Check out my review of Ken Wilber's latest book Finding Radical Wholeness

Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Ray Harris Ray Harris is a frequent contributor to this website. He has written articles on 9/11, boomeritis, the Iraq war and Third Way politics. Harris lives in Australia and can be contacted at: [email protected].

Revisioning Individuation

Bringing Jung into the intregral fold

Ray Harris

"But the Jungian light is one we must use with much caution…"[1]

In his many works Wilber discusses Jung relatively briefly. The concerns he raises however, are legitimate. Jung's reticence to embrace the spiritual nature of his work has led Jungian psychology to diminish spirit, to avoid confrontation with spirit. Yet, were Jung alive today I believe he would see in Wilber a way to express that which he was 'aching' to affirm. Read Jung and you see spirit dancing everywhere. Unfortunately Jung cautiously conformed to the prejudices of the day and he restrained his most controversial conclusions. Privately, apparently, the story was quite different. Jeffrey Raff, a Jungian therapist who wishes to restore Jung's spiritual side says this:

"A student, colleague, and friend of Dr. Jung, von Franz seemed to us to hold the key to a deeper understanding of Jung's theories. We spoke frequently of the written tradition versus the oral tradition of Jungian psychology, for there were major differences between the Jung of the Collected Works and the Jung as von Franz presented him. Von Franz spoke of a Jung who was a spiritual teacher, who knew full well that the inner work was of paramount importance."[2]

I believe the time is now ripe to revisit Jung. With Wilber's model in mind I believe we can re-spiritualise Jung's theories. In doing so I also believe we open the way for an integral path of individuation, from chthonic Self as dragon/serpent to the radiant Self as unio mystica. Such a path will use 'active imagination' as an essential ingredient in recovering the Self from the unconscious realms of the psyche.


Wilber's principle criticism of Jung is that he failed to clearly define archetypes. A view shared by Michael Adams, who says:

"…and yet no other term has been the source of so much definitional confusion. Part of the reason is that Jung defined 'archetype' in different ways at different times. Sometimes he spoke of archetypes as if they were images. Sometimes, he distinguished more precisely between archetypes as unconscious forms devoid of any specific content and archetypal images as the conscious contents of those forms."[3]

Wilber argues that this in turn led Jung and the Jungians to commit the pre/trans fallacy. In 'The Eye of Spirit' Wilber gives three definitions of archetypes as used by Jung.[4]

  1. Archaic Image. Jung's earliest formulation and the most widely used. In this sense archetypes are 'phylogenetic heritage' stored in the collective unconscious.
  2. Structure devoid of Content. Jung held that archetypes themselves were devoid of content but attracted symbols to them. The archetypes are the deep structures behind the many symbolic representations.
  3. First forms in involution. The Forms on the edge of the Formless (a definition we will return to).

Now, in my reading of Jung it seems that he was always alluding to the archetypes as numinous, spiritual. Yet, in order to makes his ideas acceptable to the prejudices of the day he had to allow the possibility that they were 'archaic vestiges' as Freud had suggested. In 'On the Nature of the Psyche' Jung says.

"To the extent that the archetypes intervene in the shaping of conscious contents by regulating, modifying and motivating them, they act like the instincts. It is therefore very natural to suppose that these factors are connected to the instincts and to inquire whether the typical situational patterns which these collective form-principles apparently represent are not in the end identical with the instinctual patterns, namely, with the patterns of behaviour. I must admit that up to the present I have not laid hold of any argument that would finally refute this possibility."[5]

Of course this is a contentious point, even today. Yet, as Wilber would argue, this is a thoroughly flatland view, one that is disproved using the 'eye of contemplation'.
In the next paragraph however, Jung goes on to say:

"That is, the archetypes have, when they appear, a distinctly numinous character which can only be described as 'spiritual', if 'magical' is too strong a word. Consequently this phenomenon is of the utmost significance for the psychology of religion"[.6]

And here precisely is where the 'pre/trans' trap is laid. If one is so inclined, and many were, these 'numinous', 'spiritual', experiences can be said to be merely instinctual, with Jung admitting that he has no argument to counter this conclusion.

