SHADOW: The Deficient or Negative Ego (Jungian thoughts)

The shadow represents all our disowned, despised, and repressed traits. It lives buried in the closets of our subconscious minds safe from our judgments. The shadow is our “dark side.” It acts out for us all those denied emotions and urges we wish we didn’t have. For instance, if we’re prudish about our sexuality, it acts out our “vamp” side behind our backs. If we insist on always being kind and loving for all the world to see, it will express our other side by sometimes taking over and harshly misbehaving. It is an emotion-based self, slippery and hard to catch. And it is grounded in fear, drama, and competitiveness; it can destroy our relationships if not tamed. Its sacred purpose in our transformation is to remind us of our emotional unfinished business, of what we’re trying to skip over or leave behind. Jung called it “our sparring partner,” the opponent who exposes our flaws and sharpens our skills.
Whenever you repress an emotion, or deny an issue in your life–such as pretending an insult doesn’t hurt, or insisting you’re not having trouble with alcohol when it’s obvious you’re alcoholic–these repressed emotions or unresolved issues will go underground into the subconscious mind. Because it takes so much energy to repress disowned feelings, the shadow will eventually pop out and make a food of itself (you!), or in some other way bring the issue to the surface. The shadow is our awakener; it will eventually bring out of denial all our unconscious ways.
Our codependence patterns come from the shadow’s fears and illusions about how to love and be loved, and until we make them conscious (recognize and own them), we are likely to act out, manipulate, or otherwise behave co-dependently through this negative, non-purified ego.
The shadow dissipates or lightens when we accept it. We may still swing from negative to positive states, but our lives will become manageable because the extremes will disappear. When our shadow does manifest, we’ll know it is time to listen to its message rather than act on its impulses. We need to see that the shadow, too, can be our friend. [excerpt from AWAKENING IN TIME, pg. 19-20]
ACCEPTING YOUR SHADOW AS A CONSCIOUS COMPANION (THE SHADOW AS ‘SYMBOL’ OR ‘SYMPTOM’) The shadow is our passionate response to life, our heart’s intensities borne from the suffering taken on so that we might enter fully into the human predicament. It is the first archetype we meet along our journey to wholeness, the first we make “real.” It acts out so terribly, we simply have to notice. Jung believed that we meet the shadow by going through a narrow door–one that many wish to avoid entering. But it isn’t possible to avoid this, for until the shadow is accessed, brought into the “light of day” and accepted with love and forgiveness, i.e., integrated, it runs–or perhaps ruins–our lives. It distorts our human interactions in ways that keep us unclear, victims of our excesses and addictions.
According to Jungian Jolande Jacobi, in psychic inner reality the archetypal Shadow is a symbol for an aspect of the self (1959). When we cannot find a way to work with our shadow through our dreams or in other ways, it becomes a symptom in our outer world.
Until it is made conscious, the shadow causes us to create emotional explosions and catastrophe or to explode in emotionalism. It stands there at the threshold of our unconscious mind, reflecting back to us our blind side. We must learn to embrace the shadow without trying to win it over. It is our teacher. Often we aren’t even able to hear the more kindly offerings from our friends, so to command our attention the shadow must pop out to remind us that it exists from time to time.
The shadow is emotional in nature, not a “thing” or a certain “person” we can ever know concretely. It is often made up of our aggressive or sexual urges and promptings from the extremes, or some other “untamed” aspect of our human/animal nature. Since our rage and sexual desire are two aspects of human nature we have the hardest time integrating and respect the least, they are often the aspects of us that operate in shadowy ways.
According to Jungian Marie-Louise von Franz, the shadow takes the form of laziness, greed, envy, jealousy, the desire for prestige, aggressions, and similar “tormenting spirits”. When we ignore our shadow, it is like opening a door and allowing negative powers such as wrath, envy, lechery, or faintheartedness to step in. In ancient times, these were known as demons or bad spirits.
When we try to deny the shadow it multiplies. When we choose to integrate it instead, we gain stability and expansion of consciousness, losing our one-sided self-righteousness and becoming flexible instead of defensive and rigid. If your shadow seems to you to be fairly hard to accept, or you’re having trouble finding it all, you may want to ask for the help of a good therapist who is as at home in the shadow’s domain as in the light, acquainted with the wilderness experience we humans must travel through if we are to realize our full potential. Jung writes:
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” [excerpt from EMBODYING SPIRIT, pg. 131-133]
Your Observer Self is the tamer of your shadow side, the dark, unloved, unlived part of your nature. Your shadow is a conglomeration of the traits you deplore and prefer to notice in others but never, of course, in yourself. It consists of parts of your psyche that were damaged or didn’t mature and of which you are ashamed. You have disowned these parts of yourself. Your psyche has built up defense mechanisms to keep you from knowing these aspects of your nature.
But this doesn’t mean these traits disappear. When denied, they grow stronger–buried in closets of repression in your subconscious mind. This shadowy side of your nature –usually a form of aggressiveness, meanness, hysteria, or forbidden sexual fascination–hides out just below the surface of your awareness. It acts out when you are off-guard–when you have not eaten or slept enough, or when stress is making you feel frustrated or helpless. On these occasions it may burst out in an out-of-control overreaction and embarrass you. The more it is denied, the stronger its force. As though in a pressure cooker, your shadow chums with all those pent-up feelings you’re denying or are too ashamed to explore in the light of day.
But to be rounded out, we must make our shadow and all the fear and rejection associated with it conscious, or we’ll be at its mercy forever. To heal, the shadow has to be exposed and accepted for exactly who and what it is. Then, paradoxically, it won’t need to act out so dramatically, though it may still tug at you from time to time. It will always be your dark side.
Your shadow is only the antithesis of the creative process–your “sparring partner” who makes your life exciting. It forces you to weed out anything wrong with your design and to look at what you’re trying to ignore. Its sacred function is to force you to work through your dark side, so its energy can be released in appropriate ways. Then, it blesses you with its spiritual gift: it releases your elan vital. Your shadow is very much like managing and loving a hyperactive child. We learn to express our true feelings in safe settings, see them operate, forgive ourselves and others, and learn to accept it all, over and over…until all our energies are balanced and can be used for good. This is integration.
When you feel yourself moving toward an overreaction, call on your Observer Self to watch you consciously. You can either do this symbolically in your mind, or you can act it out in the outer world. But be careful about the choice of acting out your shadow; doing so can cause you more problems. If you just can’t stop yourself from acting out, then you need a lesson.
In shadow work, we can learn to have an ongoing dialogue with the differing voices of the shadow, along with all the taunting images that challenge us when we’re trying to stop a destructive habit. By clarifying our images and our energies, we will eventually integrate our shadow self enough so it will no longer threaten us.

