Archetypes: Universal Principles in Myth and Popular Culture

Posted by Angela Borda on Mar 22, 2023 2:56:44 PM

What is an archetype? On first hearing the term, you might think it means something like “stereotype.” But archetypes are far richer and more interesting than that, and provide one of the foundational aspects of Jungian depth psychology. One of the earliest beginnings of the idea may be Plato’s writings in the fourth century B.C.E.. Although he did not use the actual term archetype (in Greek, “arche” original, and “typos” form), he did use the term eidos, translated as either Form or Idea. But it was not until the Swiss psychologist, and the founder of analytical psychology, C. G. Jung took up archetypes in works such as The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in the first half of the 20th century that it came into prominence in theoretical and psychological discourse.

As Keiron Le Grice, Pacifica’s Co-Chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies specialization of the Depth Psychology program, describes Jung’s view of archetypes, “[They] are the universal principles, patterns, and powers that move us all and shape our lives from the collective unconscious—the containing psychological matrix underlying consciousness. They are the governing principles in the background of experience that together comprise a kind of thematic framework within which our lives unfold. The archetypes manifest within and through our thoughts and feelings, drives and desires, and through circumstances and events in the world. They are not causes in the usual sense, but they are enacted by and revealed through causal chains of events.”

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.

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Posted in: archetypes, C.G. Jung, depth psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

Becoming Beautiful: An Interview with Dylan Hoffman, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Sep 13, 2022 3:16:17 PM

Dylan Hoffman, Ph.D., is a relatively new addition to the faculty of Pacifica’s Jungian & Archetypal Studies program. I’m excited to learn more about his perspective and teaching.

Angela: You began your career at Pacifica in our M.A./Ph.D. program in Jungian & Archetypal Studies (DJA). What attracted you to Pacifica, and in particular the study of Archetypes?

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Posted in: archetypes, C.G. Jung, Education, depth psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Spiritual, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

Archetypal Data and Divine Gifts: An Interview with Pacifica’s Safron Rossi, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Jun 8, 2021 9:40:04 PM

“Astrology provides images to be pondered for their symbolic richness and mythical amplification; they afford archetypal data, divine gifts.”
—James Hillman

Dr. Rossi will be leading the online course “Archetypal Astrology and Personal Mythology: Part I: Fire, Earth, Air and Water: The Elements of the Zodiac,” that will go from July 31–September 4, 2021. She is a core faculty member of Pacifica’s Jungian and Archetypal Studies M.A./Ph.D. program, and I’m delighted to speak with her about archetypal astrology and her upcoming course.

Angela: Astrology is something that many civilizations have created, although the systems are different, the idea being that something about the interaction of the stars and where and when we’re born into the world can be read like a map, that the moment you are born defines in some way what challenges and strength you will have, how you will relate to the world, and ultimately, what your destiny might be. How does archetypal astrology resonate or depart from this common understanding of astrology?

Safron: I would say that archetypal astrology emphasizes certain threads. Archetypal astrology is anchored in C.G. Jung’s psychology and his notion of the archetypes. So one of the primary ideas is that our birth chart, the planets, signs and their configurations, symbolize the archetypal patterns of the psyche. In other words, archetypes are living forces within us and astrology maps out those forces symbolically.

Another key idea is that astrology is archetypally predictive rather than concretely predictive. This differs from ancient ideas about astrology, but some modern approaches as well. Astrology does not tell us what is going happen so much as it indicates how we experience what happens. Another way to put it is that events don’t happen to people, rather people happen to events. So from this perspective, astrology is about understanding ourselves better, the archetypal patterns at work in us, which leads to having a more meaningful grounding to our lives.

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Posted in: James Hillman, creativity, depth psychology, individuation, interview, Jungian & Archetypal Studies, astrology, Divine

Artemis as Axis Mundi: Gelareh Khoie’s Exploration of Depth Psychology

Posted by Angela Borda on May 26, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Gelareh Khoie is pursuing her Ph.D. at Pacifica in Jungian and Archetypal Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology. A writer, artist, DJ, and teacher, her studies have ranged from the mythology of disco to the archetype of Artemis. I’m delighted to learn more about her.

Angela: You write beautifully, are a natural story teller, and you have an article up at “Personality Type In Depth”. I read “Artemis as Spirit of the Wild” with interest.

Here is a quote that stood out:

“As the light and dark sides of the functions made their appearances in my life, Artemisian threads helped me cope with traumatic circumstances by continually providing a stream of life-affirming power. Indeed, the Artemis sensibility traveled in lockstep with my growing function maturity. Ultimately, as is her wont, Artemis helped me give birth to new consciousness by revealing the fecundity inherent in my wounds. For Artemis is the cool-headed and unsentimental realist who demands that we look at our true selves with unvarnished eyes and insists that we accept the darkness and the danger of the deep wilderness, the very darkness that gives life its richness.”

Is Artemis part of your dissertation research and how has your study of her continued to influence your understanding of the human psyche?

