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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: collective unconscious


Collective Unconscious: In the writings of psychologist Carl Jung and his followers, the deepest stratum of the unconscious that contains material relating not to the individual but to humanity as a whole. The most important presences in the collective unconscious are the archetypes. According to Jungian theory, these are reflections of primal instincts, and also the patterns on which gods and other mythic entities are based. Contacting the archetypal patterns of the collective unconscious in a conscious and balanced way is an important part of the process of individual, the goal of Jungian psychological work.
source: The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, by John Michael Greer

Collective Unconscious:

A concept from the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, the function of the Personal Consciousness that bridges to the collective racial, cultural, mythic, even planetary memories and the world of archetypes of the Universal Consciousness, making them available to the Psyche mainly through the Sub-Conscious Mind.

The memories of all of humanity, perhaps of more than human, and inclusive of the archetypes. The contents of the collective unconscious seem to progress from individual memories to universal memories as the person grows in his or her spiritual development and integration of the whole being. There is some suggestion that this progression also moves from individual memories through various groups or small collectives—family, tribe, race, and nation—so the character of each level is reflected in consciousness until the individual progresses to join in group consciousness with all humanity. This would seem to account for some of the variations of the universal archetypes each person encounters in life.


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