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The Archetype of the Shadow
#31
Thanks Magda.

I'm going to take the indirect advice of my laptop and power cord and leave this book for others to buy for themselves.

It is a corker.

You cannot read the late writings of Jung without activating the Unconscious. I remember discussing this with a friend some 25 years ago. Back then it always was the case that you couldn't read more than a few sentences of Aion, Mysterium Coniunctionis (and a few others) without wanting to fall asleep. Or to put this in another way, to fall unconscious.

And so I understand what Edinger means by his fruit cake approach to Jung.

Edinger's writings are likewise powerful and if read with due care and attention, and seriousness, they also activate the unconscious.

That is, if you want to go down Alice's rabbit hole...
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#32
I had thought that earlier I had linked a copy AION, but it seems I haven't. So here it is (it's a big 25.6 mb .pdf file) - in order to save bandwidth here, please download directly from Scribd.

Scroll to page 10 to begin.

Aion - Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self.

Aion deals with the phenomenology of the Self in the Christian aeon - a period of approximately 2000 years which coincides with the Platonic month of the fishes (i.e., Pisces).

Rich fruit cake:

Para 76 -78

Quote:76 If we see the traditional figure of Christ as a parallel to the psychic manifestation of the self, then the Antichrist would cor-respond to the shadow of the self, namely the dark half of the human totality, which ought not to be judged too optimistically. So far as we can judge from experience, light and shadow are so evenly distributed in man's nature that his psychic totality appears, to say the least of it, in a somewhat murky light. The psychological concept of the self, in part derived from our knowledge of the whole man, but for the rest depicting itself spontaneously in the products of the unconscious as an arche-typal quaternity bound together by inner antinomies, cannot omit the shadow that belongs to the light figure, for without it this figure lacks body and humanity. In the empirical self, light and shadow form a paradoxical unity. In the Christian concept, on the other hand, the archetype is hopelessly split into two irreconcilable halves, leading ultimately to a metaphysical dual-ism the final separation of the kingdom of heaven from the world of the damned.

77 For anyone who has a positive attitude towards Christianity the problem of the Antichrist is a hard nut to crack. It is noth-ing less than the counterstroke of the devil, provoked by God's Incarnation; for the devil attains his true stature as the adver-sary of Christ, and hence of God, only after the rise of Chris-tianity, while as late as the Book of Job he was still one of God's sons and on familiar terms with Yahweh. 24 Psychologically the case is clear, since the dogmatic figure of Christ is so sublime and spotless that everything else turns dark beside it. It is, in fact, so one-sidedly perfect that it demands a psychic comple-ment to restore the balance. This inevitable opposition led very early to the doctrine of the two sons of God, of whom the elder was called Satanael. 25 The coming of the Antichrist is not just a prophetic prediction it is an inexorable psychological law whose existence, though unknown to the author of the Johan-nine Epistles, brought him a sure knowledge of the impending enantiodromia. Consequently he wrote as if he were conscious of the inner necessity for this transformation, though we may be sure that the idea seemed to him like a divine revelation. In reality every intensified differentiation of the Christ-image brings about a corresponding accentuation of its unconscious complement, thereby increasing the tension between above and below.

78 in making these statements we are keeping entirely within the sphere of Christian psychology and symbolism. A factor that no one has reckoned with, however, is the fatality inherent in the Christian disposition itself, which leads inevitably to a re-versal of its spirit not through the obscure workings of chance but in accordance with psychological law. The ideal of spiritu-ality striving for the heights was doomed to clash with the materialistic earth-bound passion to conquer matter and master the world. This change became visible at the time of the "Renais-sance." The word means "rebirth,' and it referred to the renewal of the antique spirit. We know today that this spirit was chiefly a mask; it was not the spirit of antiquity that was reborn, but the spirit of medieval Christianity that underwent strange pagan transformations, exchanging the heavenly goal for an earthly one, and the vertical of the Gothic style for a horizontal perspec-
tive (voyages of discovery, exploration of the world and of nature). The subsequent developments that led to the Enlighten-ment and the French Revolution have produced a world-wide situation today which can only be called "antichristian" in a sense that confirms the early Christian anticipation of the "end of time." It is as if, with the coming of Christ, opposites that
were latent till then had become manifest, or as if a pendu-lum had swung violently to one side and were now carrying out the complementary movement in the opposite direction. No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell. The double meaning of this movement lies in the nature of the pendulum. Christ is without spot, but right at the begin-ning of his career there occurs the encounter with Satan, the Adversary, who represents the counterpole of that tremendous tension in the world psyche which Christ's advent signified. He is the "mysterium iniquitatis" that accompanies the "sol iusti-tiae" as inseparably as the shadow belongs to the light, in exactly the same way, so the Ebionites 26 and Euchites 27 thought, that one brother cleaves to the other. Both strive for a kingdom: one for the kingdom of heaven, the other for the "principatus huius mundi." We hear of a reign of a "thousand years" and of a "coming of the Antichrist," just as if a partition of worlds and epochs had taken place between two royal brothers. The meeting with Satan was therefore more than mere chance; it was a link in the chain.

(my italics)
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#33
Edinger explicates the above three para's with the following insights:

Quote:To underscoe what Jung says here, the advent of Christ represented psychologically the split of the opposites in the God image [Imago Dei] into two irreconcilable halves, Christ and Satan. This was a necessary step in the development of consciousness, but it has led to a profound one-sidedness and to a disassociated condition that now has to be corrected.

The first stage in that correction, if one has been identified with the image of Christ, is an encounter with the opposite of Christ, namely, Antichrist.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#34
David Guyatt Wrote:Edinger explicates the above three para's with the following insights:

Quote:To underscoe what Jung says here, the advent of Christ represented psychologically the split of the opposites in the God image [Imago Dei] into two irreconcilable halves, Christ and Satan. This was a necessary step in the development of consciousness, but it has led to a profound one-sidedness and to a disassociated condition that now has to be corrected.

The first stage in that correction, if one has been identified with the image of Christ, is an encounter with the opposite of Christ, namely, Antichrist.

Which, of course - fruit cake and yawning jokes apart - is the fundamental focus of this thread, the confrontation of the shadow today.

And into this curious mix we can add something further (my italics).

