Activation of the central archetype

This type of crisis has been studied and described by Jungian analyst John Perry, founder of the Diabasis Center. Perry has worked out a unique way of helping people through the recovery process.

Usually, in the beginning, there is an extraordinary state of consciousness within which everything seems altered. There is a drama in which the individual experiences himself/herself as one who is the center, eg of world affairs. He/She finds himself/herself in a state different from that in which his/her surroundings are found. He/She is immersed in a world of myth. He/She feels isolated, with no understanding. Perry noticed recurrent themes that he divided into ten thematic groups.

Some examples:

A pre-psychotic personality is considered a problem in this process. When too much raw material accumulates, the cohesive function of the Self collapses, and if one is not encouraged to internalize experiences, it can easily happen to be projected into others. In a structured situation, such as a psychotherapeutic relationship, one can see the process as an inner drama and start discovering its inner core. Interesting in this respect is the analysis of inflation - inflation of the Self. The Self first identifies with images and processes activated in the unconscious. Instead of the individual experiencing an activation of the central archetype, for example, "in my inner world a picture of a hero, king, redeemer" appeared he/she feels to "be" this hero, king, redeemer.

The problem is often that people, instead of waiting for the process to proceed in a regular way, try to change external circumstances. These cannot be successfully integrated until the conditions change inside. It can be said with exaggeration that it is better to deal with psychospiritual crises in their own bedroom than on the street. The path to successful processing then depends on the quality of the Self and on the understanding and support that the individual receives from their surroundings. The process of recovery brings people to the path of personal development, which Jung referred to as individualization. It is a way to fully realize one's deeper potential. The acute psychotic episode thus constitutes a healing and restitutive process (see also Grof, Grof, 1999, Perry, 1974).

Additional information about this category /quotes from the book: Grof, Stanislav. Grof, Christina. Crisis of spiritual development. Prague: Chvojka Publishing, 1999. ISBN 80-86183-09-2/

The California psychiatrist and Jungian analyst John Weir Perry called another significant type of transpersonal crisis a "renewal process" affecting brain activity. To the superficial observer, the experiences of those undergoing this process might seem so strange and extravagant that it would be considered logical to attribute them to an unknown pathological process affecting brain activity.

The soul world of people experiencing this type of crisis looks like a colossal battlefield where a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness is fought. They are fully interested in the motives of death - ritual killing, sacrifice, martyrdom and the afterlife, fascinated by the issue of contradictions, especially issues related to gender differences.

They experience themselves as a center of fantastic events that are cosmic and important to the future of the world. Their visionary states tend to lead them further and further into the past - into their own history, into the history of all mankind, and even up to the moment of creation of the world and the original ideal state of paradise.

After an initial period of storms and turmoil, experiences become more and more pleasant and begin to move towards a solution. The whole process culminates in the experience of "sacred marriage" (hieros gamos).

The partner at this wedding is either an imaginary archetypal being or an idealized person from the person's life. The ultimate experience usually reflects the fact that the male and female aspects of personality are gaining a new balance.

At this stage, one can experience the states and images that Jungian psychology interprets as symbols representing the Self. This Self is, in Jung's conception, a kind of transpersonal center reflecting our deepest and true essence. It is comparable to the Hindu concept of Atma-Brahma, the concept of the inner god.

In visionary states, this Self appears in the form of a light source of supernatural beauty, precious stones, pearls, brilliant jewelry and other similar symbolic variations.

In the process of psychological renewal, there is usually a stage where these uplifting experiences are interpreted as a personal apotheosis, a process that elevates man to a state of supreme humanity, or even to a state totally beyond the human dimension.

The individual identifies with the great leader of humanity, the savior of the world, or even the lord of the universe.

These experiences are often accompanied by a deep sense of spiritual rebirth that replaces the earlier urgent theme of death.

At the time of completing this process and integration, one usually has a vision of an ideal future - a new world governed by love and justice, in which all illnesses and evil have been overcome.

As the intensity of the process diminishes, one realizes that all this immense drama was merely a psychic transformation that took place only in the inner world.

According to Perry, the recovery process brings one on the path of personal development - called individuation in Jungian psychology - toward a fuller application of its own deeper potential. The positive results of these episodes and their rich links to archetypal symbols from ancient history completely rule out that the recovery process could simply be a chaotic plot of a disrupted brain.