The Complementarian Self

The complementary nature
of the Self

The Complementarian Self as Pyramid. By Mats Winther.

Abstract: The Self, representing the wholeness of the psyche, has in different guises functioned as a role model for the individual, throughout history. In the Christian era, the ideal of the spiritual individual who is morally perfect (Jesus Christ), through its very one-sidedness, created a reversal of its spirit into materialism. Psychologist Carl Jung, renounced the ideal of perfection and proposed an ideal of completeness. The article argues that the trinitarian spiritual ideal must continue to play a role, together with a this-worldly (quaternarian) ideal of spirit, following the principle of complementarity as defined by physicists. The transformation of Self is an ongoing process in the unconscious. The complementarian Self obtains as the goal of the spiritual path. In medieval alchemy it corresponds to the hermaphrodite, and the philosopher’s stone. The article diverts from Jung’s view of alchemy regarding the method of approach to the unconscious.

Keywords: twofold Self, psychic structure, complementarity, St Augustine, Wolfgang Pauli, trinitarian, quaternity, alchemy, Christ.


The complementarity principle is a concept developed by physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) to deal with the existence of two models which are both useful, but not directly reconcilable. The principle of complementarity is indispensable to modern quantum physics. It helps to explain many quantum phenomena, such as the dual nature of light. This article aims to show that it is also indispensable to psychology, in explaining the structure of the Self, in terms of analytical (Jungian) psychology:
Self. The archetype of wholeness and the regulating center of the psyche; a transpersonal power that transcends the ego […] The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness. (Sharp, 1991)
I employ the term “complementarian Self” (not “complementary self”) to avoid confusion with certain everyday uses of complementarity. For instance, in depth psychology complementarity is sometimes used in the sense of completion, the assimilation of a content which has previously been lacking in consciousness. The principle of complementarity, according to quantum mechanics, implies that the total information about an entity or system cannot be obtained because the information is located in at least two complementary qualities. Measuring one quality precludes measurement of the other. In some experiments light acts like a series of particles and in other experiments it acts like a wave, which is why neither of these descriptions is alone adequate to explain the nature of light. If we try to explain light exclusively as a particle phenomenon, certain wavelike characteristics must remain unexplained, such as the fact that light can be polarized.

However, “light as wave” and “light as particle” are wholly different phenomena, and the two models are mutually exclusive. Physicist therefore accept that light’s nature is complementary, taking on a different appearance depending on the experimental setting. The two models seem to contradict each other, and in a traditional sense they are excluding each other. However, if kept distinct and used interchangeably, these two models cooperate to provide a full scientific explanation of the phenomenon of light. They fit perfectly together, like two pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Together they create a wholeness that can provide the whole picture. Important to understand is that either of the two sides in the complementary model is a functioning wholeness, in itself. For instance, light as wave movement is a wholly viable explanatory model. The problem is only that some empirical facts fall outside this model, so it must be complemented.

Complementarity beyond physics

Thus, two physicists come to two different conclusions as to the nature of light. One says that it has particle nature whereas the other says that it has wave nature. The reason why they get different results is that they have set up their experiments differently. My argument is that depending on how we set up our “cognitive equipment”, we come to different conclusions as to the nature of the world and the nature of morality. Physicist Abraham Pais observes that “[complementarity] can be formulated without explicit reference to physics, to wit, as two aspects of a description that are mutually exclusive yet both necessary for a full understanding of what is to be described” (Plotnitsky, 1994, loc.cit., p.73). Also Niels Bohr has discussed complementarity beyond physics (Collected Works, vol. 10). In the Gifford lectures (‘Causality and Complementarity’, 1948–1950) he suggested that theologians make more use of the complementarity principle.

An obvious instance of this, I argue, would be the double nature of Christ. The Athanasian creed says: “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man … Perfect God; and perfect Man … yet he is not two, but one Christ.” The Christ came to earth as wholly man through the Virgin Mary. Yet the Christ is also wholly God. It seems contradictory. He cannot be wholly human if he is wholly God at the same time. Yet, we cannot solve this dilemma by thinking of Christ as two separate persons. He remains one person, wholly divine and wholly human, neither less human because he has a divine nature nor less divine because he has a human nature. The Christ is a wholeness —one phenomenon — whose full description calls for two incommensurable models. It conforms with the complementarity principle. If the Christ is compared to light, his human nature would correspond to light’s particle nature, whereas the divine aspect would correspond to the wave aspect. Light is wholly material and wholly wavelike, yet it remains one phenomenon, not two separate phenomena.

The Self of transcendency

Transcendence need not be interpreted metaphysically, but could refer to the urge of transcending worldliness. This model could also be termed the Self of oneness. In C.G. Jung’s explication of the Christ as a symbol of the Self (Jung, 1979), he does not touch upon the double nature of the Christ, but argues that Christ as a symbol of Self is flawed.
There can be no doubt that the original Christian conception of the imago Dei embodied in Christ meant an all-embracing totality that even includes the animal side of man. Nevertheless the Christ-symbol lacks wholeness in the modern psychological sense, since it does not include the dark side of things but specifically excludes it in the form of a Luciferian opponent […] 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 complement to restore the balance […] A factor that no one has reckoned with, however, is the fatality inherent in the Christian disposition itself, which leads inevitably to a reversal of its spirit — not through the obscure workings of chance but in accordance with psychological law. The ideal of spirituality 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 “Renaissance”. (Jung, 1979, pp.41-43)
Jung’s view of the Self is based on completeness. He views the one-sided spiritual ideal of man as counterproductive.
If one inclines to regard the archetype of the Self as the real agent and hence takes Christ as a symbol of the Self, one must bear in mind that there is a considerable difference between perfection and completeness. The Christ-image is as good as perfect (at least it is meant to be so), while the archetype (so far as known) denotes completeness but is far from being perfect […] Natural as it is to seek perfection in one way or another, the archetype fulfils itself in completeness […] Where the archetype predominates, completeness is forced upon us against all our conscious strivings, in accordance with the archaic nature of the archetype. The individual may strive after perfection (“Be you therefore perfect (…) as also your Heavenly Father is perfect.”) but must suffer from the opposite of his intentions for the sake of his completeness […] “Redemption” does not mean that a burden is taken from one’s shoulders which one was never meant to bear. Only the “complete” person knows how unbearable man is to himself. So far as I can see, no relevant objection could be raised from the Christian point of view against anyone accepting the task of individuation imposed on us by nature, and the recognition of our wholeness or completeness, as a binding personal commitment. If he does this consciously and intentionally, he avoids all the unhappy consequences of repressed individuation. In other words, if he voluntarily takes the burden of completeness on himself, he need not find it “happening” to him against his own will in a negative form. (ibid. pp.68-70)
Jung is correct in saying that completeness and perfection (oneness as emptiness) are mutually exclusive. His Self ideal is chiefly this-worldly. On the other hand, the Christian ideal is lopsided toward otherworldliness and the ascetic. The latter form of wholeness may remain intact because it avoids being rent asunder by internal conflict. Wholeness can be maintained because the spiritual Self ideal implies not partaking in the world, instead to pass it by (“Jesus said, Be passersby.”, Gospel of Thomas, 42). The man who partakes in the world will inevitably become soiled, whereas the man who stands above it may remain whole. However, Jung argues that the man who subscribes to the ideal of perfection will inevitably fall into the pit which represents his dark side. After all, it has not been integrated in his personality, but remains a negative factor in the unconscious. Jung, however, really refers to the effects of the Christian ideal on the general citizen who takes part in temporal life. Should he adopt a hypocritical attitude, he will inevitably fall prey to his own shadow. Arguably, Jung’s analysis is not valid for unworldly man, who has accepted suffering and who stands apart from the world. He cannot be called a hypocrite since the psychic opposites are not active within him. Thus, he is capable of remaining truly whole.

The Self of completeness

According to Jung’s ideal of Self a man should be capable of harbouring irreconcilable opposites activated as a consequence of him partaking in the world. The powers of consciousness must be so developed that the integral parts of personality may remain collected, which include instinctual and dark aspects of psychology. In this manner the dark sides will remain within conscious command. On the other hand, should they remain unconscious, they will assume an overly destructive form. One way or the other, the repressed content will come to revolt against a fraudulent conscious standpoint. Jung’s understanding makes much sense, and his conclusions build on clinical material. Yet, arguably, not many people are capable of such a feat, let alone integrating the shadow and admitting to one’s own faults. That is known as “losing face” among many an ethnic group — blame should preferably be cast on others. Jung’s Self is associated with the quaternity, whereas the Christian Self is trinitarian. The quaternarian Self, being this-worldly, harbours many opposites. It is beautiful and good, but also demonic and fearsome.
Like all archetypes, the Self has a paradoxical, antinomial character. It is male and female, old man and child, powerful and helpless, large and small. The self is a true “complexio oppositorum”, though this does not mean that it is anything like as contradictory in itself. It is quite possible that the seeming paradox is nothing but a reflection of the enantiodromian changes of the conscious attitude which can have a favourable or an unfavourable effect on the whole. (ibid. p.225)
As Jung realizes that these two Self models (the this-worldly versus the otherworldly; the complete versus the perfect; the antinomial versus the empty; the quaternarian versus the trinitarian) are mutually exclusive, he concludes that his quaternarian model is the only right one, and declares the transcendental model as obsolete. This he does without having refuted the latter. Rather, he has merely shown that this-worldly application of the trinitarian model doesn’t work. Jung’s thinking is curiously Hegelian. He thinks in terms of antinomies capable of synthesis. If they aren’t capable of synthesis, but remain contradictory in themselves, then logic says that either one is false. Against this, Plotnitsky explains that complementarian thinking is profoundly anti-Hegelian (cf. Plotnitsky, 1994, p.11). My argument is that this is the right place to apply complementarian thinking. Both models are true, and both are necessary to fully represent the phenomenon of the Self. Thus we arrive at a complementarian model which includes irreconcilable opposites, and not only dialectical opposites. It stands to reason that a truly exhaustive model of the Self should include both perfect man and complete man. Arguably, Jung’s Self ideal does not provide the whole picture. There is in him an inner conflict between the ideals of “complete man” and “spiritual man”, as we shall see in the following analysis of his dream.

The dream about kneeling before the highest presence

According to Jung, the dream which he relates in the autobiography (Jung, 1989, pp.217-220), illuminated for him his relationship to Christianity, and foreshadowed the writing of both “Aion” and “Answer to Job”. In this oft quoted dream he bends down his head before the “highest presence”, but not quite to the floor, as there is a millimeter to spare (cf. Jung, 1989, pp.217-20, here). In Jung’s understanding the unconscious (the father) harboured great knowledge about biblical exegesis, which would soon come to expression in “Answer to Job”. His own modern psychotherapeutic standpoint is expressed as inferior to the great exegetical cunning of his father. As David and Uriah later appear, it seems like his father’s exegesis revolves around this particular story in the bible (2 Samuel).

As the father appears as a clergyman, he could be understood as a representative of the “Christian fatherly spirit”, who thinks according to Church doctrine — arguably, a way of thought that Jung underestimates. His father’s interpretation, and the dream as a whole, concerns the role of saintly man (Uriah) and why he must be regarded superior to the “lord of this world”. In Jung’s own thought, man should attempt to approximate the Self as a complexio oppositorum, equally carnal and spiritual. But Uriah would approximate the largely one-sided unearthly man, and not a complexio oppositorum. Uriah, who refused order from David to sleep with his wife (due to ongoing war), and who lost his earthly life due to treachery, was practicing celibacy. Nevertheless, in the dream, Uriah is superior to the sultan who lives in a circular gallery, reminiscent of Jung’s symbol of the Self. He is seated in the middle of a mandala where he speaks with counselors (about mundane matters) and philosophers (about extramundane matters). Evidently, the sultan aspires to be equally carnal and spiritual. Note that Jung associates the sultan with the “lord of this world”, which is a well-known designation for the devil (cmp. the “monstrous” Primal God Image, below).

Uriah is living far above the sultan, in a solitary (hermit’s) chamber; a place “which no longer corresponded to reality” (i.e., the realm of spirit). He represents the “highest presence”. Arguably, the dream expresses that “spiritual man” is superior to Jung’s ideal of the Self, which coincides with the understanding of great Christian thinkers, such as St Augustinus, St Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus. The Christian interpretation is expressed as vastly superior to Jung’s standpoint, in that his father, the Christian Father-spirit, is intellectually superior. The dream expresses that Uriah is superior to Jung’s notion of Self. Since, in Jung’s universe, nothing other than God can be greater than the Self, he is bound to equate Uriah with God. However, the dream probably expresses that saintly man (Uriah) is greater than the man who manifests the completeness of the Self (the sultan). Uriah represents crucified man, suffering man, the Man of Sorrows.