Quote:Today humanity, as never before, is split into two apparently irreconcilable halves. The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves.

Aion. Para 126

The world is increasingly becoming more divided, and thus Jung's psychological rule above now seems to be happening outside, as fate as we speak.

And this, I think, is why Jung, when asked, in a BBC Television interview, if a Third World war was likely (circa 1959) replied:

Quote:The only real danger that exists is man himself, he is the great danger. And we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man. Far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#35
"...right at the begin-ning of his career there occurs the encounter with Satan, the Adversary, who represents the counterpole of that tremendous tension in the world psyche which Christ's advent signified...."

David
do you see any connection between this & the phenomenon of possession eg the "daemonic" variety ?

Jesus also encountered other lower orders of demons in his career - the famous incident of casting them out into the herd of swine etc. This was one of his "specialities".

the psi-phenomena that invariably accompany genuine possession strongly links it to the collective unconsious .
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#36
Chris, I think the thrust Jung was intent on making was the psychological fact (rather than the known history of the mortal we call Joshua Ben Joseph) surrounding the birth of Christ, was that it was a twin birth - two brothers, not just one Son. When one came into existence, so did the other, the polar opposite; Christ and Satan. Or to put it in Edinger's words "the irrevocable split in the Christian psyche".

It is most interesting, I think, that the symbol of the Christian Aeon (ex explained by Jung) was chosen at the time, quite unconsciously, to represent this syzygy, was the zodiaical sign of Pisces, the two fishes pointing in opposite directions.

[Image: showimage.asp?ImageID=780]

The Christian aion is typified by a split, and "as long as that split exists," Edinger says, "everyone is going to do his best to identify with heaven, but as we know psychologically, whenever such a one-sided exists, it generates its opposite in the unconscious. That leads Jung to say "The coming of the anti-Christ is not just a prophetic prediction - it is an inexorable psychological law"".

And this is why Jung said "The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves."

Shakespeare penned the words:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,

That was just over 400 years ago. Today, we need to become our own stage director too, I think.

And so, speaking from the perspective of the lean and slippered pantaloon,
I feel certain that there is tremendous significance in the fact that Jung specified in his Will, that his "Red Book" was ony to be published after the year 2000.

At the commencement of the age of Aquarius:

[Image: showimage.asp?ImageID=773]

Man carries his own water. He becomes the container of consciousness and, if I understand it correctly, no longer needs a church, or outer image, on which to project it.

And again, so far as I understand it (not entirely clearly, I might add), the first task now facing us is for man to deal with his own inner contradiction, or else suffer it outside as fate, or in your words, become possessed by our demons. And that is why we should, if we are able {*}, to try to square up to the task of confronting our shadow, which is of the very first magnitude of importance.

{Edinger makes the point that not all egos can assimilate the shadow and it would be wrong for them to try}.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#37
so we are saying :

"The Christian aion is typified by a split"

"the psychological fact ....surrounding the birth of Christ, was that it was a twin birth - two brothers, not just one Son."

to me however this seems quite reminiscent of the Osiris : Set mythology which pre-dates the Christian aion by some degree - I presume - in this chronology ?
I presume you are well aware of the mythological parallels between the Christ story & earlier .
Does this parallel in any way challenge this or merely demonstrate the universality of archetypes ?

( I'm really winging this ! please don't think I have a sophisticated view on this stuff ! )

my original query was prompted by a rather pop-Jung book I read that sought to explain "hollywood" style possession in terms of somehow the shadow / anti-christ archetype "bursting through" into the conscious so was interested in your take.
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#38
Chris Bowen Wrote:so we are saying :

"The Christian aion is typified by a split"

"the psychological fact ....surrounding the birth of Christ, was that it was a twin birth - two brothers, not just one Son."

to me however this seems quite reminiscent of the Osiris : Set mythology which pre-dates the Christian aion by some degree - I presume - in this chronology ?
I presume you are well aware of the mythological parallels between the Christ story & earlier .
Does this parallel in any way challenge this or merely demonstrate the universality of archetypes ?

No apologies required Chris. This is exceedingly complicated material. Yes I am aware of the Osiris Set pairing, as with Isis Osiris. Mythology is a rich treasure trove of symbols that speak of these matters. By which I mean matters of the psyche.

And you must please forgive me for my stumbling explanations, but I am trying to do justice to Jung and, frankly, it ain't an easy task. If I were discussing this with you face to face, I would be more relaxed and spontaneous, but this is a more formal discussion and so I need to take extra care with accuracy, and this causes a certain degree of stiffness. This can't be helped, I think.

Fortunately, I am far from being alone in this. As Edinger remarks to those analysts attending his Aion lectures, the first thing one has to do "is to recognize Jung's magnitude" and understand that "Jung's consciousness vastly surpasses your own", and that his "breadth and depth are absolutely awesome. We are all Lilliputians by comparison. To read Jung successfully, we must begin by accepting our own littleness; then we are teachable".

And so, Lilliputian to Lilliputian, onto the question at hand. But allow me to take a step backwards first.

We are not discussing the historical figure of Joshua Ben Joseph upon whom the Christian Redeemer was later projected. Although very much tangled up with matters of religious faith, we are actually discussing psychological realities; the archetype of the Self symbolized as Christ and which may one day become conscious in each one of us. Consciousness demands a recognition of both qualities of good and evil in our own psyches.

And if I may be poetical about it, the point Jung is making is that man having chosen to wholly identify with goodness rather than the whole archetype (good and evil) caused an equal and opposite reaction in his psyche. And since we are dealing with both a personal and a collective phenomenon, the "psychological rule" as stated earlier, will play out both personally and collectively as fate.

I suppose that if a sufficient number of people confront their own shadows voluntarily, then the collective fate may be diminished or avoided. I say this with a certain degree of hesitancy.

In the last analysis, this thread fundamentally focuses on the inner shadow confrontation. It is a psychic journey that many today eschew because of their fascination with physical existence. Thus in the same way (and degree) that we flee from dealing with our shadow, so we no longer give credence to our psychic reality.

