What is an archetype? Answering that question can get complicated and confusing, but in essence, an archetype is quite simple. An archetype is a conscious or unconscious idea that provides answers to Big Questions. Big questions are the ultimate questions of existence and cosmology. Big questions are questions of existence, purpose, place, and so on. Examples of big questions include, “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, “What is the nature of God?”, “What happens when I die,” and so on. Archetypes provide answers to these questions.

You will understand the idea of an archetype perfectly if you consider a simple example. Almost everybody on this planet accepts the archetype of good versus evil. On this planet, just about everybody believes that some mystical force for good (sometimes literally called “the force”) and some magical power for evil (sometimes personified as Satan/Darth Vader, or other “dark” figures) exists in creation. It hasn’t always been this way. Indeed, ancient and indigenous spiritualities do not have such an all-encompassing view of cosmic evil forced. But these days, most people on this planet, atheists and scholars included, believe that these mystical and magical forces of light versus dark, anima versus animus, fight each other in an eternal battle of cosmic proportions, the goal of which (in exoteric teachings) is the annihilation of the “evil one” or (in esoteric teaches) recognition and integration of one’s own internal shadow. This holds true whether one is a “new ager” browsing the local metaphysical bookstore, or a scientist hived off in a laboratory somewhere. Freud’s evil little id, Jung’s negative shadow, Hegel’s dialectic, George Lucas’s light and dark side of the force, and every single Marvel hero comic and movie ever produced, reflect the same good versus evil archetype, just framed in different ways.

This notion that the universe is composed of dark/evil versus good/light forces is an archetype. It is an archetype because this idea of good versus evil provides an answer to a big question; rather, two big questions. The big questions it answers are “Why do bad things happen” and “Why are we here?” For most of us, the answers are well-rehearsed. Bad things happen because of “evil.” You are here to fight evil and be good.


Archetypes are Filters Through Which we Understand Reality

As you can see, an archetype is an idea that answers a big question or two. Archetypes are more than just big ideas that answer big questions. Archetypes also organize our thinking and influence how we see the world. We see and understand the world through the filter of the archetypes in our consciousness. We can see this quite clearly if we consider the good versus evil archetype. If we adopt this archetype, then when we look at the world, we see in it the operation of good versus evil. School shootings? Taliban oppression? American Imperialism? Monsanto greed? The fall of New York’s twin towers? When we adopt the good versus evil archetype, we see all these events as the operation of “evil,” and our response as the operation of good.

The notion that archetypes answer big questions, and the idea that archetypes provide a kind of filter through which we see the world should not be controversial. It is obvious that archetypes do these things. It should also be obvious at this point that archetypes are quite powerful. Anything that can influence how you think about and see the world is a force we need to reckon with.

Archetypes Inform our Self Image and Constitute our Self

Strikingly, it goes even deeper than that. Archetypes do not only control how we see the world, they control how we see ourselves. They do this for the same reasons, and in the same way, that they help us create the world at large. They do it because they shape our ideas about our self.

We can see all this clearly when we consider what I call the Fool in School archetype. Those familiar with the Western Tarot, those steeped in New Age “teachings,” and those who come from Christian or Vedic type backgrounds, will be familiar with this archetype. The Fool in School archetype, like all archetypes, answers a big question. In this case, the question is, “why am I here?” When we ask the question “Why am I here?” people often answer it in a spiritual way, saying we are here to “learn lessons,” “pay off karmic debt,” “evolve to greet the universe,” or something like that. We are, in short, “fools in a cosmic school.”

You can see this “fool in school” archetype represented bright as the noonday sun in the “modern” Western tarot deck, in the Fool card. In the tarot deck, in that card, we clearly see the “cosmic fool” stepping off the cliffs on his way to his Earthly school. To tell the full story, this fool is jumping into a body (a “chariot”, another tarot card) and his body is going to carry him through a lifetime of divine or evolutionary lessons where he will, if he is lucky, pass judgment (another archetype in the deck), enter into heaven, graduate onto the next universal level, and so on and so forth. He is a “fool in school” and according to this pervasive “fool in school” archetype, so are you. Brigit Biddy, a popular tarot “authority” online, captures the exoteric archetype perfectly.

