Archetypes

Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875, in the small Swiss village of Kessewil. His father was Paul Jung, a country parson, and his mother was Emilie Preiswerk Jung. He was surrounded by a fairly well educated extended family, including quite a few clergymen and some eccentrics as well.

Carl Jung

Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology.  He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throught the world.  There in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul. — Carl Jung

Jung’s Theory

Jung’s theory divides the psyche into three parts. The first is the ego,which Jung identifies with the conscious mind. Closely related is the personal unconscious, which includes anything which is not presently conscious, but can be. The personal unconscious is like most people’s understanding of the unconscious in that it includes both memories that are easily brought to mind and those that have been suppressed for some reason. But it does not include the instincts that Freud would have it include.

But then Jung adds the part of the psyche that makes his theory stand out from all others: the collective unconscious. You could call it your “psychic inheritance.” It is the reservoir of our experiences as a species, a kind of knowledge we are all born with. And yet we can never be directly conscious of it. It influences all of our experiences and behaviors, most especially the emotional ones, but we only know about it indirectly, by looking at those influences.

There are some experiences that show the effects of the collective unconscious more clearly than others: The experiences of love at first sight, of deja vu (the feeling that you’ve been here before), and the immediate recognition of certain symbols and the meanings of certain myths, could all be understood as the sudden conjunction of our outer reality and the inner reality of the collective unconscious. Grander examples are the creative experiences shared by artists and musicians all over the world and in all times, or the spiritual experiences of mystics of all religions, or the parallels in dreams, fantasies, mythologies, fairy tales, and literature.

Archetypes

The contents of the collective unconscious are called archetypes. Jung also called them dominants, imagos, mythological or primordial images, and a few other names, but archetypes seems to have won out over these. An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way.

The archetype has no form of its own, but it acts as an “organizing principle” on the things we see or do. It works the way that instincts work in Freud’s theory: At first, the baby just wants something to eat, without knowing what it wants. It has a rather indefinite yearning which, nevertheless, can be satisfied by some things and not by others. Later, with experience, the child begins to yearn for something more specific when it is hungry — a bottle, a cookie, a broiled lobster, a slice of New York style pizza.

The archetype is like a black hole in space: You only know its there by how it draws matter and light to itself.

The VICTIM

In my view this archetype plays an important role in the area of certain dis-eases, with particular emphasis on national and global epidemics.  I consider the following diseases to be epidemics of the 21st century, namely:

  • Aids
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • ME

Carolyn Myss defines this archetype as:

Victim

The negative traits of the Victim are self-evident. But when properly recognized, it can be a tremendous aid in letting us know when we are in danger of letting ourselves be victimized, often through passivity but also through rash or inappropriate actions. It can also help us to see our own tendency to victimize others for personal gain. In its shadow aspect, the Victim shows us that we may like to play the Victim at times because of the positive feedback we get in the form of sympathy or pity. Our goal is always to learn how to recognize these inappropriate attitudes in ourselves or others, and to act accordingly.

Films: Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry; Jodie Foster in The Accused; Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice; Glenn Close in Reversal of Fortune;

Fiction: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert L. Stevenson; Misery by Stephen ing.

Drama: Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein

Religion/Myth: Isaac (son of Abraham whom God orders Abraham to sacrifice); Heracles (seized by Busiris, mythical king of Egypt who sacrificed all strangers to the gods to avert famine, Heracles avoided being victimized by using his great strength to break his chains and slay Busiris).



Jung’s Archetypes

(as per the article in:  changing minds . org)

Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung described several archetypes that are based in the observation of differing but repeating patterns of thought and action that re-appear time and again across people, countries and continents.

Jung’s main archetypes are not ‘types’ in the way that each person may be classified as one or the other. Rather, we each have all basic archetypes within us. He listed four main forms of archetypes:

  • The Shadow
  • The Anima
  • The Animus
  • The Self
The Shadow

The Shadow is a very common archetype that reflects deeper elements of our psyche, where ‘latent dispositions’ which are common to us all arise. It also reflects something that was once split from us in early management of the objects in our lives.