It could be argued that Jung should have coped with the problem of “unearthly man” versus “complete man”, and that his exegetic accomplishment served as deflection from the critical issue. This was the subject which was so “extremely important” in his father’s lecture. The bible bound in shiny fish-skin, is really bound in the skin of Christ, because he is ICHTYS — the fish. Jung views the bible as an “unconscious content”. This is logical, if the bible is understood as the theological outpouring soon to surface. However, the bible could also be understood at the objective level, or as the deep-rooted voice of our Christian forebears, i.e. as the Christian thoughtway extant in the collective unconscious. The roundish silvery scales of the fish skin that surround the bible, could be understood as the sum of theological thought produced by Christian forebears.

In the dream Jung thinks of himself as an “idiot”. There is really no reason for this if the dream is understood as a forthcoming engrossment in the bible, a theological passion earlier overlooked by himself (after all, he had other engagements in life). If he calls himself an “idiot”, it means that his conscious standpoint, in some sense, is utterly wrongheaded. In his own interpretation, he does not address this forceful expression of self-reproach.

Why could Jung not bring his forehead quite down to the floor? Arguably, it foreshadowed that he would never come to bend to the message of this dream, which is to regard spiritual man as the highest presence. He would not completely yield, but persist in his standpoint that completeness is the ideal. He would only bend to the message of God thus far, a millimeter to spare, in order to evade the demands of individuation at this very crucial point — to fool God himself, as it were. Arguably, this symbol derives from concepts of electricity. A millimeter air between the poles will prevent contact, as no transfer of energy can occur. This millimeter of air is really an abyss. Sometimes it just doesn’t click, despite great intelligence and understanding. Had he touched the earth, the electric current would have entered his head, and the coin finally dropped. I make the following interpretation: it is foreshadowed that Jung will refuse to yield to pious man as an ideal. However, he knows well not to turn a deaf ear to the spirit, so he will bend down in obeisance.

The complementarian Self

Complementarian Self structure, from Jung's dream. By Mats Winther. This is a schematic representation of above dream, which shows the structure of the Self. Uriah is located at A and Akbar at B. To Jung, the horizontal scene — the circular room with the sultan in the centre — represents the Self. But also the vertical representation belongs in the full picture. The gradient from light to dark illustrates the fact that the Self is only partly conscious. See also the upmost image of the pyramid, where the horizontal region suggests immanence as it has extension in space. It harbours many opposites whose focal point is the Self of completeness. In the horizontal region compensation is the major principle at work to balance the opposites, which are brought to compensative harmony. The apex of the pyramid, which focuses in a point, symbolizes the Self of transcendence. An ideal point has no extension in space. It illustrates the spot “which no longer corresponded to reality”, where Uriah is located in Jung’s dream. The vertical extension indicates that the two models are mutually exclusive (Akbar and Uriah as complementary opposites), but are brought to complementarian harmony. In this model of the Self, A and B (Uriah and Akbar) may complement each other so that a lopsidedness need not occur. The historical lopsidedness in the medieval Christian civilization has made the Self of completeness (the sultan; the lord of this world) stand out as too dark a character. The sultan is not that bad, granting that he is ambivalent.

In all major religions we find a Self ideal that corresponds to the ascetic and world-weary man: monks and nuns, recluses, hermits, wandering sadhus, self-penitents, yogis, and contemplative mystics. Wherever we look, the idea of the holy man resembles very much the traditional Christian ideal, the ascetic who rejects the world and searches perfection according to an ideal condition of personality, void of all commotion. Jung’s theory does not account for the fact that this is how the Self has empirically manifested itself throughout history, the total number of devotees vastly surpassing the sum of “enlightened sultans” in world history. One cannot account for this enormous devotion in all higher civilization by explaining it away as the neurotic consequences of a warped worldview; a misunderstanding of the true constitution of Self or a misconception of the true nature of God. The empirical facts about human psychology tell us that the Self manifests in two ways. Besides a yearning for completeness there is a longing for transcendence, for transcending the terrestrial turmoil, in both its inner and outer aspects.

Complementary paths of individuation

Jung says (my emphasis):
Individuation cuts one off from personal conformity and hence from collectivity. That is the guilt which the individuant leaves behind him for the world, that is the guilt he must endeavor to redeem. He must offer a ransom in place of himself, that is, he must bring forth values which are an equivalent substitute for his absence in the collective personal sphere. Without this production of values, final individuation is immoral and — more than that — suicidal […] The individuant has no a priori claim to any kind of esteem. He has to be content with whatever esteem flows to him from outside by virtue of the values he creates. Not only has society a right, it also has a duty to condemn the individuant if he fails to create equivalent values (1977c, pars.1095f).

A real conflict with the collective norm arises only when an individual way is raised to a norm, which is the actual aim of extreme individualism. Naturally this aim is pathological and inimical to life. It has, accordingly, nothing to do with individuation, which, though it may strike out on an individual bypath, precisely on that account needs the norm for its orientation (q.v.) to society and for the vitally necessary relationship of the individual to society. Individuation, therefore, leads to a natural esteem for the collective norm, but if the orientation is exclusively collective the norm becomes increasingly superfluous and morality goes to pieces. The more a man’s life is shaped by the collective norm, the greater is individual immorality. (1977b, para.761)
If our vantage point is the Self of completeness, the above definition of individuation is undoubtedly correct. Nevertheless, it’s easy to think of examples when this definition doesn’t hold water because we cannot always chime in with ruling ideology. My conclusion is that Jung’s definition falters despite being correct and complete. As it isn’t sufficient to make an adequate definition of individuation, it must be regarded a complementary aspect. As the Self consists of a complementary pair, so must individuation be expressed by two complementary paths.

The theory of individuation stands only on one leg, because the reclusive way of individuation is missing. Jung took exception to the secluded and eremitic ideal as formulated in the Middle Ages, often denoted as ‘imitatio Christi’. This is the reason why he keeps so devotedly to a this-worldly ideal of Self. Nonetheless, it has awkward consequences. The individual cannot sing in unison with the collective during a time when the latter has become neurotic and follows evil and destructive ways. The Self must be viewed as complementary. There exists also a path of transcendency, complementary to the the path of temporality. Arguably, the rejection of the ways of the world is wholly consistent with individuation.

Jung’s view of individuation runs into difficulties. Although correct, it needs another correct definition as a complement. According to Jung, adaptation to the collective is essential to individuation. The problem is that all the late manifestations of culture are neurotic. It is a notorious theme in fairytales interpreted by Marie-Louise von Franz. The consequence is that the individuant must needs contract the neurosis of the collective. As the individual adapts to the conflicted psyche, it becomes absorbed, to a degree. We also know that Jung, true to his view of individuation, made an effort to adapt to the Nazi collective. From what I have gleaned, he traveled to Germany and held speeches. He assumed overall responsibility for the Zentralblatt für Psychotherapie, a journal known to have published content that had Nazi flavour. Until 1939, he maintained professional relations with psychotherapists in Germany who had declared their support for the Nazi regime. He believed, as Christian missionaries always did, that evil could be turned to good.

Jung has been subjected to much critique for his standpoint of adaptation toward the Nazi regime. This does not mean that he believed in the Nazi system. His writings are essentially anti-fascist. But any attempt to adapt to an awfully pathological collective is doomed to failure. Arguably, he should have adopted the stance of the recluse who takes exception to the social collective, thereby holding off its neurosis. The way in which Jung behaved is predicated on his morally ambivalent Self ideal, symbolized by sultan Akbar in his dream. He really believed in the validity of evil, and that archaic and vulgar Nazism, as an upheaval of the collective unconscious, could be harnessed and reformed in conscious light. He theorized that evil must be integrated and put to good use, thus divesting it of its autonomous energy. Arguably, that’s why he dealt with the Nazis, up to the time that the war broke out. We know that he viewed the movement in symbolic terms as the resurgence of the pagan deity Wotan. The pagan mentality had been repressed and was now coming to life again. It represented a compensatory reaction against the spiritual one-sidedness of Christianity. The only right thing to do was to consciously adapt to it.

This all comes out of his theory of the relation conscious-unconscious. His standpoint was both well-meaning and theoretically compelling, but he was mistaken, because the Nazi worldview proved exclusively destructive. Arguably, there is something amiss with his view of the Self and of individuation. It focuses on integration, but doesn’t take the divisive force into account. Negation plays no role in his system. I have instead argued that the upsurge of Nazism and warfare was an expression of Thanatos and destructivity for its own sake (Winther, 2012, here). The divisive force, Thanatos, also comes to expression in reclusive individuation, as mors voluntaria. The individuant effectively divides his universe and decides to stand apart from the world.

The pillar saint, perhaps the most radical form of asceticism, can be said to represent the complementary form of individuation. Jung was averse to pillar sainthood, because his view of the Self was essentially this-worldly. The notion of transcending the rumpus of the world was foreign to him. Of course, the pillar saint is a rather extreme phenomenon. Not all recluses in history went to these extremes. Yet it finely illustrates my point. Modern people tend to look with scorn at the figure of the pillar saint, who appears narcissistic, as he is elevating himself and placing himself on a pillar. But this is a projection, because it is really modern people who are prone to narcissism. In fact, the saint is showing his own wretchedness to everyone. He is not sitting there like a king in royal garment, but as the Man of Sorrows fastened on the tree. It is really a form of ‘imitatio Christi’. The pillar saints were anything but narcissistic. They weren’t elevating themselves, rather, they were punishing and demeaning themselves. It was like being nailed to a cross, hence a form of self-mortification. Traditional Christianity has always resisted narcissism, and spoken out against vanity, self-conceit, etc.

The Stylites spent years of their lives sitting on a pillar. [1] St Simeon Stylites was disgusted with the world and wanted to distance himself from it. Luis Bunuel made a film about him, “Simon of the Desert”, in which the devil, in the form of a beautiful woman, subjects the saint to temptation. Evidently, Bunuel identified with the stylite. He was fed up with the superficial ways of the world and wanted to climb a pillar. Much like the pillar saint, he experienced that external reality was in the process of invading his private world, making him neurotic, too. So he wanted to escape the world. This was how Bunuel felt in face of popular culture, that annoyed him immensely. In Jung’s dream, Uriah is highly elevated, assuming a role similar to the “pillar saint”.

Pauli’s world-clock

Pauli's world-clock. By Mats Winther. The image illustrates physicist Wolfgang Pauli’s vision of a world-clock. It consists of a vertical and an horizontal circle, having a common centre. The horizontal circle consists of four colours. On it stand four little men with pendulums. The vertical circle is blue with a white rim. A pointer rotates upon it. The “clock” has three rhythms. The pointer circulates 32 times faster than the horizontal circle, which represents the middle pulse. Each revolution of the slowly turning outer golden ring, which was earlier black, corresponds to 32 revolutions of the horizontal circle. The clock is supported by a black bird (missing in the picture). The vision made a deep and lasting impression on the dreamer, an impression of “the most sublime harmony” (cf. Jung, 1980, p.203) (image by me).

Jung says:
[The] figure tells us that two heterogeneous systems intersect in the Self, standing to one another in a functional relationship that is governed by law and regulated by “three rhythms”. The Self is by definition the centre and the circumference of the conscious and unconscious systems. But the regulation of their functions by three rhythms is something that I cannot substantiate […] We shall hardly be mistaken if we assume that our mandala aspires to the most complete union of opposites that is possible, including that of the masculine trinity and the feminine quaternity on the analogy of the alchemical hermaphrodite. (ibid. p.205)
Jung argues that “two heterogeneous systems intersect in the Self”. That sounds very good in my ears as it can be interpreted in terms of complementary opposites, especially since Pauli belonged to the Copenhagen school to which the concept was central. Since the mandala, according to Jung, is a symbol of the Self, it is logical to interpret the image as two Self symbols intersecting. However, what Jung refers to as “two heterogeneous systems” are the conscious and the unconscious systems. Accordingly, the latter is feminine, has blue colour, vertical extension, and is associated with the number four (ibid. p.213). Consciousness is masculine and connected with the number three. The idea is that the image represents two psychic systems unifying to manifest the alchemical hermaphrodite. But there is a logical contradiction in that the horizontal mandala, representing consciousness, is clearly fourfold, and not threefold.