In the Fool Tarot card, a young man stands on the edge of a cliff, without a care in the world, as he sets out on a new adventure. He is gazing upwards toward the sky (and the Universe) and is seemingly unaware that he is about to skip off a precipice into the unknown. Over his shoulder rests a modest knapsack containing everything he needs – which isn’t much (let’s say he’s a minimalist). The white rose in his left hand represents his purity and innocence. And at his feet is a small white dog, representing loyalty and protection, that encourages him to charge forward and learn the lessons he came to learn. The mountains behind the Fool symbolise the challenges yet to come. They are forever present, but the Fool doesn’t care about them right now; he’s more focused on starting his expedition.1

Like the good versus evil archetype, this fool in school archetype finds expression throughout the world. You find this idea in Western theology (you are ejected from the Garden and you have to win your way back in), Eastern theology (in order to reach Nirvana you have to learn lessons and clear any karmic debt you accumulate), and science (you are an evolving ape moving towards higher levels of capacity and consciousness). You also find it peppered everywhere in the art and culture of this society. You find it in movies, music, television, literature, news, and so on. This idea is so pervasive because we were taught it as children, we believe it, and so we reproduce it in our art and work. I know I was taught it as a child. I spent enough time in the Catholic Church to absorb the fool in school archetype. Even later, when I rejected Catholicism, I found it again in New Age doctrine. When I rejected that, I found it in university where I was taught the Darwinian / Jungian canon that the “worthy” ones are the ones who have the strength and courage to pass nature’s tests, evolve, individuate, and survive.

Does this archetype exist in your consciousness? Pause for a moment and ask yourself, why are you here. If your answer is that you are here to learn lessons, grow, and evolve, then yes, this archetype exists in your consciousness. If it is there, do not feel bad. This “fool in school” archetype is inscribed deeply into all of us from a very early age not only in the spiritual and scientific teachings we receive, but also in the actions others take towards us. For some, this idea may be inscribed so deeply that it might be hard to consider alternatives.2 For some, even questioning the fool in school archetype and suggesting alternatives, like the I am God archetype, can invoke fear, even panic.

If the archetype exists in your brain, then this archetype is going to determine how you see yourself. If you adopt this archetype, you will see yourself as a fool in school and you will interpret your life events as life lessons along the way. If a good thing happens to you, you will view it as “positive karma,” a reward for good behaviour. If bad things happen, you will personalize the issue and look for the “lesson” embedded in the event. You are a fool in school, after all, and the lesson is where you should focus your attention.

Archetypes Influence Our Actions in the World

At this point, you can see that archetypes, which, according to our definition are ideas that answer big questions, are important. Archetypes influence, maybe even determine how we see the world and how we see ourselves. It does not stop there though. Because archetypes control how we see the world, archetypes also control how we act in the world, and the type of world we create. I would even go so far as to say that the archetypes in our brain determine the world around us in fundamental and powerful ways. They do this not in any mystical or magical way, but in a concrete, down-home on the farm sort of way, which is to say, through the actions of human hands, guided by human ideas.

It is not rocket science. If you build a table, you have an idea of that table first. If you build a house, you have an idea of that house before you start. If you build an institution, for example, the Catholic Church, you have ideas in mind and those ideas determine what you create. And note, it is not just the things that we create that are influenced by the archetypes in our brain. Our entire life can be influenced by these things. Consider the fool in school archetype. If you adopt that archetype, your view of self will be such that you spend your life pursuing “life lessons.” More importantly, you will interpret your life through this archetypal lens, and you will act according to the logic embedded within. If something bad happens to you, you will look for the “lesson” (i.e. the silver lining) in that event. If something good happens to you, like you get the idea to start an online book company, it will be interpreted as some kind of karmic, perhaps even Darwinian, reward.

And that is an archetype. An archetype is an idea that provides an answer to a big question. In so doing, the archetype influences, even determine, how we see ourselves, see the world, and the actions we take in our life. There is nothing mystical or magical about this. It is simple and basic human psychology. If you have an idea and you think that idea is important, you use that idea to understand yourself, organize your life, and inform your actions in the world.


