Giving the Archetypes a Personality

One of the enduring marks of spirituality is the human habit of giving the archetypes a personality with a psychic life of their own. Jung commented on this in one of his letters:

Statue of Hermes

“The unconscious is within reach of human experience. It is almost tangible and thus more or less familiar to us, but on the other hand a strange existence difficult to understand. If we may assume that what I call archetypes is a verifiable hypothesis, then we are confronted with autonomous animalia gifted with a sort of consciousness and psychic life of their own, which we can observe, at least partially, not only in living men  but also in the historic course of many centuries. Whether we call them gods, demons or illusions, they exist and function and are born anew with every generation.  They have enormous influence on individual as well as collective life, and despite their familiarity they are curiously non-human. This later characteristic is the reason they were called gods and demons in the past and why they are understood in our “scientific” age as the psychic manifestation of the instincts, inasmuch as they represent habitual and universally occurring attitudes and thought forms. …. They have a high degree of autonomy, which does not disappear when the manifest images change.”

Jung ~ Letters of C. G. Jung Vol 2 p593

At this session of Numinous we will delve into the ins and outs, the advantages and disadvantages of giving the archetypes character and will ask ourselves whether our ancestors got it right when they related to the archetypes as persons. We will explore in theory and practice what it might mean for us to treat the archetypes as living entities.