, it’s the repressed, inferior layer of the personal unconscious. Its contents are emotional and imaginal. All we deny, fear, or hate in ourselves collects in the shadow, which appears in dreams as a frightening figure of the dreamer’s gender (because it’s part of his or her ego). “Realization of the shadow” means growing fully, emotionally conscious of the shadow’s contents, a moral problem evaded by people whose respectable conscious selves deny the shadow and project it into personal, family, or cultural scapegoats. The shadow is often contaminated by inferior function/attitude, anima, etc. identification with the shadow produces a kind of amoral, inflated craziness.

Shadow of the Self: the dark pole of the Self archetype.

Sign: see symbol.

Sol and Luna (“sun and moon”): alchemical symbols of the ego and the unconscious. Reversed for a woman.

Soror Mystica: a female alchemist (“mystical sister”), usually paired with a male. For Jung, the higher stages of individuation were unreachable unless a man projected his anima (or a woman her animus) onto a suitable partner. See transference.

Soul: the anima/animus.

Statistical criminal: the antisocial elements in everybody, repressed.

Symbol: an image that stands for a partially unknown psychological reality (whereas a sign (same as a symptom; semiotic) stands for something already known)–tendencies whose goal is unknown. All symbols contain, assimilate, or transform (canalize) psychological energy (libido) and nonpersonal instinctual forces into different forms by converting an unconscious or instinctual process into a representation with which the ego can work and be fed by, thereby offering a steeper energy gradient than the natural instinctual one. They also unify opposites (because a true symbol is partly unconscious) on the level of the third thing or reconciling symbol, contain the rational and irrational, contain nonpersonal forces (dogmatic symbols do this particularly well), and transfer libido from being bound to the object to availability for the subject–a tremendous step forward. Symbol-making led to culture. In short, symbols make possible conscious assimilation of unconscious or instinctual forces.

Symbols can be interpreted on an objective and subjective level (see dreams). Symbols don’t disguise, they are “words” that speak a language we have trouble understanding.

Jung differentiated between personal, cultural, and archetypal (natural) symbols but believed all symbols ultimately derive from archaic residues. To find the images in the emotions and to personify unconscious impulses: that was the trick. “As a plant produces its flower, so the psyche creates its symbols.” (Man And His Symbols)

Synchronicity: a meaningful, but noncausal, connection between an inner and outer event separated by time and space, but, like the Tao, a whole at some level. Example: waking up (inner event) near the time a relative dies (outer event). He shared the classic Chinese view that all events happening during this moment of time share its qualities. Synchronicity works because time is a fabric (Einstein) interwoven w/ space.

Jung thought of astrology (which he called the sum of all psychological knowledge of antiquity), the I Ching, and paranormal events as examples of synchronicity. Often triggered by an intense affect that causes an abaissement du niveau mental and corresponding charging of an ordering (not causing) archetype, synchronistic events demonstrate how active archetypes underlie and cut across the spacetime continuum and express their psychoid quality. See unus mundus.

Synchronicity, which fulfills as a fourth the triad of space/time continuum, indestructible energy, and causality, takes three forms: the coincidence of a psychic event with an objective one that takes place simultaneously; of a psychic state with a phantasm (dream or vision) which later turns out to be a reflection of an objective and more or less simultaneous distant event; the same, but the event perceived happens in the future–the phantasm is its present form.

Unlike the “primitive” or the East, we tend not to see meaning in chance because we focus on single events and their causes, not on how chance events arrange themselves in groups or series. Synchronicity is one example of acausal orderedness, the underlying equivalence of psychic and physical processes, and represent acts of creation in time of an eternal pattern (Bergson).

Synthetic (or “constructive,” “prospective”) interpretations: those that see the parts of a psychological experience (for instance, dream symbols) as facets of the whole person. They are subjective, individual, noncausal, finalistic, and goal-oriented, asking “What for?” instead of “Why?” Reductionistic (or analytical-reductive) interpretations reduce whole to caused parts (your passion for a man is “only” repressed father issues) and are collective and materialistic. Jung employed both methods, depending on the patient and the presenting problem. Synthetic interpretations emphasize relationships between the parts and the whole and focus on purpose more than on causality.

Because the person is a unique combination of factors, no fixed theory can ever do him justice, and investigation must start fresh with each new case.

Syzygy: usually the anima/animus pair, but also reflects other “opposites,” like male paired with female. The parental pair, which arises only when the ego develops enough, stands behind it and is molded by it, like a base carries the lightbulb. The syzygy has three components: a man’s femininity and woman’s masculinity; the experience man has of woman and vice versa; and the masculine and feminine archetypal image.

Temenos: a holy place with a protected center. Derives from the ancient idea of a god or spirit inhabiting a particular place. An analyst’s office can serve as a temenos of sorts. See mandala.

