What is Archetype?

Meaning of Archetype

The archetype is a typically neoplatonic concept, inspired by Plotinus. According to this conception, there is a universe in which everything is permanent and immutable, populated by original ideas.

Therefore, in the world of sense perceptions , everything is simply a reproduction of what exists in the higher realm.

Through the influence exerted by this thought, the expression archetype reached philosophical Christianity, and was soon adopted by Augustine.


Some synonyms of archetype can be:


  • Model
  • Guy
  • Prototype
  • Ideal
  • Paradigm
  • Example


Jungian archetype

In analytical psychology, created by Carl Gustav Jung, this concept refers to primitive images inserted in the collective unconscious since the dawn of man .

They are molds inherent to the being from the beginning of existence, which have the function of acting as the primordial source for the maturation of the mind. This conception was exactly inspired by Plato’s world of ideas, which is nothing more than the matrix of everything that we consider our reality.

According to Jung, the archetypes are born from the incessant renewal of experiences experienced during several generations. This apprenticeship is necessary for man to advance towards his individuation, that is, towards his most perfect stoning, so that one day he can unite again with his Being.

Therefore, this incessant acquisition of knowledge and experience, carried out over thousands of years during the human journey, is managed by the archetypes , who, in order to better structure this achievement, generated responsible models of psychic work.

Therefore, the archetypes are behind the scenes of all our thoughts , feelings, emotions , intuitions, sensations and attitudes. They are normally expressed through symbols because they constitute their structural composition hidden from human eyes.

Some of these archetypes have gained such independence that they have stood out from the realm of individual self-consciousness; the anima or feminine aspect of man; the animus or masculine side of the woman; and the shadow

Archetypal Symbols

The archetypal symbols are found in the original myths , in the most varied religions, in legends that are already part of the collective cultural baggage, which definitively mark the consciousness and particularly the sphere of the human unconscious.

Some of these archetypes: the mother figure, the image of the father, the child, the hero, the divine, among others. They constitute, for Jungian psychology , immaterial manifestations that shape psychic events.

The archetypes are generated in the contact of man with the concrete world, not previously existing. The only thing that can fall into the a priori category is the immanent attraction of the human being towards the divine sphere, that is, humanity is always preparing for contact with God, the first archetype constituted in the human mind.

The collective unconscious is composed precisely by the archetypes, themes present in the psychic organization of each being.

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