International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


C. G. Jung (1937/1958) described archetypes as collective patterns of consciousness that are catalyzed into the individual human experience. This paper will examine the role of culture and history in the relationship between the timeless and imageless archetypal qualities such as self sacrifice, presence, love; the culturally agreed upon archetypal figures, which may include mythological characters and deities that have some shared cultural meaning; and individual instances of archetypal images, which might show up in a dream, or in a particular religious icon. The examples in this paper will demonstrate how, out of a collective cultural need for representation, a figure emerges to capture archetypal qualities, to embody them so they can come alive as an interactive force, available to the individual psyche. Specific examples of cultural myth-making will be considered, including George Washington, Mother Teresa, Che Guevara, and Jesus of Nazareth.