Psychology and Religion: West and East (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 11)

These mythological statements, coming from within the Christian sphere as well as from outside it, adumbrate an archetype that expresses itself in essentially the same symbolism and also occurs in individual dreams or in fantasy-like projections upon living people (transference phenomena, hero-worship, etc.).

The content of all such symbolic products is the idea of an overpowering, all-embracing, complete or perfect being, represented either by a man of heroic proportions, or by an animal with magical attributes, or by a magical vessel or some other “treasure hard to attain,” such as a jewel, ring, crown, or, geometrically, by a mandala This archetypal idea is a reflection of the individual’s wholeness, i.e., of the Self, which is present in him as an unconscious image.

The conscious mind can form absolutely no conception of this totality, because it includes not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche, which is, as such, inconceivable and irrepresentable.

The archetype of the Self in the soul of every man that responded to the Christian message, with the result that the concrete Rabbi Jesus was rapidly assimilated by the constellated archetype.

In this way Christ realized the idea of the Self.

But as one can never distinguish empirically between a symbol of the Self and a God-image, the two ideas, however much we try to differentiate them, always appear blended together, so that the Self appears synonymous with the inner Christ of the Johannine and Pauline writings, and Christ with God (“of one substance with the Father”), just as the atman appears as the individualized Self and at the same time as the animating principle of the cosmos, and Tao as a condition of mind and at the same time as the correct behaviour of cosmic events.

Psychologically speaking, the domain of “gods” begins where consciousness leaves off, for at that point man is already at the mercy of the natural order, whether he thrive or perish.

To the symbols of wholeness that come to him from there he attaches names which vary according to time and place The Self is defined psychologically as the psychic totality of the individual.

Anything that a man postulates as being a greater totality than himself can become a symbol of the Self.

For this reason the symbol of the Self is not always as total as the definition would require. Even the Christ-figure is not a totality, for it lacks the nocturnal side of the psyche’s nature, the darkness of the spirit, and is also without sin ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Paras 230-232

Carl Jung and Princeton University Press