jung mandala

Jungian Psychology Glossary of Concepts

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a famous Swiss psychiatrist who began his exploration of the unconscious while he was a pupil of Sigmund Freud in his early psychiatric years; he credited for being the father of analytic psychology, which was an evolution of  Freud’s school of psychoanalytic thought. Jung developed many psychological theories which are still widely studied and researched to this very day, and was responsible, along with Freud, for making the concept of the unconscious known to the world through extensive analysis of his patient’s dreams.

Among Jung’s many theories are the concepts of the collective unconscious, archetypes, the anima/animus, synchronicity (meaningful coincidences), psychic phenomenon and introverted and extraverted personality types. Jung also developed the use of word association tests as a means of investigating the link between a patients conscious thoughts and their unconscious fears and desires. Jung believed that the process of individuation – the integration of the conscious and unconscious mind – was the only way for a ‘splintered’ man to become whole, and was therefore the ultimate goal of psychotherapy. He developed a method for achieving individuation which he termed Active Imagination – the confronting of unconscious archetypes by method of dream analysis and drawing of mandalas.

Carl Jung was a remarkable individual who blazed a fiery trail in the field of psychology that none have matched since. He is most well known for his extensive studies on Eastern philosophy, the occult, and psychic phenomena; his Collected Works comprises of nearly 20 volumes. American mythologist Joseph Campbell picked up the pieces that Jung left behind him, and formed his theory of the monomyth – the single myth that all myths draw from – which was inspired by Jung’s concept of archetypes who he had developed from his examining of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. My thought is also hugely influenced by Jung, and so I thought a glossary of his most used terms and concepts would be useful for readers of this blog who are unaware of his work; hopefully this post sparks a flame of interest in you, and results in you choosing to seek out the wisdom of Carl Jung for yourself.


Amplification – Elaboration and clarification of a dream-image by means of directed association and of parallels from the humane science (symbology, mythology, mysticism, folklore, history of religion, ethnology, etc.).

Anima and Animus – Personification of the feminine nature of a man’s unconscious and masculine nature of a woman’s. This psychological bisexuality is a reflection of the biological fact that it is the larger number of male (or female) genes which is the  decisive factor in the determination of sex. The smaller number of contrasexual genes seems to produce a corresponding contrasexual character, which usually remains unconscious. Anima and animus manifest themselves most typically in personified form as figures in dreams and fantasies (“dream girl”,  “dream-lover”), or in the irrationalities of a man’s feeling and a woman’s thinking. As regulators of behaviour they are two of the most influential archetypes.

C. G. Jung: “Every man carries with him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definitive feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organism of the man, an imprint or ‘archetype; of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by woman… Since this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, and is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion.” (The Development of Personality, Collected Works, Vol. 17, p. 198.)

The natural function of the animus (as well as of the anima) is to remain in [their] place between individual consciousness and the collective unconscious; exactly as the persona as a sort of stratum between the ego consciousness and the objects of the external world. The animus and the anima should function as a bridge, or a door, leading to the images of the collective unconscious, as the persona should be a sort of bridge into the world.” (Unpublished Seminar Notes. “Visions” I, p. 116.)

Archetype – C. G. Jung:The concept of the archetype… is derived from the repeated observation that, for instance, the myths and fairy tales of world literature contain definite motifs which crop up everywhere. We meet these same motifs in the fantasies, dreams, deleria, and delusions of individuals living to-day. These typical images and associations are what I call archetypal ideas. The more vivid they are, the more they will be coloured by particularly strong feeling-tones… They impress, influence, and fascinate us. They have their origin in the archetype, which in itself is an irrepresentable, unconscious, pre-existent form that seems to be part of the inherited structure of the psyche and can therefore manifest itself spontaneously anywhere, at any time. Because of its instinctual nature, the archetype underlies the feeling-tones complexes and shares their autonomy.”  (Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works, Vol. 10, par. 847.)

