"In the deepest sense, we all dream not of ourselves,
but out of what lies between us and the other." --C.G. Jung
"The realm of the psyche is immeasurably great and filled with living reality.
At its brink lies the secret of Matter and Spirit." ~Carl Jung
"But "the heart glows," and a secret unrest gnaws at the roots of our being."
--Jung, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious
illus. Johann Daniel Mylius’ Rosarium Philosophorum, image #2
Genealogy Writes You into the Story of History
"To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."
--Rainer Maria Rilke
"Through scientific understanding, our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had a symbolic meaning for him. Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor is lightning his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree makes a mans's life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom and no mountain still harbors a great demon. Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants and animals. His immediate communication with nature is gone forever, and the emotional energy it generated has sunk into unconscious."
~Carl Jung, Collected Works 18, Paragraph 585 You Get the Genealogy You Deserve
Life and consciousness are the ultimate emergent phenomena, but we still don't know their real origin, which remains veiled in Mystery. We are Cosmic psychophysical beings with a core reaching down into the microcosm of quantum dynamics and the still center of Zero-Point.
Beyond hormonal and limbic impulses and narratives of the biological imperative of procreation -- why or why not and when or with whom to create -- consciousness informs the inception of new life. Our reasons for giving birth are often unconscious. Each of us was conceived and each of us continues to conceive everyday. Conscious conception is the ritual of thought, prayer, energy, sex, and work around the event birth. Just as we can benefit from processing work around our own births, we can learn from the stories of our progenitors.
In the split second moment of conception, the two streams of genetic information from your parents, handed on from generation to generation over literally hundreds of millennia, combined in one single cell embodying your unique potential. It ensured that you became an unequaled living record of the lives and ways of your ancestors.
All of your ancient ancestors had one thing in common -- they were survivors who overcame daunting obstacles and hardships in their natural world. Your DNA is a legacy passed down to you from thousands of generations of fittest individuals. You have the best of their collective genes, all meticulously spelled out within the DNA of your genome.
Your individual DNA fingerprint depends on how the chromosomes line up at conception. Some traits from both parents’ potentials will be there, while others get excluded. So, some siblings can be redheads, others not; some can have family medical problems, others not, some may be Rh neg., others not. Extensive historical knowledge of cultural practices and human migratory patterns helps us piece each story together. We may find things we never imagined and find no evidence for traits known within our lineage.
Each individual is very much like the fractal units of every individual human being, yet is distinctly different in many dimensions--genetically, in a biological dimension. But each individual also resides in many dimensional worlds--some in academic worlds, some in spiritual worlds, some in political worlds, some in worlds of despair and some in worlds of optimism. Some individuals share like worlds and are polarized by some worlds.
A child and parents are fractal levels of a family tree and at the same time units of a larger community fractal, and may be a fractal unit of a religious group or political affiliation within that set. This same child, parents, the community are all fractals of county, state, national fractals and may be fractal units of sets within any of these larger fractals--organizations, spiritual affiliations, clubs, special interest groups, schools, workplaces, etc.
In genealogy the term direct line refers to a relationship of one person to another in a direct line. A direct-line ancestor is someone from whom you descend in a direct line, parent to child, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc. Direct-line research refers to genealogy research focused on one's direct-line ancestors. Blood relations refer to the underground stream, the Red River of Memories that flows within us. The Blood is real and it's fresh; it flows in your veins.
By contrast, collateral line is a term used to describe family relationships not in the direct line of descent such as siblings, spouses and children of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Researching direct-line ancestry is a common focus of genealogists and family history researchers. Proving a direct line of descent is generally required for membership in heritage societies. A mere seven generations back we have over 200 people in just our immediate, or father-mother, grandfather-grandmother line.
We are not just talking about the way you look, but about your ancestral memories, the complete set of instincts and response patterns that were responsible for the survival of those two genetic streams in the first place. The instincts and response patterns that you were actually born with are what Jung called the Collective Unconscious. Science calls it epigenetics. Genealogy functions as a therapeutic portal, much like dreams or symptoms allow us to enter the imaginal dimension.