Quote:It is almost an absurd prejudice to suppose that existence can only be physical. As a matter of fact, the only form of existence of which we have immediate knowledge is psychic [i.e., in the mind]. We might as well say, on the contrary, that physical existence is a mere inference, since we know of matter only in so far as we perceive psychic images mediated by the senses. Jung
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#39
The Dark Shadow Of Corporations
By Wanda Marie Woodward, M.S.
03 June, 2010
Countercurrents.org
It was Jung who introduced the word “shadow” into psychology which, in turn, made its way into colloquial lexicon. He also introduced the term “collective unconscious.” There is a personal shadow and a collective shadow. The personal shadow is unique to an individual whereas the collective shadow consists of contents that are shared by a family, group, organization, institution, or nation. This article is about the collective shadow of the corporation.
In Jung’s (1959) Aion, he tells us the shadow is one of the contents of the collective unconscious (an archetype) which has the most disturbing aspects on the ego. While there is a favorable shadow (what Jungians call “the golden shadow”) that contains normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc., I am focusing on the dark shadow. The dark shadow consists of all those hidden, unwanted, repressed traits and qualities in our unconscious. Typically, these are the part of one’s nature counter to the sociocultural customs and mores (Stein, 1998); what June Singer (1994), noted Jungian analyst, refers to in Boundaries of the Soul as “all those uncivilized desires and emotions that are incompatible with social standards” (p. 165). Robert Johnson (1991) in Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, refers to it as “the despised quarter of our being” (p. 5).
Jung (1959) highlights the noticeable emotional aspect to the shadow. Marie von Franz (1995), one of Jung’s most noted protégés, tells us in Projections and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology: Reflections of the Soul that the shadow consists of “laziness, greed, envy, jealousy, the desire for prestige, aggressions, and similar ‘tormenting spirits’” (p. 123). The ego usually defends against knowing what is in the personal shadow because of the disturbing effect it has on the ego. This is what keeps the shadow contents repressed in the unconscious.
The persona, our public personality that greets the world with charm and a hospitable attitude and protects the ego, is the counterpart to the shadow in the psyche. The persona forms as a result of education and adaptation to social and cultural norms. We conceal and reveal conscious thoughts and feelings as a way to fit into society. It can be thought of as “the psychic skin between the ego and the world” (Stein, 1998, p. 120). Its dual function is to relate to external objects while also protecting the inner ego (Stein, 1998). The ego is, more or less, identified with the persona, yet, on the other hand, the persona is also alien to the ego since it does not represent the authentic person. Shadow and persona are opposites in the psyche.
The corporation became a legal entity---essentially, a person with due process rights---as a result of the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company. It set legal precedent by issuing a statement that corporations would be entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment which declares citizenship and conveys certain constitutional rights. Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1949 that the Santa Clara case was a momentous decision because it gave corporations constitutional prerogatives.
Corporations have an ego, persona, and a shadow. The persona is the mask that is presented to its employees who work in it, the investment community, the community, and the world, at large. The corporation---certainly large ones----spend millions of dollars to carefully craft, develop, maintain, and present their persona to these groups. It is the ego-ideal that is carefully crafted and presented to each of these groups. When the ego-image or ego-ideal of the corporation is tarnished by some scandal which threatens the favorable image of the persona, public relations campaigns are utilized to combat it. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, is attributed as the father of public relations. Some would call these public relations campaigns, but it is, essentially, little more than propaganda. The dark shadow of the corporation, its Mr. Hyde, is kept hidden from all these groups.
Edward Bernays, nephew to Sigmund Freud, was born in 1891. He was a prominent businessman who wrote extensively on propaganda prior to WWII. He was hired by the U.S. government to manipulate the mind of the American public. Bernays, considered the father of public relations, was also hired by large corporations to generate higher profits through consumerism. Consumerism is defined by Widipedia as “a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods or services in ever greater amounts.” Free market capitalism is an economic system that is predicated on consumerism, thus, corporations are among the largest supporters of capitalism. In his most famous book, This Business of Propaganda written in 1928, Bernays extolled the manipulation of public opinion stating that it was essential to overcome social chaos and conflict. He believed the manipulation of the public was necessary as he felt that the collective psyche of society was irrational and dangerous as a result of the “herd instinct.” The narcissistic ego of corporations seized upon Bernays talents for manipulating this psychological phenomenon, the collective psyche. Bernays made a large fortune from his self-proclaimed role as “public relations counsel.”
Robert Bly (1988), in A Little Book about the Human Shadow talks about how, starting in childhood, we put all these shadow aspects of ourselves into “the long bag we drag behind us” into adulthood. Victorian society taught women to put sexuality in the bag. Contemporary society still teaches men to put the feminine aspect of their psyche in the bag. When I was young, my mother taught me and my siblings that it wasn’t nice to be angry, so I learned to put anger inside my bag. To this day, I struggle with how to present that in healthy ways within legitimate and justifiable contexts. Corporations use advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns, among others, to help put their shadow contents into their “long bag.” To the extent that corporations are able to hide their shadows from the employees who are exploited to do their bidding, these brainwashed employees are also helpful in keeping the shadows hidden from the public.
Because these contents of the shadow are not favorable to society, we usually project our shadows onto others. It takes considerable moral courage to bring the shadow into conscious awareness and to take it back or what Robert Bly refers to as “eating the shadow.” Perhaps four of the most infamous and heinous historical examples of the collective shadow are the Catholic patriarchy projecting its dark shadow onto so-called heretics and witches during the Holy Inquisition, Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the shadow projected onto Jews, gypsies, and the mentally and physically disabled, the European and American White nations and the shadow projected onto Blacks, and the American White man’s shadow projection onto Native Americans. In all four of these examples, the shadow was so dark, it sought to completely destroy (murder, annihilate) Jews, imperfect people, Blacks, and Native Americans. Contemporary examples are the equally strong dark shadows projected between Jews and Muslims. Israelis project their dark shadows onto Palestinian Muslims and keep them tragically oppressed while various Muslim groups such as Hamas project their shadow onto Jews. Both Jews and Muslims are projecting their dark shadows onto each other---yet neither side can see the evil within his own dark heart. I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s saying, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” and Gandhi’s adage that “an eye for an eye leaves both blind.” When we project our shadows and go to war, as we stand and shoot our rocket or gun or as we bludgeon someone to death or gang rape a woman as a way to bring dishonor on the enemy, we project evil onto the victim. That’s what projection of the shadow does---it blames “bad” or evil on the victim when the bad or evil is in the heart of the destroyer.
As stated previously, there is a personal shadow and a collective shadow. The personal shadow is difficult enough to take back. To take back a projected shadow of the collective unconscious is particularly challenging. It’s because we look into the face of “other” and we see an enemy---we somehow cannot see the similarity, the fact that we are all part of the same human race and that, as the Dalai Lama consistently repeats, we all are seeking the same thing---to be happy. If humankind could finally come to that momentous realization, we would have the hope of taking back our collective shadows. Can you imagine the Jews and Muslims coming to the realization that both parties are human and deserve to live a life of peace regardless of their different beliefs? How about if all the wealthy people in the world awakened and realized that every person on this planet is, essentially and fundamentally equal in value, and that poor people are not “the lepers and scourge of the earth” so the decision was made to share all resources and, ostensibly, end poverty, hunger, and homelessness on this earth? How difficult would that be? I would say damned difficult. But not impossible.
After studying psychology for 15 years, I have come to the conclusion that all people and all things have a shadow. No one and no thing is exempt. Not even me. The goal really lies in making this shadow conscious and integrating it so we no longer unconsciously project it onto others.
More recently, however, I have been thinking of what is the largest, most pernicious dark shadow that affects contemporary social affairs. Although I consider myself a spiritually oriented person, I long ago eschewed organized religion. I once thought the most harmful shadow was any organized religion that denigrates and devalues the feminine principle. Now, I believe it is the Corporation with the pathological greed and the malignant desire to allow free market capitalism to destroy every ounce of natural and mineral resource from Mother Earth as a means to achieve its goal. In fact, “corporation” and “greed” are now wedded terms. It is no distance from truth to say that the psyche of the corporation is malignant and poses a threat to the Common Good.