The horizontal circle is a typical Jungian mandala with its four functions, beleaguered with opposites, representing the notion of the Self. The vertical mandala is empty, save for the pointer, and has the colour and the shape of the heavenly arch. It would represent the trinitarian Self since vertical extension relates to transcendence. It is stationary (at least, it is stationary in the vertical extension), suggesting permanence, an existence beyond the world of flux. If the upper partition relates to the superstratum of spirit, the lower partition would signify the substratum of matter (as such). The vertical mandala is simple, pointing in one direction at a time, thus conforming to the ideal of the Christian mystic or Zen buddhist, namely emptiness and oneness. The horizontal layer is like terra firma on which the little men can stand, suggesting immanence. It is revolving horizontally, in its own extension — the worldly abode of the psyche is temporal and always in flux. It is partitioned into front and back, corresponding to conscious and unconscious. The horizontal mandala is multifarious, and diverse things are going on, expressing completeness. The latter type of wholeness is similar to a light that beams in all directions, whereas the oneness ideal focuses in a laser beam. Yet the pointer of the blue mandala will eventually point in all directions, too — it’s just that it does it one at a time.

Thus, two independent wholenesses intersect to create a three-dimensional wholeness, a perfect symbol of the complementarian Self. The golden ring circulates around the double mandala to emphasize that the whole construct constitutes one wholeness made up of two intersecting wholenesses, or Self models. The ring has gone from black to gold, because illumination follows after a period of darkness. Such a ring is called nimbus and is used to denote divinity. It is seen surrounding the heads of gods and saints in artworks of all major religions.

Pauli’s dreams and thoughts often revolved around the problem of three and four. He was influenced by Jung’s notion that three is an “incomplete wholeness”. However, in this context I think it denotes the Self of transcendence. The three-rhythm of the world-clock is an apt symbol of the transcendental spirit, especially as time is invisible. Yet, time also denotes the temporal sphere and the terrestrial spirit, as evinced by the cabiri (chthonic deities) with pendulums. Therefore three-rhythm could be understood as three + rhythm, 3 + 4, heavenly plus temporal, which is the theme of the vision. Pauli often said he wanted to reconcile “Christ and the Devil”, but he tended to project this problem on physical science, or on our biological nature as representing the number four. However, I think it better compares with the dream about Uriah and Akbar. Yet, this symbol could also be pertinent to the mystery of matter. [2]

The dream about Bohr

I suggest that Self-complementarity holds the key to many of Pauli’s dreams. On Oct 1, 1954, he dreamt that Bohr explained to him that the difference between v and w corresponds to the difference between Danish and English. Bohr said that he should not just stick with Danish but move on to English (cf. Meier, p.143). Although English is a Germanic language, like Danish, it has borrowed heavily from Latin and French. Moving on from Danish to English suggests speaking a “complementary” language. Bohr, as the father of complementarity, personifies the principle of complementarity. That’s why he advises Pauli to move on to the complementary pair: w, pronounced “double-you”. Indeed, double-you would imply double-self.

In the Hebrew language, letters have always been used to denote numbers, especially in Cabalistic mysticism, but are nowadays used only in specific contexts. Hebrew letters are still used to denote dates, grades of school, and other listings. Pauli and Bohr, since they were both Jewish, ought to have known this. The letter v (vav) is the sixth letter and therefore has the numerical value of 6. Two vavs (vv) is in traditional number mysticism calculated as 6 + 6 = 12. Thus the w in the dream equals 12, which is the product of 3 and 4, symbolic of the resolution of the problem that had haunted Pauli. The sixth letter vav, however, can alternatively be represented by w, so the symbolic meaning of w is analogous. The pronunciation of v in Danish also corresponds to w in English. Hence v would symbolize the Self, and w symbolize the Self in its complementary version. This interpretation is bolstered by Jewish tradition, according to which vav (v, w) represents the connection between “heavenly and earthly matters”, while it is also the “number of man”. [3] It coincides cogently with the definition of the Self. In a theological reading, the image of man as the connecting force between heaven and earth is symbolic of Christ.

The problem of 3 and 4

According to M-L von Franz (1974), the whole numbers aren’t mere signs for quantities. Each number signifies a wholeness of its own —qualitatively, that is. The number 3 is experienced as a three-wholeness, the four as a four-wholeness, etc. Thus, the natural numbers may serve as different models of the Self or as different models of the divine. Jung’s god image, as expressed in “Answer to Job”, is quaternarian. In a letter to von Franz (Nov 6, 1953) Pauli accounts for an active imagination experienced by him. The letter was headed with the caption, “To the sign of 6”, followed by: 2 × 6 = 3 × 4. To this was added the motto, “The professor who shall reckon numerically” (cf. Lindorff, p.178). Again, Pauli grapples with the problem of 3 and 4. He believed the solution lay in the number 12, as the numerical product of 3 and 4, but he eventually became stuck. Lindorff says:
The number 12, in spite of its failings, had led Pauli to a more expansive view of the self, but he was still stymied. With frustration he wrote to von Franz, “Every correct solution (i.e., that corresponds to nature) must contain the 4 as well as the 3. I found myself in an apparently no-way-out situation: ‘I was cornered’, as the Americans say” […]
  Pauli had the intuitive feeling that the 3-4 problem could be solved only by living the 3 and the 4 simultaneously — in other words, by relating to the dynamic aspect of the Self. (ibid. pp.185-87)
The expression 3 × 4 symbolizes, in itself, the resolution of Pauli’s yearning to arrive at a more expansive view of the Self. The sign of 6 is the sign of man, as we learn from Revelation 13:18 (having to do with the fact that man was created on the sixth day, etc.). It is the counting letter vav in the Hebrew alphabet, that can be said to symbolize the Self. Also in this case is hinted at the motif of 2 × vav, that is, w. I conjecture that the above equation says: the twofold Self is the solution.
“An ace of clubs lies before the dreamer. A seven appears beside it.” (Jung, 1980, para.97)
Pauli discussed this dream with Jung. He came to view the black crosslike shape as the “shadow cast by the Christian cross — in other words [the] dark side of Christianity” (cf. Lindorff, pp.53-54). It represents, I suggest, the Christian paradigm grown stale. That’s what’s on the table — his present state of Self, and of civilization. The 7 represents what shall come instead. It is the materia prima, the psychic generic substance, out of which the 3 and 4 shall emerge in the form of the alchemical royal brother-sister pair. The number 7 is associated with the materia prima due to the seven metals (gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead). These are reducible to materia prima, which, conversely, can generate any of the seven metals. The metals are associated with the seven “planets” (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). To associate the number 7 with the yet unknown problem of 3 and 4 is logical, although this interpretation is uncertain.

The Primal and the Ultimate God Image

According to Joseph L. Henderson, (1967, 2005), the motif of transcendence is evident in documented rituals of initiation and in the fantasies and dreams of patients. During a phase in the individuation process there is a longing to transcend this world of particulars, and a strong urge to transcend animal nature. Allegedly, the motif also plays a role in the transcendence of group identity; to acquire a refined “apollonian” spirit of order. His notion of “God Image” is equivalent to the Self notion, and he outlines two aspects of the Self: the Primal God Image and the Ultimate (Celestial) God Image. Although Henderson tries to accommodate this view of the Self within Jungian confines, to me it’s evident that the Primal God Image corresponds perfectly with Jung’s Self, whereas the Ultimate God Image has the bearing of the Christian trinitarian spirit.

The Ultimate and Primal God Image

The Primal God Image stands for the individual experience of God. Henderson exemplifies with an ambivalent monster situated in the centre of a mandala, lacking limbs, but capable of benevolent wisdom (cf. Henderson, 1967, p.226). It embodies the opposites good and bad, creation and destruction, male and female, etc. It brings to mind Jung’s youthful dream of an underground deity in the form of a one-eyed phallus (cf. Jung, 1989, p.12). As a complement to the monstrous Self, Henderson posits the Ultimate God Image. In a fantasy, a patient returns to the Christian Godhead, in improved form, after a dangerous but rewarding encounter with the Primal God Image (cf. Henderson, 1967, p.206ff). Henderson interprets the initiation in the celestial mystery (the ascent) along lines of Mircea Eliade. Initiation rites in primitive society serve the purpose of transcending a former and more primitive identity, to achieve a higher grade of culture. This implies a gradual abatement of group identity. The person who has undergone these rites has transcended the secular condition of humanity.

Intermediate God Images

Such aspects of primitive sociology, however, cannot account for humanity’s enormous spiritual passion of transcendency. I maintain that Henderson has, by a furtive reintroduction of the trinitarian transcendental God Image as an intrinsic aspect of individuation, really broken with Jung’s view of the Self. Jung viewed the Christian spirit as chiefly an impediment to individuation, although certain individuals must remain under the auspices of Christianity due to constitutional factors of personality. The Primal God Image has properties of Mother goddess, whereas the Ultimate God Image corresponds loosely to the fatherly aspect of divinity. Fatherly spirituality revolves around transcendence and the breaking free of bonds in whatever form. As Jung’s Self notion lacks the trinitarian complementary element (the transcendent presence of Uriah), spiritual emancipation becomes subordinate to the assimilation of archetypal complexes, and more generally, subordinate to the involvement and identification with archetypes and the mirages of the world. This could lead to a dependency on the unconscious and on psychology, as such. The effects are similar to a mother complex. It involves putting a naive trust in the unconscious psyche, namely to view it as a good mother, expecting her to lead the way through dark woods, securely to Avalon, the island of legend. There is sometimes a tendency to romanticize the archetypes; to intentionally identify with them, along lines of New Age. It cannot be ruled out that such a mother-child relation with the unconscious is sometimes of the good, but it does not bespeak objectivity in face of the uncanny ambivalence of the unconscious. The this-worldly ideal of spirit, which is almost of the Celtic hue, where the spirits are always proximate, is deep-rooted in Jungian psychology. It is antithetical to the inner call of transcendency, to remove all distractions and to empty the self of all particulars; to unshackle personality from the realities of everyday life. In the end, pagan mundaneness will keep the subject in psychological fetters, save for those blissful individuals who, by nature, belong in the lush Celtic forests.

Two Cities

The notion of two sides to personality accords with St Augustine’s view, as explicated in his masterpiece “City of God” (cf. Wiki, here). Eugene TeSelle says:
In Augustine’s thinking [the metaphor of two cities] meant differentiating between two modes of life and two concrete communities which he called the earthly city and the city of God, expressed in, but not identical with, the state (or civil society) and the church. Before he arrived at that position, however, he understood the duality (not dualism!) in a variety of other ways. At first he thought it possible to live fully in both cities at the same time, to be bathed in the divine light yet active in the material world. Then he came to the conviction that this is impossible under current conditions — that we are so firmly enmeshed in the sensory world that we can be citizens of the city of God only through faith and hope, or through the momentary ecstasy that he called “alienation” from the world of the senses. Duality, in other words, may be built into the human situation. (TeSelle, 1998, p.xi)
Jung, as we know, thought it possible “to live fully in both cities at the same time”, according to his ideal of an integrated life. Although Augustine rejected this view, he emphasized that some may change citizenship. Says TeSelle:
Thus the term “city,” [refers] metaphorically to much more than the physical city. The two loves and the two societies which they constitute transcend all empirical states and organizations. That is why Augustine emphasizes that both angels and human beings can belong to each city, so there are two cities, notifier (ciu.dei XII,1). In the case of human beings, furthermore, the duality between the earthly city and the city of God is not fixed or final; all human beings are born citizens of the former, while some may be reborn into the latter. (ibid. p.22)
The manifestation of the Self

The laws of quantum physics allow us to get a more exact measurement of either the momentum or the position of a particle. Those two qualities cannot be exactly measured at the same time (cf. Wiki: ‘Complementarity’, here). By analogy, should the complementarian Self become manifest in reality, in a real individual, it will appear as either complete or transcendental, either as Akbar or Uriah. No person may manifest the two ideals at the same time.

The trinitarian longing after transcendence represents an inner urge to transcend the worldly, in order to bring the soul to stillness. The notion did not appeal to Jung, whose idea of the spirit is experiential (kataphatic). He rejected the view of John of the Cross (1542–1591), who said that the contemplative shall enter the dark night of the soul, to leave room for the infusion of God’s spirit. [4] Yet, both persons were right in their own way.