We are born with both a psychological and a biological heritage, as determinants of behavior and experience. The collective unconscious, which results from experiences that are common to all people, also includes material from our prehuman and animal ancestry. It is the source of our most powerful ideas and experiences.
Jung described individual and collective symbols. Symbols veil what remains hidden to us. He called individual symbols "natural" symbols -- spontaneous productions of the individual psyche, rather than images or designs created deliberately. Personal symbols are found in dreams and fantasies. But, important collective symbols appear which are often religious images such as the cross, the six-pointed Star of David, the Grail, and the Buddhist wheel of life.
Jung says, "Just as the human body represents a whole museum of organs, each with a long evolutionary period behind it, so we should expect to find that the mind is organized in a similar way. It can no more be a product without history than is the body in which it exists" (1964, p. 67).
Fundamentally, genealogy is a search for Self -- universal spirit. Your personal family tree merges with the collective in The World Tree. The goal is creating a single family tree for the world. The World Wide Web has made such collaboration possible, creating a single world family tree.
In mythology the World Tree is the axis between heaven and earth. Many people believed that gods and their messengers climbed up and down the tree to get from one realm to the other. Sometimes these trees were said to bear fruit that was powerful for healing or knowledge. Among those who study myths and legends, this type of tree is known as a “World Tree” or a “Cosmic Tree.”
The world tree is a universal symbol. It’s primary meaning is creation and consciousness (the divine will of creation). The growing of the the tree is the symbol of the creation of the Universe and its Evolution -- a Tree of Life. This was the symbol of the Druids (meaning “tree”). They believed that in the branches of the tree you could discern the secrets of the universe.
Some are armchair genealogists, while others hit the genealogy trail, making their life a perpetual pilgrimage and search by visiting family domiciles and sacred sites. Many search for relics or novel solutions to riddles they pose to themselves. It is a way of connecting the psychological dots into a seemingly coherent story, one that keeps the narrative moving forward while it looks back.
Some write novels that filter information and scenes through the consciousness of their characters. There are battles and leaders, matriarchs, partriarchs and malefactors. Others create esoteric organizations, usually with themselves set up as authority figures. They hook those who are susceptible to the promise of Mystery. Most such groups devolve into banal cults of personality, which all seem to share the same squabbles and organizational problems.
Some are convinced only they know the real truth of the matter. But you cannot really tell anyone anything, due to the brain's hardwiring. Research shows that in the public realm, a lack of information isn't the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We rationalize what our emotions already want to believe. Do facts matter? The answer, basically, is no. When people are misinformed, giving them facts to correct those errors only makes them cling to their beliefs more tenaciously.
Further, most exposés of the knowledge of the underground stream are materialistic interpretations of it. They claim to empower you while lining their pockets. Some of this may be compensatory to lack of power in other areas of life. Claims to shift world vision seem more of a self-serving perception than a reality -- more memes than genes.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when we filter our perceptions to screen out (deny) threatening information we cannot deal with. It is magical thinking to take a symbol to be its referent or an analogy to represent an identity. Magical thinking comes from an instinctual search and recognition of patterns, and regards symbols not as representations but as handles attached firmly to real-life objects and outcomes. Out of context, symbols are ineffectual. Evocative “power” is one of the attractive aspects of the meme concept which is also a symbol and signifiers of meaning that are context dependent.
There are three types of symbols: 1) Symbols that reflect intrinsic mental states; 2) Symbols that stand in for extrinsic (actual or objective) conditions or objects, and 3) Symbols that stand in relation to cultural artifacts, or constructs, or memes. Here the symbol and the object it represents are one and the same. Any distinction between symbol and symbolized is spurious. The emotional projection of symbols, or “magical thinking,” happens in psychosis, in cultures, and subcultures. Disgust is an emotion heavily caught up in symbolic and magical thinking. Yet, symbols can have biophysical and material effects. We trick ourselves into mobilization.
Magical thinking helps us feel more secure in an unpredictable world. By manipulating symbols, we imagine being able to manipulate the reality that a symbol represents, but it makes us vulnerable to manipulation, too. The psychology of superstition “works” better in a virtuality. Superstition provides the illusion of increased control. Symbols are captivating, indistinct, metaphoric and enigmatic portrayals of psychic reality. The content, i.e. the meaning of symbols, is far from obvious; instead, it is expressed in unique and individual terms while at the same time partaking of universal imagery. Our society is having to rethink such fundamental notions as money, security, growth and many other bases of our current worldview.
