|Theseus killing the|
Just as every myth has its meaning, so does every symbol. Symbols exist to summarize a certain though (or sometimes even a whole story) into a picture which everyone can understand, and that includes the illiterate. It goes without saying that symbols' meanings vary from nation to nation, from individual to individual and from religion to religion. The only thing I feel bad about is that we have come to the point when we feel the need to call certain symbols ours and nobody else's. For example, the Latin cross is the holy symbol of the Christian faith while most Christians will look on a pentagram a symbol of everything evil. Or better said, if a symbol isn't "yours", then it must be evil and perverse. People often forget that symbols are a very private thing too and, according to this, it's logical to conclude that what is a bad symbol to one person can be a good symbol to another. This individuality of every symbol makes it impossible for them to be generally good or bad.
I read in a certain book that mythology is basically dramatized psychology. I agree with this statement because every myth originates from the human psyche. Myths centered around heroes, beautiful damsels, dragons, goblins and other amazing creatures...all of them decorate our psyche with a nice big red bow and wrap it into a nice little compact package which future generations can inherit. So instead of the Savior, you'll have a hero, the dragon will embody an actual physical danger of psychological problem and so on. Jesters will always be jesters, and kings will always be kings, but all of them will be based on reality.
Myths, fairy tales and other stories are special because they penetrate our subconscious. What we will consciously hear will be a nice story which is told for fun, but our subconscious will hear an intense moral lesson or perhaps a warning.
|Carl Gustav Jung|
Let me turn to Carl Gustav Jung's psychology for a moment who has, of late, become an important figure in the world of Paganism and Witchcraft. He analyzed both the conscious and unconscious human psyche in great detail and divided it the following way:
- The Ego (the conscious aspect)
- The Shadow (an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not recognize)
- The Anima (the hidden female aspect in every man)
- The Animus (the hidden male aspect in every woman)
- The Personal Unconscious (where the desires, urges, frustrations etc. or an individual are hidden)
- The Collective Unconscious (a collection of the unconscious things on a global scale which developed in time. This term is often connected with phenomenons such as telepathy, divination and magical works in general)
- The Persona (the mask which the Ego wears)
- The Self (our basis as well as the basis of our psychological personality)