Jung was partially aware of the spectrum of the psyche, as this quote demonstrates:

"Psychic processes therefore behave like a scale along which consciousness 'slides'. At one moment it finds itself in the vicinity of instinct, and falls under its influence; at another, it slides along to the other end where spirit dominates and even assimilates the instinctual processes most opposed to it."[7]

Yet, when he returns to the archetypes, using the analogy of the light spectrum, with red representing the instinctual level and blue representing spirit, Jung again confuses the pre and the trans. He says:

"Violet is a compound of red and blue, although in the spectrum it is a colour in its own right. Now, it is, as it happens, rather more than just an edifying thought if we feel bound to emphasize that the archetype is more accurately characterized by violet…"[8]

Meaning that an archetype has both instinctual and spiritual aspects. The problem of course, is how to decide which aspect is predominant. This is a question that Jung left to the experience of the therapist. Again, to quote Jung:

"So regarded, psychic processes seem to be balances of energy flowing between spirit and instinct, though the question of whether a process is to be described as spiritual or as instinctual remains clouded in darkness."[9]

This is of course, where Wilber's model is extremely useful. It provides a way to delineate instinct from spirit. But before we return to this we need to finalise a definition of archetype.

The second definition Wilber has is 'structure devoid of content'. Jung says, " The archetype itself is empty and purely formal…" How do we now resolve the definition of archetype, a thing that is at one and the same time instinctual and spiritual, yet also pure form devoid of content?

Wilber's third definition is, and it is worth quoting Wilber at length:

"The entire manifest world arises out of the Formless (or causal Abyss), and the first forms to do so are the forms upon which all others will rest – they are the "arche-forms" or archetypes. Thus, in this use, the archetypes are the highest Forms of our own possibilities, the deepest Forms of our own potentials – but also the last barriers to the Formless and the Nondual." [10]

Such a definition is one that Jung, constrained as he was, could only hint at. Now we have a definition we can expand.

Archetypes then, are spiritual. They arise at the beginning of creation and remain as potentials. But how are they different to 'instinct'? Here we need to apply Wilber's Spectrum model. The archetypes are translated according to the level of consciousness apprehending them. This is where Wilber's second definition comes into play. As pure forms devoid of content we can say that the relative level of consciousness applies the content. In other words, a consciousness at the instinctual level will interpret an experience of the archetype as instinct, at the mythical level as myth, at the subtle level as a numinous form, and so on. Does Jung allow for such a possibility? Indeed he does:

"Such evaluation or interpretation depends entirely upon the standpoint or state of the conscious mind. A poorly developed consciousness, for instance, which because of massed projections is inordinately impressed by concrete or apparently concrete things and states, will naturally see in the instinctual drives the source of all reality. It remains blissfully unaware of the spirituality of such a philosophical surmise…"[11]

Here Jung clearly states that psychic processes are interpreted according to the developmental level of consciousness. We have already discussed Jung's 'sliding scale'. What Wilber does is delineate that scale.

Now, as Wilber reminds us, overall development does not proceed in a straight line. There are various streams and waves, with some streams held back, repressed and with others advancing at a pace. The same applies to archetypes. One archetype may be repressed and therefore manifest with lower level contents, whilst another may appear with numinous, subtle level contents. The process of individuation will therefore be quite different for each person as each archetype is freed to develop. In one person the puer may express itself as 'childish' symptoms, in another it may appear as an alchemical, numinous filius. In another the Virgin may appear as a fascination with young girls and in another as a numinous encounter with Mary, or the Buddhist Tara, who is often represented as a sixteen year old virgin. Needless to say, and the author is not naïve in this regard; there are important implications for analysis and the individuation process.

Wilber's position examined

Unfortunately, in his criticism of Jung in 'Sex, Ecology and Spirituality' Wilber takes only a partial look at the issue of archetypes, a view that seems to contradict his view in 'The Spectrum of Consciousness'. Of course Wilber has admitted that 'Spectrum' represents the 'romantic' Wilber, Wilber I, and that 'SES' represents Wilber IV. Taking this into consideration it would seem that Wilber has nonetheless failed to reinterpret archetypes in a way that solves the dilemma between Wilber I and Wilber IV; yet it seems to me the solution is 'intrinsic' to his system.

