'Lo all,

You know, the Majors are said to represent prototypes, original patterns which trigger organizing conceptions and regulative principles. Archetypes.

This suggestion might be seen as politically incorrect or some kind of ethnic slur or something, and I really don't mean that, but --

When I say: Gypsy fortune teller

Doesn't a picture leap to your mind? I'll bet, whatever continent or island you may be on, when I say that you have a quick mental image. And I think all those images will be similar. Isn't that an archetype?



Talisman: I think I get your drift; however, I do not know if wide-spread familiarity with a phrase or concept would cause it to be an archetype in the purest (& purist) sense. Sort of like when one refers to a tissue as "a Kleenex" & most know what it is due to the persuasive powers of advertising & common usage; thus transforming a brand name into a generic term for an object. It may depend on one's cultural &/or societal influences.
In metaphysics, archetype refers to the theory that material objects symbolize ideas.
In psychology, according to Carl Jung's theory, archetype is a way of thinking that is inherited from a common group experience & remains in the consciousness of the individual, influences his view of life. Jung is credited with the origin of the term the "collective unconscious" as well as with "synchronicity".
Up until some time ago, I was more familiar with "soothsayer".
In my first language, the equivalent of soothsayer (fortune teller) translates literally to mean "life seer"; or "one who sees".


I agree with MeeWah. Archetype is the background collective unconcious where an organizing idea can crystallize around a particular situation, giving it a larger significance.
I remember one particular example he gave (besides a huge number about mothers... you have your own personal mother, plus a cllective unconcious idea of 'Mother" etc). His example was a leader, during an unstable warlike situation. With his troops, unsure of what to do. They come to a river and as they cross it he makes a decision and takes decisive action.
This is in no way to say that crossing a river causes you to take decisive action, but that the time was ripe for this man, and that crossing a river triggered achetypal images in his mind and he did decide.
Jung also compared it to what we would call a saturated solution. It just looks like a liquid until you put a seed or nucleus particle into it, then suddenly a whole crystal grows. An organizing principal... it is always there, part of the unconcious landscape, and a real world event/emotion whatever troggers it.


An archetype-Something, usually a figure of someone,a symbol that people of almost any culture on earth can relate to and understand.For instance, the empress, or the hermit,to name just a couple. The archetypes exist in the collective unconscious,or even superconscious.Archetypes are Living symbols.They come alive in our minds, dreams , and lives.


I agree with the idea that an archetype is something which you get from your background and upbringing.

However, the Tarot is mostly Western, so the majority of Tarot users do not have a problem with the archetypes in them, such as the Mother, being the Empress, the famous and widely loved Wounded Healer as the Hanged Man, the Guide as the Hermit, Father as Emperor, etc....



I understand the various archetypes that are usually represented in our unconscious as people or types of people, but are there archetypes that are not usually equated with living beings? Can an archetype be more abstract, like a concept or idea? It seems to me like it should, but my brain is having a hard time coming up with an example.

Thanks, all!


"Curiosity is one of the permanent
and certain characteristics of a
vigorous mind."
Samuel Johnson, 1751


In Jungian psychology, an archetype is an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.

While "Gyspy fortune teller" certain conjures up an image in our minds, I think it's more of a stereotype than an archetype. It's in the same line of "cheerleader." Doesn't that conjure up an image as well? Most real gypsies (who don't even like to be called "gypsies") are not like the romantic, Carmen-like image we have anyway.

I think of archetypes as being more like: the mother, the father, the warrior, the trickster, the lover.


i agree w/ riotfemme that archetypes are like the mother, father, etc. the big test for a archetype is that you'll find some kind of symbol of it in every civilization and/or culture. it is an enduring symbol that goes beyond recorded history . even tho the words used to describe it are different, everyone can agree they know what lovers are, for example.


First off, I agree with RiotFemme that my suggestion of "Gypsy fortuneteller" is far more stereotype than archetype.

And with Kiama, and others, that universal images such as mother, father, hermit, etc., do have the resonance to be archetypes.

But, if I hadn't stereotyped it, and simply suggested fortune teller, by whatever name -- oracle, seer, soothsayer, augur, sibyl, mantologist, diviner, geomancer, haruspice, extispex, valicinatress, haruspex, sorcerer, pythoness, etc. etc. --then I think it does become universal, and thus an archetype.

Of course without the dumb question we wouldn't have had intelligent and enlightening commentary by MeeWah, and Marion and others, on just what an "archetype" means.

Wandering around in the ozone somewhere.


oracle, seer, soothsayer, augur, sibyl, mantologist, diviner, geomancer, haruspice, extispex, valicinatress, haruspex, sorcerer, pythoness, etc. etc.
Wow, I had definitely not heard of at least a third of those. Haruspex... I like it.
"A person who inspected the entrails of sacrificial victims in order to foretell the future."
Had to look that up. Great stuff. :)