Corporations have what Otto Kernberg (1975; 1998), respected psychoanalyst and prominent researcher on narcissistic personality disorder, refers to “malignant narcissism” as resembling sociopathy, a more morbid and frank psychopathology than narcissism. Malignant cancer cell destroy the good, healthy cells. Similarly, malignant corporate pathology is a harmful, destructive disease that is eating away at the Common Good. This increasingly sociopathic and psychopathic corporate pathology hides behind the persona and projects its shadow into the world. Perhaps the most common overall shadow projection tactic used by corporations and banks today is to lobby government to support legislation which privatizes profits and socializes losses. Increasingly, corporations are using the legal precedent of the Santa Clara case of 1886 to become more powerful “legal persons.” One of the most recent key examples of the projection of the shadow is the bail-out of banks (which are intimately allied with corporations and governments as a way to sustain pernicious capitalism) like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Bank of America. These banks would not have to be responsible for their dark deeds and, instead, project the blame onto the victim---the American taxpayer. Banks and corporations used a common tactic that is prototypical of narcissistic, sociopathic, and psychopathic pathology. That is, they externalized blame---they projected their dark, evil shadow onto innocent people. They blamed the deceived victim---the American people---on the mortgage crisis when, in truth, it was prompted by a concerted, widespread effort by banks and corporations to reap quick, sleazy profits. Other examples of dark shadow projection are the use of genetically modified foods to foist onto the unwitting public, the use of the rbGH growth hormone in milk, the patenting of human DNA, and cloning. These organizations present their persona, Dr. Jekyll, to the public in an effort to preserve their power, maintain their ability to manipulate the social-public psyche to make choices that is against the best interest of the people, sustain their ability to exploit humankind for its cheap labor and give ever lesser amounts of compensation and health benefits in return, and so as to continue to reap profits which maintain the enormous schism between the handful of the wealthy elite and the billions of others whose income levels and lifestyles continue to decline. The projection of the corporate shadow is a way to avoid responsibility, accountability for egregious moral and ethical acts. Corporations can keep their shadow in the unconscious.
In Joel Bakan’s brilliant book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, he compares the psyche of the modern day corporation to a psychopath. Bakan exposes the dangerous and enormous pathological power structures---corporations----that wield their control over society. Another outstanding book that talks about the psyche of the psychopath in corporations is Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak, Ph.D. and the noted psychologist, Robert Hare, Ph.D., who has spent 40 years researching and studying psychopathy. He exposes the web of manipulation and deceit of psychopaths in corporations and warns us how easily they rise in positions in corporations because most people cannot see through the deceptive games. A third exceptional book is Hare’s Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us where he refers to “white collar psychopaths” in the corporate world. I have spent 20 years working in Corporate America, 15 years studying psychology, and six years working in the mental health field. I’ve seen and felt the brunt of the psychopathology---the dark shadows---in corporate life. It is very much a real aspect of business. Goddess willing, I will one day escape it. Once corporations begin replacing human labor with androids (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4714135.stm), their transformation into archetypal evil will be virtually complete. Mary Shelley’s prescient story of Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde will have played themselves out in corporate regalia. With examples of Kenneth Lay (Enron), Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco), Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom), and Bernie Madoff, I would estimate that there are likely tens of thousands of these pathological characters currently running corporations. They just haven’t been caught. And it is left to another article to discuss the fact that governments around the world are now mistresses to these toxic corporations. Thus, governments are in bed with the devil and are unable to save humanity. Humanity will save humanity.
There are always three collective psyches involved when discussing organizational shadows. There is the psyche of the organization itself, the psyche of the followers/members of the organization, and the psyche of the opponents/detractors. The psyche of those who are in the highest echelon of the organization usually most closely resemble the psyche of the organization itself. Our outside world is always a mirror of the inside world. So the organization is a mirror of the psyche(s) of those who hold the most power in the organization with the highest person, that is, CEO or President, serving as the prototypical organizational psyche. The psyche of Enron most closely resembled Kenneth Lay’s psyche, the psyche of Tyco most closely resembled the psyche of Dennis Kozlowski, Lloyd Blankfein’s psyche most closely resembles the psyche of Goldman Sachs, and so forth.
There have been numerous theories about the structure, dynamic, and nature of the psyche. Freud posited a tripartite structure with an id, ego, and superego. The id is that part of the psyche that is a cauldron of seething desires and wishes. The superego is the moral conscience. The ego mediates between the two. If we use this view of the psyche, then we can say that the psyche of these organizations have undeveloped superegos. They have little or no conscience. They have inflated egos and their id is on steroids. That is the psyche of a narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath. Without a corporate conscience, there is no compassion. There is only the desire to gratify the corporate ego and it is done with various mendacious means in a corporation such as public relations, advertising, and marketing campaigns and through their now-famous “shell games.” Philanthropic advertising is merely a way to deceive the public into thinking the corporation really has a heart. The corporation saves millions of tax dollars when they give to charity and this is always done at the suggestion of the corporate accountant. The advertising campaign with a heart is a ruse for a campaign for the corporate coffers. When employees give their donations to their employer (United Way, etc.), the corporation gets millions of dollars in tax breaks. It’s a PR and marketing sham to convince the employees and the public that the corporation is compassionate.
Most people have partially accurate understandings of narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissus was a Greek hunter who had disdain for those who loved him. He fell in love with his image in a pond and pined to death because he could not depart from the beauty of his image. First, there is no coincidence that Narcissus is a male. Just like there is no coincidence that Venus, the goddess of love, is a female or Diotima, the personification of Wisdom, in Plato’s Symposium is a female.
The masculine principle in Occidental mythology represents domination, separation, objectivity, certainty, and predictability. The world of these phenomena can only exist in a world of physical matter. Jung argued that the masculine principle is consciousness, mind or Logos. When speaking of a psyche, the rational mind is the mind which embraces the material world. The feminine principle represents receptivity, union, mystery, collaboration, interdependence. The non-rational, intuitive, unconscious world best represents this world. Jung asserted that Eros and the unconscious are feminine principles.
The masculine and feminine principles are ubiquitous; they have existed since time began and will forever exist. They are recognized in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and other hard sciences. Although they are opposites, they are, paradoxically, complementary. One cannot exist without the other. When domination is a common force, the world, the psyche, and the cosmos is out of harmony, out of balance. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching is perhaps the most eloquent, succinct, and brilliant renditions of the world of the feminine and masculine principles. They both are subsumed in the Tao which includes, yet is beyond, feminine and masculine.
Narcissus’ staring at himself in the water tends to distort as much as it informs. It is true that narcissistic individuals are self-absorbed and act as though the world revolves around them. But there is much more to this clinical personality disorder. Christopher Lasch in The Culture of Narcissism writes about the pathological Western society. I would argue that the psychosocial pathology is now leeching over into Eastern societies such as India and China. We should be very afraid.
Narcissism is a personality disorder in which there is a stable, chronic pattern of projecting the dark shadow onto others. Narcissistic personality disorder is marked by an inflated sense of self, a sense of entitlement, and grandiosity. Arrogance displays the sense of superiority. The person with this disorder does not have the capacity to authentically love someone. People with narcissistic personality disorder idealize people who give them what they want and then devalue anyone who inhibits their desires. Pathological mendacity is a means to achieve goals at any cost. There is no moral conscience, no sense of guilt or shame in wrong-doing that follows his trail of deceit, treachery, abuse, and the pain and suffering that his actions inevitably cause others. Blame is always externalized onto “other” (the victim). The rapist or judge who says “it’s the victim’s fault she got raped because she wore sexy clothes” is externalizing blame. The husband who beats his wife and says “but you made me do it because you nag me all the time” is externalizing blame. The CEO of a tire company who lies to cover up for his company’s gross negligence which results in thousands of people being killed due to unsafe tires is externalizing blame. In his book on corporate psychopaths, Hare cites how these pathological loons, when caught or charged for crimes, will blame the victim. This pathological mendacity and externalization of blame is now standard operating procedure for multinational corporations.
Hare and Babiak (2007) call the psychopath “a near-perfect invisible human predator” (p. 39) to emphasize how most people cannot detect the psychopath’s pathology. Researchers who work with psychopaths refer to the latter as “social chameleons” (Babiak & Hare, 2007, p. 38). The narcissist or psychopath sometimes does not have the communication skills to deceive, so they rely on threats, coercion, intimidation and violence to dominate others and achieve their objectives. But other narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths, present as charming and with a gift of oratory skills, saying all the things that enamor, fascinate, lure, and compel. Hare refers to the psychopath’s gift of “impression management” (Babiak & Hare, 2007, p. 38) and makes a comparison between the classic features of leadership (taking charge, making decisions, and getting others to do what you want) and the qualities of a psychopath. Hitler had these gifts. They could sell heaters to desert dwellers—and make them glad they bought them. This is what most of the CEOs of corporations are invested in---telling the consumers and employees what they want to hear. Here is the cycle. It’s about manufacturing desire in consumers so that people will buy goods and services they don’t need. The profits in the corporations soar so that the pockets of the CEOs and the 1% who owns the stock in these corporations will fill up more. This allows the wealthy elite to remain in power and the corporate elite to continue to pay millions of dollars in advertising to deceive consumers into buying something they don’t need (which speeds up the rate at which natural and mineral resources are depleted) and to exploit the employees who work in the corporation for ever lower levels of compensation and benefits. The vicious cycle just keeps going.