Symbols can be recognized as aspects of those images that control, order and give meaning to our lives. The source of symbols can be traced to the archetypes themselves which by way of symbols find more full expression. Symbols are thus one type of what Jung called “archetypal images,” that is, the representation in consciousness of an underlying archetype. The anamorphic is not the fractal, because the fractal is repeating a pattern.
When the dominant vision that holds a period of culture together cracks, consciousness regresses into earlier containers, seeking sources for survival which also offer sources of revival. Self-empowerment can be entangled with self-delusion. We can no longer distinguish clearly between neurosis of self and neurosis of world, psychopathology of self and psychopathology of world. Species-wide trauma is playing out on the world stage. We compulsively recreate individual and collective trauma, perhaps as a way to awaken ourselves. Such madness is its own ritual and revelation. (Miller, Holographic Archetypes)
Perhaps the biggest value of questionable literature is that people now search elsewhere for their own half-remembered origins.
Many who claim to guard the history actually prey on their vulnerable kinsmen. So we must look at the effects of such behavior rather than relying on proclamations. There have been many blatant hoaxes. It begs the question, "Where is this leading?". In many cases, the answer is nowhere. Reinterpreting sacred sites with idiosyncratic tropes doesn't make it so. Nor does finding out what the Templars or Cathars were doing substitute for one's own individuation and may work against it, fitting a modern person into an obsolete mold.
These overwrought works mostly regurgitate the symbolic understanding developed more completely in depth psychologies, applying skewed versions to the selected symbols, often from New Age thought, another faddish collective movement which mostly rehashes theosophical notions. There isn't much "new" about it. If such critique sounds like tough love it is because it comes from close observation of the effects of such subcultures. Schisms and tragedy have been the result, not illumination unless you count disillusionment as such.
Following pilgrimage routes, such as "the Camino" may be stimulating but will likely never be illuminating. It doesn't substitute for the work of self-discovery in the cave of the heart. Overlaying such sites with new age gloss doesn't improve the clarity of the situation and may just add irrelevant data. Our attunement to the world is especially influenced by culture and society, whether we call it human potential or human illusion.
In some cases, pilgrimage is another form of what is termed the geographic escape. There are many writers eager to host such trips for their own benefit. It has become a thriving cottage industry whether the goal is ancient aliens or earth chakras. That doesn't mean there is no value in such travel or mystery centers, but it doesn't supersede the inner work and may lead to flooding and inflation. Sentience is not the same as sentimentality. But people will do what they are going to do. All things seek their own level.
Ultimately, individuation is a solitary pursuit, a mode of experience that opens the door to the otherwise hidden world. To Edward Edinger (1972), individuation means not having to continually repeat the cycle, but to develop conscious dialogues between I and Self. Without a displaced religious obsession there is little reason to pursue the lies, theories or directives of others over one's own creative genius. Ultimately, the real issue with the bloodline has always been about the concept of "sovereignty".
It isn't merely our royal genealogy that makes us who we are. After all, we share most of it with millions of people. Still, there is no better way of actively working within your ancestral matrix than delineating and curating your own lines. What is unique is our personal reaction to such knowledge and how our relationship with it evolves as we assimilate and integrate that expanded awareness -- the Mystery of the whole matter.
Genealogy is the root of the hieros gamos or symbolic royal marriage. The rich variety of psycho-physical hierosgamic themes are illustrated in many alchemical works, illustrating simultaneous humanity and divinity. The hierosgamos union of opposites between human and divine is mediated by Mercurius, the Hermetic method, or hermeneutics. It requires interpretation of experiential material. For example, originally, the dove was a symbolic attribute of ancient female divinities of Mesopotamia.
We need To Know genealogy much like we need to know physics and psychology to comprehend what matter is, as well as what makes us matter. We have thousands of ancestors whose lines are not preserved, making the small slice of royal descent largely archetypal as well as material. The part stands for the Whole - the cosmic process.
