Collective unconscious – The wisdom of mankind – Archetypes

Recently, I was reading a book by Jean Shinoda Bolen – Goddess in every woman, this book is based on the theories of well-known Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung who founded analytical psychology. Jung’s work has been influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. Jean Shinoda Bolen has a same kind of book about male archetypes too. I decided to investigate it more, because this theory worked in my case.

I will try to explain the beginning of the theory and main terms in order to understand the logic. According to Yung our psyche consist of egopersonal conscious mind, personal unconscious and collective unconscious. Ego – a rational part of the personality and “It is easy to see that the ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.” (Sigmund Freud, 1923, From The Ego and the Id). Ego is what we think we are in the society. Like Freud, Jung (1921, 1933) emphasized the importance of the unconscious in human’s personality. However, he proposed that the unconscious consists of two layers. That two layers are personal unconscious and collective unconscious. Personal unconscious contains temporality forgotten information and well as repressed memories. It may be childhood experiences (positive or negative, which caused traumas) or even it can be prenatal information, mothers emotions are transferred to child and so that person now has unconscious emotion about certain issues, which he doesn’t know from where came to his mind.  So far, the most important difference between Jung and Freud is Jung’s theory of the collective (or transpersonal) unconscious. This is his original and controversial contribution to personality theory. Collective unconscious is a universal version of the personal unconscious, holding mental patterns, or memory traces, which are shared with other members of human species (Jung, 1928). It is aspects of unconsciousness experienced by all people in different cultures. It encapsulates fields of evolutionary biology, history of civilization, ethnology, brain and nervous system development, and general psychological development. The study of archetypes serves to get to know the collective unconscious and to use this knowledge, the resources of human psychology in life. (Unconscious recourse). The collective unconscious or archetypes are DNA information that every human has as representative of humanity. “All the most powerful ideas in history reach archetypes,” explained Jung in his book, The Structure of the Psyche. He believed that the archaic and mythical characters that make up the archetypes are inhabited by all people from all over the world. Archetypes symbolize basic human motivations, values, and personalities.

Archetypes are psych types – a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc. that is commonly present in individual psyches, as in Jung’s psychology (a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought).

Jung believed that each archetype played a role in personality, but felt that most people were dominated by one specific archetype, but they were differently revealed because of individual’s cultural influences and uniquely personal experiences. At first he announced main archetypes – Persona (mask we represent in society), shadow (our desires and deepest thoughts, primitive urges, darker side of the psyche), Anima or Animus (we have traits of the opposite sex in character), Self, which combines unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. In each part of these 4 can be different type of prototype character. We all know people who act differently in society and absolutely opposite at home or with family, or at work. So Yung tried to describe all the figures, action patterns, characteristics, which can be discovered in human in different situation of life. He got 12 archetypical figures (also known as archetypical images) Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Mage, Lover, Keeper, Jester (joker) and Sage. This number is not static and can be added as Yung said, many different archetypes may overlap or combine, creating new archetypes such as the hero (a champion, defender, or rescuer), and the trickster (a deceiver, liar, and troublemaker).

Nowadays even Brands are using this knowledge to reach the target audience so for example:

Innocent: Shows happiness, kindness, optimism, security, romance and youth. Examples of brands are: Coca-Cola, Nintendo Wii, Dove.

Explorer, traveler (Hermes): draws inspiration from the journey, risk, discovery and thrill of new experiences. Examples of brands are: Jeep, Red Bull, REI

Magician: Willing to create something unique and make dreams come true, the Magician is seen as a visionary and spirit. Examples of brands are: Apple, Disney.

Jean Shinoda Bolen simplified the names of the archetypes by connecting them to mythology and especially Greek mythology. To describe their characters, she uses Greek myths too. For woman archetypes we have: Persephone (the princess, the daughter, maiden), Aphrodite – symbol of female beauty, Hestia – the archetype of inner harmony, Artemis – huntress, Athena (father’s daughter), Demeter – the mother, Hera – the queen. In some part of the mythology, you can meet Hecate (Hekate) (the witch) is a goddess of Greek mythology capable of both good and evil. Strong, charismatic, Non-standard thinker, daring. Not all the schools and mythos recognize her, since she was banished from Olympus. Actually, we need all of these archetypical characteristics in order to fulfil all the roles we have in life – we are daughters, the young, beautiful women, we become skillful workers or we choose academic way of our work, we become mothers and wives and in the end of the day we stay alone when we need peace of mind. Each archetype is responsible on their field.

Why we should know the humans archetypes?!

  1. We all have some behavioral patterns when we were born, which defines our character and which is the reason why all people are different.
  2. Knowing your dominant archetypes, strengths and weaknesses will help a person to get to know themselves better.
  3. Knowing your non-dominant archetypes, person knows which character traits they need to work on in order to reach their goals. 

So, I organized the cycle of the workshops for women in Wola. We had first meeting and presentation of concept, on second meeting we will meet Persephone.

Wish you to find all your hidden gifts,



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