Edward C. Whitmont, The Symbolic Quest: Basic Concepts of Analytical Psychology (New York: Putnam, 1969)
The Self draws its power exclusively from the collective unconscious; it is transpersonal rather than personal and is not conditioned by a person’s individual experiences. The Self is both:
• the “guide” of the process of individuation, the regulating center of the personality
• the “goal” of the process of individuation, the symbol of perfect fulfillment of all potential (this is an unconscious goal, not the goal of the conscious ego)
Symbolism in Dreams and Narratives: Because the Self is the most complex of the archetypes of individuation, its symbolism is the most rich and varied. All symbols of the Self include the characteristics of power and impersonality; symbols of the Self are never peer figures, nor are they strongly individualized, vividly personal, or strikingly sexual beings. The Self may be symbolized by:
• Persons: an aged seer or priestess, a wise old man or woman, a young child (i.e., the goal/end, or the beginning); the Cosmic Man, hermaphrodite, or Royal Couple; an inner voice, guardian spirit, daimon, or genius
• Animals: Phoenix (bird consumed in flames and reborn from its own ashes); Uroboros (snake biting its own tail); Totem
• Things: items that serve as the guide or goal of a quest—the Holy Grail, the Elixir of Immortality, the Star of Bethlehem, the Philosopher’s Stone
• Geometric Figures: especially counterbalanced and concentric geometric figures, such as the Hindu mandala, or the peace sign
Self Projection: Because the Self is so powerful, it contains both the concepts of Good and Evil. It is only projected onto transcendental figures, either images of God or the Devil, or religious leaders who are divinized by their followers.
Possession by the Self: Because the Self is associated with the deepest levels of the collective unconscious, it is extremely powerful. When possessed by the Self, the ego loses control of the personality through positive or negative Inflation (literally meaning “blown into”). Positive inflation results in megalomania as the ego identifies with the power of the Self and is carried away by the unconscious (in myths, this can be symbolized as deification; Herakles, for example, loses his mortal body in the funeral pyre but his spirit is carried up to Olympus by Athena). Negative inflation results in annihilation of the ego, which is completely overpowered by the Self, resulting in a state of complete withdrawal or catatonia (in myths, this can be symbolized as being swallowed up by a monster, turned to stone, etc.).
Integration of the Self: Because of its unconscious, transpersonal nature, the Self can never be truly integrated by the ego. What the ego must learn to do surrender its need to always be in control by recognizing the value of the Self’s guidance and deferring to its superior wisdom. In myths this is often symbolized by the ego-bearer’s learning to trust the mystical figures who are directing him/her even when their advice seems dangerous and contradictory. On the other hand, the ego must always maintain a safe distance from the unconscious, recognizing the dangerous power that can never be defeated or controlled.

