Totality

… the mandala which represents the idea of totality. The centering of the image on hell, which at the same time is God, is grounded on the experience that highest and lowest both come from the depths of the soul, and either bring the frail vessel of consciousness to shipwreck or carry it safely to port, with little or no assistance from us. The experience of this “center” is therefore a numinous one in its own right.

Magic exercises a compulsion that prevails over the conscious mind and will of the victim: an alien will rise up in the bewitched and proves stronger than his ego. The only comparable effect capable of psychological verification is that exerted by the unconscious contents, which by their compelling power demonstrate their affinity with or dependence on man’s totality, that is, the self and its “karmic” functions. We have already seen that the alchemical fish symbols points ultimately to an archetype of the order of magnitude of the self.

By definition, only absolute totality contains everything in itself, and neither need nor compulsion attaches it to anything outside. The is undoubtedly the same as the idea of an absolute God who encompasses everything that exists. But which of us can pull himself out of the bog by his own pigtail? Which of us can improve himself in total isolation? Even the holy anchorite who lives three days’ journey off in the desert not only needs to eat and drink but finds himself utterly and terribly dependent on the ceaseless presence of God. Only absolute totality can renew itself out of itself and generate itself anew.

On the one hand, in the products of the unconscious the self appears as it were a priori, that is, in well-known circle and quaternity symbols which may already have occurred in the earliest dreams of childhood, long before there was any possibility of consciousness or understanding. On the other hand, only patient and painstaking work on the contents of the unconscious, and the resultant synthesis of conscious and unconscious data, can lead to a “totality,” which once more uses circle and quaternity symbols for purposes of self-description.

Cont’d … In this phase, too, the original dreams of childhood are remembered and understood.

Cont’d … The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the uroboros, the snake that bites its own tail.