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Harry Potter, Voldemort, and the Ego-Self axis

In the above video (starting at 2:32) Luna Lovegood tries to imagine how "you know who," (Voldemort), the dark Lord, gains power over others.

This scene offers us insight into how we can become possessed by unconscious darkness...via increased lack of resources and perpetual disconnection.

“You know who” in the Harry Potter series refers to Voldemort, the dark lord.

From a Jungian perspective, I see Voldemort, ‘you know who’ as an image of the dark side of the Self.

The shadow of the modern God image.

Although Jung conceptualized the Self as the archetype of wholeness, very often, we idealize what coming into relationship with wholeness actually implies.

We think we won’t have to confront the devilish, destructive, annihilating energies of the unconscious along the way.

“However, for the Self to adequately express human wholeness, it cannot not be only an ultimate image of light; it also must include darkness as an essential aspect of its nature” (Marlan, 2008, 1382-1383). Kindle Edition.

Personally, I see the image of Voldemort as a very relevant image in the modern psyche.

Especially, in the complexes of survival energy I work with on the daily.

Ironically, the etymology of Voldemort means, “flight from death.”

In his one-sided destructive attempt at immortality, Voldemort attempts to live forever at all costs, even fragmentation.

As does the unconscious survival energy within us.


I feel the story of Harry Potter is a modern myth that reveals the process and development of an ego-Self axis.

Not only must Harry (the ego) create a relationship with Dumbledore, the light side of the Self, he must also confront the shadow side of the Self, Voldemort.

“For Jung, the Self can neither be limited to images of light nor split off from its shadow” (Marlan, 2008, 1393-1394). Kindle Edition.

Harry must recognize both of these energies live within him and integrate them within his personality.

When he recognizes that he and Voldemort are connected to one another (around the 4th-5th book) Harry begins to isolate himself.

He feels there is something wrong with him, like he is dirty or evil.

This is exactly how many people identified with their unconscious survival energy feel. Stained.

Yet, this one-sidedness cuts Harry off from the resources he does have—his friends, Dumbledore, his loving spirit—that could ultimately help him in his confrontation with darkness.

I often see this with client’s when survival shadow content emerges, the ego tends to identify with collapse, shame responses, feelings of powerlessness.

This is like being sucked into a trauma vortex—Voldemort energy—without any access to resources or a counter vortex.

The trauma vortex perpetuates endlessly when we have no access to resources, we are possessed in the hands of dark survival content.

For that survival content to live on eternally, it needs the ego to be powerless, disconnected, and under resourced, just like Luna Lovegood implies 👆

Yet, when we actually remember and gain access to connection and other resources (inner and outer) and allow our consciousness to rock between the light and dark sides of the psyche, we truly start to gain access to a wider and more complete image of the Self.

Here’s to nerdy musings on the Harry Potter series ⚡️

Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.

No copyright infringement is intended.


Marlan, S. (2008). The Black sun: The alchemy and art of darkness. Texas A&M University Press.

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