In a Gnostic exercise for inner growth the personal mind must be made empty or void of all preconceptions, but at the same time become keenly attentive, transformed into pure sense, or capacity for greater sensations. The soul must be in a searching frame of mind, searching not inquiring, that is to say synthetic not analytic. Inquiry suggests penetrating into a thing with the personal mind; while searching denotes embracing and seizing ideas, "eating" or "digesting" or "absorbing" them, so to say; getting all round them and making them one’s own, surrounding them--it is no longer a question of separated subject and object as with the personal and analyzing mind.
The "vision" of the soul is, literally, the "eye" of the soul. The mind must be emptied of every
object, so that it may receive the fullness. It becomes the "pure eye," the æon, all-eye; not,
however, to perceive anything other than itself, but to understand the nature of understanding -- namely, that it transcends all distinctions of subject and object. Silence nurtures the divine -- The Great Silence and the Holy Fire. The One Body of all thing is the
Mother of souls, the Inbreather of life -- cosmic "vitalizing," or "quickening," or "ensouling".
Union of Opposites
The body is the alchemical laboratory that generates the subtle body, astral vehicle, and the Body of Light or Diamond Body as the highest vehicle. Consciousness is drawn up with sublimation. The elixir of life transforms body and consciousness.
The tensional relationship of the opposites, (life and death, good and evil, one and many), remains the great operational mechanism of manifest life and of transformation. This relationship exists within the context of a unitary world-model wherein matter and spirit, King and Queen, appear as aspects of a psychoid (psychophysical) realm of reality.
In alchemy the resurrection stands not for transcendence of the body, but its glorification and perfection. Alchemy is the art of seeing what is invisible to others, hearing what others are deaf to, and feeling what others are dead to. Sophia, the Divine Feminine, personifies that World Soul, of inherent primordial Wisdom.
We are affected not only by things that happen to us personally, but also by things that have happened in our lineage, to our parents, grandparents and ancestors. Epigenetics shows that the traumas that happened within our culture affect us. Ironically, this is more so when they have been forgotten, relegated to the unconscious realm, where they can cause physical symptoms, phobias, depression, nightmares and other unexplained things.
Another genealogical form of opposites is twins or siblings. They are there from the beginning, as Enki and Enlil, as Cain and Abel. Such myths arose in the age of Gemini, the Celestial Twins.
They were destined to become the most prolific progenitors of the world. Their offspring divided in two. Those that went east to cross the Bering Strait, to become the most prominent inhabitants of the New World as far as Tierra del Fuego, were the descendants of one brother, while the numerous descendants of the other brother that remained created a shock-wave in the Old World, felt as far as West Africa, the Atlantic and India.
Like in a fantasy tale, both people founded incredible civilizations, each highlights of human talent and splendor. Tales of the Two Brothers persisted in myth and legend, representing the dichotomy of all polarities and their underlying transcendental unity. This is a story of the reunion of the archetypal brothers.
Legends of the Two Brothers arose in the Age of Gemini (6000 BC - 4000 BC) and come down in the story of Cain and Able, which was historically preceded by allegorical stories of Enki and Enlil. Each Age has its gods. The Age of Gemini corresponded to the flourishing period of early Hinduism.
It was under this sign that Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu was manifested by the birth of the two pair of brothers: Rama and Lakshmana on the one hand, Satrughna and Bharata on the other. Rama Himself had twin sons: Lav and Kush.
Lav went to Russia; from this we get the name of Slav. The other son, Kush went to China, hence we get the name Kushan. These two divine principles were also incarnated as Buddha and Mahavira, then as Adi Shankaracharya and Gnyaneshwara. In other Avatars they were Hassan and Hussein, the sons of Fatima and Hazrat Ali.
Joseph Campbell asks, "What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth."
The Quest for wholeness is the search for meaning, orientation, renewal, and transformation. By making the trauma in our lineage and in our culture more conscious, we can loosen its hold. This helps us to restore a sense of our own self and our own freedom of choice, and allows what is not ours to rest in peace. Thus, genealogy is a kind of healing ritual, which retrieves the lost and disowned parts of the soul, what we've buried in the earth and forgotten.
