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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."
C.G. Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy

Coagulated by Craig Chalquist, PhD,
author of Terrapsychology: Reengaging
the Soul of Place
(Spring Journal Books, 2007)
and department chair of East-West Psychology at CIIS

- Celtic Deities Glossary - Norse Deities Glossary

- Jung's RED BOOK: Healing the Faustian Ego


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 rel: 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 the 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.

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