Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

Reply To: When Mythology meets Dance and Sounds,” with Dr. Monica Martinez”


Indeed, Monica and Stephen, I think Easter with the Crucifixion as a symbol of human suffering, but also of a psychological crisis, you now have evoked the: (transcendent function), the “tertium non datur”, the “Axium of Maria” or third reconciling thing that resolves the internal conflict and brings about a new state of consciousness or way of looking at or experiencing something which before had blocked or had prevented you from moving forward.

From Daryl Sharps lexicon:

“Axiom of Maria. A precept in alchemy: “One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth.”Jung used the axiom of Maria as a metaphor for the whole process of individuation. One is the original state of unconscious wholeness; two signifies the conflict between opposites; three points to a potential resolution; the third is the transcendent function; and the one as the fourth is a transformed state of consciousness, relatively whole and at peace.”


“Tertium non datur. The reconciling “third,” not logically foreseeable, characteristic of a resolution in a conflict situation when the tension between opposites has been held in consciousness. (See also transcendent function.) As a rule it occurs when the analysis has constellated the opposites so powerfully that a union or synthesis of the personality becomes an imperative necessity. . . . [This situation] requires a real solution and necessitates a third thing in which the opposites can unite. Here the logic of the intellect usually fails, for in a logical antithesis there is no third. The “solvent” can only be of an irrational nature. In nature the resolution of opposites is always an energic process: she acts symbolically in the truest sense of the word, doing something that expresses both sides, just as a waterfall visibly mediates between above and below.[The Conjunction,” CW 14, par. 705.]”


Transcendent function: “A psychic function that arises from the tension between consciousness and the unconscious and supports their union. (See also opposites and tertium non datur.) When there is full parity of the opposites, attested by the ego’s absolute participation in both, this necessarily leads to a suspension of the will, for the will can no longer operate when every motive has an equally strong countermotive. Since life cannot tolerate a standstill, a damming up of vital energy results, and this would lead to an insupportable condition did not the tension of opposites produce a new, uniting function that transcends them. This function arises quite naturally from the regression of libido caused by the blockage.[Ibid., par. 824.]

The tendencies of the conscious and the unconscious are the two factors that together make up the transcendent function. It is called “transcendent” because it makes the transition from one attitude to another organically possible. [The Transcendent Function,” CW 8, par. 145.]

In a conflict situation, or a state of depression for which there is no apparent reason, the development of the transcendent function depends on becoming aware of unconscious material. This is most readily available in dreams, but because they are so difficult to understand Jung considered the method of active imagination-giving “form” to dreams, fantasies, etc.–to be more useful.

Once the unconscious content has been given form and the meaning of the formulation is understood, the question arises as to how the ego will relate to this position, and how the ego and the unconscious are to come to terms. This is the second and more important stage of the procedure, the bringing together of opposites for the production of a third: the transcendent function. At this stage it is no longer the unconscious that takes the lead, but the ego.[Ibid., par. 181.]

This process requires an ego that can maintain its standpoint in face of the counterposition of the unconscious. Both are of equal value. The confrontation between the two generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third essence.

From the activity of the unconscious there now emerges a new content, constellated by thesis and antithesis in equal measure and standing in a compensatory relation to both. It thus forms the middle ground on which the opposites can be united. If, for instance, we conceive the opposition to be sensuality versus spirituality, then the mediatory content born out of the unconscious provides a welcome means of expression for the spiritual thesis, because of its rich spiritual associations, and also for the sensual antithesis, because of its sensuous imagery. The ego, however, torn between thesis and antithesis, finds in the middle ground its own counterpart, its sole and unique means of expression, and it eagerly seizes on this in order to be delivered from its division. [“Definitions,” CW 6, par. 825.]

The transcendent function is essentially an aspect of the self-regulation of the psyche. It typically manifests symbolically and is experienced as a new attitude toward oneself and life. If the mediatory product remains intact, it forms the raw material for a process not of dissolution but of construction, in which thesis and antithesis both play their part. In this way it becomes a new content that governs the whole attitude, putting an end to the division and forcing the energy of the opposites into a common channel. The standstill is overcome and life can flow on with renewed power towards new goals.[Ibid., par. 827.]


Daryl Sharp throughout a number of his books uses the “Crucifixion” as a symbol of the psychological; (i.e. conflict and transformation process); of the Libido through the use of the transcendent function by resolving or (holding the tension) between the two opposites that are tearing the individual apart emotionally “until a reconciling symbol or third thing emerges” that helps to resolve the conflict, crisis, or blockage that is suspending the movement or the flow of psychic energy.

One of the things that helped me so very much when I discovered Joseph Campbell when Bill Moyer’s: “The Power of Myth” appeared on PBS: (Public Television): was that I was having just such a crisis; and Joseph’s insights took the Christian mythos out of the strict concretized interpretation you both had mentioned and showed how a much larger and more symbolic realization was not only possible but preferable because it addressed a much wider range of spiritual and psychological themes and concerns. It removed so much of the guilt and strict: (either/or – “thou shalt”) interpretations of Christian doctrine and instead revealed much of their potential symbolic possibilities. Christ was not “out there somewhere” but “in you” as a spiritual dimension or aspect of the human psyche. That compassion and heart inspired connection of: “participating with joy in helping to address the suffering of others” was a major breakthrough as opposed to the guilt directed: “Mea Culpa”; (which he said in one interview turns an individual into a kind of: “suppliant worm”); now becomes an inspired reference for meaning, purpose and fulfilment. (Although this interpretation is probably a bit different than the Eastern concept of: Yin/Yang in Taoism that Stephen may have been referring to.)

At any rate this is how what you were referencing caught my attention and spoke to how I understand it from what seems to be a Jungian perspective.