In 'SES' Wilber says:

"But as for the images and symbols and early concepts themselves, as for these 'archetypes', they lie in the direction downward, not upward."[12]

Yet, in 'Spectrum' Wilber says that Jungian archetypes exist in the Transpersonal bands and equates them with vajrayana visualisation techniques:

"Both Jungian analysis and Tibetan visualization techniques utilize these primordial forms for beneficial growth by seeking to elaborate and not shun them. In Jung's system, this is accomplished through the use of key dreams or images that reflect universal mythological motifs, so that one can establish a conscious relationship with the archetypes molding all human action instead of being their unwitting instrument."[13]

In 'Spectrum' Wilber is acknowledging that the archetypes exist at the 'trans' level. What caused the shift from Wilber I to Wilber IV? Of course the answer is the development of the pre/trans fallacy. In 'Eye to Eye' Wilber says:

"In my opinion, Jung was correctly trying to say that beyond the rational ego there lie important realms of consciousness; unfortunately, as we earlier explained, he failed to clearly distinguish the preegoic realms – which contain infantile magic and childish myth – from transegoic realms – which contain actual psychic and real archetypes. Having thus fallen into WV-2, I believe Jung spent much of his life trying to elevate primitive mythic images to subtle archetypes."[14]

Well, I would certainly agree that Jung failed to make the clear distinction, but I don't agree that he was trying to elevate 'mythic images' to 'subtle archetypes'. Jung made quite a point about not confusing the symbol for the archetype. The problem was not therefore in mistaking 'images' for archetypes, but in ascertaining from whence the archetypes arose in the first place.

What is the way out of this dilemma? That is, the difference between Wilber I, where archetypes seem to lie in the Transpersonal bands, and Wilber IV, where they are merely 'instinctual'? As we shall see Wilber actually provides the clue, but fails himself to fully and consistently apply the solution.

As I said above, the archetypes are spiritual forms, forms devoid of content. The content is provided by the translative capacity of a given level. Therefore an archetype may manifest as a complex, a myth (as dream motif or cultural artefact), a rational concept, or a subtle level experience. The confusion occurs when we mistake the translated symbol/affect for the archetype itself. And this is a confusion both Wilber and Jung make.

In 'SES' Wilber argues:

"…but these archetypes cannot be explained as an inheritance from the past; they are strange Attractors lying in our future, omega points that have not been collectively manifested anywhere in the past, but are available to each and every individual as structural potentials, as future structures attempting to come down, not past structures attempting to come up."[15]

Indeed, the archetypes exist as structural potentials, but I would maintain that these potentials are intuited by each level of consciousness and translated accordingly. And it is the 'translations' that attempt to come up, in order to be retranslated by the next level. Therefore, the 'archaic vestiges' are translations of archetypes. They only cause a problem when they fail to be retranslated and integrated into the emergent level.

The image of Christ is a prime example of this translative capacity. As Jung argues, Christ is a symbol for the archetype of the Self.[16] The symbolic Christ has very little to do, it would now seem, with the historical figure, a Jewish apocalyptic charismatic called Joshua (Yeshua ben Yussef). Instead, he has become Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a complex and evolving symbol of the archetype of the perfected Self. Similarly, the mythic Buddha has little to do with the historical Siddhartha. And it is the notion of a perfected Self, the intuition of the archetype that inspires – be that by a person at the mythic or rational stage; the translations are alterable and ultimately disposable. In other words, Christ is an image, and in many instances a purely mythic image, that nonetheless conveys the numinous energy of the archetype of the Self. Similarly in Tibetan Buddhism, the images of the Dhyani Buddhas have mythical components (did a tear from Avalokateshvara really create lake Manosavar?) and a numinous subtle level reality, both being symbolic representations of a higher archetype.