Jung’s approach to finding balance in life was through dreams and his ‘Individuation Process’. Individuation is a self analysis, a self discovery, analyzing your own psyche and life, discovering what truths lie underneath the conscious ego-centric personality, and life. In this search of the unconscious one will confront different aspects of the psyche that influence our human fabric, our beahviour and reasons for those behaviours. Beginning with the ‘Shadow’, the following pages will introduce you to the four different aspects of the psyche that influence, often unconsciously, who we are as individuals, and ultimatley collectively. To begin you may want to get a better overview of personality types ….go here.
The Shadow   The Dark Side
‘parts of yourself {psyche} that you have not previously brought into consciousness’

The first step is taken towards self-realization {individuation} when you meet your ‘shadow’. This is so called because it is the ‘dark’ side of your psyche, the parts of yourself that you have not previously brought into the light of consciousness. It is, for this reason, the ‘primitive’ (undeveloped or underdeveloped) side of your personality. It is also the ‘negative’ side of your personality, insofar as it is the opposite of whatever you have hitherto regarded as making a positive contribution to your well being.

In dreams your shadow may be represented either by some figure of the same sex as yourself (an elder brother or sister, your best friend, or some alien or primitive person) or by a person who represents your opposite (and of the same sex). A clear example of this in literature is Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mt Hyde’, in which Mr Hyde may be seen as Dr Jekyll’s unconscious shadow, leading a separate and altogether different life from the conscious part of the personality. The werewolf motif features in the same way in literature (e.g. Hermann Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’) and in folklore. In pre-literate societies this ‘other’ side of the individual’s personality was sometimes depicted as a ‘bush-soul’, having its own separate body – usually that of an animal or tree in the nearby bush or forest. (It should be noted that in such preliterate society the bush or forest or other wide or desert places surrounding the human settlement were powerful symbols of anti-anomianism, that is, of everything that constituted a threat to the established law and order in the human community. There is an obvious parallel here to the way the dark forces of the unconscious may be felt as a threat to the ordered life of the conscious ego).

Cinderella is a shadow figure. She is ignored and neglected by her elder sisters. They go out into the world, but Cinderella is shut up indoors. This represents the contrast between the conscious ego (which relates to the outside world) and those parts of the unconscious that have not been allowed any part in one’s conscious activity. However, Cinderella eventually escapes from her imprisonment and marries the Prince. This marriage symbolizes the joining together of conscious ego (Prince) and shadow (Cinderella), which is the end result of the penetration of the conscious mind by the unconscious and/or the penetration of the unconscious by consciousness. Symbolically – in myths and in dreams – consciousness is usually represented as male, the unconscious as female; and the sexual penetration of female by male is therfore a common symbol of the descent of consciousness into the dark cave-like depths of the unconscious. (Here is a splendid example of the difference between Freud and Jung: whereas for Freud all – nearly all – dream images were symbols of sexuality, Jung asks us to entertain the possibility that the sexual act itself may be a symbol pointing to something beyond itself.)

Other symbols of the encounter with the shadow include the conversion motif. In the New Testament the Greek word that is translated as ‘conversion’ means literally ‘a turning about’. And this is precisely what happens in the first stage of the individuation process: you start looking in the opposite direction – inside instead of outside – and this leads to the discovery and unfolding of a new dimension of yourself; new powers begin to work for you and you begin to experience ‘newness of life’. ‘You shall have life and shall have it more abundantly’, said Jesus; and this, Jung would say, is what individuation is all about.

Both the ritual of baptism and the many Flood myths may be sen as the first stage of the individuation process. Water is a common symbol of the unconscious. In baptism a person is plunged into water and is said to be ‘born again’ when he or she rises out of the water. This symbolizes the descent of consciousness into the unconscious and the resulting new and fuller life.
The same aplies to stories of a great flood which destroys the face of the earth and the recedes, leaving one pure human being (e.g Noah in the Jewish – Christian tradition; Markandeya in the Hindu tradition). If we take this as a symbol of individuation, what is destroyed by the flood-waters (the unconscious) is the persona, that makeshift self-image with which we start our adult life. This partial self must be desolved to make way for the appearance of the whole self {represented by Noah or Markandeya}.

