Jungian archetypes facilitate altered consciousness, study finds

by | May 19, 2024 | Consciousness, Health & Wellbeing, Mindfulness & Meditation, Parapsychology, Psychology, Spirituality, Story Ideas | 0 comments

May 2024

A new Japanese study shows how Jungian psychology can be applied in the context of shamanic rituals and altered states of consciousness. Eliciting archetypes can facilitate a shift in consciousness, the authors write in Frontiers in Psychology.

According to Carl G. Jung, archetypal symbols connect the individual to the collective unconscious through visual images and symbolic imagery.

Archetypes are innate, spontaneously generated psychological patterns, symbols, or images that exist in the collective unconscious and are not affected by external influences or transmissions. They are believed to be hard-wired patterns in the subconscious mind, and are found in mythology, religion, art, and literature from different cultures.

“Shamanism, as a religious culture, provides important examples of Jung’s theory of archetypes”, write the two researchers behind the study.

Their trial comprised 75 participants; 41 males and 34 females. All believed in or were interested in shamanism.

The participants were first asked to view symbolic images commonly present in shamanic rituals, such as masks, patterns and totems. With eyes closed, the participants then listened to an 8-beat monotonous drumbeat, while the organizer guided them to imagine that the archetypal symbolic images were emerging before their eyes.

After the ritual, participants were asked to rate the effects of the archetypes before and after the practice. They completed a questionnaire to measure the intensity of the altered state of consciousness.

“Archetypal symbols used in shamanic rituals significantly affected participants’ state of consciousness, causing them to undergo a conscious experience of ego-dissolution that was significantly different from the waking state,” the study says.

“This study explains changes in the state of consciousness in shamanic rituals from a psychological perspective based on the archetype concepts of Jungian psychology.”

Anders Bolling

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