Archetypes

Finally we come to the ultimate kernel which cannot be made conscious at all – the sphere of the archetypal mind. Its presumable contents appear in the form of images which can be understood only by comparing them with historical parallels. If you do not recognize certain material as historical and if you do not possess the parallels, you cannot integrate these contents into consciousness and they remain projected. The contents of the collective unconscious are not controllable by the will. They actually behave as if they did not exist in yourself – you see them in your neighbours but not in yourself.

“Archetypes are systems of readiness for action, and at the same time images and emotions.  They are inherited with the brain structure – indeed they are its psychic aspect.  They represent, on the one hand, a very strong instinctive conservatism, while on the other hand they are the most effective means conceivable of instinctive adaptation.”[3]

   The gods

[Contemporary man] is blind to the fact that; with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by "powers" that are beyond his control.  His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names.

Archetypes are gods of the Romans, Greeks, and Hindus, etc., (the Self would be synonomous with Christ), came up with their systems of ‘the gods[2].  Archetypes are inherently active in the psyches of all people in all places and in all times and are akin to black holes in space, in that you only know they’re there by how they draw light and matter to themselves.    

The Romans had a clever way of assimilating people into their empire – by translating the archetypes.  If, for instance, they conquered an Etruscan tribe, or when they later conquered the Celtic tribes, they would find out who the main native gods were and assimilated them to their own gods.  As they were all Indo-Germanic, they all had the same pattern.  The main male god became Jupiter So-and-So and the great goddess Juno or Hera So-and-So, and if the god of commerce was called Kerunnus, he became Mercurius-Kerrunus.  Thus we find temples everywhere in France dedicated to Mercurius-Kerrunnus.  It was a clever trick to avoid fanatical religious fights and to achieve integration into the Roman Empire.  It gradually created a kind of syncretistic religion in which people were accustomed to think indirectly in archetypal terms …   AAI 14

   Why go to the Brahmans?  You’ve got it in yourself.  Turn in.  All those gods that you are invited to worship through the public sacrifice are projections of the fire of your own energy.  There’s that wonderful passage in the Chandogya, “Worship this god, worship that god, one god after another; those who follow this law do not know.  The source of the gods is in your own heart.  Follow the footsteps to that center and know that you are that of which the gods are born.”    TMTT 106

And so, to grasp the full value of the mythological figures that have come down to us, we must understand that they are not only symptoms of the unconscious but also controlled and intended statements of certain spiritual principles, which have remained as constant throughout the course of human history as the form and nervous structure of the human physique itself.

There are three main archetypes:  The Self, the Shadow, the Anima/Animus. 

The shadow, the syzygy, and the self are psychic factors of which an adequate picture can be formed only on the basis of a fairly thorough experience of them. Just as these concepts arose out of an experience of reality, so they can be elucidated only by further experience. Philosophical criticism will find everything to object to in them unless it begins by recognizing that they are concerned with facts, and that the “concept” is simply an abbreviated description or definition of these facts.

Outside the narrower field of professional psychology these figures meet with understanding from all who have any knowledge of comparative mythology. They have no difficulty in recognizing the shadow as the adverse representative of the dark chthonic world, a figure whose characteristics are universal. The syzygy is immediately comprehensible as the psychic prototype of all divine couples. Finally the self, on account of its empirical peculiarities, proves to the eidos behind the supreme ideas of unity and totality that are inherent in all monotheistic and monistic systems.

(For Jung) The Self is the master archetype which involves all lesser archetypes.  There are infinite numbers of Archetypes, but the more common ones one comes across are:

It is no use at all to learn a list of archetypes by heart.  Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate, and their effects are felt in our most personal life. 

‘The unconscious sends all sorts of vapors, odd beings, terrors, and deluding images up into the mind – whether in dream, broad daylight, or insanity; for the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves.  … There not only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted psychological powers that we have not thought or dared to integrate into our lives.’

