Why create a journal?

And why a journal of Archetypal Studies?

The reason to create a journal is very simple: the need for conversation, debate, and dialogue. Our intention is to generate a space that can foster the germination, refinement, and testing of ideas that reflectively apply the notions of archetypal theory to contemporary everyday events. It is our conviction that the understanding of archetypes and images (and more specifically of the archetypal and the imaginal as qualifiers) has plenty to contribute to today’s social, cultural, psychological, environmental, and political discourses. But in order for that contribution to happen, both our understanding of such concepts and the relationship they hold with contemporary phenomena ought to be discussed. The Journal of Archetypal Studies wants to provide one venue for this discussion. It wishes to be a critical forum; that is, a place where we can both use our approach as a platform for criticism, and also be critical of our own approach.   

This is why it is also important to speak about our use of the term “archetypal studies.” Most of those who started the Journal have, in one way or another, a certain background in archetypal psychology—or have at least been in close touch with its approach and consider it, for one or other reason, as a potential source of contribution for their vision of the world. Some are very close to it, others are very critical of it, others incorporate it systematically to the core of their work, some use it as an additional perspective with which to enrich their previous perspectives. Our relationship with it is very diverse, but we all coincide in the fact that this approach is somehow significant and worth pursuing.

Our pursuit, however, has a very particular framework—and this is one of the elements that holds our efforts together and gives them direction. Our intention is to situate the archetypal approach in contemporary contexts, to find its place in the world that we inhabit today. And it is in this placing that we decide to conserve the term “archetypal,” but choose to leave “psychology” far from center stage.

It is true that everything archetypal, as it pertains to the psyche, is psychological. But assuming this as a starting point is, from our perspective, misleading. If when we view something archetypally we automatically view it psychologically, although we certainly penetrate the phenomenon deeply, we privilege exclusively one direction of deepening. That is, politics, social phenomena, economic systems, and environmental crises, are relative to psyche and are thus psychological, but we should not forget that psychological perspectives also happen within specific scenarios. The political is psychological, but the psychological is also political—and social, and economic, and part of particular environmental realities. Our premise is that the archetypal approach can help us deepen our vision in other fields, but that in order for that to happen psychology has to be kept at bay, as a participant but not as protagonist every time we see something from the archetypal vantage point. The archetypal approach is not a prerogative of psychology or of the psychological vision, it is relevant to all disciplines in their own right. There is no need for psychology to be the exclusive moderator or intermediary when we practice the archetypal perspective, and this has to be acknowledged by substituting the limiting descriptor “psychology” by the broader term “studies.”

Thus our conversation becomes more multiple and diverse, the dialogue can happen now more clearly across disciplines, and the field of action broadens. This creates a sense of community and fellowship that is at the core of the spirit of our endeavor.

This sense of community, however, does not aim at feeling cozier and safer in the company of those whose ideas are akin to ours. And it is here where we find our purpose. It is rather striking how what seems to be in the minds of most of those of us who participate of this project is a very clear question: who cares? That is, the one thing we are very clear about is that we do not want this conversations to be just another self-indulging activity in which what is done has absolutely no effect in any aspect of the world outside the elitist microcosms of Jungians, archetypal theorists, psychologists, and academics. As we already said, the very explicit intention of what we are doing is to place our discipline in the social and historical context of our time. Our conversations ought to address contemporary issues and do so in a practical way, or at least in a way that points towards practicality. 

That’s the purpose: to become aware of our place in today's socio-historical scenario, and to act accordingly—each of us from our own position and through our own interests, inclinations, and talents. There is great respect for the uniqueness of everyone participating in this project, and that uniqueness is viewed as something that has to be in service of something that is both communal and practical, that is shared by all of us, and that will contribute somehow to the lives of others. The dialogue, in other words, is meant to nurture concrete actions, that each of us will apply in his or her own field, in his or her own praxis, in his or her own way.

The spirit of this endeavor might be found in ideas of community, conversation, co-respondence, social commitment, cultural engagement, historical awareness, action, practicality, fellowship, and purpose. 

In an openness to listening, to being challenged, to making mistakes, to being wrong (or at least to not being right), to taking risks, to venturing ideas, and to respect and contribute to the germination of new, young, fragile ideas. It is time to give up this fantasy we have about our ideas as private property, and allowing them to live jointly with the ideas of others. With this might come, hopefully, spontaneity. Good conversations need a decent dose of spontaneity. 

This journal is not a forum for perfectly constructed ideas that will impress all the other members of the community; it is the space for original, high-quality ideas that are open to development through dialogue.

And so the spirit of this journal is one of breaking. . . breaking the plates, the ideas, the formulas, the calcified understandings of our discipline(s). Re-visioning and howling, the sound of the trickster coyote. In service, once more, of the specific themes and issues of our times.