What is an Archetype?

Archetypes and their Contexts


“a persistent representation of an idea or concept
across cultures which seems to represent common patterns of human life”

“Jung also called them dominant images, mythological or primordial images.”

Break down the word:  Arche – Type

First Forms

Forms of Power






as is a NAGA

The concept of “archetype” is far deeper than the concept of “stereotype.”  Stereotypes are generated by a lack of information, and the acceptance of social appearances by a lackadaisical observer who is often putting down people other people who he doesn’t know.  Stereotyping is a form of social categorization which has no intellectual basis or academic significance.  It is expected that an archetype is perceived through the deep understanding of personal reflection upon a very great amount of information which may have universal implications into human nature.

Depth Psychology and Anthropology have a common data set.  All the information we can possibly find about the creations of mankind, be they architectual, linguistic, visual artistic, musical, or geometrical/numerical.

Without the inclusion of geometry and recurrent expressions of human wisdom, archetypal analysis degenerates into the archiving of cultural commonality based on mythological themes, images, story elements and character juxtapositions.  This type of analysis serves some purpose toward understanding the psychological environment of historical time. Through reflection upon the expression of widely held intuitions and beliefs throughout history, and perhaps the social function these beliefs.  Archetypal cultural analysis has some relevance to psychology today, especially if the psychology you are interested in is traditional religious psychology.  The recurring philosophies and similar metaphors and projections  /Patterns recognized in the expressions of mythological stories can tell us about the psychology of the original founders of religious systems./

A modern man could study mythological stories and images as things outside himself, constantly looking for patterns which give a greater picture and general understanding of human nature.  But it is more likely that he goes mad.  The goal of Jungian analysis, was of course, not to go mad*, but to reverse and treat psychosis and reconnect one to a living wholeness and to allow individual maturity to come to be.  *weren’t practices similar to going mad used to access and experiment with the unconscious?  i forget.. seances?

When one gets bored of applying an obtuse categorical strategy to the study of patterns in ancient cultural literature.. What then are the archetypes?  Is there an even deeper level of understanding, which stays behind with the ancient greek, the gnostic, the experiential seeker of God, and the hardcore Jungian?  Is this deeper understanding communicable to the general populace who have no professional psychoanalytic knowledge beyond their own experience of life and self-knowledge in whatever context?

One of the main psychological functions of religious orientation is self-reflection and social contemplation.

What if we consider “the archetypes” as expressions of our own self (as they were of course considered by Jung)?  This would involve identifying with a fundamental human nature which we all share, which is in fact the basic psychological function of true religion.  To go further, what if we ditch the idea of many different archetypes derived from neurotically scouring the patterns of ancient literary thought and image creation?  Is there a single, central, core archetype, from which the multitude of human expressions could be seen to originate?

In what sense is the many one?  In what sense is the one many?

The main archetype for Jung, was “the Self.”  The Christ, The Center, the One, The Totality/The All, The Identity beyond Ego but Including Ego, The Full Potentiality of the Development of the Individual, The ‘God’ within Man.

Categories of Archetypes: Mythological, Literary, Cultural, Linguistic, Personal  –  And if you’re smart.. Geometric, Cosmic Patterning, and Discipline-Relative

A quintessential exemplar of a certain form of behavior, appearance, or social function.  An image of someone held to personify some quality essentially, either good or bad.

An epitomized human representative of the mastery of a skill set or field of knowledge.

The totality of experiential knowledge involved in the mastery of a subject, general art, or specific skill.

The totality toward which the true student is driven by his will for comprehensive understanding.

The related practices and/or ideational forms encountered along the way to true understanding.

What I know, I am.  What I will, I become.  What I was, will be.

The will of the true student is contained within the will of the master.  The will of the master is incubated in the will of the student.

The Logos becomes me.  I am that I am.

What were the archetypes in Jungian analysis in the 20th century?  Ask Jung!  quotes..

What is an archetype in Post-Jungian analysis?  Ask yourself!

Becoming a Jungian psychologist may feel a little bit like going schizophrenic.  Because, the more patterns you see the better, especially if no one else sees them.  And the more broad and general the pattern is, the better.  The challenge of contemporary psychology is to find words for what has been previously unspeakable.  The concept of the Archetypes is an expansive idea, not a contractive one.  Depth psychological research becomes a way of talking about and organizing recurring patterns in the complex systems of human psychological expression, both in the artifacts of the collective of history and in our personal experience of modern life.  Archettype has a become a general word synonymous with pattern, and it’s up to the individual how their categories direct their research focus.  Many people use it loosely to refer to generally perceived patterns in their psychosocial memory or in teaching they’ve received from tradition.  And many in their academic study literary, cultural, and mythological fields.  But of course there is a deeper view, and more comprehensive and total view, which is accessible only through the combination of deeply determined introspective practice, luck, or a perfect teacher.

What archetype meant to ancient greeks, what it meant to Jung, what it means to me personally.

Even the cycle of numbers has been studied from a symbolic perspective.  Geometry has an even greater depth psychological significance.  Perfect geometrical forms were regarded as holy in the past.  The emptiness of nothing, and the incomprehensible expanse of infinity as well.

The center and circumference of a circle or continuous form of a spiral has great depth psychological import.  The sphere and torus are simply higher dimensional complex arrangements of these circular geometries.  All “sacred geometry” has relevance to the free flow of movement experienced in dancing, musical performance, and the various forms of moving meditation which originated in eastern cultures; yoga, tai chi, etc.  Perhaps all of these platonically perfect forms will have relevance to indeterministic physics and the theory of everything.

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