If these archetypes are potentials, then they also existed as potentials in our past as well. And this would account for the illusion that they seem to be 'archaic vestiges'. In other words, we see past translations as potentia within ourselves (because they resonate with the archetype), and therefore mistake the translation as that which is numinous, rather than seeing the numinosity as derived from the underlying archetype itself. An error that Jung committed, even though, as I have shown, he understood that there was a 'sliding scale'. Whereas Wilber sometimes commits the inverse error, that of denying that archaic vestiges, mythic images, etc, are in fact perfectly valid translations of archetypes. And further, that in certain circumstances, the exploration of prerational translations is a valid way to explore the archetypes.

An Integral psychology of archetypes would therefore make a clear distinction between a 'pre', a 'rational' and a 'trans' translation of the archetype – a 'form without content'. It would understand that the translation, be it a mythic form, or a subtle level appearance of a Dhyani Buddha, is not the archetype itself. It would understand that the translation appears equally numinous to the person at the relevant level. A person at the mythic level will have a numinous experience expressed mythically, a person at the subtle level will have a numinous experience expressed in subtle forms. It is the archetype however, that is the source of the numinosity, not the translation – and that is a very common misconception.[17]

The monological Jung

Another criticism Wilber has of Jung is that the theory of archetypes and 'active imagination' does not take account of 'intersubjectivity'. This is simply an historical problem (and one applies to any phenomenology developed pre post-modernism, including Eastern phenomenology). Jung was simply not around to adapt his ideas to the new wave of post-modernity. But the post-Jungians were and it does not seem that they have done the necessary revision.

Intersubjectivity is the term used to describe the subjective and objective structures that themselves create our concepts of subject and object. We think about ourselves using the language we have learnt. It structures our thinking. Different languages reveal different conceptual universes. The Hindu structure of the psyche is different to the Western counterpart and the exact meaning is lost when translating say, for example, buddhi to intelligence, or ahamkara to ego, or manas to consciousness.

Similarly, the cultural context of signs and symbols has an impact. Wilber says:

"…the discovery of these intersubjective structures was not immediately available to phenomenology in any of its traditional forms, but rather awaited the developments in contextual analysis, structuralism, post-structuralism, linguistics and semiotics: awaited, that is, the very broad movement from modernism to post-modernism in general."[18]

Wilber argues that the Jungian concept of archetypes is therefore limited by failing to take account of what he would call 'intersubjective and dialogical structures'. In a note in 'The Eye of Spirit' he says:

"Jungian archetypes are essentially monological, even if collective. That is, they are basically collective subjective, not collective intersubjective, structures. Thus, for example, the subjective image of the Great Mother arises within intersubjective patterns that are themselves found in none of the lists of archetypes ever given by the Jungians, precisely because these intersubjective patterns are not objects of monological phenomenology and are thus never disclosed by any of the techniques of Jungian or neo-Jungian inquiry."[19]

An Integral theory of archetypes would suggest that, as 'forms without content', the archetypes are structural and mould the intersubjective process. As 'Strange attractors' they draw the various signs and symbols to them.

But, more importantly, an Integral theory of archetypes realises that the various signs and symbols are attracted in a dialogical manner. Therefore, the process of 'active imagination' must take this into account.

Of course, a good therapist will be intuitively aware of how the archetypes are manifesting within the psyche of his patient. Dreams for example, arise within the intersubjective universe of each individual. A dream of a waterfall does not have a universal symbology, it is context bound. This much is understood.

And to give Jung due credit it can be said that he was not unaware of the issue of intersubjectivity. He did point out that different cultures used different symbols and symbolic configurations for certain archetypes. But this was never fully explored and, on occasion (and especially after Jung) the archetypes were expressed in Western terms. The archetype of the ego as an opposite of the shadow, for example, fits somewhat uncomfortably with the Hindu concept of ahamkara and manas. (But then, Wilber also faces this problem. His work is written within a Western framework, and sometimes it becomes parochially American).

To solve this problem an Integral theory of archetypes must clearly distinguish between intersubjective 'translations' and pure archetype. A pure archetype is universal. It has to manifest in all cultures and all historical periods. Keeping in mind that a particular archetype may be suppressed in a particular situation - but there ought to be evidence of its absence, particularly in a 'counter' form (to say shadow form would be to confuse this idea with the ego-shadow polarity). We may not for instance, see God represented as a woman, but we will see signs of a taboo around women in religion.

