Which if you’re a Jungian (Carl Gustav Jung invented the term “archetype”) is contradictory because archetypes aren’t just personal: they’re images or types that recur through different people and indeed different cultures.
Maybe these are Jungian archetypes. Anyway, I’ve noticed certain characters crop up repeatedly in my poems, not as identical, but as recognisably closely similar. So I thought I’d have a go at making a guide for them.
THE BEAST: A threatening absence (and occasionally presence), something powerful and frightening that visits only at long intervals. Generally its interventions are seen as destructive, but the destruction can lead to new life.
THE DETECTIVE: A rational, dedicated figure, an analyst and pursuer, perhaps for justice, perhaps for destruction.
THE EXPLORER: Often in a group of explorers, he/she is fired by a wish to discover new things, sometimes to the extent of being insensitive to what his/her interventions result in. The Explorer is restless and takes risks.
THE IGNORANT SOLDIER: A soldier who is trying to do his duty but has no clear idea of what he’s fighting for or who the enemy is. There’s an overlap with the Watcher (see below).
THE RIDER: Not any rider, but a mysterious figure, sometimes a messenger, coming and going. Sometimes he/she is hooded and sometimes carries a bag with mysterious contents. The hooded messenger could sound like Death – and the Rider can be Death, but that’s only one possible guise. The Rider brings change.
THE WATCHER (or Guard): Someone who has the duty of waiting and watching for someone to come or something to happen. Sometimes he (it tends to be a man) is guarding something, but has no idea of if or when it may be threatened. What the watcher waits for may never come, but he has to watch for it.
THE WOMAN AHEAD: A female figure, possibly not human, who is always just out of sight, always leading, always sensed but not found. She inspires but remains elusive.
THE WOUNDED MAGICIAN: A magician (an exceptional, creative person) who is ill, dying, wounded or hunted. The magician creates, but can be destroyed.
I may think of more and if so, will post them.
Copyright Simon Banks 2012