In some cultures there are myths of a diver who plunges to the bottom of the sea and brings up treasure. The water, again, may be seen as a symbol for the unconscious, and the treasure as the new self one finds when priviously usued psychic resources are given approperiate expression in one’s conscious life.

The story of the Frog Prince tells of a young woman who is visited on three consecutive nights by a frog. On the first and second nights she is horrified, but on the third night she relents and lets the frog into her bed, and in the moment that she kisses him the frog turns into a handsome prince. For Ernest Jones (a follower and biographer of Freud) the story is an allegorical account of a young woman overcoming her fear of sex. For Joseph Campbell (a disciple of Jung) the frog is just another example of the dragons and other frightening monsters whose role in mythology is to guard treasure. The frog, like them, represents the dark and frightening shadow; the treasure is the true self. The kiss symbolizes a person’s acceptanace of the shadow. And the result is the manisfestation of the true nature of the shadow, as a bearer of one’s true selfhood.

In order to reach the second stage of individuation you must resist two temptations. First, you must avoid projecting your shadow on to other people. Your shadow, because it is your dark side, may be quite frightening, and you may even see it as something evil. You may therfore want to disown it; and one way of doing this is to make believe it is the property of someone else. On a collective level this is what leads to racism and the persecution of ‘non-believers’ (which in this context means people whose beliefs are different from our own). These are both examples of the ‘them-and-us’ syndrome, where we unload our ‘dark’ side on to some other group, which then becomes the scapegoat that carries the blame for everything that is wrong in our lives or our society. Commenting on Jesus’s command to ‘Love your enemy’, Jung remarks: ‘But what if I should discover that that very enemy himself is within me, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then?’ The answer is that you must learn to integrate the dark side of yourself, which means accepting it and allowing it to proper expression under the control of your conscious mind. It will then cease to be dark and terrifying and hostile; instead, it will enhance the quality of your life, advance your personal development and increase your happiness.

The second temptation to be resisted is that of suppressing the shadow, which means putting it back into the cellars of the unconscious and locking thye doors on it. (If Cinderella never realized her shadow, she would still be locked behind the closed doors which represents her unconscious desires to be free). Says Jung: ‘Mere suppression of the Shadow is as little a remedy as beheading would be for a headache.’ Whatever pain or unease your shadow may cause you, it consists of precisely those parts of your total self that you need to utilize if you are to achieve full personal growth. To suppress the shadow is merely to go back to square one; and sooner or later you will be forced to come to terms with this ‘dark’ side of yourself.

Usually, the first encounter with the shadow leads only to a partial acceptance of it, a mere acknowledgement of its existence. Certainly it is good to confess (what appear as) the less desirable – the’dark’ – aspects of one’s personality: without that, no further progress can be made. But merely acknowledging these aspects does not take us very far. A lot more work is necessary.

The Anima – Animus
The Masculine – Feminine Aspects

The second stage of the INDIVIDUATION process means encountering what Jung calls the ‘soul-image’, which is one of the archetypal images. For a man this is the ‘anima; for a woman, the animus. The anima is the feminine aspects of a male psyche: for example, gentelness, tenderness, patience, receptiveness, closeness to nature, readiness to forgive, and so on. The animus is the male side of a female psyche: assertiveness, the will to control and take charge, fighting spirit, and so on.

Every man has a feminine component in his psyche; every woman has a masculine component in hers. Unfortunately, for centuries, and particularily in the western world, it has been considered a virtue – ‘the done thing’ – for men to suppress their femininity; and until very recently women have been socially conditioned to think it unbecoming to show their masculinity. One result of this has been man’s bad treatment of women. Man’s fear nad neglect of his own femininity have had dire consequences. Not only has he repressed the femininity in himself; but also, being frightened of women – who are ‘the feminine’ par excellence – he has suppressed them, kept them subordinate and powerless.

The further consequence of this suppression of femininity in a world dominated by men is war. Wars are the result of the lopsided development of men whose aggressiveness has not ben balanced by love and patience and a feeling for harmony: that is, whose anima has been kept under lock and key. The macho male is violent and destructive.

Another consequence is mechanical, soul-less sex. Sex can be an invaluable aid to the achieving personal wholeness and harmony; and it has been recognized as such in the Tantric mystic-meditative traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. But can reach those heights only when there is worship: that is, where each partner acknowledges the worth of his or her sexual opposite. The macho male tends to reduce sex to merely a physical and emotional level, at which his partner is turned into a mere object.

