Archetypes … sure but ??? what the heck ?

So if you’ve been on the internet lately… you’ve seen the flourishing of the word archetype.
It’s like a fashion thing … there seem to be archetypes around every corner, in every subject and every conversation.
As a latter of fact, I myself a working on an e-course about the Greek Goddesses archetypes …
And I realized I’m not really sure what an archetype is … Are you ?
Let’s investigate together…
I of course started by asking Google who knows everything that my mother doesn’t know …
 
I found several definitions which all seem to apply … let’s have them chronologically …
An archetype is a Platonic philosophical idea referring to pure forms
which embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing.
You’ve heard about Plato, haven’t you ? Greek philosopher, lived a very long time ago, had many may crazy ideas about life and death and merely anything, so crazy in fact that, for some of them, he may have made up a fictitious philosopher named Socrates to present these theories so that he, Plato, wouldn’t be sentenced to some very unpleasant punishment by the ferocious citizens of Athens (I might be sightly over the top here …) Anyway …
So Plato’s archetype is an idea, a pure form, a non existent thing that exemplifies the main attributes, qualities and flaws of a range of things.
We need an example here, don’t we ?
Jerry.
Who ?
Jerry, from Tom and Jerry.
Jerry is the archetype of a mouse.
Everybody knows her (yes just bear with me here, I’m French … to me, growing up, Jerry was a girl !)
She represents all mice: fast, clever, small and sweet, loves cheese, is more or less a cheese thief, never really gets caught… (well at least she’s the archetype of the surviving mouse !)
And when you say Jerry the mouse EVERYBODY is familiar with both its character and the characteristics.
Voilà … a nice example of an archetype.
 
Other definitions ?
The original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a first form or original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated; prototype, an ideal example of something; a quintessence.
Aha ! So here we go a step further and we agree that everything (and everyone) in the world had a prototype, a first original model… Now that brings us awfully close to religious considerations about humanity being made in the image of God  (imago Dei) – well, you know me, I can’t pass an opportunity to brag my Latin !- … Back to the subject Isaya …
Stained glass depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus

What image of God are we talking about here ? Because there is no way we could have archetypes (ie plural) if they are based on one God only … So I guess it’s back to the Ancients again (whether Greeks, Scandinavians, Babylonians, Hittites etc … the list goes on … you can find a nice name roll HERE – look to the right of the site, but be warned that this is a Pagan site, though!) So each God/Goddess would be a prototype/archetype for a set of characteristics … Now this idea is the one that is at the foundation of my work, as I mentioned last week … Fascinating … But how does that relate to ME? (or you for that sake!)

 
To answer that question, we need another definition of the word archetype:
In Jungian psychology, an archetype is a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc.,universally present in individual psyches.
Mother archetype, artist unknown to me

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) came up with this widened definition that an archetype is a universal pattern of thought, present in an individual’s unconscious, inherited from the past collective experience of humanity. That brings a whole lot of new possibilities … So humanity would have a collective unconscious … And each archetype can be considered as a human type with his/her fundamental desires and his/her deep emotions. Of course archetypes are a hypothesis, something impossible to “know”, of which we can only grasp the manifestations. Examples here would include the hero, the mother, the virgin, etc …

So if we accumulate our definitions, we can now have a much clearer idea of what is an archetype AND of what it can do for us … Thus if we have an intellectual knowledge of the archetypes at play in our psyche (oh oh oh wait a second, we’re using psychoanalytic lingo now ? … Get over it, it just means mind, subconscious or soul …), if we have an intellectual knowledge of the archetypes at play in our psyche, was I saying … If we meet them so to speak, and discover who they are, if we can become familiar with them … We can then be aware of which ones are active and how to put them to good use for our higher good… and maybe also be aware of when they are blocking us, undermine us…

They can be a fun way to discover ourselves and open up … to actually embrace ourselves, feel empowered and take action towards what we want…

Oh but wait … I’ve already done that … That is EXACTLY what I will be offering YOU in my soon to be born e-course  ! Feeling intrigued ? Tell me about it ! Feeling impatient ? I will be sharing sneak peaks and revelations all through the summer, just like in this post ! Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’m sending, as always, love, life and gratitude,

Isaya

Oh ! just a BIG disclaimer … I am NOT a psychological specialist of any kind, my theories and my researches are my own and so are my conclusions. Specialists might consider this pure rubbish and of course all of this has already been written and understood. I do NOT pretend to have invented anything. This is not about reinventing the wheel, merely about curating information and  presenting my personal take on it.

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1 Comment

  1. nat foyet says:

    Can’t wait to read or hear about the rest, it sounds fascinating!

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