Aion (Collected Works of C.G. Jung)

[Carl Jung “individuation is impossible without a relationship to one’s environment”]

Since the stone is a matter of ‘knowledge” or science, it springs from man. But it is outside him, in his surroundings, among his “equals” i.e., those of like mind.

This description fits the paradoxical situation of the self, as its symbolism shows.

It is the smallest of the small, easily overlooked and pushed aside.

Indeed, it is in need of help and must be perceived, protected, and as it were built up by the conscious mind, just as if it did not exist at all and were called into being only through man’s care and devotion.

As against this, we know from experience that it had long been there and is older than the ego, and that it is actually the spiritus rector of our fate.

The self as such does not become conscious by itself, but has always been taught, if at all, through a tradition of knowing (the Purusha/Atman teaching, for instance).

Since it stands for the essence of individuation, and individuation is impossible without a relationship to one’s environment, it is found among those of like mind with whom individual relations can be established.

The self, moreover, is an archetype that invariably expresses a situation within which the ego is contained.

Therefore, like every archetype, the self cannot be localized in an individual ego-consciousness, but acts like a circumambient atmosphere to which no definite limits can be set, either in space or in time.

(Hence the synchronistic phenomena so often associated with activated archetypes.) ~Aion; Pages 167-168.