Saturday, May 21, 2011

C.G. Jung on the Power of Archetype, Word, and Image

This extract is taken from an essay in which Jung is examining the influence of the poet through the lens of Analytical Psychology:

"The impact of an archetype, whether takes the form of immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word, stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own. Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthrals and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. He transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night." (p. 82, par. 129)

C.G. Jung (1922) "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry." In C.G. Jung Collected Works Vol. 15, The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


  1. Unfortunately the archetype is not always beneficent and can even be experienced as the longest night itself. To the party faithful the above words could be describing Hitler or Bin Laden for example.

    1. i thought the archetype was a "good" thing. i thought it was the soul/anima...

    2. Anima is identified by Jung as a complex which serves the function of being the intermediary between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the psyche. As a complex, it will have a personalistic overlay that reflects the life experiences of the individual and an archetypal core. Archetypes themselves are neither good or bad - they are potentials for particular patterns of perception, behavior, and feeling. However, in a subjective sense, it does often feel "good" or enriching to make contact with the archetypal layer of experience because it connects us to the universal aspects of human existence and invests those connections with a sense of meaning.

  2. Anonymous,

    I agree. The power (numinous energy) associated with the archetype is amoral and can be harnessed for influence in numerous ways.

    Mark Winborn


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