At this point, I hope I have established the nature and power of archetypes. Note that I am not saying anything new here. Carl Jung clearly understood the full power of archetypes when he said that archetypes “create myths, religion, and philosophies that influence and characterize whole nations and epochs of history” (Jung 1964). If you accept that archetypes have this power, the next question becomes, “where do archetypes come from?” The answer to that question is complicated, so we will step through this carefully.

First and foremost, archetypes come from human imagination. For an archetype to exist, it must be imagined in some way. There are different ways to imagine archetypes. Sometimes archetypes emerge in a gentle state of meditation, sometimes in dreams with deeper meaning, and sometimes in powerful “mystical” visions. Note that this imagining of archetypes is not uncommon. Everybody does it. From children to adults, magicians to mystics, scientists to indigenous Australians, everybody dreams archetypes from time to time. We find archetypal elements in the dreams of dreams children (Jung 1964), in the Dreamtime of Australian aborigines (Mudrooroo 1995), in the vision quests of indigenous North Americans (Frederick Johnson 1943; Harner 2013), in the mystical experiences of Christian mystics like, and in the output of artists like Michelangelo or even Pink Floyd.

Everybody imagines archetypes from time to time, but where do those archetypes come from? There are two basic answers to that question. The first answer is that archetypes are rooted in the neurological and biological systems of the body. In this view, it is the neurons in your brain or the universal instincts and reflexes of your body that form the substrate from which emerges the images, words, and music that form our archetypal representations. The problem with positing the body as source is, as Jung noticed, that archetypes have a universal character, and they have a powerful healing impact. That is, the same archetypes appear in roughly the same form in the experiences of adults and children all over the world, and when they do appear, there is often noticeable shifts and improvements in the life of the person who experiences them. Carl Jung said archetypes help us understand things we cannot understand, deal with realities (like death) that we would rather not deal with, and add meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. According to Jung, archetypes provide “mental therapy for the sufferings of anxieties of [humankind] in general [like] hunger, war, disease, old age, death.” (Jung 1980:11). (Jung 1964).

Since Jung was a materialist, I presume, this universal character of archetypes, and their apparently magical ability to enlighten and heal presented a problem. To solve this problem, Jung suggested several different things, like archetypes were “archaic remnants” or “primordial images,” carvings of our primordial human experiences present in an “immensely old psyche” that still forms the basis of our modern mind (Jung 1964). He also suggested these primordial ideas are expression of our “instincts,” our “physiological urges” that “manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images ” (Jung 1964). Jung suggested that archetypes are “the unconscious image of the instincts themselves, in other words…they are patterns of instinctual behaviour.” (Jung 1980:44: italics in original). Archetypes represent the way our unconscious more primitive mind “thinks;” archetypes, as representations of a powerful symbolic unconsciousness, “pave the way for solutions” (Jung 1980:33) to issues, fear, problems, etc.

Jung has to go through quite a few contortions to get to a point where it might be reasonable to claim that powerful archetypes that control reality, enlighten, and heal can emerge from the neurology of the physical body, no matter how complex that might be. However, if one is prepared to put aside one’s materialist presumptions, it is possible to suggest an alternative, that archetypes are conceptual/symbolic communications from a Consciousness that exists independent of the individual human mind and body, from a non-local mind (Dossey 2015) or a Fabric of Consciousness, as I would say. Connection to this independent consciousness is variable and not a given. Most of the time, we are closed to communication with this Fabric, but during the periods of receptivity and connection that occur in dreams, times of crises, and visionary experiences, these archetypes, these big ideas, filter (sometimes slam) their way through.

The question of the ultimate source of archetypes, whether these originate in bodily consciousness or are transmitted in from some larger, independent, source, is important; unfortunately, we cannot resolve the issue one way or another here. Fortunately, we do not need to in order to move forward with our understanding. At this point, it is enough to understand that the human imagination is the proximate source of archetypes. It is when a human imagines something in a dream, a vision, or whatever, and it is when these dreams and images contain answers to big questions, however primitive and ill-formed they may sometime be, that we see the manifestation of an archetype.

