Unicorn: representation of spirit

Alsace , Bas-Rhin , Wissembourg, Protestant Church St. John, St. Catherine Chapel , Fresco ” Lady and the Unicorn ” (XIV ) US Public domain via wikimedia

Carl Jung tells us that the unicorn is an image of spirit (CW 14, para. 3).

The concept of ‘spirit’ has deep roots in the human psyche. Spirit is a concept that speaks to the active pole of being.  Wundt takes spirit as “the inner being, regardless of any connection with an outer being.” (ibid) Spirit is often associated with reason, intellect, imagination, creative power, and striving toward ideals. Spirit expresses”psychic capacities or functions or qualities, such as the capacity to think and reason in contradistinction to the more “soulful” sentiments” (ibid). In this sense, “spirit means the sum-total of all the phenomena of rational thought, or of the intellect, including the will, memory, imagination, creative power, and aspirations motivated by ideals.” (ibid)


  1. Mysterium Coniunctionis- Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 14 By C. G. Jung
  2. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious – Collected Works volume 9i (originally published 1934–1954) By C. G. Jung



6 thoughts on “Unicorn: representation of spirit

  1. I don’t have a Ph.D. in anything but I am exploring the world of folklore in re, especially, magic and the feminine. I am in the middle of developing a critical lens whereby I can enter the world of folklore and present it to others from a particular perspective. I don’t claim to be a Jungian but I do appreciate many of his insights even when I disagree with them. I was just wondering if you are Jungian, yourself, and/or if you approach subjects and/or objects within your range of vision with any particular institutionalized religion as your filter.

  2. Have you written anything yourself and/or is there anything you would care to recommend in re the Jungian approach to the magical and/or to the feminine?

    1. Love your icon: the digger, laborer, archaeologists. It is a great metaphor for digging into the archetypal depths.
      In terms of reading…
      For an investigation into our relationship to the feminine, Carl Jung’s Symbols of Transformation is the source text. James Hillman’s Anima is great as well. A more recent and accessible book is The Web in the Sea by Alice Howell.

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