Water as ‘spirit that has become unconscious’

(Water) Dragon, Katsushika Hokusai, 17th Century, Japanese, US Public Domain vua Wiki.
(Water) Dragon, Katsushika Hokusai, 17th Century, Japanese, US Public Domain vua Wiki.

Carl Jung tells us that “water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious” CW 9i, para 40).

“The lake in the valley is the unconscious, which lies, as it were, underneath consciousness, so that it is often referred to as the ‘subconscious,’ usually with the pejorative connotation of an inferior consciousness. Water is the ‘valley spirit,’ the water dragon of Tao, whose nature resembles water- a yang in the yin, therefore, water means spirit that has become unconscious.” (Carl Jung, )


  1. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

6 thoughts on “Water as ‘spirit that has become unconscious’

  1. Hi Jenna I was particularly attracted to choose to read this blog because of the imagery and subject. I am writing an article on Jung and the chakras, and the dream I had last night was v pertinent to this blog – in it was a building in the shape of a ship, an empty concrete swimming pool and a canal barge that was far too big for the narrow width of the canal and the bridge above it which it consequently damaged. I would love to know what they all meant in relation to my conscious world! Many thanks for this stunning blog – it is great.

    I am doing my MA in Analytical psychology and healing practice, and my dissertation is focusing on Kali and challenging her negative aspect that is used as an archetype. From my own Indian background, it is very different in that she is viewed as being much more than the devouring/terrible mother. It is fascinating to see how much reference is being made to her in this way and also the challenge coming from contemporary Jungian writers.

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