The Philosophy of Myth and Archetypes

With Uljana Akca, Ph.D

Have you heard of archetypes, but not of how to understand them philosophically? Are you interested in learning how to interpret myths and fairy tales? Do you want to find out what myths and archetypes can teach us about the human existence, our time, and what it means to have a destiny?  

Join my on-demand course The Philosophy of Myth and Archetypes! Through video lectures, media, and discussions, you will learn how archetypes and the myths in which we find them activate fundamental philosophical questions about our world, the meaning of being, and man.

No prior knowledge of archetypes, psychology, myth, or philosophy needed. Just a philosophical, speculative open-mindedness! 

Who Is This Course For?

  • Anyone who is interested in archetypes, myths, or fairy tales, or in literature, art, or movies with mythological themes – or those who would like to explore these for the first time. 

  • Those who are already familiar with the thought of Carl Jung and are now searching for a more critical and philosophical approach to myths and archetypes.  

  • Academic and non-academic philosophers who would like to learn how to apply a philosophical point of view on myth and archetypes.

A New View on the Archetype and Its World

The common use of the word “archetype” was coined in the 20th century by the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung, and refers to repeated cross-cultural forms, patterns, or figures that can be found in our dreams, in myth, fairy tales, the arts, and in life itself. Examples of archetypes are the king, the child, and the hero.  

While for Jung archetypes were a psychological phenomenon, these lessons will take it one step further and explore their philosophical meaning. The purpose is to show you how the archetypes point towards questions such as that of the status of the human being, the essence of authority and power, love, the existential meaning of death and anxiety, and the difference between various forms of being. We will distinguish between the archetype as a biological, a psychological, and a spiritual pattern, and discuss why this differentiation matters. Our horizon will be the present day world and some of its existential and political issues.  


Being the primary contexts of the archetype, myths and fairy tales are the other subject areas of this course. We will discover both as genres of the absurd. Rather than taking this absurdity as an utterance of superstition, or an expression of meaninglessness, we will analyze it as a pointer to the depth and meaning of existence. It is through myth that the archetype shows us what destiny is, and how we can navigate the challenges of life in the light of this. Older tales will be compared to their modern counterparts in art, movies, literature, and music, from Orpheus and Eurydice to The Silence of the Lambs.

Course Content

The course is prerecorded and divided into seven modules and a welcoming lecture. You have access to the course as long as it exists, or minimum one year. Learn at your own pace, whenever you have the time!

Each module contains around 50-60 minutes of video lessons, various media (such as movie clips, artworks, and reading material), and discussion questions.

The discussions are in written form and will take place in the forum inside the course player, or, if you prefer, in a private group on the free community MeWe. I will participate and be available for questions on both channels.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Welcome Lecture: The Sacred Absurdity of the Hero Archetype. Heracles and Cinderella.
Free preview below (2 parts, can be watched in fullscreen mode): 

1: Introduction: What Is an Archetype and What Is Its Status in Myth? 

2: The Father Archetype: “Death of God” and Finding Authority in Our Times.  

3: The Mother Archetype: On Origins of Wholeness and Existence as Separation and Return.  

4: The Beloved: The Ambiguous Identity of the Love Interest.  

The Archetypes of the Underworld and Destiny:  

5: The Subterranean Husband.  

6: The Creature of the Underworld as Guide. 

7: The Lost Girl and the Seeker.

Purpose of the Course

  • To provide you with the philosophical tools for an in-depth understanding and analysis of symbols, figures, and themes that we encounter in art and literature as well as in our daily lives. 

  • To teach you different ways in which we can relate to the archetypes, depending on the context in which they are found. 

  • To present a viewpoint from which we can take myth seriously as a spiritual-existential account of what it means to be human.  

  • To give you some basic training in philosophical thought.  

  • To show how an insight into the archetypes can help us to develop a critical-philosophical view on our contemporary world and some of its political and existential issues.

Said about the course

Jan-Erik Stjernvall

5 star rating

“First, I would like to thank you for a remarkably interesting and well performed course. The use of different media (text, music, presentations, films) is exceptionally good. I also like the different examples of the archetypes from ancient Greek...”

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“First, I would like to thank you for a remarkably interesting and well performed course. The use of different media (text, music, presentations, films) is exceptionally good. I also like the different examples of the archetypes from ancient Greek to modern music videos. When I joined the course, I did not expect it to have an impact on myself and how I see other persons, but I really learnt a lot. ”

Read Less

About Uljana Akca, Ph.D

I am a philosopher based in Stockholm, Sweden, with a particular interest in questions that concern the human relationship to being. I obtained my PhD in philosophy from the University of Freiburg in Germany in 2018, with the dissertation To Hold out Belonging. Identity and Difference in a Heideggerian Critique of Butler and Hegel.  

Since 2016, my research areas have included themes usually associated with analytical (Jungian) psychology, such as archetypes, myths, and fairy tales. I quickly realized that there are few modern, critical-philosophical accounts of these topics. This course runs parallel to an ongoing research project.

I have published a dozen magazine articles in Swedish and English, held talks at philosophy conferences around Europe, and have several years of experience in teaching my own real life philosophy course at the Folk University of Stockholm, Sweden.

Image attributions: Frank Fleschner, Kirksville, United States; Alexander Kanevsky; Jorge Lobo; Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, and Yelkrokoyade.