For sevearl reasons, therefore, it is imperative, both for individual and for social progress, that we lear to acknowledge and integrate our anima or animus, our soul-image.

Your soul-image will led your conscious ego safely into the unconscious and safely out again. When Theseus neded to penetrate the labyrinth in Crete in order to slay the monstrous Minotaur, the fair Ariadne, with her thread, enabled him to go in and find his way out again. If we follow Jung and translate this story into psychological terms, the labyrinth is a symbol of the unconscious, the monster is the frightening and threatening aspect of whatever in our unconscious has been neglected and has therefore ‘gone wild’; the slaying of the monster means ‘taming’ that wild, unruly force and bringing it under conscious control. The ‘slaying’ can be accomplished, however, only by love (Ariadne – the feminine) – only by accepting the neglected thing, honouring it and welcoming it into our unconscious.

The soul-image, then, is a mediator – a go-between or middle-man (or middle-woman) – who establishes communication between the conscious ego and the unconscious and reconciles the two. In the realm of religion there is the pyschopomp, the on who guides human souls safely into the undreworld; or – in some cultures – the shaman, who not only leads the souls of the dead to the spirit-world and makes the necessary introductions to spirits who will take proper care of the newcomers and get them ready for rebirth, but also carries the souls of sick people to the spirit-world for healing. The underworld or spirit-world is the unconscious. The unconscious has healing powers and by descending into it the conscious self can attain new life.

Your soul-image has characteristics which are the opposite of those possessed by your persona (the self-image you have constructed for the specific purpose of relating to the external world and for ‘making your mark’ in that world). For instance, if your persona is an intellectual one, your soul-image will be characterized by sentiment and emotion; and if you are the intuitive type, your soul-image will be earthly and sensual.

This means that if, instead of acknowledging and becoming acquainted with your own soul-image, you project it on to members of the opposite sex, you may be led into disastrous relationships. For example, an emotional man may choose a blue-stocking for his partner; or a sensitive woman may be irresistibly attracted by bearded intellectuals.

If, however, you accept and integrate your soul-image, it will make up deficiencies of your persona and help you become a fuller and more balanced person.

Let us look at some of the forms in which the soul-image may appear in dreams. ‘The first bearer of the soul-image,’ says Jung, ‘is always the mother’. This applies to both men and women, and it means that the man or woman has not achieved liberation – independence – from mother. Therefore, the appearance of your mother in a dream – especially if she appears with possessive or devouring characteristics – may well be a symbol of your soul-image. If that is the case,bear in mind that the way to detach yourself from the suffocating influence of your mother is to intgrate your anima or animus into your conscious ego. Accept your soul-image, respect it and welcome it as a creative contributor to your personal growth, and you will the find that your soul-image ceases to be represented in dreams by negative devouring mother figures and that you are gaining a proper degree of independence from your mother. (Incidentally, it doesn’t make any difference if your actual mother is alive or dead. Even a dead mother may live on as a forceful presence within your unconscious.

With the exception of the mother figure, the dream symbols that represent the soul-image are always of the opposite sex to the dreamer. Thus, a man’s anima may be represented in his dreams by his sister; a woman’s animus by her brother. Some other symbols of the animus are an eagle, a bull, a lion, and a phallus (erect penis) or other phallic figure such as a tower or spear. The eagle is associated with high altitudes and in mythology the sky is usually (ancient Egyptian mythology is the exception) regarded as a male and symbolizes pure reason or spirituality The earth is seen as female (Mother Earth) and symbolizes sensous existence – that is, existence confined within the limits of the senses – plus intuition.

Some symbols of the anima are the cow, a cat, a tiger, a cave and a ship. All of those are more or less female figures. Ships are associated with the sea, which is a common symbol for the feminine, and are womb-like insofar as they are hollow. (At a launching we still say, ‘Bless all who sail her”.) Caves are hollow and womb-like. Sometimes they are filled with water, which – as we have seen – is a symbol of the feminine, and are the womb of the Mother Earth or vaginal entrances to her womb.

One common representation of the anima calls for special attention. This is the figure of the damsel in distress, frequently appearing in so called ‘hero’ myth. Here a recurring theme is that of the hero rescuing a beautiful young woman and some cases marrying her (e.g. the Greek hero Perseus saves the Ethiopian princess Andromeda from a sea-monster and later marries her). In a folktale variant of the same theme, the hero wakes a maiden from the sleep of death with a kiss (Sleeping Beauty). In logical terms, the damsel in distressis the man’s anima, which, because of nelect or repression, is – metaphorically speaking – either ‘dead’ or in danger of ‘dying’. The rescue or kiss of life means that the man has now lifted his femininty out of its dark imprisonment and welcomed it – and, indeed, submitted to it – as an indispensable factor in his life and happiness.

