3. (Psychology – Jungian) A universal image and center of psychological function and energy mostly similar across nationalities, races, cultures, and historical times. Generally speaking, “Mom” is the same mom everywhere. Nevertheless, there may be some minor variation across long established cultures as expressed in dominant religions, and personal variants may be the source of traumatic disturbances as when a real-life mom fails to fulfill her archetypal stature.
The archetypes are the foundation of major mythologies, and correspond with gods, goddesses, and mythic heroes. They are found in the major arcana of the Tarot, may be seen and experienced through Kabalistic path-working and shamanic trances, and are often met in dreams and projected onto real life figures in times of crisis. One of the goals in every program of self-knowledge is to gain understanding of our particular interaction with them, and possibly change those interactions from a childish to a more mature level.
The archetypes may be the "gods," each charged with particular responsibilities in the natural world. See also Noosphere.