“It seems to me probably that the real nature of the archetype as such is not capable of being made conscious, that it is transcendent, on which account I call it psychoid” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 213.)

Association – The linking of ideas, perceptions, etc. according to similarity, coexistence, opposition, and causal dependence. Free association in Freudian dream interpretation: spontaneous ideas occurring to the dreamer, which need not necessarily refer to the dream situation. Directed or controlled association in Jungian dream interpretation: spontaneous ideas which proceed from a given dream situation and constantly relate to it.

Association Test – Methods for discovering complexes by measuring the reaction time and interpreting the answers to given stimulus words.

Complex-indicators – Prolonged reaction time, faults, or the idiosyncratic quality of the answers when the stimulus words touch on complexes which the subject wishes to hide or is not conscious of.

Complex – C. G. Jung:Complexes are psychic fragments which have split off owing to traumatic influences or certain incompatible tendencies. As the association experiments prove, complexes interfere with the intentions of the will and disturb the conscious performance: they produce disturbances of memory and blockages in the flow of association; they appear and disappear according to their own laws; they can temporarily obsess consciousness, or influence speech and action in an unconscious way. In a word, complexes behave like independent beings, a fact especially evident in abnormal states of mind. In the voices heard by the insane they even take on a personal ego-character like that of the spirits who manifest themselves through automatic writing and similar techniques.” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 121.)

Consciousness – C. G. Jung: “When one reflects upon what consciousness really is, one is profoundly impressed by the extreme wonder of the fact that an event which takes place outside in the cosmos simultaneously produces an internal image, that it takes place, so to speak, inside as well, which is to say: becomes conscious.” (Basel Seminar, privately printed, 1934, p.1)

“For indeed our consciousness does not create itself – it wells up from unknown depths. In childhood it awakens gradually, and all through life it wakes each morning out of the depths of sleep from an unconscious condition. It is like the child that is born daily out of the primordial womb of the unconscious.” (Psychology and Religion: West and East, Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 569.)

Dream – C. G. Jung: The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego consciousness may extend… All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so infantile, never so grotesque, never so immoral.” (Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works, Vol. 10.)

Extraversion – Attitude-type characterised by concentration of interest on the external object. See Introversion.

God-image – A term derived from the Church Fathers, according to whom the imago Dei (image of God) is imprinted on the human soul. When such an image is spontaneously produced in dreams, fantasies, visions, etc. it is, from the psychological point of view, a symbol of the self, of psychic wholeness.

C. G. Jung: “It is only through the psyche that we can establish that God acts upon us, but we are unable to distinguish whether God and the unconscious are two different entities. Both are border-line concepts for transcendental contents. But empirically it can be established, with a sufficient degree of probability, that there is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness which manifests itself spontaneously in dreams, etc., and a tendency, independent of the conscious will, to relate other archetypes to this centre. Consequently, it does not seem improbably that the archetype produces a symbolism which has always characterised and expressed the Deity… The God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such, but with a special content of it, namely the archetype of the self. It is this archetype from which we can no longer distinguish the God-image empirically.” (Psychology and Religion: West and East, Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 468.)

“One can, then, explain the God-image… as a reflection of the self, or conversely, explain the self as an imago Dei (image of God) in man.” (Ibid., p. 190.)

Hierosgamos – Sacred or spiritual marriage, union of archetypal figures in the rebirth mysteries of antiquity and also in alchemy. Typical examples are the representation of Christ and the Church as bridegroom and bride and the alchemical conjunction of sun and moon; in Hinduism there is the unification of Lord Shiva and Shakti. In Jungian psychology this would be the coming together of the conscious and unconscious, or the Anima and Animus archetypes with the self. These constant motifs point towards Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious.

Individuation – C. G. Jung: “I use the term ‘individuation’ to denote the process by which a person becomes a psychological ;individual’, that is, a separate, indivisible unity or ‘whole’.” (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 275)

“Individuation means becoming a single, homogenous being, and, in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realisation’” (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 171.)

