Process Of Archetypal Individuation Of Personality


The article discusses the influence of the archetypal content of the collective unconscious during individuation of a person in the field of social interaction. It is shown that in terms of the psychological development of the personality, ontogenesis repeats phylogenesis; the archetypal dynamics of a social system is isomorphic in its basic forms relatively the archetypal dynamics of personality as an integral element of this system. As a working model of the archetypal social space in which the individuation of the personality is carried out, the model of the hierarchically structured collective unconscious by Carl Jung is chosen. Three main stages of assimilation of the content of the collective unconscious are investigated: the stages of discernment, transformation and individualization. Psychic inflation is analyzed as a process opposite to individuation. The article discusses in detail the hierarchical structure of the individuation process, in accordance with which a person successively assimilates such archetypes as the Shadow archetype, the Person archetype, the Anima and Animus archetypes and the Man-person archetype. The formation of the selfness is traced as a result of the process of archetypal individuation of the individual. It is hypothesized that a person strives for ontopsychological integrity. Conclusion suggests that the ontopsychological integrity of personality is achieved only at the super-personal level of being, which is an existential basis for preserving a person’s identity and bringing one’s body, mask, shadow and ego together. Going beyond oneself allows a person to acquire a true meaning of own life.

Keywords: Individuationarchetypesassimilationmythologypersonality


If we turn to ancient mythology, we can find in the mythological legends and legends of various nations a symbolic reflection of psychological conflicts and existential problems of a person. Armstrong (2015) states: “Mythology is an early form of psychology”. If we take into account the fact that, on the one hand, myths ensure the ontopsychological integrity of a person, and, on the other hand, various psychological models, despite their ontological contradictory bases, are used with some success in psychotherapeutic practice and psychological counselling, then it is possible to state that psychology is a modern form of mythology. And, therefore, the psychological development of a personality implies the development of a mythological consciousness passing through certain stages and reaching its apogee as a result, according to Bart (2004), in the existential activity of a human producer.

Problem Statement

Under the influence of the collective unconscious, a person is subject to mental inflation, which is reduced to the loss of individuality and subject to certain collective patterns of thinking and patterns of behavior. Psychic inflation is characterized by the fact that, according to C. Jung, a person psychologically “swells up” and loses his individual boundaries (Alekseev & Prokudin, 2017). Correspondingly, the problem arises of overcoming mental inflation in the form of the process of archetypal individuation of a person as a sequential assimilation of a number of basic archetypes.

Research Questions

The article examines the process of archetypal individuation of personality. The subject of the research is the basic archetypes of social space, considered as transcendental determinants of mental strategies and behavioural patterns of the self-determined subject.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the work is to identify the specific modes and mechanisms of personality individuation in the sociocultural space of basic archetypes. Mythology consideration is proposed not only as a hypostated symbolic component of knowledge, but rather as a necessary component attribute of ontopsychologycal integrity of being of self defined subject.

Research Methods

In the article the critical-analytical method is used to compare various theories of individuation in the sociocultural space of the basic symbols of the human existence of symbols. The analysis of the immediate facts of the psychic experience, represented by means of the basic archetypes, is carried out within the framework of the phenomenological method. However, the scope of applicability of the phenomenological method does not extend to the area of transcendental correlation between the direct content of mental experience and the latent archetypal content of the collective unconscious. And therefore, further in the study of the mechanisms of archetypal individuation of personality, the symbolic method of existential analysis is used.


Within the framework of the problem being studied, one of the leading figures of Russian symbolism and modernism A. Belyy (Belyy, 1994) identifies three stages of symbolic knowledge of the world: 1) symbols of experiences (ordering the chaos of feelings), 2) artistic symbols (materializing experiences, bringing them out of the soul, transferring them to otherness) and 3) religious symbols (theurgic creativity, the image of the God-man).

E. Neumann believes that in terms of the psychological development of an individual, ontogenesis repeats phylogenesis: “In the course of ontogenetic development, the individual consciousness of the thinking person must go through the same archetypal stages that determine the development of the consciousness of humanity as a whole” (Neumann, 1998). According to E. Neumann, the consciousness of the personality in its development must pass through the following mythological stages: 1) the myth of creation (separation of consciousness from the unconscious): a) separation from Uroboros (separation from mother, violation of primary integrity), b) the archetype of Horrible Mother (subordination to the unconscious and fear of the unconscious), c) the myth of incestuous relations (a symbolic return to the original integrity), 2) the myth of the hero: a) the birth of a hero (struggle with parents for asserting their ego), b) killing a mother (identification with father), c) killing a father (asserting oneself and disobeying the will of the father), 3) the myth of transformation: a) the myth of the prisoner and the treasure (extraverted adaptation to the world of things and introverted adaptation to the psyche and archetypes), b) the myth of Osiris (centering as the acquisition of new integrity, individualization).