A true archetype has a certain psychological force, a numinosity. If one symbol of an archetype is suppressed, another will arise, taking on the apparent power of the underlying archetype.


In many respects the word 'individuation' is a curious choice. It is so easily confused with 'individual'. (Perhaps this is not such a coincidence?). Jung notes this confusion:

"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."[20]

Yet, time and time again this confusion occurs. This is in part, due to Jung's reticence, at least publicly and professionally, to fully embrace the spiritual. This is especially surprising given the following definition:

"Individuation means becoming a single, homogeneous being, and, in so far as 'in-dividuality' embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one's own self. We could therefore translate individuation as 'come to selfhood' or 'self-realisation'."[21]

Jung did in fact understand the implications of using the term 'self-realisation'. He was very aware of the Oriental use of the term, especially in Vedanta. Yet, time and time again, individuation is reduced to nothing more than Wilber's 'centaur' level.

This confusion arises because Jung saw individuation as making 'unconscious contents' conscious. In other words, translating the unconscious into a 'rational' understanding whereby the ego could 'control' the psyche. Following from above we could say that Jung retranslated mythic translations of the archetypes into conscious, rational translations. Spiritual practice on the other hand involves surrendering the ego and rationality to the higher levels of consciousness, allowing the ego and rationality to be transcended and included in a higher order. It involves retranslating rational translations of the archetypes into higher translations yet again, until the archetypes are experienced in their causal purity and finally dissolved into Emptiness.

Again we return to the pre/trans fallacy, where the assumption is made that the invasion of the conscious mind, the ego, by prepersonal contents and transpersonal contents alike is seen as the same, a kind of psychosis. This arises because of the inability to distinguish between the 'pre' aspects of the archetypes calling for integration, and the 'trans' aspects calling for transformation.

Part of this is due to a legitimate fear. If the ego is not strong enough, immersion into the transpersonal realms can destabilise the psyche, especially when some archetypes remain in a primitive, repressed state. James Hillman says:

"For any attempt at self-realisation with out full recognition of the psychopathology that resides, as Hegel said, inherently in the soul is in itself pathological, an exercise in self deception. Such self-realisation turns out to be a paranoid delusional system, or even a kind of charlatanism, the psychopathic behaviour of an emptied soul."[22]

But this is no excuse for throwing the baby out with the bathwater, (as Hillman's 'Archetypal' school seems to do). To hold the individuation process at the 'centaur' level is itself a form of repression. What Wilber teaches the Jungians is that individuation is the Atman Project and that it proceeds right up to authentic Nondual Self-realisation. It is not enough for the 'ego' to be made conscious of the various unconscious contents as they arise. The 'ego' itself must be transcended and included.

Therefore and Integral approach to individuation has true 'Self' realisation as its final goal.

The structure of the Self – A meta-archetype

The 'Self' is perhaps the most complex of Jung's concepts and therefore the most difficult to understand. On one level it is 'the' archetype of order. On another it is "not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both consciousness and unconsciousness".[23] The Self is our potential, our omega point, but it also has a definite structure.

For Jung this was often symbolised by the mandala. The Self also has a 'four-fold' structure, essentially the balance of two sets of polar archetypes, anima and animus, shadow and ego. Jung maintained that 'quaternity' in general signified the Self.

But the Self could also appear in the guise of multiple symbols. These included such opposites as the serpent/dragon and the Christ figure. It also manifested as Mercurius, psychopomp.

Here I would like to introduce the concept of 'meta-archetype'. Jung actually failed to create a definitive list of all the true archetypes[24] or place them in any particular structural context - except for the archetype of the Self. Here it is apparent that the Self archetype organises at least some of the other archetypes, principally anima, animus, shadow and ego.[25] In this sense the Self, as an organising principle, is a meta-archetype.

