Animal images and archetypal characters

Archetypes as programs

Mythical outlook as the chart of the subconscious world of a culture

Archetypes as spirits and powers

Wisdom from archetypal spirits

Archetypes as a kind of memory

Archetypes and the situations

The animus and the anima

Archetypes as systems for channelling love

We can understand the archetypes in many ways. We know that we can help to understand the behavior of human beings using archetypes. In the following text, I try to look for some possible ways to understand the phenomena.

Within the current scientific paradigm, we find it difficult to gain insight into the essence of the archetypes. Our science adheres to the confines of time and place, demanding, ”If there be alive archetypal characters, then show us where they are!” For the time being this demand is difficult to meet. It can only be  suggested that they are alive in mythical tradition in the likeness of underlying fundamental structures producing new stories. To an extent, archetypes can be localized within man’s bodily reality, equipped with the spontaneous ability of functioning as man. For instance this ability, in turn, could be localized in his cellular memory or psychic ’apparatus’. It would then be biologically, and by mimic, transferred from one generation to the next. Also, this link in the process seems difficult to comprehend within the established scientific framework. To understand humanity requires a number of essential additions to the traditional, materialistic way of seeing man. Be that as it may, our experience gives evidence to the existence of independent subconscious images that guide and direct human evolution.


Animal images and archetypal characters

The established ideas of the functions of the brain are being shown rather erroneously. A multitude of scholarly research is now suggesting that the human brain is to be understood more as a model of organization, instead of a memory bank. The scientific world is increasingly discussing cellular memory on the lines publicized by Rupert Sheldrak, a British scholar who has presented the theory on recently discovered biological behavior patterns manifesting what he has chosen to term ’morfic resonance’. It appears increasingly likely that human cells will remember their entire phylogeny, from a unicellular unit up to a complex, highly organized multicellular construction such as man. In case man has not been able to be fully transformed into the images of human archetypes, it follows that also animal archetypes are alive in him. Certain components of our basic energies still function as a that of a serpent. Serpent energy, therefore, is a truly atavistic and very powerful element. For this reason, the serpent is an ages-long representation for human energy as well. In this light, our archetypal modes of action can be seen as originating in vastly earlier times than modern man, and yet as very real patterns for finding our own place in the environment. These seem to be, so to speak, emotions that have become fully cleansed from our conscious minds.

    Myths and fairy tales often depict the subconscious male and female images in the shape of an animal. In ’Eros and Psyche’, and its numerous versions, the opposite sex takes the shape of a bear, mouse, frog, or rat until it is allowed the human form. Such stories on the lines of ”Bear as a Spouse” are very popular in a number of mythologies. They all show the human inability of encountering the opposite sex consciously in the form of a sensual, alive, human. The remnants of the experiences with the father or mother are still there, keeping us at bay. The emotions connected with them are mixed with love, caring, power and fears, and many other possible feelings. That is why we have to face the other party with his or her natural, inherent, energy which has now taken the shape of an animal. In this genre of a fairy story, it is only the falling in love with the animal that returns the victim from an animal shape into that of a prince or princess. These latter images (prince and princess) represent the inherent, natural archetypes of the soul of man in his evolution towards a true man and woman.

Archetypes as programs

    As regards the proposition of something being recorded in the reservoir called the brain, this hidden reservoir could be seen simply as a link connecting us to the archetypes. In this view, the brain would then recognize the situation where a particular mode of action is required. Whenever the situation presented itself, the relevant archetypal actors would then be invoked and called to action. Typical of archetypes is this very ability to rise to the occasion, to react to the situation. To exemplify: whenever an individual sees a solitary, helpless, infant that cannot possibly meet any challenge from the outside, this observation brings out in him the archetype of the mother. With the result that he or she instinctively starts to tend and nurse the helpless baby. The human being could be thus regarded as a structure combining the various experiences ’collected’ by the respective parts of the body; a cohesive whole that helps the individual to interpret each situation. In other words, our mind will produce a collection of scenes to serve both reality and dream; scenes to which we then react in the way guided by our current archetypes.

    An optimal reaction to each such situation is the appearance of the most appropriate archetype (fitting the circumstances best) as an organizer of the required actions. Whenever an ill-suited archetype arises, it proves to be a possessing evil spirit. When, for example, a person some in deep level fears an encounter with his or her spouse, the archetype of love may be ’usurped’ by another, most likely that of the mother or father. All genuine communication is now likely to fail. Mother and father archetypes are real and appropriate only towards children and similar beings that are helpless and needy. When an ill-suited archetype activates into a loving relationship, the spouses may begin to order or direct the other - independent adult - or, conversely, ask for a directions as a growing child does. This sort of primal action may bring him or her back to some atavistic layer of action founded on a basic instinct; a layer where the other person has taken the shape of an animal occurring in a dream.