C. Jung, in a number of his works, considers the consistent assimilation of archetypes, which leads to the formation of a harmonious and integral personality. He calls this assimilation of archetypes individualization, which “consists in becoming a separate being and, as we understand by personality our deepest, last and incomparable uniqueness, to become our own self. Therefore, “individuation” could be translated as “self-determination” or as “self-fulfillment” (Jung 2002). The process of assimilation of the archetypal content of the collective unconscious, according to C. Jung, has three main stages: 1) the stage of discernment, 2) the stage of transformation, and 3) the stage of individualization. At the stage of disassociation, a person distinguishes archetypal content as something collective from his essence as the ontological unity of his own individuality. He then subjects this archetypal content to transformation in accordance with his individual goals, meanings, values and needs. And finally, at the third stage, he harmoniously inserts the resulting transformed archetypical content of the collective unconscious into the integrity of his personality. The opposite process of individuation, C. Jung calls mental inflation, which is reduced to the loss of individuality and submission to certain collective patterns of thinking and patterns of behaviour. Psychic inflation is characterized by the fact that, according to K. Jung, a person psychologically “swells up” and loses his individual boundaries.

The process of individuation, in accordance with the model of C. Jung, begins with the assimilation of the archetype of the Shadow, which is a collection of repressed destructive and asocial impulses that cannot be realized directly in society. C. Jung then divides the social sphere of human existence into two levels: 1) macrosocial (level of social relations in large groups, the perception of which forms a shared reality) and 2) microsocial (level of close, intimate relations). At the macrosocial level, in the process of individuation a person assimilates the archetype of Persons, which is a combination of social roles and games in which a person participates and which forms an idea of other people about him. A person is “only a mask of the collective psyche, a mask that dramatizes the individuality that makes others and its carrier think that it is an individual, while this is just a role played by the collective psyche” (Jung, 2002). If a person is captured by the archetype of the Person who is not subject to the assimilation process, then he becomes helpless and infantile (respectively, showing aggression and irritation or falling into depression and apathy) when he finds himself in a situation where his Person does not find the conditions for adequate functioning. The Archetype of Persons can be represented, for example, by the symbols of the Reformer and Hero, the Holy and Martyr, the Disciple and the Teacher.

Showing the process of mental inflation under the authority of the Person archetype, C. Jung writes: “... if I identify myself with my service or title, then I behave as if I am all this complex social factor that is represented by the service, as if I am not only the carrier of the service, but at the same time the sanction of society. Thus, I unusually expanded myself and usurped qualities that do not exist in me, but outside of me ” (Jung, 2002). A person is something that is usually accepted by surrounding people as a manifestation of his personal qualities, but that, in fact, is related not to the individuality of a person, not to his uniqueness and uniqueness, but to that collective part of being in which he is dissolved and from which he is unable to distinguish themselves. A person is “a complex system of relations between individual consciousness and sociality, a convenient form of a mask designed to, on the one hand, produce a certain impression on others, and on the other hand, hide the true nature of an individual” (Jung, 2002).

If a person is identified with the archetype of the Person, without assimilating him or forming the structure of a propriotic essence under his shell, then falling into conditions that do not allow the Person to function adequately leads to frustration of the individual. This, in particular, is connected with the neurosis of the day-off, which is characterized by the fact that a human identified with his Person experiences boredom and anxiety when he is left to himself when his Person is not realized. If a businessman who does not have any propriotic content under the shell of his own Person loses money and power, then his Person is destroyed and he suffers a mental trauma. In this case, there are two main options for the development of further events: either the human starts the individuation process, which ultimately leads to the formation of the selfness, or restores the destroyed Person. In the second case, according to C. Jung, the recovery can be 1) full, 2) regressive and 3) symbolic. The full restoration of the Person is due to the fact that a human does not lose heart, that he does not give up and begins to re-gain the social recognition that he had before financial or some other failure. The regressive restoration of a Person assumes that a human no longer strives for those heights that he had previously submitted, but, having admitted defeat, is trying to restore social status at a level that does not correspond to his real possibilities. And, finally, the symbolic restoration of Person leads to the fact that a person replaces real actions and deeds with their symbolic duplication. Symbolically Person is formed when a human thinks of himself as who he really is not. For example, a person may claim to be a magician, sorcerer, saint, or saviour, attributing to his personality traits that are characteristic of the mythical structures of a person’s collective self-consciousness.

People who have been identified with Person need authority, guiding, pointing the way and giving ready-made patterns to follow without particular thinking about their bases and their origins. Submission to authority allows a human not to make personal efforts in terms of understanding and in terms of being; he takes a ready-made understanding and follows the existing stereotypes of life. Such people “constantly unite, but not out of love – out of the constant interest, which, by producing collective agreement, is strengthened in their own conviction without much effort” (Jung, 2002). The truth and meaning of life for such people is conventional; they live in a shared reality, to which they submit to and which replaces their own creative efforts. Accordingly, the problem of responsibility for their own being is reduced to the problem of compliance with certain interjected patterns of behaviour.

