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The difference between archetypes and myths - by Dorian Paul


Archetypes are just basic people who are found in EVERY kind of culture, for example, a mother type, a father type, an idea of siblings, just basic personalities that can have one or more of the qualities that are stereotypical of their "personalities".

For example, what is a mother type? This maybe different from one person to the next, but when we look at mythologies, and stories and our own dreams an histories we tend to have a clear picture in our mind of what a archetypal mother is: She can even be elevated into something more than just a "mum" but a queen, or even a Goddess, depending upon the type, on good symbol of motherhood would be the Goddess Ceres, the earth mother goddess, in Greek mythology.

Ceres is not only a single mother, but a goddesses of fertility, and the mother of Persephone, an abducted daughter. She is torn up with grief in the stories of the abduction of her daughter so much so that a winter that kills falls upon half of the earth, until she finds happiness later on, and her daughter is found.

In most myths there is a separation between, motherhood, and being a wife, one of those being the Greek/Roman goddess Hera or Juno, wife to the father of most of the gods Zeus or Jupiter; (an archetypal politician (ruler) bad husband, and play boy)

Hera seeing that her husband is unfaithful goes around punishing everyone she sees, but never commits adultery herself, however in one story after seeing that her husband had given birth to a child from his head, decides to give it a go herself and produces Vulcan (I think but can’t remember his other name, you know the creative one) Seeing that he was born lame, she was not a good mum and casts him out of heaven where his is raised by someone else and returns to give his biological mother all kinds of gifts from his creativity.

He himself is an archetype of an artist who can never be as beautiful as the works and gems he creates, there is also another level to him due to his gifted nature, marries Venus/Aphroditie , an unfaithful woman, who has all kinds of affairs, because she herself represents just the shallow sort of beauty. Naturally Vulcan is drawn to her because of his desire for creating beauty, and things, but she represents an womanly archetype, of a different goal, she like the models of today, focuses upon career, her own beauty and what she may get from that, she is not known for being overly concerned with children although, in another story, she becomes a vengeful mother, with no one ever being good enough for her son, Cupid/Eros, because of his beauty, something her being his mother bestowed upon him.

All of these are just western/Greek/Roman myths, but see the parallels between our modern people and those of myths?

Take for example some other myths, for example Chinese or African myths, KinYin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, shown holding a child, taking in orphans and giving gifts: do you know anyone who reminds you of her?

What about Kali? From India, the consort/wife of Shiva, the creator/destroyer, who gives birth to multitudes of babies (remember they are symbols too) but also kills too, and her sudden demise because of her evil following, and how her husband mourned her death, mirroring the archetype of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare, they are everywhere. Modern and old; they represent so many different things, but somewhere, out there, there are in fact ones that you yourself even relate to as well.

They are seen time and time again. There is so much more to it, it is hard to keep track of.

Even the idea of Astrological signs/star signs paint portraits of archetypal symbols within our everyday human population, and this is also why Jung was so interested in Astrology as well. There are some good books out there, one of them being, Man and his symbols by C.G. Jung himself. Pick up a copy with pictures and large print, it would be really good to read!! Why? Because I said so!