Priapus: personification of the creative force

Mercurius-Priapus. Français : Mercurius-Priapus- circa 50 and circa 79. Heald at the Naples National Archaeological Museum. US Public Domain.
Priapus- between circa 50 and 79 AD. Naples National Archaeological Museum. US Public Domain.


The phallus, as the generative member, holds great importance in psychic life. Carl Jung says:

“The psychic life-force, the libido, symbolizes itself… through phallic symbols” (para. 297)

Phallus, like fire and the sun, “symbolize the libido” (para 298). These libido symbols are expressions and representations of the life force. As Coleridge says, the symbol “partakes of the reality which it renders intelligible.” The fire, the sun and the phallus are symbols of libido in precisely that sense.

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Tom Thumb: personification of the creative force

Front cover of Tom Thumb, Cock Robin Series, McLoughlin Bro. New York, 1888. US public domain via wikimedia
According to Carl Jung, Tom Thumb is a personification of the creative force. Jung says:

“We know that Tom Thumbs, dactyls, and Cabiri… are personifications of creative forces… Thus the creative dwarfs toil away in secret; the phallus also working in darkness, begets a living being” (CW5, para. 180)

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Phanes: archetypal image of the creative force

Phanes, Francesco de Rossi, Il Salviati--16th century
Phanes, Francesco de Rossi, Il Salviati–16th century. US public domain via wikimedia
Phanes is an ancient image of the creative force. In the image above we see Phanes: eagle’s wings, cloven feet, of both sexes. A serpent coils round him, crowning his head, encircling an egg engulfed in fire.   He stands on fire, hair of fire.  He holds fire in one hand and a staff in the other, encircled by the Zodiac.  On his chest we see the goat, the lion, and the ram.

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Snake Dreams: instinct, energy, life force


An historical, geographical, commercial, and philosophical view of the United States of America, and of the European settlements in America and the West-Indies
Year: 1796 (1790s)
Winterbotham, William Zoology. US Pulic Domain via Wikimedia

A Dream:

“I am up in the hills and looking for a place to camp. The hills are golden-colored, rolling, as you would find in Northern California. I am walking along the hilltops for a while and then I come to a cave. I peek inside the cave and I see a little old hermit. I say to the hermit, “Hello.” And I ask, “Is there a place to camp up here upon the hilltops?” The hermit says, “No!” I look around and I say, “But there is so much room up here in the golden hills.” Then, as I am looking around, I see that at the entrance of the cave, there is a hill and the hill is the head of a huge snake. I shift my perspective and look into the distance: seeing that this snake spans into the distance, running for many miles over the hilltops.”

In the dream, we find the image of cave. In the Upanishads, a cave is found in the depths of the heart. In there, in the cave of the heart, the cosmic Self is discovered. The Katha Upanishad (1.11-13) says “he [the cosmic Self] dwells in the cave [of the heart] of all beings.”

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Lingam: the companion of the chthonic mother

Linga and Shiva of Parashurameshvara temple of Gudimallam, Andhra Pradesh, India Shunga 1st century BC sandstone. US public Domain via wikimedia.
Linga and Shiva of Parashurameshvara temple of Gudimallam, Andhra Pradesh, India Shunga 1st century BC sandstone. US public Domain via wikimedia.

In Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Carl Jung notes that “the companion to the chthonic mother is the ithyphallic Hermes or a lingam.” He adds “In India this symbol is of the highest spiritual significance” [1]

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