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Stone

A woman dreamed of a precious stone, buried in her garden. A precious stone is a symbol of the lapis lazuli, the self. In modern culture, diamonds are often associated with making a commitment in a long-term relationship, felt to signify the rock on which it is built.

Photo credit: Marcelo Jordao, Yarden Life Center, Brazil

We associate the stone with permanence, something may be ‘written in stone’. Stones have also been used to shape religious objects and temples since ancient times. Stonehenge continues to leave us in awe. Meteorites were found in some ancient temples and were revered as the deity itself. ‘Petra’ means rock, and Peter was said to be the rock on which the church was built.

As a child, Jung loved to sit on a large stone. He used to think that he was also the stone. Then again he was the boy. He would get off the stone, feeling confused. Was he Carl, the boy, or was he the stone, old and wise? This was the beginning of what he called the number one and number two personalities, leading to his understanding of the ego and the Self.

The aim of the process of individuation is to restore the relationship to the self, an inner mystery. A positive outcome of the process may culminate in the integration of the inner opposites, symbolized as the masculine and feminine principles, in the sacred inner marriage.

Later in life Jung ‘rescued’ a rock which had been rejected by the mason. It was a perfect cube, too large for its purpose, and he let this stone speak for itself. The first thing that he chiseled into the stone, was a Latin verse: “Here stands the mean uncomely stone, ‘Tis very cheap in price! The more it is despised by fools, The more loved by the wise.” (MDR, p. 227)

In alchemy, it was said that the cornerstone, the lapis, was rejected by the masons and was called the orphan. In therapy we often discover essential aspects of our personalities that were rejected early in life, and which may turn out to be the cornerstone of the individuation process and the core of the personality.