Jung followed the completeness-ideal and liked to think of himself as a modern Merlin. Krishnamurti (a very Christlike person, but nothing like the historical Jesus) followed the transcendental ideal. Both individuals had a very different view of things. Krishnamurti refused any psychological, inner, evolution or “becoming”, and said that any movement away from inner emptiness is an escape. Despite their mutual irreconcilability, both perspectives carry a great deal of truth, because it is the truth about the Self. (Remember the principle that either of the two sides in the complementary model is a functioning wholeness, in itself, although neither of them is quite sufficient to describe reality.) Both persons, believing that they had found the right path to the Self, attempted to realize the Self, not knowing that the Self is complementarian (complementary).

What does this mean? It means that both persons were right but also utterly wrong, because their vision of the Self does not include its complementary. Krishnamurti manifested a Christlike ideal, whereas Jung manifested a modern Merlin. Since they both portrayed a vision of the Self that is a wholeness in itself, it fails to epitomize the whole truth about the Self. To the extent that they identified with the Self, they also estranged themselves from its complementary opposite. To manifest the Self is to become alienated from the Self. Likewise, the quantum phenomenon can only manifest either of its two complementary opposites. The other opposite is discarded. When the holy man Krishnamurti manifests the Self as a living guru, he has discarded his complementary. As a consequence, he alienates himself from the Self while making it manifest. Accordingly, Jung observed that the saintly practice of ‘imitatio Christi’ alienated religious devotees from the Self of completeness. History is replete with tragic victims of ‘imitatio Christi’. On the other hand, the ‘imitatio Merlini’, in the way of the modern paganist, alienates the subject from the Self of transcendence, the consequences of which I have discussed above. The conclusion is that it is a mistake to throw out the complementary opposite, because it inevitably leads to identification with the Self.

The hermaphrodite

The Rebis An alchemical image of the hermaphrodite (rebis) as the fulfilment of the opus (from Rosarium Philosophorum, Univ. of Glasgow Library, here). Rex and Regina, or Sol and Luna, corresponding to sulphur and quicksilver, have reemerged from the darkness of nigredo as a Janus-faced creature, the rebis. To Jung it represents the realization of the Self as conscious and unconscious conjoined. The problem with such a view is that it cannot happen in reality, since psychic structure remains largely the same. However, his argument revolves around archetypal symbolism. The advancement is expressed in terms of a superlative archetypal symbol, although a conjunction has occurred only to a relative degree. It depends on the fact that the archetype of the conjunction is activated during the process when contents are integrated with consciousness. Although Jung’s explanatory model is logical, it functions not as well with other symbols of the process.

The royal brother-sister pair both emerge from the prima materia or massa confusa, which in Jung’s understanding is symbolic of an undifferentiated unconscious, often associated with the tailbiting snake — the uroboros. It has been understood as the instinctual and undifferentiated state of the Self — the uroboric Self. According to Jung (1980), the brother-sister pair represents the feminine and masculine aspects of the prima materia. Thus, it is not evident that the male aspect of royalty, the sun, is equatable with consciousness, or the heroic ego. Rather, it is a symbol of the spirit, which is also evident from the texts. The rebis symbol could alternatively be interpreted as the result of operations performed on the Self, during which the Self complex, as such, is transformed, and not the psyche as a whole. It would symbolize the complementarian Self and its constituent parts of two irreconcilable opposites — the sun-spirit of sulphur and the moon-spirit of quicksilver, i.e., the Self of transcendency and the Self of completeness. The alchemists themselves seemed to reason along similar lines. Jung says:
For the alchemist, the one primarily in need of redemption is not man, but the deity who is lost and sleeping in matter. Only as a secondary consideration does he hope that some benefit may accrue to himself from the transformed substance as the panacea, the medicina catholica, just as it may to the imperfect bodies, the base or “sick” metals, etc. His attention is not directed to his own salvation through God’s grace, but to the liberation of God from the darkness of matter. By applying himself to this miraculous work he benefits from its salutary effects, but only incidentally. (Jung, 1980, p.312)
Jung argues that the alchemist’s standpoint is largely a misunderstanding of the nature of his work, due to projection of the alchemical opus on matter. The redemptive project really concerns the artifex himself:
The darkness and depths of the sea symbolize the unconscious state of an invisible content that is projected. Inasmuch as such a content belongs to the total personality and is only apparently severed from its context by projection, there is always an attraction between conscious mind and projected content. Generally it takes the form of a fascination. This, in the alchemical allegory, is expressed by the King’s cry for help from the depths of his unconscious, dissociated state. The conscious mind should respond to this call: one should operari regi, render service to the King, for this would be not only wisdom but salvation as well. Yet this brings with it the necessity of a descent into the dark world of the unconscious, the ritual […], the perilous adventure of the night sea journey, whose end and aim is the restoration of life, resurrection, and the triumph over death (p.329) […]
  Resulting as it did from the advice of the philosophers, the death of the King’s Son is naturally a delicate and dangerous matter. By descending into the unconscious, the conscious mind puts itself in a perilous position, for it is apparently extinguishing itself. It is in the situation of the primitive hero who is devoured by the dragon. (ibid. p.333)
True, in Splendor Solis (The Third Parable) the King is drowning in the sea and he is calling out for help. However, the text does not relate that an heroic individual dives into the sea to help him. Instead, when the morning comes, the King has wondrously resurrected. There is no reason to assume an heroic and self-destructive action on part of the artifex, especially not at the beginning of the process. A change of attitude would suffice to rescue the King; to tone down outer life and to direct libido inwards. Arguably, if the King is lost in forgetfulness it calls for an improvement of the alchemist’s spiritual understanding. The profane alchemist believed that alchemy was equal to laboratory work; the arcanum merely a substance to be produced in the retort. In such case the spirit is wholly projected onto matter. It is therefore captive in matter, from where it is calling for help. If that’s the case, saving the alchemical King from drowning in the sea means to partly withdraw the projection from matter, leading to a symbolical and celestial understanding. It cannot be achieved by allowing ego to be dissolved in the unconscious, on the heroic interpretation. The Splendor Solis goes on to describe how the body of a man with a golden head is laid waste, in order that he “might possess abundant life” (The Sixth Parable). In the Seventh Parable an old man becomes young again by having himself cut up and boiled. The decapitated King is not the ego — it is the Self. Alchemy is Ars Trasmutatoria. Yet, Jung tends to interpret alchemy according to the heroic struggle of the ego, although the dying and resurrecting King represents not the ego, but the Self. The destruction and recomposition of the Self, as a semi-autonomous process, does not seem to fit into Jung’s scheme (cf. Jung, 1977, p.371). Arguably, since he wanted to accommodate alchemy within his psychological paradigm of “direct confrontation and integration”, he tends to overlook the empirical facts. Alchemical texts seem to revolve around another theme, namely to assist the processes of Nature (see the extract from Splendor Solis below).

The argument that I put forward, that the alchemist’s work really revolves around the transformation of Self, gives the issue a different slant. Since the effect on consciousness is indirect, participation does not require a radical crisis of the ego, involving its dissolution in the unconscious. It tallies better with the recurrent idea of the red elixir, or the wonder-working lapis, as the end product of the process. The philosopher’s stone, as a panacea, has the capacity to transform and heal ego and body, and to create even more wonders. Yet it seems illogical to equate this ‘thing’ with the realized whole of the subject’s personality, conscious and unconscious included. Arguably, it is better understood as the renewed and reconstituted Self, capable of influencing the wholeness of personality. The Self has awakened from a dormant stage and become active. It would imply that the hermaphroditic rebis, as the goal of the process, is realizable in the unconscious, unlike the unrealizable ideal of psychic wholeness, in archetypal form, on lines of Jung.

It’s now easier to understand why the artifex must heat the alchemical brew slightly and leave it alone for a long time, merely controlling the fire. The transforming process is to a high degree autonomous. He must add the ingredients and provide only a little heat. It corresponds to a method of “heating” by which consciousness directs its rays at the unconscious massa confusa. It is a focusing attention of sentient light, but not a strong light, and not too much of it. This causes the content to slowly brew. Personality adds to the brew the divine sparks (the scintillae) that are found in nature. According to Hortulanus, the stone arises from a massa confusa, containing in itself all the elements (cf. Jung, 1980, p.325). It is sufficient to itself. Rotation brings the elements in motion, an apt symbol of a process that is self-feeding (i.e., a feedback process). Accordingly, the uroboros, whilst symbolizing the prima materia, also denotes the alchemical opus as a whole.

The alchemical belief that the redemptive work is performed on a divine spiritus mercurialis (the Self) enclosed in matter can be interpreted in psychological terms as the becoming aware of the Self (or more precisely, the contents belonging to the Self). However, on such a view, it’s not possible to interpret the process in terms of a reconstruction of the self — a renovation of its very nature — since the Self is already defined as a psychic wholeness ready to be moved into the light. Nevertheless, a process of renovation is apparently what the alchemical manuscripts seem to describe, rendering a symbolic picture that is not quite comprehensible in Jungian terms. In fact, Jung’s Self is only half the truth. It seems that it corresponds to the feminine part of the brother-sister pair, to be united with its complementary, in order to be reborn as the hermaphroditic Self. [5]

In Jung’s view, the conjunction is understood as the united conscious and unconscious, something that is connected with dangerous inflation. The process requires that the ego is dissolved in the unconscious to unite with the Self, a demand that very few people are capable of or prepared to go through. In that case alchemy is for a tiny élite only. How many artificês have actually lived through such an extreme crisis at the very edge of psychic disaster? The alchemist as daredevil, who recklessly dives into the unconscious to do battle with the dragon, is not the proper view of alchemy.

The alchemists always repeat their dictum that the process proceeds from the one and leads back to the one. It is the same thing, but the first one is inferior and the second one is superior. The dictum concerns the Stone. Such a notion is hard to understand in the light of psychology, where the initial state consists of ego and Self as two different standpoints to be united. In my reading the alchemical gold, i.e., the achieved coniunctio in the form of the hermaphrodite or the lapis, represents the reformed Self, as such. It is the wonderworking Stone that will heal the soul, the body, and the world. Thus the ego is indirectly affected by the transformed Self, which has emerged thanks to a process of Nature, with a helping hand from the Art. In a sense the artifex is an “active bystander” who provides the right conditions for the Stone to grow out of Nature, by itself. Salomon Trismosin (“Splendor Solis”) says:
[Quicksilver] is a material common to all metals; but it should be known that the first thing in nature is the material gathered together out of the four elements through Nature’s own knowledge and capacity. The philosophers call this Material Mercury or Quicksilver. It is not a common mercury: through the operation of Nature it achieves a perfected form, that of gold, silver, or of both metals. There is no need to tell of it here: the natural teachers describe it very clearly and adequately in their books. On this the whole art of the Stone of the Wise is based and grounded, for it has its inception in Nature, and from it follows a natural conclusion in the proper form, through proper natural means […]
  For this one must decoct and putrefy it after the manner and secrets of the Art, so that by art one affords assistance to Nature. It then decocts and putrefies by itself until time gives it proper form. Art is nothing but an instrument and preparer of the materials — those which Nature fits for such a work — together with the suitable vessels and measuring of the operation, with judicious intelligence. For as the Art does not presume to create gold and silver from scratch, so it cannot give things their first beginning. Thus one also does not need the art of Nature’s own secret to possess the minerals, since they have their first beginning in the earth […]
  Through the secrets of the Art they can be made rapidly and manifested complete, born from temporal matter through Nature. Nature serves Art, and then again Art serves Nature with a timely instrument and a certain operation. (Trismosin, pp.19-21)
It is obvious from the above text (which is rather typical) that the process is highly autonomous (it “decocts and putrefies by itself”). Yet it must constantly be nourished with the fiery element, because the salamander thrives on fire. The artifex does not leave the decoction alone to take care of other business. He takes part, but in a more deferential way than how Jung portrays it. The artifex’s attitude is similar to that of the Christian mystic. According to alchemical texts, piety plays a big role. It is this attitude which provides the fiery element, symbolic of the energy that returns to the unconscious. To this is added meditations in some form, which serve to search out the scintillae of physis.

