Though it sounds like a big, fancy word, an "archetype" is
something we all experience and know intimately from the inside.
Archetypes are living entities, psychological instincts or
informational fields of influence that pattern human perception
Psychic organs of the pre-rational psyche,
archetypes are the invisible, form-less "ground plan" which
in-form and give shape to both individual and collective human
Called by Jung "typical modes of apprehension," an
archetype is like the underlying grid-line or blue print which
informs and structures how we perceive, interpret and respond to
The determining power underlying both individual
and mass psychology, the archetypes of the collective
unconscious are the formative templates that give breath
(inspire) and depth (materiality) to events in both the inner
and outer worlds. Indefinable, the archetypes are the eternally
inherited possibilities of ideas which initially have no
They are the psychic skeleton upon which the
individual and collective body politic is formed. Archetypes are
the structural forms that underlie consciousness, just as the
crystal lattice underlies the crystallization process.
Archetypes, like the crystal lattice, are empty of concrete,
material existence, yet they shape consciousness and events in
the world just like the crystal lattice patterns the form of the
Just like the smallest particles in physics,
the archetypes themselves are non-perceptible and irrepresentable, yet are experienced through their effects in
the world. The archetypes precede all representation, while
simultaneously re-presenting themselves through in-forming and
giving shape to the perceptible universe.
"The archetypes are therefore
exceedingly important things with a powerful effect,
meriting out closest attention."
are the inner, psychological vehicles that flesh out the rich
repository of contents of the underlying archetypes, giving the
formless archetypes a specifically human face.
Archetypes are of a "transcendental" nature, meaning they exist
in a realm outside of space and time. Archetypes
exert their in-forming influence through the frictionless and
super-fluid medium of the collective unconscious itself. They
irrupt, unfold and bleed into, over and through linear time so
as to incarnate and reveal themselves.
Archetypes become visible
by arranging and magnetically attracting events into their
field-of-force so as to give shape to themselves.
Archetypes are atemporal, self-organizing fields, which is to say that they
organize, in-form and give shape to both the outer and inner
dimensions, the world and our experience.
configure events in the outer world so as to synchronistically
express what is going on inside of us, as well as vice versa.
When the archetypal dimension is emerging, the boundary between
the inner and the outer begins to dissolve, as the inner
experience of the archetype becomes synchronistically enacted in
the outer world.
The destructive world events that have played out from time
immemorial are the effects of an archetype getting constellated
and being unconsciously acted out as human history.
archetype is continually creating novel iterations of the exact
same underlying invariant process, which is to say "itself,"
like an eternally self-generating fractal unfolding over linear,
historical time. The archetypal dimension is continually
unveiling and revealing itself to us as it actualizes and
materializes itself on the stage of history.
Until the archetype
is consciously recognized and related to, however, instead of
unconsciously acted out, we are doomed to endlessly and
compulsively re-create its negative, destructive aspect as if
having a recurring nightmare.
When something is said to be nonlocal, it is not bound or
localized to one particular place or time, but on the contrary,
transcends the conventional, third-dimensional rules of space
Nonlocal interaction is characterized by
informational exchange, where one part of the universe, in
no-time whatsoever (i.e., outside of time), appears to interact,
affect and communicate with another part of the universe in an
immediate and unmediated way.
Imagine, in baseball terminology,
a throw from deep centerfield to home plate, only the outfielder
is halfway around the planet, and the throw takes zero seconds
to arrive. The interaction involved in a nonlocal universe is
not any known form of interaction we are familiar with, as it
occurs infinitely faster than the speed of light can travel
through the medium of space, while at the same time doesn’t
involve any expenditure of energy.
action-at-a-distance is an expression of an underlying and
out-flowing information-filled field which connects and
inextricably links every part of the universe with every other
part in no time. In a nonlocal universe such as ours, no part of
the universe is or can be fundamentally separate from any other
part, which is to say that nonlocality is an expression of the
indivisible wholeness of the universe.
This linking, according
to the quantum theoretician
Henry Stapp, could be the
"most profound discovery in all of science."
Thematically organized (such as the power-complex,
savior-complex, mother-complex, inferiority complex, etc.), the
complexes are the vehicles that flesh out the rich repository of
contents of the underlying archetypes, giving the formless
archetypes a specifically human face.
Having complexes is not
pathological, as everyone has them. What is pathological,
however, is thinking we don’t have complexes.
"Everyone knows nowadays that
people ‘have complexes.’ What is not so well known, though
far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have
We don’t need to get rid of our
complexes, rather, we need to become consciously aware of them.
What is important is what we do with our complexes. Complexes
are the psychic agencies which flavor and determine our
psychological view of the world.
To quote Jung,
"The via regia
[royal road] to the unconscious, however, is not the dream…
but the complex, which is the author of dreams and of
Complexes are the living elemental units of the psyche, acting
like the focal or nodal points of psychic life, in which the
energy charge of the various archetypes of the collective
unconscious are concentrated.
An emotionally-charged complex
acts like the epicenter of a magnetic field, attracting and
potentially assimilating everything that has any resonance,
relevance or is related to itself in any way into itself. This
inner process can be seen as it en-acts itself in the outer
world when we come in contact with someone who has an activated
complex and we find ourselves drafted into their process,
picking up a role in their psyche.
This is an outer reflection
of how a complex can attract, co-opt and subsume other parts of
the environment, both inner and outer, into itself.
when split-off from consciousness, develop a seeming
independent, autonomous will and quasi-life of their own (called
autonomous complexes), which can potentially engulf and possess
the total personality.
"Autonomous complexes" are parts of the psyche which have
split-off due to shock, trauma, or breach of our boundaries, and
have developed a seemingly autonomous life and apparently
independent will of their own.
Though we are unconsciously
identified with them, autonomous complexes are subjectively
experienced as other than ourselves. Besides their inherent
obscurity and strangeness, our unconscious identification with
autonomous complexes is the essential reason why it is so hard
to get a handle on them.
Autonomous complexes act upon us, feel
like our most intimate self, eventually need to be owned, but
paradoxically, don’t belong to us. The seeming autonomy of the
archetypes and complexes is what gives rise to the idea of
supernatural beings. Endowed with a numinous energy, autonomous
complexes are what our ancestors used to call "demons."