Of course, not all the ideas that occur in your brain are archetypes. Not all ideas that come from human imagination, not all ideas expressed with human hands, qualify as archetypes. Most ideas, even if those ideas are ideas that answer big questions, are merely ideas; few ever rise to the status of archetype. So, what qualifies an idea as an archetype? Jung says archetypes have a “specific energy” (Jung 1964), they feel special, contain a “peculiar fascination.” We might say archetypes have an intellectual and emotional valence that normal ideas do not.

At this point, it is worth summarizing what I have said so far. So far I have said that archetypes are conscious or unconscious ideas that arise in human imagination, that they provide big answers to the big questions, that they organize and influence how we think about and see ourselves and the world, and that they influence, even determine, how we create and act in the world around us. I think we have a pretty decent understanding of what archetypes are and where they come from.


The story does not end here, however. We have to understand, archetypes are not just individual productions. When a child, an adult, a mystic, a dying person, or whatever, has a vision, and when that vision contains a powerful archetype, that person is rarely the only one involved in that vision. Archetypes are significant. Archetypes feel special to us when we envision them. This special feel motivates us to tell people, and we usually do. When we experience archetypes, we tend to express them to others.

Sometimes archetypes are expressed by the individuals who have them, as for example when a young child recounts a dream of ascension to a father, or when an artist or musician creates a piece of artwork to share. We might call this expression primary expression, because it is the individual who experienced the archetype that tells the story. Sometimes, however, the expression is not so straightforward. Sometimes there is secondary expression of archetypes. That is, sometimes other people get involved and “help” the person express, even interpret, what they have experienced. For example, the child who has an archetypal dream might tell the father who then tells the psychologist about the dream. The psychologist might then write an interpretation which, if published in a book, can reach many people over many generations. and published it in a book. Or, a mystic might have a vision, or a series of visions. This mystic might talk about the archetype, but then somebody else might come along and set down the visions down in a book, a Veda, a Gatha, a bible, or a scripture of some sort.

It is important to realize that archetypes are expressed not only by the individual but by other people as well. This is important because humans are human, and they are imperfect, biased, self-interested, and damaged by Toxic Socialization. As a consequence, bias and other factors might enter in, not only to primary expression, but also (and perhaps especially) with secondary expression. For example, consider the ancient religious figure Zarathustra (a.k.a. Zoroaster). Zoroaster was a mystic would lived approximately 1,000 B.C.E. (Boyce 2001). Zoroaster had a series of visions the output of which became the Zoroastrian religious faith. Interestingly, Zoroaster dreamed many of the archetypes that we are familiar with today, like the notion of good versus evil, the idea of punishment and judgment, and so on (Sosteric 2018a). His visions, and his own grass roots, anti-elite interpretation, were passed on word of mouth for several centuries until finally, in and around C.E. 250 (Boyce 2001), the Zoroastrian teachings, the Zoroastrian archetypes, were written down into the Gathas, or sacred books of the Zoroastrian Faith, by a Sassanian high priest named Tanser.

The process whereby the archetypes were finally written down into sacred books is instructive. The process started when Tanser, working under the authority of the Sassanian autocrat Ardashir. declared Ardashir the final arbiter of the Zoroastrian doctrine. He did it by suggesting that Ardashir was better than everybody else, that he was “more richly endowed with virtues than the ancients…” and that he was uniquely qualified to revive a faith that had “decayed” by a man of “true and upright judgment…” (Boyce 2001:102–3). Once the authority of Ardashir had been proclaimed, Tanser then selected a single Zoroasterian tradition among several that were available in the region, and suppressed all the other ones with, as one protester at the time noted, “excessive bloodshed” (Boyce 2001:103).