After the prince has succeeded in waking Sleeping Beauty, all the other people in the palace – who have also been asleep for a hundred years – wake from their sleep. This may be seen as a symbol of how the ‘waking ‘ of a man’s anima is the first step towards the ‘waking’ of all the ‘sleeping’ (repressed, neglected) aspects of his psyche.

Another anima figure is the seductive nymph. Ondine is one such nymph. Ondine has no soul, nad can gain on only if she can get a man to embrace her. There are many stories of mermaids who lure sailors to their underwater beds. Here we have a two fold message: Man, give life to your anima; but take care you do not drown in your unconscious depths. Find the treasure that is there, the surface again. In other words, maintain conscious control.

A folktale animus figure is the dwarf. Dwarfs and other ‘little people’ work underground in mines, out of which they bring forth gold and other precious substances. This illustrates the way the animus, if cared for and nurtured bt a woman (as Snow White looked after the Seven Dwarfs), will bring up from her unconscious many valuable things that will serve her well in her daily life and her quest for self-realization

Incidently, marriage or sexual intercourse (or, in relatively modern and bowdlerized folklore, a kiss or embrace) symbolizes the union and intermingling of conscious ego and unconscious soul-image. It may also symbolize that complete union of the conscious and the unconscious which is the final stage of individuation. (A third possibility is that, where the anima or animus has not yet been distinguished -‘rescued’ – from the shadow, soul-image and shadow may be symbolized by bride and bridegroom.)
Mana Personalities
Our Power And Wisdom Aspects

mana, n. [native Polynesian term.] the impersonal supernatural force which certain primitive peoples attribute good fortune, magical powers, etc.
Best applied here as intuitive powers or symbols of power and wisdom that reside in the depths of our psyche.
Stage three is where man meets the Wise Old Man and a woman meets the Great Mother. These archetypal images are symbols of power and wisdom. Jung calls them ‘mana personalities’, because in primitive communities anyone with extraordinary power or wisdom was said to be filled with ‘mana’ (a Melanesian word meaning ‘holiness’ or ‘the divine’).

Jung warns us to be ‘possessed’ by these ‘mana’ personalities is dangerous (possession meaning letting these powers subdue the conscious mind and ignore all reason). It commonly results in megalomania. For example, a woman who allows her conscious mind to be invaded and subdued by the Great Mother will begin to believe herself able and destined to protect and nurture the whole world. Similarly, a man who allows himself to be taken over by the Wise Old Man (same as the Greatm Mother but in masculine form) is likely to become convinced that he is some sort of superman or great guru, filled with heroic power or with superior insight into the meaning of things.

These ‘mana’ personalities are symbols of the power and wisdom that lie deep within parts of our own psyche. But, like other things in our unconscious they may be projected. For example, instead of making contact with this inner store of power and wisdom, we may choose to disown it and see it as the property of someone else, some national leader or some superman figure from modern mythology.

The right thing to do with the ‘mana’ personality, however, is neither to project it nor keep it surpressed, but to integrate it into your consciousness. This means enriching your life with a wisdom that is not accessible to intellect but comes from the unconscious. It also means that from now on, conscious and unconscious are no longer seen as opposites, but as two cooperating and complementary parts of one and the same psyche.

Jung speaks of stage three as the second liberation from the mother (the first liberation from mother being stage two, when anima or animus is integrated into conscious life). This second and fuller liberation means achieving a genuine sense of one’s true individuality.

Common symbols of the Wise Old Man include the king, magician, prophet or guru and guide. Common symbols for the Great Mother include a goddess or other female figure associated with fertility (e.g. a nude female figure with large breasts, or many breasts, or broad buttocks, or prominent vagina), priestess and prophetess. The words ‘prophet’ and ‘prophetess’ are used here in the sense of someone through whom a god or goddess speaks.

megalomania – a mental disorder characterized by delusions of grandeur, wealth, power, etc.

Great Mother – The archetypal symbol for the Goddess, instead of an inward god.

This is the final stage of the individuation process and, says Jung, most people never reach it.

Jung sometimes called this the stage of ‘self-realization’; sometimes he used the trem to cover the whole of the individuation process. For the sake of clarity we might be tempted to call this final stage that of ‘complete self-realization’; and there would be nothing wrong in that, so long as we remebered that it is a stage, albeit the last one, and that within this stage there is still some room for growth and development.

