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Shadow = Your dark side, the part that you repress into the
Animus = The masculine part in the unconscious of the woman.
Anima = The feminine part in the unconscious of a man.
Self = The totality of your psyche.
Ego = The image that you hold of yourself.
Persona = The mask you wear, the face you show the world.
Archetypes = Psychological manifestations of instinct. (The hero, the
Great Mother, God, the trickster etc. etc.).
Collective conscious = The contemporary dominant belief system of a group.
Collective unconscious = The core of dominant ideas in the course of centuries
(religion and archetypes).
Individuation = The process of becoming whole; to integrate your
unconscious into your conscious.
The Shadow is a part of you, repressed into the unconscious. It usually is something like cowardice, egotism, mental laziness, sloppiness, unreal fantasies, schemes and plots, indifference, arrogance or love of money and possessions. You are able to see your Shadow very clearly in others, but as soon as someone confronts you with your Shadow, you will be outraged. As long as you don't confront yourself with your Shadow, it will remain in your unconscious and it will lead its own life. You are not in control of it and thus it will express itself in unexpected moments. You will suddenly lose your temper and you are being possessed by anger. In your dream it expresses itself as a creature that attacks you, like a wild animal, a burglar or a primitive person. It will be hostile, since it is being ignored and forgotten. Essentially it is the opposite of your Ego (how you view yourself).
We tend to project our Shadow onto others. That means that we see a part of ourselves (our Shadow) in them. Since we express our Shadow involuntarily, we will do things behind our own backs that will support our enemy. When people are Shadow-possessed they turn into the very thing that they claim to oppose. These people are extremely aggressive and will accuse others of everything that they themselves do wrong. We can clearly see this in ''anti''-movements, like anti-fascists and anti-racists. When you are shadow-possessed, you are not able to see the other person as an individual with their own emotions and ideas. You can only see them as ''the enemy'' who needs to be eradicated.
Integrating the Shadow
You need to become aware of your Shadow; you need to integrate it into your conscious. How can you find out what your Shadow is? Pay attention to what makes you angry or aggressive. For example, when someone is behaving arrogantly and you become very angry, chances are that you are arrogant too. You hate this part of yourself and you project it onto others. You have to be brutally honest to yourself in order to find out what your Shadow is and this takes a lot of courage. Not everybody can do this. Once you integrate it, it will help you to become a balanced person, the Self, since you are able to control your own darkness. You will also be able to deal with the Shadow of others, since you understand where their anger comes from. An integrated Shadow expresses itself in dreams as an old wise person, like a shaman.
The animus is the masculine part of a woman. It's objectivity, logic, reason, facts, convictions and general rules. The animus forms (like the anima) the bridge to the unconscious since the animus is partly nested in the conscious, and partly in the unconscious. Your masculinity and femininity should be in harmony; you need both of them. Once this harmony is established, the animus will help the woman to integrate her shadow.
When there is harmony, the animus will express itself in dreams as a young man (a hero, a prince or Christ for example). When you are not in harmony with your animus, it expresses itself in dreams as death, a beggar, a skeleton, a skull or a vampire. In stories the animus is depicted as the Death, Bluebeard and Hades. The animus cuts the woman off from life and from her feelings, by making her obsessed with ideas of how things 'ought to be'. It will make her talk in terms of 'always', 'everybody', 'they', 'should' and 'ought'.
When a woman is possessed by her animus, she is aggressive, judgmental, cold, obstinate and constantly criticizing others (and herself). She has a lust for power and she perceives everything as a competition that she needs to win. She wants to dominate others and she is always looking for quarrel. She is convinced that the other person is always in the wrong and she is their victim that longs for 'justice' (revenge). She is not able to see beyond the general rules; to see the exceptions. A typical animus story is the one of Beauty and the Beast. The Beast is the aggressive and primitive animus. Belle has to make him civilized, make him feel, and turn him into a prince. That is the task waiting for all women who are animus-possessed.
