Erich Neumann publicly proposed the concept of the ego-Self (or Self-ego) axis and began to sketch its implications in his 1952 Eranos lecture, “The Psyche and the Transformation of the Reality Planes. Edward Edinger popularized the concept writing, “It portrays the developmental relationship between the ego and the Self, Jung’s term for “the totality of the conscious and unconscious psyche [that] transcends our visions…”
As infants, we embody an original wholeness, or Self-hood, out of which ego (a sense of “I”) gradually emerges. The connection to the Self may be damaged if the ego believes itself the sole source of identity and life or if the ego has been depleted through trauma. In either case, reconnection to the Self is essential to life vitality. A living relationship with the Self can be sought through work with the unconscious: we can attend to our dreams, develop self-reflective capacity, and learn to see meaning and magic in everyday occurrences.
Here’s the dream we analyze:
“I was taking part in a marathon. At first, I was doubtful I could complete the race. As I started running, I realized I was not losing my energy too quickly, and my hope I would reach the destination was growing within me. Toward the end of the race, I still had plenty of energy, so I decided to accelerate a bit, even though I could see so many people were ahead of me, and I, therefore, had no chance of winning. As I reached the end, I checked the results and noticed I was around the 14th person to arrive. I was, however, the first among female participants. I was very excited and wanted my partner to see the results. Then I somehow started running back along the same route, still full of energy. While I was running back, someone was announcing the prizes, and I knew I would be offered a pram and could choose out of three types. One of the prams offered as a prize was a “German” pram that had a seat for the baby that could be turned around so that the baby is either looking forward or looking back at the parent who is pushing.”
Linda Leonard. On the Way to the Wedding.
Edward Edinger. Ego and Archetype.
Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/
I think that an active ego self axis is usually maintained through what some people have referred to as “transformative practice.” In Jungian approaches the dream work and active imagination, automatic writing and journaling are such …but in other systems, meditative practices, prayer, chanting, trance, breathing, energetic and body practices (Tai Chi, Qui Gong, Yoga), and others also perform this function. In our modern, more secular culture, art, music, poetry and other forms of writing can do this. Whatever the flavor, I think that a continued and, optimally, a daily practice is usually pretty helpful–read necessary–to keeping the axis humming. I also agree that when one is “aligned with the Tao” through regular transformative practice that synchronicity is often present.