The Monomyth, Archetype, and The Universal Unconscious
The story of archetypes begins with mythology: What does a myth tell modern man about man?
Many people today simply dismiss myth as nonsense about fantastic creatures or heathen gods that never really happened. Instead, myth is an expression of the deepest, most basic hopes, dreams, fears and desires of man.
Myths are statements of truth that are valid for humanity, just as dreams are statements of truth that are true for individual humans.
Carl Jung, originally an understudy of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud, believed that Freuds emphasis on early life and sexuality presented a partial, distorted view of the human psyche.
As he studied the dreams of his patients over a period of years, Jung came to believe that dreams represented archetypes: basic patterns of human belief and behavior that are played out over and over in individuals and societies. He felt that myths express in a basic form the truths that we find in dreams as well as in daily life. These myths are understood by us as a part of what he called the collective unconscious, or what others call the universal unconscious: patterns and beliefs that are hard-wired into the human brain, regardless of race, religion, or time.
The story of the hero is known as the monomyth: the basic story in which the hero begins in obscurity, is called out of normal life to a quest, in an attempt to redeem society. This story is multi-valent--the meanings and values of the hero journey varies from person to person; from society to society; from age to age. However, as Joseph Campbell so eloquently dealt with in his landmark work on archetype, The Hero with A Thousand Faces, the basic meanings of myth always own a certain truth about man and his society.
The Twelve Stages of the Heros Adventure:
1. Ordinary World, a glimpse of the heros home so that we get a sense of who the hero is before undergoing their task.
2. The hero then receives the Call to Adventure
3. Fears to Answer the Call
4. Meets His Mentor/Guide
5. Crosses the First Threshold, stepping into the unknown world
6. The hero then undergoes his First Test. S/he then meets allies and enemies.
7. The hero then enters the Inmost Cave, the source of the item s/he seeks.
8. The hero meets his/her Supreme Ordeal, the biggest challenge. Death and rebirth are ALMOST experienced.
9. The hero Seizes Talisman, sword, grail, or object of his quest.
10. The her then must decides whether or not to take Road Back, leading to &
11. The hero then experiences a Resurrection as s/he is tested one last time.
12. The hero returns home with the Elixer of Life or other benefit of the journey. He wins his reward sharing it with the land and renewing society.
Initiate: Hero whose preparation for the heros journey is incomplete, thus requiring a mentor to fulfill their training. Ex. Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter
Mentor: This character is usually masculine, and serves as both a role model and father figure for the Initiate. The Mentor prepares the hero for their adventure, but will no undertake their journey for them. Ex. Merlin, Professor Dumbledore
Spiritual Hero: Character whose primary journey is more spiritual in nature than physical, and thus their task is to seek enlightenment to redeem society. Ex. Buddha, Moses
Anti-Hero: Character whose disregard to the rules of society creates some difficulty in interpreting their motivation. With regard to moral absolutes, they are villains, but their cause is deemed just by the audience, and thus we admire them. Ex. Han Solo, Robin Hood
Byronic Hero: A character that inspires both love and hate from the audience Vampire Lestat, Heathcliff
Tragic Hero: A basically positive character whose demise is brought about by some basic internal flaw. Ex. Macbeth, Oedipus
Physical Hero: A character whose fame rests mostly on the grounds of their physical exploits. Ex. Achilles, Hercules
Hunting Companion: The loyal friend willing to riskor face any number of perils in order to accompany the hero and other friends. Ex. Little John, Fezzik
Friendly Beast: animal that befriends man and helps with the quest. Ex. Chewbacca, Cowardly Lion
Joker/Trickster/Holy Fool: the figure whose inspired insanity may lead to great illuination, often through mischance or misdirection. Ex. Wile E. Coyote, Holy Fool from King Lear
Evil Figure: The personification of ultimate evil. He offers great fame, treasure, knowledge to the hero in order to persuade him to join evil. He is the human version of the monster, representing the unconscious mind, chaos, and/or fear. Ex. Satan
Evil Figure with a Good Heart: An evil figure who may be saved by the goodness or love of the hero. Ex. Darth Vader
Outcast: the figure who has been banished from society, usually because of a crime. The outcast often serves as a foil/opposite to the hero, throwing light onto the hero and his character. The outcast has failed the test which the hero passes. The hero often wanders, unable to rest, because of his crime. Ex. Hannibal Lecter
The Knight: The hero who saves civilization. His conquest of the animal world represents his conquest of himself. He faces both internal and external conflict as he faces the ordeals of the quest. There is no civilization without the knight! The knight may master the horse, the lion, jaguar, or any other fearsome animal. Ex. King Arthur
Monster: Represents the unconscious; opposite of the hero, non-human version of the evil figure. It represents chaos, nightmare, all we fear. Ex. the Shark in Jaws
Damsel in Distress: the woman who must be rescued by the hero. She may represent the talisman the hero must find in order to fulfill the quest.Buttercup
Old Witch/Sorcoress/Bad Mother: Wicked Witch of the West
Fairy Godmother: female version of the mentor. Ex. Athena
Good Mother: nurturing mother, caretaker; her goal is the fulfillment of her children. Ex. Virgin Mary
Temptress: Tries to tempt the hero to leave his quest to gain worldly pleasure. Ex. Circe
Spring: Rebirth, rejuvination. Equates to sunrise In humans, the first quarter of life--approximately 1-25.