“But again and again I note that the individuation process is confused with the coming of the ego into consciousness and that the ego is in consequence identified with the self, which naturally produces a hopeless conceptual muddle. Individuation is then nothing but ego-centeredness and autoeroticism. But the self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego… It is as much one’s self, and all other selves, as the ego. Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to one’s self.” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 226.)

Inflation – Expansion of the personality beyond its proper limits by identification with the persona or with an archetype, or in pathological cases with a historical or religious figure. It produces an exaggerated sense of one’s self-importance and is usually compensated by feelings of inferiority.

Introversion – Attitude-type characterised by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents. See Extraversion.

Mana – Melanesian word for extraordinarily effective power emanating from a human being, object, action or event, or from supernatural beings and spirits. Also health, prestige, power to work magic and to heal. A primitive concept of psychic energy.

Mandala – Sanskrit for circle. Symbol of the centre goal, or of the self as psychic totality; self-representation of a psychic process of centering; production of a new centre of personality. This is symbolically represented by the circle, the square, or the quaternity, by symmetrical arrangements of the number four and its multiples. In Lamism and Tantric Yoga the mandala is an instrument of contemplation (yantra), seat and birthplace of the Gods. Disturbed mandala: Any form that deviates from the circle, square, or equal-armed cross, or whose basic number is not four or its multiples.

C. G. Jung: “Mandala means a circle, more especially a magic circle, and this form of symbolism is not only to be found all through the East, but also among us; mandalas are amply represented in the Middle Ages. Most of them show Christ in the centre, with the four evangelists, or their symbols, at the cardinal points… For the most part, the mandala form is that of a flower, cross, or wheel, with a distinct tendency towards four as the basis of the structure.” (The Secret of the Golden Flower, 1945, p. 96.)

“Mandalas… usually appear in situations of psychic confusion and disorientation. The archetype thereby constellated represents a pattern of order which, like a psychological ‘view-finder’ marked with a cross or circle divided into four, is superimposed on the psychic chaos so that each content falls into place and the weltering confusion is held together by the protective circle… At the same time they are yantras, instruments with whose help the order is brought into being.” (Civilisation in Transition, Collected Works, Vol. 10, par. 803.)

Numinosum – Rudolf Otto’s term (in his Idea of the Holy) for the inexpressible, mysterious, terrifying, directly experienced and pertaining only to the divinity.

Persona – Originally, the mask worn by an actor. In relation to an individual, persona is similar to the use of the word-concept ego.

C. G. Jung:The persona… is the individual’s system of adaptation to, or the manner he assumed in dealing with, the world. Every calling or profession, for example, has its own characteristic persona… Only, the danger is that (people) become identical with their personas – the professor with his textbook, the tenor with his voice… One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.” (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 122.)

Primordial Image – Term originally used by Jung for archetype.

Psychoid – ‘soul like’ or ‘quasi-psychic’

C. G. Jung: “The collective unconscious represents a psyche that… cannot be directly perceived or ‘represented’, in contrast to the perceptible psychic phenomena, and on account of its ‘irrepresentable’ nature I have called it psychoid.” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 436.)

Quaternity – A quaternity or quaternion often has a 3+1 structure, in that one of the terms composing it occupies an exceptional position or has a nature unlike that of the others. (For instance three of the symbols of the Evangelists are animals, and that of the fourth, or St. Luke, is an Angel.) This is the ‘Fourth’, which, added to the other three, makes them ‘One’, symbolising totality. In analytical psychology often the ‘inferior’ function (i.e., that function which is not at the conscious disposal of the subject) represents the ‘Fourth’ and its integration into consciousness is one of the major tasks of the process of individuation. In Christianity, the focus is on the trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), however, Jung viewed this as inadequate as it purposely left absent the evil or shadow counterpart – the Devil – which must be integrated by the trinity in order to become One; good cannot exist without evil and vice versa, once the two concepts merge, all concepts shatter and is replaced by non-duality, or Oneness.

C. G. Jung:The quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgement. Id one wishes to pass such a judgement, it must have this fourfold aspect. For instance, if you want to describe the horizon as a whole, you name the four quarters of heaven…There are always four elements, four prime qualities, four colours, four castes, four ways of spiritual development etc. So, too, there are four aspects of psychological orientation… In order to orient ourselves, we must have a function which ascertains that something is there (sensation); a second function which establishes what it is (thinking); a third function which states whether it suits us or not, whether we wish to accept it or not (feeling), and a fourth function which indicates where it came from and where it is going (intuition). When this has been done, there is nothing more to say… The ideal completeness is the circle or sphere, but its natural minimal division is a quaternity.” (Psychology and Religion West and East, Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 167.)

Self – The central archetype; the archetype of order; the totality of the personality. Symbolised by circle, square, quaternity, child, mandala etc. For centuries the Hindus have referred to the self as the Atman, and see it as the true self which is hidden behind our thoughts and concepts, in other words the socially constructed ego or persona.

C. G. Jung: “The self is a quantity that is superordinate to the conscious ego. It embraces not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche, and is therefore, so to speak, a personality which we also are… There is little hope of our ever being able to reach even approximate consciousness of the self, since however much we may make conscious there will always exist an indeterminate and indeterminable amount of unconscious material which belongs to the totality of the self.” (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 175.)

“The self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both consciousness and unconsciousness; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of the conscious mind.” (Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works, Vol. 12, p. 41.)

“The self is our life’s goal, for it is the completest expression of that fateful combination we call individuality.” (Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 238.)

Shadow – 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. Every individual has a shadow and it is a powerful archetype that often appears in ones dreams; the psychic fragments of their unconscious. Confronting the shadow is one of the major stepping stones to the path of individuation or self-realisation.The shadow behaves compensatorily to consciousness; hence its effects can be positive as well as negative.

C. G. Jung: “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly – for instance, inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies.” (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 284.)

“The shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious… If it has been believed hitherto that the human shadow was the source of all evil, it can now be ascertained on closer investigation that the unconscious man, that is, his shadow, does not consist only of morally reprehensible tendencies, but also displays a number of good qualities, such as normal instincts, appropriate reaction, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc.” (Aion, Collected Works, Vol. 9, part 2 p. 266.)

Soul – C. G. Jung: “If the human soul is anything, it must be of unimaginable complexity and diversity, so that it cannot possibly be approached through a mere psychology of instinct. I can only gaze with wonder and awe at the depths and heights of our psychic nature. Its non-spatial universe conceals an untold abundance of images which have accumulated over millions of years of living development and become fixed in the organism. My consciousness is like an eye that penetrates to the most distant spaces, yet it is the psychic non-ego that fills them with non-spatial images. And these images are not pale shadows, but tremendously powerful psychic factors… Besides this picture I would like to place the spectacle of the starry heavens at night, for the only equivalent of the universe within is the universe without; and just as I reach this world through the medium of the body, so I reach that world through the medium of the psyche.” (Freud and Psychoanalysis, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 331.)

“It would be blasphemy to assert that God can manifest Himself everywhere save only in the human soul. Indeed the very intimacy of the relationship between God and the soul automatically precludes any devaluation of the latter. It would be going perhaps too far to speak of an affinity; but at all events the soul must contain in itself the faculty of relation to God, i.e a correspondence, otherwise a connection could never come about. This correspondence is, in psychological terms, the archetype of the God-image.” (Psychology and Alchemy, Collected Works, Vol. 12, p. 10.)