It is, by its name, dark, shadowy, unknown and potentially troubling. It embodies chaos and wildness of character. The shadow thus tends not to obey rules, and in doing so may discover new lands or plunge things into chaos and battle. It has a sense of the exotic and can be disturbingly fascinating. In myth, it appears as the wild man, spider-people, mysterious fighters and dark enemies.

We may see the shadow in others and, if we dare, know it in ourselves. Mostly, however, we deny it in ourselves and project it onto others. It can also have a life of its own, as the Other. A powerful goal that some undertake is to re-integrate the shadow, the dark side, and the light of the ‘real’ self. If this can be done effectively, then we can become ‘whole’ once again, bringing together that which was once split from us.

Our shadow may appear in dreams, hallucinations and musings, often as something or someone who is bad, fearsome or despicable in some way. It may seduce through false friendship or threaten with callous disregard. Encounters with it, as an aspect of the subconscious, may reveal deeper thoughts and fears. It may also take over direct physical action when the person is confused, dazed or drugged.

The Anima and Animus

The second most prevalent pattern is that of the Anima (male), Animus (female), or, more simply, the Soul, and is the route to communication with the collective unconscious. The anima/animus represents our true self, as opposed to the masks we wear every day and is the source of our creativity.

The anima/animus may appear as someone exotic or unusual in some way, perhaps with amazing skills and powers. In fiction, heroes, super-heroes and gods may represent these powerful beings and awaken in us the sense of omnipotence that we knew in that very early neonatal phase.

Anima and animus are male and female principles that represent this deep difference. Whilst men have an fundamental anima and women an animus, each may also have the other, just as men have a feminine side and women a masculine. Jung saw men as having one dominant anima, contributed to by female members of his family, whilst women have a more complex, variable animus, perhaps made of several parts.

Jung theorized the development of the anima/animus as beginning with infant projection onto the mother, then projecting onto prospective partners until a lasting relationship can be found.

The Syzygy (the divine couple)

In combination, the anima and animus are known as syzygy (a word also used to denote alignment of planets), representing wholeness and completion. This combining brings great power and can be found in religious combinations such as the Christian Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy ghost).

A perfect partnership between man and woman can occur when not only are our physical forms compatible but also the anima and animus. Thus you might find your soul-mate. Finding our matching other half is a lifetime of search for many of us, and few of us succeed in this quest. Love of another indicates an actual, perceived or hoped-for close match.

The Self

For Jung, the self is not just ‘me’ but God. It is the spirit that connects and is part of the universe. It is the coherent whole that unifies both consciousness and unconsciousness. It may be found elsewhere in such principles as nirvana and ecstatic harmony. It is perhaps what Jaques Lacan called ‘the real’.

Jung described creation of the self as a process of individuation, where all aspects are brought together as one. Thus ‘re-birth’ is returning to the wholeness of birth, before we start to split our selves into many parts.

Other archetypes

Jung said that there are a large number of archetypes. These are often linked to the main archetypes and may represent aspects of them. They also overlap and many can appear in the same person. For example:

Deep origins

A notable characteristic of Jung’s archetypes is that we recognize them in image and emotion. This gives a profound effects on us and implies that they have deep and primitive origins. They thus have a particular potential for significance and may be feared or revered as mysterious signifiers of things beyond our complete understanding.

In earlier work, Jung linked the archetypes to heredity and considered them as instinctual. Yet wherever he looked across cultures, he found the same archetypes and thus came to conceptualize them as fundamental forces that somehow exist beyond us. They have existed in ancient myths as elemental spirits and Jung sought to link with this deep and old experience.

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Other Archetypes

- Click on the link for more detailed descriptions of archetypes according to Carolyn Myss.