Autonomous complexes are a psychological name for the demons in
the archetypal process of addiction that animate us to
compulsively act out our addictive behavior.
A demon or
autonomous complex, to quote Jung,
"behaves like an animated
foreign body in the sphere of consciousness. The complex can
usually be suppressed, with an effort of will, but not
argued out of existence, and at the first suitable
opportunity it reappears in all its original strength."
Due to their lack of
association with the conscious ego, autonomous complexes are archetypically not open to being influenced, educated, nor
corrected by "reality."
An intruder from the unconscious and a
disturber of the peace, an autonomous complex, Jung points out,
"behaves exactly like
a goblin that is always
eluding our grasp."
If left un-reflected upon, these demons or autonomous
complexes wreak havoc for everyone within their sphere of
"…any autonomous complex not
subject to the conscious will exerts a possessive effect on
consciousness proportional to its strength and limits the
As it takes over and becomes in charge of a person, a complex
incorporates a seemingly autonomous regime within the greater
body politic of the psyche.
Writing about autonomous complexes,
"…the complex forms something like a shadow government
of the ego," in that the autonomous complex dictates to the ego.
When we are taken over by and in internal conflict with and
because of an autonomous complex, it is as if we, as natural
rulers of our own psychic landscape, have been deposed, and are
living in an occupied country.
We are allowed our seeming
freedom as long as it doesn’t threaten the sovereignty and
dominance of the ruling power.
"…a man does not
notice it when he is governed by a demon; he puts all his skill
and cunning at the service of his unconscious master, thereby
heightening its power a thousandfold."
inner, psychological situation can manifest both within our
psyche and out in the world at the same time.
Demons or autonomous complexes can be likened to the rabies
virus, which travels to the part of a person’s brain controlling
the whole person.
It causes them to reject water, for example,
so that the virus cannot be spit out of the mouth. The rabies
virus ultimately controls and enslaves its victims, taking away
their creativity, spontaneity and mental freedom, as it forces
them compulsively, like a vampire, to further the propagation of
Commandeering and colonizing our psyche, a split-off, autonomous
complex is, potentially, like a "vampiric virus," in that it is
fundamentally "dead" matter; it is only in a living being that
it acquires a quasi-life. Just like a vampire re-vitalizes
itself by sucking our life-force, when we unconsciously identify
with an activated autonomous complex, we are literally animating
Complicit in our own victimization, we then
unwittingly give away our freedom, power, and life-force in the
Like cancer cells ravaging the body, an autonomous complex
propagates itself within the psyche, consuming, devouring, and
cannibalizing the healthy aspects of the psyche. Compelling
one-sidedness, autonomous complexes draw and attract all of the
wholesome parts of the psyche into itself, warping and
destroying the psyche of the person (or nation) so afflicted,
infecting the surrounding field in the process.
An autonomous complex can’t stand to be seen, however, in much
the same way that a vampire detests the light.
A demon or
autonomous complex will shape-shift and do everything in its
power to resist being illumined, for once it is seen, its
autonomy and omnipotence are taken away.
Anchored and connected
to consciousness, the demon or autonomous complex can then no
longer vaporize back into the unconscious, which is to say it is
no longer able to possess us from behind and beneath
conscious awareness so as to compel us to unwittingly act it out
and do its bidding.
Inflation is when the ego unconsciously identifies with the
archetype of the Self (the wholeness and totality of our being).
Inflation is when something small (the ego), instead of being in
conscious relation to something larger than itself (the Self),
has arrogated to itself its qualities. As a result, the ego is
blown up beyond its proper human limits. In unconsciously
identifying with the archetype, the ego appropriates it power,
while simultaneously forfeiting its humanity, which is to truly
"miss the mark."
Inflated personalities are filled with hubris,
becoming "full of themselves," a legend in their own mind,
feeling they are not bound by the laws of the third-dimensional
Being caught up in an inflation is like being sucked up by a
cyclone, as there is literally no getting through to the person
who is inflated, who has been taken over and lifted off the
ground by a more powerful energy.
Jung pointed out that,
"Inflation magnifies the blind
spot of the eye… A clear symptom of this is our growing
disinclination to take note of the reactions of the
environment and pay heed to them."
When we are
inflated, we don’t accept any reflection, feedback or in-forming
influence from the outer universe that contradicts our puffed up
image of ourselves.
Instead of being open, receptive, in
relationship with and learning from the outer world, when we are
inflated we continually interpret everything so as to support
our delusional, grandiose self-image. We see the world through
the filter of our own narcissistically self-serving image, which
is a form of psychic blindness.
Speaking about an inflated consciousness, Jung says that it,
"…is incapable of learning from
the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events,
and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future.
It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued
with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must
strike it [and others within its sphere of influence] dead."
Just as the unconscious always compensates a one-sidedness,
inflation inevitably results in all of the air (life, breath,
spirit) being taken out of the person who is inflated. Inflation
is ultimately self-destructive, and if not consciously reflected
upon, always results in disaster.
Talking about inflation, Jung
said that it,
"…can be damped down only by the
most terrible catastrophe to civilization, another deluge
let loose by the gods upon inhospitable humanity."
The "famous secret," and the basis of the alchemical opus is the
unique prima materia, which is the chaos and raw material out of
which the refined substance or "gold," which is the enlightened
mind, is revealed.
The elusive prima materia needs to be found
before the magnum opus, the great work of alchemy, could begin.
Psychologically speaking, the mysterious prima materia
re-presents, and is to be discovered in, the parts of the psyche
that we deny, dis-own and marginalize, the aspects of ourselves
that we feel ashamed of, and turn away from in revulsion and
Our neurosis and our wounds are the
alchemical "prima materia," the rejected and despised part of the psyche, the raw
material which we should learn to be thankful for, without which
we would be unable to make the alchemical gold.
This is related to how the figure of Christ, the archetypal
incarnation of the Messiah who is the symbol of the True Self,
unless recognized for his divinity, was an object of scorn and
"And just as, in Christianity, the Godhead conceals
itself in the man of low degree," Jung writes, "so in the
‘philosophy’ [alchemy] it hides in the uncomely stone [i.e.,
the philosopher’s stone]."