My reinterpretation, however, does not refute Jung’s view of alchemy. However, it affects the most important aspects, namely how to view the relation with the unconscious, and the way in which the spiritual journey is accomplished. To Jung it involves a radical transformation of consciousness, including dangerous encounters with archetypal reality. To the alchemists, however, it regards the radical transformation of divine Self, having an indirect benevolent after-effect on life as a whole. But the ego is not the foremost beneficiary — it is God. In fact, Michael Maier, author of the alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens, says that at the end of his grand peregrinatio he found neither Mercurius nor the phoenix, but only a feather — his pen! (cf. Jung, 1980, p.431).


Individuation in Jungian terms excludes the trinitarian ideal of individuation, which centers upon the reclusive life. After coming to terms with personal problems, individuation proceeds by way of assimilation of archetypal complexes. The strong focus on integration makes it insufficient as a method of relating to divine nature. To rectify this lopsidedness, I have suggested a notion of complementation (Winther, 2012, here). It would mean to put focus on the regeneration of the unconscious, rather than the transformation of conscious personality. It is necessary to distinguish the operation from the traditional notion of integration of archetypal complexes. Integration implies that the autonomous archetype “sacrifices” itself for the benefit of the conscious world. It mirrors the self-sacrifice and dismemberment of the gods in pagan religion. However, in religious history sacrificial priest also make a reparational offering. To give life back to the gods was regarded as equally essential. In the modern era, it could take the form of pious acts that direct conscious focus onto the divine. Meditation and contemplation are ways to sacrifice sentient energy for the rehabilitation of the spirit, although non-commercial artwork is perhaps better suited for modern man. The individuant becomes more or less a seclusive. Such an surrender of sentient awareness is necessary for the growth and transformation of Self. I denote it complementation, since I think of it as a slow process whereby the unconscious collects and constellates its nature, aided by a mild conscious focus. I submit that it corresponds to the alchemical symbols of circular distillation and the transformations in the vessel.

Complementation does not imply that the unconscious is restructured according to the designs of the ego. On the contrary, it is a semi-autonomous process to which the ego contributes by providing energy, and by modulating the heat with an amount of intellectual understanding when it gets too hot, or increasing the heat by symbolic awareness, alternatively a contemplative focus. Thus, complementation would mean the very opposite of ego control and psychic integration. The Self, or any other archetype for that matter, does not abide in the unconscious as a ready-made Platonic form. It is more organic than that. Normally, it needs time to grow in order to blossom out at a point in time, also on the historical scale. Jung points out that the anima (soul complex) does not constellate in all ethnic groups. The anima is not generally present among the Chinese, which would depend on historic factors. Jung and von Franz hold that there is a complete range of historical personality types in a population, from Stone Age people, via the medieval mindset, to the modern individual. Von Franz relates that she once met with a Stone Age man who lived in the Alps, who walked about stark naked during the summer. He lived in unison with the brooks, the trees, and the animals. The reason why personality is thus rooted in the different ages of man would depend on the structure of the psyche. In a minor portion of the Western male population the anima never constellates. Combined with other genetic factors, the personality might turn out as a Stone Age man who chooses to live with Mother Nature. By example, the medieval laboratory alchemist is still alive and well in modern society. Such people have a fascination with chemical processes and crystal formations in the retort. Most people are unable to grasp the extent to which they enrich the chemical process with meaning. Because it is symbolically quite potent, the alchemists think that it is the ‘quinta essentia’. Perhaps one could view them as medieval dwellers that happen to live in the wrong age.

Analogously, the Self as the alchemical hermaphrodite, or the rebis, may constellate in a population. The process is slow, however, similar to the emergence of the anima. The alchemists argued that they were capable of speeding up the processes of nature in their own laboratory. It implies that the artifex is able to assist the constellation of the Self. Thus, complementation signifies a way of assisting nature’s work of archetypal constellation. It serves to speed up the process, so it doesn’t require a thousand years of efforts, via many generations. The process would occur relatively independent of consciousness. It is coupled with a different attitude of personality. The greedy and gluttonous frame of mind, so typical of the ego, forms the basis of the psychological paradigm, whose central tenet is the assimilation of the unconscious. The ego thinks that everything in the unconscious belongs to “me”. The devouring capacity is denoted as the “synthetic function” in psychoanalysis. As soon as a content surfaces, the ego immediately appropriates it and claims that it has been conceived by the ego.

The ego is a dictator that enslaves psychic content. There exists a well-known fairytale motif of being “captured by the mountain”. In Scandinavian fairytales it is called “bergtagen” (lit. ‘mountain-taken’). Characters are captured by the mountain and swallowed by it wholly or partly. Occasionally they become stuck with their head or a limb. Sometimes they become stuck in a thorny thicket that surrounds the mountain, transfixed on the thorns. Fairytales depict psychic life from the perspective of the unconscious in order to compensate for the one-eyed conscious outlook. The evil mountain (glass mountain, golden mountain) portrays the insatiable over-extended ego from the viewpoint of the unconscious psyche. The covetous and egotistic attitude is severely criticized in religious teachings, not the least in traditional Christianity, since it is inimical to the spontaneity and naturalness of psychic life. The ego should give glory to God and refrain from glorifying itself by taking credit for all the blessings that are bestowed upon it. Vainglory and self-worship is condemned. However, if the psychoanalytic paradigm is taken to its extremes, in terms of the integrative effort, as in Edward F. Edinger’s psychology, the ego has become an evil mountain, inimical to spiritual and instinctual life. In Christian theology, pride and arrogance is destructive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the soul.

Complementation, which I connect with ‘circular distillation’ in medieval alchemy, builds on a different attitude of personality. The ego rids itself of its typical illnesses, namely covetousness and pride. A meek and unassuming attitude means that conscious light burns with less intensity, yet with a clear flame. The ego is no longer fixated on self-satisfaction. It now exalts God instead of itself, and no longer views itself as self-sufficient. Although the ego is now less energetic, it maintains focus on the process and sustains the circular distillation by the addition of a mild heat. The alchemists always said that over-heating the vessel ruins the process. It is imperative to maintain a mild and continuous heat. Some say that the light of the moon is enough. They assert, again and again, that the artifex must maintain a truly pious attitude, otherwise the operation has no chance of success.

What the alchemists had in mind was not first and foremost a process of assimilation, the way in which Jung understands the alchemical opus. Rather, it denotes a process of complementation during which the unconscious Self emerges out of the ‘massa confusa’ and takes shape as a complementarian composite of opposites. The process can only take place in mild light, as the strong light of ego consciousness would only transfix the components on its spines. Nor can it go on in total darkness, where the contents would freeze and the process risk coming to a halt. The alchemists believed that the metals slowly mature (into gold, eventually) in the womb of the earth. In the laboratory, an artificial womb is created, which serves to speed up the process (cf. De Pascalis, p.13 & p.94). The symbol of the ‘golden coral growing in the ocean’ also seems to signify an autonomous process (ibid. p.27). What generates the growth is ‘the philosophical fire’, which is a potential fire within the elements themselves that must be activated and fed. Giovanni Pontano says that it is “a fire of modest flame, for it is with a modest fire that the Work may be carried out” (ibid. p.101).

Evidently, the ego must become small and simple, remain virtuous and modest. This attitude corresponds to the standpoint of Christian mystics, such as St John of the Cross, whose teachings Jung rejected out of hand, saying that apophatic mysticism and the ‘via negativa’ “has nothing to do” with individuation. Although Jung, according to my argument, misinterpreted alchemy to a degree, he maintained an attitude of reverence toward the spirit. The unconscious realm was, in a sense, holy to him. He went as far as saying that, to him, the unconscious is God. This attitude is reflected in his dream, when he bows down before the holy Uriah. Of course, this attitude of reverence made him reluctant to “kill” every psychic content by means of assimilation. Nevertheless, this misinterpretation has taken a turn for the worse in some of his followers. The unchristian attitude of “killing the unconscious” is probably what has given rise to neurotic forms of thought in the psychoanalytic school, too.

The peregrinatio

Jung’s view of the spiritual journey requires a “confrontation with the unconscious”, as the chapter in his autobiography is named. It entails a dissolution of the ego in the unconscious sea, wherefrom the ego reemerges as a better approximation of the Self. The process is close to going through a schizophrenic episode. It is possible to interpret the night sea journey, and the nigredo in this way, i.e., as the hero’s journey into chaos. However, I argue that it is better understood as the journey of the Self, during which the effects on the ego system are secondary. When the Self goes through the sufferings of the nigredo, the ego would likely experience “dryness” and passivity, a condition illustrated in “Psychology and Alchemy” (Jung, 1980, p.275) where an alchemist meditates in nature. The non-secular person must himself go through hardship because he must, more or less, stand apart from the social sphere. His sufferings depend on the circumstances of life. He need not go through a next to schizophrenic stage, when the ego is dissolved in an overwhelming experience of the Self. Murray Stein says that Jung’s “Answer to Job” is “tendentious” in the way Jung deliberately accommodates the divine drama within the psychological realm:
Answer to Job is tendentious. It is driven to its conclusions by a reading of history and the development of human consciousness that sees humankind as having left the mythical and the metaphysical eras behind, and as now having entered into the psychological. Answer to Job does not stand in the tradition of theological Biblical criticism and commentary, which answer to a particular religious tradition on one side and to conventions of historical inquiry and scholarship on the other. The psyche replaces heaven and hell and all such metaphysical beings as gods and goddesses, angels and devils, as the field in which the essential conflicts rage and must be won or lost or worked through. And with this comes the ethical responsibility for ordinary mortals to take on the burden of ‘incarnation’. Incarnation for modern men and women means entering actively and consciously into the battle of the opposites (good vs. evil; masculine vs. feminine), submitting to the suffering of this cross, and enduring this agony until a unio oppositorum is constellated in their individual souls. Each person is called upon to incarnate God, which means to bear the opposites inherent in God’s nature. (Stein, 2003)
Jung is also tendentious in his interpretation of alchemy. He is very much an advocate of “ego-dissolution” in confrontation with the unconscious, although this is not a workable solution. Jung portrays the path of the hero, and makes it the ideal of individuation, i.e., to throw oneself headlong into the battle of gods and dragons. But the hero is an archetype. It is not a proper model of the ego, which Jung himself found out when a dream voice said that he must shoot himself if he cannot come to a proper understanding of his hero dream (cf. Jung, 1989, p.180). Nevertheless, he never abandoned the psychoanalytic modus operandi in relation to the collective unconscious. In “Two Essays”, and elsewhere, Jung describes the spiritual path involving the encounter with the archetypes of the collective unconscious. Through active imagination, personality encounters the anima/animus, the wise old man, and the Self, allegedly an overwhelming experience of an entity vastly larger than the ego, something which is experienced as traumatic, amounting to psychological death. Yet, Jung accounts for no case studies. His followers should be able to give an account of such encounters, but nothing is emerging. If these powerful complexes cannot be called up in the majority of seekers, we are forced to question Jung’s version of the spiritual path.

Jung and von Franz were aware that the Self has different demands on different persons. Von Franz says that people in modern society exist at different cultural levels of personality, corresponding to different epochs in human evolution. As already mentioned, she even knew a stone age man whose personality remained at an archaic level (which doesn’t mean that he was stupid). To him God and nature was the same. Understandably, he loved to be with God. Jung recommended certain analysands to return to the Judaic or the Christian faith, since their psychological makeup belonged to older epochs. However, he certainly didn’t view this solution as ideal. Jung’s flexibility in matters of personality cannot hide the fact that his path of confrontation is a blind alley for the absolute majority of seekers.

Arguably, the proper attitude is to achieve a relative reduction of the ego according to the ascetic (trinitarian) paradigm and the terms of mystic tradition. The ego must be reduced according to the practice of self-denial and renunciation of worldly pleasures. In a radical interpretation it may require withdrawal from the material world to a life of meditation, as in the practice of Yoga. Jung objected to this view, and argued that it is certainly proper that the libido turns inwards, away from the world, but the ego must be prepared to confront the archetypes (which are to be ignored according to ascetic mysticism). When this happens, it has a pronounced dissolvable effect on the ego. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to occur with the healthy psyche.

We normally view the ego as a highly autonomous “reality function”, capable of relating by direct means. Yet the ego is not wholly autonomous; it is dependent on unconscious libido, capable of affecting the mood of the ego. Looking at it from the obverse point of view — from the perspective of the unconscious — it is the Self which is truly “real”, whereas the ego is a mere projection; a shadow on the wall in Plato’s cave. If the Self undergoes transformations, its two-dimensional projection will not be affected to an equal degree. On this view, direct confrontation is not imperative when integrating the unconscious. Personality, under subtle influence of a slow unconscious “fermentation process”, can gradually grow to maturity. The individuant involves himself with mental imagery, but in a way which facilitates transformations of the Self. He is careful not to disturb the process. (Consciousness, like an elephant in a china shop, will create havoc in the unconscious.) Yet, in the end, the ego will go through a thorough transformation, clad in the new robe of the Self.

