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Finally, towering over a host of lesser archetypes, is the transcendent Self. This embodies elements from both conscious and unconscious, from all the archetypes, good and evil. It is a symbol of oneness such as is found in many religions, e.g., the Hindu atman.
Jung's concept of the Self leads into the all-important process which he calls individuation. This is the sort of wholeness which Jung found many of his patients pursuing unconsciously after they had actually been cured of neurosis. Individuation may be a lifetime task ("Usually the analyst dies before the patient," says one Jungian analyst). By getting to know more and more aspects of his unconscious, the subject can give proper values to what were once half-sensed and disturbing urges. Individuation is "finding the God within."
The Need for Symbols. In this process, symbols help. One which particularly fascinates Jung is the mandala,** a square and-wheel pattern embodying the number four or a multiple of it. A precious stone, often equated with the philosopher's stone of the alchemists, can symbolize the Self. The interlaced, banyanlike Tree of Life is often seen to bear a single luminous blossomperhaps the Orient's Golden Flower, or a Christmas-tree starwhich signifies the way of life that is life itself.
What place have such symbols in modern psychology? Says Jung: they are facts. They appear day after day in the dreams and doodlings of patients. If, for instance, a patient dreams of a snake held skyward, a Freudian analyst will automatically call it a phallic symbol. Jung concedes that it may mean that. But it is also a fact that the serpent has a much broader significance. For instance, to the Ophite Gnostics (2nd century A.D.) the serpent symbolized the redeeming principle of the world. It can stand, says Jung, for the recognition of the shadow side of life, the bringing out of evil into the open. Argues Jung: Why not test the hypothesis that it may represent the same urge in a modern patient? Moreover, says Jung, patients who are often shocked by the appearance of such symbols in their minds, fearing them to be signs of near insanity, are reassured when they find that they are only repeating ancient human patterns.
In a religious age, according to Jung, man would not need to get consciously acquainted with his archetypes, because religion provides its own symbols. But Christianity has become so weakened in this respect largely through the Protestant Reformation, says Protestant Jung that to millions its symbols now mean nothing. For this reason, says Jung, Roman Catholicism is generally more effective today than other churches, and he rarely finds Catholics in need of individuation. Says Jung: "[Catholicism] is a full-fledged religion. Protestantism is not. Religions consist of a doctrine and a rite. The ritual does not exist in Protestantism : it has only one leg to stand on justification through faith alone. The Catholic Church has the rite too, with all its magic effects." Jung himself has not been to church for years, but when asked if he believes in God, he says: "I could not say I believe. I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God."
Unconsciously at least, says Jung, many a