Please read the attached lecture and respond, answering the criteria below.. In-text MLA citations and reference only from a trusted scholarly resource. 300 words or more.(From the instructor): As a mythologist, I distinguish three basic types of mythic narrative: Divine Myths, Heroic Myths, and Folk Myths. These are defined in my Week Eight Overview Lecture. After learning the distinction among them, analyze ONE element of your own Flyer in terms of the type of myth represented by it.For example, if you choose a mythic character, object, or place that is part of a Cosmogonic Myth, then summarize the story in which your character, object, or place appears, and tell why the story should be defined as a Divine Myth. If you decide to write about a Heroic Myth, then identify the character, object, or place as part of a myth of this type. Summarize the story in which it appears, and state why the narrative should be called a Heroic Myth. If you choose a mythic character, object, or place that belongs to a Folk Myth, do the same with reference to this type of narrative.HUMN 351 LECTURE EIGHT OVERVIEW – TYPES OF MYTHIC NARRATIVE
Dr. Victoria Kennick
Research on myths involves inter-disciplinary study, because myths are such an integral
part of culture that they can be approached from many sides. Mythologists come from
diverse academic disciplines, including anthropology, archeology, theology, psychology,
history, art history, literature, and history of religions. Even within a single academic
discipline one finds inconsistencies in the definition and categories of mythic narratives.
This problem is confounded with studies based on several disciplines in interdisciplinary
research. And the problem is yet more complex as one studies World Myths because all
the problems attending cross-cultural analysis are included!
To get a handle on our subject, we will look at myths in terms of three basic categories:
Divine Myths, Heroic Myths, and Folk Myths. The categories can overlap, as you would
suspect—because cultural products are not cut and dried. Yet, this classification should
help you organize the massive amount of cultural material that can be called MYTH. Even
though we end up calling them all “myths,” it is helpful to articulate differences among
Before going into the three types of mythic narrative, I want to emphasize one element
that holds myths together. That is, the reality believed to be conveyed by these special—
perhaps we should say sacred—stories. Encyclopedia dot com in a discussion of myths
emphasizes this central aspect of myth, namely its “reality”—not its falseness!
Many authorities on mythology have stressed the reality, as distinct from the
fantastic or unreal aspects, of myth. Malinowski, for example, described how myth
“as it exists in a savage community” is “not merely a story told but a reality lived.”
It is “not an idle tale, but a hard-worked active force” ([1925] 1948, pp. 100–101).
Jung wrote that “the primitive mentality does not invent myths, it experiences
them.” Myths are “anything but allegories of physical processes…. Myths … have
a vital meaning … not merely do they represent, they are the mental life of the
primitive tribe, which immediately falls to pieces and decays when it loses its
mythological heritage” ([1909–1946] 1953, p. 314). And we find Mircea Eliade
writing that myth “is always the recital of a creation; it tells how something was
accomplished, began to be. It is for this reason that myth is bound up with
ontology; it speaks only of realities, of what really happened, of what was fully
manifested” ([1957] 1959, p. 95).
Now let us review three major types of mythic narrative that you can use to in the Week
Eight Discussion. You can identify them in terms of (1) the central characters in the
narrative category, and (2) the social group that generally keeps that particular type of
1. DIVINE MYTHS: A Divine Myth often involves cosmogonic narratives (these are
creation myths, as we studied in Week Two of HUMN 351) and related origin stories.
Their key characters are supernatural entities, including deities of various genders, such
as gods, goddesses, transgender and various polymorphic beings. Characters can be
creators of the world, such as YHWH (called Adonai) in Jewish tradition, God the Father
in Christian tradition, and Allah in Islamic tradition; Tian in the Confucian tradition; and
Dao in Daoist tradition. Characters of Divine Myths also can have additional stories told
about them, such as Zeus and Hera of the ancient Greek tradition; Olodumare, Olorun,
and Olofi who constitute the triple manifestation of the Supreme Deity in Yoruba
tradition; Amaterasu and her brother Susanowo of Shinto tradition, and Ardhanarishvara,
the Hindu Shiva’s half-male and half-female form. (You encountered many such mythic
characters in Week Four in your study of Myth and Gender.) A priestly class generally
takes the authority to use Divine Myths as charter narratives to impose a hierarchy of
social influence and power, and undergird important cultural rituals.