Synchronicity – A term coined by Jung to designate the meaningful coincidence or equivalence (a) of a psychic and a physical state or event which have no causal relationship to one another. Such synchronistic phenomena occur, for instance, when an inwardly perceived event (dream, vision, premonition, etc.) is seen to have a correspondence in external reality: the inner image of premonition has ‘come true’. (b) if similar or identical thoughts, dreams etc. occurring at the same time at different places. neither the one nor the other coincidence can be explained by causality, but seem to be connected primarily with activated archetypal processes in the unconscious.

C. G. Jung: “My preoccupation with the psychology of unconscious processes long ago compelled me to look about for another principle of explanation, because the causality principle seemed to me inadequate to explain certain remarkable phenomena of the psychology of the unconscious. Thus I found that there are psychic parallelisms which cannot be related to each other causally, but which must be connected through another principle, namely the contingency of events. This connection of events seems to me essentially given by the fact of their relative simultaneity, hence the term ‘synchronistic’. It seems, indeed, as though time, far from being an abstraction, is a concrete continuum which contains qualities or basic conditions that manifest themselves simultaneously in different places through parallelisms that cannot be explained causally, as, for example, in cases of the simultaneous occurrence of identical thoughts, symbols, or psychic states”. (The Secret of the Golden Flower, 1945, p. 142.)

“I chose this term because the simultaneous occurrence of two meaningful but not causally connected events seemed to me an essential criterion. I am therefore using the general concept of synchronicity in the special sense of a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or a similar meaning, in contrast to ‘synchronism’, which simply means the simultaneous occurrence of two events.” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 441.)

“Synchronicity is no more baffling or mysterious than the discontinuities of physics. It is only the ingrained belief in the sovereign power of causality that creates intellectual difficulties and make it appear unthinkable that causeless events exist or could ever occur… Meaningful coincidences are unthinkable as pure chance. But the more they multiply and the greater and more exact the correspondence is, the more their probability sinks and their unthinkability increases, until they can no longer be regarded as pure chance, but, for lack of causal explanation, have to be thought of as meaningful ‘arrangements’… Their ‘inexplicability’ is not due to the fact that the cause is unknown, but to the fact that a cause is not even thinkable in intellectual terms.” (Ibid, p. 518.)

Unconscious, The – C. G. Jung: “Theoretically, no limits can be set to the field of consciousness, since it is capable of indefinite extension. Empirically, however, it always finds its limit when it comes up against the unknown. This consists of everything we do not know, which, therefore, is not related to the ego as the centre of the field of consciousness. The unknown falls into two groups of objects: those which are outside and can be experienced by the senses, and those which are inside and are experienced immediately. The first group comprises the unknown in the outer world; the second the unknown in the inner world. We call this latter territory the unconscious..” (Aion, Collected Works, Vol. 9, part 2, p. 3.)

“Everything of which I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometimes come to consciousness: all this is the content of the unconscious.” (The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 185.)

“Besides these we must include all more or less international repressions of painful thoughts and feelings. I call the sum of all these contents the personal unconscious. But, over and above that, we also find in the unconscious qualities that are not individually acquired but are inherited,, e.g. instincts as impulses to carry out actions from necessity, without conscious motivation. In this ‘deeper’ stratum we also find the archetypes… The instincts and archetypes together form the collective unconscious. I call it ‘collective’ because, unlike the personal consciousness, it is not made up of individual and more or less unique contents but of those which are universal and of regular occurrence.” (Ibid, p. 133.)

“The first group comprises contents which are integral components of the individual personality and therefore could just as well be conscious; the second group forms, as it were, an omnipresent, unchanging, and everywhere identical quality or substrata of the psyche per se.” (Aion, Collected Works, Vol. 9, part 2, p. 7.)

“The deeper ‘Layers’ of the psyche lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness. ‘Lower down’, that is to say as they approach the autonomous functional systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalised and extinguished in the body’s materiality, i.e., in chemical substances. The body’s carbon is simply carbon. Hence ‘at bottom’ the psyche is simple ‘world.’ (The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 173.)

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