Jungian Archetypes (A complete guide)

In this guide, Jungianarchetypes will be discussed with complete theory and his theories given on psychoanalysis and Jungian archetypes.

It will also discuss how Jung’s ideas inspired modern psychology.

Introduction to Jungian Archetypes and Jungian Psychology

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, was interested in how signs and modern beliefs enter our thought on both conscious and subconscious levels.

Originally, Jung worked together with fellow psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, whose study “The interpretation of dreams” in 1899 added significance to recurring themes and motifs in people’s dreams, and sought to understand their relation to the psyches and psychological well-being of subjects.

Because of this, Jung is referred to as the Neo-Freudian.

However, Jung and Freud took various approaches with the former disagreeing with Freud’s focus on the effects of biological factors such as libido on personality and behaviour.

Alternatively, Jungian Jungian archetypes looked at parts of the mind that make up the psyche and how they affected each other.

He distinguished the persona, or the self-image we present to the world, from our shadow, which may be made up of hidden anxieties and repressed thoughts.

Jung also discussed the connection between our personal unconscious, which comprises the personal memories and ideas of an individual and a collective unconscious, a collection of memories and ideas shared by humanity as a whole.

Shared ideas, which Jung identified as Jungian archetypes, permeate the collective unconscious and appear in our dreams, culture, books, films, etc. as themes and characters.

Jung felt that disunity between thoughts in the personal subconscious and the conscious could cause internal conflicts that could lead to specific traits or anxieties of personality.

Jung believed that such internal tensions could be resolved by allowing repressed ideas to come into the conscious and accepting (rather than destroying) them, establishing a state of inner equilibrium through a process known as individuation.

Personal unconscious

The personal unconscious concept of Jung is similar to the unconscious to which Freud and other psychoanalysts related.

As compared to the collective unconscious, which is shared among all people, the personal unconscious is unique to Jung.

The personal unconscious includes memories that we still don’t know about, often as a result of repression.

We do not have direct access to our personal unconscious because we reside in a conscious state, but it occurs in our dreams or in a hypnotic state of regression.

Collective unconscious

The collective unconscious, as it includes the Jungian archetypes, is central to Jung’s theories of mind.

Rather than being born as a tabula rasa (a’ blank slate’ in Latin) and being purely influenced by our environment, as believed by the English philosopher John Locke, Jung suggested that we all are born with a collective unconscious.

It involves a set of shared memories and ideas that we can all connect with, irrespective of the society we are born into or the time period we live in.

Through the collective unconscious, we cannot communicate, but we innately understand some of the same thoughts, like Jungian archetypes.

For example, many cultures have independently created similar beliefs, featuring similar characters and themes such as universe formation.

Jungian Archetypes

Jung noted that there are a variety of Jungian archetypes within the collective unconscious that we can all know, also called Jungian Jungian archetypes An archetype is a person or role model image and includes, among others, the mother figure, father, wise old man and clown/joker.

For example, the mother figure has characteristics of taking care; she is reliable and compassionate.

We all have similar ideas about the mother figure and we see her in cultures and in our language-like the word “mother nature.”

Archetypes are often portrayed in myths, novels, and movies as protagonists.

In the spy show James Bond,’ M’ embodies the mother stereotype that the spy trusts and returns to.

Different Jungian archetypes permeate a Tarot deck’s cards: the mother’s archetype is seen in the Empress card’s characteristics, while the Hermit represents the archetype of the wise old man.

The persona

Jungian archetypes noted that we each have a person, an identity that we want to project to others that is distinct from our inner self.

He used the Latin term, which can intentionally refer either to the personality of a person as an actor’s mask, as the person can be built from Jungian archetypes in the collective unconscious, or be influenced by ideas of social roles in society.

For example, a father may adopt behaviours that he finds to be typical of a father, such as severe or disciplining, rather than those that represent his actual personality.

The analysis of social roles in a prison situation by Philip Zimbardo (1971) further showed the impact our role has on our persona.

Assigned a character, like that of a prison guard, people sometimes behave as they would expect somebody to act in their role. 

Since the persona is not a true reflection of our consciousness, but rather an ideal image that people desire for, associating too much with a persona can lead to internal conflicts and a suppression of our own identity that Jungian Jungian archetypes believed could be overcome by individualization.

Shadow archetype

The Jungian archetype of the shadow consists primarily of the components we consider negative of ourselves.

We don’t show the outside world this side of the self in order to avoid feelings of anxiety or embarrassment.

The shadow may hold repressed ideas or feelings that we don’t want to incorporate into our outer persona but they need to be overcome to attain individualization.

It may also contain positive features, however, such as perceived shortcomings (e.g. empathy) that may not blend into the’ toughness’ a person wants to present as part of their persona.

The shadow is often portrayed as a villainous character in literature.

