Anthony Stevens (1998) explicates the relationship between symbols and archetypes when he writes "Symbols can thus be understood as metaphors for archetypal needs and intentions or expressions of basic archetypal patterns. Every individual, every family, every community, and every nation will produce symbols appropriate to its circumstances but, for all their apparent variety, they are based on similar structural configurations which are ultimately inherent in the human mind-brain" (p. 37).
Your assignment for today is to describe one of these symbols that plays a role in your life; choose a significant photograph, artwork, or item on a shelf in a room of your house. This image or item should be significant to you. Next, describe what this image/item symbolizes in general and then what it symbolizes to you.
I'll give you an example.
Here is a painting that hangs above the fireplace in my home: it is a nightscape with a full moon. According to Anthony Stevens, the moon is "our primordial clock" and "represents the consciousness that comes to us in dreams" (p. 136). However, this moon comes with a label that reads "this is not your moon," which implies some sort of exclusion.
This is meaningful to me in that it is one of my first oil paintings, and the line comes from a poem I wrote (called "Where the Jackalope Roam" and published in Pacific Review) in which I criticized our human tendency to try to possess and own things that should not (or cannot) be possessed. Thus, I have this painting on my wall to try to motivate me to be more actively creative in my life and to remind me to be humble, to not try to control life too much.
I am often lazy, and I often try to plan my life too much in advance, so I need all the help I can get with these reminders.