The argument implies that the ego fulfils a more sedate role, more close to the path of the Christian mystics, who said that one must, in stillness, allow the “infusion” of God’s spirit. But Jung rejects the mystics out of hand, such as St John of the Cross, who said that the soul must be brought to dryness. I argue that the trinitarian perspective must, somehow, be retained in unison with Jung’s perspective. This is what Pauli ruminated over, namely the problem of 3 and 4. He wanted to keep the number 3, although Jung told him to throw it out. This was also the grounds for the conflict between Jung and Father Victor White (1902–1960).

SalamanderThe alchemists had already solved the quandary. Their method was to apply heat to the alembic where the salamander dwelled, surrounded by flames. The artifex kept feeding the salamander (the Self), who thrives in the fiery element. The image illustrates a vessel called the pelican. It “bites” itself, while it leads the vapours back, similar to how the pelican is believed to feed its nestlings with its own blood. The uroboros also feeds on itself. It is symbolic of a self-sufficient process, only needful of added heat.

This does not mean to say that the path to holiness is effortless; it requires self-control and solitude, and it’s quite time-consuming, to boot. To be successful the seeker must take issue with his personal problems and complexes. To some people, this can be a difficult experience, in itself, but apart from that the salamander need only be fed. In normal circumstances it is not mandatory to enter its fiery abode to confront it. The unpolluted mind, undistracted by worldly matters, has great powers. Rays of consciousness are capable of illuminating the faint spirits in order to revivify them in the mild light, and the salamander will feed on them.

The solution to the 3-4 problem

The trinitarian solution, according to the number 3 (St John, et al.), implies that wholeness is achieved by standing apart from the world. The number 4, according to Jung, stands for the “concretization of the spirit as it is cast in the subjective mould”. The quaternarian solution means to partake in the world, to throw oneself wholeheartedly into life, and equally passionately to turn inwards, to confront the archetypal psyche. How can two such widely differing standpoints be reconciled? Alchemy, I contend, combines 3 and 4 by the formula: “partake while standing apart”. Alchemical texts belong to the trinitarian tradition. To be capable of finding the arcanum, one must have a clean heart, much like the ideal of the Christian mystics. J.A. Belin says:
For the reasons above alleged one has need in the practice of the assistance of the most high: but heaven gives no help to the man who is its enemy: one must have a pure and holy heart, divested from the desires of the world, and vowed entirely to God. (Belin, 1646)
The alchemists referred to alchemical creativity as ludus puerorum — child’s play. Not much scholarly knowledge is needed. Neither does it call for “deep insights” into the mysteries, on Gnostic lines, nor a dramatic “confrontation with the unconscious,” on Jungian terms. The artifex keeps the fire burning by recourse to an elementary form of creativity, that will help to transform spirit and soul; a process that however goes on autonomously. Meanwhile the little cabiri are doing the work — hence the term ludus puerorum. “A Lexicon of Alchemy” (1612) gives:
‘Game’. A Game for Children. The Philosophers have given this name to the Work of the Stone after the preparation of the Mercury, because there nature takes up the work, and it is requisite only to maintain the fire, following the rules of a certain definite procedure. (Rulandus, 1612)
The notion that “nature takes up the work” is noteworthy. Jung keeps to the paradigm of psychoanalysis, which implies a confrontation with archetypal complexes followed by their assimilation. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support this procedure when it comes to the pathologies of the ego. However, the question is whether its justified to extend the methodology beyond this line, thus elevating it to a spiritual path. Jung says:
Note that the children also play a part in the opus alchymicum: a certain portion of the work is called ludus puerorum. Save for the remark that the work is as easy as “child’s play,” I have found no explanation for this. Seeing that the work is, in the unanimous testimony of all the adepts, exceedingly difficult, it must be a euphemistic and probably also a symbolical definition. It would thus point to a co-operation on the part of “infantile” or unconscious forces represented as Cabiri and hobgoblins (homunculi: fig 96). (Jung, 1980, p.199)
Arguably, the ego experiences the period of nigredo as difficult because it cannot remain as active as it used to. Should the ego intervene too much, the floodlight of consciousness has destructive consequences. While the cabiri are doing their job, they mustn’t be disturbed. Meanwhile the ego should content itself with supporting their activity. The artifex must diminish his involvement with worldly matters, and subject the unconscious to “mild heating” through some form of meditation or creative activity, void of the fiery passion characteristic of the ego. The anonymous author of the Rosarium Philosophorum says that the work must be performed “with the true and not with the fantastic imagination” (ibid., p.257).

Gerhard Dorn says in his “Philosophia meditiva”: “Thou wilt never make from others the One that thou seekest, except there first be made one thing of thyself” (ibid. p.255). The precursory unity of personality here referred to is the same as the trinitarian unity (‘unio mentalis’). Yet Dorn also exclaims: “Transform yourself from dead stones into living philosophical stones!” (ibid. p.269). This transformation occurs indirectly, similar to the slow revolution of the outermost unconnected ring in Pauli’s vision. In this way, the 3 and 4 are combined.

In the trinitarian world Heaven and Earth are separated. God is in the beyond — He is transcendental. This is how a person with a trinitarian mindset experiences the world, according to his level of culture. A trinitarian attitude is comparable with the posture of the Christian mystic. Comparatively, the Neo-Pagan individual would have no bent for personal sacrifice, i.e., to surrender his time and cravings to afford assistance to Nature. A Neo-Paganist would make sacrifice naively, that is, ritually. New Age has revived the ancient worship of crystals, etc. Yet should trinitarian awareness of “the above” be forgotten, then half of our field of reference is gone. Instead, as in pagan times, sacred and profane are conjoined. Due to an identification with the world the conscious level is low. It is not possible to uphold such a frame of mind in today’s complicated and conflicted world, and that’s why advanced alchemy is incompatible with a pagan attitude. There has always been much hoax in alchemy. There existed much inferior literature also in medieval times.

Speculum VeritatisA critical attitude is characteristic of the modern mind, whereas the naive mind tends to gobble everything up. It indicates that the penetrating force of Mercurius is lacking. The increase of conscious light has a Promethean quality. Prometheus, whose name literally means “forethought”, stole the fire from the gods. Likewise, the serpent in paradise breaches the ratified order of God, encouraging Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of knowledge, with the consequence that their eyes are opened. The serpent and Prometheus have a similar symbolic value. It is a force that instills fear, as it seems unfettered by the “laws of Maat” (the predefined universal order of ancient Egyptian religion). It is as if the workings of the mercurial intellect is perceived as a subversive activity to undermine the instituted order of the gods. But this serpent, whom people are afraid of, is the serpens mercurialis himself. If there is too much of pagan naiveté, then there is too little quicksilver, and the process cannot succeed. Thus, the penetrating force of Mercurius is essential to the process. It is illustrated in this image from Speculum Veritatis.

Modern alchemical symbols

What is alchemy all about? It is related to gnosis, although the creature to be saved through heavenly wisdom is not the alchemist himself, but a spirit imprisoned in matter. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says: “Split a piece of wood: I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there” (Logion 77). Jesus’s saying is not pantheistic, meaning that Nature and God are the same. Rather, the Gnostic Jesus is here saying that the divine spirit is hiding in gross materiality. This spirit must be sought out and recovered, to release it from its bond to matter. It will bring about gnosis, which will free the seeker from the world. That’s why the seeker must split the wood, and why he must lift the stone. He mustn’t worship the objects, but rather disrupt them. After all, they keep the spirit imprisoned, inside the wood, and under the stone. Alchemy took over this notion, that is, of the spirit imprisoned in matter. In an attempt to extract the spirit, they ground matter and subjected it to fire. If they thought that the spirit hid inside a crystal, they would grind that too, and subject it to heating. The Gnostic “disrespectful” attitude, and lack of veneration towards matter, gave rise to science. It is all about becoming aware of the “spirit of matter”, i.e., what matter and material images inspire in us. The material, as such, lacks value; only what it inspires in the soul is valuable, that is, its unearthly qualities must be extracted and canned up.

It means that matter is indirectly of great value, but not as such. It is a tool for redemption. The lapis, or the red elixir, was greatly desired because it was a panacea — a remedy for all ills and difficulties. It is close to how we today, in the scientific age, view matter. It means, for instance, that the crystal, as such, has only pecuniary value. What is really valuable is what the artifex feels and thinks about it, how he experiences its inner spirit. Therefore, having a crystal in mind and heart is better than owning hundreds of crystals. But the crystal is only one among many millions of objects that contain the sacred substance of prima materia. Jesus points at stones and pieces of wood as ideal specimens.

We are very much enveloped in the ego and its doings. Alchemical imagery compensates this, as it focuses on another centre of the psyche, namely the Self. The Self is archaic (preceding the ego), which is why it is symbolized by a snake, the uroboros, or the serpens mercurialis. The alchemical operations that are performed on the Self occur semi-autonomously. Arguably, the ego has developed so strongly in the latest millennium that it threatens to separate from the soil of the unconscious. Like Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, the rootless ego settles down on the little asteroid B-612. To counteract this phenomenon, and what Jung terms instinctual atrophy in modern-day man, it’s necessary for the ego to take root in the unconscious soil. Otherwise, it threatens to lose contact with both instinct and the meaningful archetypal source of life. This is why correspondences of alchemical themes continue to emerge. Modern symbols, that approximate the alchemical, can be found in dreams. As examples of how the modern psyche spontaneously tries to renew alchemical symbology I relate the following dreams of mine. Such dreams are very valuable, more valuable than the alchemical symbols in medieval books, because new symbols better relate to the modern mind. If alchemy only revolves around olden symbols then it is reduced to a branch of comparative history of religion.

When I had been distracted by earthly matters for a period of time, I dreamt that I had been “neglecting my aquarium”. In a dream I arrive at a public place where a big aquarium is placed and I question how the fish had managed to survive. It turns out that a woman has fed the fish while I’ve been away. The aquarium has been taken care of in a satisfactory way, although not perfectly. There are algae on the glass. The fish, it seems, are different kinds of tetras, such as the red-blue cardinal tetra. There are also many beautiful species that I cannot identify.

The aquarium corresponds to the alchemical vas, and the red-blue tetras are quite mercurial in appearance. These fish, like the cabiri, must be fed and tended to, a little at a time. Tetras are known to be a very undemanding kind of fish. It is obvious from these dreams that nothing much is demanded of me, in terms of active effort. Yet the activity is quite significant anyway. However, the ego tends to experience the condition as difficult as it is used to exerting itself, to have passions and to occupy itself wholly with something, engaging libido in a directional way. Thus the ego can easily experience frustration during the nigredo. I believe that many alchemists became obsessed with their laboratory experiments. It is this very obsessive spirit that must, sooner or later, be terminated by the “penetrating Mercurius”. The artifex must endure the period of nigredo. Accordingly, Dorn says, “Rend the books lest your hearts be rent asunder”. The work can be difficult, in practice, but this is a consequence of the restlessness of the ego. It’s really a ludus puerorum.

Another example. In my twenties I dreamt of visiting the Holy Land with a group of hippies. By chance, we found a very valuable “uranium stone”. We were immediately reformed; abandoned our irresolute attitude towards life, and undertook to refine the stone. We started a technological firm and worked hard for many years. Eventually we were capable of launching a satellite that circulated the earth. This satellite could now be put to use, to the benefit of humanity, and scientists could communicate with it to do measurements at different layers in the atmosphere. In my understanding the uranium stone represents the unrefined (and dangerous) prima materia, which harbours the uroboric Self — potentially immensely valuable. Uranium contains immense power, capable of destroying whole cities. It glows in the dark, and it is capable of both good and bad.

The end product, the satellite, is the refined Stone of the Wise, i.e., the renewed Self. It is a sacred stone in its weightless capacity to fly over the earth. Its dangerous radioactive rays (the penetrating Mercurius) have been converted to the good, now used for communication. The satellite binds together Heaven and Earth, which has always been the role of Mercury as the messenger of the gods. The scientific researchers represent, perhaps, the hermetic philosophers who now have recourse to the different layers of the ethereal realm. The goal of the alchemical process, it seems, is to establish a conduit between Heaven and Earth. As communications now can occur freely, the rule of Heaven has been established on Earth, long before the religious and time-transcendent Kingdom of Christ.