It is also possible that a woman is repressing her animus. This will make her extremely passive. She is in a deep sleep, like Sleeping Beauty. She can't get any work done and there is no room for reason and logic. She is constantly day dreaming.
The animus will go through four stages: first it is the physically strong man, like Tarzan or Hercules. Then he becomes someone who can initiate action. In the third fase he becomes the 'word', depicted as a professor or clergyman and finally, in the last fase, it transforms to meaning. It is the mediator of religious experience that gives the woman inner (spiritual) firmness as compensation for her outer softness. It will give her new ideas and it makes her creative.
The anima is the feminine part of a man. It's vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, irrationality, love and feelings for nature. The anima forms (like the animus) the bridge to the unconscious since the anima is partly nested in the conscious, and partly in the unconscious. Your masculinity and femininity should be in harmony; you need both of them. Once this harmony is established, the anima will help the man to integrate his shadow.
The anima expresses itself in dreams as a woman. When the dreamer has a positive relationship with his mother, the anima is likely to be positive. She will be the good, wise woman that helps the dreamer in his ordeal. When the dreamer has a negative relationship with his mother (when she spoiled or neglected him), the anima will be negative. She is the voice that will endlessly repeat: 'I am worthless. I can't do it. Nothing makes sense.'
She is the destructive illusion that lures men into suicide, which makes her the demon of death. In stories the anima is often depicted as a mermaid. Through her enchanted singing, she lures men into the depth of the sea where she will devour him. The anima tries to trick men into falling in love with her, so she can live in his world. She is the illusion of beauty and safety that lures men away from reality, and when they fall for that illusion, they will drown and die. Other anima figures are redheads, muses, nymphs, fairy's, witches, women that are half-animal (mermaid or swan princes) and often they appear with three of them. The anima also makes appearance as an animal; a predator, like a snake or a lioness. This is the primitive feminine/nature.
The anima is the feminine archetype, and thus of a nature that goes beyond the personal level. A part of the anima is personal, and should be integrated by men. But when they can't make the distinction between the personal anima and the Great Mother, then they will become anima-possessed. Men that are anima-possessed are often very spoiled by their mothers, which makes them effeminate, jealous, mean, sensitive, vain, irritable, sentimental and unable to cope with the hardships of life. Sometimes they even wish to change into a woman through castration. These men are not developed and the anima appears in their dreams as their mother, or another large woman. Another kind of anima-possession is excessive erotic fantasy. This is a very crude and primitive aspect of the anima. It makes men day-dream compulsively about pornographic material.
Men are sometimes inclined to project their anima upon a woman. They call it 'love at first sight', but in reality it is an anima-projection. They feel like they know that woman and she is 'the one'. They can become obsessed with her, but all that they see is their own anima. (That is why the anima is often depicted with a mirror, or looking at her reflection in the water.) She is the part that was missing; the feminine part, the emotional and compassionate part that can see beyond the general rules of life. The part that swims in the deep oceans of mystery. These men only have to realize that they can find this part within themselves. That way, they won't project their anima onto others anymore. However, some men are terrified by their anima, because to them this femininity is demonic. They will project their anima onto women, who they will see as witches. This happend a lot during the Middle Ages.
The fist step to establish harmony with the anima is for the man to take his fantasies and feelings seriously. He has to start realizing that there is more than his conscious and reason. This way, a man can discover what his anima means as an inner reality. But the anima is a very delicate and vulnerable phenomenon. If you are too harsh on her, she will disappear into the depths of the unconscious again.
The anima will go through four stages. First it is an Eve-figure, which represents pure instinctual and biological relation. In the second fase the relation to the anima is more romantic and aesthetic, but still characterized by sexual elements. In the third fase the anima is like the Virgin Mary; she raises love to spiritual devotion. In the final fase the anima is pure and sacred wisdom. She has a prophetic gift and she is divine inspiration. She is the archetype of life, the light of nature. Since light can't speak, she will appear in the unconscious as the Logos; the word of God.
