Yesterday, I wrote about introjection. Using the diagram of the circle with the midpoint being the Self (Divine Guest), the ego is the small circle on the circumference with the circumference bisecting it. Thus the ego as center of consciousness, as Jung defines it, looks half out to the outer world from the unconscious and half in to the unconscious. The word pro-jection means throwing forth.
So the ego is the part of our psyche responsible for interpreting our processing of the experience of living our life in the manifest world.
This was not always the case! For generations we did this unconsciously until the huge steps taken by Freud (the personal unconscious) and Jung (the anima/animus, Shadow, and the vast concept of the collective unconscious). Up to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, it was up to religion and philosophy to shape our conscience and value systems. Even today, my Teacher’s estimate of sixty years ago, that perhaps 10 percent of the world’s population has access to higher consciousness seems reasonable, especially when the East is included. The rest of us are consciously struggling out of or living an unexamined life.
I am now a great-grandmother and have had the privilege of setting eyes on one of my own great grandmothers and knowing intimately my mother’s mother, my Grandma King (featured in The Beejum Book). She was born in 1854(!) and had my mother when she was forty. So my life stretches technically between seven generations!! Mercy!
Many of you, I venture are "baby boomers," as are my offspring, and many of you are in the prime of life, as their children and life goes on.
What I want to stress is that the work of most analysts and therapists of every stripe is the enormous amount of patients blaming their parents for their own present problems! Blaming anybody is a form of projection! One of those abysses!
We in groups such as ours know this but perhaps we need to forgive our parents, teachers, and generations past because being unconscious they did the best they knew how! In most all of dysfunctional families this applies. I have written before of the elderly woman, a client, who had Saturn conjunct her Moon. When I asked her what her relationship with her mother was, she burst out that her mother had “ruined her life.” So there were two possibilities: 1) her mother was experienced as her own projection, or 2) her mother was indeed a monstrous witch. If the latter, could the woman not realize that her mother had to live with herself 24/7 and she herself could get down on her knees and thank heaven that she didn’t have that nature herself! and further, might she not have compassion for the inevitable karma awaiting such a tortured soul. The client was reduced to tears of relief.
This raises a personal anguish in everybody who looks back on the mistakes we have made for lack of consciousness. Are we guilty or not if we did the best we could? Does not absolution come through becoming conscious of our projections and redeeming them if it is not too late? This is one of the great gifts Jung gives us; the gift of becoming conscious of the gift of consciousness!
So being stuck in the middle of sevengenerations, I personally have made my peace with my forebearers and hope that my descendants will forgive me! I can only say I did the best I could. That I do know. I see the wisdom of the Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!
To conclude, it gives us a psychological excuse to love our enemy because he/she wears the mask of our projection and helps us to become aware of our own unconscious Shadow! Jung would have us realize that we, too, wear the masks for the projections, both negative and positive of others. He even said in one of his letters, “What if the devil removed his mask and we saw the Christ!” Goethe has Mephisto confess to Faust: Ich bin der Geist der immer das Boese will und immer das Gute schafft. I am the spirit that always wants the bad and yet always creates the good. These are courageous statements and could be taken as heretical by anyone not grasping the deeper truth.
Over thirty yrs ago, I wrote "A Paraphrase for Jungians." Here it is slightly modified by further understanding:
Our Divine Guest which art the psyche
Blessed be the Light of Love at our center.
Thy individuation come,
Thy incarnation manifest with consciousness on earth
as it is in our Unconscious.
Give our ego this day its compassionate insight
and dissolve our false projections
as we bear with those of others.
Lead us not into inflation and
help us shed light on our Shadow,
for Thine is the Pattern, the Promise and its Fulfillment.