Archetyes & symbols an archetype

Download 95.35 Kb.
Size95.35 Kb.


An archetype is a universally understood symbol, term, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.

A symbol is a word or object that stands for another word or object. The object or word can be seen with the eye or not visible. For example a dove stands for Peace. The dove can be seen and peace cannot. The word is from the Greek word symbolom. All language is symbolizing one thing or another. However when we read the book of Genesis it talked about a few symbols. In the story of Adam and Eve when Eve ate the apple, the apple stood for sin. Another reading Cain and Able. The two brothers stood for good and evil, humility and pride. Cain pulled Able to the fields and killed him. In this it is a hidden symbol. It is showing that Cain stands for the bad and Able stands for the good.

Plot Archetypes Significance/Topics

The Quest

This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader’s illness and disability

The Task

This refers to a possibly superhuman feat that must be accomplished in order to fulfill the ultimate goal.

The Journey

The journey sends the hero in search for some truth of information necessary to restore fertility, justice, and/or harmony to the kingdom. The journey includes the series of trials and tribulations the hero faces along the way. Usually the hero descends into a real or psychological hell and is forced to discover the blackest truths, quite often concerning his faults. Once the hero is at this lowest level, he must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living.

The Initiation

This situation refers to a moment, usually psychological, in which an individual comes into maturity. He or she gains a new awareness into the nature of circumstances and problems and understands his or her responsibility for trying to resolve the dilemma. Typically, a hero receives a calling, a message or signal that he or she must make sacrifices and become responsible for getting involved in the problem. Often a hero will deny and question the calling and ultimately, in the initiation, will accept responsibility.

The Ritual

Not to be confused with the initiation, the ritual refers to an organized ceremony that involves honored members of a given community and an Initiate. This situation officially brings the young man or woman into the realm of the community’s adult world.

The Fall

Not to be confused with the awareness in the initiation, this archetype describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral imperfection, and/or loss of innocence. This fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and/or moral transgression.

Death and Rebirth

The most common of all situational archetypes, this motif grows out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. It refers to those situations in which someone or something, concrete and/or metaphysical dies, yet is accompanied by some sign of birth or rebirth.

Nature vs. Mechanistic World

Expressed in its simplest form, this refers to situations which suggest that nature is good whereas the forces of technology are bad.

Battle Between Good and Evil

These situations pit obvious forces which represent good and evil against one another. Typically, good ultimately triumphs over evil despite great odds.

Father-Son Conflict

Tension often results from separation during childhood or from an external source when the individuals meet as men and where the mentor often has a higher place in the affections of the hero than the natural parent. Sometimes the conflict is resolved in atonement

Innate Wisdom vs. Educated Stupidity

Some characters exhibit wisdom and understanding intuitively as opposed to those supposedly in charge

Characters Significance/Topics

The Hero

In its simplest form, this character is the one ultimately who may fulfill a necessary task and who will restore fertility, harmony, and/or justice to a community. The hero character is the one who typically experiences an initiation, who goes the community’s ritual (s), et cetera. Often he or she will embody characteristics of YOUNG PERSON FROM THE PROVINCES, INITIATE, INNATE WISDOM, PUPIL, and SON.

Young Person from the Provinces

This hero is taken away as an infant or youth and raised by strangers. He or she later returns home as a stranger and able to recognize new problems and new solutions.

The Initiates

These are young heroes who, prior to the quest, must endure some training and ritual. They are usually innocent at this stage.


These individuals serve as teachers or counselors to the initiates. Sometimes they work as role models and often serve as father or mother figure. They teach by example the skills necessary to survive the journey and quest.

Loyal Retainers

These individuals are like the noble sidekicks to the hero. Their duty is to protect the hero. Often the retainer reflects the hero’s nobility.

Friendly Beast

These animals assist the hero and reflect that nature is on the hero’s side.

The Devil Figure

This character represents evil incarnate. He or she may offer worldly goods, fame, or knowledge to the protagonist in exchange for possession of the soul or integrity. This figure’s main aim is to oppose the hero in his or her quest.

The Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart

This redeemable devil figure (or servant to the devil figure) is saved by the hero’s nobility or good heart.

The Scapegoat

An animal or more usually a human whose death, often in a public ceremony, excuses some taint or sin that has been visited upon the community. This death often makes theme more powerful force to the hero.

The Outcast

This figure is banished from a community for some crime (real or imagined). The outcast is usually destined to become a wanderer.

The Earth Mother

This character is symbolic of fulfillment, abundance, and fertility; offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those who she contacts; often depicted in earth colors, with large breasts and hips.

The Temptress

Characterized by sensuous beauty, she is one whose physical attraction may bring about the hero’s downfall.

The Platonic Ideal

This source of inspiration often is a physical and spiritual ideal for whom the hero has an intellectual rather than physical attraction.

The Unfaithful Wife

This woman, married to a man she sees as dull or distant, is attracted to a more virile or interesting man.

The Damsel in Distress

This vulnerable woman must be rescued by the hero. She also may be used as a trap, by an evil figure, to ensnare the hero.

The Star-Crossed Lovers

These two character are engaged in a love affair that is fated to end in tragedy for one or both due to the disapproval of society, friends, family, or the gods.

The Creature of Nightmare

This monster, physical or abstract, is summoned from the deepest, darkest parts of the human psyche to threaten the lives of the hero/heroine. Often it is a perversion or desecration of the human body.

Numbers Significance/Topics


One number is the symbol of the Homo sapiens, the only being capable of complex rational
thinking and developed communication on Earth. It points to the absolute unity - God.Unity, primacy, the first, the best, the only, it has no divisors, no factors, no components, it is universal, whole and complete. One is independent of all other numbers, is the source of all other numbers. In this sense it represents God as the beginning and the end, the prime impulse, the source of creation. essence


If 1 is the essence, 2 is the existence; duality, the opposition, the separation, the antagonist


The Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost); Mind, Body, Spirit, Birth, Life, Death; circle . Three is the fundamental number. Number 3 points to the intellectual and spiritual order, the divine qualities in cosmos and people. It is the synthesis of number 1 and 2, the unity of Heaven and Earth. It also represents the three aspects of human life: material, rational and spiritual


Mankind (four limbs), four elements, four seasons


This is the number of power and Divine grace; Number 5 is the sum of the first even number 2 and the first odd number 3 and this symbolizes the union of heavenly and worldly aspects; man's biological and spiritual development as well as his existence. Numbersdivisible by 5 signify individuality and existence. This number is the symbol of the Universe, of orderand perfection, and finally, the symbol of divine power


devil, evil


Divinity (3) + Mankind (4) = relationship between man and God, seven deadly sins, seven days of week, seven days to create the world, seven stages of civilization, seven colors of the rainbow, seven gifts of Holy Spirit


the number of cosmic balance. There are eight carriers of the heavenly
thrones; justice and balance. In Christianity, number eight symbolizes resurrection of Jesus Christ. After six days of creation and one day of rest comes the eighth day. There are seven parts in the Old Testament and the eighth part is in the New Testament, symbolizing the new beginning. The eighth day represents the periodic revival and change.


The symbol of the world is the triangle with the three points: Heaven, Earth and Hell. Number
nine symbolizes the whole that includes three worlds; Number nine like the last number in the range signifies the beginning and the end, a transition to a new level. It symbolizes the end of the road, the finish of the cycle.


Earthly perfection; 10 toes and fingers


represents perfect man; Jesus was 30 and sold for 30 pieces of silver


a period of testing or trial

Shapes Significance/Topics


woman, passivity


communication, between heaven and earth, fire, the number 3, trinity, aspiration, movement upward, return to origins, sight, light; the triangle with the three points: Heaven, Earth and Hell


pluralism, earth, firmness, stability, construction, material solidity, the number four


the Tree of life, axis of the world, struggle, martyrdom, orientation in space


the most rational, most secure


the evolution of the universe, orbit, growth, deepening, cosmic motion, relationship between unity and multiplicity, macrocosm, breath, spirit, water


