Archetypes can be described as blueprints of our souls. These are primordial images or patterns of behavior that we are born with. The great Greek philosopher, Plato is credited with originating the concept of Archetypes. Afterward, it was advanced by the famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung in his analysis of human behavior.

Jung defined Archetypes as archaic images or universal thought-forms that influence the feelings and action of an individual. He proposed that these images, patterns or prototypes for ideas are derived from the universal or collective unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is an inherited psyche or reservoir of experience and is common to all members of a specific species.

 

Archetypes

 

According to Jung, there is no fixed number of archetypes and may even overlap, appearing in the same person. The following are some of the main archetypes:

The SelfThe Self: This archetype represents the wholeness of an individual that is brought about by the unification of the consciousness and the unconsciousness. The self is created by the integration of all aspects of the personality. The self and the other archetypes cannot exist without each other. The ShadowThe Shadow: This is described as the dark, wild and unknown side of the psyche. It represents the traits that lie deep within, hidden from routine daily life and is comprised of repressed desires and ideas and weaknesses/shortcomings.
The Anima and The AnimusThe Anima and The Animus: The Anima represents femininity, the feminine aspect within the male psyche, while the Animus represents the male aspect within the female psyche. The anima and animus help improve the relationship between men and women by allowing them to understand & communicate with members of the opposite sex. The combination of the two is called The Syzygy (the divine couple). The PersonaThe Persona: It represents the different masks we put on among different social groups or situations. It is the way we present ourselves before the world that is often different from our true self.
The MotherThe Mother: This is the soothing, feeding and nurturing figure associated with love and warmth. The Wise Old ManThe Wise Old Man: This archetype represents knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight. It seeks to offer protection, guidance and mentoring.
The HeroThe Hero: This is the savior, rescuer, and champion who desires to prove his/her worth by performing courageous acts. The InitiationThe Initiation: It is a situational archetype that represents the process whereby a person is transferred to a different sphere of influence.
Along with the archetypes figures and events, there are also several image archetypes.
WaterWater: It is a symbol of life and represents creation, re-birth, and cleansing. SunSun: It represents enlightenment, creativity, energy, spiritual wisdom and passage of time/life. The rising sun symbolizes creation and birth, while the setting sun denotes death.
ColorsColors: Red stands for sacrifice, love, violent passion and sin; Green represents fertility, hope, luck, greed, and jealousy; White symbolizes innocence, purity, death, and truth; Black represents mystery, doom, death, and power. NumbersNumbers: The number 3 symbolizes light, spiritual awareness, and unity; the number 4 represents nature and the cycle of life; number 7 symbolizes completion & perfect order.
ShapesShapes: Circle represents unity and wholeness; Oval shape symbolizes forces of regeneration and mysteries of life. AnimalsAnimals: Snake represents temptation, destruction, sensuality, corruption, and evil; Dark-colored birds (hawk, raven) symbolize corruption, death, and hate; Light-colored birds (dove) represent love, peace and life.
The RebelThe Rebel: Also known as The Outlaw, this is the revolutionary, the iconoclast or the misfit who is strongly inclined to break rules and overturn, destroy or disrupt whatever is not going his/her way. The radical views and outrageous behavior bring along a weakness that may lead one to the dark side and push into crime. The Rebel’s greatest fear is of becoming ineffectual and powerless and he/she is driven by the core desires of revolting and taking revenge.
The concept of Archetypes is rooted in mysticism as well as sound science. Its understanding helps you lead a more fruitful and fulfilling life. When you realize which archetype dominates your personality and that of others (friends, co-workers and loved ones), you get a deeper insight into their motivations & behaviors and are able to connect with them better. The archetypes and the symbols help you interpret the larger meaning of life and the changes that shape it. The totality of human experiences that your deeper mind carries enables you to face life’s challenges.
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