Process Manifest in Colors


First, when talking about psychoanalytic process, it’s important to recognize what is meant by process.  Just like all the well known archetypes (mother, father, trickster, animal, shadow, Self) process as a pattern emerges from the collective unconscious and give shape to the individual through forces outside of ego control. Sometimes, because it is not a figure, these archetypal realities are harder to identify.  Some of the most interesting work in this direction was accomplished by Joseph Henderson on the archetype of initiation.

Process as an archetype follows a rhythm: union ~ death ~ rebirth.  And by paying attention to the works of the alchemists we learn how the different stages come to be identified by different colors.  The ecstatic union, with all of it’s erotic under and overtones gets saturated in the red, death in black, and rebirth in gold.  And the transition from one phase to another, a display of all the colors, like a peacocks tail or a rainbow.

Author: Richard Reeve

I'm the Senior Director of Development at Panthera, a global conservation organization committed to stemming the population decline of cats in the wild. I enjoy rural living with my wife Judith and our two children in the Catskill Mountains of New York.