Summoning the Archetype

hyvblake_006We all have archetypal experiences such as falling in love, experiencing awe in front of one of our heroes or terror in the face of a foe or trial. These are archetypal experiences which happen to us. Jung often talked about this as an archetype being “constellated” in us.

Yet Jung also wrote about the possibility of us actively summoning an archetype, where the archetypes is called forth. Two passages come to mind.

The impact of an archetype, whether it 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. CW 15.129

And another time on the Catholic mass

“Adesto, adesto Jesu, bone Pontifex, in medio nostri: sicut fuisti in medio discipulorum tuorum. (Be present, be present in our midst, O Jesus, great High Priest: as thou wert in the midst of thy disciples ) This naming likewise has the original force of a summons. It is an intensification of the Benedictus qui venit (Blessed is he who comes) and it may be, and sometimes was, regarded as the actual manifestation of the Lord, and hence as the culminating point of the Mass. CW 11.321

Jung noted that this process is often achieved by the shaman (in the form of the animal spirit), by the priest and guru, by the visual artist and the songster and by the speech maker who summoned the energy of an archetype in others (a power he noted in the German Reich).

This month at numinous we will discuss how this power of summoning works and how we might use it in our own lives.