Therapy: four methods to probe the unknown in a client: association method, symptom analysis, anamnestic analysis, and analysis of the unconscious when the first three haven’t yet discovered the issues. Therapeutic findings can also break down into confession, elucidation, education, and transformation. The nature of the problem determines the treatment. The real cure: personal contact. The therapist sets up a dialog between the judging, discriminating ego and the solution-producing unconscious that supplies corrective experiences. He mediates the transcendent function of the client.

Diagnosis: only useful to rule out organicity.


Neurotic dissociations break only when reexperienced with a therapist who reinforces the patient’s ego.

Thinking: comes in two forms: directed (corresponding to thinking as a function and is in a circular relationship with language) and the spontaneous, creative, nonverbal kind–“dream” or “fantasy” thinking. The directed kind harks back historically to the first calls that water had been found but isn’t exactly the same as inner language (e.g., deaf mutes). Fantasy thinking connects directed thinking to the archaic psyche.

Transcendent function: a mode of experiential understanding that, mediated by the archetypes, unites the opposing aspects of the psyche, thereby forcing their energy into a common channel. The opposites melt together alchemically; archetypes guide the transformation, helping cook the instinct-food over the fire. Opposites coming together releases the energy that was in their tension and looks like a cyclone. Left alone, two opposites will form the “third thing” at least partly in consciousness.

As process, the unconscious produces compensations; as method, we realize them consciously. The transcendent function (don’t confuse with the four orienting functions of the ego) is what makes individuation possible. This function takes place between the superior and inferior functions–so an overdeveloped superior function can interfere. Creative expression and meaning supplement one another to form the transcendent function.


New religions and theories are new reconciling symbols born out of prior confusion, then hardened into containers, then eroded. The definite symbols/concepts of religion can impede the transcendent function.

Transference: a type of projection in which we project old parent issues, usually symbolically incestuous, onto the therapist. Resolved, libido then is released from the mother imago (the incestuous object) and flows down and activated archetypal imagery. Jung paid attention to the projection of archetypal contents (like making the therapist a god in dreams), often first projected onto the parents, in order to focus the client inward and separate the ego from the collective unconscious (“objectivation of impersonal images”) while opening up the dialog between them. Clients can also form a transference attachment to their own unconscious. Unlike Freud, Jung thought therapists cure in spite of, not because of, the transference.

Also seen as a third chemical arising of the combination (coniunctio) of two: the therapist and client.

Male therapist, female client: therapist’s anima interacts w/ client, and her animus interacts with his. Similar to the artifex working with his soror mystica. When this happens, it recalls the archetype of the marriage quaternio or cross-cousin marriage. Severing the transference projection doesn’t break off the kinship libido.

Transgressivity: the tendency of an archetype to transcend causality’s frame of reference. Example: synchronicity, in which an archetype manifests across space/time limits in both the psychic and physical spheres. A transgresive archetype can seem to belong as much to a person as to society.

Trinity: triads mean the dynamic, process aspect of a striving for wholeness (as opposed to the initial or complete state, the quaternity). In the past, unconsciousness produced a spiritual compensation in a Trinity that needed to separate from and therefore leave behind the fourth, dark, earthy aspect. For Jung, the Trinity symbolized a process of unconscious maturation.

Type: a tentative personality classification based on a combination of attitude (extravert or introvert) with the most differentiated function. An inner-directed person who orients mainly by intuition is an “introverted intuitive type” and therefore must work to differentiate the inferior attitude and function.

UFOs: a living myth. Jung’s conclusion: something is seen, but we don’t know what. See visionary rumor. A collective projection caused by and compensating the uncertain global situation via a savior myth. Round: mandala; Self symbol.

Unconscious: a topographical term for the unknown process of the psyche. The unconscious is unconscious only to the ego–we don’t know if it is actually that way.

The deeper you go, the more collective its contents. The unconscious divides into two layers:

1. Personal (subjective) unconscious: the layer containing subliminal impressions and repressed contents. Filled only with personal life-experiences. Includes the shadow and the inferior function.

2. Collective (impersonal, transpersonal, objective) unconscious: an immensely old psyche at the basis of ours, filled with nonpersonal, species-wide, inherited, and permanently unconscious complexes called archetypes and with instincts. Nature doesn’t build from scratch each time (see Koestler). Energy in solid forms from old, like coal mines, but that pours out into active images.

The psyche’s equivalent of those (living!) remnants of previous evolutionary stages we carry in our bodies (going all the way back to the earliest organic forms) and so a potential system of adapted functioning. It’s the biological, prehistoric, and unconscious development in archaic man. (Just as human bodies have two eyes, our brains have features in common.) At bottom this psychoid layer fuses with physical processes and (includes) the sympathetic nervous system, which experiences from within as opposed to the cerebrospinal system, which senses outer things and maintains the ego. In fact, Jung thought the sympathetic system a deeper, wider, and more embracing psyche than the cerebrum’s cortical fields and less exposed to the endocrine system. The highest differentiation of the collective unconscious is the ego, a relatively new combination of ancient elements.