The outer ring, in Pauli’s clock vision, was black while being “carried by the children”. It is from the dream that Jung comments on, above. The black ring would represent the nigredo phase. The ring reappears in the clock vision, depicting the coniunctio (the end goal of alchemy), where it has turned golden. Some years ago I had a similar dream in which appeared two gigantic concentric circles that had formed out of clouds and covered a great part of the sky. They consisted of I Ching hexagrams (from the ancient Chinese oracle book). They were somewhat diffuse as they were made up of clouds. I did not connect it with Pauli’s vision, which I, by then, had forgotten all about. The I Ching contains 64 hexagrams. It is an image of the coniunctio where 32 units appear in each circle. Half the hexagrams belong to the heavenly yang principle, and 32 to the earthly yin principle. (I take it that the inner ring consisted of yin hexagrams and the outer of yang hexagrams.) Although the rings are concentric, and not intersecting, the meaning should be similar. But the meaning of the 32 × 2 units escapes me. In the continuation of the dream there was also to occur a coniunctio, in the form of marriage with a woman who arrived simultaneously (as upper - so lower!). I was going to live in some kind of school, a brown wooden house in the wild region, for a considerable time. It signifies reclusion. Such remarkable dreams are relevant to the understanding of the alchemical coniunctio.

Complementarity in Christology

Niels Bohr suggested that theologians make more use of the complementarity principle (see above). It appears that Bohr didn’t know that theologians had already made heavy use of it. In fact, it was they who invented it. According to Christian dogma the nature of Christ is characterized by ‘hypostasis’ (coexisting natures). The hypostatic union means that the human and divine natures of Christ coexist, yet each is distinct and complete. [6] Despite having two natures, Christ is one person. It means that each description of Jesus Christ is complete, in itself, yet both descriptions are needed to account for the whole phenomenon. This is close to, if not equal to, complementarity as defined by Bohr. In theological quarters, Christology and quantum complementarity has been discussed before. [7] The following is my take on the subject.

Theologians faced a similar problem as modern psychologists, namely the intellectual problem of how to formulate a “two-unity” from the two “selves” of Christ. Self-complementarity, as I have sketched it, does not signify a complementarity of conscious-unconscious, but rather of a complementarity of two selves, the one more conscious and delimited, and the other more unconscious and complete. Two millennia ago, when it became apparent that God had a wholly human nature, and not only a heavenly, it gave the theologians a headache. Nestorius (–c.451 A.D.) claimed that in Christ a divine and a human Person (Logos and Jesus) acted as one, but did not join to compose the unity of a single individual. [8] At the turn of the previous century, when it became apparent that the human Self is composed of unconscious nature, and not only of conscious, similar models began to emerge. It stands to reason that psychology can learn from earlier epochs, of how to deal with the problem of one nature appearing as two natures, that is, of one Self being founded upon two sides of personality, conscious and unconscious. In point of fact, the human Self is moulded partly by the ruling view of divine nature. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, etc., function as Self ideals.

The Self can be viewed as a ‘hypostatic union’, i.e. a complementarian wholeness. The Christ of immanence (Self of completeness) I denote ‘quaternarian’, whereas the Christ of transcendence (Self of perfection) I denote ‘trinitarian’. If we read the gospels it is easy to see that Jesus (the immanent Christ) is portrayed as a complete human being, as the theologists say. Jesus is not an immaculate person. He likes to drink vine and socializes with sinners. He has an irate temperament. He calls Peter “Satan” (Mark 8:33), and he wishes his mother and brothers further (Matthew 12:47-50). (This episode, by the way, makes a very authentic impression.) He aggressively empties the temple area of mongers, an area that was decidedly bigger than a soccer field. He is plagued by severe anxiety in Gethsemane. Yet, he is morally superior to the most elevated person among hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees.

Nevertheless, this version of Jesus, as portrayed in the gospels, has not caught on as Self ideal. Jesus was not a “tolerance fundamentalist”, a cultural and moral relativist, like the average liberal person of today. It is curious. In fact, one gets the impression that the average Christian Westerner has never read the gospels. Historically, the advanced notion of hypostasis never caught on. It remained a mere theological quandary as part of the Christian creed. Believers kept parroting it without really understanding it.

It seems as if the lopsidedness toward the trinitarian ideal has consigned the complementary version of the Self, the quaternarian or immanent Self, to oblivion. This, in turn, is what has caused the compensatory plunge into materialism that we experience today. The quaternarian Self is able to deal with the world, something which the trinitarian Self is unsuitable for. Hence the “otherworldly” attitude of the average politician or debater. Instead of dealing with reality, they tend to soar above it, formulating politically correct theses of “Human Rights”, etc.

Thus, what Christian theologians are really saying is that Christ is a complementarian wholeness. It neither denotes dualism nor a one-dimensional form of monotheism, on lines of orthodox Judaism or Islam. Rather, it is a more advanced concept. Christ is, according to the Christian creed, “wholly God and wholly man”, equally complete in both the sublunar and the heavenly sphere. Yet, on earth, he was present in his quaternarian form, and not in his trinitarian, because the latter lacks relevance to empirical reality. In the same way, the individual must obtain a roothold in both spheres. Yet, he must not think, like Krishnamurti, that his unworldly awareness is appropriate when dealing with earthly matters. Nevertheless, invisible wholeness is indirectly greatly valuable in earthly reality, as it is the fountainhead of meaning.

A more thorough version of Christological complementarity should be able to compensate for the trinitarian bias. According to the complementarian paradigm, the earthly and divine natures of Christ cannot exist simultaneously in time. After all, both definitions are complete. A phenomenon cannot be more than complete. Nonetheless, the phenomenon of God extends beyond either of the definitions taken for itself. When the Christ was present on earth, although he manifested the Godhead as wholly human, he wasn’t quite sufficient to embody the phenomenon of God. The Son of God is One with God, yet His presence cannot quite account for the phenomenon of God in its entirety. Analogously, the electron is a phenomenon that is complete in itself. It is sufficient to explain most of electrical phenomena, but not all. The electron is the son of father Electricity. It is electricity, but cannot quite account for the phenomenon of electricity in its entirety.

The notion of two-unity can be expressed in different ways. It is interesting to see what alternative models of two-unity there existed in early Christianity. A competing notion in the fifth century was ‘miaphysitism’ (or henophysitism), according to which Jesus Christ has two different aspects, one divine and one human. [9] These two aspects are united in one nature. They co-exist and are indistinguishable. This rhymes with the standpoint that Jung advocates, i.e. the Self as a ‘coniunctio oppositorum’. The Coptic Orthodox Church still subscribes to the miaphysitic view of Christ.

According to Jung, personality has two different aspects, conscious and unconscious, which are capable of uniting. The Self ideal is a ‘complexio oppositorum’, a full conjunction of conscious and unconscious. The process of individuation attempts to approximate the Self by way of integration. Should personality remain unintegrated, hence remote from the Self as the wholeness of personality, it is effectively split against itself and is prone to develop neurosis.

Freud’s view corresponds to the Nestorian standpoint, i.e., disunion of two natures. According to Freud, there are two aspects of Self that are, by nature, antagonistic. Personality appears as one only by way of the formation of compromises. The unity of personality thusly forged, causes inner frustration that may develop into neurosis.

The notion of fusion is also present in Christology. It is called ‘monophysitism’, meaning that the Christ had only a single nature that was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. [10] I don’t know which psychological school it would correspond to, perhaps Charles Brenner’s “Conflict Theory”. He has discarded the separate psychic layers of conscious and unconscious. As a besides, Jung’s solution could alternatively be denoted “time-transcendent monophysitism”, since the goal of the “one fused nature” exists in the future as an ideal that can only be approximated during earthly life.

The complementarian model of the Self lends support from the hypostatic model of the Church Fathers. I am convinced that it is better than Freud’s and Jung’s. Because the Christ is a symbol of the Self and, according to Christology, is complementarian by nature, it follows that we have entertained this model of the Self in the Christian era, although the notion has not been fully understood. It is a psychological fact that the ruling Self model must be understood as complementarian. This realization would help to overcome the one-sided trinitarian view of Christ, should we learn to cope with the fact that the Christ is also quaternarian. It leads to an improvement of our understanding of the human Self, to the great benefit of psychic well-being. The complementarian Self is really an uncloaking of something that already existed. It is like a valuable artefact that only needs to be dusted off.

Jung’s view, corresponding to the ‘miaphysitic’ (one composite or conjoined nature from two), implies that the Self is ambivalent. He also views the Godhead as ambivalent (vid. “Answer to Job”, 1979, and elsewhere). There are moral problems connected with an ambivalent Self ideal. Take the example of an upstanding and competent individual who regularly beats up his wife (which is not a far-fetched example). According to modern morality, he is an evil person who deserves the penalty of imprisonment. But his personality is really ambivalent, since in all other respects his conduct is fine. The sultan Akbar (above) would be such an ambivalent character, likely a bigamist with a great harem. Perhaps he is even a murderer, like great King David. There is no way around the fact that ambivalence, in human psychology, means that the person is a dark character.

We know that ambivalence is characteristic of the unconscious, whereas the modern mind is moulded by the trinitarian spirit. Hence, the Self as a complexio oppositorum results in ambivalence, which is morally objectionable. Ambivalence in personal psychology equates with evil, according to modern morality. If the Self is portrayed as the conjunction of an ambivalent unconscious with the conscious function, it would imply that the Self is ambivalent, too, i.e. it is infected with the evil principle (much like the upstanding citizen who manhandles his wife). Arguably, that’s why Dorneus warned that quartarius (equal to the Jungian Self) is the binarius in disguise. This was also the quandary that Job wrestled with. According to Job’s argument, if God breaches an absolute moral boundary then even He must morally accountable. Jung has argued that the author of Job found the idea of the ambivalent Godhead intolerable. Job exclaims: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). In Jung’s controversial exegesis, the encounter with Job invoked a moral realization in the Godhead that moved Him to finally proceed with the Incarnation.

The quaternarian Self ideal elevates the ambivalent person as role model. Indeed, this is the model individual in phallocentric culture. The conclusion is that the ambivalent Self is morally fallacious. The view of the Self as a complexio oppositorum isn’t good enough. I have proposed another solution which I call the “complementarian Self”. Jung’s version of the Self I denote quartarius. I do not repudiate this Self model, but merely conclude that it is half the truth. Evidently, Christology could help to advance the complementarian view of the human Self. Since it is capable of forging personality, it may have a benevolent effect.


The inner longing to achieve transcendency, spiritual emancipation, must be accepted as an operative factor in the individuation process. However, a regress to the historical trinitarian mindset is not an acceptable solution. The only viable option is to allow the complementarian Self to affect us as a new ideal. The trinitarian and quaternarian principles come to expression in a complementary fashion. The complementarian Self is symbolically equivalent to the theological conception of Christ, who has two natures, human and divine, immanent and transcendent. Keep in mind that Jesus was considerably more complete than His heavenly manifestation: “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Christ’s earthly Self even resorted to violence to cleanse the enormous temple area.

Although Jung’s Self notion is appealing, and no doubt verified in clinical material, he throws the baby out with the bathwater. He has renounced the trinitarian spirit, especially as defined in mysticism. The Self functions as a role model for the individual and defines his path in life. In my personal experience, while I find truth in both, they are mutually exclusive. Thus, they cannot become integrated. Complementarity can provide a solution. The trinitarian and the quaternarian, the “oneness-self” and the “completeness-self”, are, in fact, complementary opposites. Thus, a conflict is resolved. Both paradigms are largely right, although they contradict each other. We have to stop thinking in Hegelian terms.

Jung often represents the three as an incomplete wholeness; only four is wholeness proper. Yet triads of gods are replete in religious history. It is a recurrent symbol of dynamic and godly wholeness (holiness). Without doubt, the number three expresses wholeness, in itself. Nevertheless, it is not wholly sufficient as Self symbol. Something is amiss. Jung sensed this, and thought that the quaternity could take its place as an apt symbol of the Self, because the quaternity is symbolic of completeness. Nonetheless, it is insufficient as Self symbol, as well. To achieve an unflawed symbol, both numbers are embraced as complementary models. Conjointly, they are a consummate symbol of the Self, but not at the same time, since the Self cannot be more than complete. It cannot be more than a wholeness. Since they are mutually exclusive, they must function in a revolving manner, as in Henderson’s diagram, above. It is possible to combine two or more mutually exclusive models. They are made compatible in this way, since neither of them will quite suffice as sole explanatory model.

