Sunday, October 06, 2013
THE SHAMANIC SPIRIT WORLD AND ARCHETYPES Norman W Wilson, PhD The idea of spirits most likely has existed since the beginning of time. Cave drawings, pictoglyphs, and rock paintings dating back thousands of years have shown this belief. Burial mounds with offerings to the spirits offer further proof of that early belief. The world's mythologies and religions are a living composite of this world and the other world—that world of the spirits. Carl Jung's archetypes, those pre-existent latent prototypes of things of the material world, are internally developed patterns of being. They are archaic primordial types with universal images that have existed from the earliest times. Psychologically, they are of the mind. This is not startling because the mind creates the world. Jung's task of drawing a relationship to mythology was relatively easy. However, establishing what an archetype is psychologically and physically is not so easy. At its very least, an archetype is a hypothetical model; that is, a pattern of behavior. Significantly, it is an unconscious content, which awareness and perception alter. As a concept, archetypes appear early in recorded Western history. Philo Judaeus referred to Image Dei in man, meaning "God-image." The idea is in Irenaeus. It appears in the early book called Hermetica, and in Dionysius, the Areopagite. St. Augustine references "idea principales." Earlier, Plato set forth his "pure forms" which some have called non-material forms. Archetype, then, is a paraphrase of early ideas relating to the immaterial, that is, no substance. Certainly, this is a reference to the spirit world. For Jung, archetypes indicate the existence of definite forms in the psyche, and these are always present. In shamanism, this equates to spirit guides or spirit animals sometimes called tutelary spirits. Jung tells us that just as the archetypes occur on the ethnological level, they are in every individual. Its effect is always strongest; that is, they anthropomorphize reality most, where consciousness is less active. By that, he means the archetypes are prevalent at the subconscious level. The shaman goes into an altered state of consciousness to open the portal to the spirit world. For the shaman, this is a willful calling forth, a conscious act.