“I would never even have had this thought unless so-and-so had happened; and besides, I never think things like that”  Remarks like this are quite usual, and show how nebulous psychic facts are, or rather how vague they are on the subjective side – in reality they are just as objective as historical events.  The thing is that I did think this thus, regardless of the conditions and stipulations I may attach to this fact”[5]

“It would be an unpardonable sin of omission were one to overlook the feeling-value of the archetype.  This is extremely important both theoretically and therapeutically.  As a numinous factor, the archetype determines the nature of the configurational process and the course it will follow, with seeming fore-knowledge, or as though it were already in possession of the goal to be circumscribed by the centring process.  

“The archetype is pure, unvitiated nature[6], and it is nature that causes man to utter words and perform actions whose meaning is unconscious to him, so unconscious that he no longer gives it a thought.”

When, for instance, a highly esteemed professor in his seventies abandons his family and runs off with a young red-headed actress, we know that the gods have claimed another victim.  This is how daemonic power reveals itself to us. 

In our dreams they speak to us in elaborate productions of heroes, villains, storms, and story lines, which can reveal much of our unconscious mind to us.  These messages are communications from the unconscious that “knows and does not perceive[7].  Archetypes exist in all cultures and in all times basically unchanged. 

“I must stress one aspect of the archetypes which will be obvious to anybody who has practical experience of these matters.  That is, the archetypes have, when they appear, a distinctly numinous character which can only be describes as ‘spiritual’, if ‘magical’ is too strong a word.”

“We must, however, constantly bear in mind that what we mean by “archetype” is in itself irrepresentable, but has effects which make visualizations of it possible, namely, the archetypal images and ideas.” 

By far the greatest number of spontaneous synchronistic phenomena that I have had occasion to observe and analyze can easily be shown to have a direct connection with an archetype. 

~ C. G. Jung, Synchronicity, An Acausal Principle

Great forces are directing you to conform to the patterns of your society.  You have DNA that has been handed down from generation to generation, coding repeated behaviour patterns into your being.  You have archetypal energies setting the standards for how you behave as a man or a woman, as husband or wife, as father or mother.  You are immersed in consensual reality, whereby the world around you reflects societal understanding of how life has been and is to be.  At the same time, you have an even greater force within you inspiring you to wake up and recognize the reality of who you are.  This force, the creative power underlying the entire universe, is urging you to create brand new standards of reality.  The status quo is blind to our creative power.  Create a brand new world for yourself, one that meets your deepest needs, and you will help raise the quality of consciousness of the entire world.  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. 

The chief danger is that of succumbing to the fascinating influence of the archetypes, and this is most likely to happen when the archetypal images are not made conscious.  If there is already a predisposition to psychosis, it may even happen that the archetypal figures, which are endowed with a certain autonomy anyway on account of their natural numinosity, will escape from conscious control altogether and become completely independent, thus producing the phenomena of possessions.     ...  In the case of an anima-possession, for instance, the patient will want to change himself into a woman through self-castration, or he is afraid that something of the sort will be done to him by force. 

Roman Empire Integration

(In the Roman Empire) there were all those little nations with their local creeds and folklore and religious teaching – the Celts and the Syrians and the Israelites, and so on – and then, when all this was put together in the Roman Empire, the Romans tried (to mix the religions).  They said that you just had to pray to Jupiter-Zeus-Amun, which was the highest god, and the underworld god would be Hades-Osiris (in Egype Sarapis), and there you have a new cocktail religion where even the attributes of the gods were mixed!  That would be as if we would now have new images of Christ, in which he would be represented as sitting in a Buddha-position, with the mudra of pity, and somewhere the cross behind him in a decorative way.  All that is possible – human naiveté is boundless!   TPoPA 227

 

 

 


[1] (Go to BW page 72)

[2] Small g gods  J

[3] Jung Lexicon – Archetype – page 27

[4] “The unconscious … is the source of the instinctual forces of the psyche and of the forms of categories that regulate them, namely the archetypes.”  The Structure of the Psyche, “ CW 8, par. 342 (Jung Lexicon page 145)

[5] Page 77-78 (what book I don’t know?)

[6] “Nature” here mans simply that which is, and always  was, given.

[7] Page 42