Stage four consists of encountering what Jung calls ‘the Self’. The self has to be distinguished from the ego. The ego is the conscious mind. The self is the total, fully integrated psyche, in which all opposing or conflicting elements are united and co-ordinated. Bear in mind what Jung says about the relationship between the conscious and unconscious, the unconscious contains the opposite characteristics or capabilities to those that are evident at the conscious level of the personality (e.g. if you are the extrovert type your unconscious will be introvert). At this final stage of individuation conscious and unconscious become so thoroughly integrated into one harmonious whole that those things that were previously opposites and therefore – potentially, at least – in conflict are transformed.

In the case of (complete) self-realization, a person’s consciousness will no longer consist osimply of thinking (reasoning, ‘working things out in the head’) and fantasizing (just letting one’s thoughts wander); it will include the immediate knowledge of reality which was formerly the unconscious alone. In other words, the person’s total psyche is now conscious and is now doing the knowing and the feeling and the experiencing.

Another way of putting this is to say that you are fully conscious of your body, and your body is fully conscious. And the consequence of this is a radical change in your view of life, your values and goals. You will feel completely at ease in your body. You will feel joyful and loving. You are now self-centered, no longer self-centered. In particular, you will find such bliss in sheer cosnciousness and in just being, that you will cease to worry about achieving. You now have all you want.

Jung described this state of self-realization as follows:

This widened consciousness is no longer that touchy, egotistical bundle of personal wishes, fears, hopes and ambitions which has always to be compensated or corrected by unconscious counter-tendencies; instead, it is a …. relationship to the world of objects, bringing the individual into absolute, binding and indissoluble communion with the world at large.

As Jung describes it, this last stage of individuation resembles the state of consciousness reached by mystics through prolonged meditation. (What, after all, is meditation if not an exploration of one’s total psyche?) Jung’s ‘Self’ is a transpersonal reality – that is, although it is the ultimate reality of your own personality, it is not just that; it is something bigger, it is the ultimate teality of everything and everyone. It is what people have called God or – in the Eastern mystic-meditative traditions – the Old behind the Many, the one underlying reality of which all existing things are manifestations or (partial) embodiments.

Do not suppose, however, that self-realization means being lost in or swallowed up by some greater reality (which might be suggested by the Indian image of a drop of water rejoining the ocean). Nor does self-realization mean being swamped by the unconscious. (That would be a state of psychosis, a state of ‘possession’). Rather, it means that you are now fully conscious, but you realize that ‘your’ consciousness is also the consciousness that is everywhere, in all things (what in mystic- meditative traditions is sometimes referred to as ‘cosmic consciousness’).

The self is the ultimate in your experience of the psyche.
[psyche – Greek word for ‘soul’. The ‘totality’ of the conscious and unconscious life. The mind considered as an organic system reaching all parts of the body and serving to adjust the total organism to the needs or demands of the environment}.
Experiencing the self means knowing all there is to know about yourself, your life, your destiny, your meaning, and the meaning of life in general.

I have mentioned how, in this final stage of self-realization, opposites are brought together and thereby transformed.One particularly interesting aspect of this concerns the pair of opposites that we call good and evil. The contents of our unconscious may at first appear to us (that is, to the conscious ego) as evil – dark and menacing. But these same parts of the unconscious are capable of enriching and enlarging our personality. That is what they are for! The unconscious holds all those possibilities that will allow the individual to have a full life. Whether the contents of the unconscious are good or evil depends on whether or not they are integrated, taken seriously, respected and allowed appropriate expression in our conscious life.

The fourth stage of individuation is where the integration and mutual penetration of conscious and unconscious becomes complete. It is therefore the stage at which all that was (or appeared to be) evil has now become (or is now recognized as) good. If you like figurative and dramatic language, you can say that at this final stage of self-realization the Devil becomes God. Alternatively, we might say that the Devil is now seen to have been God all the time, although we didn’t realize it before. Yet another way of expressing the same point is to say that the Devil no longer exists – because there is no longer anything evil in the psyche, and therefore no need to project that evil on to some external being.

When we come to look at symbols of this fourth stage of the individuation process, we see that most of them allow different interpretations: they can be symbols either of the final stage of self-realization or of the whole process of individuation from stage one to stage four, or any of those four stages. This is not so bewildering as might at first appear. Any partial exploration of the unconscious is really a (partial) self-realization; and, as we have seen, Jung himself gives the title ‘self-realization’ not only to the last stage of individuation but also to the whole four stage process.

