Design of Medallion

Digital re-creation of Christiana Morgan's design

"As a device for the jacket of Explorations he sent his editors a copy of the bronze medallion that had been cast for distribution to all Clinic Ph.D.s at the tenth anniversary celebration in 1937. Designed primarily by Christiana and subsequently adopted as the Clinic's "coat of arms," the medallion represents the unconscious as a vast undersea world of mighty creatures. Just above the water, as if afloat upon it, a human face reposes in sunlight. Harry once explained that the octopus at the bottom of the sea symbolizes the possessive, cosmic mother; a whale near the surface is leviathan, the devouring father; in the middle is a swordfish, representing youth, which strains upward, against the parents, and toward the light of consciousness above. It is an allegory of Jungian individuation, the process of emergence into wholeness which first inspired the dyad and to which it was dedicated. Across the scene appear words that Harry ascribed, somewhat vaguely, to Jung--'Let Not Him Who Seeks Cease Until He Finds, And When He Finds He Shall Be Astonished.'" (Robinson, 1992, p. 231).

In addition to being used on the dust jacket of Explorations in Personality, the design also appeared on the title page of Endeavors in Psychology and on the 1988 announcement for a memorial service celebrating the life of Henry A. Murray.

Alan Elms located the source of the quotation in a saying of Jesus in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas. Elms said that Murray told him that, "…Christiana had come up with the quotation while they were putting together a list of possible quotations for the medallion, and they agreed on that one." (A. Elms, personal communication, August 22, 2000)

Most recent translations of the Gospel of Thomas come from Coptic texts found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Because the medallion was designed in 1937, these Coptic manuscripts could not have been the source of the medallion's text. However, fragments of the Gospel of Thomas were known from Greek papyri found in 1897 and 1903 near the town of Oxyrhynchus, an ancient city about 125 miles south of Cairo, and it is from one of these that the quotation likely originated. Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654.5-9 is translated as follows: "Jesus saith, Let not him who seeks…cease until he finds, and when he finds he shall be astonished; astonished he shall reach the kingdom, and having reached the kingdom he shall rest." (Grenfell & Hunt, 1904, part IV, p. 4) It should be noted that the translation above exactly matches the text on the medallion. Translations offered by others seem only seem to approximate it using, for example, "disturbed," "troubled," "wonder," etc, instead of "astonished."

Thanks is extended to Moe Stein (1996) for showing me his plaster cast replica of the medallion.


          Grenfell, B. P., & Hunt, A. S. (1904). The Oxyrhynchus papyri: Part IV. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

          Murray, H. A. (1938). Explorations in personality: A clinical and experimental study of fifty men of college age. New York: Oxford University Press.

          Robinson, F. G. (1992). Love's story told: A life of Henry A. Murray. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

          Shneidman, E. S. (Ed.). (1981). Endeavors in psychology: Selections from the personology of Henry A. Murray. New York: Harper & Row.

          Stein, M. I. (1996, August 12). Discussant at a symposium, "What's the story? A 60th anniversary celebration of the TAT." 104th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, ONT, Canada.

Last revised: 7 September 2000