Wilber admits that, using the 'form without content' definition the spectrum and its levels can be seen as archetypes.[26] In this sense it would be better to refer to the Spectrum as a meta-archetype. And here I would note that many of the symbols of the Self as delineated by Jung fit rather neatly into the Spectrum meta-archetype. The Self as symbolic serpent belongs to the uroboric level, as symbolic Rex, to the centaur and as symbolic Christ, to the causal. (There are of course, many other examples). The Self as Mercurius represents the upward and downward movement within the Spectrum. The transformations of the various Self symbols representing the unfolding of the Spectrum itself.

(In my own work I would argue that the meta-archetype is better represented by a harmonic/mandelic system based around the number twelve. Jung's quaternity is therefore expanded and developmental stages directly complimentary to Wilber's system are included. Unfortunately the various permutations of this meta-archetype are too complex to be dealt with here[)27].

At this point it is perhaps important to suggest that there are archetypes of form and of function.

I believe we can now expand Jung's definition of the Self as an organising principle to include Wilber's Spectrum. We now have a meta-archetype that describes the psyche from prepersonal to transpersonal. Each of the levels is itself an archetype of form, whilst many of Wilber's holonic rules are archetypes of function (which, of course, suggest that the 'laws of nature' are close to archetypes). But I also believe that some of Jung's conceptions can also be built into the Spectrum model. Wilber for instance, does not make as much use of the transformations of anima and animus through the levels as he might, remembering that they will appear as different translations at different levels (so that a person may have a dream about Rex and Regina, or a meditative experience of yab-yum).

Mysterium Coniunctionis

Jung was fascinated with alchemy. And as I look at the various illustrations in Jung's books I cannot help but see the symbolic parallels with tantric yoga. Many illustrations show the stages of the alchemical process. There is the fire under a vessel representing tapas , the internal fire of the yogic process. There is the dragon/serpent, often at the base, representing kundalini. There are the Sun and Moon, representing ida and pingala, also called the Sun (surya) and Moon (chandra) nadi. There is the bird representing the ajna chakra. There too, is the Radiant man, representing Self-realisation. Yet, despite what seems perfectly obvious Jung failed to see what Wilber finally did. That there is an overall deep structure, one he called the Spectrum of Consciousness.

Jung frankly, played around the edges of this understanding. He knew full well that the alchemical process was in essence spiritual. Yet he used it in the end to explicate a psychological model. It was clearly an obsession of Jung's because the amount of detail he covered was far, far more than was necessary to prove his point. Essentially, what Jung was doing was attempting to translate the magic/mythic motifs of alchemy into rational and logical concepts. In doing so it seems he was affected by the archetypes that these symbols pointed to. No doubt some of these experiences were of a typically numinous nature. But what Jung failed to do was translate these mythic symbols into authentic transpersonal translations. And clearly this is what the opus is truly about.

Jung's last book was devoted to the alchemical symbol of the conjunction. The conjunction was a point at which two opposites were joined, were dissolved, to in turn create a third, a new level of understanding. Jung saw in the conjunction a symbol of the process of individuation. He failed, at least publicly, to fully acknowledge that the final conjunction was the dissolution of the ego (subject/object duality) into Unity, the unio mystica.

Though Jung explored the conjunction as symbolised in many alchemical works, he finally relied on the work of Gerard Dorn.[28] According to Dorn the final and complete conjunction was the third: the first and second being partial conjunctions in the overall process. The first conjunction resulted in the creation of the unio mentalis. Here a conscious and rational ego is created that is free from the vicissitudes of the passions, of the tensions caused by the lower translations of anima and animus. Here in fact is a corollary with Wilber's move from pre-rational to rational, and Jung's move from unconscious to conscious. However, there is still tension, this time between the opposites of matter and spirit. The second conjunction relieves this tension by giving birth to a mediating principle, the soul. This is, I believe, directly analogous to Wilber's transpersonal levels. The final conjunction is a resolution between soul and Spirit and results in the subject/object dissolution into causal Unity, the unio mystica.