Heaven, intellect, thought, sun, the number two, unity, perfection, eternity, oneness, celestial realm, hearing, sound


(darkness) – chaos, mystery, the unknown, before existence, death, the unconscious, evil


blood, sacrifice; violent passion, disorder, sunrise, birth, fire, emotion, wounds, death, sentiment, mother, Mars, the note C, anger, excitement, heat, physical stimulation


hope, growth, envy, Earth, fertility, sensation, vegetation, death, water, nature, sympathy, adaptability, growth, Jupiter and Venus, the note G, envy


purity, peace, innocence, goodness, Spirit, morality, creative force, the direction East, spiritual thought


fire, pride, ambition, egoism, Venus, the note D


clear sky, the day, the sea, height, depth, heaven, religious feeling, devotion, innocence, truth, spirituality, Jupiter, the note F, physical soothing and cooling


water, nostalgia, memory, advanced spirituality, Neptune, the note B


Majesty, sun, wealth, corn (life dependency), truth


Moon, wealth


Royalty; honors; high status

Colors Significance/Topics

Body Significance/Topics


rational mind, reason; sky; mind; Christ is the Head of the Church, his body


Animal, earth, passion, desire; represents the Church.




Earth, represent the last members of Christ's Body, or Church.


wisdom, understanding, comprehension Sight; vision; analysis; favor


support, strength

Nature Significance/Topics


activity, creativity, breath, light, freedom (liberty), movement


active, masculine, god


passive, feminine, receptive, solid, green; the devil’s dominion


The tree is a symbol of antiquity and strength. Many types of trees are blazoned on shields and crests, but they are generally not depicted accurately. The type of tree can relate to the characteristics of an early bearer of the family name, or perhaps to the land held by that family. The garden of Eden. The cross. Life and Death.


Hero, son of Heaven, knowledge, the Divine eye, fire, life force, creative-guiding force, brightness, splendor, active awakening, healing, resurrection, ultimate wholeness


the ability to transform, love, life, health, control, sun, God, passion, spiritual energy, regeneration


mystery, depth, unconscious

Crescent Moon

change, transition


height, mass, loftiness, center of the world, ambition, goals


depression, low-points, evil, unknown


life force, life cycle


Guidance; represent those who radiate light, spiritual instruction


coldness, barrenness; silence


Holy Spirit, life, messenger


mystery, sacred


transformation to the Holy Spirit ; industry, advancement


Feminine; darkness; unknown


intuition, inspiration


evil, lost, fear


restless masses of society, usually unruly and lawless


republican governments, organizations of people; isolation


unfertile wilds, not cultivated as farmland nor industrialized as a city


a promise


Life giver; blessings


hard truths



Flowers Significance/Topics


longevity (it's always got green shoots) as well as strength and grace (it bends readily but doesn't break easily).


betrothal or engagement. In China, a carnation is a symbol of marriage.


The national symbol of Japan, 'mums are a symbol for long life

Clover leaf

The three divided leaves of clover represent the Christian Holy Trinity of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Four-leafed clovers represent luck.


The most basic of flowers, a white daisy is a symbol of innocence.


A low-growing plant (Myosotis) with small, usually blue flowers . As the common name suggests, a symbol of a plea for remembrance


A less-common symbol of love. Also of generosity


Associated with death as Iris was a Greek goddess of the rainbow, which she used to travel down to earth with messages from the gods and to transport women's souls to the underworld. The three upright petals and three drooping sepals are symbols for faith, valor, and wisdom.


This strongly scented, white flower is used as a Hindu symbol for love


Symbolizes chastity (because juniper berries are protected by the tree's thorny leaves), Christ (an association with the crown of thorns place on the head of Christ), and eternity (juniper wood is supposedly never attacked by bugs or worms).


purity, chastity, and innocence. White lilies represent the purity of the Virgin Mary. The Angel Gabriel was often painted presenting Mary with a white lily when he announced to her that she would give birth to the Son of God.


A common symbol in Asian art, the lotus symbolizes birth and rebirth through the fact that the petals open when the sun comes out and close when the sun sets. Also a symbol for fertility, creation, and purity. The long stem symbolizes our connection to our origins, while the flower represents the enlightenment to which we aspire.


A symbol of perfection. The spots on an orchid sometimes represent the blood of Christ.


A symbol of death. Red poppies are a symbol of Remembrance Day (11 November), which commemorates the dead of the First and Second World Wars.


love and passion, use red roses. For virginity and purity use white roses. To symbolize jealousy and infidelity, use yellow roses. In Catholicism, red roses are a symbol of the Virgin Mary.


Included in funeral wreaths as a symbol of remembrance and in wedding bouquets as a symbol for fidelity. It's said that if you touch a lover with a sprig of rosemary, they'll be faithful.


As a flower which blindly follows the sun, sunflowers have become a symbol of infatuation or foolish passion.


A thorny plant with a beautiful flower, the national symbol of Scotland. It's thorns symbolize both evil and protection. In Christianity it represents the suffering of Christ.


faithfulness, humility, and chastity.

Animals (Native American) Significance/Topics


Aggression, survival, adaptability


Group minded, perseverance, step by step. The ant represents self discipline and a group effort.


Guardian of the night, cleaner


Power, mother cunning, healer, gentle strength, dreaming. In the Zuni tradition, the bear symbolizes the direction West


Builder, gatherer


Sacredness, life builder.
The buffalo provides all good things
for living, and bestow's great curing powers


Leadership, courage, power, swiftness and balance.


Prankster, insight, playful. The coyote symbolizes duality and the ability
to present both sides of an issue. Clowning and humor, perhaps sarcastic


Solitude, independence


Love, gentleness, kindness, gracefulness and sensitivity. Deer carries the message of purity of purpose, and of walking in the light.


Kindness, play, bridge man to ocean. Dolphin brings us teachings from the water.
Breath control and the awareness of tone is also Dolphin power


Flighty, carefree. Dragonflies symbolize whirlwind, swiftness and activity. The dragonfly is
an important insect in Zuni legend, where they are shamanistic creatures with supernatural powers. In Hopi rock art, the dragonfly is symbolized by a vertical line with two or sometimes one, horizontal cross line.


Divine spirit, chief of all the creatures in the air, the primary servant of the sun. Powerful in battle, the eagle protects the people from evil. Eagle medicine attributes include clear vision and soaring spirit. The eagle is associated with success, prosperity and wealth. In the Zuni Tradition, the Eagle symbolizes the direction Up.


Strength, agility, freedom, power and nobility


Cunning, provider, intelligence. Fox represents twilight and feminine magic.


Connection with water element

Grizzly Bear

Mother, nature's pharmacist


Messenger of the sky, observer.


Stamina, mobility, strength and power. The horse was introduced to the plains tribes by the Spanish. Shaman's are often pictured flying on mythical horses. Horses can symbolize coping under difficult circumstances. Horse is love and devotion, loyalty.

Humming Bird

Messenger, stopper of time. Hummingbird represents optimism and sweetness. Being able to roll with the punches is an attribute of Hummingbird.


Conservation, agility. Lizard promotes dreaming.


Headstrong, unstoppable longevity. Moose represents value and integrity


Laughter, curiosity, mischievous. Otter is a feminine power, and the symbol of grace and empathy.


Wisdom, truth, patience. The Mescalero believe that Owl carries the souls of the recently deceased, a death messenger. Owl is the totem of clairvoyants and mystics.


Alertness, nurturing


Trickster, teacher, hoarder. To Pacific Northwest Coast tribes, Raven represented the shaman's powers and a belief in transformation between human and animal spirits. Raven symbolizes change in consciousness and is the mark of a shape shifter.


Instinct, persistence, determination


Confidence, grace


Hunter, survival, adaptability


Shrewdness, transformation. Life, death and rebirth are represented by the shedding of skin. Among the Pueblo Indians snakes and lightning are equated with rain and fertility.


Creative, pattern of life. Spider connects the past with the future, creating possibilities. Spider-woman is a major Pueblo goddess.