    Archetype could hence be summarized as a sort of program, which condenses and converts the incoming ’information’ into an instinctive mould or a pattern of action. It works as a system of associations, which leads to a certain kind of behavior. This works on a very elementary level, where a human being behaves unconsciously like an animal. For example, a dog can remember a situation. When it comes to a place, where its has been earlier, the situation helps it to behave. If it has been dangerous, the dog behaves the way the situation ’demands’ - very carefully and ready to react. The same happens to humans. The situation makes him, or arouses in him a certain kind of behavior, which is most suitable in that kind of situation. In any situation where helplessness is present, this ’program’ will deal with in its particular way. The maternal archetype hidden in a person will record each and every experience associated with being and functioning as a mother. When a person starts to tend a child, he or she can gain access to these experiences by allowing room for the ”mother program”. Archetypes, or combinations of certain kind of associations are self-directive programs, which carry the life history of each family for a transfer to the next generation.

    In this computer age, mythical tradition can be likened to the memory of a computer, and archetypal characters to its programs, which independently and continuously mould and modify this tradition to be flexible enough to serve the needs of each and every individual. A possessing, or evil spirit, is a program that conflicts with the situation - in computer language, a virus. As a result, a program that has worked quite efficiently and yielded good results will no longer work at all. In everyday terms: If an adult male in his relationship is being ’programmed’ into the role of a mother’s boy and now starts playing the child towards his wife, problems are inevitable. He allows his ’mother-relationship program’ make a child of him. Now if his wife through her ’father-relationship program’ seeks to find a firm and dependable man, conflicting emotions will arise. In this sort of situation an entirely new ’program’ may be activated, which displaces the man into the shape of an animal.

    To eliminate any such distorting programs from the past, aboriginal peoples developed ritualistic ceremonies to restore the normal situation. If their cultural heritage left the man’s child-mother relationship untouched, a new religious, regularly resumed ceremony was adopted with the help of which life was viable while the cultural ”disease” remained. A custom was established, or, by analogy, an ”auxiliary program” was devised, which helped to turn the mother into a distantly revered ’madonna’, to use a later term. The possessing spirit could also be kept in a leash with the help of various specific rituals, or be ’exorcised’ sufficiently often.

    Archetypes should function as potential, viable programs that can be employed to at need; and not programs that, for example, can interfere in and disturb an erotic relationship between two human adults. Also, the similarity of two programs may cause disturbances. In an erotic relationship, for instance, the tenderness between the two adults is no less blissful than that between the mother and her child. The construction elements of the former have been adopted from those of the latter. Tenderness has been internalized at that age. A program error is therefore likely to recur. It is not until a clear-cut separation from the parents is achieved that a creative erotic relationship can be developed.

    The computer analogy can be extended to the interpretation of products, ’texts’, if you like, or dreams, created by internal disturbances. The display unit of a computer is analogous to day-consciousness. In that unit, conscious decisions can be made. Through target-oriented learning, conscious actions can eliminate erroneous connections and correct program errors. The interpretation of mythical tradition is the process capable of, to an extent, bringing programs and memory into the display unit. This is not at all facile, as experience will corroborate. The person will all too easily fall back into his ’bad ways’, just like the computer. The average person is but little aware of the immense contributions that have been made by the designers of programs and the constructors of memory. A small change in one’s consciousness will not automatically function in each new situation. In the same way, even an adult cannot remember all the emotions and relationships in which he or she was once trapped. All this remains in the realm of the subconscious. We have been programmed in childhood. Nevertheless, to set right and reprogram any erroneous software is necessary for the creation of a new, true, life.

    With the help of the above computer analogy, the true significance of archetypes can be understood. They are independently functional units within us. At the same time, they are collective concealed, structures supporting a whole culture. Carl Gustav Jung made great efforts to show this. The more the workings of the human subconscious are delved into, the more complex, subtle, and ingenious it is likely to prove to be.

    To compare man to a computer is, of course, rather ill-suited. Within a culture, subconscious processes have their origin in a common foundation going back for a number of generations and arriving in the multitudinous forms exemplified by ’built-in’ bodily strategies, linguistic structures, subconscious significances of established customs, myths, stories, anecdotes, dreams, general beliefs, and religions etc. There is no computer capable of recording all this immense material, nor of constructing such an infinitely complex network of relations and programs that all make up modern man. What matters in this analogy, however, is the realization of the fact that the programming which occurred within the family is both fruitful and afflictive in view of later life. This, in later life, each individual has to face life independently, with what help and support he may derive from the family programmings. Man can attain his grandest achievements only by discarding any old programming and re-creating a whole new life out of their patterns.

    What is essential in the new life is the individual’s ability to be present in the here and now. He will only lose much of his strength by living in his each ’now’ in the memories of the childhood or fantasies of the future that he is creating on the foundation of his past. All his senses are alert and functional in the now. The keenest energy can be found in living the now and being as sensitive and responsive as possible. The now provides us with the best possible archetypal pattern: one filled with pure love towards everything that exists around us. This model makes everything shine in its inherent light and luster, ourselves included: there is no need to hide in the arms of the mother or father. Withdrawal into the images of the past to maternal or paternal love is afflictive.

