nature of the Self: theory, image & archetype
In the second section of Symbols of Transformation, Jung takes us “into a realm of mythological ideas” (para. 176). Here Jung palpates the aims and desires of the living soul. Jung uses archetypal images to dream on the nature of the soul. He allows his soul to speak to our soul through presenting the hieroglyphic communications of the soul. Jung begins with a contemplation of the sun:
“the Creator God [takes] on an astromythological, or rather an astrological, character. He has become the sun, and thus finds a natural expression that transcends his moral division into a Heavenly Father and his counterpart the devil” (ibid).
Monotheism is an archetypal image for the soul, expressing a significant aim and desire of the soul, a desire for wholeness of the Self. This image of wholeness is found in both the sun and the God image. Such an image of wholeness ‘transcends’ any divided image, as seen, for example, in the cloven God and devil.
“The sun… is the only truly ‘rational’ image of God, whether we adopt the standpoint of the primitive savage or of modern science. In either case the sun is the father-god from whom all living things draw life; he is the fructifier and creator, the source of energy for our world. The discord into which the human soul has fallen can be harmoniously resolved through the sun as a natural object which knows no inner conflict” (ibid).
The sun is a ‘rational’ image of God. Such an image is an expression of the archetypal form of wholeness and completeness of the Self. As an image of the Self the Sun contains within itself the opposites. Jung says:
“The sun is not only beneficial, but also destructive; hence the zodiacal sign for August heat is the ravaging lion which Samson slew in order to rid the parched earth of its torment. Yet it is in the nature of the sun to scorch, and its scorching power seems natural to man. It shines equally on the just and the unjust, and allows useful creatures to flourish as well as the harmful” (ibid).
This sun not only offers a life engendering potential, but also that of destruction. The sun is both the source of life and of tormenting, burning heat. The sun brooks no favor, flourishing all and every.
“Therefore the sun is perfectly suited to represent the visible God of this world, i.e., the creative power of our own soul, which we call libido, and whose nature it is to bring forth the useful and to bring forth the useful and the harmful, the good and the bad” (ibid).
The sun is an image of ‘the visible God’ and of ‘creative power.’ This creative power is libido, the instinctual energy of the Self. The creative power of the Self represents the creative potential of being:’to bring forth the useful and the harmful, the good and the bad.’