“…in place of the former fraternity of regional communities, a single Zoroastrian church was created under the direct and authoritarian control of Persia; and together with this went the establishment of a single canon of Avestan text, approved and authorized by Tanser… Tanser set about his business and selected one (?) tradition and left the rest out of the canon. And he issued this decree: The interpretation of all the teachings of the Mazda-worshipping religion is our responsibility.” (Boyce 2001:103)

Why would Ardashir claim interpretive superiority, reduce the Zoroastrian faith to a single cannon, and violently subdue competing understandings? Because archetypes are powerful. Like Jung said, archetypes “create the world” and as such are useful for, well, creating the world. Ardashir used the Zoroastrian religion, and the archetypes they contained, as a propaganda device. He used them to consolidate power and gain domination over their enemies. He used them not for the good of humanity, but to create the world in his image by controlling how people saw themselves, saw the world, and how they acted in the world. According to Mary Boyce

Ardashir was not only a military genius, but a man of great shrewdness and administrative talents, who was prepared to use bloodless means as well as warlike ones to establish his rule and create a new Persian empire; and one of the tools which he chose for this was religious propaganda. There can be little doubt that the priests of Persia, whose forefather had led to Zoroastrian community under the Achaemenians, felt themselves well fitted to do so again; and they plainly undertook with zeal the task of persuading their fellow Iranians that they, together with the new dynasty to which they lent their support, were more devout and orthodox, and would be truer upholders of the faith, than their Parthian predecessors had been. (Boyce 2001:101–2)

At this time there are several open questions concerning how Ardashir used the Zoroastrian faith to create his new Persian empire. What elements of the Zoroastrian faith did he suppress when he consolidated the teachings? What elements of the Zoroastrian faith did he reinterpret? Who were these efforts aimed at? Were they aimed at other elites, or the masses in general? Were his efforts successful? Did taking control and modifying an entire religion help him create the world that he envisioned?

Whatever the answer to these interesting questions is, it does not change the basic point here which is simply this: if you want to understand archetypes, you cannot just look at the archetypes themselves, you also have to look at the people expressing the archetypes, their social class position, their economic interests, and so on. You have to look at the motivation and purpose of the people expressing the archetypes, because that figures into the archetypes you receive, and any interpretations you might have of your own archetypal experiences.

It is very difficult to gaze back thousands of years to the Zoroastrian faith to understand exactly what Tanser and Ardashir did to the Zoroastrian archetypes, how they reinterpreted and twisted them, and what they discarded in the process. However, we do have a more modern example of how people, elites in particular, use archetypes for political and economic purposes. Our example here is the Western tarot deck. The tarot deck was originally a simple set of cards (Decker, Depaulis, and Dummett 1996; Decker and Dummett 2002). However, during the Industrial Revolution, it was picked up by Freemasons who used it is a sort of clay tablet upon which to inscribe a series of powerful archetypes like “who am I,” “why am I here,” and so on. We have already seen one example of a tarot archetype in the Fool card, but all the other major arcana cards are archetypes as well. Unlike the Zoroastrian faith, we have a much better idea of exactly what the Freemasons did to the tarot. As I explore in my article “The Sociology of Tarot “ (Sosteric 2014), the deck was created by of bunch of rich white men (nobility, mercantilists, and capitalists) who imprinted it with ideas that they hoped would help lubricate the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Basically, they borrowed the images from some preexisting playing cards, provided a bunch of commentary that constructed a bunch of meanings for the individual cards, and then tried to make the cards sacred by lying about where they got their information. In the process, they created what Decker, Depaulis, and Dummet (1996:27) suggested was the

…most successful propaganda campaign ever launched: not by a very long way the most important, but the most completely successful. An entire false history, and false interpretation, of the Tarot pack was concocted by the occultists; and it is all but universally believed”

Why would Freemasons do that? As already noted, they did it to help lubricate the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, specifically, they were creating new ideas which would support new structures of authority and new (or rather, reconceived) social class relations.

We are going to explore exactly what the Freemasons did to the archetypes in the second part of this introduction to archetypes. I would just like to say at this point that what I have said so far should not seem that far out. In fact, if you accept one basic truth about archetypes, i.e., that they are powerful, it makes perfect sense. An ancient autocrat trying to build a new empire, a medieval Roman elite seeking to maintain power, and an emerging industrial elite needing to manage the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, would need to handle and control its citizenry so that it could handle and control its commerce, trade, and defence. Archetypes, in some cases created, and in others modified, by people claiming to be high priests with special spiritual knowledge, provided a tool to facilitate the inscription of power. Archetypes, sanctioned in sacred stories and programmed into the consciousness of the masses, provided elites with the ability to manage and control the population.