The Self is the totality of our psyche. It contains all aspects of it (conscious and unconscious). It is omnipresent and it goes beyond our time-space experience. Sometimes the Self appears as the universe itself. Therefore the Cosmic Man appears in many myths and religious teachings. He is like Adam (Christianity and Judaism), Gayomart (Zoroastrianism) and Purusha (Hinduism). He is also identified with Christ, Buddha and Krishna. The Cosmic Man is not just the beginning of creation, but also the final goal of life. The whole inner reality of each individual is oriented at completeness, the Self. It calms down the Ego which contains random thoughts and desires.
Many people are stuck in their Ego and distract themselves with social media, television, political hypes, partying and traveling. They are always looking for something to fill up or to escape the poignant void from within. Some turn to yoga and other eastern practices. The only way to conquer this void is to become whole. Therefor people will have to turn inside, integrate their shadow and become their Self.
In dreams the Self usually is of the same sex as the dreamer, just like the Shadow. It is also a positive helper in dreams and fairy tales and it often appears as a child. Sometimes it appears as a positive helper in animal form, like a deer (the Patronus in Harry Potter), a majestic lion (Aslan in Narnia) or a fish or lamb (Christ). The Self is symbolized by different things. First of all, it’s the circle, or mandala (which means ‘circle’). The circle (or ball) symbolizes completeness. It’s like Yin and Yang; the totality of opposites. It is masculinity and femininity, consciousness and unconsciousness, light and darkness, spirit and matter, heaven and earth. The number four is the number of completeness. It’s the four corners of the world, it’s north, east, south and west. It’s the four elements: water, fire, air and earth. Crystals and stones are also symbols of the Self. It’s dead matter with a spiritual ordering principle at work. It’s the union of extreme opposites. Stones are used to preserve something (carved in stone). When someone dies, a gravestone is used to preserve the material part of that person, just like the soul is preserved in the spiritual realm. The alchemists tried to create the philosopher’s stone; the symbol of man’s wholeness. They saw Christ as the philosopher’s stone, since Christ is the union of opposites. Another very important symbol of the Self is the tree (of life). The roots of the tree grow deep into the earth, towards the underworld, and the branches of the tree grow towards heaven. It is connected to the sun (masculine) and the moon (feminine).
The Self is a very positive symbol and it should be depicted in a positive way. However, sometimes the Self appears in dreams in a negative form. For example, a murderous child or a child covered in feces. This means that there is something wrong with your Self. According to Jung, these expressions of the Self are a warning of an approaching psychosis.
The Ego is part of your conscious. It’s the image that you hold of yourself, and thus the opposite of your Shadow. It is the part that cares about status and prestige, that can’t accept criticism. It is about keeping up appearances for yourself. You have an image of yourself that you are desperate to hold. The Ego is the part that gets hurt when you are rejected by someone. It’s the part that gets angry when confronted with ideas or facts that go against your belief system. (It insults your intelligence.) The Ego tells you ‘I would never do/believe/say something evil like that’, while the Shadow disagrees. It wants to be the best at particular things to prove to yourself that you are important. It wants a high degree and a well-paid job. It cares about money and the material world.
The Ego gives you an illusion of stability, safety and self-esteem in life. It’s built on a belief system and your place in it. But what if that belief system crashes down? Where does that leave you? All stability will be gone. That is why many people will reject facts, logic and common sense, just to keep the illusion of the stable world of the Ego intact.
At first, the Ego is actually very helpful. After childhood it wants to become an individual that is not attached to its parents anymore. It makes you go out into the world and take risks. After a while the Ego is confronted with a problem. The Anima/Animus and Shadow need to be integrated. This is the typical hero story. The hero goes out into the world and is confronted with great ordeals (a dragon for example). First the hero is pure Ego, but the ordeal forces him to integrate the Anima/Animus and Shadow. When the hero prevails, his Shadow is integrated and he becomes whole, but when he loses, he is hurled into the depths of the underworld (depression, addiction, anxiety etc. etc.).
