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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Agni: archetypal image of the creative force

Agni and his consort, circa 1800
Agni and his consort, circa 1800. US public domain via wikimedia
It is said that Agni is the first-born; that Agni is the God of fire. Agni is an image of the creative force.

In the above image we see the Hindu deity Agni and his consort Svaha.  Agni appears in his dual nature, with two heads he faces both God and man.

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Surya the Sun God: expressing the creative power of the soul

Surya receives worship from the multitudes; Tanjore School miniature painting, 1800’s. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
In the above image, we see a paining of Surya, the sun God, from the 19th Century. Surya is seated on his chariot led by a horse with seven heads.  He is surrounded by attendants and the multitudes praise him. It is said that Surya is the eye of the cosmos. [1]

In images of the cosmic person, Surya is one the eyes, contrasting with the moon in the other eye, representing the solar and lunar aspects of both the cosmos and psychic life.

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Ra: image of the vital force

Re-Horakhty by Jeff Dahl - (Budge 1904), based on New Kingdom tomb paintings. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.
Re-Horakhty by Jeff Dahl – (Budge 1904), based on New Kingdom tomb paintings. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.

Ra is an Egyptian deity (2494 to 2345 BC). His name is thought to mean ‘creative power’ and ‘creator’. If we examine the image of the Sun God Ra we can see archetypal images associated with the vital forces: the hawk, a snake coiled around a (sun) disk, and the scepter. Notice also the Anuk, a union of a female symbol (the oval, representing the vagina or uterus) with a male symbol (the phallic upright line).

Both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung speak of ‘libidinal’ forces arising from the depths of the psyche. Libidinal forces are the psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual drives. Freud says, “the deepest strata of our mind [are] made up of instinctual impulses”(1914-1916). Sigmund Freud saw these impulses as are our desires, and most specifically our sexual desires.

Carl Jung noticed that the ‘vital forces’ are often associated with the God image, and are essential to the Self. Jung says: “If one honors God, the sun or the fire, then one honors one’s own vital force, the libido.” He adds: It is as Seneca says: ‘ God is near you, he is with you, in you.’ God is our own longing to which we pay divine honors.” (1916)



1. Sigmund Freud SE XIV, Our Attitude Towards Death ((1914-1916)

2. Carl Jung (1916) Psychology of the Unconscious