Symbolically, this is the stone "rejected
by the builders," which ultimately becomes the cornerstone.
is an archetypal, universal idea that the highest value is to be
found in the lowest, that the blessing is to be found in the
curse, and that the wisdom is to be found in ignorance.
To the alchemists, there was a spirit hidden in the darkness of
the prima materia, a divine spark buried in the darkness of
The much-prized prima materia is the psychic flypaper
which catches every imaginable projection buzzing around in the
human mind. Symbolically speaking, the enigmatic prima materia
represents the unknown substance within us that carries the
projections of the unconscious. It is the psychic emulsion or
medium in which the subconscious contents within us are encoded.
The prima materia is thus a symbol for the unconscious itself.
The tantalizing prima materia has a dangerous, toxic aspect,
however, and was considered "bedeviled," causing insanity if not
approached with the highest regard.
The prima materia in its
lead-like aspect contains the spirit of depression, a downward
movement into the depths of our being which is felt as
melancholia, and which corresponds to the encounter with the
shadow in psychology.
The prima materia is often symbolized as
an old man, as it is related to the figure of Saturn/Chronos,
the archetypal negative father, who is a binding and limiting
power that is related to the element "lead." Saturn/Chronos’s
peculiar form of "blessing" - restraining us as it seemingly
takes away our freedom - is always "cursed" by its recipient,
and yet, is the very thing which inspires us to discover our own
power and authority.
Though potentially deadly, the prima materia contains within itself its own medicine, which is to say
that the alchemical process is its own solution.
The prima materia is a quantum phenomenon, in that it is of an
indeterminate nature of open-ended potentiality, and contains
within itself both the poison and the medicine. The more
virulent the poison, the more powerful are its potential healing
In its original form, the paradoxical prima materia contains the
most incompatible possible opposites inherent in the human
psyche within itself in uncombined form. An eruption of the
unconscious, the prima materia is often symbolized as a dragon,
as it is the personification of the instinctual psyche.
prima materia is an "increatum," an "uncreated," autonomous,
self-generating, spirit-like entity which is the root of itself
and rooted in itself and is dependent on nothing. The
ungraspable prima materia is considered to be the virginal
mother which gives birth to the lapis, the philosophers stone,
which is the enlightened mind.
The prima materia is also considered to be an orphan because it
is so completely unique and utterly one of a kind. It is
seemingly hard to find because it is found everywhere.
an ancient alchemist, the prima materia is the Subject of the,
"Great Stone of the
Philosophers, which the whole World has before its eyes yet
"Yet nobody has ever known what
this primal matter is. The alchemists did not know, and
nobody has found out what was really meant by it, because it
is a substance in the unconscious which is needed for the
incarnation of the god."
THE HERMETIC VESSEL
One of the key conditions needed for the success of the
alchemical art is a closed and air-tight hermetic vessel, or
"container," which is able to withstand the pressure needed for
the transformation and "cooking" of the prima materia.
of the profundity of the alchemical vase, the legendary writer
of antiquity Maria Prophetissa says that,
"the whole secret lies in
knowing about the Hermetic vessel."
A vessel of and for the
spirit, the alchemical container is no mere physical apparatus,
but rather is a mystical idea, a primal image, a genuine symbol
expressing something of real value within the very psyche that
The concept and experience of the hermetic vessel
develops and emerges out of the unconscious itself as a result
of contemplating and thus shedding light on the unconscious.
In a mysterious way, the alchemical vase is identical with its
contents. The psyche itself IS the mystical hermetic vessel, in
that the psyche catalyzes the transformation of the prima materia, is itself the prima materia which is being transformed,
and it also is the container in which the transmutation occurs,
as well as being the philosophers’ stone that is born out of the
work. Feminine in nature, the spacious hermetic vessel is a
receptive uterus and matrix of spiritual renewal and rebirth.
Jung writes that as the psyche of humanity becomes conscious,
"It becomes the divine cradle,
the womb, the sacred vase in which the deity itself will be
locked in, carried and born."
hermetic vessel is the expression of the feminine, whose
intrinsic and invulnerable power is its spacious nature, which
is able to hold space so as to give birth in and to form.
The life-giving alchemical container typically is portrayed as
having a purifying fire underneath it, symbolizing the heat of
introspective, contemplative awareness, which is needed to
create sufficient psychological pressure for transformation.
there’s not enough pressure, no transformation takes place. In
alchemy, the fire purifies, while simultaneously melting and
synthesizing the opposites into a unity.
Jung points out that,
"attention warmed the
unconscious and activated it, thereby breaking down the
barriers that separate it from consciousness,"
...allowing its contents to pass between the conscious and
unconscious more easily.
The alchemists used images of the
gentle warmth of a brooding hen incubating her eggs and the
baking of bread to symbolize this process. The first was an
image of the heat from nature, the second was an image of
humanity’s ability to alter nature through the heat of
"’Heating’ is necessary; that is,
there must be an intensification of consciousness in
order that light may be kindled in the dwelling place of the
For the alchemical "work" to be successful, the
by the mutual co-operation and cross-fertilization of nature
(both terrestrial and celestial), and human art was essential.
A "hermetically-sealed" vessel (sealed with the stamp of Hermes,
who is related to Mercurius, the two-faced God-image of the
alchemists), symbolically speaking, prevents anything extraneous
from entering into the operation, as well as stopping
un-reflected-upon projections from leaking out into the world.
In addition, a hermetically sealed container keeps the flask
from "blowing its lid," which would be symbolic of not being
able to "contain" the creative tension and pressure. "Blowing
our top" is to become possessed by, and thereby compelled to
unconsciously act out primitive, un-integrated, archetypal
affects of overwhelming emotion and passion.
The alchemical vessel is symbolic of the importance of the
psychic comprehension of the Self. We, through our consciousness
or lack thereof, play the key role in the creation of the
mystical vessel, and hence, ourselves. The multi-dimensional
vessel, envisioned as a material substance, symbolizes the
realization of divinity reaching down into and transforming
Each individual human being is the Holy Grail-like
vessel in which God comes to consciousness. We are living,
breathing alchemical vessels in flesh and blood, receptacles
created and prepared by God for Its transformation and
Jung talks about,
"…man being the retort in which
the god is transformed, where he descends into uttermost
matter and where the spirit develops out of matter again,
carrying with itself all the degrees of existence."