Corporations are invested in keeping people ignorant, overworked or apathetic or all of the above. Billions of dollars are spent on public relations and marketing campaigns which is nothing more than propaganda to be used as an assault on the Common Good. These narcissistic individuals tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. What we need to hear would threaten the powerful elite----the wealthy pathological masculine power structure in the world. As Hare rightly says, the social, economic, physical, and psychological damage done by these psychopaths far outweighs their relatively small numbers (1% of the general population).
People with narcissistic personality disorder flock to positions of power in corporations like iron fillings seek a magnet. The hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder, according to Joan Lachkar, Ph.D., in The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple, is the obsession with control, power, and perfection. The desire to dominate and control is a high. Serial rapists are addicted to the will to power. Sadistic killers are assuaging their desire to have control over and completely dominate “the other.” Interestingly, 87% of sadistic killers are white males. When the rapists in the Congo stick their penis inside the woman and gang rape her, then sticks a gun inside her vagina and fires, he is obsessed with power and control. It is not so much the sexual act as it is the will to absolute power.
When these corporations lie, cheat, and steal from the coffers of the public and then refuse to accept responsibility, this is a pathological system that is bleeding into every aspect of human life. It is the goal of narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths to deceive, dominate, exploit, and destroy. The shadow is projected onto the innocents. In wars where the goal is to steal another’s resources, the instigating country presents the people in the other country as less than human. Increasingly, corporations are invested in war to increase profits. When a handful of people at the top of the food chain live a life of comfort, ease, and luxury while the masses struggle with hunger, poverty, homelessness, and lack of adequate healthcare, the people in ivory towers simply project their shadow onto the masses by saying that poor people are “lazy.” I ask: Who is lazy? The person who is being exploited for their cheap labor and who works 6 days a week on barely enough wages to feed their family or the person who lives a life of ease and has no means to be productive? I ask you: Is it the rich or the poor who are lazy? And what does “lazy” mean? If that refers to the lack of desire to work insane hours per week (50, 60, 70 hours) and the lack of the shallow desire to amass needless worldly possessions, then many who have meaningful and spiritual values might refer to that definition of “lazy” as a good thing. I say the question to ask the lazy wealthy is: “How much is enough for you?”
This masculine psychopathological spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy is the source of the dark, evil shadow that has always defined modern Western civilization ever since the dawning of the Iron Age in 1,500 B.C. when male warriors took over and destroyed the peaceful matriarchal society and devalued the feminine principle (Campbell, 1964). Replacing the worship of the feminine moon and the Goddess, masculine ideologies of the worship of the masculine sun and the male God dominated society. Science and its disdain of mystery, uncertainty, unpredictability, subjectivity---in other words, all things feminine---is a bastion of masculine ideology of objectivity, certainty, predictability, and measurability. The mantra of science is noticeably masculine: If it can’t be measured, it’s not valid, meaning it is not useful or even real. Aggression, violence, and war stain society; the fear, devaluation, and loathing of all things feminine (mystery, intuition, gentleness, kindness, compassion, rest, collaboration, interdependence, etc.) has become the fabric of society as a result of these male warriors.
I define masculine psychopathology as the split psyche which lacks the capacity for authentic empathy and love and which, through intentionally deceptive tactics, seeks to dominate, exploit, and destroy others as an obsessive means to have control and power over others. If you apply this to corporate ideology, it is chillingly appropriate. This masculine psyche can exist in both males and females. An apt example of a woman having a particularly morbid pathologically masculine psyche (we would call it psychopathy today) is the late 16th century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed. She is called the “Blood Countess” because she kidnapped, tortured, and killed allegedly as many as 600 hundred peasant girls. She would bathe in, and drink, their blood believing this would make her skin beautiful and give her immortality. One particularly gruesome type of murder was placing the peasant girl in a large cage and hanging it from the ceiling of the dungeon. There would be large, long knives around the cage so that when the Countess gave the instructions to her servants, the cage would be tossed back and forth causing the knives to mutilate the victim in the cage. Standing underneath the age, the Countess would bathe in, and drink, the blood from the victim. Of course, there is “Bloody Mary,” Queen of England, who had a particular affinity for burning religious dissenters at the stake.
It is perhaps an annoying and unwelcome truth to males in contemporary society that the vast majority of people who have masculine pathology are males. These are only a relative few of whom history books have noted, but I suspect the names of every person—famous and not---are legion: Caligula, Attila the Hun, Caesar, Herod, Nero, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Vlad the Impaler, Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc), Pinochet, Mugabe, Mobutu Sese Seko, Milosevic, and Hussein. Vlad the Impaler killed his opponents by impaling them while alive and leaving them for the public to view. Idi Amin had six wives. One wife he ordered to be murdered and dismembered. She was found in the back of a car with her head sewn on backward. If one were able to count all the males from the beginning of dawn who chronically abused their spouses, children, pets, and who murdered and raped indiscriminately, who knows how many would be on that list?
Lest the reader begin to think that I hate males, let me say I am deeply grateful for those males who risk much in order to fight the imbalance of feminine and masculine principles in the world. They are courageous, compassionate, loving, gentle men who use their power to defend the Common Good. The world desperately needs them and I honor every one of their androgynous Souls. But this paper is about exposing the dark side, the shadow, which stands against the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
Approximately 75% of the individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are males. The majority of individuals with paraphilias (pedophilia, pederasty, pirophilia, voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteurism, etc.) are males. These are perverted minds. Virtually all people who start wars and who seem to enjoy going off to war and engaging in acts of war are males. Virtually all serial killers (psychopaths) are males. I always can recognize a male who has a tendency toward narcissism by the reaction I receive when I explain this subject. It’s the externalization of blame and the intrapsychic ego defenses that always give him away. It’s analogous to showing the man that his DNA results were all over the crime scene, yet what does he say? “That’s not me! Someone else who has my DNA did it!” I am reminded of what Shakespeare says: “Me thinks thou doest protest too much!”
Returning to the topic of corporate shadows, it’s not necessarily that these individuals at the top of corporations have shadows that are darker or larger than those in the lower levels or those who stand in opposition to the corporation although that certainly can be the case. Rather it is that the shadows these leaders cast have a much larger projection, a much larger sphere of influence because the millions of employees who work in them are paid (sometimes handsomely) to ally themselves with the psyche and behavior of the corporation. The corporation responds to the employee by abusing them (being ignored or demoted, given poor performance evaluations, terminated) if there is a failure to comply. Also, the corporations are now all in league with each other, more or less. “Thick as thieves” as they call it. Meaning that there are now thousands of corporations whose pathological psyches are all allied with each other---and that casts a truly large and pernicious dark shadow upon the entire globe and upon all life on this precious planet. Yes, it would be quite painful for everyone to stop the psychosocial pathology. We humans are, after all, addicted to that which is bringing about our own demise---material possessions. Everyone would feel it---some more, some less. But we would be unfettered from the malignancy that is spreading across the globe like a cancer eating at the life support system of the earth. It would take millions of people to stop spending money on anything that was not essential and start living a simple life connected to nature. It would require relinquishing some of the conveniences of life. We would have to buy acreage, grow our own vegetable garden, start our own community banks, and give up, among thousands of other things, SUVs, plastic bags, and bottled water. Did you know that Americans eliminate 247 million tons of municipal waste and 8 billion tons of industrial and hazardous waste every year? Think of how giving up consumerism would help alleviate landfill usage and the pollution that stems from them.
Since the desires and behaviors of these multinational corporations---and, yes, of the public---are threatening all life on the planet in the mineral, plant, animal, and human arenas, this issue of the dark shadow is no small or joking matter of which Jungian analysts are so intimately aware. Would that we could all be so aware.
Wanda Marie Woodward, M.S. is author of The Anatomy of the Soul: An Authentic Psychology which posits an original theoretical model of the Soul or Transcendent Psyche. She has plans to publish her next book, Malignant Masculine Power, which posits an original model of gender psychopathology and psychosocial pathology. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in psychology at Saybrook University. Her passions in reading are psychology, philosophy, spiritual transformation, gender studies, and social and economic justice. She loves reading, writing, gardening, and listening to classical and easy listening music. She can be reached at wmwoodward@msn.com.