Thus, the Ego is a very basic level of consciousness. When people let go of their Ego and integrate the Shadow, they are usually in their twenties. Unfortunately, many people will be stuck in their Ego their entire life. They lost their ordeal and they are constantly living in the underworld, unable to deal with reality. That is why so many people suffer from neurosis (depression, addiction, anxiety etc. etc.). Luck is always against them because they live below their own level.
The Ego is the main character in stories, and it is also the main character in dreams. You view your dream through the perspective of the Ego.
The Persona is the face you show to the outside world. It is to make an impression upon others and also to hide your true Self. It is a system of adaptation and therefore a manner of dealing with the world. You want to make your environment believe that you fit into a particular role. You are the funny guy, the caring sweetheart, the intelligent high-class gentleman, the beautiful femme fatale, the rich lawyer, or whatever you want to make the outside world believe about yourself. It hides your true face, and thus it makes sure that you won’t say or show whatever is on your mind. You want people to believe that you are sane, so you won’t talk about ‘’crazy conspiracy theories’’. You want people to believe that you are ‘’cool’’, so you are not going to talk about ‘’nerdy’’ stuff.
You want people to believe that you are perfectly beautiful, so you won’t show any imperfect pictures of yourself. Whenever someone takes a picture of you, you obsessively want to check whether it is perfect enough. The Persona also expresses itself in virtue-signaling. You want people to believe that you care about other people, so you will brag about how ‘’inclusive’’ and ‘’tolerant’’ you are. Or you will use a filter on social media to show that you are ‘‘Charlie’’ or that you are vaccinated. It is expressing ''thoughts and prayers'' whenever something terrible happened in the world. It is all about showing people the things you want them to see. It's all about keeping up this act.
It is dangerous when people become completely identical with their Persona. They have totally forgotten who they really are and all that is left is the mask. They can’t be alone, because they need others in order to perform their act. Without public, the actor is useless. What is left? It is not easy to tear yourself loose from your Persona, since the Persona is often rewarded with money and social things, like the illusion of friendship. It is an illusion, because your Persona is ‘’friends’’ with another Persona. Your Self is unknown to the other person and the Self of the other person is unknown to you. It is usually in these ‘’friendships’’ that people suddenly betray each other, or they do unexpected things. They let you down or take advantage of you. That is because these ‘’friendships’’ were never real; it was an act. But people are often too afraid to show their true face, ‘because maybe the other won’t like that’. People want to be liked, they want to be accepted by society and they want to make money. Therefore, they believe that they need to perform this act; conform to society. But if everybody wears a mask, then what is real?
In dreams and stories the Persona is usually depicted as a mask or a coat. It covers up the real identity of the person.
Archetypes are psychological manifestations of instinct. They are patterns of meaning in our unconscious, built by our ancestors. They are expressed in religion, art, stories, philosophy and political ideologies. They are the collective unconscious. All archetypes reside in the unconscious of every individual, so a person can never be an archetype. However, sometimes the individual projects an archetype onto someone else (or onto a group of people). It is possible that you start to see someone (a political leader or a therapist, for example) as a hero, or you might project the archetype of the Great Mother onto a caring woman (your girlfriend, for example). Many people are inclined to project the Devil archetype onto their opponents.
Archetypes are the very reason why stories, religion, art and politics are so appealing to many people. They bear meaning that speaks to our unconscious. Some famous archetypes are: the wise king, the tyrannical father, the Great Mother, the devouring mother, the dragon of chaos, the hero, the coward/villain and the trickster.
The collective conscious is the contemporary dominant belief system of a group. You see yourself as a part of that group and belief system. People are caught up in the -isms; socialism, environmentalism, communism, Nazism etc etc. It is the masses, the collective. It is a replacement of the cohesion with the psychic reality that is lost. When the individual is not balanced, they give themselves to the masses. Their destructive tendencies become dominant and the individual eradicates himself. They become the masses and there is nothing left of the person himself. They also destroy the culture, because a healthy culture is based on healthy balanced individuals with their psychological profundity and archetypes that are being expressed in all kinds of ways. But when the masses are drunk with ideology, they won’t understand the archetypes anymore. Bit by bit they will destroy the giants on whose shoulders they are standing.
