Jungian Type as a Sign of the Soul

Before I get started with this, I want to underline one of my motivations for banging on about Jung as a complement to Yeats. It isn’t just that they are talking about the same things, but that they are talking about two aspects of the same thing. In specific, Jung’s work provides grist for getting the practical dimensions of the Yeatsian spiritual work off the ground.

It does that by providing us with the tools to prepare for the Yeatsian crises, to make the most of the chain of initiatory moments that lead toward it. If we keep The Red Book in mind, it also provides lineaments for interacting with the spiritual beings that undergird this process.

The crises require us to see the world clearly, to see its symbolic dimensions and to see its ‘brute’ dimensions and distinguish between them. They prepare us to make use of that difference in undertaking spiritual work. The Jungian material, at its best, provide us with the tools to see this in a small scale, readying us to deal more directly with its manifestation in the crises. Ideally, it also shortens the chain of initiatory moments required to achieve a crisis.

So, when we look at a Jungian psychological type, what do we see? First and foremost, we are seeing a pattern of reactions that have come to define and structure our daily lives. When we understand that the structure of our daily life emerges out of the dialogue between our two souls, daemon and human, this residue of personality acquires spiritual scope. The way in which we have responded to and resisted the world are the track marks left from our negotiation of the daemon-human encounter.

The Jungian typology also includes a trajectory of maturation, through which we become increasingly adept at using our full complement of introverted and extroverted faculties and acquiring an awareness of their unconscious opposites. That trajectory of maturation prepares and supports the realizations achieved through the crises. The development of introverted and extroverted faculties over time mirrors the distinguishing of Intellect and Mask, Will and Body of Fate.

I’m chewing over the role of the so-called shadow faculties in this process. My best bet is that they, too, provide us some insight into our spiritual work, but in this case from the perspective of the daemon and other alien influences. That relies, in part, on the sense that one of the reasons we develop a faculty is because the contrary faculty is aleady occupied. In other words, an INFJ might develop their extroverted Feeling in part because ‘their’ introverted Feeling is already animated by daemonic influence.

The challenge with talking this way is to maintain the distinction between Jungian type and Yeatsian faculty. The sense we get of the souls from the type is indirect, a trace of their interaction into which our personality is inscribed. A bit like the object held between two people in a friction oracle, the personality is the means for the communication.

Refining that tool (like the invention and refinement of the planchette itself) makes communication clearer, understanding the tool helps us to grasp what might hold it and to what purpose it can be put. Like a tool, though, the real point of it is the work to which it is put, and that has to be found in the specific events and opportunities of a person’s life.

This line of thought needs to be clarified, though, because unlike a hammer or a planchette, the personality is directly composed by the events and opportunities of a person’s life. This is why it makes sense to talk about the personality as a contraction of the Yeatsian faculties. The threads that wind into it, are also the threads that wind outward to join the person with the currents of fate more broadly construed.

We might be able to say that the personality at the height of its powers is the truest Mask of which a person is capable.


One thought on “Jungian Type as a Sign of the Soul

  1. Pingback: Mask, Personality, Synchronicity, Work | Disrupt & Repair

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