References
Babiak, P., & Hare, R.D. (2007). Snakes in suits: When psychopaths go to work. New York:
Harper Collins.
Bakan, J. (2005). The corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power. New York: Simon &
Schuster.
Bly, R. (1988). A little book about the human shadow. W. Booth (Ed.). San Francisco: Harper Collins.
Campbell, J. (1964). The masks of God: Occidental mythology. New York: Penguin Books.
Hare, R.D. (1993). Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. New York:
Guilford Press.
Johnson, R. (1991). Owning your own shadow: Understanding the dark side of the psyche. San
Francisco: Harper Collins.
Jung, C. (1959). Aion: Researches into the phenomenology of the Self. R.F.C. Hull (Trans.), Collected
Works, Vol. 9, Part II. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. New York:
Jason Aronson.
Kernberg, O.F. (1998). Pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder:
Theoretical background and diagnostic classification. In E.F. Ronningstam (Ed.),
Disorders of narcissism: Diagnostic, clinical, and empirical implications (pp. 29-51).
Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.
Lachkar, J. (1992). The narcissistic/borderline couple: A psychoanalytic perspective on marital
treatment. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Lasch, C. (1991). The culture of narcissism: An American life in an age of diminishing expectations.
New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Singer, J. (1972). Boundaries of the soul: The practice of Jung’s psychology. New York: Random House.
Stein, M. (1998). Jung’s map of the soul: An introduction. Chicago: Open Court.
Von Franz, M. (1995). Projection and re-collection in Jungian psychology: Reflections of the soul.
Chicago: Open Court.
Walker, B.B. (1995) (Trans.). The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.