The collective conscious is a lower kind of conscious; an animalistic conscious. That’s why the mob is often very aggressive and violent. Nobody feels responsibility or fear. Whatever you feel when you are in a group, is not your own emotions. It’s the emotions of the collective. To move along with the group is an easy path and it provides a feeling of safety. It performs rituals and ceremonies, and it puts every member of the group in a state of hypnosis that mesmerizes everybody. That is why the collective is the perfect breeding place for psychic epidemics. Eventually the collective will, because of its animalistic and primitive nature, transform itself into a primitive composition; one absolute ruler and the others are all slaves.
The collective unconscious is all about archetypes and religion. It’s the core of dominant ideas in the course of centuries. We are not born as a tabula rasa like many people will make you believe. No, we are born with profound ideas about reality, built up by all of our ancestors. We are not conscious of these ideas, that is why they reside in the unconscious. But often these ideas express themselves, in stories, art, dreams, philosophy or political ideologies.
Just like the individual, the collective can become possessed by an archetype. For example, they see themselves as the hero, and whoever disagrees with them is the Devil. It’s not a matter of reason. It’s a matter of possession by powers that go beyond people’s comprehension. Like Jung said: ‘People don’t have ideas. Ideas have people.’
This causes major psychic epidemics. We can see this every time when people are drunk of ideology or when they tremble under the fear that is being propagated by powerful people. These powerful people are seen (and maybe see themselves) as the hero’s, the messiah, or God himself and they are being worshipped as such. They perform rituals and make sacrifices. There is nothing rational about it. It’s an archetype that is being projected onto them; an activity from the collective unconscious. Opponents are seen as ‘’the enemy’’. The image of the true villain, the Devil, is projected onto them. They are not seen as humans anymore; they are vermin that needs to be eradicated.
Once you are aware of your own Shadow, you can identify the Shadow in others, and thus, in the collective. Once you realize that you yourself exist from light and darkness, you will realize that this counts for everybody. You won’t make the mistake anymore to see one group of people as ‘the good guys’ and the other group of people as ‘the bad guys’. You won’t project one archetype onto others anymore, because you realize that each person contains all possible archetypes, since all archetypes reside in the unconscious of every individual; the collective unconscious.
Individuation is the process of inner growth to find the Self. It is not about finding your Ego-identity, like many people make you believe these days. It is the process of becoming whole. The process of uniting the conscious and unconscious. It is the ultimate unknowable inner center of the total personality, the totality itself. This center can only be approached, but never fully integrated. It can’t be brought about by conscious effort of will power. It happens involuntarily and naturally. However, you can participate consciously in your development. By making free decisions, you can cooperate actively with it. This cooperation belongs to the process of individuation in the narrower sense of the word. It is just a tiny aspect of it.
The process of individuation is more than just a coming to terms between the inborn germ of wholeness and the outer acts of fate. The experience of inner growth makes you feel like there is some supra-personal force actively interfering in a creative way. It feels like the unconscious is leading the way in accordance with a secret design. It feels like someone is looking at you, something that you can’t see, but it sees you. It is the Self, the Great Man, the totality, the inner manifestation of God, who tells you its opinion by means of dreams.
In dreams the process of individuation usually expresses itself as a tree. The tree has to grow. The roots have to reach deep into the ground and the branches have to reach up high into the heavens. It has to become a huge firm tree: the Tree of Life. It is also expressed as a mandala and in stories this process is depicted as a treasure that is hard to attain. You can come close to it, but you can never own that treasure forever, just like the Self. You can grow into the Self, you can keep developing, but you are never fully done. The process of individuation will never be completely finished.
In order to make the process of individuation possible, the ego needs to get rid of all purposive and wishful aims and it has to try to attain to a deeper, more basic form of existence. The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. An important way to do this is to take your dreams, the most pure product of the unconscious, seriously.
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