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oneself. A more comprehensive, more mature personality becomes visible and also tangible to others. Since this process of psychic growth cannot be deliberately “done,” but is something given by nature, it is often symbolized by the unconscious through the image of a tree, whose slow growth follows an individual pattern. The psychic center that organizes this growth seems to be a kind of atomic nucleus of the psyche. We could also say that it is that which invents and orders our dreams. Jung called this center the Self. It represents the wholeness of our psyche, in contrast to the ego, which constitutes only a small part of our living psychic sphere.2 From the earliest times, humanity had some inkling of the existence of this psychic core. The Greeks called it the inner daimon, the Egyptians called it the ba soul, which took the form of a star or bird; the Romans worshiped it as the “genius” of the individual person. Many primitive peoples conceived of it as a protective spirit in the form of an animal or as a helper dwelling in a fetish. This symbol appears in a particularly authentic form in the conceptions of certain inhabitants of the Labrador peninsula, the so-called Naskapi Indians.3 These forest hunters lived in small family groups so isolated that they were not able to develop tribal customs or tribal religious views or rites. Thus the Naskapi hunters relied purely on their inner inspirations and dreams. They taught that the human soul was nothing other than an inner companion, which they called “my friend” or mista’peo, “great man.” This inner companion lived in the heart of the individual and was immortal. Those Naskapi who paid special attention to their dreams and tried to decipher their hidden meanings and test out the truth of them were able to enter into a deeper relationship with the “great man.” He favored such people and sent them more and better dreams. In addition to the primary obligation on the part of an individual to follow the indications of his or her dreams, there was a further duty: to immortalize the dreams in works of art. Lies and deception drive off the great man within, whereas generosity, neighborly love, and love shown to animals attract him. In this way, dreams provided the Naskapi with a complete orientation, also in relation to external nature, that is, in relation to the fortunes of the hunt, to the weather, and to other circumstances on which they were dependent. I mention these primeval, simple folk here because they were not

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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