  • Addict (Conspicuous Consumer, Glutton, Workaholic, also see….Gambler)
  • Advocate (Attorney, Defender, Legislator, Lobbyist, Environmentalist)
  • Alchemist (Wizard, Magician, Scientist, Inventor, Visionary)
  • Angel (Fairy Godmother/Godfather)
  • Artist (Artisan, Craftsperson, Sculptor, Weaver)
  • Athlete (Olympian)
  • Avenger (Avenging Angel, Savior, Messiah)
  • Beggar (Homeless person/ Indigent)
  • Bully (Coward)
  • Child: Orphan
  • Child: Wounded
  • Child: Magical/Innocent
  • Child: Nature
  • Child: Puer/Puella Eternis (Eternal Boy/Girl)
  • Child, Divine
  • Clown (Court Jester, Fool, Dummling)
  • Companion (Friend, Sidekick, Right Arm, Consort)
  • Damsel (Princess)
  • Destroyer (Attila, Mad Scientist, Serial Killer, Spoiler)
  • Detective (Spy, Double Agent, Sleuth, Snoop, Sherlock Holmes, Private Investigator, Profiler–see also Warrior/Crime Fighter)
  • Dilettante (Amateur)
  • Don Juan (Casanova, Gigolo, Seducer, Sex Addict)
  • Engineer (Architect, Builder, Schemer)
  • Exorcist (Shaman)
  • Father (Patriarch, Progenitor)
  • Femme Fatale (Black Widow, Flirt, Siren, Circe, Seductress, Enchantress)
  • Gambler
  • God (Adonis, see also Hero)
  • Goddess (see also Heroine)
  • Guide (Guru, Sage, Crone, Wise Woman, Spiritual Master, Evangelist, Preacher)
  • Healer (Wounded Healer, Intuitive Healer, Caregiver, Nurse, Therapist, Analyst, Counselor)
  • Wounded Healer
  • Hedonist (Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmet, Gourmand, Sybarite–see also Mystic)
  • Hero/Heroine (see also Knight, Warrior)
  • Judge (Critic, Examiner, Mediator, Arbitrator)
  • King (Emperor, Ruler, Leader, Chief)
  • Knight (see also Warrior, Rescuer)
  • Liberator
  • Lover
  • Martyr
  • Mediator (Ambassador, Diplomat, Go-Between)
  • Mentor (Master, Counselor, Tutor)
  • Messiah (Redeemer, Savior)
  • Midas/Miser
  • Monk/Nun (Celibate)
  • Mother (Matriarch, Mother Nature)
  • Mystic (Renunciate, Anchorite, Hermit)
  • Networker (Messenger, Herald, Courier, Journalist, Communicator)
  • Pioneer (Explorer, Settler, Pilgrim, Innovator)
  • Poet
  • Priest (Priestess, Minister, Rabbi, Evangelist)
  • Prince
  • Prostitute (see text for extended description)
  • Queen (Empress)
  • Rebel (Anarchist, Revolutionary, Political Protester, Nonconformist, Pirate)
  • Rescuer
  • Saboteur (see text for extended description)
  • Samaritan
  • Scribe (Copyist, Secretary, Accountant–see also Journalist)
  • Seeker (Wanderer, Vagabond, Nomad)
  • Servant (Indentured Servant)
  • Shape-shifter (Spell-caster–see also Trickster)
  • Slave
  • Storyteller (Minstrel, Narrator)
  • Student (Disciple, Devotee, Follower, Apprentice)
  • Teacher (Instructor, see also Mentor)
  • Thief (Swindler, Con Artist, Pickpocket, Burglar, Robin Hood)
  • Trickster (Puck, Provocateur)
  • Vampire
  • Victim (see text for extended discussion)
  • Virgin (see also Celibate)
  • Visionary (Dreamer, Prophet, Seer–see also Guide, Alchemist)
  • Warrior (Soldier, Crime Fighter, Amazon, Mercenary, Soldier of Fortune, Gunslinger, Samurai)

Carolyn Myss’ complete ist of Archetypes .

Books of Interest

Jung, C.G. (1964). Man and His Symbols, New York; Doubleday and Company, Inc.

Jung, C.G. (1951). “Phenomenology of the Self.” The Portable Jung, 147.

“Sacred Contracts” by Carolyn Myss