The wise elder

People progress through life in a series of steps. A "wise elder" (wise old woman or wise old man) is a person who has gone along the psychological path and is recognizable to you as a symbol of some future step in your life.

Wisdom does not correlate exactly with physical qualities, for example, physical "white hair and wrinkles" are not the same as the word "wisdom". Nature gives a person white hair and wrinkles, while society gives a person labels (e.g. "wisdom"). So if you are trying to decide whether to respect "white hair and wrinkles" (from nature) or labels (like "wise), usually you will do better trusting nature (i.e., the white hair and wrinkles).

The archetypal shadow is the hidden side of a personality.

"Hidden or unconscious aspects of oneself, both good and bad, which the ego has either repressed or never recognized. Before unconscious contents have been differentiated, the shadow is in effect the whole of the unconscious. It is commonly personified in dreams by persons of the same sex as the dreamer. (...)

An outbreak of neurosis constellates both sides of the shadow: those qualities and activities one is not proud of, and new possibilities one never knew were there.

Jung distinguished between the personal and the collective or archetypal shadow."

(The Jung Lexicon )  See also  Wikipedia Shadow.

Anima and animus are the opposites of one's gender identity.

In a female, the animus is the exact male counterpart to her feminine identity. In a male, this opposite is called the anima. The anima is the inner feminine side of a man. It is an archetypal image of woman in the male psyche. It is an archetype formed in every male child. Initially identified with the individual's mother, the anima is later experienced not only in other women but as a pervasive influence in a man's life.

"Animus. The inner masculine side of a woman. Like the anima in a man, the animus is both a personal complex and an archetypal image. The animus becomes a helpful psychological factor when a woman can tell the difference between the ideas generated by this autonomous complex and what she herself really thinks. While a man's task in assimilating the effects of the anima involves discovering his true feelings, a woman becomes familiar with the nature of the animus by constantly questioning her ideas and opinions. " (The Jung Lexicon ) See also  Wikipedia Anima and Animus.

 The trickster

 The trickster is often a mischievous animal or person who ignores conventional behavior. He / she represents an energy or quality that is often subdued or repressed in "civilized society". Above all perhaps, the trickster is a medicinal figure who has the powers of nature, known and unknown. See also Wikipedia Trickster

The archetypal self is the "whole" individual.

The archetypal self refers to a hidden completeness. Often spiritual symbols are symbols of the archetypal self. 

"The archetype of wholeness and the regulating center of the psyche; a transpersonal power that transcends the ego. (...) Jung believed there was no essential difference between the self as an experiential, psychological reality and the traditional concept of a supreme deity." (The Jung Lexicon )  See also  Wikipedia Self.

Your persona is the mask you show others.

"The "I," usually ideal aspects of ourselves, that we present to the outside world.

Originally the word persona meant a mask worn by actors to indicate the role they played. On this level, it is both a protective covering and an asset in mixing with other people. Civilized society depends on interactions between people through the persona.

A psychological understanding of the persona as a function of relationship to the outside world makes it possible to assume and drop one at will. But by rewarding a particular persona, the outside world invites identification with it. Money, respect and power come to those who can perform single-mindedly and well in a social role. From being a useful convenience, therefore, the persona may become a trap and a source of neurosis. " (The Jung Lexicon ) See also  Wikipedia Persona.


"Father" and "fire" and "gold" and "sun" are very different in their meanings as words, but they overlap more in archetypes. In all societies these words are connected , because there is an archetypal relationship between them.

The archetypal healer

Healing has meant different things through the ages, but there are specific qualities that have always been associated with true healers.

1) Their healing is derived from a) spiritual tradition and b) solitary study of nature.

There is a story about the entrance exam for an old style Tibetan medical school. A potential student would arrive and ask to learn medicine. He or she would be told "Go into the forest and return with one plant that does not have any medicinal value, a useless plant. Then we will see".

Each student would go into the forest. When he or she returned with a "useless plant", they would be told that they were not yet ready to learn. Only those students who were not able to find a useless plant were considered mature enough to be taught traditions that had been passed through generations.

2) They heal as individuals, not as part of a group.

Modern medical doctors call themselves "healers" but they are actually more part of a club, or bureaucracy, that deals with health issues, highly paid mechanics who have studied a trade. True healers, however, learn from nature and are well aware that they do not "possess" their skills.

Obviously there is a continuum of ability, degrees of healing. At one extreme are the great spiritual leaders, from many traditions, who had completely mastered the art. Every great spiritual leader throughout history has been a healer to some extent, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Mohammed, etc. At the other extreme are the many people who use credentials or other tricks to draw in "customers", and then try to mimic real healing by various tricks that are often grossly contrary to nature.