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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


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 sponteous, 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 afterwards. 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.


Jung, C. G.:

    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
    Psychology and Alchemy
    Mysterium Coniunctionis




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