2. HERO MYTHS: A Hero Myth involves fantastic stories about human characters who
become exemplary characters for a culture based on some manner of struggle with
divinity. (In Week Five’s study of the Monomyth you encountered the heroic character of
Hercules in twelve legends, each of which related a struggle or labor that he had to
endure.) Epic poems, such as the Greek Iliad and Odyssey, or the Sanskrit Mahabharata
and Ramayana are examples of Hero Myths. Epics tell of heroic figures that are
amalgamated into often lengthy narratives. For example, the Mahabharata comes to
some eighteen hefty volumes! In Hero Myths, the human characters of various genders
encounter supernatural entities, and sometimes they earn the status of being partially
supernatural or divine. Hero Myths seem to be associated with the warrior class as who
instill ethical values as understood by the society of nobles and rulers.
3. FOLK TALES: A Folk Tale involves ordinary human characters who have done
something culturally significant. Their deeds are semi-heroic, and their story shows
exaggerated human qualities. Fairy Tales and Legends are types of Folk Tales as they
are characterized by fantastic encounters of common (even socially obscure) humans
with supernatural entities such as gnomes, serpents, monsters, witches, fairies, talking
animals, and so forth. They can engage in magic or extraordinary deeds of strength or
cleverness. The supernatural entities in folk tales are usually what we call telluric (from
tellūs in Latin, meaning earth). Examples of Folk Tales are stories such as a legend about
Paul Bunyan (an American hero), Baba Yaga (a witch-like woman known in Slavic
cultures), or Ali Baba (a Middle Eastern character). Folk Tales are relatively short in
length, and seem to be passed down orally by women, bards, merchants, and others of
modest social standing.
The work of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung is famous, especially for his
treatment of what are called “archetypes of the collective unconscious.” Let us review
the key archetypes so that you can begin to find them among the characters of the myths
to which you have been introduced in HUMN 351. The archetypes can be divided into two
main categories, namely those from the personal, and those from the collective
unconscious. The Shadow, Anima, and Animus are from the personal unconscious, while
the Mother, Wise Old Man, and Mandala are from the collective unconscious. In the
process of what Jung called Individuation, a person first has to deal with the personal
kind in order to move on to the collective.
Individuation is the process of becoming psychologically and spiritually healthy by
becoming aware of the contents of one’s own psyche as an individual with a personal
history, and as a member of the human family. The human psyche naturally moves to
achieve awareness and balance, but it is part of the human condition to deny that one
has flaws or has experienced pains. This denial leads to psychological disease. As part
of the healing process the psyche naturally shows what it has within. But if a person
does not look within, the contents of the psyche become projected onto what appear to
be outer objects. Once the contents of the psyche are integrated, they are not harmful to
anyone. Rather they lead to health and wellbeing. Individuation is really a kind of
psychological hero journey or quest. In fact, Hero Myths can profitably be analyzed
according to the theory of Individuation.
Let us now look at the three archetypes of the personal unconscious, the Shadow,
Anima, and Animus. These represent elements of one’s own psychology that are
unrealized by the person. As such, they are projected onto outer people. Myths in the
course of human history seem to have served as a deep repository of these archetypes.
It appears that the characters representing projections of the unrealized personal
unconscious tend to create myths that have negative or destructive effects on culture.
This is because the characters are not owned as part of oneself (either personally or
within a particular social group). Rather the negative aspects or unrealized aspects of
oneself or one’s group are projected onto others. Here is the basic idea:

In a culture when Evil is said to abide with those who are unknown, other and
foreign to oneself, a culture can develop a destructive sense of nationalism and
hatred of the other, who is portrayed as a Shadow figure.
When males in the society are not able, encouraged, or allowed to accept and
integrate the natural feminine side of their psyche, the myths might project this
unrealized forbidden aspect onto feminine characters in the culture who are out to
destroy them. These are called Anima figures.
Conversely, when females in the society do not admit and integrate their natural
masculine side of the psyche, the myths project male figures that dominate over them.