When the alchemists speak
of "meditatio" and "imaginatio" (meditation and imagination),
they mean, as Jung explains,
"…an inner dialogue and hence a
living relationship to the answering voice of the ‘other’ in
ourselves, i.e., of the unconscious."
Jung called this dialogue
with the other within ourselves, between the conscious and the
unconscious, "active imagination."
The psychological process of
active imagination is the equivalent of the symbolic operations
of alchemy. Instead of passively watching the manifestations of
the unconscious, in active imagination we fully engage with and
actively participate in a conscious relationship with our
unconscious. In active imagination we find ourselves being asked
to creatively respond and come to terms with the voice of the
"other" within ourselves.
When an unconscious content is about
to become conscious, it first becomes partially conscious, like
something that is translucent - simultaneously visible and
invisible. In active imagination, we enter into a creative
dialogue with these unconscious contents, facilitating their
passage from an unconscious, potential state to a conscious,
Active imagination is the most powerful technique
Jung ever encountered for bridging this gap and metabolizing,
digesting and assimilating the contents of the unconscious
hence, becoming conscious.
When we are unconsciously identified with the contents of our
unconscious, we cannot see these contents, as being identical
with them, we have not separated ourselves from these contents
so as to be able to see them as objects. These unconscious
contents are still too much a part of our frame of reference
through which we interpret our experience for us to examine them
with any objectivity.
Before we can integrate a content of the
unconscious, we must distinguish ourselves from it.
imagination, we "objectify" the contents of our unconscious by
creatively giving them shape and form, thereby making them into
an object that we, as subject, are separate from, and with whom
we have an interactive relationship and dialogue.
"The essential thing is to
differentiate oneself from these unconscious contents by
personifying them, and at the same time to bring them into
relationship with consciousness. That is the technique for
stripping them of their power."
entering into conscious relationship with the figures of our
unconscious as if they are autonomous, independent living
entities takes away their compelling power over us.
Any constellated, unconscious content which we are not in
relationship with possesses us from behind and beneath our
conscious awareness. When we are unconscious of something that
is activated within us, we are identified with it and are
compelled to act it out unconsciously in our life.
When we are
unconscious of something that is kindled within us, Jung writes,
"it moves us or activates us as
if we were marionettes. We can only escape that effect by
making it conscious and objectifying it, putting it outside
of ourselves, taking it out of the unconscious."
When fully objectified, we not only take away the
unconscious content’s power over us, but we are able to access
and unite with the power which animates it in a way which
By objectifying these inner figures, we dis-identify from them
and give a body and voice to these seemingly autonomous,
disembodied and dismembered parts of ourselves who appear to
have a mind of their own and simply need translation into the
third-dimensional, spatio-temporal medium of matter. It is not
hard to objectify the contents of the unconscious, as being
autonomous, they seemingly possess an identity all their own, so
they naturally have a tendency to spontaneously personify
themselves within our psyche.
Contemplating the archetypal
paradox of how the solution is encoded in the seeming problem,
"Their autonomy is a most
uncomfortable thing to reconcile oneself to, and yet the
very fact that the unconscious presents itself in that way
gives us the best means of handling it."
This "best means" is the process of active imagination.
Speaking about his own personal experience, Jung writes in his
autobiography that it was actually animated figures within his
"…brought home to me the crucial
insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not
produce, but which produce themselves and have their own
autonomous figures existing inside of Jung’s imagination,
figures whom Jung subjectively experienced as other than
himself, revealed and literally taught Jung to recognize the
autonomous nature of the psyche.
Speaking about one such inner
figure, Jung comments,
"In my fantasies, I held
conversations with him, and he said things which I had not
consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he
who spoke, not I."
Jung was "hearing voices," which in his case as well as in
many others, was not a pathological phenomenon, but an
illumination (thank God for all of us that he didn’t get "medicated" out of his illumination by psychiatry).
figures helped Jung understand "that there is something in me
which can say things that I do not know."
There is a figure in
us who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Objectifying the contents of the unconscious is to discover and
step into the perspective that we are a subject with a viewpoint
other than that held by the now objectified contents. Relating
to the contents of our unconscious as if they are other than
ourselves is at the same time to relate to ourselves as other
than these contents. In objectifying contents of our
unconscious, we are simultaneously dis-identifying from them and
creating ourselves distinct from and relative to these contents.
As Jung points out,
"In the final analysis the
decisive factor is always consciousness, which can
understand the manifestations of the unconscious and take up
a position toward them."
Paradoxically, recognizing these contents as other than
ourselves is the very act that helps us to eventually own,
embrace and integrate these unconscious contents as ultimately
parts of ourselves.
THE LION’S GAZE
One of the most beautiful teachings in Buddhism is called "The
The following example is given as an illustration:
when we throw a stick around a dog, the dog runs after the
stick, but when we throw a stick around a lion, the lion runs
The throwing of the stick in this example represents
when an uncomfortable, afflictive emotion inside of us gets
triggered. When we are triggered, it is as if a button inside of
us has been pushed which activates an unconscious, compulsive
Running after the stick like the dog, which is
to indulge in and "act out" being triggered, is to put our
attention outside of ourselves.
This is to relate to what is
triggering us in the outside world as "the problem."
point of view, if only what was triggering us in the outside
world would stop, we would feel better and the problem would be
solved. Having the gaze of the lion, however, if we become
triggered by something, we turn our gaze within ourselves and
self-reflect, looking at whatever it is within us that has
The lion is not afraid to go right to the
source of the trigger, which is never outside, but always within
Assuming the fearless gaze of the lion, we relate to
the situation that has triggered us as a gift, as it has helped
us access a part of ourselves that up until now has been
unconscious, and hence hidden.
THE ARCHETYPE OF THE NEGATIVE
Symbolically speaking, the prima materia, the very stuff which
needs to be transformed in the alchemical opus, corresponds to
lead, which relates to Saturn-Chronos, the negative father.
of the prima materia’s many symbols is a weak and infirm
old man, the mythic dying king, or "senex." This figure of the
negative father has (arche)typically lost touch with feeling,
with eros, with relatedness, with creativity, with the heart,
with compassion, and with love. The archetypal, negative
patriarchy has to do with the suppression of the feminine, of
spontaneity, of life itself.
