An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism Summary

An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Either the world is roughly the way we think it is, and only a little fine-tuning is needed—more funds here, a deciding vote there—for it to run smoothly. Or things are not at all what they seem, our culture’s entire perception of reality is seriously flawed—and the enormous changes we urgently need at this time must come not from votes or elected officials but from within, from the individual soul: changes at the level of vision, dream, myth.

The great American machine is powered by the first premise, and presidential elections are its great festivals. But for an increasing number of people, the second reality—the reality of myth, of vision, of dream—is beginning to eclipse the first. It is for these people, for whom the interior is the final place of discovery, that this book is published.

Physically, the encyclopedia is a splendidly designed, large-format volume containing 120 beautiful full-page color photos of icons, baskets, sculptures, mandalas, screens, manuscript illuminations from Africa, Asia, Europe, the remote past and the recent past, Buddhist and Christian and Islamic and shamanic sources. Each item expresses one of the mythic themes of Carl Jung’s collective unconscious; each is accompanied by a two-page description of its place in its own cultural milieu and its archetypal psychological significance, a short bibliography for further reading, and a glossary of relevant technical terms.

And the whole represents a brilliant choice—by historian Beverly Moon—of the finest from the more than thirteen thousand such images indexed and referenced in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS), copies of which are housed in the libraries of the Jungian institutions in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The book is beautiful. It is almost too beautiful. It is (and this is both its only flaw and its great gift) a coffee-table book for the soul.