Denise Grobbelaar:

The archetype of the Self

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

Carl Jung's concept of the archetype of the Self is a complex idea of embodied consciousness, symbolizing unity between body, mind, and soul. It directs us to explore and integrate the various parts of our psyche while maintaining a homeostatic balance, and serves as a guiding force on the journey of individuation.

The archetype of the Self stands at the core of the collective unconscious, acting as a central focal point around which the various elements of an individual's psyche revolve. As the regulating center of the psyche, it plays a fundamental role in navigating the complexities of the inner world, and is pivotal in shaping an individual's development, guiding them toward a state of psychological equilibrium, self-realization, and psychological wholeness.

The Self archetype signifies the entirety of an individual's psyche, encompassing both conscious and unconscious dimensions. It serves as a bridge that connects these two realms, aiming to integrate polarities and bring them into conscious awareness. But rather than merging opposites into an undifferentiated form, it holds the tension between them. In essence, the Self archetype is a unifying force that seeks to harmonize the diverse and often conflicting aspects of the psyche into a coherent whole.

The transcendent quality of the Self archetype extends beyond the boundaries of conscious awareness. It establishes a connection to something greater than the individual self, whether that be a sense of spiritual connectedness, a shared valued human experience, or a universal wisdom. This allows individuals to transcend the limitations of ego-consciousness and access a deeper, more profound aspect of their existence. Simply put, it’s like discovering your own slice of cosmic wisdom deep within you. This is what Jung called the God-image within and what many spiritual traditions refer to as the divine spark in each person’s Soul.

According to Edward Edinger, the archetype of the Self can be described as “wholeness, totality, the union of opposites, the central generative point . . . the central source of life energy, the fountain of our being . . . ” (1972, 4).

Written @jungsouthernafrica

Reference: Edinger, Edward F. 1972. Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche. Oxford: Penguin.

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Posted in Archetype of the Self, Archetypes, Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Psyche on Oct 05, 2023.