from A Primer of Jungian Psychology

"The goal of amplification is to comprehend the symbolic significance and the archetypal roots of a dream, fantasy, hallucination, painting, or any other human product. Thus, for example, Jung writes concerning the song of the moth:
'Under the symbol of "moth and sun" we have dug deep down into the historical layers of the psyche, and in the course of our excavations have uncovered a buried idol, the sun-hero, "young, comely, with glowing locks and fiery crown," who, forever unattainable to mortal men, revolves around the earth, causing night to follow day, and winter summer, and death life, and who rises again in rejuvenated splendor to give light to new generations. for him the dreamer longs with her very soul, for him the "soul-moth" burns her wings' (Vol. 5, p. 109). In the sun-hero, we see the representation of an archetype, the product of countless generations of men experiencing the great power and radiance of the sun." (p. 112-13)

"The essential features of Jung's theory of symbolism are disclosed in this statement by him: 'The symbol is not a sign that veils something everybody knows. Such is not its significance; on the contrary, it represents an attempt to elucidate, by means of analogy, something that still belongs entirely to the domain of the unknown or something that is yet to be' (Vol. 7, p. 287)." (p. 116)

"What is it that is 'as yet completely unkown and only in the process of formation"? It is an archetype buried in the collective unconscious. A symbol, above all, is an attempt to represent an archetype, but the result is always imperfect. jung contended that man's history is a record of his search for better symbols, that is, for symbols that realize fully and consciously (individuate) the archetypes. In some periods of history, for example, the early Christian era and the Renaissance, many good symbols were born--good in the sense that they fulfilled many sides of man's nature. In other periods, notably the present century, symbolism tends to be sterile and one-sided. Modern symbols, which consist largely of machines, weapons, technology, international corporations, and political systems, are expressions of the shadow and persona, and neglect other aspects of the psyche. Jung very much hoped mankind would create better (unifying) symboles before it destroyed itself in war." (p. 116-117)

"The symbolism of alchemy attracted Jung because he saw in it an effort to encompass all sides of man's nature and to forge opposing forces into a unity. The mandala or magic circle is the chief symbol of this transcendent self." (p. 117)

..."Retrospective analysis exposes the instictual basis of a symbol, and prospective analysis reveals the yernings of mankind for completion, rebirth, harmony, purification, and the like. The former is a causal, reductive type of analysis; the latter a teleological, finalistic type of analysis...Jung believed that the prospective character of a symbol ahs been neglected in favor of the view that a symbol is solely a product of instinctual impulses and wishes striving to assert themselves." (p. 117)
Written on August 9, 2007