These are Animus figures. Note that Jung spoke much more about the Anima than about
the Animus, and theorized about Anima projections only in relation to men. Nowadays
some Jungian psychoanalysts are breaking new ground with interpretations of mythic or
dream characters that are Anima figures for a woman. See the video: Animus-Anima in
Jungian psychology at
Here is a summary of the three archetypes of the personal unconscious:
SHADOW The Shadow archetype is a psychological representation of the evil or unclear
elements of one’s own personality that have not yet been recognized and owned. Since
this aspect of one’s psychological make-up has not been accepted as part of one’s own
personality, it is projected onto another character. Usually the character that represents
the Shadow archetype is of the SAME gender as the person who has not yet recognized
traits in himself or herself. Thus a man who has not owned up to his tendencies to be
mean and controlling would project those traits onto a male figure that represents
(unbeknownst to him) his own Shadow side. Darth Vader is an example of a Shadow
character that is projected from a male psyche. In a myth one might find a male character
that is being hounded, or threatened with destruction by a male Shadow figure. Once the
male character gets to know the inner workings of the Shadow figure, the Evil is
dissolved. An example of a female Shadow would be the Wicked Witch of the West in the
myth of the Wizard of Oz. Read our UMUC Learning Resource by Dr. to learn more xxx.
See also:
ANIMA The Anima is a feminine character in myth who is a psychological representation
of the feminine qualities of one’s own personality that have not yet been recognized and
owned. Since this aspect of one’s psychological make-up has not been accepted as part
of one’s own personality, it is projected onto another character. Usually the character
that represents the Anima archetype is of the OPPOSITE gender as the person who has
not yet recognized traits in himself. Thus a man who has not owned up to his tendencies
to be feminine would project those traits onto a female figure that represents
(unbeknownst to him) his own Anima side. Marilyn Monroe is an example of an Anima
character on whom many men project their feminine side.
ANIMUS The Animus is a male character who is a psychological representation of the
masculine qualities of one’s own personality that have not yet been recognized and
owned. Since this aspect of one’s psychological make-up has not been accepted as part
of one’s own personality, it is projected onto another character. Usually the character
that represents the Animus archetype is of the OPPOSITE gender as the person who has
not yet recognized traits in herself. Thus a woman who has not owned up to her
tendencies to be masculine would project those traits onto a male figure that represents
(unbeknownst to her) her own Animus side. The Fairy Tale character of a Knight in
Shining Armor is an example of an Animus character on whom many women (or girls)
project their masculine side.
In the process of Individuation, a person who works with myths and dreams comes to
integrate those lost parts of the psyche that have been projected into the Shadow and
Anima or Animus. Once integrated, the destructive aspects of these archetypes are not
destructive. Evil is only evil or destructive when it is unintegrated and unbalanced. This
does not mean that a person becomes evil in taking back the Shadow! Rather, those
things that have power to stir up the unconscious can be used in a positive way. The
Shadow brings a particular kind of psychic energy to the person, but does not prompt
the person to act in violent and evil ways. On the contrary, a person acts in evil ways in
response to the Shadow when those shadow energies are not integrated.
The same goes for the Anima and Animus projections. They wreak havoc on a person
when they are projected onto others and not integrated. An unintegrated Anima would
impel a man to seek his other half in a woman, and neglect the intuitive side of his own
nature. The Anima projection represents the psyche’s attempt to put right in front of his
nose the issues that are unresolved in him. But if he does no work to interpret the actual
nature of these Anima projections as unresolved aspects of himself, he comes to harm.
In the case of a projected Animus figure, a woman could try to dominate other people.
The parallel situation obtains when a woman does not recognize or is culturally unable to
admit basic “masculine” qualities into her own mode of being. She will tend to look for
men to save her.
Once the psyche is becoming balanced and healed, another set of archetypes begin to
appear to the person undergoing Individuation. While the Shadow and Anima or Animus
typically appear to a person (or in a myth) at the start of the process of Individuation, not
all archetypes of the collective unconscious necessarily appear to every person. But they
can show themselves at various important turning points in the heroic journey.
TRICKSTER The Trickster archetype appears early on after the archetypes of the
personal unconscious are becoming integrated and owned. The Trickster is a character
in myths, dreams, or cultural icons that stirs things up. This stirring up has an important
function in the healing of the psyche; because one needs to see things in a new light.
