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From Conversations with C. G. Jung

The Archetype of the Self

The ego is the workshop where the self is made.

The self has inconceivable powers and possibilities but it needs a world in which these powers and possibilities can become conscious.

Objects and a world to contain them are necessary for consciousness, a place where differentiation occurs and can be experienced.

The self is always present but does not know it … yet everything must be brought into consciousness.

A saying of the alchemist is, “God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

The saying holds for God, for the anima mundi and for the soul of man.

A variety of forms is revealed through the realization of the self. The self is dissolved into many egos.

When the self has become conscious it leads to “participation mystique.”

The self is not wholly personal.

One has one’s own personal view of it, but at the same time it is also, in a sense, more general.

It is also the self of others, being greater than the individual.

A man is both, ego and self. The ego recedes more and more to make room for the self, changing the individual until the ego has disappeared.

The spiritual has to be incarnated but to be able to transform the ego into the self requires also a descent into the depths, into the gross clay (as Freud saw), so that everything has been experienced.

When we say “Our Father,” the Father also symbolizes that self which is hidden in Heaven, in the unconscious.

The Son (Christ) is the consciously achieved self.

The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete promised by Christ in the Words

“Ye are as gods,” or “Greater things will be done by you.”

If a man sees himself as imago Dei he should and must make good use of his time.

The ego, the puny man, is the opposite of the imago Dei.

If God is A and Christ is B and man is C, then C equals A.

It is said sometimes that Christ relinquished his divinity and became man.

But that cannot be, for what can have become of the divinity?

I do not know in what relation the ego stands to the self, but the self as a transcendent possibility is always present.

As an ego I am less than my totality because I am only conscious of being an ego.

The self is infinitely more extensive.

The ego is a province, merely an administrative centre of a great empire.

Man is an indescribable phenomenon because his self cannot be completely grasped.

The self is the light of the world; it is the full realization of everything in consciousness.

Every animal and every plant is a representation of the self… Thus the whole world enters consciousness.

We would call the self a multiple consciousness in God, or a spiritual Olympus, or an inner firmament.

Paracelsus already lmew this and wrote it for us.

The self is simultaneously something abstract and something personal (supremely personal, indeed}.

It is like the mana that is spread throughout nature which we can only make contact with through our experience of life or through ritual.

Then mana becomes for us incarnated divine power having the aspects of numen and the unknown daimon.

It is as if a turbine in a power station were suddenly to become conscious and say, “I am a part of this power … but I need water to function and engineers to care for me.” ~Margaret Ostrowski-Sachs. , Conversations with C.G. Jung, Pages 35-36.