Individuation and the Craft Pt. 2

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus
James E. Frey

Carl Jung was born in 1875 and became a notable psychiatrist after studying under the eminent Sigmund Freud. But where Freud believed that unconscious motivations were prompted by sexual repression and primal aggression; Jung would eventually reject this, believing that unconscious motivation was symbolically inspired through the collected unconscious. Jung traveled the world studying mythology, world religion, and from these experiences he began to notice the similarities expressed through all myth to support a universal symbolic meaning. Jung became convinced that there existed a collected unconscious that unified all man’s consciousness together.

Jung began to identify universal symbols that he believed represented aspects of one’s own consciousness and personality. As we experience these symbols and reflect on their meaning, we reflect on aspects of ourselves and grow our perception of reality. Through symbols we slowly merge the collected unconscious with our individual consciousness to become self-actualized and psychologically whole individuals, this process was called individuation. It is this process of individuation, that is at the root of all existential meaning and the hero’s journey in mythology.

Jung called these universal symbols archetypes and he expressed that every great religion incorporates these symbols to inspire psychological and spiritual change. Masonry is not a religion, and accepts men of all faiths into its ranks as equally deserving of its mysteries. So masonry adapts archetypal symbols into its own system of progressive morality. Jung writes that individuation “In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular is it the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.” (Jung, Psychological Types. Collected Works, vol. 6, par 757)

This process of individuation can be symbolically represented in the Entered Apprentice degree as the process of coming from darkness to light. Masonry realizes that Man is born in the darkness of ignorance, but has the capability for greater understanding of the light. Of his own free will and accord an initiate must seek the door of knowledge and knock to receive its virtues. The initiate must have a mind capable of wisdom, a heart capable of feeling, and a hand eager to pick up the working tools of life toward the greater work of an evolving society.

Next time we will talk the about the "darkness". Until then, stay in the light, Brothers...



  1. It appears that very few people have the necessary cajones to change things we need to change. Wee succumb to the “Well in My day ....” and don’t, for whatever reason want to bring the respective bodies into the current time arena. It appears that being mediocre is the Word of Freemasons all over the country. I have been a Mason for almost 45 years, and very few changes to meeting format have changed, not only in my lodges, but in other bodies as well. Why is it that we don’t want to upset the old timers? Is their adherence to the ”Old Ways” a hindrance or not? What I have found in most cases is a fear to change. We must face that fear and allow the younger masons, not only in age, but in age in the fraternity, the freedom to customize the meeting structure to fit their needs. After all they are the ones who are going to keep Masonry alive after we are long gone. Consider, my brothers, stepping out of your comfort zone and allow some changes to take place. Make your meetings fun and worthwhile to attend. Who knows you just might be surprised and glad you did.

    Douglas Reece, PM, 32º KCCH

    1. Couldn't agree with you more. All growth occurs when we step out of our comfort zone and face those things we avoid about ourselves and society.