Welcome aboard to the tour guide of your mind, based on the teachings of Carl Jung. For the last issue of Grapeshot 2023, Sophie Poredos explores your unconscious mind through a crash course of Jung’s archetypes.
My unconscious mind is a whirlwind of chaos and sound. If anyone ever stepped into my mind, they would have trouble catching my whizzing thoughts, fired by my overworked synapses. But today, dear traveller, we are here to explore your mind. Buckle up and make sure you share the Malteser popcorn with me because this won’t be a comfortable journey.
First, let’s pay attention to Carl Jung, one of the modern-day founders of psychology. He worked alongside Freud until he got into that weird sexual crap. You know, “penis envy” and all that. Deviating from Freud, Jung believed that the human psyche was composed of the unconscious personal self, the conscious collective self and the ego . Your personal self is the innate part almost inaccessible to you, like a locked door. However, this locked door still guides your actions and responses. Whereas, the collective self is the idealised values we share as a society: peace and harmony, unity and care-taking. And the ego? Yeah, you pretty much have the right guess that it's at the centre of the unconscious mind.
As we go further into your mind, watch the low-hanging bulbs; we must look at Jung’s archetypes. Archetypes are characteristics steeped with ancestral ties and refer to the effects of the collective unconscious that manifest themselves in various ways .
On your right is the “persona,” and perhaps the most suffocating archetype. It is the mask we adorn to others, the outward appearance of ourselves . Our persona is who we are on the first date or the stressful interview. It is an exhaustingly perfect version of the self, moulded by our social status and gender roles. But beware of the mask; sometimes, we can become cowardly when hiding behind a false reality.
Moving along our tour, the ‘animus’ ahead refers to our gender identity and expression; how do we want others to perceive us? Whilst the idea of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ is outdated, Jung's ideas of reversing gender roles allow us to be more in tune with all parts of ourselves . There is a supposed ‘feminine’ imbalance when men are not in tune with their emotions and sensitivity, resulting in a ‘failure to individualise’ .
And now, keep both hands in the carriage, please. The shadow archetype at the end is one you don’t want to get too close to on this tour unless you want to get bitten. It is the ‘dark side’ of our mind, our repressed selves which we hide away from in shame or fear. The shadow self often guards our conscious minds from all these anxieties for fear of facing them. Whilst not inherently evil, the truth is always a difficult pill to swallow.
The last exhibit on our tour is ‘The Self’. Yes, our final archetype is you. If this were reality, this is the part when you ‘self-actualise’ and ‘individualise’ yourself from the masses of the common [wo]man. When you finally stand in front of the mirror and the unconscious and conscious minds unify together. Your ‘authenticity’ and ‘adaptivity’  have finally stopped battling against each other for control, and now you have a better grasp on who you are as a person. You have conquered your shadow demons and thrown away the ‘persona’ mask. Your ‘animus’ inside you is well-fed and looked after, nourished with healthy gender expression and acceptance. If this were reality, you would finally embrace your character and all the flaws that come along with it.
But I’m just a tour guide.
 Miller, Loretta, Carl Jung: Archetypes, Symbols and the Unconscious, Holistic Psychotherapy, 2022,
 Heckmann, Chris, What are the Jungian Archetypes - Writer’s Guide to Archetypes, studiobinder, 2022,