The negative father is dissociated
from mother nature and the environment, which it objectifies and
tries to dominate, instead of being in relationship with. This
figure of the rigid-old-man-negative-father is symbolic of a
calcification of consciousness which, out of fear of its own
weakness, holds onto and becomes addicted to power and control,
dictating to all who fall under its dominion.
The archetype of
the negative father has to do with dominating and using force
("might makes right") over others, as compared to being in a
reciprocal, dialectical relationship.
The dying old man
symbolically represents a dominant position in consciousness
which has outlived its usefulness, and thus becomes an obstacle
to the growth and development of consciousness. This archetypal
figure of the negative father is in need of being liquefied and
de-solidified, of being given an alchemical bath in the healing
waters of the psyche.
To be under the spell of Saturn-Chronos,
the dark father, "Father Time," is to be entranced and absorbed
in linear, "chrono-logical" time at the expense of the timeless,
"syn-chronic" dimension of our being. Saturn, the corrupted
patriarchy, mythologically speaking, is the governor of the
prison, the one who binds us and seemingly limits our freedom,
while simultaneously being the supreme tester and great
Encoded in seemingly hidden form within this archetype
is our own intrinsic power, as it challenges us to find and
speak our true voice, access and step into our place of
empowerment and true authority, and in so doing potentially
connect with the intrinsic wholeness of the Self.
Due to its
initiatory aspect, the archetype of the negative father is an
unmediated expression of the Self, but in its darker aspect.
I refer to this process of how projections constellate
counter-projections as "the dreaming." The dreaming is the
shared, interactive space between us which in-forms us.
dreaming is the deeper, underlying dynamic which shapes our
reactions and configures our relation to each other. I am
dreaming you up, but you are dreaming me up to dream you up, ad
infinitum and vice versa at the same time. The dreaming is the
space between us in which our relationship happens.
is a whole, self-perfected, and self-contained universe, a
living entity, a mutually shared dream that is clothing itself
in our form as it reveals itself in ever new guises. The
dreaming takes "two to tango," so to speak, in that it is
created by being in relationship with each other.
conjured up the dreaming through our collaborative interaction,
and there is a way of "following the dreaming" that can awaken
us to a deeper level of freedom and healing.
Shadow projection, or scapegoating, is when we split off from
our own darkness and project it outside of ourselves.
project our shadow onto someone else, we believe that the other
person is the embodiment of the darkness that ultimately belongs
to ourselves. We then want to fight and destroy the evil we see
"out there," as it reminds us of something dark within ourselves
that we’d rather have nothing to do with.
By trying to destroy
the evil we see in the outer world, however, we become possessed
by and incarnate the very evil we are trying to destroy.
projection is a reflection of the inner process of dissociating
from and wanting to get rid of - exterminate - a part of ourselves.
Shadow projection is a self-mutilation that is actually an act
of psychic violence, not only on ourselves, but on the "other"
who is the recipient of our projection.
Shadow projection doesn’t happen in a void, however, as the
universe simultaneously calls forth the projection. When someone
is unconscious of their shadow, they will literally attract
others’ shadow projections onto themselves, as if they have
become, in Jung’s words, "psychic flypaper."
unconsciousness of their shadow ensures that they will
unconsciously act it out, which offers a "hook" on which others
can "hang" their shadow projection. The recipient’s hook
perfectly draws out the other’s unconscious shadow projection,
which had a potentiality for becoming conscious, and hence, used
the indirect and circuitous method of projection onto an outer
object so as to express itself in some way.
Shadow projection is itself the unmediated expression,
revelation and playing out of the shadow. Projecting our own
evil outside of ourselves seemingly relieves us of the burden of
having to deal with the evil within us.
And yet, projecting the
shadow, by avoiding dealing with the evil inside of ourselves,
is the primal act which generates the very "evil" that we are
attempting to avoid in the first place. Jung simply calls shadow
projection "the lie," which by association is related to the
symbolic figure of the Devil, one of whose meanings is "the
Shadow projection is the underlying psychological process
which, when collectively mobilized, is the high-octane fuel
which feeds the human activity of war.
Trying to kill our shadow as it appears in the outer world is
itself the embodied reflection of our original inner act of
splitting off from, projecting out and trying to destroy the
dark part of ourselves, which is the impulse at the very root of
shadow projection in the first place. In other words, our
present-moment "inner" activity of projecting the shadow "outside" of ourselves is being dreamed up and played out in the
seemingly "external" world.
The outer world is the canvas upon
which our inner process em-bodies, or incarnates itself. We are
literally acting out on the world stage our very inner process
of disassociating from, projecting out, and trying to destroy
our own darkness. In trying to destroy our own shadow, we find
ourselves in an endless conflict with no "exit strategy" that,
moment to moment, we ourselves are unknowingly feeding,
supporting and creating.
Once we collectively shadow project, just like in a dream, the
seemingly outer universe will reflect back our projected shadow
in the form of others who will play out and thereby justify our
projection by supplying all the evidence we need to confirm the
apparent truth of our shadow projection.
When a group (or a
nation) co-operatively project the shadow onto an agreed upon
enemy, we literally "dream up" the universe to incarnate the
very shadow we are collectively throwing outside of ourselves,
which continually justifies our initial act of shadow projecting
in a self-generating feedback loop.
In shadow projecting, we become bewitched by our own reflected
and dis-owned shadow, thinking it exists objectively, separate
from ourselves. When we are shadow projecting, we are truly mad,
as we have fallen into a self-perpetuating feedback loop in
which we are trying to destroy our own darkness, a battle that
can never be won. It is like trying to extinguish a fire by
pouring gasoline on it.
Collective shadow projection is both a
symptom of madness, while simultaneously being the very act
which generates the madness of which it itself is an expression.
To quote noted psychologist Rollo May,
the "daemonic" is "any
natural function which has the power to take over the whole
person [or group/nation]… the daemonic can be either creative or
destructive [i.e., "demonic"]… violence is the daemonic gone
awry… ages [such as ours] tend to be times when the daemonic
is expressed in its most destructive form."
