Jung and the Spirit: A review of Jung’s discussions of the phenomenon of spirit

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Abstract: The phenomenon of spirit is a topic discussed frequently by Jung throughout his writings although spirit is not always considered to be central to the practice of analytical psychology. The article points to the importance of spirit in analytical psychology by presenting a survey of Jung’s discussions of spirit. In Jung’s discussions spirit is not treated as an abstract concept but as an empirical phenomenon: To Jung, spirit is psychological reality than can be described and whose effects can be experienced. Spirit is both described as an archetype and as a component of all archetypes. Spirit is related to the principle of life itself and it is a prerequisite of both personal and cultural development and transformation. The article documents how Jung’s understanding of spirit developed over time and in relation to different topics: Freud’s psychoanalysis, the Red Book, fairy-tales, Christianity, Nietzsche’s book on Zarathustra, Germany in the 1930’es, alchemy, and creative work. The paper is concluded by a clinical example in which spirit’s relevance to the ability to live creatively is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Analytical Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Jung
  • Freud
  • spirit
  • Nietzsche
  • Zarathustra
  • alchemy
  • Mercurius
  • The Red Book

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