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http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A676370

Quote:The Stages of the Alchemical Opus

Elevating logic, rational thinking to such a superior position in western culture has meant that the alchemical perspective has become unintelligible, almost impossible to fathom. Embedded as we are in a scientific paradigm, the imagery and symbolic language of alchemy is presented as primitive, regressive and abnormal. Considered outmoded, outdated, or redundant by the majority, what possible purpose can alchemy therefore have in modern day life?

To gain an understanding of the meaning of its many images and symbols one would have to enter the imaginative world in which many alchemists lived and worked. It was a world in which mystery and spirituality took precedence over problem solving. In the alchemical imagination, for instance, the opposites unite, being linked together by hidden connections and identities, sometimes creating a magical third, which transcends ordinary consciousness. The famous alchemical saying 'as above, so below' epitomises the duplicity present in many of its operations. This paradoxical, non-technological approach seems a far cry from the customary black or white, pragmatic notions of consciousness.

In the common imagination, the goal of alchemy was to treat base matter in such a way as to transform it into gold. In this respect, alchemy is the art of transmutation, the transformation of a given substance into a higher one. But this was no ordinary gold and, understood metaphorically, translates as the innate value of a substance, or a deep insight or realisation. This 'inner' treasure, which required dedication, religious devotion, and the grace of God to obtain, was most commonly referred to as the philosopher's stone.

Discovering alchemy to be the historical counterpart to his own psychology of the unconscious, the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) saw in its operations a metaphor for realisation of the Self, the outcome of what Jung called the process of individuation. Furthermore, Jung was convinced that alchemy provided a model and a map for defining inner experiences, as well as a symbolic system for their expression. He also took the various alchemical terms to refer to stages of the analytical process. The alchemist therefore portrayed many of the problems of modern psychology through their lively, often bizarre images and metaphorical language. Such images, which were experienced as a property of matter, were in fact projections of unconscious processes, or fantasies. These fantasies are the basic currency of modern day dreams and nightmares.

Since the beginning of the Christian era, four stages of the alchemical opus1 or sacred work - a search for the supreme and ultimate value - were distinguished, characterised by the original colours described by the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesos (535 BC-475 BC): melanosis (blackening), leukosis (whitening), xanthosis (yellowing), and iosis (reddening). Colour symbolism was important in alchemy, with the changes of colour associated with the successive transformation of matter, and the movement from one level of being to another. Because the alchemist and his work were closely interwoven, these colour changes also represent states of consciousness and felt visions that are unique in themselves.

Later in the 15th or 16th Century the colours were reduced to three, with the yellowing stage falling into disuse. This was probably due to the symbolical significance of the quaternity and the trinity; in other words, it was due to religious and psychological reasons2. Alchemy, however, continued to treat with four elements (fire, air, earth, and water) and four qualities (hot, cold, dry, and moist). It also made reference to the archetypal influence of planetary bodies upon the psyche, and the complexes, fantasies and behaviours they generate. Progress through the stages was said to be strewn with obstacles and, at times, highly dangerous. In many ways, it describes a journey of the human soul.

The three stages (using Latin names) of the alchemical opus are:

Nigredo or Blackening

At the beginning is the so-called 'dragon', the chthonic spirit, the 'devil' or 'blackness'. The nigredo, as the initial stage, is either present as a quality of the prima materia (or original substance), or else produced by the separation (solutio, separatio, putrefactio) of the elements. Either way, the encounter with 'blackness' destroys the original form to produce chaos, suffering or pain.

The elements are often represented anthropomorphically by male and female, but also in terms of planets and their corresponding metal. That is, the planets in heaven correspond to the metals in the earth:

Sun = gold
Moon = silver
Mercury = quicksilver
Venus = copper
Mars = iron
Jupiter = tin
Saturn = lead
It was thought that as the planets revolve around the Earth, they gradually spin their corresponding metals into the earth, which can be extracted by chemical operations.

