Unus Mundus Zodiac Master
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Archetypes and other strange words

Question 1:
I am looking for an ordinary explanation for the term archetype in psychology and how it pertains to astrology? The more I read about Jung and archetypes, the more confused I get. Do you have a solution? e.g. is cleopatra/helen an archetype. Thanks!

Archetype? Ordinary description? (Good luck there...)
Yep... it surely is a strange word... and to make matters even worse – the term, "archetype," is commonly used, abused, and misused in a lot of differing ways.

I'm assuming here (BTW) that you've already read what I had to say about archetypes in my Unus Mundus section called "Archetypes Explained." If you haven't, then please go back and read it now…

Symbols & Images
In the human psyche - for lack of a better way to describe it – archetypes seem to act as universal inborn "invisible energies" in the human psyche. In his writings, the ancient Greek philosopher Plato called these invisible energies the Eternal "Ideas" (or Forms). And the only way we humans can "see" these invisible energies of the psyche is via an intermediary image and/or symbol.

I'm not sure which book you've read (or web site you've visited) to ask the question is Cleopatra/Helen an archetype? (And I'm assuming here that they were referring to Helen of Troy) But certain "larger-than-life" historical and/or mythical figures seem to act as "hooks" (containers) for these invisible archetypal energies.

These "larger-than-life" figures, over time, become "archetypal images" that represent and help explain (paint a picture, put a face on) the ineffable, indescribable core essence of a particular archetype.

Do you remember my example of the magnet and the metal shavings – and how the invisible energy pattern of the magnet is indirectly revealed by the metal shavings?

An archetype would be roughly analogous to the magnet and the "archetypal image" of Cleopatra and/or Helen of Troy would correspond with the metal shavings.

But these figures aren't necessarily pages out of ancient history or mythology…

In Modern Times
In more modern times – many of our movie stars, matinee idols, and political leaders seem to act as "hooks" (or containers) for archetypal energy.
In the United States, a few examples of this phenomenon might be: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy.

Okay – I know that all my "going on and on," regarding the difference between an "archetype" and an "archetypal image," sounds very nit picky – and the truth is that it won't mean a hill of beans to the average person on the street. But if you end up getting really interested in all this stuff – then all this nit picky differentiating becomes muy importante. And it's always better to learn it right the first time.

As for applying all this to the study of astrology – the planets are "archetypal images." And the best way to understand the energy behind these archetypal images (planets) is by going back and reading the mythology surrounding the Roman/Greek gods that they were named after.

The particular theory I adhere to is that the "external planets" in our universe (for some unknown, mysterious reason) correspond to and reflect (act as containers to) the archetypal energies of the "internal planets" that reside within our psyches.

"Understand that thou art a second little world and that the sun and moon are within thee, and also the stars...." Origen, 2nd/3rd Century Christian Mystic/Theologian, Homilies in Leviticum,126

The external planets of our solar system don't have invisible rays that beam down on us from above, physically compelling us to obey them. The external planets are "synchronistic," "acausal" reflections of corresponding internal planets contained within each of our psyches.

The external planets function as "cosmic storytellers..." They don't cause behaviors and/or events in our lives. These "cosmic storytellers" are merely the messengers... messengers endowed with the ability to regale us with all their many fantastical stories and myths explaining who we are in this lifetime.

It reminds me of the old saying, "Don't shoot the messenger..." So, anyway, if one can begin gaining a good grasp of the planets (and their corresponding symbolic meanings) – then one is well on their way to having astrology licked.

Question 2
An experience with the Archetype requires the experience of the unconscious mind, the unconscious mind can only be accessed by developed individuals?  So who is the archetype- the dream, vision etc.

Not so... actually, the most "undeveloped" among us experience the effect of archetypes (inborn "invisible energies") in our daily lives...
In our day to day lives, we often "unconsciously" and  compulsively get "caught up" in acting out various archetypal patterns of behavior (myths, scenarios).

The problem is that we're generally "clueless" about the effect these unconscious archetypal patterns of behavior have on our day to day lives. Check out my "Get a Clue" section on the Unus Mundus Menu - and that the Jungian solution to the problem is when we finally start to "wake up" and "get a clue" about what's going on (and controlling) us in our everyday lives... And "getting a clue" is how we can start breaking free of our more compulsive (and potentially destructive) archetypal patterns of behavior.

"Getting a clue" enables us to more consciously participate in our everyday decisions. "Getting a clue" about the "unconscious" makes our lives and our actions in this life feel much less "fated," by the realization that we no longer have to get caught up in making all the same old compulsive, "fated" behaviors and mistakes. "Getting a clue" opens up real choice in our lives.

But then you had to go and ask a question like, "who is the archetype?"... [in our visions and dreams]... For years and years, Jung purposely skirted this controversial issue...
and when folks asked Jung this sort of question - being a scientist, psychiatrist, and therapist (and not a theologian) - he generally attempted steering clear of making metaphysical and/or religious declarations regarding the exact nature of archetypes and the "unconscious."

However, throughout the centuries, the various religions and their sacred writings have identified archetypes (and visionary, numinous archetypal experiences) using a wide array of terminology for them... Some of the more common examples are: angels, gods, God, demons, daimons, principalities, powers, spiritual forces...