Summer: The prime of life. Equates to noon. Plants and animals are in the fullness of their virility. In humans, approximately 26-50.
Fall: Threshold between life and death. Equates to sunset. Plants begin to turn shades of yellow, brown and orange. In humans, this archetype equates to 51-75ish.
Winter: Death, dormancy. Equates to nightfall/midnight. Animals hibernate and plants lose their foliage. Equates to ages 75 and older.
Wind: change, inspiration, divine presence.
Mountain ascent to a place of knowledge; enlightenment; truth; insurmountable obstacles
Cave: the unconscious mind; threshold that contains mystery or monster.
Waterfall turbulent change; purification.
Forest the unconscious mind; confusion, darkness, loss of control, nightmares, abode of monsters. It hides the sun. The hero may meet either a monster or a guide here.
The Road: the heros journey.
Eagle/Birds of Prey: freedom, ascent, transcendence
Raven/Crow: impending death, ill fortune
Rain: fertility, blessing, purification
Lightning: flash of inspiration, usually sent from the Gods; an omen of change; destruction.
Stone/Rock: stability; death, change.
Desert: sterility; the conscious mind; the domain of the sun; concentration of the male essence.
Sand: instability, treachery
Serpent/Snake: a very strong dual image. Obviously, the snake represents temptation, but it also represents wisdom. It represents a binding to the earth. In some mythologies, the dragon represents the serpent. The dragon represents a synthesis of the snake (bound to the earth) and the eagle (representative of freedom). A dragon, then is the druidic symbol of absolute consciousness.
Lake: standing water which can be either peaceful or stagnant. May be associated with the unconscious.
Home: The Conscious mind; stability and safety, but also stagnation and lack of growth. Society as it exists, which the hero feels is worthy of being saved.
Garden: The Conscious mind; controlled nature, paradise.
Mead Hall: where man experiences all that is valuable to the society. Stability, mead, song, mead, fellowship, mead, gift-giving, mead, and feasting.
Fish: thoughts and dreams in the unconscious
Clouds: source of rain and purification. If calm, serenity and peace; if stormy impending doom and disaster.
Ships: microcosm or small world. Mans journey through time and space.
Sun: The conscious mind; light, warmth, fire. Masculinity. The direct and obvious. Law and structure
Surise: see Spring
Sunset: see Fall
Noon: see Summer
Fire: the sun, sacrifice, passion.
Waning Moon: dissolution of power.
Waxing Moon: attaining power
Full Moon: height of feminine intellectual power. Fertility, Cyclical change.
New Moon: Another dual symbol. Can represent absence of thought or sterility, or rejuvination of the feminine powers.
Ocean: the ultimate symbol of the unconscious. Infinity; the mother of all life; abode of monsters. See it before you go swimming. J
Swamp: the unconscious mind; sinking, descent into trouble; entrapment.
Circle/egg: infinity, eternity, wholeness, fertility
Square: earth, mans four limbs, consciousness
Mandala: circle within a square; energy within consciousness; the structure that focuses mental and psychic energy.
