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Reply To: I’m surprised there is no topic for Personal Mythology



I have myself never heard a Jungian substitute the conceptual term individuation for the conceptual term personal myth, though they are related and to whatever extent entwined. I would be interested in seeing any references you have where I could see Jungians doing this. I can also imagine that some people might do this and understand how or why it might be easy (and perhaps lazy?) for some to do so.

Individuation is described very well by Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp, whose Jungian lexicon I have sometimes referenced in my posts here in the forums. (I also find much practical use for it in daily life). First and foremost, in its most general umbrella meaning, Sharp defines it as “a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality [emphasis mine]. To me this is a reminder that there would be little to no individuation without the differentiation aspect within its dynamics. Jung was also careful to warn people against over-identifying with any one mythic character because the archetype itself is so much larger than we are. Again, we need to differentiate between the god we feel our lives embody and our own ego, lest we have a bunch of people running around the streets proclaiming to be Jesus in his second coming–Sharp goes on to express that, “it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.” Reading the rest of Sharp’s definitive essay, one can do their best to try to apply this differentiation process towards one’s personal mythological process. Another vital concept within individuation is dreams. Jung said/wrote that dreams are the royal road to the unconscious, and while we cannot say that knowing the unconscious (bringing the unconscious to light of day or consciousness) is the only factor in individuation, it is part of the process when we do dreamwork and also our work upon our complexes–when we find what buttons push our behaviors. By paying attention and working with our dreams so as to understand them (to whatever point or extent one finds possible and we have to remember that there can be multiple meanings to any one dream) we grant ourselves a grand favor.

Perhaps in this thread we could take some time to unravel  then list differentiations we can make in whatever ways we each do so–or discuss what this concept of differentiation means to us and how it plays out in each our lives and possibly then examine too how these could differ from the collective–and apply this to our personal myths (to include our dreams, I suggest).

As for the symbolic life,  I am one of those Jungians who does not equate what is called the symbolic life with individuation either, although I regard symbols as a key to the many doors on the “path of individuation.” I was not aware that some Jungians substitute these terms, either. I would like to see where this has been written or hear where this has been said, too. Would be interesting!



Source:  Retrieved from The Jung Lexicon by Daryl Sharp