Archetypes exist preconsciously and form the structural dominants of the psyche in general, they are like the invisible presence of the crystal lattice in a saturated solution, providing a construct for matter in a liquid environment.
As “a priori” conditioning factors, archetypes represent a special psychological instance of the biological “pattern of behavior” which gives all living organisms their specific and consequently individually unique properties.
Archetypes did not come into existence as a phenomenon of organic life, but entered into the picture with life itself.
Like the other a priori necessary fundamentals of nature (spacetime, energy, light and sentience), they too are unknowable directly, as they are characteristics that allow for the existence of matter, our universe, nature and life itself.
The archetypes are irrepresentable and cannot be directly known or experienced themselves, but can be felt through their affects and their manifestations in images and symbols. They direct us unconsciously, however, they are like innate sensors that show us what it is we need and are looking for, through cues and our subsequent recognition of images and ideas.
Archetypes are our internal beacons that direct us towards us, towards growth, towards the eternal. They are unconscious elements of the objective collective psyche that, if we attain sufficent levels of awareness through its urging, guide us helically through life.
They are analogous to the infinitely small fundamental particles that make up all matter, but in the living sense of what makes our evolved species human.
An archetype is an universal predisposition to form an image, the spark, the revelation, the emotive urge to conjure an idea of what cannot be seen, but is intimately known all the same.
A paraphrase of Jungs final defintion of archetypes: an innate releasing mechanism of universal emotions that are connected to universal images that occur independent of space and time.