Jung focused primarily on a few foundational archetypes, including the shadow, anima, animus, and the Self. Taking myths and symbols as expressions of the psyche, and therefore reflective of the psyche, Jung identified a number of other archetypes, which Le Grice describes as “the hero, the mother, the child, the trickster, the archetype of the spirit (of which the wise old man is one form), rebirth, and Dionysus.” These have trickled down in popular perception into categories such as the sage, the innocent, the explorer, the rebel, the hero, the trickster, the lover, the caregiver, etc.
So what is the importance of archetypes in depth psychology? Dylan Hoffman, Ph.D., Core Faculty at Pacifica, writes that “Archetypes are not just the forces behind fantasy, art, myth, and culture, they are the spirits, the energies, made material in our bodies, in ecology, and in the cosmos.” And as such, he posits, “For most of human history, neglect of these archetypal powers, or their violation—whether done intentionally or out of ignorance—has been understood as the cause of illnesses of both body and soul, as the source of communal breakdown, and as the derivation of ecological decline. In contrast, their remembrance and care have been considered the means of regaining rapport with all that is, since archetypes are the ground principles of existence. Depth psychology takes this history to heart, finding in it the context and meaning of modern psychological experiences of passion, pathology, and possession—of what make us human and inhumane, gives us our propensities for madness and the monstrous, and the capacities to create beauty, experience the numinous, and realize what it means to be whole.”
Intrigued to know more? Pacifica’s Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies Program or the M.A. Depth Psychology and Creativity with Emphasis in the Arts and Humanities are good places to start!
Angela Borda is a writer for Pacifica Graduate Institute, as well as the editor of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. Her work has been published in Food & Home, Peregrine, Hurricanes & Swan Songs, Delirium Corridor, Still Arts Quarterly, Danse Macabre, and is forthcoming in The Tertiary Lodger and Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 5.