Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • M. J. Drake SpaethEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_534

Psyche, the ancient Greek word meaning “soul” or “spirit,” is also the name of the Greek goddess of the soul, one of whose symbols is the butterfly. The term was employed by Sigmund Freud to describe the unity of unconscious and conscious, the tripartite structure of the mind divided into id (i.e., the repository of unconscious drives and wishes that determine our conscious behaviors), superego (i.e., the repository of superconscious extreme moralistic elements that compensate for the opposite extremes of the id), and the ego (i.e., the conscious referee between the dichotomous ongoing conflict between id and superego). It was also adopted by Freud’s student Carl Jung to encompass the mind and its evolving, developing relationship with the world over the course of life, manifest in the individuation of the self from the more limited ego (Jung 1978).

The concept of psyche links psychology and spirituality in several ways. In the Greek myth of the goddess Psyche, a human woman becomes...

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  1. Jung, C. G. (1978). Aion: Researches into the phenomenology of the self. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA