The Expressive Power of Archetypes

I have just started a new class at Pacifica Graduate Institute, The Expressive Power of Archetypes, with Jim Kline, Ph.D. From the course description:

This course begins with an overview of archetypal theory, and then turns toward an examination of art and cultural artifacts which express archetypal themes. Particular emphasis is placed on the archetypes of the Artist and the Creator as they are manifested in film, literature, and other mediums.

I’m reading The Portable Jung and Man and His Symbols. It’s the second time I have read Man and His Symbols. Below are some images from past study of symbols and signs and their influence in my creative process.

Thinking about the brain and the mind

Yung distinguishes 3 levels of the psyche; ego consciousness, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious. These 3 areas describe distinctly different functions in the psyche and they also describe distinctly different area of the physical brain.

Sqwiggle from Mitra Cline on Vimeo.

As far as I have understood so far, the origins of archetypal reality is similar to the origins of our biological body. Meaning, the same process of evolution that is responsible for our physical growth patterns is also responsible for the development of archetypal reality or thought patterns in our psyche.


This region of the brain, where the collective unconscious is located, is also believed to be the oldest and deepest reptilian part of the brain. The personal unconscious is said to be the center mammalian brain and the ego consciousness is located in the top or Neocortex area of the brain. It is said that the ego emerged from the unconscious and as such is governed by the overarching Self-archetypal pattern.

Mutants Sketch
Mutants Sketch

It is in the collective unconscious that inherited archetypal reality exists. These patterns have a life of their own and are containers for feeling and thought that can manifest in various ways. The inherited archetypal realities enable a young child to dream up stories that are similar to existing mythologies without any personal experience of such stories.


The personal unconscious is where personal forgotten memories and feelings are stored in the brain. Thoughts and emotions in the unconscious become conscious through dreams and creative activities at times when the psyche determines is relevant based on environmental factors. Essentially ego can only know the unconscious by seeing the results after the fact. By analyzing a dream, artwork, or other creative activity ego can begin to communicate with these older mysterious unconscious parts of our Self.

Related topic: Attention Mechanics

My Visual Notes from the Consciousness Workshop.
My Visual Notes from the Consciousness Workshop.


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