The archetype of Satan, like many religious figures is amazingly complex. He appears first in Israelite mythology as an accuser, tempter and deceiver. Eventually the archetype evolves, particularly in the Christian tradition, as the personification of transgression and evil. Yet the mythology of Satan is also merged with that of Lucifer, originally the morning star and angel of light, who falls from heaven and rebels against God. Thereafter, as Jung points out below, this disobedient son of heaven stands as the shadow of the Christ, the good Son. This evening at Numinous we explore with the help of Peter Ross, psychologist, how the archetype of Satan is present in our psyche and culture from the moral tempter in some dramas to the personification of evil in fantasy films. We will also explore in discussion and practice our own inner demons and temptations to transgress!
Christ, as a hero and god-man, signifies psychologically the self; that is, he represents the projection of this most important and most central of archetypes. The archetype of the self has, functionally, the significance of a ruler of the inner world, i.e., of the collective unconscious. The self, as a symbol of The self, as a symbol of wholeness, is a coincidentia oppositorum (a coincidence of opposites), and therefore contains light and darkness simultaneously. In the Christ-figure the opposites which are united in the archetype are polarized into the “light” son of God on the one hand and the devil on the other. The original unity of opposites is still discernible in the original unity of Satan and Yahweh. Christ and the dragon of the Anti-Christ lie very close together so far as their historical development and cosmic significance are concerned. The dragon legend concealed under the myth of the Anti-Christ is an essential part of the hero’s life and is therefore immortal. Nowhere in the latter-day myths are the paired opposites so palpably close together as in the figures of Christ and Anti-Christ. C.G. Jung CW 5; 576