Symbolic Archetypes

What are Symbolic Archetypes?

Symbolic Archetype Definition:

A symbol is an object, place, or image in a tale that has more than one practical significance. It incorporates both a physical meaning in the world of the story and a thematic connotation for the reader to interpret.

The object, place or image can be exactly what it is in the story world. For example, a red rose is a red rose, a valley is a valley, and spring is spring.

But also, a feature of a symbol is that it has an additional function or significance linked to major themes in human existence. So, a red rose represents love, a valley represents abundance, and spring represents youth.

What is an example of a symbolic archetype?

Symbolic archetypes are those that take the form of colors, elements, forms, and natural phenomena. These symbolic archetypes may be observed in movies and stories: Light – hope or revival, and Dark – despair or death.

Are archetypes and symbols the same?

Archetypes are innate patterns in the human race’s collective unconscious. A symbol represents something more abstract or general. As an example of a combination of that we can take the cross, which is a Christian symbol representing Christ’s suffering and death.

21 Symbolic Archetypes

Have you ever wondered why most villains wear black and most heroes wear white? This is no coincidence. Symbolic archetypes are those that take the shape of colors, elements, forms, and natural phenomena. Symbolic archetypes are a useful tool to form a story a writer is trying to tell.

The following symbolic archetypes may be found in stories and films::

  1. Light – Hope or renewal
  2. Dark – Despair or ignorance
  3. Water – Birth and life
  4. Haven – Safety
  5. Wilderness – Danger
  6. Fire – Knowledge, rebirth
  7. Ice – Death, ignorance
  8. Black – Evil, mystery
  9. Red – Passion, blood
  10. Green – The earth, growth
  11. White – Purity, peace, innocence
  12. Three – Trinity; mind, body, spirit
  13. Four – Seasons, elements
  14. Square – Stability
  15. Circle – Heaven, perfection, eternity
  16. Spiral – Cosmic motion, growth
  17. Clouds – Mystery
  18. Rain – Change
  19. Lightning – Inspiration
  20. Hourglass – Time passing
  21. Heart – Love
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