“Psychologically the term “Self” denotes the psychic totality of the human being which transcends consciousness and underlies the process of individuation and which gradually becomes conscious in the course of this process. The psychic totality which comprises the conscious and unconscious parts of the personality is naturally present, as an entelechy of the individual, from the very beginning. In the course of the process of maturation, however, the various aspects of totality enter the field of consciousness, thus leading to a widening of the continually changing horizon of awareness. Beyond this there is often a numinous experience of this inner psychic wholeness. This experience is usually accompanied by a profound emotion which the ego senses as an epiphany of the divine. For this reason it is practically impossible to differentiate between an experience of God and an experience of the Self. The manifestations of the Self, arising from the unconscious, coincide with the god-image of most religions and, when not personified, are distinguished by circular and square forms and very often (statistically considered) by quaternary formations. Jung, making use of an Eastern term, has called these structures mandalas.” (pp.98-99)
Referring to the Self we read, “In the dreams and fantasy pictures of modern man this hidden, invisible something is occasionally depicted as a meaningful and numinous void. There is one picture in which an egg-shaped void, from which rays stream forth, forms the center of a world or of a mandala with an empty center. . . .A nothingness, a void, is therefore the inescapable condition for the emergence of the Self. The Self is not already present from the beginning in a comprehensible form, but manifests itself only through the outer and inner realizations of a life lived to its end. For this reason Jung has likened it to the crystal lattice present as a potential form in a solution but which first becomes visible in the process of crystallization, although crystallization does not necessarily take place. The Self is therefore not complete, but is present in us as a potentiality which can become manifest only in the course of a specific process. Certainly, the Self is not invariably realized through the unfolding of the natural biological life processes. There appear to be many lives where this does not come to pass.
Then how and by what means can the Self become manifest? It is realized to that extent in which it is lived in the experience of daily life. It is not achieved, however, when it appears in symbolic form in dreams and inner images, nor is it when consciousness acquires a specific degree of clarity, nor yet when a psychological function has attained a high degree of differentiation. Important as consciousness undoubtedly is—and rightly utilized consciousness is an invaluable means of help for the realization of the Self—it is not by itself the determining factor. For it does not depend so very greatly on knowledge and ability or upon some degree of intelligence, but rather upon the use which is made of these attributes and above all, on the psychic attitude a person adopts in the face of the various circumstances of his life and fate. As the threads of fabric are woven into a pattern, so the Self as the living garment of divinity is woven out of the many decisions and crises, in themselves possibly insignificant, by which we are affected in the course of our lives. Such occasions present themselves at every level of life and intelligence and in every milieu. Whether or not they lead to a manifestation of the Self depends solely on our own response. Many of us have observed that children, even small children, when faced with some difficulty, possess an attitude which many adults could only envy. That “something,” the lack of which we experience as soullessness, is a “someone” who takes a position, who is accountable and who feels committed. Where this higher, responsible ego is lacking there can be no Self. Ethos and the Self are therefore mutually interdependent.
From the foregoing we can see that a fascination can emanate from something empty. It longs for completion like an invisible form which calls out for substance; the individual is conscious of the existence of this summons and of the growth of this attraction, but without knowing what it is that calls to him. The influence emanating from the hidden Grail could be likened to such a summons.” ~The Grail Legend by Emma Jung and Marie Louise von Franz; (pp.133-134)