Thus your soul is your own self in the spiritual world. As the abode of the spirits, however, the spiritual world is also an outer world. Just as you are also not alone in the visible world, but are surrounded by objects that belong to you and obey only you, you also have thoughts that belong to you and obey only you. But just as you are surrounded in the visible world by things and beings that neither belong to you nor obey you, you are also surrounded in the spiritual world by thoughts and beings of thought that neither obey you nor belong to you.
Just as you engender or bear your physical children, and just as they grow up and separate themselves from you to live their own fate, you also produce or give birth to beings of thought which separate themselves from you and live their own lives.
Just as we leave our children when we grow old and give our body back to the earth, I separate myself from my God, the sun, and sink into the emptiness of matter and obliterate the image of my child in me. This happens in that I accept the nature of matter and allow the force of my form to flow into emptiness. Just as I gave birth anew to the sick God through my engendering force, I henceforth animate the emptiness of matter from which the formation of evil grows.
Nature is playful and terrible. Some see the playful side and dally with it and let it sparkle. Others see the horror and cover their heads and are more dead than alive. The way does not lead between both, but embraces both. It is both cheerful play and cold horror. (Jung, Red Book)
Genealogy is like organic gardening. We till the soil until things break through the surface where we tend and fertilize them with creative expression and contemplation. Living branches of our Tree become knotted together generating many leaves. Entwined with roses and thorns they represent the complexities of life, including the union of opposites. At the microcosmic level they may represent quantum entanglement. All macroscopic parts of the world are entangled quantum mechanically. Entanglement is a property of nonlocal quantum information exchange.
Jung pointed out that procreative power is only a special instance of the ‘procreative nature of the Whole', as illustrated in alchemical works such as the Rosarium Philosophorum, which depicts a symbolic hieros gamos, combining the powers of the upper and lower worlds, leading out the gold. We acquire an experiential understanding of the ontological wholeness of the cosmos and know we are in no way separate from that. Such non-duality that closes the gap between spirit and body was the magnificent obsession of the alchemists as it is of the mystics.
Eliade wrote, "The Sun and the Moon must be made one. . .above all, prajna, wisdom, must be joined with upaya, the means of attaining it. . .all this amounts to saying we are dealing with the coincidentia oppositorum achieved on every level of Life and Consciousness."
Chaos becomes cosmos; the profane becomes sacred; potential is actualized. Alchemical tracts bookend the entire alchemical process between an initial and final image. Opening and closing illustrations frame the psycho-physical transformation. Like dreams and moods, the fruits of personal insight and practical guidance affect us physiologically, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually, and become part of our being.
Death, afterlife beliefs, mediumship, and spirit possession are contentious subjects. Belief is a open-ended system. Anomalous experiences can arise as a function of relational care or concern. In a genealogical approach, we have no burden to prove the source of psi phenomena or synchronicities.
A Jungian approach is more concerned with their meaning in the life of the person who reports the phenomena. You cannot argue with anyone's belief or experience. It can be approached literally, metaphorically, or symbolically. Metaphors are paradoxical. Like Jung we take a phenomenological approach, looking backwards and forward at the same time. Jung's theory of possession by autonomous complexes differs from notions of possession within specific belief systems.
Social Anthropologist, Fiona Bowie writes: "Virtually all other cultures hold to the notion, based on the experience of individuals and groups, that the Self, if it exists at all, is permeable, and in constant contact and relationship with other selves at a psychic as well as a physical and emotional level. Communications may be unconscious or conscious, mediated by others or unmediated, wanted or unsought, but they exist nonetheless, and come in many different forms, with different results and effects. They involve communication between living humans and those who have died, between human and non-human beings, between visible and invisible entities.These entities may be projections of one or more minds, or have a non-human origin.The forces or entities with which people communicate may be regarded as angelic or demonic, helpful or dangerous, mischievous and playful or sad and lonely, and in need of help and guidance."
Ancestral impressions change us regardless of whether we make any logical waking connections or not. Even when we spot such connections, it can be limiting to assume that this was the sole ‘point’ of the discovery, and therefore drop further exploration or creative expression for an "Aha" moment. Carrying away golden coins, we may miss the priceless jewel fashioned or concealed within the chest itself.