The Trickster shows what others in the formal society of the person cannot easily be
shown. Tricksters are joker characters who tell the truth and drag one into impossible
situations from which one has to creatively extricate oneself. For more on the Trickster,
watch again the Joseph Campbell video from our Learning Resources.
The Crystalinks website provides this explanation of the Trickster archetype:
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god,
goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or
otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. …
The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously
(for example, Loki) but usually with ultimately positive effects. Often, the rulebreaking takes the form of tricks (eg. Eris) or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning
or foolish or both; they are often very funny even when considered sacred or
performing important cultural tasks. In many cultures, (as may be seen in Greek,
Norse or Slavic folktales, along with Native American/First Nations lore), the
trickster and the culture hero are often combined. To illustrate: Prometheus, in
Greek mythology, stole fire from the gods to give it to humans. …
Frequently the Trickster figure exhibits gender variability, changing gender roles
and engaging in same-sex practices. Such figures appear in Native American and
First Nations mythologies, where they are said to have a two-spirit nature. Loki,
the Norse trickster, also exhibits gender variability, in one case even becoming
pregnant; interestingly, he shares the ability to change genders with Odin, who
despite being nominally the chief Norse deity also possesses many
characteristics of the Trickster.
The Trickster is an example of a Jungian Archetype. The Fool survives in modern
playing cards as the Joker. In modern literature the trickster survivors as a
character archetype, not necessarily supernatural or divine, therefore better
described as a stock character. [Source:]
GREAT MOTHER The Mother or Great Mother is a feminine wise woman. She is typically
an old woman who has the experience of life behind her. She has the earth wisdom. Tony
Crisp in a blog post on the Great Mother provides this explanation:
The symbols of this archetype are the Virgin Mary; sometimes one’s own mother;
a divine female; an old or ageless woman; the Earth; a blue grotto; the sea; a hole,
as shown in the first illustration; a whale; a cave, a tree, blood or the colour of
blood. Whatever the image it often contains great religious feeling or spiritual
uplift. After all, our mother was the most powerful being in our early world. ‘Did
she admire hunters; then we would kill dragons and cleanse the world. Did she
feel the weight of the world; then we would be the peace maker and bring her joy.’
(W.V. Caldwell). Source:
WISE OLD MAN The Wise Old Man embodies wisdom that complements that of the Great
Mother archetype. This character can be a philosopher type, or a reflection of a male
divinity. Maxson J. McDowell describes the archetype this way:
Wise old man. An archetypal image of meaning and wisdom. In Jungs
terminology, the wise old man is a personification of the masculine spirit. In a
mans psychology, the anima is related to the wise old man as daughter to father.
In a woman, the wise old man is an aspect of the animus. The feminine equivalent
in both men and women is the Great Mother.
McDowell goes further to quote Jung himself on the Wise Old Man:
The figure of the wise old man can appear so plastically, not only in dreams but
also in visionary meditation (or what we call active imagination), that . . . it takes
over the role of a guru. The wise old man appears in dreams in the guise of a
magician, doctor, priest, teacher, professor, grandfather, or any person
possessing authority.[The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales,CW9i, par.
398.] [Source:]
MANDALA Beyond the archetypes that have some kind of animate form (human or
other), Jung wrote extensively about symbolism of the mandala, which represents the
archetype of the Self. The mandala is a symbol of wholeness and integration of the
psyche. Its emergence in dreams and myth indicates significant progress toward
realization of the Self (a term for psychic wholeness or totality). Thus, when a mandala is
present in a myth, there is a sense that the character has achieved the goal of healing
and completeness. Mandalas often appear at the end stage of the Heroic Journey, as
they represent completion of the process of psychological integration.
Mandalas are geometrical, symmetrical shapes. They can be a constructed sacred
spaces, such as circular buildings, labyrinths, fountains, or they can be flat icon type
images. On the circle is often some version of image that describes a square or
triangular shape. Mandalas appear in the artwork of many cultures, in such forms as
sand paintings, gardens, ceremonial buildings. [See also:]
This should be sufficient to get you started on Jungian archetypes. They are a rich
source of material that uncovers the Psychological Function of myths. Have fun getting
started with your analysis of characters found in the myths from around our world!

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