At the microsocial level, C. Jung identifies two main archetypes that define close relationships between people – the Anima archetype (female) and the Animus archetype (male). By virtue of the law of enantiodromy, Anima and Animus, being not assimilated, are in opposing relations – one of the parties is ousted and acquires an archaic, regressive and infantile character. By virtue of the law of projectivity, the repressed Anima or Animus are projected outwards onto a suitable object, in relations with which a person symbolically regains the integrity lost in the process of rejection, the non-acceptance of a significant part of the psyche. Therefore, a relationship based on the dynamics of the projection of the non-assimilated Anima and Animus leads to inauthentic being and deficient love. Thus, the process of individuation, after overcoming the archetype of Person at the macro-social level, requires disassociation with the archetypes of the Anima and the Animus at the micro-social level. However, these successive processes of assimilation of the symbols of human existence are deeply interrelated, since “there is a compensatory relation between the Person and the Anima” (Jung, 2002). The stronger a human is identified with his social role, considering it to be the essence of his individual being, the more Anima becomes weaker and, crowded out into the unconscious and becomes infantile and archaic. C. Jung remarks on this point: “Socially “strong man” in “private life” is most often a child in relation to the state of his own feelings, his public discipline (which he so insistently demands from others) in private life slips a little. His “love of his profession” at home turns into melancholy; his “flawless” public moral under the mask looks amazing – we are not talking about actions, but only about fantasies ” (Jung, 2002).

Thus, overcoming the Person eliminates the factor compensating the Anima and forcing it into the sphere of the archaic unconscious. Therefore, disassociation with the archetype of the Person gives Anima the freedom of expression: it goes to a conscious level, develops and reaches its psychological maturity. The weakening of the Person leads to the strengthening of the Anima, which, of course, at the social level of being is more destructive for a man than for a woman. A strong social mask is associated with the Animus, which actually represents the dialectical opposite of the Anima, and therefore the weakening of the Person leads to the displacement of the Animus into the sphere of the archaic unconscious. Thus, the struggle with the Person has a beneficial effect on the mental organization of women, but it has a destructive effect on the psychological integrity of men, which is determined by the socio-cultural symbolism of the modern civilized society.

The assimilation of the archetypes of Anima and Animus allows a person to find individuality in terms of micro-social relations, which, in particular, makes a shift in this area from deficient values to existential ones. The love of such person is not focused on meeting their own needs at the expense of another person, but directly on that person herself. Such a person does not embed another person in a certain model of relations, and builds the relations themselves in accordance with the orientation towards this other person. As, in particular, A. Maslow says, person does not love another person because he or she is handsome, but the latter is handsome for person precisely because person loves him or her.

Then, in the process of individuation, a person overcomes the archetype of Mana-personality. In archaic societies, this archetype manifests itself in connection with spirits and the other world; it gives the feeling that a person possesses certain powerful forces that are greater than his personal abilities. Correspondingly, an archaic person, dominated by the archetype of the Mana-person, is self-defined by the means of such symbols as the symbols of the Priest and the Messenger, the Prophet and the Seer, the Sorcerer and the Witch. In modern civilized society, mana exists in the form of such symbols as “inner strength”, “charisma”, and “odiousness”. According to C. Jung, “historically, a Mana-personality develops into a figure of a hero and a God-man” (Jung, 2002). Mana, in contrast to previous archetypes overcome in the process of individuation, introduces a personality characteristic into the collective being of a person. It returns to the person his individual originality, his dissimilarity to other people, his uniqueness and chosenness, but at the same time retains its mythological nature. In the framework of the archetype of Mana-personality, a person acquires individuality not through creative assimilation of collective attitudes, but through unusualness, difference from standard and personal bloating, giving a feeling of strength and power. E. Cassirer writes about this: “The only, to some extent, definite core of ideas about mana is, after all, nothing more than the impression of an extraordinary, unusual, “extraordinary” in general” (Cassirer, 2001).

Having overcome the above sequence of archetypes, a person in the process of individuation encounters being itself as such, resulting in the formation of the selfness, which “can be described as a kind of compensation for the conflict between the internal and the external” (Jung, 2002). C. Jung calls selfness a God in oneself, and E. Cassirer also believes that the formation of the concept of selfness is associated with the formation of the concept of a personal God. On this occasion, he writes: “I, the true “self” of a person is revealed only in a devious way, through the divine I. When God moves from the image of just a special God tied to a specific, narrowly limited area of activity, the image of a personal God, this becomes a new step on the path to the notion of pure subjectivity” (Jung, 2002).

