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There is an underlying basic intelligence that is the foundation for all forms of thought. It is called the "Cosmic Mind" or "Mahat" in Yogic philosophy. This Universal Mind manifests itself in human consciousness as patterns of universal consequence that are inherent in the way life exists within our universe.
This pattern has been described as Archetypes - mental spheres that form the foundation of every culture, individual thought and story ever written. It was first described in the 1200's by a Sufi Master, Ibn El-Arabi (born 1164), though Carl Jung is given credit for its development. An Archetype is an original pattern or imprinter for mental energy and each of the 7 Archetypes functions in a particular characteristic way. The Seven Basic Archetypes are: The Self, Masculine/Feminine, Hero/Adversary, Death/Rebirth. All Archetypes function in paired relationship to each other, except for The Self which functions as the Spirit or fully integrated Self. Each Archetype reveals itself in life and the dream state as symbols. For example, the Feminine Archetype functions in a nurturing capacity by caring for and about others. Its opposite - Masculine Archetype - functions by creating new ideas or projects and is not concerned with nurturing what already exists. A dove symbolizes peace - The Self Archetype - an expression of the integration of all opposites into a state of harmony.
Archetypal symbols radiate energy and evoke an emotional response based on your personal experience with the symbol. These symbols occur in daily life and also in the dream state. An example is a baby: it symbolizes birth or new beginning and it stems from the Archetype "Death-Rebirth". Babies evoke an emotional response from individuals, based on personal experience with babies. Seeing a baby in your dreams may indicate new opportunities are available to you or difficulties in bringing a new project into manifestation. Your personal interpretation of a symbol is based on your past experiences; thus,
it is important to do your own symbol analysis rather than pick a meaning from a book about symbols.
The symbols of Archetypes function simultaneously with feelings that have been stored as "emotions" on the level of the unconscious mind. There is no conscious thought involved in the mental process; the feelings are just spontaneous and stem from the archetype involved. Symbols that appear in your dreams are a manifestation of the internal connection that exist between all of the Archetypes. For example, a witch is a symbol that occurs along the pathway that connects the Feminine Archetype and the Adversary. When one encounters a female who seeks ill-intention towards others through the use of her powers, we label her a "witch". So, if you are dealing with a woman in your daily life who has ill thoughts towards you and is undermining your ability to know happiness in your life, the symbol of a witch manifests in your dream state.
To begin working with the symbols in your life, write down every symbol that appears in your dream state. Then, contemplate each symbol individually; relate the symbol to an Archetype. Next, look at the relationship between these basic mental spheres and take note of how these symbols relate to your daily life. By doing so, you open your mind up to deeper understanding of where you are in your "inner space". Armed with this knowledge you may move through your daily life with acceptance and courage when dealing with the challenges Life brings you.
To learn more about Artchetypal Symbology, read my future article on the Symbols of the Seven Archetypes.