Psychological Types

 

Like any archetype, the essential nature of the self is unknowable, but its manifestations are the content of myth and legend.

The self appears in dreams, myths, and fairytales in the figure of the “supraordinate personality,” such as a king, hero, prophet, saviour, etc., or in the form of a totality symbol, such as the circle, square, quadratura circuli, cross, etc.

When it represents a complexio oppositorum, a union of opposites, it can also appear as a united duality, in the form, for instance, of tao as the interplay of yang and yin, or of the hostile brothers, or of the hero and his adversary (arch-enemy, dragon), Faust and Mephistopheles, etc.

Empirically, therefore, the self appears as a play of light and shadow, although conceived as a totality and unity in which the opposites are united.[“Definitions,” CW 6, par. 790.]