ARAS Connections: Image and Archetype - 2017 Special Issue

ARAS Connections
Image and Archetype


by Ami Ronnberg and Tom Singer

We are proud to send you this special edition of ARAS Connections along with an offer to all members of the Sandplay Therapists of America and the International Society for Sandplay Therapists of a free three month trial membership to ARAS Online.  The Jungian world is full of hidden or little known treasures.  The ARAS archive was just such a hidden treasure with very limited access until quite recently when the Archive’s 17,000 images and commentaries were digitized and made available on our newly created website,

Over the past decade, we have undergone a remarkable transformation in making our unique Archive both more available and diverse.  At its heart, ARAS is inspired by the vision of making symbolic imagery from around the world and from the beginning of time come alive for those wanting to explore archetypal content and process.  ARAS Online is many different things.  First and foremost, we are an Archive of symbolic imagery.  We place this imagery in cultural and archetypal context.  Through our timeline and search engines, we allow the user to explore a symbol through different times and cultures.  We are also a growing library of articles and books that explore everything from A to Z, from Amplification to Zombies.

ARAS Connections is a free quarterly journal publishing articles on art and symbols.  It also contains features such as The Poetry Portal where poets are invited to write a poem inspired by a work of art from ARAS. ARAS Online has recently added the Concordance - a remarkable search tool, which allows users to search Jung’s collected works on specific topics.  In addition, we have finalized a collaboration with ARTstor, which will give ARAS Online users access to outstanding art collections from major galleries and museums, world-wide.  At the same time, we are in the process of growing the Archive by adding new images from Africa as well as new research on images from China and other Asian countries.  We are also growing our outreach to the world through book publications such as The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, published by Taschen, and locally, through education programs such as our Pioneer Teen Program.

In order to acquaint you with ARAS, we demonstrate below how sandplay therapists and those studying sandplay can use ARAS in the research of specific symbolic imagery.  We also show how teenagers can learn about symbols through the world of art in our education program.  All of this shows how ARAS can be used by many different kinds of people, from therapists to artists, poets, dreamers, educators and students of all ages.

We want you to enjoy this three month trial subscription. Please click here to sign up. Once you have joined, you will receive our free, quarterly ARAS Connections. We hope you explore our library, use the Concordance, and treasure the art of exploring symbolic imagery cross-culturally and in depth.  At the end of the free trial period, we hope you will want to continue using ARAS by becoming a subscriber and supporter at our special discounted rate for members of the Sandplay community.

With best wishes,

Ami Ronnberg, Curator ARAS

Tom Singer, President ARAS Board

ARAS and Sandplay

by Janet Tatum, M.S.W., Jungian Analyst, PNSJA, Certified Sandplay Therapist – Teaching Member

Sandplay Therapists of America is grateful to be able to participate in this introductory offer from ARAS to Sandplay therapists worldwide.  STA/ISST members, associates and students may explore what ARAS has to offer in terms of symbolic content.  Sandplay therapy, with its use of miniatures, readily brings forth archetypal imagery.  The Sandplay therapist is ever curious about what this material might mean for the person choosing the figures and using them in a tray, each in a unique way.  That opens the door for further exploration.

This is where ARAS can be most useful to the Sandplay therapist.  It contains a wealth of information about a broad variety of symbols.  Consulting the archive can help the Sandplay therapist find links between the client’s clinical material and the symbolic realm.

Joseph Henderson, senior Jungian Analyst with the San Francisco Institute, always encouraged Sandplay therapists to use ARAS as a resource.  He was a friend of Sandplay.  He embraced its possibilities.  He presented at several Sandplay symposiums and published articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy.  At the time, ARAS was only available at a few Jungian Institutes across the country.  After Joe Henderson’s 100th birthday, ARAS went from slides in these few locations to online services available to all who are interested in finding out more about what cultural and archetypal meanings a particular figure might have.

For Sandplay therapists, ARAS is an excellent resource for writing symbol papers and preparing case material for presentations or articles for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy.  It is especially helpful for those who might not have ready access to Jungian material and want to utilize authentic sources.  Once logged in, it is easy to look up a certain symbol.  A search can lead to numerous representations from a variety of cultures where that particular image can be found.  Browsing through this vast collection can become an absorbing meander through all that ARAS makes available for enriching our understanding of our clinical work.  It is then that symbolic imagery can come alive.

Teen Programs at ARAS

Over the last few years, ARAS has been working with teenagers to discover the world through art and symbols. We have established an exciting internship program and a two-week free summer program called Pioneer Teens during which the students learn different skills and techniques in art-making to create works of art inspired by a visual symbol of their choice from the Archive. To further inspire and deepen their understanding of art, the program includes fieldtrips to cultural institutions, galleries and artists' studios. The program culminates in an open house with an exhibition of the teens' art work expressed in any format chosen such as drawing, painting, collage, or sculpture, accompanied by an artist's statement.

Read more about the teen programs and see images of teen artwork.

Sign up for your free trial!

To sign up for your free trial to ARAS Online, please click here and fill out our join form.  In the Membership Level section, please select the free 3 month trial option. Once you have completed the form, you will have instant access to our entire archive. We hope you enjoy exploring it!