The trend of personal healing and understanding is becoming the whole craze. With the
increasing demand for self-discovery, it is but natural to search for alternatives that can
give us a good idea of how to unravel ourselves. By finding new sources of meaning,
we are able to improve our approach to life in general.
As such, in this article, we’ll be exploring the Jungian contribution to the task of
healing and understanding oneself. By laying out the basic Jungian concepts and
archetypes, we get to have a clearer picture of where to find ourselves in the process.
The Jungian concept of Consciousness and Personal Unconscious
Stemming from the Freudian tradition, Jung decided to take Freud’s idea of the
consciousness a step further. Instead of simply interpreting things based on the
psychosexual theory of development, Jung tried to look for other sensible bases that
can justify our unconscious thoughts and actions.
As such, Jung retains the same concept of consciousness. But for the concept of
the unconscious, he interprets it differently as he talks about the ideas of the personal
unconscious and the collective unconscious.
In this case, the personal unconscious is basically comprised of a mixture of both
acquired subconscious thoughts and repressed ones. As we walk by the park, we
absorb different kinds of information. While we may not be able to process it at one
time, such information becomes stored in our psyche.
But more importantly, the personal unconscious stores our repressed thoughts.
When we make moral choices or when we’re subjected to such, we create concepts of
what’s right or wrong and good or bad. As such, we’re bound to reject one and favor the
other, signaling a set of repressed traits and shadows within.
For instance, when we begin choosing colors, we might have certain preferences
over others. And while we think that one is better than the other, in reality, such
repressed concepts can slowly influence our choices. Shocked, we’re wondering why
we chose a pink jacket over a red one.
Just like the feeling described above, it is easy for us to be startled with our
choices. Thus, this signals a need to address our shadow archetype by reconciling it
with our own selves.
By acknowledging that we have certain shadows buried deep within us, we are
able to prevent such involuntary choices. Because we are already aware of our
tendencies, our shadows are brought to light, allowing us to deal with them accordingly.
At some point, engaging in the whole healing and understanding of oneself
requires us to come face-to-face with our shadows. In order to fully reconcile our
conscious self with the unconscious one, we need to constantly do this process of
unraveling our shadows.
Meaning, in order to comprehensively understand our dynamic self, this process of
pointing out our shadows is something that we must constantly do. Like a black king
that must be kept in check, the only way to deal with your shadows is to realize that
you’ll never be able to fully run away from it.
Thus, whether it is some form of negative trait or addiction, facing it is the only
way to go. By recognizing that you need help or therapy through shadow work, it
becomes far easier for you to be healed.
The Jungian concept of Collective Unconscious
With our basic understanding of the shadow and the personal unconscious, we
move further in understanding the deepest part of our unconscious. Although it would
be quite impossible to fully comprehend the collective unconscious, having a grasp of it
is more than enough for us to understand its meaning.
In this case, the collective unconscious serves as the transcultural basis of symbols
that emerges from our psyche. With certain elements that go beyond the bounds of
rational understanding, it is the ultimate space where we can gain access to
transcendental and mystical meanings and symbols.
However, such symbols can be quite useless to us. Since its usually beyond our
capacity to interpret them, they barely contribute anything in this search for healing and
Instead, we should shift our focus to the concept of the archetypes. As a set of
universal responses and roles, the archetypes act as a blueprint to our personality.
Transcending the idea of the shadow, the archetype is even far deeper in its influence
of who we are.
As such, Jung points out a couple of primordial archetypes such as the Great
Mother, the Wise Old Man, the Self, the Anima/Animus, and even the Shadow
archetype. In general, these universal images and symbols that are transculturally
shared show how archetypes can be shared across various spaces in the world.
More importantly, this concept of archetypes has been furthered by Jung.
Claiming that the archetypes are never limited and will always evolve, the emergence of
the 12 archetypes characterizes such evolution.
As such, the 12 archetypes are basically comprised of the Caregiver, the Creator, the
Explorer, the Hero, the Innocent, the Jester, the Lover, the Magician, the Member, the
Outlaw, the Ruler, and the Sage. Having their own unique values and descriptions,
these archetypes serve as an overall blueprint of who we are.
In relation to healing and self-understanding, these archetypes provide a deeper
sense of self, which gives us a better grasp of how we function. By comprehending
these archetypes, we are creating a situation where we can freely access what we want
and modify ourselves altogether.
Given these points, we hope to have contributed to your overall journey. As you move
forward in understanding yourself and your own archetype/shadow, we hope that you
will be able to achieve some sort of inner peace!
Chris is a regular contributor for Individualogist.com, a personality-identifying website
that explores Carl Jung’s study of the 12 archetypes. He spends his free-time
researching other spirituality topics, giving him a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in a
wide-variety of transformational methods.