About ARAS

"Welcome to ARAS — a world treasure with jewels from every culture since the beginning of time.  ARAS has taken many steps from its tiny beginnings in Eranos, Switzerland eighty years ago to the world-reach of the Internet today.  Long available to only a few researchers, the wondrous vision of how the collective unconscious expresses itself in all human societies is now available to many.

To fathom ARAS's depth and richness, allow yourself to wander, to linger, and to ponder.  Do not be afraid to get lost, as your meanderings may yield surprising delights of imagery and meaning."

by Joseph L. Henderson, M.D.

Co-author with Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, et. al. of Man and His Symbols

Consulting Analyst to ARAS


What ARAS Contains

The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) is a pictorial and written archive of mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic images from all over the world and from all epochs of human history. The collection probes the universality of archetypal themes and provides a testament to the deep and abiding connections that unite the disparate factions of the human family.

The ARAS archive contains about 17,000 photographic images, each cross-indexed, individually mounted, and accompanied by scholarly commentary.  The commentary includes a description of the image with a cultural history that serves to place it in its unique historical and geographical setting.  Often it also includes an archetypal commentary that brings the image into focus for its modern psychological and symbolic meaning, as well as a bibliography for related reading and a glossary of technical terms.

The ARAS commentaries honor both the universal patterns and specific cultural context associated with each image, something seldom found in other collections.

Keywords, extracted from approximately 46,000 catalogue subject cards, help users explore archetypal themes of interest to them.

The images and commentaries in ARAS have been collected over a 80-year period (read more about the history of ARAS).


Who Uses ARAS?

The ARAS archive is designed for and used by a diverse range of people:

  • Students and scholars from around the world in the humanities and other related disciplines, who use the archive as a research tool and educational resource
  • Artists and designers, who seek motifs and iconographic forms for paintings, decorations, films, and dramatic productions
  • Individuals who trace mythology, dream imagery, and vision in seeking deep common linkages, which transcend nation and ideology
  • Analysts and psychotherapists who come from the full range of psychological perspectives and who use the archive to increase their own knowledge of archetypal symbolism.

How Do I Access the Archive?

The easiest way to access the ARAS archive is via the Internet, as the entire collection of images and commentaries are available.  As a member of ARAS Online, you can visit as often as you want at any time, from home, office, or educational institution.  When you view the images, you can enlarge them, making it easier to see details.
 

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The online commentaries are easy and quick to search.  Each search also provides you with a cultural timeline depicting how the relevant images  in the archive distribute across human cultures and times.  Below is the cultural timeline you'll see for a search on "Great Mother."  Each red mark represents a culture and time from which the archive has relevant images, in this case going back tens of thousands of years and spanning virtually the entire globe.

 


Cultural timeline for Great Mother

 

Subject to the terms of use, you can print out both images and commentaries, and also put images into electronic presentations, such as PowerPoint, or order slides of the images.  Learn more about joining ARAS Online as an individual or as a college, school, library, or museum.


Where Can I Visit the Archive?

While use of the archive over the Internet remains the most convenient, some ARAS locations can be visited during limited hours with some restrictions.

C.G. Jung Center / ARAS
28 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel (212) 697-3480
Fax (212) 682-2024
Ami Ronnberg, National ARAS Curator and Managing Editor

C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco / ARAS
2040 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel (415) 771-8055
Fax (415) 771-8926
Stacy Hassen, Curator

C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles / ARAS
10349 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel (310) 556-1193
Fax (310) 556-2290

C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Suite 438
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel (312) 701-0400
Fax (312) 701-0403
Make appointment first


Copyright Issues

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