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Reply To: The Ripening Outcast, with Mythologist Norland Tellez


Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and contributions—thank you Mary and James, it delights me to see so much fire struck by our mythblasts! I think it is a testimony to our shared passion for mythological studies!

Despite myself, I will have to keep this first reply brief but I hope to the point, especially addressing Stephen’s question about my use of the term “archetypal psyche” and “collective manifestation,” which he rightly brought attention to, for it can be a contentious issue even within the Jungian community. And yet Stephen challenges me to put it in the simplest way possible for those not familiar with archetypal psychology or Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious, which Jung advanced in contradistinction to the “personal unconscious” falsely attributed to Freud. I say falsely attributed because Freud already knew what later feminists would make into a rallying cry for women’s rights, namely, that “the personal is already the political.”

This is my contention with the emphasis on “collective manifestation” when it comes to archetypal data. In line with Jung’s original idea, I want to broaden our view of the psyche as an encompassing reality well beyond the confines of an individual consciousness. Part of the problem with accepting this notion, I think, is the fact that it gently pushes against the ideological fantasy that underpins our belief in rugged individualism. Although it should have been obvious to most jungians, as it was obvious to Jung despite himself, the manifestations of the collective psyche are in spectacular display everyday on the broad stage of history, not necessarily always hidden in the bowls of an individual consciousness.

So the simplest term for the collective manifestations of the archetypal psyche contains the hyphen of a mystical union of opposites: it is mytho-history, which is, of course, a favorite term of mine, derived from my study of the Popol Vuh and Maya mythology. Sometimes contracted into mythistory, as Joseph Mali does in his book titled Mythistory: The Making of Modern Historiography. This is an apt term in this context since it contains both the material and symbolic dimensions of the psyche, in its individual and collective manifestations, as an integrated whole of human co-existence on earth.

Much blessings,