Jung Philemon and the Fourfold Psyche

In this essay I discuss the significance of the number four [4] in both the Mother’s story of creation and Sri Aurobindo’s account of a Vedic creation myth. I relate this to the fact that Philemon, to whom Jung attributed superior insight, is clutching four [4] keys in Jung’s dream, drawing the conclusion that Philemon’s message involves the essential fourfold nature of the Self. Throughout the essay I amplify the nature of Philemon by referring to Metatron, the chief angel of the Judeo-Christian hierarchy of Angels, Merlin and the Fisher king of the Grail legend, and Indra of the Vedic pantheon of gods. I also observe that Jung notes that he eventually integrated Philemon along with a spirit of nature, who insists on concrete reality. I discuss the difficulty of psychologically moving from three [3] to four [4], that is from insight to wholeness involving incarnation of the Self in life.

This requires coming to terms with the shadow as sol niger or dark sun of alchemy, which finds a parallel in the Vedic Martanda. I briefly discuss Jung’s later formulation of the Self as a static fourfold quaternity, where the heights meet the depths of being in a dynamic circulatory process. Jung’s model is highly complex involving the interplay of light and shadow with the final result being a unity of the highest, the Anthropos or Original man, and the lowest, the prima materia and chaos of the [circular or round] Rotundum, to produce the uroborous, the serpent biting its tail, a symbol for completeness of being.

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