Foundations > The Collective Unconscious: Rainring as a Map

Logo: pink version – designed in conjunction with graphics maestro Alex, who then realised it
Logo: pink version – designed in conjunction with graphics maestro Alex, who then realised it
The collective unconscious, by contrast, contains elements which come from a shared repository of consciousness. These tend to coalesce around certain fundamental psychic themes called the ‘archetypes’. An example is that of the anima, which is an idealised representation of the female. The anima is not the portrait of any given female, but a reservoir which contains all the idealised images of the female which the male psyche has produced, and indeed continues to produce. One ingredient, for instance, is the image of the ‘femme fatale’ or siren – the mysterious, elusive woman who bewitches a man and, by her dark, compelling powers of attraction, leads him – at least half-willingly - to perdition. Morgan le Fay, in the King Arthur legend, is a well-known example.

There is also a category intermediate between the two: that of a particular group with a shared history and common culture - such as the Inuit or the English. Here there may be psychic elements which are characteristic (though not inevitably so) of many individuals within the group, but not equally of those outside it. The French and the English are both humans, Europeans, even neighbours, but that does not alter the sense of tension between the two cultures, which are typically both said and felt to be markedly different in various ways.

These themes of the particular, the widely shared and the universal are found in the Rainring cards. The latter can be seen as an attempt to map both what varies from one person to another, and what is common to everyone, psychologically. But they do not duplicate the I Ching, the Tarot or any other source. The reason for this is probably because their structure derives from the spectrum. They explore, if you will, the same psyche but from a different standpoint. In every case, we are asking the same fundamental question: what are the keys to understanding individual behaviour?
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