ARASThe Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism

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News from ARAS
• 2007 • Issue 3 •

In this ARAS Online Newsletter, the continued vitality, versatility, and utility of the archive is featured through the work of two ongoing ARAS projects.   Ami Ronnberg, the curator of ARAS in New York, briefs you on our current major book project which is coming close to fruition.  The editorial staff of National ARAS that collaborates in the selection of symbols and images for the book  has been at work on this third major ARAS publication for several years.   The working title for the new book is The Book of Images:  Reflections on Archetypal Symbolism.  The vitality of ARAS is dependent on people such as Ami and her editorial staff.  They are continually searching the Archive for new ways to use old images as well as introducing new images to the archive.  Continuity of purpose in the creation of this new book is maintained because archetypal themes are the guiding force in selecting images and in the written description of the symbols.   Continual use of ARAS and ARAS Online are essential to the archive's  constant renewal and upgrading--and nothing is more stimulating to that activity than a collaborative book project such as the one currently in the works at National ARAS.
And, as a reminder of our living history to all who use ARAS, a new and very carefully researched article by Torben Gronning (with some assistance from Patricia Sohl and myself) has just been published in the distinguished journal, Visual Resources.  Visual Resources is the professional journal of those who coordinate and direct the university and museum visual resource libraries throughout the world.  That an article on ARAS appears in this journal is a great tribute to the legacy and value of ARAS and we should all be proud.  Torben's article is included in this newsletter and it gives a wonderful history of ARAS and its contribution to the study and classification of symbolic imagery.
The icing on the cake of this newsletter is a tip on how to use a beautiful new feature that brings even more vitality to ARAS Online--the animation feature which can now be used selectively and electively in the search of symbolic images.
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of the ARAS Online Committee
ARAS Hint: Enjoy ARAS in a New Way

At a user's suggestion, we recently added a way to let you review ARAS images in a more informal and relaxed fashion.  Just search for whatever you want and then click on the words See as animation that appear above the first images.  All the images found by your search will then appear in a pleasant animated sequence that's like fish dancing in water.  Try it right now by starting a search.
The animated images appear in ARAS number order, which means that those from the oldest cultures and eras will come before later ones.  If your computer speakers are on, you'll also hear some relaxing music.
Whenever you see an image you'd like to know more about, just click on it.  You'll be taken to the full ARAS record.
You may already be familiar with the Discover feature in ARAS Online, which shows you images from a randomly-chosen archetypal theme.  Our new feature lets you instead see animated images for any search you wish.  Enjoy!
Click here for more on ARAS searching.

Send Us Your Questions
If you have questions about specific images, searching, how to use ARAS, or archetypal symbolism in general, please email them to us at
News from ARAS' Upcoming Book:
The Book of Images: Reflections on Archetypal Symbols
Introduction by Ami Ronnberg, Managing Editor and Curator - ARAS New York
ARAS publications have their roots in the remarkable Eranos Conferences, which began in Switzerland in the 1930s and have lasted for more than 70 years. It was the magic of a particular theme that tied the participants at the Eranos conferences together across cultures and academic disciplines. To one kind of magic was added another--images were being collected and exhibited on the walls in the lecture hall, which gradually formed a remarkable archive. When asked to write an introduction to this archive, the Jungian analyst Erich Neumann became so fascinated by the material that he ended up writing a full monograph called The Great Mother, which was published by the Bollingen Foundation in New York City almost 50 years ago and is still in print. In time, a copy of the original archive was given to the Bollingen Foundation, which gradually grew into the present ARAS. In the 1980s ARAS received a major grant for expansion, which resulted in the publication of An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism, and a second volume called The Body, as subtitle. Each of these volumes contain about 100 records from ARAS, organized in themes (like the Eranos conferences), in order to demonstrate the eternal images as the underlying principle of ARAS. The first volume introduces the theme of the circle of life, beginning with "Creation" in the first chapter and ending with "Death" and "Rebirth." In the second volume each chapter highlights a particular body part, from "Head" to "Feet". All the entries from the two volumes of The Encyclopedia can be found on ARAS Online. In fact, they come up first during an Online search, if the subject in question is included in any of these volumes.
The working title of the current ARAS book project is The Book of Images: Reflections on Archetypal Symbols. The format differs somewhat from the way most ARAS records are organized. Rather than one image, several images are often included in one entry in order to show variations and contrasts of the particular symbol. The texts accompanying the images are written as if distilling the essence (almost like poetry) in order to evoke the symbol. One inspiration for this book has been images in dreams and how to understand them and in fact we believe that The Book of Images will be major tool for working with one's own dreams. Symbolic images are more than data: they are vital seeds, living carriers of possibility. Such images function as transformers, mediating change, inspiration and healing. The following entry on the Yoruban deity Oya as the "Queen of the Winds of Change" essentially embodies this experience. As it turned out, Oya is one of the many wonderful entries that we were not able to include in this book in order to keep its length within 500 pages. We hope to return to Oya in the future, in the making of additional exciting publications. Once published, the entries in The Book of Images will, in time, be included in the Archive and we also plan to make them available on ARAS Online.
We will keep you updated on the progress and publication of The Book of Images.


