Archetypes, Spirit Guides, and Jungian Psychology

Right now I am working on continuing education workshop ideas spinning off and discussed in my Guru book.

In the Guru book, I propose that Jungian archetypes are equivalent to Shamanic Spirit Guides or allies (as in Castaneda’s Don Juan books), and introduce readers to my personal archetypes/spirit guides.

As it turns out, there is a whole group of practitioners, mainly healers of the psychotherapy/counseling professions, interested in the parallels between shamanic practices, actually neoshamanic, and their healing practices. Many of these use neoshamanistic-like approaches to help their patients. For those that are not familiar with Jungian archetypes and some of the other terms. Let us start with archetypes.

Summarizing from Guru, chapter 3, psychologist Carl Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, envisioned archetypes as universal, species-based, or as we now would say, DNA-based, symbols and images, honed by natural selection and the evolutionary process for problem solving. They “inhabit” our unconscious, or what Jung called the Collective Unconscious. Archetypes are closely related to and called up by our emotional neural circuits when these circuits are activated. We have archetypes because they helped us survive and reproduce, the two evolutionary imperatives. Examples of these symbols are mother, child, father, trickster, hero, teacher, and such symbols as The Flood, as in the Bibles’ Noah and the arc story, much of Greek mythology. Characters from The Terminator and the Matrix movies come to mind as I write this. Most notably for my Guru story, is Bandido and his sidekick, the dragon, Chaos. These are my Shadow archetype, or rather my Shadow complex.

Archetypes are individualized, that is, they manifest to us based on our own specific histories, genes, and life experiences. They are called up to help us solve problems based on our species’ evolutionary solutions of the past. They manifest themselves in our dreams and unconscious behaviors. We each can learn to access and work directly with own archetypes to help us solve problems. This is where indigenous spirit guides come in.

What the ancients called spirit guides or allies, were essentially archetypes. Shamanic journeying and visions of the ancients was really about accessing where we access lower levels of consciousness or Jungian collective unconsciousness based on my interpretation and experiences.

For those interested in reading more about this topic, please see my Guru book.