Jung has been criticized for being too rigid and doctinaire in dividing the individuation process neatly into four parts. The number four (and multiples of it) is a well-known symbolic number, signifying completeness, wholeness. Is that why jung divided the individuation process into four stages? He was certainly fond of fourfold divisions. He saw four primary functions in the human psyche: thinking, intuition, feeling, sensation. He claimed that every uninter-rupted dream has four parts: setting the scene; stating the problem; movement towards a climax; the solution of the problem.

I would advise against a slavish acceptance of Jung’s four stages. For some people stages one and two will coincide: their first awareness of the shadow may be accompanied by a feeling of their soul-image. Similarly, some people will find that stages three and four merge to some extent: the encounter with the deep wisdom and power in their unconscious will be simultaneously an awareness that the ultimate basis of their psyche is God, or that their psyche has a cosmic – not merely individual – dimension. And even stage four is only a completion of continued exploration of one’s shadow, and the shadow does not fully disappear – is not fully integrated – until what Jung describes as stage four is attained.

The symbols of stage four commonly have their origin in mythology and religious ritual. Some express the ultimate oneness of the individual soul and God: for example, the ‘birth’ of a divinity – perhaps in the form of a child – in your soul, or psyche; or a holy being residing in the depths of yourself – perhaps sitting on a throne; or a bridal couple, or a couple engaged in the sexual act; or a figure that has both male and female physical characteristics. These last two symbols, however, may also represent the integration of the soul-image (the ‘marriage’ of the masculine and feminine sides of the psyche) or the general inter-penetration of the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche.

You will have to judge for yourself which stage of the individuation process is symbolized by these images if and when they appear in your dreams. This is not just a matter of where you think you are in the progress towards self-realization; a symbol may be telling you, not where you are, but where you should be going.

Any death-and-resurrection symbolism – a flood, or an immersion in water, being ‘swallowed’ by the sea (at sunset) and arising again at dawn, or the kiss of life raising a corpse, etc. – may be understood as representing the descent of the conscious ego into the unconscious and rising again as a new, transformed being. Again, whether such symbolism in your dreams means that you are near the end of the process of self-realization or that you are just beginning – or being invited to begin – must be left for you to judge.

Self-realization may be symbolized by other transformation processes, like the Ugly Duckling’s transformation into a beautiful white swan, or the changing of a frog into a handsome prince.

Mandalas represent the self. A mandala is a square or a circle, usually with an obvious central point and sometimes divided into segments. It may be highly stylized, like the Hindu and Buddhist mandalas used in meditation (in connection with which they are known as yantras). For example, the Shri yantra (meaning ‘supreme yantra’) contains the plan of a temple with four walls and four doorways together with upward-pointing and downward-pointing triangles representing respectively the male and female – or the conscious and the unconscious – components of the psyche, or the opposites that are believed to be united or intermingled in all reality. Any church or temple, or indeed any room – so long as it is square or circle – may be a mandala figure. So may a garden, especially if it is square or round and has a central point – for example, a fountain or a bird-bath, or in a pool.

The number four is itself a kind of mandala and, therefore, a symbol of the self, since it represents the four sides of a square or the four principle geographic directions/points of the compass which in turn represent total reality, wholeness, completeness.

In any mandala symmetry is all important. It symbolizes the order and harmony of a self-realized person.
An individuatated individual is one in whom the unconsious and conscious are harmonized, and ego is decentralized (prerequisite and consequence). This is achieved by getting in touch with the unconscious, without allowing the ego to be overwhelmed by it. Ego has an explicit value. Functions which exist below the threshold of consciousness need to be brought above that threshold , repressed shadow contents need to be acknowledged, and the major archetypes of the collective unconscious (shadow, anima/animus, self) need to be discovered and related to, so that their influence can be consciously mediated, their concerns addressed, since they are quasi-autonomous subpersonalities in their own right.
Individuation is a life long process which is never really finished, though minimum prerequisites are achievable.
The individuated human being is just ordinary, therefore almost invisible. . . . His feelings, thoughts, etc., are just anybody’s feelings, thoughts, etc.– quite ordinary, as a matter of fact, and not interesting at all. . . . He will have no need to be exaggerated, hypocritical, neurotic, or any other nuisance. He will be “in modest harmony with nature.”. . . No matter whether people think they are individuated or not, they are just what they are: in the one case a man plus an unconscious nuisance disturbing to himself — or, without it, unconscious of himself; or in the other case, conscious. The criterion is consciousness.
(Jung, in Fadiman and Fragar, 1994, page 82)

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