Genealogy is an Art, a quest for the truth within. Harvesting the fruits of the Tree of Life mobilizes the soul for creative self-expression, self-discovery and self-healing. Much benefit and fulfillment comes simply by remembering, writing, tape-recording, sharing, painting, enacting or otherwise birthing them into the physical world. Understanding is always the experience of a gestalt. Creatively arranging the elements of a whole is precisely what genealogy does, anatomizing and analogizing.
Genealogy takes tremendous effort, like the Great Work. It affects the psyche with both historical and imaginal, known and unknown elements. It has its own magic, alchemy, and synchronicities. Psyche is Mystery, the very essence of humanity, and world. Jung comments, “In reality, there is nothing but a living body. That is the fact, and psyche is as much a living body as body is living psyche: it is just the same,” and “The psyche creates reality every day.”
Jungian genealogy is a broadly interdisciplinary approach, integrating research from neurosciences, genetics, depth psychology, anthropology, shamanism, and philosophy. We wish to consider the ways in which genetic, linguistic, historical, esoteric, and ethnographic data can be used to test theories.
We discuss theoretical and methodological concerns that are directly relevant to study, research and data interpretation. We have surveyed and are correlating historical sources and secondary sources: legends, folklore, astrological, genealogies, tales, chansons, oral histories, mystical writings, etc.
Even genetic genealogy requires interpretation -- hermeneutics, the study of theories and methods of the interpretation of systems of meaning, including interpretations of experience, or human behavior generally. It includes language and patterns of speech, social institutions, and ritual behaviors.
Genealogy is a search for the Beloved, and as such is a Way of the Heart -- a love of psyche.
“Love and the Soul (for that is what Psyche means) had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; and that union could never be broken.” This is the mythic theme. (Edith Hamilton, Mythology)
Genealogy is about Identity. Some attempt to garner social status through their genealogies when other avenues elude them. Some in search of their identity wind up finding their Shadow -- the archetypal adversary and trickster.
Each archetype has a shadow. The archetype of the shadow "coincides with the 'personal' unconscious, stranger/predator/evil intruder. When it is activated in a particularly strong and gripping way, inevitably interconnects the wider collective with the personal.
Archetypes do not create archetypes like themselves but like the shadows of archetypes like themselves. Archetypes evolve from the form in which they first present, but the underlying identity endures unchanged. Each have awakenings (revolution in culture) and crises (upheaval in public life).
Shadow, the dark archetype, is the root of defensive reaction formation (repression, denial, projection, and displacement). Consciousness of the Shadow benefits the group by enhancing social responsibility. We have to consciously suffer the perpetual tension of good and evil. We are shadow-possessed to the extent it dominates personality.
As each generation fulfills its midlife leadership role, it nurtures a child generation as its shadow that reacts against its elders' excesses. The four-fold cycle of generations propels the wheel of time. The social cycle begins in growth and moves through maturation into entropy, death, then rebirth. In a cyclic High people want to belong; in an Awakening, to defy; in an Unraveling, to separate; and in a crisis, to gather. Thus, in our lifetime we confront our deepest spiritual and worldly needs. (Strauss)
Underprotected children become over protective parents. Overprotected children become increasingly indulgent parents. But generations overlap making a complementary mix. There have been 24 post-medieval generations between the Arthurian generation and Millennial children. They are fourteenth in the American line.
The shadow is "the 'negative' side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide, what is hidden by the conscious personality. It is the enemy within, with which we must make peace. Von Franz declared the Shadow is simply the whole unconscious, as it also contains unlived aspects of the the Self. It also contains the potential necessary for healing.
Some people who come to genealogical practice use it to build a persona that becomes their main way of connecting in the world, an excessive commitment to a rather false image. We identify with our persona. Jung called it a social mask or psychological armor. Recovery, the aim of individuation, "is not only achieved by work on the inside figures but also, as conditio sine qua non, by a readaptation in outer life," according to Jung. We live in the present moment.
The path of Individuation is the psychological equivalent of self-initiation. The goal of individuation is self-realization through increasing conscious relationship with the Self, archetype of wholeness. This Self includes both positive and negative traits of an individual which, in the beginning of analysis, are generally projected out, or attributed to, the environment.
