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The Archetype of the Self

The Archetype of the Self: A Journey into Wholeness

Within the vast landscape of archetypes that populate our collective unconscious, one stands as the ultimate orchestrator—the Archetype of the Self. Coined by the eminent psychologist Carl Jung, the Self represents the totality of the psyche, the unification of all opposing elements into a harmonious whole. As we embark on this exploration of the Archetype of the Self, we delve into the realms of individuation, symbols, and the profound journey toward wholeness.


Individuation: The Path to Self-Realization

At the core of Jungian psychology is the concept of individuation—an ongoing process where an individual integrates disparate aspects of the psyche into a unified Self. The Archetype of the Self serves as a beacon, guiding us through this transformative journey of self-realization.

The Self then is described as the the highest realization of your own uniqueness. Its the full realization of in-born possibilities. The realization of the wholeness of our essence. As such it is an unachievable ideal. An ideal that is a guide and not so much a final target.

The Self stands opposite to the unconscious longings of the collective- the compulsivness of conventional thinking. The individuation of the self starts with recognizing that the trodded paths of society are not for you and you need to walk new paths that comes with all its challengegs and uncertainties.

It can only really happen through an outer or inner emergency – in times where things have to change. But instead of falling back to the default solution of society, the belief in oneself emerges and the inner voice of a higher calling start to become hearable.

In that journey then, you turn away from society beliefes, you step into solitude and trust your own calling.

It should not be confused with individualism – because individualism is vanity. It is not about pleasing yourself or others but the deep need of expressing something within you that otherwise would remain unconscious.

Many of us never ask these questions of what our calling of life actually is, the confort of the collective is more easy. Thats why the self is often represented as the hero. The hero stands out of the collective, the hero ventures on new paths and dangers. The adventure might fail and is highly dangerous.

Thats is why the hero is often given demonic or divine attridbutes, because only someone who is obsessed by a higher force would venture into a highly dangerous endevour. Heracles was half god, Sokrates had the voice of the daimon in him, nordic heros had snake eyes…

But it is only through that belief and trust in that call that a higher realization of the Self is possible and so every danger is worth the prize.

The Archetype of The Self

Symbols of the Self

Symbolism: Mandala as the Blueprint of the Self

The mandala, a sacred and universal symbol, encapsulates the essence of the Self. Representing the integration of opposites, the mandala mirrors the process of individuation. From ancient spiritual traditions to modern psychology, the mandala becomes a map guiding individuals toward the discovery of their truest Self.

The Shadow and the Self: A Dance of Integration

Integral to the concept of the Self is the acknowledgment of the Shadow—the concealed aspects of ourselves we deem undesirable. Confronting the Shadow is an essential part of the individuation journey, and the Archetype of the Self acts as a mediator, inviting the integration of these shadowy facets.

The Hero’s Journey: A Quest for Wholeness

As we navigate life’s challenges, we embark on a Hero’s Journey—a narrative deeply intertwined with the Archetype of the Self. The Hero’s Journey, a universal motif in mythology, literature, and film, reflects the human quest for self-discovery and wholeness.

Transcending Duality: The Unity of Opposites

The Archetype of the Self invites us to transcend dualities—masculine and feminine, light and shadow. Embracing the unity of opposites, individuals move closer to a holistic understanding of themselves and their place in the world. This is also symbolically represented as the union of the Anima and Animus achetypes.

Crafting the Philosophers Stone

The world of Alchemy is filled with images and symbols of the Self. The quest of the alchemist is seemingly many. It is the creation of the elixir of life, of transforming lead to gold, to finding the philosophers stone.

In all of this, the quest is a spiritual one – all of the tools and techniques of the alchemist are ultimately the unification of the soul. The integration of the self which Jung called individuation. And so the differnt chemical processes of purifications become symbolic tools of purifiying the soul.

The Triple Godess

For the female psyche there is a special symbol that Jung called the “Kore” Figure (Korefigur) which is better known in mythology and spirituality as the Triple Godess symbolized by the three moons of the waning, waxing and full moon, which again symbolizes the woman as daughter, mother and crane which is really one in every woman and as such represents the wholeness of Self.

Conclusion: Rediscovering the Essence Within

In the unfolding tapestry of the Archetype of the Self, we find an invitation to rediscover our true essence. The journey toward wholeness, guided by the Self, is an odyssey of profound self-discovery, integration, and the realization of the interconnectedness of all aspects of the psyche. As we embrace this archetypal force, we embark on a transformative expedition toward the authentic core of our being.

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Editorial Note: Morella&Ulalume Editors may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
Furthermore the content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Prior to making any health-related decisions, including the use of supplements or dealing with decisions that can affect your mental health, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare provider.


by Ulalume

Ulalume is a seasoned writer with a passion for creativity, personal growth, and holistic living. She hold a profound knowledge and interest in self-development, spirituality, and the power of mindfulness in daily life. With a deep appreciation for journaling, meditation, and various esoteric practices, Orion enjoys sharing her knowledge to inspire others on their journey of self-discovery. Orion spent 5 years as an apprentice in shamanic practices, depth psychology, and shadow work with spiritual teachers and went on to travel the world for finding untraveled paths within and without.

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