The daemonic is not an
objectively existing metaphysical entity in the Christian sense,
but is an archetypal function of human experience, a psychic as
well as an existential reality in which we all participate.
daemonic is a quantum phenomenon, in that it contains both the
light and dark aspects of our being encoded within it in a
superposed state, which is to say that hidden within the
daemonic is the creative seeds of its own transformation. Both
constructive and destructive forces are fully present in the
daemonic simultaneously, and either energy can potentially
manifest, depending upon how an observing consciousness
interacts with it.
Being an archetypal energy that can take over and possess a
person or a species, the daemonic announces itself by drafting
people into its service, enlisting human beings as instruments
of its full-bodied revelation of itself.
People so possessed
will be compelled to unconsciously act out so as to give shape
and living form to this archetypal, daemonic energy in the third
"Generally speaking the daemonic
is that moment when an unconscious content of seemingly
overwhelming power appears on the threshold of
consciousness. It can cross this threshold and seize hold of
the personality. Then it is possession."
Before a transpersonal archetype such as the
daemonic can be consciously integrated, it will always manifest
itself physically, because, in Jung’s words,
"…it forces the subject into its
If the daemonic is not honored and
treated religiously (i.e.,
carefully considered with reverence and a sense of the sacred),
however, it constellates negatively and turns truly "demonic,"
in the destructive sense of the word.
Hidden in the daemonic,
however, is our inner voice, our guiding spirit, our angel, and
our genius, what is referred to as our "daemon."
"…the daemon of the inner voice
is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help."
Encoded within the daemonic
is our own creative potency, which if distorted, misused, or
unexpressed becomes self-destructive.
Jung refers to the
daemonic as the "not yet realized creative," which is to say it
is creativity not yet "made real" or actualized by the ego.
Developing a healthy and strong ego is crucially important in
entering into relationship with and creatively expressing the
daemonic energies within us.
One of the most destructive things
in the human psyche is unrealized creativity.
The word daemonic is related by association to the figure of
"the devil," which in turn is related to the word "diabolic,"
whose inner meaning is to divide, separate, and disintegrate.
Being divisive, the diabolic splits us into multiple fragmented
and compartmentalized pieces, both within ourselves and in our
relationship to others.
The antonym of diabolic is the word
"symbolic," which, in addition to being the language of dreams,
means to unite, bring together and integrate. To the extent we
are in touch with the symbolic dimension of our experience,
which recognizes the dreamlike aspect of our existence, is the
extent to which we are able to transmute and liberate the
daemonic into creativity.
One of the main ways that the destructive aspect of the daemonic
becomes empowered within us is when we are unconscious of our
In addition to bringing awareness to our darker half,
the greatest protection against the negative aspect of the
daemonic is to be in touch with our intrinsic wholeness, which
is to be "self-possessed," - in possession of the part of
ourselves that is not possess-able, which is the Self, the
wholeness of our being.
FINDING THE NAME
It is to our great advantage to expand our psycho-spiritual
fluency so as to enable us to navigate the living waters of our
inner landscape of the psyche.
For example, when we "see" a
demon (to understand what a demon is, psychologically speaking,
please see both "the daemonic" and "autonomous complexes"), we
know its name, which helps us to get a "handle" on it.
"For mankind it was always like
a deliverance from a nightmare when the new name was found."
Naming is exorcistic, as
it dis-spells the demon’s power over us. This is the power of
the Logos, of the Word.
Like it says in the Bible,
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
When we find the name of a demon, we take
away its omnipotence and autonomy, as it can no longer take us
over through our unconscious blind spots and compel us to
unwittingly act it out.
Finding the name empowers us to
creatively engage with these darker parts of ourselves that are
emerging from the shadows "in the name of healing."
"The act of naming is, like
baptism, extremely important as regards the creation of
personality, for a magical power has been attributed to the
name since time immemorial. To know the secret name of a
person [or a demon] is to have power over him."
Finding the name is a creative act, an act of power which has
the power to change our relationship to the archetypal powers of
the universe. Jung comments,
"The moment you can designate the
lived archetype by its symbol, you feel relieved, that is a good
and positive moment even if it is horrible… Therefore old
Egyptian medicine consisted in giving the thing the right name…
A new name always produces an
extraordinary effect; we cannot rationalize these things,
they cast a spell, they are symbols, they really do
influence the unconscious as the unconscious influences us."
How do we make a word? We "spell" it.
In finding the words for
our experience, we are casting a "positive spell" whose nonlocal
orbit and influence is liberating. We are then able to
consciously language and give voice to our experience, which is
to step into and access the creative spirit within ourselves. In
learning new, creative ways to express ourselves, we are dis-spelling
the curse we were under of not being able to symbolize our
In learning to consciously spell-cast, the world is
no longer written in stone, with us as its passive victims, as
we realize and tap into the creative and transformative power of
(from the Introduction to
The Madness of George W. Bush: A
Reflection of our Collective Psychosis, p. 5-8)
(Note - in this excerpt from my book, I introduce the term
"malignant egophrenia," a psycho-spiritual dis-ease of the soul
that has been with us since time immemorial, is endemic to our
culture at large, and symptomatic of the times in which we live.
Because it is a sickness in the soul of all of humanity, it
pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any
moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose. In this
excerpt, I am sharing how I first encountered a human embodiment
and carrier of this illness of the soul in my relationship with
Malignant egophrenia can only be understood when we
step out of the separate self and see the deeper unified field
which connects us and of which we are an expression. My father
was playing out in full-bodied form a darker, mythic role that
ultimately exists not only inside of my personal psyche, but the
collective unconscious as well. In this excerpt, I am pointing
out that, though on the surface, what my father and George Bush
acted out seemed completely different and unrelated, there was
an underlying pathology incarnating itself through both of them
that revealed a deeper, archetypal process at work within all of
Bush and my father are variations or reiterations of a
similar theme, revealing a higher-dimensional psychic virus, the
"bug" in the system that has wreaked havoc all throughout human
history, and is at the root of our current world crisis).
"The psychic disease that has taken over Bush is a
higher-dimensional virus articulating itself non-locally (i.e.,
not limited by time or space) as a field phenomenon, and it
needs to be contemplated as such.
For example, if we don’t
recognize the deadly disease infecting the field that Bush has
fallen prey to and we support and follow him, then we become the
unwitting agents through which this non-local disease propagates
itself. I am calling this illness pervading the field and
existing deep within the soul of all of humanity malignant egophrenia.