As the ego continues its heroic journey through the labyrinthine psyche, it comes into confrontation with personifications of various archetypal and ancestral characters. During the maturing process, these characters emerge from the undifferentiated mass of unconscious contents. Though their presence in the psyche was implied from the beginning, they begin to unfold in unique patterns in the life of the individual.
Jung called the persona the "conformity archetype." As part of its positive function, it protects the ego and the psyche from the varied social forces. Thus one goal for individuation is for people to "develop a more realistic, flexible persona that helps them navigate in society but does not collide with nor hide their true self". Eventually, "in the best case, the persona is appropriate and tasteful, a true reflection of our inner individuality and our outward sense of self."
Jung also cautioned, "It would indeed be the height of absurdity if a man tried to have a conversation with his persona, which he recognized merely as a psychological means of relationship." So, the purpose of genealogy is not to over-identify but distinguish ourselves from our ancestral lines. It is especially true for an adopted fantasy-based social role which functions like an actor's mask. A mask is what individuals wear to hide their real self or when gaming.
Hobby genealogists may be taken unawares by such strong feelings, images and impulses. A person unfamiliar with psychic dynamics may not recognize that these are processes that Jung described and for which he developed now time-tested therapies to circumvent the pitfalls of alienation, dissociation, projection, and inflation. It's as if unconscious contents lack genealogical links to consciousness proper.
A Jungian genealogy permits a cultural study of the unconscious and a psychological study of culture that facilitates an understanding of the emotional impact culture provides, the unconscious elements of group creation, and the multiple individual perspectives in each historical moment. Formal structures help us understand the significance of mythical discourse. Joseph Campbell called myth a mirror of the ego.
Theories and ideas also have 'genealogies' that trace how they transform over time as they are inherited through culture. This is particularly true of faith-based ideas. They can be used instead of historical analysis or traditional explanations that are more magical than effective. We can follow the transformation of notions without drawing conclusions on their origin.
Even without knowing the cause we can describe the transformations themselves, their strengths, weaknesses, ideology and competing arguments, mechanisms of coercion and contents of knowledge. A genealogy is an open system of relationships, the effect of making a process intelligible and describes cultural elaboration.
“Cultural complexes structure emotional experience and operate in the personal and collective psyche in much the same way as individual complexes, although their content might be quite different. Like individual complexes, cultural complexes tend to be repetitive, autonomous, resist consciousness, and collect experience that confirms their historical point of view”. (Thomas Singer and Samuel L. Kimbles, The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society).
Using an archaeology and genealogy of process reveals multiple strategies, conditions of acceptability, and a field of possiblities, and possible dislocations. We can look at socio-historical data as an event that allows us to describe ways of experiencing that are
unique to particular sets of people -- a group's way of perceiving itself. Repetitive group experiences take root in the cultural unconscious of the group.
Genealogy is the thread that connects. Joseph Campbell notes,
Centuries of husbandry, decades of diligent culling, the work of numerous hearts and hands, have gone into the hackling, sorting, and spinning of this tightly twisted yarn. Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
It stimulates the imaginal faculty and can induce strong identifications, projections, activated archetypes, ego inflations, and even possessions. Identification means being fused to an unconscious content. Projection is a kind of unconscious identification with the object. A complex is an entity within the unconscious that is a strange attractor for an emotion or way of being. Cultural complexes change over time.
The freed surplus of libido (psychological energy) causes inflation because an archetype has lost its container and becomes identified with the conscious mind. This activates various -isms, utopian fantasies, psychic infections, and a longing for collective ideals.
In possession, the archetype hijacks and overwhelms the conscious personality utterly, appearing as distinctly "other". Possession is a psychic rupture -- the phenomenology of the power of neurotic and psychotic symptoms. In the Middle Ages it meant a sort of obsessive suffering. Outside of the Jungian arena, the potential of the ancestral field has been derided or ignored as a coherent vector of spiritual and cultural experience. But it is a matrix within which we can deal with aggression, sadism, wealth, power, and position without becoming possessed by such shadow impulses, current or ancestral.