For example, the serpent in Eden’s Garden or The Jungle Book. Jung also described Hyde, transformed into by Dr. Jekyll, as reflecting the shadow of the protagonist in the 1886 novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Anima/ Animus Jungian archetypes

Jungian archetype of anima/animus, proposes that the opposite gender to the individual’s self is characterized by the anima (in males) or animus (in females).

As an individual form a gender identity, such as that of being a male, they suppress facets of his or her personality that might be perceived to be feminine, such as sensitivity in social situations.

While these characteristics are part of the real, integrated self, they are held back from our identity and portrayed in males as the feminine archetype anima or in females as the male archetype animus.

The anima and animus are ideal male or female experiences that arise in dreams from the collective unconscious and prompt our opposite gender ideas.

When we age, they bring us into touch with the facets of our repressed personality when gender identity is created.

For example, after the creation of their masculine persona, a man can allow their empathy to show more.

The anima and animus can be seen in our literature.

For example, the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen portrays the concept of anima as the idealized Mr. Darcey.

Wise old man archetype

Jungian archetype of The Wise Old Man proposes that, in the absence of physical strength, ruminates the force of quiet reflection through his age and feebleness.

By silent thought, the wise old man prophesies the future and provides guidance in raging times.

The wise old man is a spiritual archetype. It is often seen as a wizard in tales like Gandalf in the “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Great Mother

The jungian archetype of the Great Mother represents the ideal qualities of the figure of the mother.

She is caring, concerned, trustworthy and loving, and she can offer guidance when asked, like the Wise Old Man.

The typical character of the ‘ fairy godmother ‘ also represents the Great Mother in literature.

Other Jungian Jungian archetypess

The Jungian archetypes we discussed in this article are just a few that Jung claimed our collective unconscious should populate.

It is possible to recognize many more Jungian archetypes, having non-exclusive characteristics that can be carried to a different extent by several Jungian archetypes.

Other Jungian archetypes include, among others, the magician, the kid, the maker, and the caretaker.


Jungian archetypes believed that we repress those attributes of our true self that do not conform to the archetype by acquiring the qualities of an archetype from the collective unconscious.

He claimed that, rather than repressing these traits, we must’ integrate’ them by allowing them to surface from the shadow and coexist with those in the ego, or true self, in order to achieve individualization and realize our true self.

This incorporation, or individuation, may be promoted by analytical psychologists through counselling like free association.

Introverts and extroverts personality types

Apart from the theories of how the psyche work that are explained above, Jungian Jungian archetypes also claimed that people could be separated by their type of personality.

He described the two types of personalities that are introverts and extroverts.

Though introverts are quiet and sometimes unsociable, they take the time to think about issues.

On the other hand, extroverts may be popular among their friends and express themselves unhesitatingly.


Although his theories were debated to a lesser extent than the psychodynamic theory of Freud, the theories of Carl Jung have an influence that can still be felt today.

The notion that we project in our persona an imaginary, flawless version of who we want to be instead of our true personality and Jung’s differentiation between outgoing social extroverted personality and inward reserved looking introverted personality styles, has led to the creation of numerous personality tests.

These tests are still being used today. It includes Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers along with others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key components of Jung’s theory?

The key components of Jung’s theory are ego, personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

According to Jung, the ego is the conscious mind as it contains the feelings, memories, and emotions that an individual is aware of.

The ego is largely responsible for personality and emotions. Jung indicated that there are two layers of the unconscious.

The first layer called the personal unconscious that includes forgotten information about temporality and memories that have been repressed.  The collective unconscious is the second layer.

It is his most controversial and original contribution to the theory of personality.

This is an unconscious level that is shared with other human members which contains latent memories from our ancestral and evolutionary history.

What are Jungian archetypes?

The word “archetype” means “initial pattern” which derives, copies, models, or emulates all other similar individuals, objects, or concepts.

In his theory of the human psyche, Carl Jung used the concept of archetype. He concluded that Jungian archetypes of abstract, fictional characters exist in the collective unconsciousness of people all over the world.

Archetypes are fundamental human motivations in our changing experience; they elicit deep emotions as a result.

How many Jungian archetypes have been given by Carl Jung?

Although many different Jungian archetypes exist, Jung defined twelve primary types symbolizing fundamental human motivations.

Each type contains its own set of values, meanings, and characteristics of personality.

How Jung’s concepts differ from Freud’s?

According to Jung, the unconscious is the warehouse of repressed memories that are particular to the person and our ancestral past while according to Freud, it is a warehouse for unwanted repressed desires that are particular to the person.

Jung said that libido is the basis of psychic energy that motivates a range of behaviours while Freud said that it is a basis of psychic energy specific to sexual gratification.

Jung was of the view that the reason for the behaviour is the past experiences along with future wishes while Freud was of the view that the reason for behaviour is the past experiences principally childhood.

Please use the comment section below if you have any questions.





The Handbook of Jungian psychology: Theory, Practice and Applications

A Primer of Jungian psychology

The Beginner’s Guide to Jungian psychology

Jungian Art Therapy: Images, Dreams, and Analytical psychology

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