However, in typical manner, Jung retreats from the obvious. At the end of Mysterium Coniunctionis he says:

"It therefore seems to me, on the most conservative estimate, to be wiser not to drag the supreme metaphysical into our calculations, at all events not at once, but, more modestly, to make an unknown psychic or perhaps psychoid factor in the human realm responsible for inspirations and suchlike happenings."[29]

Again, this is where Wilber's work allows this aspect of Jung to shift from the 'most conservative estimate' to a justified 'radical estimate', one that allows for the 'supreme metaphysical' to be included.


This has been a brief piece and there is a lot that has been left unsaid, especially as applies to the practical applications. My main point has been to discuss the archetype 'argument' as discussed in Jung and Wilber and to provide a solution that allows Jung to be re-interpreted in a more Integral way, a way that finally allows Jung to break free of his 'most conservative' position. I believe it is also a solution that resolves some of the tension between Wilber I and Wilber IV.

To summarise let me repeat my solution. The archetypes are spiritual in nature. And as such they are spiritual forms devoid of content. The content, the symbolic representations, are provided as translations by each level of the Spectrum. The pre/trans confusion is caused by failing to distinguish 'pre' translations from 'rational' or 'trans' translations. Jung's exploration of myth was an attempt to translate the 'archetypal' structure he saw into a rational, conscious translation. In failing to fully accept the transrational translations for what they were, he allowed, as Wilber points out, the pre/trans fallacy to occur. In failing to clearly distinguish Jung's work as actually working with translations, and in failing to fully explore the fact that the transpersonal manifestations of archetypes are also translations, Wilber, in SES, also commits the pre/trans fallacy.

I'd like to end by exploring briefly how this might affect an Integral Transformative Practice. The focus of such a practice would be to stimulate the retranslation of archetypes to the appropriate 'next' level. For example, a person may have had an experience that has caused his anima to freeze at the 'mythical' level. He would perhaps then be projecting his mythologised anima image onto others, thus preventing his conscious self integrating his anima. Or, having achieved 'conscious' integration of his anima, he may then fail to 'surrender' to a female deity in meditative practice. Further on he may fail in surrendering the form (the ishtadevata) to a higher, abstract, energetic translation of anima, to Shakti herself. Clearly this involves an expanded understanding of 'active imagination'.

But this can only be accomplished by understanding the structure of the Self. This work, I would argue, though started, has yet to be fully explored.

We are really at the beginning of an interesting journey.


  1. KW, 'The Eye of Spirit', pg 267
  2. Jeffrey Raff, 'Jung and the Alchemical Imagination', Published by Nicholas Hays, pg 1
  3. Michael Vannoy Adams, 'The Archetypal School' in 'The Cambridge Companion to Jung' Ed. Young-Eisendrath and Dawson, Cambridge.
  4. KW, 'The Eye of Spirit' pg 264-267
  5. CG Jung, 'On the Nature of the Psyche' para 404
  6. Op cit, para 405
  7. Op cit, para 408
  8. Op cit, para 414
  9. Op cit, para 407
  10. KW, EOS, pg 266
  11. CG Jung, Op cit, para, 407
  12. KW, 'Sex, Ecology and Spirituality' pg 247
  13. KW, CW Vol 1, pg 298
  14. KW, CW Vol 3, pg 369
  15. KW, SES pg 249
  16. CG Jung, 'Aion', CW Vol 9
  17. This led Jung to make the distinction between psychic and psychoid. See 'On the Nature of the Psyche'.
  18. KW, 'EOS' pg 167
  19. Op cit, Note 3, pg 324
  20. CG Jung, taken from glossary, 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections'.
  21. Op cit, glossary
  22. James Hillman, 'A Blue Fire' pg 123
  23. CG Jung, 'Psychology and Alchemy' CW, Vol 12 para 44
  24. This has led to archetypes popping up everywhere, a very undisciplined situation.
  25. For a full discussion of the Self, see CG Jung, 'Aion', CW Vol 9.
  26. See 'Eye to Eye', CW Vol 3, pg 370
  27. This is developed in a work in progress, 'Upon the Wings of Gabriel', by the author.
  28. See 'Mysterium Coniunctionis' CW, Vol 14
  29. Op Cit, para 786

© Ray Harris, April 2001
[email protected]

Comment Form is loading comments...