In connection with such understanding of human, one can speak of the dualism of its ontological nature: on the one hand, the selfness of man as a biological being is unconscious and reduced to certain instincts and selfish needs, and, on the other hand, human’s selfness as a rational and spiritual being superconscious in nature and determined by high meanings and high values. Actually, the dualistic nature of human existence gives rise to the struggle of two principles, without which no development and growth of personality is possible.

At the same time, individuation should not be confused with individualism, which presupposes the egoistic attitude of a person towards the people around him and the clear predominance of own personal interests over public ones. Individuation means the assimilation of collective patterns, goals, and attitudes at the expense of a person’s personal efforts. At the same time, a person does not fall out of the team, but, on the contrary, more harmoniously fits into it as a unique and independent unit, and not as a part of the social mechanism that is not self-aware, regulated by archetypal behavioural stereotypes. C. Jung expresses with next words the essence of the process of individuation: “Individuation means more perfect fulfillment by a person of his collective missions: after all, taking sufficient account of the individuality of an individual leaves hope for a better social effect, rather than neglecting or even suppressing this identity. The individuality of an individual should in no case be understood as the unusual nature of its substance or its components, but rather as a kind of relationship or difference in the degree of development of functions and abilities that are universal in themselves” (Jung, 2002).

By virtue of the law of amplification, a person strives for ontopsychological integrity, which, on the one hand, brings pleasure and satisfaction to a person, and, on the other hand, harmoniously integrates person into the social system of relations. K. Wilber identifies the following structural elements of personality fracture: 1) ego, 2) mask, 3) shadow, 4) body, and 5) spirit. According to K. Wilber, the consciousness of a person goes through the following main stages of ontopsychological development: 1) erasing the border between mask and shadow, 2) integration of ego with mask and shadow, 3) integration of ego with the body (centaur level), 4) going beyond the limits of individual essence (transpersonal level).

K. Wilber believes that the ontopsychological unity of personality is achieved only at the super-personal level of being, which is an existential basis for preserving a person’s identity and bringing his body, mask, shadow and ego together. K. Wilber notices that the children ask: "Whom would I be if I had other parents?" That is, how would a self-identifying subject be if he had a different body, a different environment, a different uprising, a different temper, if he or she was a different person, but still remained himself/herself, without losing the individual Self, which in this case has impersonal character. And since going beyond the very empirical itself is going beyond the temporal and transient, it is from here, as K. Wilber believes, it is possible to draw a conclusion about the eternal nature of the impersonal, spiritual Self. Therefore, the path to the impersonal Self has a mythological character and lies through the contemplation of symbols and meditation, that lead a person’s awareness beyond historical time. K. Wilber notes that “the expression “long ago in a far away country”, which fairy tales usually begin with, actually means“ sometime outside time”, and the subsequent story tells about the world that exists according to the highest laws, where time and space are cancelled, and where everything is possible (Wilber, 2004). And further, emphasizing the important role of symbolic representation in the development of human consciousness, K. Wilber writes: “Mythology begins to transcend borders – borders of space, time and opposites as such – therefore mythological consciousness of what is happening is a step that brings us closer to the real world” (Wilber, 2004).

According to the ideas of V. Frankl, only going beyond limits allows human to find the true meaning, its own life, which not only sets a situational goal, but brings together all aspects of human existence. Comparing self-actualization and self-transcendence, V. Frankl writes: “Self-actualization is not the final destination of a person. This is not even his primary aspiration. If self-actualization is turned into an end in itself, it will conflict with the self-transcendence of human existence” (Frankl, 1990). According to V. Frankl, self-actualization should be a natural consequence of self-transcendence, since self-actualization results from the intentional nature of consciousness, and self-transcendence as an outside position of an existential subject to itself is its essential quality.


Thus, the process of personal development and the formation of ontopsychological integrity are associated with self-transcendence, the release of consciousness beyond the limits of its individual carrier into the sphere of impersonal being, which can only be accomplished symbolically in the space of mythological experience that brings together various aspects of human existence or, using words of V. Frankl, various dimensions of an intelligent and conscious Being. By virtue of the law of amplification, a person strives for ontopsychological integrity, which, on the one hand, brings pleasure and satisfaction to a person, and, on the other hand, harmoniously integrates person into the social system of relations. It is concluded that the ontopsychological integrity of personality is achieved only at the archetypal level of being, which is an existential basis for preserving a person’s identity and bringing his body, mask, shadow and ego into a single being. Moreover, going beyond oneself allows one to acquire a true meaning of one’s own life, which does not simply set some situational goal, but forms an integral, authentic and harmonious personality.


The reseach has been undertaken with the support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 19-013-00208.


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29 March 2019

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

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Cherepanov, I., & Morgunov, G. (2019). Process Of Archetypal Individuation Of Personality. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2764-2771). Future Academy.