Currently, malignant egophrenia is manifesting as a
collective psychosis causing endless destruction on a global
The first step in healing this malevolent pathogen is to see it,
objectify it, and name it. To know the demon’s name is to know
its nature, which like kryptonite to Superman, takes away its
power over us. This is the power of the Logos, the Word.
This work comes out of a deep personal tragedy. Malignant egophrenia, like some sort of deadly, other-worldly virus,
incarnated itself through my father and took him over so fully,
he never even suspected what was happening.
the healthy parts of my father’s psyche were co-opted by the
pathological aspect, which drafted these parts into its service.
Very bright, and on the surface apparently very loving, my
father, like George Bush, could appear to be a regular, normal
guy. This made the malady he was stricken with difficult to
Because my father was so taken over by it, he became an
embodiment and carrier of malignant egophrenia, becoming a
portal through which the field around him "warped" in such a way
so as to feed and support his pathogenic process. Just as with
George Bush, a non-local field of denial and cover-up that
resisted the light of consciousness was conjured up around my
father so as to protect him. This is (arche)typical of how
family systems configure themselves around a situation of abuse.
The one and only time in my life any family member talked to me
honestly about my father’s pathology was a phone conversation I
had with my Aunt Helen, my father’s only sibling. She shared
with me that she thought that the root of my father’s problem
was the overwhelming guilt he must have unconsciously felt over,
in her words "the horrible, terrible thing" he did when he was
What he did was "so horrible and so terrible that she
would never, ever tell me what it was," however.
She said their
parents died broken-hearted because of this "horrible, terrible
thing" my father did. As soon as she finished telling me this,
Aunt Helen snapped back into her habitual role of telling me
that the problem I had with my father was because I was sick, as
if it was too much for her to stand in the truth of what she had
just shared. Aunt Helen died a month after my father did, taking
the family secret to the grave with her.
My father was unable and unwilling to experience his sense of
guilt, shame, or sin for whatever this "horrible, terrible
His unwillingness to experience his own darkness led
to a process of lying, hiding, and covering up in which my
father came to believe his own lies. He resisted self-reflection
at all costs, falling into a completely dissociated state of
denying his own denial and hiding from himself. He then became
attached, and addicted to his role of power over others, as this
ensured he would never have to be vulnerable.
Other people in
his sphere of influence became objects or pawns to feed and
support his own inflated, narcissistic, and pathological image
of himself. This abuse of power became a self-generating,
vicious cycle, which developed an autonomous life of its own. In
other words, this habit of hiding from his own darkness
literally took over and "possessed" my father.
compulsively acted out and embodied this process by projecting
his own shadow outside of himself and trying to destroy it. By
doing this, he became possessed by the very shadow he was trying
to destroy, a state of complete and utter madness. In this state
of madness, my father, by abusing his power over others,
literally terrorized the field around him.
Like George Bush,
this process of shadow projection opened up the door for
malignant egophrenia to incarnate itself through my father and
make him one of its instruments (read a more in-depth
articulation of malignant egophrenia)."
A narcissist is someone who has become hypnotized and entranced
by their own inflated self-image.
They have become so
self-absorbed, that not only are they not in genuine
relationship with others, but they relate to others (including
the environment) as objects to satisfy their own need for
self-aggrandizement. A "malignant" narcissist, however, is a
narcissist who reacts sadistically to others who don’t support
and enable their narcissism. Ultimately, a malignant narcissist
wants to annihilate anyone who in any way threatens their
illusory self-image and self-serving agenda.
Malignant narcissists can be very charismatic, and are very
adept at charming and manipulating others. They are clever at
camouflaging their malevolent agenda, even to themselves.
Malignant narcissists can appear to be very normal, regular, and
seemingly loving people.
Many of these so-called seemingly
are drawn to positions of power. Malignant
narcissists are very skilled at entrancing others, at putting
others under their spell.
They are master hypnotists, like
"black magicians," in that they are very talented at
manipulating others through their unconscious blind-spots and
Malignant narcissists are pathological
who are very adept at lying, and due to their extreme inner
dissociation, then believing their own lies. They fall into an
infinite regression of being in denial about being in denial,
which is to say, they are continually hiding from themselves.
The one-sided conviction they carry in their act of
self-deception can easily "entrance" people. A malignant
narcissist plays on people’s fears so as to gain their trust and
then control them, which is based on the abuse of power over
others - the signature of a true dictator, be it in a family or a
At their core, a malignant narcissist’s desire is to dominate
and have power over others. The perverse enjoyment of complete
domination over another person(s), which involves transforming a
person into an object (a "thing"), in which their freedom is
taken away, is the very essence of the sadistic drive.
sadism is a way of transforming their feelings of powerlessness
and impotence into an experience of omnipotence. Malignant
narcissists can seem confident and self-assured, but are, in
reality, covering deep insecurities and fears through an
inflated self-image. Intense feelings of revenge, fury, and rage
verging on insanity manifest when their fear is exposed and
their narcissism threatened.
This rage is not just a defense
against their vulnerability and wound, but comes from a perverse
desire to sadistically punish those who they perceive are the
cause of their rage.
A malignant narcissist is the incarnation of the separate,
alienated self spinning out of control to a pathological degree.
They are unconsciously identified with, and will protect at any
cost an imaginary "separate self" that is alien from the rest of
the universe. Paradoxically, at the same time they experience
themselves as separate from others, the malignant narcissist
lives in a state of "unconscious fusion" with others.
malignant narcissist, other people don’t truly exist as
autonomous beings, but as disposable pawns to feed and support
their narcissistic, masturbatory fantasies. A malignant
narcissist hasn’t developed a sense of their own authentic self,
which is why they are unable to be in genuine relationship with
Psychologically, malignant narcissism is a very
primitive and un-evolved state, one totally lacking in eros
Malignant narcissists are not conscious of the
interconnectedness between themselves and others. Emotionally
underdeveloped, they are unable to feel empathy for others and
have an overwhelming lack of genuine compassion. Malignant
narcissists are unable to genuinely mourn, for they are
ultimately only concerned with themselves. They will feign
grief, however, just as they will try and appear compassionate,
if it is politically correct to do so and, hence, to their
advantage, as they are master manipulators.