Mythical outlook as the chart of the subconscious world of a culture

Myths and fairy tales provide answers to man’s subconscious problems. By means of mythical tradition they transfer each culture’s problems to the view of the oncoming generations. The religious outlook of a culture constitutes the background material for myths and tales. This outlook is usually presented in mythical form, as religious legend. The religious legend does not always have a happy ending; which is accounted for by the fact that the myth holds up a collective trauma, the cultural trauma. Myth, in a way, stands for a display of problems; each tale displaying a way of survival with a certain trauma.

    The mythical layer presents the traumatic ingredients in the form of tales associated with gods; these gods are represented by the archetypal figures that are badly needed by the culture. The myths in each culture thus provide the archetypes necessary for its survival. In the worship of certain gods, members of a culture will gain the means for solving their own subconscious problems and realizing their subconscious wishes. Mythical elements will provide the ingredients necessary for the creation of the individual life story21.

    Various stages of cultural evolution represent distinct outlooks. The ’Mother Goddess’ religions of matriarchal cultures gave the power to the mother archetype. It was the mother, of course, who ruled over all life, the everyday existence of the community. The members of such a community lived in constant connection with their mother; all their lives they remained as ”mother’s children”. Naturally enough, the dream world and the subconscious were then ruled by the Great Goddess from above and maternal, as well as witch goddesses from below, the underworld. In this type of culture, the mother both creates new life and destroys the existing one. In their subconscious minds, people are therefore forced to fight the power of subjugation and extermination wielded by the mother. Mother spirits were to be propitiated, since the whole existence depended on them.

    Polytheistic religions allowed the manifestation of a great number of spirits from the past. Each new god or goddess furnished a new archetype for an encounter with certain subconscious material. The world grew more complex. This was probably the situation where the new rich civilizations of the Levant and the Middle East were germinated. Versatile and varying experiences of a great number of things facilitated a rapid cultural growth. A specific new addition to previous cultural stages was the appearance of several ancestral generations. This, as such, heralded the growing patriarchal power and gradual transition to a genuinely patriarchal hierarchy. In a number of locations, this transition was followed by monotheistic religious systems founded upon the idea of a father figure, a patriarchal progenitor. This gives evidence to the paternal desire towards monarchy within the family and lineage. For this purpose, the solitary supreme god emerged ruling over the whole pantheon and refusing the worship of other gods. This decree, unfortunately, expelled into the obscure recesses of the subconscious realm a great deal of human creativity and potential talent. Worshipping a father god implies constant efforts to live under the power of the father.

    Christian faith marks a step of progress in the evolution of religion. Its myths represent a drama of a sacrifice made by a child. This drama helps the followers to become aware of the mode of their own existence and to sacrifice the father layer deposited in themselves, in order to create their own ’kingdom’. That kingdom pertains to a genuine life that is lived through one’s own senses. In a sense, the ancient Greeks already had this sort of solitary god dying on behalf of others. This role was given to Dionysus. Similarly, the Adonis of the cults dedicated to him, is a god who dies and is constantly reborn anew. He, however, fights for his independence under the power of his mother. By way of contrast, most cultures that adopted the Christian faith modified it to the purpose of subjugating all the rest under the power of the father. Reformers Martin Luther in the early 16th century Germany and Paavo Ruotsalainen in the 19th century Finland made renewed attempts to bring down the paternal supreme rule in their obstinate search for a more merciful father behind the stern and harsh father figure of the orthodox Jews. The supreme power of a Father God allowed no other modes of thought but those canonized by the church on one hand, and those accepted by the resolute father on the other. At the heart of the rebellion of the reformers was the thought - a most radical thought at that time - that each individual was to be allowed to follow his own path towards the ideal modeled by Christ. The power exercised by church and clergy, however, has to a great extent ruined these developments.

    The era of patrifocal religion saw the budding of modern scientific thought. Nevertheless, people are equally bound with their fathers, their paternal intellectual power. Now the supreme power is held by the archetypes of reason, in the semblance of a male supreme god and his rational daughter, epitomized in classical Greece by Zeus and his daughter Athena. In modern western culture, this twosome has dwindled down to imageless and figureless forms of the worship of reason. Centre for this worship are the modern temples of reason, universities. These new ’religious’ institutions strive to refute the existence of the human instinctive layer of emotions.

Archetypes as spirits and powers

In therapy work, the subconscious area has proven a most self-governing and self-justifying ruler with a great power. At the instigation of a given subconscious factor, an individual can assume behavior that is in complete conflict with his own will and interest; in practice, he can become dominated by foreign powers. Aboriginal people knew how to cope with such situations: they were ingenious enough to identify such subconscious images with the idea of spirits. Spirits were not unconquerable to them; they were manageable through the ritual and ceremony. This art of theirs is most admirable, since they have been able to harness the subconscious wisdom much more efficiently than we ever are capable of by means of our efforts based on reason-oriented western science. The aboriginal approach is based on a high esteem shown towards the subconscious tradition and, above all, the ability to utilize this tradition in a way which preserves its inherent power.

