Archetypes, the Collective Unconscious

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) believed that rather than being guided by forces outside of ourselves, such as God or fate, we are motivated and controlled by the inner workings of our own minds. Specifically the unconscious. He claimed that our experiences are affected by primal drives contained in the unconscious. His protege, Carl Jung (1875-1961) took this idea much further, studying the elements that comprise the unconscious and its workings.

Amazing Similarities

Jung was fascinated by the way that societies around the world and throughout history, share certain amazing similarities, despite being geographically and culturally very different. They share the same myths, legends and symbols and have for thousands of years. He felt this must be part of the human psyche. The existence of these shared myths proved to Jung that part of the human psyche contains ideas or knowledge that are held in a timeless structure, acting as a form of “Collective Memory.” He introduced the idea that a distant and separate portion of the unconscious is within each of us, as the “Collective Unconscious.” This universally shared collective unconscious is comprised of layers of inherited memory myths, legends and symbolisms from ancient experiences of our first ancestors. These are described as Archetypes. The latin term archetypum translates as “first molded”.

Instantly Recognizable

There are many archetypes, and although they blend into each other in different cultures, everyone holds the model of each archetype. The nature of the archetype is such that we recognize it instantly as it can be attached to specific behavior and emotions. They appear in all forms of human expression such as art, poetry and literature and many are easily recognized, such as the Wise Old Man, the Goddess, the Madonna, the Hero and many others. 

We first became aware of our myths and legends from the earliest writings of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians. Later, Greek writings described the landing of Celestial Boats from the heavens, and the earliest known organized mythology consisting of 3,000 gods. Even the ancient Hindu history has an uncanny similarity between the Vedic Tales of the gods and the Greek gods and godesses, covering nearly every detail of nature and human life.

A Happy Flat Earth

The Greeks believed the earth was a flat, circular disk with their country in the center of the disk with the center point being Mount Olympus – the home of the gods. Around the earth flowed the River Ocean. Crossing from east to west was the Mediterranean Sea and the Euxine Sea.

The northern portion of the earth was said to have giant mountains that sent blasts of north wind to cool the people of Greece. The North was inhabited by a happy race called the Hyperboreans who lived in everlasting bliss beyond the great mountains.

The southern portion near the Stream of Ocean lived another happy people known as the Aethiopians.

On the western side of earth was another happy place, The Elysian Plain. It was said these people were so favored by the gods they enjoyed immortality and bliss.

Gods of Mt. Olympus

It is written that the gods lived on the summit of Mount Olympus in Thessaly, and may have migrated there from Sumeria. It was said that a gate of clouds kept by goddesses name the Seasons, operated the gate to permit passage of the gods to and from earth. The gods lived in separate dwellings but when summoned, would meet at the palace of Jupiter where they feasted each day on Ambrosia and Nectar. Apollo, the god of music, delighted them with tones of his lyre while nine muses sang in response. At sunset, the gods returned to their dwellings to rest. Homer’s “Odyssey” describes Olympus as a calm, peaceful place without storms, rain or snow, having cloudless, perfect days.

A Different Creation Story

Since many of the ancient civilizations lived before the existence of the Scriptures, their version of the creation of the world and their view of the universe was remarkably different. According to the ancient legends, it is unknown which of the gods arranged the earth, which was created from a confused and shapeless mass of earth, sea and heaven, called chaos. This mass contained all the seeds for all living things. Once all of the mountains, valleys, forests, fertile fields, plains and rivers were placed, the earth was populated with birds, fish and beasts.

Man from Heavenly Seeds

A nobler animal was wanted by the gods. Prometheus was one of the race of Titans that inhabited Sumeria according to legend and mythology. He and his brother Epimetheus were directed to create man from the heavenly seeds in the image of the gods.

Please Note: There is no intent here to upset anyone’s religious convictions, and we apologize if anyone is offended. We are merely presenting ancient legends and mythology that exist in hundreds of books evidencing the source of many, many archetypes.

The Gift of Fire

It is written that Epimetheus bestowed upon man an upright posture and various gifts of courage, strength, swiftness, wings to one, claws to another, a shell coat to another but then exhausted his gifts. Prometheus, with the help of Minerva, the goddess of Wisdom and the daughter of Jupiter, went to heaven, lit his torch from the fire of the sun and brought it down to man. The gift of fire was more than a match against all the other beasts, and enabled man to make more weapons, tools, cook food and stay warm. Woman was not yet made.

Pandora’s Box

According to ancient Greek mythology, Zeus (Jupiter) made the first woman in heaven where every god contributed something to make her perfect. Venus (Aphrodite), the goddess of Love and Beauty and the daughter of Jupiter, gave her beauty, Mercury, the son of Jupiter, gave her persuasion, Apollo, another son of Jupiter, gave her music, and her name was Pandora. Various stories address these gifts carried in her box that she carelessly opened allowing all of her gifts to escape, except for one – hope.

