"The content of the unconscious is a sea of images. These are usually, but not exclusively, visual--they can be abstractions, patterns, ideas, inspirations and even moods. The images of the collective unconscious are representations of what Jung called archetypes. This was not a new idea--it goes back to Plato, who postulated an ideal world of forms, of which everything in this world is merely a copy--but it was a new idea in psychology. The archetypes are paradoxical. They cannot be known in themselves, but they can be known indirectly through their images. They are, by definition, impersonal but they can manifest personally. For example, the archetype which lies, so to speak, nearest the surface is called the shadow. At a personal level, it embodies our inferior side, all our repressed traits. It might appear in dreams and fantasies, therefore, as a dark twin or a despised acquaintance or an idiot half-brother. At the same time, our personal shadows are rooted in an impersonal collective shadow, the archetype of evil, such as the Christian Devil represents."
And finally from Harpur's Daimonic Reality on pages 14 and 15: "The archetype which most concerns us is the one Jung called the self. It is the goal of all psychic life, all personal development, which he called individuation. This process forms the major task of our lives, in the course of which we are supposed to make conscious, as far as possible, the contents of our unconscious--for instance, by withdrawing our projections onto the world. The result is an expansion of personality and, finally, a state of wholeness which embraces even the dark and contradictory sides of ourselves. The self archetype is foreshadowed in the image of the Wise Old Man and consummated in his mystic marriage with the anima. But such personifications are not the only images of the self. They also occur in abstract form, most notably in circular patterns, often divided into four, which oriental religions have long understood and called mandalas. Such images can occur spontaneously near the beginning of the individuation process, or at a crisis in our psychic lives, as a guide to and token of the final goal. Jung believed that "flying saucers" were like mandalas; that UFOs, in other words, are projections of the collective unconscious. (However, I shall have more, and critical, things to say about "projection" later on.)"
And indeed, Patrick Harpur will have more to say! I do not think I have read a book that comes anywhere near as close to explaining why paranormal phenomena are so tricky, slippery and prone to exhibit strange but metaphorical and synchronistic behavior--on up to just plain bizarre and utterly nonsensical behavior. I hope to share more of what I have learned and am still learning from this astounding book very soon. The image is of a "Sunflower" mandala. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!