Like a true bully, malignant narcissists abuse their position of
power and privilege simply because they can, which is morally
indefensible. They can endlessly "talk" about taking
responsibility, but they never genuinely face up to and become
accountable for their actions. Malignant narcissists play the
role of the "victimizer disguised as the victim" so as to
absolve themselves of blame. They perpetrate abuse and violence
on others, while hiding behind the façade of being victims
Malignant narcissists are truly crazy-making to
others within their sphere of influence.
Malignant narcissists are unwilling and unable to experience
their sense of shame, guilt or sin, as their narcissism doesn’t
allow these feelings. This inability to consciously feel their
"negative" feelings is at the root of the dynamic in which they
dissociate from their own darkness, blaming and "projecting the
shadow" onto some "other."
This splitting off and projecting out
their own evil results in always having a potential enemy around
every corner, which is why malignant narcissists tend towards
paranoia. Malignant narcissists continually "need" an enemy and
will even create new ones to ensure that they don’t have to look
at the evil within their own hearts. They react with aversion to
the reflection of their own evil,
Malignant narcissists are unconsciously possessed by the
power-drive of the archetypal shadow.
Being possessed by an
archetypal energy means that they have lost their internal
freedom, as a more powerful, transpersonal, archetypal force has
so taken them over that it unconsciously and compulsively acts
itself out through them. If left in a position of power,
malignant narcissists ultimately destroy themselves and everyone
under their dominion.
Malignant narcissists literally poison
their field of influence, whether it be with depleted uranium or
psychic toxicity, which is just as real and just as deadly.
Malignant narcissists are what are
called "necrophiles," in that
their impulses are perversely directed against life - the
spontaneity of which they are afraid of - and towards death and
destruction, which they are secretly attracted to.
narcissists have a sadistic "willingness to kill" so as to
protect their own self-serving delusions, which makes them
particularly dangerous, as they will literally stop at nothing
to hold onto the position of power in which they find
War and an atmosphere of violence is the situation
in which they feel most themselves. Malignant narcissists are
murderers (whether it be physically or psychically) who are
criminally and morally insane.
THE DREAMING UP PROCESS
In a process that happens in, over and outside of time, when two
or more people come together, projections activate
counter-projections and create a mutually shared dream of
For example, say I have an unhealed wound in my
psyche. If I go to sleep tonight and dream, my unhealed wound
will be sure to show up in my dreams, as my night dreams are a
projection or reflection of my inner process. In a similar way,
I will unconsciously connect the dots and give meaning to the
inkblot called waking life, so as to dream up into
materialization my inner process that needs resolution.
unconsciously dream up and attract to myself someone in the
outer world with whom to play out my unhealed, inner process.
All it takes is the slightest "hook" in the other upon which I
can hang my projection. The hook is like a piece of velcro where
my projection becomes lodged, as it is where the other buys into
(and secretly agrees with) my projection.
Even though the part
of them that has a resonance with my projection might be 1% of
who they are, my attention will tend to focus on this 1% of them
as being all of who they are.
"The moment one forms an idea of
a thing and successfully catches one of its aspects, one
invariably succumbs to the illusion of having caught the
My focusing on and relating to only one part
of the other will amplify this particular quality in them,
making it more likely that they will step into and embody this
very quality, providing all the evidence I need to prove to
myself even more that this is who they actually are, further
entrenching me in my viewpoint of seeing them this way, which
only serves to further draw this quality out of them, in a
self-confirming and self-perpetuating feedback loop which
becomes a mutually created self-fulfilling prophecy.
And of course, like a marriage made in heaven (or potentially,
hell), in a mirrored template that fits like a lock and a key,
the other is reciprocally dreaming me up to play out their
unconscious process in a similar way. In a mutually created,
shared dream, we are dreaming each other up to play out roles in
each other’s process.
When this mutual dreaming process fully
emerges and bodies forth, each person becomes a fully
materialized dream character, an incarnation of a living figure
inside of the other’s mind.
As if co-creating a shared
dream-space to inhabit together, at this point we are as much in
the psyche as the psyche is within us. Something deeper is
revealing itself through our synchronistic interplay. To
recognize this in oneself is to become lucid in the waking
When both people involved recognize this and become
co-operatively lucid together, they can collaboratively play
with and transform
the shared waking dream they are having,
which is evolution in action.
This is a reflection in the
microcosm, an iteration of a fractal on the small scale of
individual relationship, of what is available to us,
macrocosmically speaking, as a species.
We are always dreaming others up while at the same time being
dreamed up by them. I imagine we have all experienced,
consciously or otherwise, what it feels like to be dreamed up by
someone else into their process. With certain people, we find
parts of ourselves that we usually don’t manifest getting drawn
out of us, as if the other for some reason needs someone to play
this particular role for them.
As we watch and participate in
how we get drafted into the other person’s inner process, we
synchronistically, the role we are cast in is not
just showing us something about them, but at the same time is
revealing a previously unconscious part of ourselves as well.
A PARTICIPATORY DELUSIONAL SYNDROME
What I call ‘Aparticipatory
Delusional Syndrome’ (ADS for short) is based on the deluded
assumption that we are separate from and not participating in
calling forth the very situation in the outside world to which
we are reacting and objecting (please see my article ‘Delusions
ADS effectively immobilizes and renders
inoperative our ability to self-reflect, as it relates to the
world through the fixed and non-negotiable lens of assumptions
that the world ‘object-ively’ exists, independent of ourselves.
When we are stricken with ADS, we react to our perceptions and
interpretations as if they exist inherently and independently in
the object (the world), instead of realizing they are automatic
reflex-ions (of the way we are looking) and are thus always
revealing the subject (ourselves).
In an unconscious ‘reflex,’ we then
try to ‘attack’ the problem from the wrong point of view
(externally), instead of approaching its source, which is within
ourselves (please see "The Lion’s Gaze").
ADS is a ‘semantic
syndrome’ in which we are mis-interpreting the nature of our
experience, subtly but significantly altering the way our mind
gives meaning to and contextualizes our experience of the
universe as well as ourselves.
A simple example:
I am withdrawing from my girlfriend due to my
She senses this, which triggers her insecurities
around being rejected. In her reaction, she acts out her wound,
which gives me all the seemingly objective evidence that I need
to further justify my withdrawal.
I don’t realize, however, my
complicity in invoking the very wound in her to which I am