Archetypical stories and their interpretation © Marinus Jan Marijs
Archetypical stories are stories which have a universal structure.
They have different levels of meaning.
So there are different levels of interpretation:
Historic, concrete, geographical.
Aesthetic, no hidden or deeper meaning.
Allegorical descriptions of collective transformative processes.
Archetypical representations of individual transformative processes.
Descriptions of metaphysical realities.
Refers to the highest levels of consciousness.
Refers to the totality of kosmic processes.
The illustrations give a comparative study of how artists have visually represented archetypical images.
Click on the paintings to view a larger image
The stories are collected from many different traditional sources.
The conceptual definitions are mainly from Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica
The texts that are in italics are from other sources and not by the author (M.J.M.)
Allegory and cosmology
The allegorical mode has been of major importance in representing the cosmos: the earliest Greek philosophers, for example, speculated on the nature of the universe in allegorical terms; in the Old Testament’s oblique interpretation of the universe, too, the world is seen as a symbolic system. The symbolic stories that explain the cosmos are ritualized to ensure that they encode a message. Held together by a system of magical causality, events in allegories are often surrounded by an occult atmosphere of charms, spells, talismans, genies, and magic rites. Allegorical fictions are often psychological dramas whose scene is the mind; then their protagonists are personified mental drives.
The importance of symbolical expression and of the pictorial presentation of religious facts and ideas has been confirmed, widened, and deepened both by the study of local cultures and religions and by the comparative study of world religions. Systems of symbols and pictures that are constituted in a certain ordered and determined relationship to the form, content, and intention of presentation are believed to be among the most important means of knowing and expressing religious facts. Such systems also contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of the relationships between human beings and the realm of the sacred or holy (the transcendent, spiritual dimension). The symbol is, in effect, the mediator, presence, and real (or intelligible) representation of the holy in certain conventional and standardized forms.
The concept of the religious symbol also embraces an abundantly wide variety of types and meanings. Allegory, personifications, figures, analogies, metaphors, parables, pictures (or, more exactly, pictorial representations of ideas), signs, emblems as individually conceived, The symbol is not, however, kept hidden in meaning; to some extent, it even has a revelatory character (i.e., it goes beyond the obvious meaning for those who contemplate its depths).
It indicates the need for communication and yet conceals the details and innermost aspects of its contents.
The foundations of the symbolization process lie in the areas of the conscious and the unconscious, of experience and thought, and of sense perception, intuition, and imagination. From these arises the structure of religious symbolism.
Sensation and physiological and psychological processes participate in the formation of the symbol structure. Extraordinary religious experiences and conditions, visions, and ecstasy, changes in consciousness must also be taken into consideration.
The symbol itself, however, is intended as an objective concentration of experiences of the transcendent world and not as a subjective construction of a personally creative process.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.