Preface to Volume I of the Encyclopedia of Archetypal Images

Volume I of the Encyclopedia of Archetypal Images

by Charles H. Taylor

As Joseph L. Henderson's introduction to this volume makes clear, the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism has evolved over several decades. It now comprises about thirteen thousand images catalogued and filed at locations in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Collected over many years, the photographs vary in quality, and the commentaries are diverse in structure and content. The images can be consulted at the C.G. Jung Center in New York or at the C. G. Jung Institutes of Los Angeles and San Francisco, but they are not accessible away from these three sites.
Many of those who have found the collection an evocative aid for the illumination of symbols drawn from the great mythological and religious traditions as well as of related symbols that appear in art and in dreams, have wished for an archive that could be studied in hand or at a nearby library. In pursuit of that goal, Mr. Bingham's Trust for Charity, of New York, generously supported a three-year project to develop the archive in a form that could be broadly disseminated. As a result, the National Archive was established as an independent charitable trust with a majority of its board members appointed by the C. G. Jung Foundation of New York, the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, and the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. The development of the separately incorporated archive owes much to the initial leadership of its board, including especially its first president, Donald Kalsched of New York; its first vice-president, Thornton Ladd of Los Angeles; and its first treasurer, John Levy of San Francisco. Two years ago the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago also joined in support of the project and is represented on the board.
Since 1983, historians of art and analytical psychologists have developed a standard format for presenting the cultural context of each image together with a thoughtful commentary on its archetypal significance, and created a computer program to link textual and, potentially, visual information in an electronically reproducible and searchable database. All new records are now being written, stored, and cross-indexed in the computerized format. In time, it is expected that the newly computerized files will be made available to libraries and interested individuals here and abroad.
As this work progressed, however, it became evident that preparing records of publishable quality required more extended efforts than originally had been foreseen. At the same time, even small numbers of completed records accompanied by excellent color photographs had a cumulative impact greater than expected, for even modest numbers of images revealed striking relationships among themselves. In order to demonstrate the value of a modest collection of images and, simultaneously, the wisdom of going forward with the commitment necessary to prepare a larger number, early publication of selected records became a top priority. That is the origin of the present volume.
At this point in the archive's development, we were fortunate to engage Beverly Moon as editor for this collection. As editorial chairman of the larger project that will continue to go forward in the years ahead, I wish to single her out for her unprecedented contribution to this tangible realization for our intention. Not only has she been an extremely skillful editor, crafting together the previous efforts of many other researchers and writers, she has also written major portions of the text. Her particular training in the history of religions is conjoined with a deep knowledge of analytical psychology, which together have equipped her uniquely for the completion of this task. Moreover, she has made the effort a labor of devotion, and working together with Annmari Ronnberg and myself, she had enabled us to complete the task we set ourselves on schedule and in good spirits.
The volume gathers images around several themes that appear again and again in the mythologies of all traditions as well as in the inner lives of individuals: cosmos and creation; center of the world; sacred animals; monsters; goddesses; gods; sacred marriage; the divine child; sacred kingship; saviors; heroes and heroines; duality; and reconciliation; revelation; death; and transformation. Although specific images often touch more than one significant motif, primary themes present themselves almost autonomously. As a whole, the collection follows the cyclical model of the solar calendar, beginning with new life and finding in death a movement toward transformation and rebirth.
Each image is rendered by a full-page color photograph and is accompanied by written commentaries, references for related reading, and, where helpful, a glossary. In addition, a detailed index makes this volume the foundation of a uniquely illustrated encyclopedia of archetypal symbols. With its assistance, one can make connections across cultures, religions, and mythologies in a powerful way. The perception of linkages among diverse sacred traditions that the thematic organization of the book provides is deepened further by the recurrence of related symbols in different thematic contexts. Tracing particular symbols from one image to another throughout the volume spins narrative threads of many colors, and these gradually weave themselves into a tapestry of great richness. Living with the volume as an educational resource, the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.
The extent to which the meaningful images of various cultural traditions throughout human history relate symbolically to one another affirms the profound similarities rather than the hostile differences among human beings across the worlds of space and time. Perhaps this volume can promote an experience of the sacred depths shared by all. Much as modern science reveals that, despite our apparent differences of physiognomy and color, the human species has been biologically one for thousands of years, so, too, these images point vividly to the sacred, symbolic, and psychological concerns we have had in common since prehistoric times.
The work represented here is the first book-length publication by the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, whose roots reach back to Ascona in the 1930s. It incarnates creative efforts that have been supported with both energy and resources for more than forty years, and by many individuals. Joseph L. Henderson and Beverly Moon have both tried to indicate the main lines of scholarly and psychological indebtedness, and I shall try to indicate those whose tangible support has been most important to the development of this volume. Because memory is flawed over time, it is almost certain I will overlook some of those who have made significant contributions, and if so, I extend my sincere regrets and hope they will nevertheless take satisfaction in this manifestation of the value of their aid.
In the past, ARAS has received substantial assistance not only from Olga Froebe-Kapteyn and the Bollingen Foundation, but also, though the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York, from gifts by Jane Pratt and Paul Mellon. The C.G. Jung Foundation has also provided for more than a decade the space in New York that has been essential for the project and has, additionally, helped sponsor curatorial oversight of the large number of images filed on its premises.
For many years, the late Jessie E. Fraser not only gave her own creative labor to the development of the archive, but also supported it tangibly, most especially in a generous bequest. The present project not only was initiated with the venturesome grant from Mr. Bingham's Trust for Charity mentioned above, but also, after the publication project was defined, received from the same Trust an additional grant of endowment, conditioned upon our best efforts to raise additional capital to undergird a portion of the long-term budget.
In recent years, the operating budget of the archive has been critically dependent upon gifts from members of its board of trustees and others especially interested in the development of a publishable format. In particular, Robin Jaqua and John Jaqua, Thornton Ladd, the Ralph B. Lloyd Foundation, Lulu may Lloyd Von Hagen, Bettina Bancroft, Joseph Henderson, Catherine Conover, Culver Nichols, Lucia Woods Lindley and Daniel Lindley, Robin van Loben Sels and Donald Kalsched, Beverley Zabriskie and Philip Zabriskie, Ann Paras, the Ann and Erlo Van Waveren Foundation, Nancy Anderson and Richard Rockefeller, Doris West Goodrich and Chauncey good rich, Elizabeth Segal, Claude Drey, Gilda Frantz, C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, the C.G. Jung Institute of New York, and the New York Association for Analytical Psychology made grants that have been a great encouragement. In addition, faithful members of the Friends of ARAS in New York, too numerous to mention, have together made critically useful gifts for each of the past several years.
Finally, I want to offer personal thanks to Annmari Ronnberg, who, as curator of the archive in New York and as administrator of National ARAS, has provided the long-term continuity and personal knowledge of the files essential to our success in completing this project. She has been a pleasure to work with and a guiding presence in enabling the archive to inspire visitors.