chapter  Chapter Five
5 Pages

The symbol

WithPatricia Anne Elwood

The unconscious, as in dreams, speaks in images, which are symbols. Therefore the language of the psyche itself is symbolic language. All traditions communicate through symbolic language; alchemy, for example, is rich in symbolism. The symbol is composed of its conscious and unconscious aspects. It can never be totally defined rationally. The symbol communicates beyond the conscious mind and influences at a deep level. Jung had the highest regard for the power of symbols and their function in the psyche. He recognised the symbol as a carrier of psychic energy. Symbols are natural attempts on the part of the psyche to unite the opposites; they are also personal and archetypal. Spontaneous drawings and dreams produce a personally composed symbolic language as well as collective themes. By paying attention to the symbol formation in the unconscious one participates in the symbolic life of the psyche. Symbol formation is natural and represents what is enduring and common to all of mankind, beyond race, culture and even beyond evolution. Symbolic images bring the obscure regions of the psyche to the light and carry with them an alluring energy, even a power to enchant.