    The high esteem shown to religious issues, gods, and spirits by the past generations helped to preserve their power. Today, the concept of gods, the idea of divinity, is incorporated in the concept of archetype. These same powers are the ones that accomplish our greatest feats. Only today, they survive in the subconscious level - and, perhaps therefore, are even more self-sufficient and potent than ever before. As a rule, the power of an emotion grows, if it is transferred into the subconscious. Our reverence for science on one hand, and our disparagement of mythical tradition on the other, have rendered us incapable of facing those powers. Some remains of a quest after subconscious powers by traditional techniques are still to be found today; sadly enough, these are the principal hobbies of neoreligionists or other self-appointed practitioners. All the rest of us could make much use of that tradition.

    Perhaps it is most advisable for modern man to assume the view that something powerful be hidden at the foundation of all life; something that manifests itself in emotions and sensations that touch and move him. The sensations are the instinctive part of man. They furnish us with much of our vitality. Instincts make an animal act in a way typical of its kind, or a plant to grow up into a shape typical of its kind. In man, instincts function as a kind of subconscious wisdom. The wisdom of existence functions in its brightest form on the level of sensations. They motivate man to make his life as beautiful, lucid and intense as possible. Human life is perhaps most distinct from that of the animal or plant in that he - subconsciously and consciously - seeks meaning for his life, and learns to observe his life as if from the outside. This uniquely human tendency has made man’s life difficult.

    What aboriginal people and ancient religions manifest through their spirits and gods relates to the potential images and forms that human vigor and energies of life can manifest themselves. The situation can be compared to the energy contained in wind. It is a form of power. So far, it has been rather elusive to experience rationally or make tangible use of. It is alive only in its manifest forms. As for wind, we understand its basic manifest form as a flow of air which makes trees to sway, sails to fill up and the sea to churn. A flow without a relation to anything would not be a tangible, perceivable phenomenon. The mode of existence typical of man requires these perceivable shapes to become manifest. Archetypes represent these shapes.

    A human being is, at best, definable as a scene or a meeting place for archetypes or spirits. As a being, he is merely a place where various emotions and behavioral habits, powers, move, and meet. The human ego as an character or creator is but an illusion. This - illusive - picture is necessary for the experience of selfhood within a family. A more real and genuine humanness arises from spirits, atmosphere and feelings which in the end determine what I do, feel or experience. Speaking of man as a scene for spirits is an apt image for understanding better the human subconscious. There are an underlying number of churning forces which determine, direct, and decide upon our actions. Spirits are the manifest forms that the human subconscious energy takes; forms which are to a great extent similar throughout the world. Distinct cultures differ mainly in respect to what forces each of them nourishes. Our western world chiefly nurtures only the decidedly manly archetypes emphasizing rational awareness and male predominance; or chiefly Zeus and Athena, when vested in the figures of the classical Greek pantheon. Among the aborigines, the most powerful images were the archetypes of emotion. That is why their life was a more tangible and intense one.

    Despite our contrary beliefs, the conscious human self is, after all, a minor factor. It is the subconscious spirits that make us alive, even today. In fact, this is neatly illustrated by a Finnish phrase stating that when we live, we are ’hengissä’ or ’alive’, which translates as being ”in spirits” or, rather, subject to spirits, or that there are many spirits in the one who is alive. These spirits can be seen as emotions and sensations - a tangible expression for what makes us act. Anyone knows that smoking is detrimental to health and yet cannot discard the habit even if they so desired, since the real, actual smoker in them is a subconscious character, the atmosphere derived through smoking. In fact, there are few things in the average life where the conscious mind is in peace and harmony with the subconscious - we are governed by the subconscious.

    Miens, gestures, and notions are the very language of the subconscious. These can be best be expressed by means of mythical tradition. Such notions and emotions are most aptly expressible by the fairy tale, myth, religious legend or the dream. Fortunately enough, the arts have carried mythical tradition alive along to our time. Mythical tradition is also alive in our dreams. No attempts at suppressing it have been successful enough to eliminate it from the deep level. A reasonable part (perhaps a majority) of mythical tradition has been carried through hidden linguistic structures, deriving its strength from each character’s emotions and way of life. French psychoanalysts, in particular, stress the share of the human subconscious as an underlying structure in a language.

Wisdom from archetypal spirits

The wisdom of the aborigines derives from their ability to maintain contact with collective archetypes. In their own view: it was not they that knew; the spirits in themselves knew. Similar wisdom would be very useful even today. On the spirit level, man is at his wisest, as there he has contact both with his personal past and with the experiential world of the whole mankind in the form of the myth and tale. He can avail himself of the wisdom of all mankind.

    The use of dreams in support of creativity has always been conducive to good results. Dreams can be produced artificially by visualizing situations, guiding the activity of dream spirits. With the help of suitable techniques, even the modern shaman is capable of moving from the state of day-consciousness into that of the spirits, where he can meet spirits, other shamans, or other spiritual teachers and make use of their skills and power. He can meet spirits from the animal and vegetable kingdoms and thereby expand his knowledge beyond the field of normal human awareness. An animal and vegetable spirit can be here understood as its core essence; for example, a wolf’s ’wolfness’ or a birch’s ’birchness’. For a person in trance, those qualities will appear ’per se’, without the restrictive concepts of western science.

    Modern theatre pedagogy has also understood that by an invocation of spirits onto the stage the actors can be made to act naturally. Any attempt to act a role will always retain at least a trace of affectedness; i.e. it will remain unnatural and imitated, whereas surrendering to the situation at hand by means of a ’shamanistic’ sensitivity and receptiveness will make the characters alive within the actor. The director’s task is to invoke the spirits by expressing the nature of the scene and its atmosphere. This kind of theatre work is well depicted in Cohen’s book ”Acting Power ”.

    What is now called the technique of imaginal learning is increasingly making its way into the teaching business in general. It can be best understood just as invoking the necessary spirits. In the former Soviet Union, a test was made where the students were given a suggestion that they were Picassos reincarnated; with the result of a huge increase in their talent and Picassoesque imaginative power. Suggestopaedic teaching methods make use of an enjoyable atmosphere supported by a positive attitude in order to increase the participants’ learning ability. The invocation of scenes and role characters will make us more fluent in foreign languages than we otherwise are. Our subconscious skills are still alive.

    A tremendous loss has been incurred by the refusal of western science as to the existence of the spirit world, even if done out of ignorance. Reason is but a pale and insipid replacement for the immense wisdom concealed in the world of the spirit. The ’spirit’ of reason and rationality is crude and blind to the imaginative riches of life.

    The concept of spirit is apt to express the spontaneous energy within us. Acting in pace with one’s natural bodily rhythm in breathing helps the meditator to attain the state of tranquillity and equilibrium, that of the ’spirit of silence’. Once more, our native Finnish has captured this imagery in its ’hengitys’ (breathing), which is also reflected in the Latin loan into English, ’inspiration’, i.e. allowing an access to the required spirit(s) (albeit this goes lost in its approximations, ’inhalation’ or ’breathing in’). Breathing takes place in us on its own accord, spontaneously, and any activity occurring in accordance with its natural pace supports its successful realization. For this reason, breathing exercises will also help in dream-working. Motion and breathing must follow the natural rhythm. As soon as breathing is allowed to direct the activity, its own natural rhythm, i.e. spirit, is at work. The breathing centre is in the area of the stomach and diaphragm, not in the head. In some traditional accounts, the breathing centre is located at the area of the genitals.

    Spiritual life is surrendering to life. Future is not ’captured’ by means of schemes and designs, but created in natural rhythm; taking into account the necessary things each day. Dream is an excellent example of this course of action. No one can force himself into sleep; the only possibility is to surrender oneself to it. This gives an idea of the right action. When an individual does not force himself to do anything, his hands may act when they are to do so, his feet when appropriate, and in this way the whole body functions in an integrated, coherent, and meaningful fashion. No energy is lost. The principles for such ways of action are well presented by Hannu Koski in his doctoral thesis on physical exercise.

This is also found in modern psychology and in the Phenomenology of Perception. It is the body that reacts first. Its is not so that human being becomes red after feeling shame. He understand that he is in shame when his faces become red.

    Particularly meaningful, this idea of surrender becomes in association with the enactment of an individual’s deepest essence. Never is it possible for anyone to know the meaning of another person’s life or its overall meaningfulness, at least to the extent that he could start directing it according to a predetermined plan. A much more ingenious approach is as follows: letting the archetypes of wisdom within us live free from our parents and direct our lives as constantly creative and generating processes. If we had a pre-devised plan for us to enact, nothing creative would take place. A predesigned, decisive aim can merely be a state determined from the experiences of the past. That would mean limiting one’s future by trying to force it into the confines of the past. Anything new can arise only from the secrets of life without any elements of force. This process is helped by dreams, myths, and fairy tales.

Archetypes as a kind of memory

Each experience a person has gained during his life will leave its trace in him. To some, this has given rise to the theory of ’engrams’, or memory tracks imprinted onto the brain. In this view, learning is the process of connecting and activating new lines in the nerve network of the brain, and recalling, in turn, is one of activating these engrams. This kind of schematic thought is too simplistic. It will not account for one’s genuine ability of intense existence, being here and now without anything going beyond that. The above model is possibly trying to establish an impression of a reality under control through the skills learnt in the past. Moreover, it relies merely on an old program. Neither is capable of accounting for the immense unconscious talents and powers as well as specific bodily skills that each individual has. No imaginable computer can have a memory which would suffice for the recording of, say, a person’s memories during the span of seventy years, and the ability of recalling of them. In contrast, each second, each person seems to record all the ’material’ that he encounters: all the possible things and events as well as the sensations  and emotions associated with these. Recording ambience, sensations, and emotions appears impossible even at the face of modern digital technology. Such memory capacity is not likely to exist, or even be possible to exist, in any device that man has created.

    The human ’operational system’ is certain to be much more ingeniously devised. It is likely that our body memory lies in its ability to ’re-member’, to become again a member to the past situation, to associate again with past events. Certain parts in man, a spirit acting independently, a thousand years old archetypal pattern acts as the ’recorder’. This archetypal model, some kind of cultural pattern, acting almost instinctively, can act in exactly the same way in a new situation. Remembering, per se, is therefore left to a minimum. The archetype adopts the sense impression into its own reserve of collective programs. When, through hypnosis, a person is restored to his childhood home at a certain age, the maternal or paternal archetype will be called back to the present, to the situation called up by the instigation of the hypnotist. This explains the power incorporated in hypnosis. Everything is reorganized by the terms set by the recalled situation; alternative modes of action are simply blocked away. This accounts for the fact that an adult person can remember a traumatic incident equally intensely as it was initially experienced.

    At the same time, this mode of operation makes it is possible to understand a number of seemingly miraculous aspects. A person can in his dream meet his deceased parents or grandparents, who appear ’perfectly alive and present’. Or, he can recall matters or events from thousands of years ago, as suggested by studies made into reincarnation. Man has the ability of joining the collective archetype and witness a long-past situation in the way typical of it, which makes it possible to gain identical sensory observations or impressions between now and the past, be this in his childhood, or an occasion which took place thousands of years ago. The archetypal patterns represent modes of observation that are typical of man; which enables him to return to his past and experience the situation as clearly now as when it took place.

    In much the same fashion, a person taken onto an imaginary journey in a relaxed state can be made to see things that are entirely new to him. The guide on such a journey prompts the images, situations, and scenes that are to be experienced; each of them creating experiential modes. These modes are very realistic, in close resemblance with those that have been experienced in reality. In fact, they are difficult to distinguish from the normal mode of personal experiences. An experience produced by means of images is often proven to be even more ’real’ than the customary experiences, because in the imaginary world one is present in a ’purer’ way, without the fears that are present in normal existence. With the help of images, old programming can be dissolved and their ’victim’ thus made freer, more capable of loving.

    Among the aboriginal peoples, the trance, a shamanistic state of consciousness, is a frame of mind comparable with that of an imaginary journey. When a newcomer is trained to become a shaman, he is, in advance, informed of the potential experiences and situations he may face. In a trance, a person can move in an entirely new world where everything appears completely true and where things can be affected by the power of thought. It is a dreaming state where everything is seen in a conscious frame of mind. It is the archetypal ability that moulds a person into a ’formulaic’, routine approach to things that is typical of that culture, whereas the operational modes of trance are different. In a trance, the healer or shaman can, through conscious operation, gain insight into the health of the client and find a suitable remedy. In modern language, it can be termed as ’consulting the subconscious’.

    The reality of images reflects the similarity between various archetypal modes of seeing. Through a so-called reincarnation experience, a person can experience as having been in his former life in ancient Egypt, for instance. When, by means of an imaginal voyage, one is taken back to the ruins of some ancient location, he can give evidence of his knowledge of things and places that are unknown to him in his present life. If the same, certain sort of archetypal perception saw a given situation thousands of years ago in a certain way, it can bring a modern person to witness the same situation with the ’eyes of that archetype’ as if he was observing it through the eyes of a local person in that long-past time. That new way of seeing can emerge from the memory of a collective spirit, of an archetype, which renders the present way of seeing into the way of seeing those scenes in the real time of thousands of years ago. By way of comparison; if the seer is much attached to his childhood, his vision is biased and ’dimmed’ by the emotions connected with his childhood experiences. He is easily influenced in his imaginal world, as well, which makes him closed to certain areas of reality in his field of vision. To guard against such deficiencies, a shaman-to-be was, in previous times, given the same sort of training as his modern colleague, the therapist. A person training to become a therapist who is capable of helping his clients has to to become aware of his personal biases and distortions. The fact is always worth bearing in mind that we do not see reality as it ’is’, but always as perceived through our personal mental perspective, which is but one way of seeing it. This personal way of interpreting the seen and experienced is the very same archetypal way of seeing. A frightful archetype will not tolerate a genuine, integrated clear cultural way of seeing.

Archetypes and the situations

The physical, bodily way of existence is inevitable for each human being. Man’s real physical essence is not only his body but also its way of being related to the environs. Bodily, a person finds himself in a certain situation with his surroundings. He is at all times aware of his location, and his relation to his surroundings, and, finally, to the whole cosmos. This state of awareness is also possible in the dreaming state. During a psychic disorder, it is this situational orientation that becomes unclear. An individual’s ability to associate himself with location and time becomes disordered. In such a situation, he is ’taken over’ by an archetype that is incapable of coping with the situation in an appropriate way through an archetypal pattern that would fit it best. Since other people act differently in that situation, the disoriented person is judged to be mentally ill. The outlook of the dominating archetype of a disoriented person is different from the normal person and he therefore orientates differently, speaking in a confusing way and seeing in strange way (as observed by others). This situational orientation is of primary nature, as Husserl and Heidegger have in a convincing way confirmed in their  philosophy28. It is the archetypal patterns that see what we see, hear what we hear, experience what we experience, and remember what we remember.

    This mode of understanding lends a great importance to mythical tradition. By increasingly utilizing it, for instance, by increased reading, we can conjure up the archetypes that we need and see in the situations of the past and things in a new way. We can constantly gain new approaches to seeing things. This provides an entirely new basis for our creativity. In the place of past life situations and experiences, we can now pull through a new kind of seer and experiencer. The old foundation of the ego will then collapse, as well as, the old-established situational orientation. A person is reborn, observing things in a new light. The in-rooted, schematic programs of the past will be discarded for a new, truer mode of existence.

    Hesitatingly and acting as if in self-defense, the sciences are gradually adopting elements from the revolutionary approach represented by Heidegger’s thought. Man is not primarily a ’package’ embraced by the skin and set operational in the world, but rather a place in a given environment. That environment is part of the individual’s essence, as it determines the approach activated in him in that situation. At home, we can be governed by an entirely different archetype from that dominating us at the job, as each situational framework will determine its choice. Human understanding is understanding in a given situation. Likewise, human memory is memorizing in a situation. Memory is the associations, which arise in any given situation. Also in dreams the dreamer is moving from one place to another, from one experience to another, just by the associations, which arise. The situations are pushing him forward. Man is always part of his social environment, as well as, of the larger framework, be it his home town or the part of the universe that he takes up. Man’s situational orientation has always determined his entire cosmos. Its boundaries are just expanded from what they used to be decades ago. Man is always aware of his place in the universe.

    The UFOs and visitors from other worlds are dreamlike eventualities from such worlds that have become possible in a given state of consciousness. They are witnessed by those for whom they are possible. We know nothing of the reality beyond man’s world of perception, independent of man’s existence. An UFO exists for a person when and if he perceives one. For another individual’s perception world, it can be an entirely impossible phenomenon. Seeing man as the field of archetypal action expands our western outlook. Robert Avens, who has done research work into archetypal psychology from the view offered by Heidegger’s philosophy, puts forward rather surprising conceptions of our world. For instance, he speaks of angels as manifestations for new kind of archetypal patterns. An angel is not so much a being, he claims, but rather a manifestation, something coming into being. Angels, therefore, are not messengers but messages from gods; births of new archetypal patterns.

The animus and the anima

The grandest opportunities, if also the severest disturbances, are brought into a person’s life by his parents. It is the parental experiences - those gained from the mother and father - that constitute the background for the Jungian concepts of animus and anima. These are archetypal components, male and female, through which one can find in oneself, also, the attributes of the other sex: a man the feminine in himself, and a woman the masculine in herself. On a certain level, every human being is both male and female, because they have got both from mothers and fathers their ways to be in situations. Everybody can behave as female and as male. The real spirits of the animus or anima, however, are distinct in essence from the disturbing spirits of the father or mother. The animus/anima archetypes guide one towards his soul, a program that helps him to an ideal functionality, whereas the fundamental male and female archetypes aim at guiding the man and the woman they ’inhabit’ to live and function as a genuine man and a genuine woman. Lastly, the emotional complex left by our father and mother seek to bring forth the emotions attached to them, which facilitates their liberation. Human beings are seeking their special ways of being male and female. In dreaming life, one lives with his father and mother until he finally becomes free from them. In the Finnish fairy tale ’Kuihtumaton kukka’ (’Unwithered Flower’) the bear possesses a magical mirror showing the thoughts and intentions the hero has in his deep mind. The hero kept seeing his parents in the mirror, until his feelings towards the bear were released. This release turned the bear into a prince, and, at the same time, released the hero from his parents. This sort of magical mirror is provided to us by the dream.

    The energy potentials usable for our animus or anima derive from our parents. The connection with the father or mother builds up a bridge to our own masculinity or femininity. In therapy, transfer is used for the same purpose. My parents are present in my world as long as I give them energy, as long as my feelings are in some way fixated with my parents. The animus and anima can take one deeper after a release from his parents. After the release, all energy is usable for the enactment of my own bodily integrity, eroticism. My soul essence contains this aspiration for personal integrity, for finding both the masculine and the feminine within myself. This aspiration is shown in the mythical archetypes of the androgyne, manifesting the duality, bisexuality of the soul. This aspect is found in falling in love with an individual of the opposite sex. Erotic energy is an essential component in man. The animus and anima are constituents of that instinctive aspect of man.

   The animus and anima are, thus, constituents of what is actually alive in myself during my journey towards the mode of existence that complies with my soul. They are my spiritual guides, not the possessive, vexing spirits.

Archetypes as systems for channelling love

Man could not endure the advent of his own divine energy in its original form. For this reason, the aborigines have referred to it as an awesome power. The terrifying aspect of its power becomes manifest as anxiety in an adolescent at the advent of puberty, because he or she has no earlier experiential frame of reference of manifest erotic energy. Human energy, in essence, is erotic. That is why God, to man, appears as love. The energy of love contains such a tremendous hidden power that it can make one frighten. In love, this energy works in the direction of the death of the self, in order to allow room for the other. By the power of love, one forgets himself and serves the other. This, in essence, signifies one’s death. The ancient Greeks took the frightening aspect of its energy for granted. They regarded Aphrodite, their love goddess, as frightening, since she could drive a human out of his mind, could bring him into a state where he was uncap-able of caring for himself. Very few modern individuals are capable of meeting with love genuinely. Instead, he or she approaches the opposite sex under the aegis of a father or mother archetype - either in the role of a nurturer or provider - which helps to eliminate the fear of becoming lost. Because of this role play, genuine love is rare. Everyone is afraid of losing the self. Yet this loss is necessary, for otherwise there will be no room for the soul. It is in this sense that religion speaks of losing one’s life or self, in order to become capable of finding one’s true essence.

    All archetypal systems, as a matter of fact, are systems for channelling energies. This aspect has been most vigorously stressed by Jungian therapists, Marie-Louise von Frantz perhaps most of all. Despite this modern view, their school does not, however, associate their thought system with love. The ancient Greek myth of ’Eros and Psyche’ is one of finding love. This love cannot be found until the individual has detached himself from his father and mother, gone to the world of deceased, gone through a period of depression, and only thereafter experienced the elation of finding again Eros, love. For this reason alone, ’Eros and Psyche’ stands as the primordial narrative model for other myths and tales about the human psyche. For another, all myths and tales are basically about finding love; tales telling how a man and woman can find a genuine relationship with each other and, during this process, find the fulfillment of their spiritual identity, find their soul.

    The archetypes are, in their essence, systems for channelling the energy of love. The mother archetype is one of self-sacrificing love. Its fitting reciprocator being a helpless child, its energy will not help anyone towards finding his own soul. Paternal energies are those of becoming infatuated with the child and guiding and supporting the child’s life; ones that will neither save the reciprocant’s soul. The archetypes of sister and brother will guide one towards communal love, sister/brotherhood and friendship, lacking, nevertheless, the sensual Eros. The only place for a child to grow is within the family, amidst the familial archetypes; and yet his independence cannot be found until he separates himself from the family. The energies of love are initially used to conceiving the child and making him get along within the community. The masculine and feminine archetypes are growing in power during all puberty, when a child needs other archetypes to support him on the journey towards love. The male adolescent needs that of Ares (Mars) or the war god, in which he will find his personal strength and learns to trust it. Likewise, he is in need of the Apollo archetype in order to learn through education to control his physical strength. His female counterpart needs the energies of the Artemis archetype to find the feminine strength in her and other features to help her cope with her female associates, those of the Athena archetype to cultivate and organize her life. In short, a man becomes a man, a woman becomes a woman.

    With increasing age, comes the need for guide archetypes, or Hestia, a silent and supportive aunt figure, and Hades, the hermit. The former helps in finding inner peace and trust in one’s survival outside the family. The latter, the archetype of a hermit-father and death, will aid the traveller survive his fears of dying and continue his journey towards maturity.

    Love, in turn, can be also found through creativity, in which an individual allows himself to grow fond of sounds, rhythms, patterns, figures, images, textures, materials, thoughts, ideas, and 'isms'. Through playful activities, life will become more organized. Art guides the amateur (etymologically a ’person fond of’, ’lover’ of something) towards and prepares him for finding a union. All these pursuits are necessary for the final finding of true, profound, love.

    The typical fairy operates tale mainly on the basis of the fore mentioned primary archetypes, which are enlarged upon in the following chapter. A point worth understanding, at this initial stage, is the fact that all archetypes are necessary for an individual’s journey towards adulthood. Archetypes are, if you like, primordial actions, primary thoughts, which instinctively guide us towards genuinely human activities and, finally, to gain the soul touch.

    Archetypes are not alive in us as such, but they will gain individual traits manifest in each of us. Our personal archetypes together constitute our personal way of acting and mode of working towards our goals. Each action derived from these is individual, characteristic of our personality. The more one trusts in his individual path, the richer is the support he gains from the various archetypal patterns supporting his way.

    The essence of mythical tradition derives from symbolism associated with diverse archetypes. For this very reason, the interpretation of these symbols is to be carried out within the tradition related to them, the mythical heritage. On a subconscious level, the various archetypes share firm and solid connections with one another. The pantheon of each culture constitutes a family mythology, with all the archetypes finding their ’niche’, their individual places, within the divine family. The problems inherent to growing up in a family are also easily found in schematic patterns within the divine network of relationships. The ancient Greeks were far-sighted in depicting their gods as human. This enables us to better understand that the gods live within us, and are not a separate, outside part of us. Symbolic interpretation will include in the divine drama. The interpretation, therefore, may incite and arouse the most touching and intensive sensations. No wonder, the typical myth came into existence for the very purpose of moving people, touching the humaneness in us.

This article is out of the book Find Your True Self through Your Fantasies and Dreams by Olavi Moilanen, Ph.D, published by Atophill in USA 2009