The Titans

Zeus (Jupiter), called the father of gods, was the son of Cronos (Saturn) and Ops or Opis (Rhea), who were of a race of titans. Ophion and his wife, Eurynome, were titans who ruled Olympus until dethroned by the gods Saturn and Rhea. There were many other Titans, having familiar names of the planets. Jupiter’s brother Neptune (Poseidon) and Pluto (Dis). Jupiter was king of the gods and men. The thunderbolt was his weapon. Juno (Rhea), goddess of marriage and childbirth, was his wife and queen of the gods.

There were many Titans. They were the elder gods, whose dominion was transferred to others. It was fated that the youngest son would be the one to dispose of the father, which did not always go as planned. Saturn yielded to Jupiter, Oceanus yielded to Neptune, Hyperion to Apollo. Hyperion was the father of the sun, moon, and the dawn. He is therefore, the original sun-god, and is depicted in art with the splendor of beauty which was later bestowed upon Apollo.

Origin of Panic

There exists an ancient site called Paneas, near Mount Hermon, on the border of Lebanon and Syria. In ancient times, it was a shrine to the god Pan. This god was half human, having legs and horns of a goat and spent his time pursing women (nymphs). Often, his drunken orgies would turn to bloodshed, as he was prone to fits of violence. Thus we get the word “panic” from this particular demi-god.

This sanctuary was also called Baalgad, and Mount Hermon, according to the Book of Enoch, is the place where the fallen angels landed after descending from “heaven.”

God or Planet?

Mars (Ares) the god of war, was another son of Jupiter and Juno (Zeus and Hera).  All of the planets’ names were taken from the mythological gods. This makes for difficult reading – not knowing if the subject of the text is about a god or a planet.

Beautiful Psyche

We are told of a most beautiful princess. So beautiful that strangers from neighboring countries would come to look upon her with amazement. Her name was Psyche. She was as beautiful as a butterfly and the personification of the human soul.

Psyche was the love of Cupid (Eros), the son of Venus, the goddess of beauty. Cupid is  often depicted with hearts and roses, symbols of love. Cupid and Psyche eventually had a daughter who was named Pleasure.

Janus Is for January

Janus (Hermes) was a god and the porter of heaven, the custodian of the universe, and the guardian of the gates.  To the ancient Romans, he was the god of the beginnings and the ends, presiding over every entrance and departure, and because every door and gate looks in two directions, Janus was seen as two-faced. He opens each year, the first month being named after him.

The Nine Muses

The nine muses were the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, the goddess of Memory and Time and the inventor of language and words. The muses presided over poetry, history, tragedy, oratory, song, dance, literature, comedy, drama, idyls and astronomy.

The Three Graces

The Three Graces were goddesses. They represented grace, charm and beauty, and enhanced the enjoyment of life by refinement and gentleness, presiding over banquet, social enjoyment and art.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates were a group of three weaving goddesses who spun human destiny to mortals at birth. They were daughters of Zeus and Themis, a female titan and law counselor of Zeus (Jupiter). They had virtually unlimited power and even Zeus was unable to modify their decisions.

The Three Furies

The Three Furies or Erinnyes, were goddesses who punished men for crimes against the natural order, offenses against the gods, and perjury by stinging those who escaped or defied public justice. They were depicted as snakey-haired old women.

Zeus, Poseidon & Hades

Hades (Pluto) was the brother of Jupiter (Zeus), the oldest male child of Cronos and Rhea. Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon (Neptune) defeated their father and the Titans to end their reign, claiming rulership over the cosmos. They agreed to split their rule with Zeus, who became god of the skies. Poseidon became god of the sea and Hades became god of the underworld, or lower world – the gloomy subterranean land of the dead. 


Nemesis was an avenging goddess. She represents the righteous anger of the gods, particularly toward the proud and insolent.  Her name was derived from the Greek words nemêsis and nemô, meaning “dispenser of dues.” Nemesis directed human affairs in such a way as to maintain balance and is often depicted with scales. Happiness and unhappiness were measured out by her. In some variations of the Trojan War, she was said to be the mother of Helene.


And we are told of the mother goddess, Ninhursag of Sumerian texts. She is said to be the Mother of the Gods and Mother of Men for her part in creating both divine and mortal beings. Her nickname “mammu” – probably the source of the word “mom” or “momma” – is represented by a sign resembling the Greek symbol Omega and often accompanied by a knife. The omega and knife are thought to represent the uterus and the “cutter” used in antiquity by midwives to cut the umbilical cord after birth. 

Were They Real?

This is just a small sample of our earliest myths, legends and symbols that form our ancient experiences of the first ancestors. The archetypes influence all of us in our daily life. But the question is, were these ancient titan gods real? 

Humans, in one form or another, have inhabited earth for millions of years and evolved at a snail’s pace. At times, progress actually declined from one generation to the next. For many millions of years, man was a hunter-gatherer. But somehow sophisticated farms was developed. Man became a farmer, domesticated animals, made pottery and, as if by magic, communities were created and began to make images of the Supreme Beings or “gods.” One such image located in northern Israel dates to the ninth millenium (9,000 BC). It is a carved head of a god shielded by a striped helmet wearing some kind of goggles.

Is it any wonder that our collective unconscious is filled with ancient archetypes?

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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