“The archetypal imaging power represents an aspect of our participation in the divine. Jung writes: “The archetypes are the numinous and structural elements of the psyche and possess a certain autonomy and specific energy which enables them to attract, out of the conscious mind, those contents which are best suited to themselves. The symbols act as transformers, their function being to convert libido from a ‘lower’ to a ‘higher’ form.”
These two rich sentences bear further attention. Note those key words numinous and structural. The idea of the numinous is buried in its etymology. The word of origin means to nod, to summon, to intimate; that is, the numinous is autonomous and is seeking us, soliciting the attention of our consciousness. Secondly, the psyche brings structure to this frenetic dance of atoms so that we might stand in ordered relationship to that flux. This order makes meaning possible; it is the requisite for consciousness.
Moreover, as the student of dreams knows well, the invisible energy of the psyche scavenges the known and unknown worlds for images to become hosts for meaning. Such image-husks are filled with energy and present themselves dynamically for the possibility of conscious discernment. In addition to creating consciousness alone, these images activate, summon, and direct libido and energy in service to the developmental and transcendent needs of the organism. This effect is experienced in rites of passage, in living religious symbols, and in affectively charged life experiences which move and confound us. Through the autonomous formation of symbols and archetypal imagination, we move to ancient rhythms and play out ancient dramas, whether we know it or not.”
James Hollis, The Archetypal Imagination. Houston: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.
Chanced on and borrowed from the Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal.