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by Agata Dzierżawa
Archetypes is a picture of the sun symbol.

What are archetypes?

 Have you ever wondered why people all over the world have the same themes and problems in their dreams? The same threads and almost identical characters and heroes occur in your loved ones’ or friends’ dreams? 

This is due to the fact that the number of events in people’s lives is limited, in fact, when you think about it, it’s all been there before. Everyone has lived through and lives through most of the same events in their life, such as death, birth, motherhood, and marriage. Even though you sometimes feel otherwise, you are neither the first person to experience it nor the only one. It also happened to your parents and ancestors, as well as neighbors or strangers from the farthest corners of the world.

You can see it very nicely in the so-called muliti cultural environments. Although the customs and traditions of you and your close friends from other cultures differ significantly at first glance, it turns out over time that they are actually the same on the human level. And you all mean the same thing.

 In this article: 

  • You will learn what archetypes are.
  • You will get to know some of the most important of them: persona, shadow, anima and animus, mother, sage, and self.

All these experiences were recorded as matrices (patterns) in the collective unconscious.

They are a collective memory that contains all the information needed by a person to meet their needs.

What does it mean? Well, the fact that, for example, even if you had no knowledge about taking care of a child, you would still instinctively see how to take care of it thanks to patterns from the collective unconscious.

Through this “shared memory” we are connected to the very beginning of our existence with our ancestors, but also with all mammals and other animals. This means that regardless of your personal life experiences, your mind functions in the same way as the mind of another person because it has been programmed to do so.

Carl Gustav Jung called these common elements archetypes (arche means the same).

Archetypes are therefore the primary patterns of a character, motif, symbol or pattern, and even an event.

They are elements of the unconscious common to all people around the world, regardless of culture, race, age, or gender. Archetypes always appear as symbols, and their content is always metaphorical. They are found not only in dreams but also in myths, legends, fairy tales, and stories in all corners of the world. Archetypes have enormous energy and always positive and negative sides. They are the most important role models for experiencing the world and yourself. Part of human heritage.

Dreams full of archetypes usually appear at moments of important changes in our lives, such as entering adulthood, the birth of a child, midlife crises, or death.

Decoding dreams can help you understand yourself, your motives, and make decisions. So it’s worth getting to know the basic archetypes to help you interpret your dreams.

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The most famous archetypes are the archetypes: 

Surface archetypes: 

Persona, a mask that you had to develop to meet social expectations and hide your true nature and personality. It is a compromise between who you are and what you want others to see you. The greater the discrepancy between it and your true face, the greater the shadow. 

Shadow – that is your dark side, unacceptable features, repulsive behavior, or underdeveloped sides of your personality. Your ego is identified most willingly only with what is positive in you, so it hides all negative things in the shadow. When you accept your darkest side, you deprive it of power over your life. And when you do not have the courage to confront it, you will see your unacceptable qualities in others. This is called projection. In mythology, the shadow will be reflected, for example, by Satan, the serpent, and the monster.

Soul archetypes:

Anime – The female element in a man. The unconscious image of a woman present in a given man based on the collective image of femininity. In mythologies, anima appears as a princess, but also as a witch.

Animus – The male element in the woman. The unconscious image of a man present in a given woman based on the collective image of a man. In myths, he is presented as a lover, seducer, teacher, artist, or philosopher. 

Spirit Archetypes:

Mother – the source of primordial femininity, goddess, nature. In the myths in the form of mother, mother Earth, stepmother, witch, mother-in-law, but also the moon, cave, paradise, tomb or well, and even a cow and a dragon. 

Sage – the core of masculinity, the personification of wisdom. In myths, he is most often an adviser showing the way or encouraging self-reflection, a wizard, a priest, a dwarf, an animal.

Archetypes of the Self: 

Self – the unity and image of God in man. It represents the transcendence of all opposites so that every aspect of your personality is expressed equally. So then you are neither male nor female, nor ego, nor shadow, neither good nor bad, nor ignorant, not conscious, neither individual nor whole. The symbol of the self is usually something abstract, e.g. a tree of life, a spider’s web, a king, or a mandala.

According to Jung, archetypes are the result of the evolution of the structures of the human psyche.

They show man’s struggle to reach their own “I”. Jung believes that the goal of a person’s life is to realize themself. When you are young, you focus on your ego and worry about the small things of your persona. Then you realize that you are not a social role (persona). As you age, you recognize your own flaws, accept humanity and its aspects, including your own imperfection (shadow). You then begin to integrate the characteristics of the opposite sex (anima and animus). And then you release yourself from the patterns inherited from your parents and create your own (great mother and sage) in order to connect the unconscious with the consciousness (the self).

In addition to Jungian archetypes, other known archetypes are, for example, the Greek gods: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hermes, Athena, Apollo etc., the archetypes of Ennearam, as well as patterns such as: father, child, accountant, addict, Samaritan, scientist, inventor, killer , loner, guru, fool, lover, jester, hero, orphan, rebel, magician, guardian, creator, ruler-explorer, innocent, etc. etc.

Archetypal can also be ways of acting, e.g. the way of taking care of a child, rituals – wedding, funeral, the need for development during life, as well as human stories, e.g. defeating a monster, moving from poverty to wealth, searching, journey and return, comedy, tragedy and rebirth.

The world we live in has been mastered by technology and rational thinking, pushing dreams to a further, forgotten plan. Like science and matter, they have pushed soul and spirituality into the background.

Meanwhile, your dreams, like myths, legends, fairy tales or other creations of human mind and imagination, are an authentic expression of both your soul and the soul of the world (anima mundi). Thanks to them you become aware of who you really are. Dreams can change the way you view life and make you reflect deeply.


Vivian Fiszer „Teoria Carla Gustava Junga”Teoria Carla Gustava Junga”, Listopad 2019,

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