I am Queen of the Winds of Change...
I will sweep your mind clean of decay and debris...
I will cut away your stagnation, and teach you the courage to transform...
I will shake your soul from its foundations...
And set you on new ground...
Evocation of Oya, La Nuestra de la Candelaria, February 2, 2000, NYC
Click here to see images of Oya and the rest of this article
ARAS: Archetypal Symbolism and Images
By Torben Gronning, Patricia Sohl, and Tom Singer
Reprinted from Visual Resources Vol. XXIII, No. 3, September 2007, pp. 245-267

When a filmmaker needed inspiration for her award-winning animated film, she found it in the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. When a theater director looked for ideas for sets and costumes, he consulted the archive, as did an artist developing a survey of masks throughout world history and a theologian looking for an androgynous figure of Christ. Numerous analytical psychologists and psychotherapists regularly consult the archive to explore their own and their clients' dreams by analyzing the symbolic imagery of these dreams in a process of self-discovery.
The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, often just called ARAS, has a most interesting history, rooted in the Eranos meetings of the early 1930s, when world-renowned scholars from many fields gathered for discussions that touched on the history of religion, the history of art, anthropology, psychology, sociology and archaeology. Images to illustrate the topics of these cross-disciplinary meetings formed the beginning of the ARAS archive, and the Eranos heritage became the foundation for developing the nomenclature used in ARAS's image classification.
ARAS has since developed into a rich collection of 17,000 annotated photographic images of human creative expression, purposefully selected from every culture, spanning the 30,000 years of human history since the Ice Age. With its cultural, historical, anthropological and psychological commentary, ARAS has become over time a unique tool for academics, researchers, scholars, artists, writers, historians, anthropologists, analytical psychologists, psychotherapists, students, and the general public alike.
Early History of ARAS and Eranos
The conception of ARAS dates back to the 1930s and is intrinsically linked to the Eranos Society and its creator, Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn . She was born in 1881 of Dutch parents in London where her father Albert Kapteyn, an avid photographer, was the director of the Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company. Her mother was a philosophical anarchist, a writer on social questions, and a friend of playwright George Bernard Shaw and anarchist Prince Kropotkin. Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn studied applied art in Zürich and helped in her father's darkroom. She became a young widow when her husband Iwan Fröbe, the Austrian musician, was killed in a plane crash in 1915 while testing an aerial camera for the Austrian army.
Click here to view the rest of this article
This newsletter comes to you from ARAS, a non-profit organization.   Visit our web site.  Become a member by joining online.  If you do not wish to receive these e-mail newsletters in the future, please reply with the words "Remove Me" in the subject line.  Copyright © 2007 ARAS.  All Rights Reserved.
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