What is an Archetype?
The idea of the Archetype is first attributed to Plato. Its basic meaning centers around the idea of a model, a structure, a stereotype.
This is its basic meaning. At another level of meaning one soon sees that its power extends around the minds of humans everywhere.
If explored one soon finds that Archetypes are communicated to mankind using symbols.
This is why those who colonize plant a flag. A marker. A marker/flag/totem displays who you are. It displays your Archetype or your country's
archetype or your "people group" archetype. This form of Archetype is practiced by many animals as well as by the Human primate. Bears mark tress,
wolves, cougars, mice, all mark with signs in their culture.
In Psychology the idea of the Archetype describes the model of behavior that centers around the personality of the individual. In Alchemy the
Archetype centers around the "people groups". (again this is a brief)
So to summarize the Archetype is a mental model upon which we map out our behavior.
Lets play a game.
I will state a word and in your mind will pop the Archetype. (for our sake we will call these archetypes although strictly speaking they are but a
symbol of the deeper, true Archetype)
God.....what picture comes to mind?
Hippie...what picture comes to mind?
Mother...what picture comes to mind?
Scientist...what picture comes to mind?
Father...what picture comes to mind?
Son...what picture comes to mind?
Daughter...what picture comes to mind?
The make up of the above questions, ever so brief, allows you to begin to explore the pictures or symbols that you have internalized and that now, in
a sense, govern you and your ideas.
The pictures or symbols allow you to make a mental map. This allows us to navigate in a safe pattern unless a dictator/ruler/ gets a hold of these
ideas and then they (the archetypes) will be manipulated to emphasize whatever belief pattern the dictator has internalized.
If we briefly examine some Primal or true archetypes we can begin to map our behavior to a certain degree.
Jungs basic Archetypes are as follows.
The Self The coherent whole
The Shadow repressed, undeveloped, hidden
The Anima male image of female
The Amimus female image of male
The Persona the mask (the mask is how we project our self to the world while at the same time protecting our self)
These are cross cultural as well as cross species. (animals map their behavior using archetypes)
These can be viewed as psychic organs.
So quickly lets look at the evolutionism Archetype which evolved to the construct of The Mother.
All creatures have a mother, OK, maybe not all, lol, (Seahorses)
The archetype that evolved into the picture/construct/symbol of the mother ties into first level of consciousness namely your survival.
As a sperm you raced toward a desired end finding solace in a egg. The egg meant survival as the fact is that all the other sperm you raced with
"died" except you. You found solace in the egg. This gave you life. This also began to form your awareness(consciousness) in the same way the
union of sperm and egg began to form your future body.
This developed into the animus/anima...view image of male/female...
The driving force behind you finding solace...food/shelter in the womb...that awareness or construct is the actual archetype.
The fertilized egg found survival as well. The union created the conditions upon which both the sperm and the egg survive and find solace together in
the womb which provides food/warmth/shelter.
All of the above together begins to form the self and the shadow/animus/anima/persona.
( the self...symbolized by a circle...fertilized egg as well as the anima/animus...symbolized by the penis/womb/vagina...very primal acts evolve to
our primal construct of archetypes)
So that is a brief on Archetypes.
Feel free to explore these ideas as I am no expert so you may discover that I am right and/or wrong.
One step deeper.
Moses, who was a master of Archetypes having been trained by the Court of the Pharaoh, stipulated that we are to make no graven image after receiving
the commandments. (I understand that the commandments are different in different Bibles)
What harm can one do by making a dead (living) stone into what your mind stipulates as a "god"?
The harm can derive through Anthropomorphism. Attaching human behavior to other creatures animate or inanimate.
In other words we begin to attach human ideas to the little "god" which we then internalize and the projected image of a Archetype begins to form
inside oneself. This begins a cycle of attaching your values to the "little god" and then you act on your/its values with a sense of justification
as these values just happen to be the same values of your "little god". Your archetypes have become your "little god" as you will tend to
interpret incoming data based upon how you picture or symbolize the incoming data and then you will act according to the mental map given to you by
Another example along a different line.
Long hair, leather, beard, tattoos, motorcycle...what comes to mind?
How you personally interpret the above data will then direct you in how you act around the guy wearing leather, tattoos, long hair, beard,
If you have a closer encounter with the above picture and it turns out this "person" does not fit the stereotype of the long haired, tattooed,
motorcycle symbol you have personally developed then it upsets you applecart a little and you then need to attach other mental symbols to this
How could one predict behavior around this idea?
So lets imagine that we live in a culture in America 150 years ago and lets try and attach some values to that culture through the construct which
becomes the symbol or archetype of the mother.
Lets examine the single older female(30ish..lets say as on average most women are married by that time in our pretend subculture in America 150 years
ago..horse and buggy transport/ bible/newspapers/gossip main info source) who seems happy etc in a subculture yet she has no children, seems well
taken care of and still displays great feminine beauty.
What pops into your mind....
Does she fit the idea or construct of the Great Mother?en.wikipedia.org...
Or does she fit the idea of the Lilith?en.wikipedia.org...
Lets say that our Lilith persona begins to construct herself around this image and the disaster/death/disease strike the subculture.
Then how would the subculture act?
This is of course a very limited/construct of how archetypes are used in a culture.
At one time a women who did not fit the subcultures construct could be categorized as a witch or scapegoat for the subculture. This by the way...the
lilith/witch symbol ties into the construct behind the archetype of the Great Mother as well.
So if you would bring to mind some of the ideas of Egypt such as the Myth of Horace or in Plato's time the myth of Hercules and the try to apply the
Archetypes to acts of History one can explore how Western Society revolves around ancient Archetypes.
One of Western Society's most honored archetype revolves around the Builder/Son.
The Builder/Son archetypal sacrifices his pleasure to build structure not only for his family such as his mother and siblings but also for his
We can see this in American society.
Lets briefly explore American Archetypes.
As American as Mickey Mouse.
As American as Apple pie.
Lets look at those.
Mickey Mouse is the alchemist wizard, the capitalist, the underdog (mouse) who always wins.
Apple pie brings pictures of mum, the comforting smell of apple pie brings on the ideas of home as well as the fruit of the American myth of Johnny
So briefly we can see two symbols of America and of course we have many others.
Lets look at America's three carved mountains.
Both Rushmore, located in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota as well as Stone Mountain embody American Archetypes.
Crazy Horse mountain being constructed by the First Nations in the Black Hills points toward the prophet/warrior archetype of a people group.
The fact that they are constructed out of stone on mountains points to permanent values of which an American Archetype can be established. These
monuments can be used to manipulate peoples minds as they are a symbol of the idea of America.
The ideas above shows how one could observe the use of symbols to govern a populace as well as allowing one to peak at the future.
This idea is as old as Babylon. In fact Daniel was another person who was well versed in this form of Alchemy.
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord
delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god
in Babylonia [a] and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- 4 young
men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in
the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians
Daniel 1:1 to 4
They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service.
So Daniel was trained but "separation" needed to take place.
Separation is needed in order to observe the archetype. Think of how God separates a prophet or a shaman or a king or a ruler. This separation
allows for the Union of the cultures as well.