Spiral/Curve: cosmic whirlwind, creativity, change, energy
Triangle: trinity; unity of the three
Pentacle: the elements of earth, air, fire, and water merged with the human spirit.
Yin/Yang: balance of opposite energies: good/evil, day/night, masculine/feminine; continuous movement of masculine and feminine.
Gold/Yellow: the sun, rational thought, masculinity, consciousness, fire
Black: complexity, mystery, the unconscious, death; the unknown, night, chaos
White: innocence, purity, eternity; in some cultures, death
Green: fertility, but also rot and death; jealousy
Blue: the heavenly, the sky; innocence, spiritual truth; associated with Mary.
Brown: neutrality, stability, earth, dullness
Pink: combination of red(blood, sacrifice), with white(innocence, purity); the innocent sacrifice
Orange: combination of red and yellow; often worn by the self--sacrificing hero; worn by Buddhist monks.
Purple: combination of red and blue; associated with royalty, due to the sacrifice expected of the king and the bestowing of authority.
Silver: the mon, intuition, feminity, the unconscious mind, the cycle of life
The Unconscious - as defined by Jung: "&everything I know, but of which I am not at the moment thinking; everything of which I was once conscious but have now forgotten; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to, I feel, think, remember, want, and do; all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content..."
The Conscious then, is everything I know, and have assimilated into my being.
Light versus Dark : hope, renewal, knowledge, courage, goodness, consciousness; versus the unknown, ignorance, despair, evil, unconsciousness.
Home versus Wild: safety, civilization, order, control, versus the unknown, chaos,
Dionysian versus Apollonian: (This is actually Nietzsches idea) The moon, revelry, irrationality, spontaneity, reckless abandon, emotion versus the sun, rationality, control, sterility, logic.
Duality versus Unity: dissonance (think in terms of music), two or more sides, scattered ideas versus oneness, peace of mind.
Dr. Freuds Terms
Ego: the rational part of the psyche. This part of the consciousness controls behavior by balancing what society deems appropriate with the demands of base ideas of the ID and the devil inside SUPEREGO.
Superego: hangs out mainly in the UNCONSCIOUS, but the SUPEREGO represents the values of society, your parents, the Church, etc. It judges all thought and behavior in the EGO. It rewards moral behavior, especially when a huge individual sacrifice has been made, with feelings of pride and fulfillment, but it punishes feelings and thoughts that please you as an individual, but contrasts sharply against the establishment by making you feel incredibly guilty. The CONSCIENCE is part is part of the SUPEREGO.
Id: the part of the psyche that just doesnt care. It is in the UNCONSCIOUS mind, chaotic and uncontrolled without a care what the SUPEREGO has to say. All the ID is cares about is desires and pleasure and, if not controlled, will overwhelm to get what it wants.
Libido: sexual energy, that which drives us and forces us to act.
Dr. Jungs Terms
Persona: from the Latin for actors mask. This is the face we present to the world, our social identity. Our persona is often unidentifiable to our inner self. If they are too different, we run the risk of losing our inner selfour core being.
Shadow: the dark side of the unconscious self; part of ourselves we tend to ignore and suppress because it is socially unacceptable, and is just plain ugly. The SHADOW is similar to Freuds ID, but instead of being advised to ignore the SHADOW, Dr. Jung says we should embrace the SHADOW and try to make it part of our overall persona.
Animus/Anima: the masculine/feminine parts of the two sexes. Think of the symbol of the Yin/Yang. It is a circle with contrasting black and white parts that still form a whole. Jungs idea is that within every man is a feminine side, and every woman a masculine side. Jung contends that we must assimilate both parts of our inner self in order to be a complete person. If we dont we have men that are incapable of sympathy and women who refuse to stand up for what they want.
Ego: As in Freuds definition, the EGO tries to balance the conscious mind with the unconscious mind and the demands of society to form a whole person.
Self: our inner guide. It may only be truly understood through ones UNCONSCIOUS through an awareness of dreams. This is an idea that Jung adapted from Buddhism.
Libido: Converse to Freuds definition of the term, Jung defines the term to express SOUL ENERGY, not SEXUAL ENERGY.