The Archetypes are the “original governing images” (literal meaning of the word archaetypos) of the universe. They are creation’s templates for artistic creation.
An archetype is a primary pattern of the Universe. All phenomena, both objective and subjective, are based upon and are particular manifestations of these fundamental organizing principles. They underlie the structures of physical reality, and they are the perceptual categories through which we experience that reality.
The primary symbols used in astrology – planets, signs, houses, aspects and Nodes of the Moon – all represent archetypes. It is important to remember that the symbol is not the archetype, nor is the physical entity, e.g. planet or sign, represented by the symbol. The symbol simply points our attention in the direction of the archetype.
Archetypes are slippery creatures. An archetype cannot be defined, pinned down, captured. We can only direct our minds towards the archetype, tune our mental receiver to a particular archetypal channel, and contemplate the image or idea through which the archetype is, at this moment, expressing itself.
A large part of learning astrology is attuning our mind to the various members of the five sets of symbols. This involves associating particular words or phrases with particular archetypes. The word tunes us in to the archetype. Associate a number of words with an archetype, and a vague outline begins to form in our mind.
Archetypes are not physical entities. They are not manifest, but rather serve as active prototypes for manifest entities. We can think of archetypes as existing on an “archetypal level”, though this is just a metaphor. The 11th archetype, which includes Aquarius, Uranus and the 11th house, represents a type of consciousness or a way of directing the mind towards this level. It is necessary, paradoxically, to free the mind, to open it to chaos, in order to connect to this underlying pattern.
Each of these twelve zodiac archetypes can be expressed in many different ways, however, the “ways” can be categorized in these twelve groups that astrology honors and works with.
For instance, the Aquarius archetype can be expressed as the Humanitarian, the Scientist, the Sage, the Cosmic Genius, the Inventor, the Freedom-Fighter, the Reformer, the Revolutionary, the list goes on, but all of these expressions of the archetype are related to the family of archetypes that astrologer’s call Aquarius.
1. The Tao of Astrology by Kelly Lee Phipps