Note, there is nothing really new here, and it is not rocket science. The psychology is exceedingly simple and obvious in practice even to this day. Consider the archetype of good versus evil. Modern world leaders, especially those of the authoritarian variety, invoke good/evil archetypes all the time in order to manipulate their populations into war (Sosteric 2018b) and to provide cover and subterfuge for their actions.” By painting the “other” as evil and projecting a cosmic archetypal struggle onto the world, ruling elites are able to simply and effectively prime and control their populations, directing them even towards violence and genocide.

To summarize what we have said in this short introduction to archetypes, archetypes

  1. Provide answers to the big questions.
  2. Help us organize our thinking about the world and our self.
  3. Guide us as we shape the world around us and
  4. Are powerful
  5. Arise from human imagination and are expressed (in a primary and secondary fashion) through human hands.
  6. Can be co-opted, manipulated, and exploited by powerful actors seeking to further their personal power agendas.

Additional Comments

As noted above, we will explore in a bit more detail what happens with archetypes when elites get their hands on them in part two of this introduction. In part two, I will also introduce my Triumph of Spirit Archetype Deck, which is a deck that attempts to strip elite influence out of the Western tarot, and recover (or rather create/recreate) an archetypal system with a more humanistic, egalitarian, and authentically spiritual frame. Before closing up here, I would like to offer a few final comments for your consideration.

  1. Archetypes are originally sourced in human experience, specifically connection experience. Historically, this experience has been very important. All indigenous cultures, indeed all preindustrial cultures, had programs for encouraging connection experience, which often delivered various universal archetypes. From the initiatory rights of ancient societies, to the Dreamtime of the Australian aborigine (Lawlor 1991; Mudrooroo 1995), to the vision quests (Broker 1983) and power quests (Harner 2013) of North Americans, to the secret/suppressed initiatory rituals in Judaism and Christianity (Merkur 2000), all cultures (except the mainstream of our modern one) encourage and guide one’s towards connection experiences.
  2. Archetypes can be experienced individually or can be part of larger religious and cultural activity. Visions, dreams, etc., expressed in prose or Mantic Poetry,3 can be collected and put into “sacred” books, like bibles and Korans and tarot decks. Note, the organization into sacred books is usually an activity that elites engage in, because they have the resources to do so. This organization, which can be accompanied by violent suppression of teachings that compete with “official” cannon. This organization often/sometimes replaces more varied, organic, grassroots understandings and discussions of archetypes with archetypes that support an elite political and economic agenda. Elites put great effort into this organization because a) they recognize the power of archetypes and b) controlling archetypes helps them control how people see themselves, how people act in the world, and the world that we all create. Archetypes help elites create a world in their image.
  3. Because archetypes are powerful and because they can help elite actors (or any actor) create the world, we might call a collection of archetypes, whether those archetypes are in a book like a bible, a deck of cards like the Tarot deck, or some other source (like a record album), Creation Templates. I want to call these archetypal collections creation templates and not a more negative term like ideology, or a more neutral term like discourse (McHoul and Grace 1993), not only because that is exactly what they are, i.e., archetypal templates used to create a world from a specific point of view, but also because, conceivably, any interested person could construct a new creation template within a new archetypal frame serving a different, less elite, and more human agenda. Creation template is a term that allows space to consider and even encourage the creation of global alternatives.
  4. Ellens uses a term “Master Story” (Ellens 2001) to refer to a common story that we find peppered throughout the world’s Monotheistic belief systems (Judaism, Christianity, Islam. According to Ellens, the common core archetype in the Master Story is the archetype of “cosmic contest between transcendental good and evil.” Ellens points out that the master story is what drives the “institutional and society violence” prevalent in Western culture (Ellens 2001:7) . I would add to this that this is not a random or natural process, but that common core archetype enables elites to manipulate and weaponize the masses by playing to eschatological expectations set down in the “sacred” books. (Sosteric 2018a)
  5. It is important to emphasize and remember at all times that at all points in the process, human imagination and human agency is involved. Sometimes the agents act in good faith, sometimes they do not. Even when they do act in good faith, bias may enter into the equation. Therefore, when analyzing archetypes we must pay attention to motives and bias. Questions like who is expressing the archetype and who is constructing the creation template become important sociological, psychological, and historical questions.
  6. Given all the above, it is reasonable to suggest that archetypes are contested, that archetypes are expressed in the most straight forward and innocent fashion by the people who imagine/experience them (primary expression), but that primary expressions, what some call “marginal knowledges” (McHoul and Grace 1993:15) after they have been suppressed by elite actors, may be subjugated, modified, or even erased by powerful actors for political or economic gains.