Grace, balance, innocence


Self contained, creative source. Turtle represents Mother Earth. Informed decisions, planning and adaptability are attributes of Turtle.


Loyalty, success, perseverance, stability and thought. Wolves are also regarded as path finders and teachers. Wolf is represented by the constellation Sirius, the Dog.In the Zuni tradition the Wolf symbolizes the direction East.

Seasons Significance/Topics


youth, newness, birth, sun, starting fresh, green


harmony, perfection, content, yellow,


harvest, middle age, ripeness, knowledge, brown


death, barren, discontent, running out of time, black

Directions/Movements Significance/Topics


where the sun rises. The eastern spirit of sun or fire brings warmth and light. It is the place of beginnings. Its light brings wisdom. It is the power of knowledge


the spirit of water. It is the direction from which darkness comes. It is the power of change, the place of dreams, introspection and the unknown. The west signifies purity and strength. Death, setting sun, linear thinking (western)


the spirit of wind. The cold wind blows from the north. It is the power of wisdom. Here we take time to reflect on what we began in the east, in the morning, in our youth


the sun at its highest point. It is the direction from where warm winds blow. South is the spirit of earth, the power of life. It represents peace and renewal.


unconscious, potentialities of being, animal nature


height, transcendence, inward journey, increasing intensity


thought, unity, timelessness, spacelessness, paradise, creator, infinity

Left & Right

The right is associated with action and the male, solar aspects of existence.  The left is traditionally associated with weakness, passivity and the lunar, female principle.  It’s important to note that these associations are from a Western viewpoint..  In the East, the symbolic values of left and right are much different.  In Japan, the left is the side of the male, solar energy and also stands for nobility and wisdom.  In contrast, it’s the right side that holds the female, lunar qualities.  China’s yin-yang concept shows a philosophy of balance and interrelatedness between male-female/left-right/light-dark.  The Cabala presents a neutral interpretation.  The right hand of god is the hand of blessing and symbolizes mercy.  The left hand stands for justice and is known as the the hand of the king.

Objects Significance/Topics


lightness, speed


our dark side, evil, devil




safe passage


change, transformation, indecision

Right hand

rectitude, correctness

Left hand



stability, freedom




Love, emotions


The passage of time


a warning

Dualities/Motifs Significance/Topics

Light vs. Darkness

Light usually suggests hope, renewal, OR intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair.

Water vs. Desert

Because water is necessary to life and growth, it commonly appears as a birth or rebirth symbol. Water is used in baptism services, which solemnizes spiritual births. Similarly, the appearance of rain in a work of literature can suggest a character’s spiritual birth.

Heaven vs. Hell

Humanity has traditionally associated parts of the universe not accessible to it with the dwelling places of the primordial forces that govern its world. The skies and mountaintops house its gods; the bowels of the earth contain the diabolic forces that inhabit its universe.

Haven vs. Wilderness

Places of safety contrast sharply against the dangerous wilderness. Heroes are often sheltered for a time to regain health and resources.

Supernatural Intervention

The gods intervene on the side of the hero or sometimes against him.

Fire vs. Ice

Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth while ice like desert represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death.

Directory: cms -> lib03 -> CA01001934 -> Centricity -> Domain
lib03 -> 1. Explain how arrival of colonists impacted the lives of Native Americans
lib03 -> What was the "Mukden incident" and how did this lead to the invasion of Manchuria?
lib03 -> U. S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln Name: Click here to enter text. Class: Click here to enter text
lib03 -> Unit 2/3 Industrialization and the Gilded Age / American Society In Transition (3 weeks) Big Picture Questions: Describe the factors that led to the dramatic expansion of American industry in the late 1800s
lib03 -> 22: The Rise of the Warrior Class in Japan
lib03 -> First Continental Congress
lib03 -> Summary and Analysis of Book I, Chapter 1
Domain -> Chapter 2 Exam Multiple Choice
Domain -> 2016 National History Day Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History Topic Ideas Exploration
Domain -> World Cultures Unit 4 Study Guide: World War 1

Download 95.35 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page