These elements are then grouped into opposites (eg, King-Queen, Sun-Moon, Mars-Venus, etc, which are brought together in a union (coniunctio, coitus); the product of this union then dies (mortificatio, putrefactio, calcinatio) to produce the blackening of the nigredo.

Psychologically, the prima materia is identical with an undifferentiated, disintegrated, chaotic, unconscious mind, containing all the potential, all the dynamic oppositions, necessary to achieve the goal of the opus. The separatio and divisio, like the division and multiplication of cells in the developing embryo, are needed to get the process of synthesis started. In Jungian terms, the separatio is necessary to help differentiate the ego from the shadow, from the anima or animus, and from the Self.

The blackening is about depression, the melancholia, that is often the initial stage causing one to slow down and examine life, that brings one into therapy, and that deepens when one encounters the shadow side of personality. The shadow is the inferior part of the personality; sum of all personal and collective psychic elements which, because of their incompatibility with the chosen conscious attitude, are denied expression in life and therefore coalesce into a relatively autonomous 'splinter personality' with contrary tendencies in the unconscious. The shadow behaves compensatorily to consciousness; hence its effects can be positive as well as negative. The encounter with the shadow is invariably experienced as a mortificatio: dark shadow aspects of the Self have to be confronted and assimilated into consciousness; the feelings of guilt, worthlessness and powerlessness have to be suffered, taken on and worked through. As a prelude to resolving conflicts and warring elements in the psyche, a cleansing process was required involving an examination and withdrawal of projections. The nigredo stage was known by the alchemists to be dangerous: poisonous vapours of lead and quick silver (mercury) were generated or the vessel itself might explode due to over-heating. Safety apart - the alchemist, paradoxically, had to observe the value of patience in order to move the work on.

Albedo or Whitening

In alchemical language, matter suffers until the nigredo disappears and a new day dawns. The material slowly starts coming back to life. The albedo, the second stage, was said to result from the washing (ablutio, baptisma) of the products of this nigredo. Psychologically, it represents the later stages of shadow integration within the intimacy of the analytic 'retort' - the process of washing one's dirty linen in public; it being in the gross matter or 'shadow' of our worldly affairs where contamination has taken place.

In some traditions, the nigredo constitutes the 'death' of the prima materia - in analysis, a dying to old habits, attitudes and patterns of relating, to childhood attachments and dependencies, and the withdrawal of psychologically naive projections; at the moment of 'death' the soul (ie, the anima) is released, refined and then reunited with the revitalised materia to produce the glorious stage of many colours - called the 'peacock's tail,' the caudis pavonis, which then transforms into white (albedo), which contains all colours, like 'white' light. This moment is highly rewarding, though still a sort of abstract, ideal state. Jung compared it with daybreak, the preparation for the next and final stage, which is the sunrise.

Rubedo or Reddening

To make the opus come alive into a fully human mode of existence it must have 'blood', or what the alchemists call the rubedo or 'reddness' of life. In this final stage, the white becomes united with red through the raising of the heat in the fire. The white is associated with the Queen and the red with the King, who now arise out of the mercurial, tranformative 'waters' of the unconscious to perform their coniunctio oppositorum, the union of all opposites as symbolised by the conjunction of the archetypal masculine and feminine in the 'chymical marriage', the hieros gamos3. This results in the grand climax, the achievement of the goal - the lapis philosophorum, the hermaphrodite embodying the united King and Queen. This is the so-called 'third thing', the 'Rebis', the phenomenon of the union of love and soul itself, the soul that is engendered through love - this 'divine birth' symbolising a re-awakening of psychological reality, a new ruling consciousness.

Final Comments

In Jungian terms, these three stages could be seen as symbolic expressions of the stages of individuation. Individuation is the process by which we move towards the integration of the opposites, their transcendence, and finally bringing into consciousness of the Self. It can also be seen as a redemptive process of recovering spirit, soul or Self from the unconscious: nigredo, as the first stage, is about recognising and integrating the shadow; nigredo psychology asks what is wrong in the physical realm, looks for the psychosomatic symptom, and then moves to purging or cathartic remedies, as literal, gross measures based in emotional identification, bodywork, and literal history such as childhood experience.4.

Interestingly, Kerényi5 associates the nigredo with the archetype of the wounded healer and the birth of healing power. According to Greek mythology a black crow appears at the birth of Asklepios. His mother, Coronis (the crow maiden), while pregnant with Asklepios by Apollo, had intercourse with Ischys. On reporting this infidelity to Apollo, the crow was turned from white to black. Coronis was killed for her crime, but the infant Asklepios was snatched from her womb while placed on the funeral pyre. This myth highlights how death and life are inextricably linked, and that only by staying with the darkness of suffering can one find the germs of light, healing and recovery 6.

The albedo, the second stage, parallels the integration of the opposites - in alchemical terms, the conjunction, the heiros gamos or marriage between male and female. One is in a reflective state of consciousness after the tortures of the nigredo. As a whitening phase everything is seen under the light of the moon, rather than the clarifying or discriminating light of the sun. It can be a world of illusions and mirrors; sublime, pure and ideological, not to be sullied by the gross, mundane world.

However, as if to underline the interrelatedness of the three stages, the moon was considered as the shadow of the sun; its symbolism signifying germination and decay, light changing to darkness, and death and rebirth.

In the final stage, rubedo, the philosopher's gold has been produced, the goal of the opus complete - the recognition, the acceptance and the integration of opposites has led to their transcendence and the experience of Self. One now stands on solid ground, entering the world more soulfully, living life more vitally, to the full. On the horizon the 'shadows' begin to form, and one prepares yet again to enter the cycle of change.

1 This division of the process into four was termed the 'quartering of the philosophy.
2 CG Jung (1989) Psychology and Alchemy, Routledge, London.
3 On the psychological significance of the sacred marriage between the solar King and lunar Queen, see CG Jung (1983) The Psychology of the Transference, Routledge and Kegan Paul(Ark edition), London (from The Practice of Psychotherapy, Collected Works, Volume 16)
4 See Alan Bleakley (1989) Facing the Shadow of the New Age, Gateway Books, Bath.
5 Carl Kerényi (1959) Asklepios: Archetypal Image of the Physician's Existence, Pantheon, New York.
6 See Edward F Edinger (1994) Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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