samedi 23 août 2014

An Introduction To Jung Symbols

By Deanne Shepard

Most people know the concept of symbolism. Images are rarely literal, especially if they are in dreams. However the type of image and how they are interpreted help people make sense of the world. This is especially the case of Jungian or Jung symbols and the fact they transcend cultures.

A good example is mythology. In a lot of major mythologies and religions there are certain stories that recur. A lot of them will look at how the world was first created or they foretell the end of the world. In these stories recurring images such as floods or fire will appear in order to symbolise the end of one order and the beginning of another.

What Jung noticed is that a lot of people seemed to see the same kind of images recur over and over. For example in most cultures fear can be personified in the form of a scarecrow and a lot of cultures recognise the fox as a symbol of cunning. It is these symbols that help people make sense of the world.

A classic example is the trickster. In fairy tales, folk legends and modern movies we see numerous variations on this archetypal character. In some cases the trickster might be a good character such as Brer Rabbit. In other cases this character is evil such as the fox that corrupts Pinnochio. However such is the nature of the trickster that in the story the character may be more ambiguous such as Willy Wonka. While he may turn out to be good in the end there is a certain mischief and malevolence that he seems to revel in.

This philosophy has been especially influential when it comes to story telling. The story analyst Joseph Campbell built on the philosophy of Jung in his work The Hero of A Thousand Faces and this in turn would go on to influence storywriters in literature, stage and screen.

While Jung did acknowledge that these symbols often represented repressed desires he felt they may not necessarily be bad things. He felt that this was more to do with having a psyche balanced by both male and female aspects and that this interpretation was not necessarily purely about sex or indulgence.

Another aspect of this is the anima or animus. The anima represents the male perspective on women as well as any female tendencies in a man. With the animus this is reversed and is about what a woman expects from a man as well as any male characteristics that they may have. Often these expectations are what shape how we interpret the characters in stories or the images in our dreams and this will affect how we gain meaning from the world around us, whether we are aware of it or not.

There is a wide array of archetypes and there are a number of sites that list them all. In simple terms all of them stem from people looking to understand themselves and what is happening in the world around them. It is worth looking online to learn about Jungian theories and articles in more depth as well as offering a new way to interpret the stories that you love as well as providing psychological insight.

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