My first post about archetypes was about Plato’s archetypes and you can check it here: What are archetypes and how do they influence our relationships?
In this current post I will briefly expose Jungian archetypes. Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Jung was thirty when he sent his Studies in Word Association to Sigmund Freud in Vienna in 1906. The two men met for the first time the following year and this marked the beginning of an intense correspondence and collaboration that lasted six years and ended in May 1913 because of various disagreements, including those concerning the nature of libido. Jung focused on the collective unconscious: the part of the unconscious that contains memories and ideas which are called archetypes that Jung believed were inherited from ancestors. Here is the explanation of the concept of archetypes according to Jung:
Archetype – a concept “borrowed” from anthropology to denote supposedly universal and recurring mental images or themes. Jung’s definitions of archetypes varied over time and have been the subject of debate as to their usefulness.
Archetypal images – universal symbols that can mediate opposites in the psyche, often found in religious art, mythology and fairy tales across cultures, that will develop into 12 mythic characters that can be checked in images below.
In Jungian psychology, the archetypes represent universal patterns and images that are part of the collective unconscious. Jung believed that we inherit these archetypes much the way we inherit instinctive patterns of behavior. The human psyche was composed of three components: the ego (the conscious mind), the personal unconscious (memories and suppressed memories), and the collective unconscious (psychological inheritance containing all of the human experiences and knowledge). Archetypes said Jung in The Structure of Psyche “All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes”. He went on by saying: “This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form, they are variants of archetypal ideas created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses but to translate into visible reality the world within us”. Here are the 4 major archetypes:
the persona: or the social mask, how we present ourselves to the world
the shadow: consists of sexual and forbidden instincts that are not socially acceptable
the animus or the anima: the animus is the male image in the woman’s psyche and the anima is the female image in the man’s psyche. It is our true self, in opposition to the persona
the self: or the individuation, the unified unconsciousness and consciousness.
Those major archetypes will lead to 12 universal and mythic characters archetypes which reside in our collective unconscious:
A bit more details about each archetype on the image below:
Everyone can relate to an archetype from which we can explain our reactions and way of being in the world. The Jungian archetypes are more studied as a historical artifact than a therapy pattern.