In closing, I wish to leave you with the Wheel archetype from the Golden Dawn tarot. The archetype shows a regal figure atop a wheel and an ape-like figure below. In uncovering the meaning of this archetype, ask yourself two questions.

Recalling that archetypes provide answers to big questions, the first question is, “What big question does this archetype provide an answer to?” Is it “Why are we here?” Is it “Who am I?” Is it “What is my purpose on this earth?” Is it something else?

Recalling that archetypes have considerable power to influence self-image, understanding of reality, and actions in the world, the second question is, “What kind of world is this archetype constructed to reflect and create?”



Boyce, Mary. 2001. Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Routledge.

Broker, Ignatia. 1983. Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative. Minnesota: Minnesota Historial Society Press.

Decker, Ronald, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael Dummett. 1996. A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot. New York: St Martin’s Press.

Decker, Ronald, and Michael Dummett. 2002. A History of the Occult Tarot, 1870-1970. London: Duckworth.

Dossey, Larry. 2015. “Nonlocal Mind: A (Fairly) Brief History of the Term.” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 11(2):89–101.

Ellens, J. Harold. 2001. “Introduction: The Destructive Power of Religion.” Pp. 1–9 in The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, edited by J. H. Ellens. Westport, CT: Praegar.

Frederick Johnson. 1943. “Notes on Micmac Shamanism.” Primitive Man 16(3/4):53.

Harner, Michael. 2013. Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

Jung, Carl. 1964. Man and His Symbols. New York: Anchor Press Double Day.

Jung, Carl G. 1980. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 2nd ed. edited by G. Adler, S. H. Read, M. Fordham, and W. McGuire. New York: Princeton University Press.

Lawlor, Robert. 1991. Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboridinal Dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.

McHoul, Alec, and Wendy Grace. 1993. A Foucault Primer: Discourse, Power and the SUbject. New York: Routledge.

Merkur, Dan. 2000. The Mystery of Manna. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.

Mudrooroo. 1995. Us Mob: Australia: Angus & Robertson.

Sosteric, Mike. 2014. “A Sociology of Tarot.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 39(3).

Sosteric, Mike. 2018a. “From Zoroaster to Star Wars, Jesus to Marx: The Science and Technology of Mass Human Behaviour.” Retrieved (https://www.academia.edu/34504691).

Sosteric, Mike. 2018b. “Star Wars Is a Religion That Primes Us for War and Violence.” The Conversation.


2What are the alternatives to the “fool in school” archetype. Instead of seeing yourself as a fool in school, you may adopt what we might want to call the I Am God archetype. Using this archetype, you would see yourself as spark of God consciousness incarnated into a physical vessel for the purposes of playful creation. This thought is not as unusual as you might think. Philosophers and mystics from Epictetus to Gandhi, Muhammad to Meister Eckart, have said something to this effect.

3Mantic poems are poems written in a “mantic tradition…cultivated by priestly seers who sought to express in lofty words their personal apprehension of the divine; and it is marked by subtleties of allusion, and great richness and complexity of style.”(Boyce 2001:17) Basically, mantic poems are connection poems, poems written during connection to convey some spiritual or humanistic truth about God, Consciousness, and Creation. For an example of mantic poetry, see https://www.michaelsharp.org/mantic-poetry/

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