As guiding star in an individual’s life, the Self changes its appearance from three into four, and reverse. Thus, over time, the guiding star changes its nature. At any given moment in time, the individual may only live under the aegis of either ternarius or quartarius. Yet, the complementarian union of both numbers must be cherished as the proper Self symbol, exemplified by Pauli’s world-clock. The revolution of three and four avoids the dangers and pitfalls that are associated with these numbers, respectively.

The realization of the complementarian Self is a slow procedure corresponding to the creation of the lapis philosophorum in alchemy. The relation between ego and the unconscious, as rendered by psychology, is enhanced with an alternative and indirect approach to assimilation, which better approximates the medieval alchemical view. The symbolic depiction of the process according to the medievals is very apt. Transformations can be invoked in the unconscious, capable of continuing autonomously, although the procedure is dependent on “heating” in the form of conscious meditations. Eventually the transformations taking place in the vas hermeticum will cause a pronounced after-effect in personality.

The hermaphrodite in alchemy is reinterpreted in terms of the “complementarian Self”. It differs from Jung’s understanding of the end goal of alchemy as the realization of the conjunct conscious and unconscious — the integrated Self. Instead the hermaphrodite, or the lapis philosophorum, is the result of a largely autonomous process that occurs relatively independent of the ego. If this is correct, the ego need not undergo the radical subversion that Jung portrays, involving a psychological crisis, or severe depression. The renovated Self, as such, as the wonder-working lapis, will transmutate the ego, as an after-effect.

Although Jung’s work has improved the understanding of human nature immensely, it has a tendentious quality. Misinterpretation leads to a warped view of the spiritual path. The way of the cloistered contemplative is no alternative to most people. Instead the “alchemical” way may provide an answer. Yet psychologization and misinterpretation has very damaging consequences. This question is not merely a dispute over the misinterpretation of alchemy, or the theory of the Self, it concerns the immensely important issue of how to find our way during the spiritual quest. See also ‘Critique of Synchronicity’ (Winther, 2012b, here) where I discuss the complementarian Self further and direct critique against the unitarian Self.


© Mats Winther, March 2011 (augmented 2015: ‘Two Cities’). Text and images by me.

Addendum: a complementarian model in physics

Wave-packetAs a matter of interest, physical science provides us with an example of a functioning complementarian wholeness. It regards the electron as wave-packet, which here moves upwards in the image. This phenomenon cannot be observed, as the electron in complementary fashion manifests either as a particle or as wave. This does not prevent physicists from creating an heuristic model of a combined particle and wave, a so called wave-packet. Analogously, it should be possible to create a model of the Self that illustrates the complementary aspects of completeness and transcendence. Thanks to the principle of complementarity, the one does not invalidate the other. In this model the waves correspond to the transcendental concept, because they are mental constructs that show how electrons propagate in conceptual spaces. The waves are not constituents of nature (they “transcend” reality) — they represent a mental picture that physicists draw to be able to understand nature.

Wave-packet: a wave-formation consist entirely of waves having a precise wave-length, which will extend only over a small region of space. Waves outside this small region of space destroy one another by interference. A short sequence of waves of this kind is called a wave-packet:
In front of the wave-packet, the waves are continually destroying one another by interference, while at the back the reverse process is taking place. This results in a slowing down of the speed of the wave-packet as a whole, so that it advances more slowly than the individual waves of which it is constituted. The packet as a whole travels only at a speed u, which is precisely the speed of the electron. Thus the waves as a whole do not run away from the electron. (cf. Jeans, p.165ff)
It is an elegant model.


1. Stylites. See Wikipedia article (here).

2. Looking at the world-clock we realize that the horizontal region is surrounded vertically by the blue trinitarian mandala. The horizontal region, pertaining to the this-worldly spirit, is the realm of the human soul and the world-soul (anima mundi). By inference, above is the realm of spirit; below is the realm of body and matter. If this is correct, it would imply that spirit and matter coincide at their extremes. The soul is surrounded by spirit above and matter below. Arguably, the essence of the bodily is an aspect of spirit, since matter, as such, is unknown. The reverse is also true. The very essence of the spiritual is arguably material. Perhaps this is why an extreme otherworldly orientation tends to manifest in bodily-oriented ritual. Many Gnostic sects practiced very explicit sexual rituals (cf. Walker, 1983). Sexuality has also a religious aspect (cf. Goldberg, 1963). At the other end of the spectrum are the physical scientists who experience that the wonderments of matter inspire religious feeling. Opposites meet.
    When the contemplative, of whichever religious creed, makes stillness in his soul, he thereby enters the celestial sphere, but in equal measure he enters the material and bodily sphere. It would explain why much of spiritual discipline revolves around bodily focus. It is an important point to make, not to forget the role of the material principle. Emancipation according to the trinitarian principle seems to mean that one moves on to the realm of the sacred, that somehow includes the material/bodily. Therefore philosophers have always been divided over esse in re or esse in spiritu, although Jung’s credo, I maintain, is esse in anima.
    A three-fold rhythm governs the clock. Thus it seems as though the quaternity is surrounded by the ternary principle, similar to how the alchemical method of Quadratura Circuli (“squaring of the circle”) prescribes that the square must be surrounded by a triangle. The three-fold rhythm alludes to the conjunction of three and four and to the fact that the ternary principle, as spirit-matter, surrounds the whole. It would also help to explain why the world-clock, in the vision, is carried by a black bird.

3. The following applies to the vav character according to traditional Jewish mysticism. The placement of the vav in the Torah (Genesis 1:1) occurs between the words “heaven” and “earth”. Thus, as it joins heaven and earth, it implies the connection between divine and temporal matters. It appears as the 22nd letter in the word et, a purely grammatical connecting word. It therefore represents the creative connection between all the letters, as the number of letters is 22. It stands for the connecting force of God, the divine “hook” that binds together heaven and earth. Moreover, vav has always been regarded as the number of man in Jewish tradition. Man was created on the 6th day. He works for 6 days, and rests on the 7th. There are 6 millennia before the coming of Messiah. The number of the beast is the number of man, i.e. 666, according to Revelation 13:18 (cf. ‘Hebrew for Christians’, here).

4. Jung’s view of Christian mysticism, in terms of John of the Cross, was clear. James Kirsch once asked him whether John’s “dark night of the soul” was a process of individuation, and he replied, “John of the Cross’ ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ has nothing to do with this. Rather, integration is a conscious confrontation, a dialectical process…” (Jung & Adler, 1976, p.159).
    By Christian mysticism I refer to the mystic tradition according to apophatic theology (an imageless stillness and wordlessness), as in “The Cloud of Unknowing”. Solitude and self-denial serve to create the empty mind, a condition void of distractions. It coincides with the ideal of Buddhism. In accordance with this, Jung advocates a directing inwards of libido, a strong sense of introversion. This makes it necessary to withdraw projections from the objective world, because his path is one of withdrawal and introversion. So far Jung is in agreement with mystic tradition. However, at this point he departs. Jung says that withdrawal of libido from the outer world implies that libido falls back into the unconscious, thus activating the archetypes. Jung’s design is to confront the archetypal complexes, and relate to them, ideally by way of active imagination.
    Thus, the psychological way is the very opposite of the apophatic way, according to which the inner images must be brushed away to cleanse the mind of anything resembling the worldly. John of the Cross and Buddhist theorists alike, say that subjective experiences of the mind build on the same worldly categories through which the outer world is experienced. All images of the soul are of the world, and therefore create an attachment to the world. Allegedly, this works counter to the attainment of unio mystica, which implies transcending all sense impressions, to enter a state of total detachment. God can only be found beyond everything else.
    Such transcendentalism is anathema to Jung, according to whom the unconscious is God. This divine power can be experienced through the images of the archetypal realm. If God cannot be experienced, he explains, then we are justified in questioning whether the notion of divine existence makes any sense at all. Jung’s experiential standpoint is glaringly obvious in all his writings, in his autobiography, too. He rejects the standpoint of blind faith, when there is no experience of the divine. Yet, Christian mystics do indeed strive after a total experience — the immersion in God.

5. What is the metaphysical nature of the Self? Some say that the objective of the hermetic art is to transmute the imperfect material state into a subtle body, i.e. a body that is at the same time spirit (vid. Jung, 1980). The Chinese alchemists call it the “diamond body”. It is reminiscent of the Pauline notion: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:44). This is the glorious body, which is relevant to theology. It is the body of the resurrection, which the alchemists are creating in advance. The alchemists were radical enough, when they claimed that the ego can initiate the process that creates the Resurrection Body (see Remo Roth’s papers, here). However, I maintain that, in alchemy, the ego mostly participates indirectly. Great artists have assistants who prepare the canvases, etc. The artist is the Self and the assistant is the ego. But is the assistant involved in the creation of the great work of art? It is a matter of definition.

6. Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis (Wikipedia, here).

7. See Counterbalance Interactive Library entry (here).

8. Nestorius. d. c.451 A.D. Persian prelate. Patriarch of Constantinople (428-431); preached the doctrine (Nestorianism) that in Jesus Christ a divine person and a human person were joined in perfect harmony of action but not in the unity of a single individual; deposed for heresy by the Council of Ephesus (431) and banished (c.436) to the Libyan desert. Nestorianism spread widely in Persia, India, Mongolia, and China (Merriam Webster Biographical Dictionary).

9. Miaphysitism (sometimes called henophysitism) is a Christological formula of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and of the various churches adhering to the first three Ecumenical Councils. Miaphysitism holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, Divinity and Humanity are united in one or single nature (“physis”), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration (Wikipedia, here).

10. Monophysitism. Christian schismatic sect of the 5th and 6th centuries that maintained that Christ had only one (divine) nature, thereby opposing the orthodox doctrine that he was both divine and human (Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia).


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De Pascalidis, A. (1995). Alchemy – The Golden Art. Gremese.

Franz, M-L von. (1974). Number and Time. London: Rider & Company.

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Henderson, J. L. (2005). Thresholds of Initiation. Chiron Publications. (1967)

Jeans, J. (1943). Physics & Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.

Jung, C.G. (1979). Answer to Job. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

  ———    (1989). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Vintage.

  ———    (1979). Aion – Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self. Princeton/Bollingen.

  ———    (1977). Mysterium Coniunctionis. Princeton/Bollingen.

  ———    (1980). Psychology and Alchemy. Bollingen Series. Princeton University Press.

  ———    (1977b). Psychological Types. Bollingen Series. Princeton University Press.

  ———    (1977c). The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings. Bollingen Series. Princeton University Press.

  ———    (1972). Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. New York: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C.G. & Adler, G. (ed.). (1976). Letters, Vol. 2: 1951-1961. Princeton University Press.

Lindorff, D. (2004). Pauli and Jung – The Meeting of Two Great Minds. Quest Books: Wheaton, Illinois.

Meier, C.A. (2001). Atom and Archetype – The Pauli/Jung Letters. Princeton University Press.

Plotnitsky, A. (1994). Complementarity – anti-epistemology after Bohr and Derrida. Duke University Press.

Rulandus, M. (1612). A Lexicon of Alchemy. John M. Watkins. London 1893/1964.

Sharp, D. (1991). Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms & Concepts. Inner City Books. [Electronic version] (here)

Stein, M. (2003). ‘The Rôle of Victor White in C.G. Jung’s Writings’. The Guild of Pastoral Psychology Lecture No.285.

TeSelle, E. (1998). Living in Two Cities: Augustinian Trajectories in Political Thought. University of Scranton Press.

Trismosin, S. (1991). Splendor Solis. Phanes Press.

Walker, B. (1983). Gnosticism – Its History and Influence. Crucible.

Winther, M. (2012). ‘Thanatos – a contribution to the understanding of the collective shadow’. (here)

    ———      (2012b). ‘Critique of Synchronicity’. (here)

See also:

Brabazon, M. (2002). ‘Carl Jung and the Trinitarian Self’. Quodlibet. v. 4 (2–3), 2002.
(B. suggests that the double triad solves the dilemma. I am skeptical, but it’s a good article.)

Winther, M. (2007). ‘Dependency in the analytic relationship – A Blind Spot in Jungian Thinking?’. (here)