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 Traditional archetypes 


A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2009 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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As defined in the dictionary, an archetype is an original or standard model or pattern. It can also be seen as a prototype. Traditional archetypes refer to images and symbols which cultures and traditions have used to represent things, situations or events in life.

Archetypes represent reoccurring basic themes, motifs, ideas and the like which act as a pattern for an outer expression. They are symbolism for something deeper unfolding and common to the human collective. Archetypes are similar motifs that run the social spectrum to being common to all humans and much like the similarity of myths. Carl Jung was probably one of the first modern individuals to see and study the universality of certain images across a variety of different cultures and traditions. The images of the tarot deck of cards is one set of archetypes which has been around for centuries existing with minor variations.

Some simple examples of archetypes are as follows.

  • The devil represents evil.
  • A crossroad represent a decision or a choice.
  • A battle represent conflict, struggle some the pull of two different alternatives.
  • The king as a masculine authority
  • The queen as a feminine authority
  • Child representing innocence.
  • The fool representing an adult stepping out in life with the innocence of a child or complete truth beyond what logic would provide
  • A snake because of the it must shed its skin to grow is seen as a symbol of transformation and/or rebirth

The concept of familiars in shamanic and Native American traditions are also a form of archetypes. They are reflected in the synchronicity in the appearance of certain types and kinds of animals or events in nature representing communications with the unseen realms. The shamanic and Native American familiar can be interpreted as an archetype or carry archetype information. Different familiars reflect different archetype information. What appeared to the shaman or medicine man/woman as a familiar is seen as a communication of consciousness/Consciousness in response to the question in which the shaman sought an answer.

There have been books written on archetypes and on their use. It is recommended one of these many books be consulted to understand the depth and breadth of the archetypes which my be related or impact a particular creative endeavor. In consulting any of these books, one should be aware of the archetypes being discussed may be for a particular type and place with a given society or application. There are some archetypes which tend to be universal but even they can have slightly different meanings within different cultures and societies.

Use of archetypes in our creative endeavors

The language of the inner world is what our creative spirit uses to communicate to our conscious mind what it desires to experience and what it thinks and feels about any topic. This language is usually composed of symbols, images and feelings. Archetypes in one form or another will be key to this communication. The communication which can use archetypes are typically our intuitive guidance and/or nocturnal dreams.

However we do need to note that although the symbol used by our inner world may be an archetypes with a given society, our inner world may give a unique and different meaning. We cannot assume a generic interpretation of symbols is correct for the symbols we get from our inner world. We will need to do our own experiments to see exactly what symbols our inner world uses and their interpretation. The symbols of the inner language is based on the experiences we have had as an individual and our connection to the human collective conscious. In the same way we are unique individuals but share a common experience with other, this language of the inner world will be unique to us although it will have many common elements with others. As a result, the meaning of a given symbol may be slightly different than the way others would view the symbol. The common element is what gives rise to the traditional archetypes or those symbols common to a tradition.

Also, how our creative spirit communicates, in part, depends on what it needs to do to do to get our attention. It obviously communicates in a much easier and gentler fashion if we are mindful and aware and opened to listening. However, if we are not listening, it can use accident, illness, disease and the like. Although accident, illness, disease and the like have literal implications and impacts on our life, they can also have symbolic meaning.

Related topics
Intuitive guidance
Nocturnal dreams

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