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Posted in: archetypes, creativity, depth psychology, individuation, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

Archetypal Astrology and the Coronavirus

Posted by Krystyna Knight on Mar 23, 2020 3:47:39 PM

A guest post by Keiron Le Grice, Ph.D.

The following article is based on notes made for an online presentation for Pacifica Graduate Institute on March 20, 2020.

In response to the exceptionally testing circumstances we now find ourselves in, as we try to deal with the traumatic impact of the coronavirus as it aggressively spreads around many parts of the world, I wanted to share some reflections on how we might gain a larger perspective on what is happening, and what we’re passing through, in terms of the archetypal patterns of history. At the same time, these reflections give a sense for the kind of things we are concerned with at Pacifica, the ideas we’re exploring in courses and in the classroom, and some of the ways in which we’re trying to understand and illuminate human nature and our place in the world at this critical moment of our collective history.

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Posted in: topics, archetypes, Pacifica Graduate Institute, collective trauma, Jungian & Archetypal Studies, pandemic, astrology

Alchemical Active Imagination

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 12, 2016 12:14:49 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

The brilliant use of alchemy as a symbolic language and process for psychological and spiritual development is arguably one of C. G. Jung’s greatest contributions to the field of depth psychology. While alchemy may appear to be a mystical—and mysterious—domain, Jung developed a powerful and inspired method for accessing it by entering into dialogue with the rich manifestations of the unconscious and applying it to our daily lives for transformation and growth.

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Posted in: transformative, C.G. Jung, alchemy, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

When the Gods Come Calling: Dr. Jennifer Selig on Finding One's Vocation

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 12, 2016 1:36:59 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

What happens when the gods come calling, from a depth psychological perspective, and how can one be ready when it happens? These are questions that arose when I recently sat down with Dr. Jennifer Selig to discuss her upcoming Salon on January 22, 2016, at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus: “The Right Address: How to Be Home When the Gods Come Calling.”

The title of Selig’s presentation is based on the double meaning of the word “address.” Not only can the word mean a physical “address” where you live or work— where you can typically be found—it’s verb form, while pronounced differently, signifies when someone calls you. “Calling” ties to the word “vocation,” which is based on the Latin vocatus, the past tense of vocare, “to call.” Vocation, from the early 15th century is defined as “spiritual calling.” Thus the word “vocation,” Selig notes, literally means to be called by the gods.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, graduate school, vocation, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

Joseph Campbell and the Skywalker: Meetings with George Lucas

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 21, 2015 3:47:42 PM

A guest post by Pacifica's Special Collections Librarian Richard Buchen.

"... the first axiom of all creative art -- whether it be in poetry, music, dance, architecture, painting, or sculpture -- which is namely, that art is ... a presentation of forms, images or ideas in such a way that they will communicate, not primarily a thought or even a feeling, but an impact.

"The axiom is worth recalling here, because mythology was historically the mother of arts and yet, like so many mythological mothers, the daughter, equally, of her own birth."

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (New York: Penguin, 1976; first published 1959)

In April of 2002, the Joseph Campbell Library on the campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute was visited by a film crew directed by Tsukuru Matsuki from Kyodo Television of Tokyo. They were filming for an episode in a television documentary series called "Passion for Arts" which was aired nationally in Japan that year via TV Tokyo, and the broadcast included footage of the Joseph Campbell Library, as well as its Special Collections Librarian talking about The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The subject of this episode was not Campbell, but rather a man who had been deeply influenced by him, the filmmaker George Lucas.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, film, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

10 Must See Jungian Psychology Themed Films

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 17, 2015 8:32:00 PM

We asked our Pacifica faculty for a list of films that have a Jungian theme in them and here are the top 10 movies that they came up with. I have to add that Lionel Corbett said "all movies have a Jungian theme." Tou·ché Dr. Corbett, tou·ché. 

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Posted in: Mythology, C.G. Jung, film, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

The Rebirth of the Hero: Mythology as a Guide to Spiritual Transformation

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 15, 2014 4:33:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Keiron Le Grice

Modern-day cinematic portrayals of myths old and new are etched in our collective imagination. Who can forget the 1960s film depiction of the Greek hero Jason and the crew of the Argo boldly sailing their ship between the Clashing Rocks or Luke Skywalker unmasking his father, Darth Vader, in Star Wars? And how many of us were enthralled watching Frodo Baggins accepting his fateful mission to carry the Ring of Power away from the Shire or were enchanted by the other-worldly experiences of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz? Such films comprise a set of shared cultural reference points and have inspired audiences the world over. Yet beyond their capacity to entertain and stir the imagination, mythic films also possess an instructive metaphorical significance. Skilfully interpreted, they can provide invaluable guidance for the process of deep psychospiritual transformation that Carl Jung called individuation. It is this way of reading and using myth that is the focus of my 2013 publication, The Rebirth of the Hero.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, Jungian & Archetypal Studies