Gods and Archetypes: Archetypes and Postmodern Spirituality

The term “Archetypes” came into common use from Carl Jung’s work. He hypothesized that there is a deeper layer “under” the unconscious of the individual. According to Jung, the “Collective Unconscious” is universal to humankind. The Archetypes (Note 1) who are the organizing principles of Time, Space, and Matter are created by “Collective Unconscious.” Jung added that religious experiences are linked to the experiences of the Archetypes.

Since Jung’s theories are ingrained in popular culture, many people have added on their own concepts of Archetypes. In “The Fire of the Goddess,” Reiki Master Katlin Koda, who believes in the Sacred Feminine, defines Archetypes as “An energetic imprint that lives with in the collective unconscious and carries specific qualities, such as priestess, mother, and teacher.” (Note 2)

Meanwhile, Caroline Myss, noted medical mystic, has a different point of view. She writes that Archetypes are not “entities with which we have some sort of interactive relationship… They are impersonal patterns of consciousness that forms the essence of human nature. However, archetypes are an active part of our consciousness.” (Note 3)

In devising their Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator (PMAI) for psychologists to use (Note 4), Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, both Jungian psychologists, interpret Archetypes to be the original patterns of roles and stories of humans. They write, “Archetypes are the psychological structures reflected in symbols, images, and themes common to all cultures and all times…. The PMAI is devised to help people to better decode the underlying logic of their life.” Therefore, each person can revise their story to attain their special gifts.

Neo-Shaman Linda Star-Wolf speaks of Archetypes as cosmic energy. According to her, the Akashic Records (Note 5) hold the Archetypes in the sacred archives. Since humans vibrate at a different energy than the Archetypes, They feed people their stories. Reflecting Pearson and Marr’s ideas, she says that people then rework the stories and upload them back to the Akashic Records. For example, Star-Wolf claims that she and her late husband lived the Archetypal Story of Osiris and Isis, in a cosmic dance between the Transmuter and the Mother, respectively.

Core-Shamanist Hank Wesselman writes, “The goal of the authentic mystic … is to access the true transpersonal archetypes – the ‘lights beyond the form.’” He says that the “collective unconscious is a field that contains within itself the Akashic Records, the collective wisdom and experience of all humanity in our long journey across time.” (Note 6)

If it seems that Jung’s Archetypes have become the basis for religious beliefs, it is because he, himself, was an occultist. After receiving visions of the coming World War, He had a near-psychotic breakdown in 1913. Retreating into mysticism, Jung created his own cosmology with God being reborn in the human psyche. Some of his ideas do reflect Theosophy (Note 7), since Jung knew prominent Theosophists such as Alice Bailey. Although, Jung did have his differences with this system of religious-science or science religion, he did agree with its concept of divinity within humans.

(Previous post in this series: Gods and Archetypes: Jung and Postmodern Spirituality

Note 1: “Archetype” is an explanatory paraphrase of the Platonic eidos. For our purposes this term is apposite and helpful, because it tells us that so far as the collective unconscious contents are concerned we are dealing with archaic or- I would say- primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times. The term “representations collectives,” used by Levy-Bruhl to denote the symbolic figures in the primitive view of the world, could easily be applied to unconscious contents as well, since it means practically the same thing.

Another well-known expression of the archetypes is myth and fairytale. But here too we are dealing with forms that have received a specific stamp and have been handed down through long periods of time. The term “archetype” thus applies only indirectly to the “representations collectives,” since it designates only those psychic contents which have not yet been submitted to conscious elaboration and are therefore an immediate datum of psychic experience. From Carl Jung, “Archetypes of Collective Unconscious.”

Note 2: Katlin Koda, “Fire of the Goddess.” P. 189
Note 3: Caroline Myss, “Archetypes.” P. 18
Note 4: Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, “What Story Are You Living?” P. 14-15. They developed the PMAI based on Jung’s Archetypes and Joseph Campbell’s work, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).”
Note 5: A concept from Theosophy, the Akashic records are the records of every soul, past, present, and future. Theosophists believe that they exist in a plane of existence called the etheric plane. These records can be accessed through deep meditation.
Note 6: Hank Wesselman and Sandra Ingerman, “Awakening to the Spirit World.” P. 172-3.
Note 7: For more information on Theosophy: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/gdpmanu/ryan-wh/wit-hp.htm “What is Theosophy” from The Theosophical Society.

Works Used:
Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities.”
Katlin Koda, “Fire of the Goddess.”
Caroline Myss, “Archetypes.”
Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, “What Story Are You Living?”
Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion (AROPA), Resources for Carl Jung. http://carl-jung.net/index.html
Linda Star-Wolf, “Soul Whispering.”
Hank Wesselman and Sandra Ingerman, “Awakening to the Spirit World.”


One thought on “Gods and Archetypes: Archetypes and Postmodern Spirituality

  1. Pingback: My Polytheism and Jung’s Archetypes | Neptune's Dolphins

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