Astrology Notebook: A Bit About Archetypes

Originally published at on May 9th, 2005.
Republished at on November 1st, 2017.

When I think of archetypes, my mind is automatically drawn to the theories of Carl Jung. That’s convenient for this column, since Jung’s theories blend well with astrology. I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that I much prefer using astrology as a way of understanding the people around me over using it to decide if I should wear a blue shirt today. While mulling all of this over in preparation for writing today’s column, I realized that I simply don’t know enough about Jung’s archetypes. And then I found this page. That’s Dr. C. George Boeree’s page about Jung. Dr. Boeree is a professor of psychology at Shippensburg University, and his homepage is here. I found that archetypes are not the only part of Jungian theory that I needed to discuss.

In Freudian theory, the three basic parts of human psychology are easy. The ego–the self–is the Sun in a natal chart. The superego–how the ego is allowed to interact with the outside world–is the ascendant, albeit a bit of a controlling one. The id is the moon. There may be a whole lot of Pluto in it, but it’s the moon, nonetheless. (Plus, there’s this theory about evolution of the elements, which would make Pluto function almost as an extension of the moon. But more on that later.) According to Boeree (who gives no mention to Jung’s theory regarding the superego), Jung’s version of the id, his “personal unconscious,” is without the instincts that lend it a Plutonian flavor in Freudian theory. Those instincts, then, are dumped into the collective unconscious (Boeree), which makes perfect sense for a dark, transitional, generational planet like Pluto, but completely removes the ascendant, and its importance in personal astrology, from the mix. Placing emphasis on Pluto in a simple personal chart, while ignoring the ascendant, would only be reasonable if you believe that generation influences a person’s makeup nore than immediate family does. In some senses, that may actually be the case, but more often than not, the opposite will be true.

Boeree goes on to discuss several of Jung’s archetypes, and the cross-reference with astrology is not as plug-and-play as I would have liked. The shadow, with its emphasis on survival and genration (Boeree) is easily Scorpio. The mother, in any system, is always Cancer. The father is Capricorn. The persona is where the ascendant finally comes into play. The anima and animus are Gemini references (see also the Twins, Shu and Tefnut, in Egyptian mythology [Hope, 151-156]). The hero is Aries. The maiden? Virgo. The child is obviously Leo. “Jung’s Archetypes” adds the Syzygy, the “Divine Couple” (perhaps a better representation of the Egyptian Twins) to the mix, and for that, I have no astrological counterpart in either sign or planet. The closest match is the 7th House, which doesn’t work, for me, because houses are sectors of life, rather than characters. In any case Jung’s archetypes are not constrained to a set list, and that means that there is no way to perfectly line up his system to the astrological one.

I’m disappointed. I wanted a perfect overlay of astrology and the theories of the man most associated with archetypes. But perfect overlays are rare things, indeed, and I’m not Virgo enough to be too upset about it. Next time around, we’ll move beyond Jung to Signs and Symbols, an In-Depth Look.

Works SitedBoeree, C. George. “Carl Jung”. George Boeree’s Homepage. 1997. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. 9 May 2005 < >.

Hope, Murray. The Way of Cartouche. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

“Jung’s Archetypes”. 9 May 2005 < >.