The unconscious always first appears in projection; and it “projects” and is the lifelong matrix of the ego. Contact with the collective unconscious puts us in touch with our historical continuity (which we must harmonize with the present) and offers ingrained reaction modes for urgent situations. Carries and triggers the great collective events of the time; works on and sends out enormous collective fantasies and primordial images; it’s where history prepares itself. It also contains, not just past stuff, but future stages of development. Unless the energy of the collective unconscious is used consciously via the transcendent function (=communing with the gods), it swamps the ego and causes collective psychic infections.

Stratification: individuals, families, clans, nations, large group (like European man), primate ancestors, animal ancestors, “central fire” (a shaft of which extends all the way into the individual sphere).


In the unconscious things not only personify themselves but run together in contaminations, parallels, relationships, identifications (which is why every content splits into its opposites when it approaches the ego, one side remaining unconscious), and time/space limits vanish. All events happen in the present for it, and it thinks only concretely and instinctively. When something happens in a part of the collective unconscious it happens everywhere. Its complexes and archetypes show a kind of multiple luminosity or “quasiconsciousness” symbolized in alchemy by sparks, the starry heavens, the fishes’ eyes, etc.

We have to imagine a millennial process of symbol-formation which presses towards consciousness, beginning in the darkness of prehistory with primordial or archetypal images, and gradually developing and differentiating these images into conscious creations. “The intangible, the psyche, becomes the ground and substrate, and the ‘merely vegetative’ sympathetic system the possessor and realizer of unthinkable creative secrets, the vehicle of the life-giving World Soul, and, ultimately, the architect of the brain, this newest achievement of the pre-existent creative will.” (The Symbolic Life)

Unus mundus: “one world” — the physical-psychological, transcendental, “third thing” continuum underlying all existence. Metaphysical equivalent of the collective unconscious. Mercurius. Original, nondifferentiated unity of the world, where all is connected. In the view of Jung and physicists like Wolfgang Pauli, the collective unconscious, a psychoid realm somewhere between physical and mental reality, underlies both, manifesting in one reality as the psyche and in the other as quantum operations and the physical reality built up from them. (Beyond this concept, hinted at earlier but described in Jung’s book Mysterium Coniunctionis as the final stage of alchemy, where body, spirit, and soul unite with it, Jung felt he couldn’t go. It meant a perfect synthesis of conscious with unconscious.)

Mandala symbolism is its psychological equivalent, and synchronicity its parapsychological equivalent.

Value: the amount of psychological energy invested in a psychological event. Value differences are currently immeasurable objectively, but one can feel their relative differences.

Vas Hermeticum: the alchemical retort in which the alchemist cooked the prima materia into the Lapis. Its egg shape reminded Jung of the conscious self, which “cooks” the contents of the unconscious.


Visionary Rumor: like UFO sightings. Similar to collective visions. To generate, an unusual emotion, an emotional tension from a collective distress or danger or in a vital psychic need, dissociation between conscious and unconscious (so that the contents are experienced out there instead of integrated). Comparing visions, like dreams in a dream series, sheds light on what’s going on.

Will: the amount of psychic energy at the ego’s disposal. Usually directed into the psychic functions.

Wise Old Man: in men, the archetype of “meaning” or “spirit.” Magician, master, teacher, moralist. The Self made flesh. First projected onto the father, it usually appears after a man integrates the personal part of the anima, but anima and Wise Old Man (or “soul” and “meaning”) often appear together afterward. He is her father but also her son. Identifying with this archetype produces the mana personality and a dangerous ego inflation. In Jung’s fantasies, the prophet compensates the blind anima: “When you assume the anima is due to the preponderance of the differentiated function in the conscious, the unconscious is balanced by a figure within itself that compensates the anima figure. This is the old man Elijah.” (Analytical Psychology.)

Can’t usually experience the Wise One consistently until we undergo a kind of inner death and lose all certainty. Things seem meaningless, hence the archetype of meaning appears.

The Wise One also has a youthful or puer side, as alchemy knew.

Wise Woman: in women, the archetype of meaning, which appears after animus work. Also called the Great (Earth, Chthonic) Mother.

Wotan: ancient god of the hunt. Jung felt him behind National Socialism, the blond beast. Berserker, storm god, wanderer, warrior, lord of the dead and of remembrance, master of secret knowledge, magician, god of the poets, god of rage and frenzy who embodies the instinctual/emotional aspect of the unconscious, but also intuitive and able to interpret fate.

Zosimos of Panopolis: important alchemist and Gnostic of the third century, who for Jung provided the bridge from Gnosticism to alchemy. His visions illustrate various facets of the process of individuation.


Word and Image
Basic Writings
Modern Man in Search of a Soul
Answer to Job
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Alchemical Studies

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