The Persona and the Shadow
What parts make up the whole self in Jungian psychology? The ego is often talked about as if it were evil and something we should try to mortify by spiritual folk. However, C.G. Jung equates the ego with consciousness. We need the ego to organise and make sense of reality. In the process of the ego doing this, we develop a persona – a sort of mask or interface to the world around us.
The shadow represents our unconscious mind, the way the ego represents the conscious mind. In the unconscious mind we find long-forgotten memories and thoughts/memories that we have repressed because they took us outside our comfort zone.
Both the persona and the ego are completely neutral. It is when the ego starts identifying exclusively with the persona that the we are in trouble because this means we become cut off from the self, which is the archetype that unifies the conscious and unconscious mind of the individual.
The process of integrating the anima & animus and identifying with/operating from the self, is known as the process of indviduation. Spiritually, it is referred to as ‘Soul Alchemy.’ Without an ego this process would not be possible.
Jung believes that we are born with an imprint of the collective unconscious, which is how ancient archetypes make sense to us. Our own unconscious mind (which we tap ever night while dreaming) is a direct channel to the collective unconscious.
The Animus and Anima
The soul itself is androgynous. In a culture where men are raised to assimilate a traditional male role, his female soul qualities are repressed but ‘live’ in his unconscious as the anima archetype. The same is true for a woman who is conditioned to only express traditionally feminine qualities and who has to repress her masculine soul part, which then lives in her unconscious as the animus archetype.
Because these archetypes reside in the unconscious they are projected on people around us, most notably in romantic relationships. Usually, a man reserves his projection for a singular object, whereas a woman may diversify and include authority figures as well as her lover.
The animus and anima need to be brought into conscious awareness and the missing qualities integrated for the process of individuation to run smoothly. Unfortunately, many cultures discourage men from developing feminine qualities and vice versa. Men have traditionally been punished and ridiculed in various ways when honouring their inner feminine. This hard control is sadly enforced by both genders in many cultures.
If we take a look around us, we can clearly see a world where the anima is repressed and devalued. Traditional male values like rational thought, competition, and power over others rule the day while intuition, compassion, and sharing are seen as ‘lesser.’
Jungian Whole Self Sample Tarot Reading
I wanted to create a Tarot spread to help us look at the archetypal principles that make up the self, so I started having a play with the cards last night…
The Jungian Whole Self Tarot Spread
Use only the Court Cards for this spread. Before you delve into looking at individual cards, get a feel of the Elemental balance in the spread.
The second time you do this spread (It’s OK to give it a few days before you try it again), try using only the Major Arcana. Compare notes with the first reading to see if this clarifies some things for you.
For position 5 you can pull an animus card if you identify as more female than male and vice versa, or you can allow the Tarot to show you either Animus or Anima if you identify as gender-neutral. When working with the Majors, you could end up getting a gender-neutral card here anyway. Things have moved on since Jung formulated his theory.