I don’t know about you, but I have most of my life thought of our existence on this planet, the differences between us, humans and nature. What and who drives us and to where? I wonder if we will ever know. When I read the story of our archaeological, religious, or mythological history, someone in my head tells me we are totally on the wrong path and forgetting something significant! This puzzle is undoubtedly not easy to solve. We might try to find the goal with the help of our dreams and imagination, even up to our childhood.

Here, Dr Jung, with the topic: Archetype, nods us a wink toward thinking thereabout:

My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to specific psychic contents. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 90. (With thanks to Lewis Lafontaine)

So! We have a heritage from our past (comprised of “pre-existence; Archetype), which gives definite form to certain psychic contents, also: the key is the Archetype. Let’s continue reading Dr Jung’s explanation.

3; The Proof Method

We must now turn to the question of how to prove the existence of archetypes. Since archetypes are meant to produce certain mental forms, we must explain where and how to get hold of the material that illustrates those forms. The primary source lies in dreams, which have the advantage of being independent, spontaneous productions of the unconscious psyche and are, therefore, purely natural products unaffected by any conscious intention. By questioning the individual, one can ascertain what motives appearing in the dreams are, thanks to him. Of course, among those unknown to him, we must exclude all motifs that may be known to him, such as – to return to the Leonardo case – the vulture symbol. We are not sure whether Leonardo obtained this symbol from Horapollo. However, this would have been easily conceivable even for an educated man of his time since the artist was characterized by considerable humanistic knowledge, especially at that time. Therefore – although the bird motif is an archetype par excellence – its occurrence in Leonardo’s imagination would prove nothing, so we have to look for motives that simply could not be known to the dreamer and yet functionally behave in his dream as we know from the functioning of the archetypes from historical sources.

Eine weitere Quelle für das benötigte Material ist die sogenannte „aktive Imagination. Darunter verstehe ich jene Serie von Phantasien, die absichtliche Konzentration ins Dasein bringt. Ich habe die Erfahrung gemacht, dass die Intensität und Häufigkeit von Träumen verstärkt wird durch das Vorhandensein unerfassbarer und unbewusster Phantasien und dass, wenn diese Phantasien ins Bewusstsein gehoben werden, die Träume ihren Charakter ändern, schwächer und seltener werden. From this, I have concluded that dreams often contain phantasies which tend toward consciousness – dream sources are often repressed instincts that have a natural tendency to influence the conscious mind. In cases of this kind, we ask the patient to look at each and every fragment of his phantasy that seems important to him in terms of its so-called context, that is, the related associative material in which it is embedded until he understands it. It is not a question of free association, as Freud recommended for the purpose of dream analysis, but of working on the phantasy by observing further phantasy material as is naturally ascribed to the fragment.

This is not the place to go into technical explanations of the method. Suffice it to say that the series of fantasies brought to light facilitates the unconscious and represents material rich in archetypal forms. Of course, this method may only be used in specific, carefully selected cases. It is not entirely harmless since it can take the patient too far from reality. A warning against thoughtless use is undoubtedly in place.

Finally and last but not least, the delusions of the mentally ill, the fantasies in trance states and the dreams from early childhood (from the third to the fifth year of life) are available as exciting sources of archetypal material. Any amount of such material is available, but it is not worth it if one fails to track down compelling historical bulwarks. It is not enough, of course, to relate a dream about a snake to the mythical occurrence of the snake; for who could guarantee that the functional meaning of the serpent in the dream is the same as in its mythological framework? Therefore, to draw a valid parallel, it is necessary to know the functional meaning of an individual symbol and then to find out whether the supposedly parallel mythological symbol belongs to the same kind of circumstances and consequently has the same useful meaning. Establishing such facts is not only a matter of lengthy and laborious research but also an ungrateful object of demonstration. Since the symbols should not be taken out of context, one has to present an exhaustive personal as well as a symbol-scientific presentation, which is practically an impossibility in the context of a single lecture. I’ve tried repeatedly, risking putting half my audience to sleep.

To be continued… (Part 5= An Example) 🤗🙏💖

The image at the top: CREATRIX by Martina Hoffmann, 2019, oil on canvas,


On “The concept” of the collective unconscious (1936): Lecture 1936 in the Abernethian Society at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, under the title “The Concept of the Collective Unconscious < published in the journal of that hospital, XLIV, London 1936/37, p .46-49 and 64-66. The first edition of the German translation in Collected Works (CW), Volume 9/1, pp. 55-66.


  1. Part 4 of an extraordinary series! I am playing catch-up on the earlier chapters. Like the marathon runner watching other people ahead cross the finish line🏁 but I still have miles to go😂🏃🏽 “Run, rabbit run.” -Pink Floyd🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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