Garden Archetype Essay, Research Paper
The Garden Archetype
An archetype is an image, ideal, or pattern that has come to be considered a universal model. Archetypes are found in mythology, literature, and the arts, and are important factors in philosophy. There are several kinds of archetypes, however, there are six main archetypes that are prevalent in today s literature and usually easy to recognize. The first of these archetypes and the one I will be discussing in this paper is the Garden Archetype. The Garden Archetype is characterized as a place such as the Garden of Eden in which man lives in peace and harmony with nature in a tranquil and nonviolent environment. In the garden archetype it is forever spring because spring is the time of love and beauty. All necessities are provided to those who live in the garden. Laws are not necessary in the garden because there is no aggressiveness between the garden s inhabitants. The Garden archetype is one of the key archetypes and also one of the most recognizable and common of the six main archetypes.
The Garden Archetype is clearly portrayed in the Greek myth The Four Ages which was written by Ovid. The content of this myth includes the four ages of mankind, and the first of these ages is the Golden Age, which demonstrates several of the characteristics of the Garden archetype. In the lines Men were content at home, and had no towns with moats and walls around them; things like swords and helmets had not been heard of. No one needed soldiers. People were unaggressive, and unanxious; we can see that during the Golden Age, hostility and fighting were nonexistent (Ovid 14). This
coincides with the unaggressiveness, which is also found in the garden. The lines The Golden Age was first, a time that cherished, Of its own will, justice and right; no law, no punishment, was called for; fearfulness was quite unknown, and the bronze tablets held no legal threatening; no suppliant throng studied a judge s face; there were no judges, there did not need to be. demonstrate that laws were both unnecessary and nonexistent during the Golden Age which is another characteristic of the Garden archetype (Ovid 14). The lines The years went by in peace. And Earth, untroubled, unharried by hoe or plowshare, brought forth all that men had need for, and those men were happy, gathering berries from the mountainsides, cherries, blackcaps, and the edible acorns. show that all necessities were provided to mankind as they are in the garden (Ovid 14). Finally, in the lines, Spring was forever, with a west wind blowing softly across the flowers no man had planted, and Earth, unplowed, brought forth rich grain; we can see that during the Golden Age it was always spring as it was always spring in the garden (Ovid 14). Spring is thought to be the time of love and beauty as plants and other new forms of life emerge following the time of sterility and emptiness that is winter. The illustration of the garden archetype is well visible in this Greek myth by Ovid. The lines, which I have displayed, are evidence that the Garden archetype is found in the Golden Age.
The Garden archetype is clearly established in the Irish legend Deirdre and the Sons of Usna. The legend chronicles the life of a young princess who is sent away from the kingdom to live with the king s most trustworthy nurse after it is foretold that she will bring great sorrow to her father s kingdom. She is sent to live with the nurse in a small
house made of green sod and other natural materials in a hidden glen, which is like the Garden. We see in the lines, And in a hidden glen of Slieve Gallion he had a little house built, with a roof of greens sods so that above the ground it would look no more than one of the little green hillocks of the Sidhe, and a turf wall ringing round it, and a garden with apple trees for shade and fruit and pleasure. that this little glen was much like the garden (Sutcliff 128). The glen was peaceful and all of the violence and hatred of the world around the glen was not seen by those who lived in the glen. The lines, And there he set the two of them, to have no more sight of men, save that once a year his own most trusted warriors should bring them supplies of food and clothing, until the child was fifteen and ready to become his Queen. demonstrate that food and all other necessities were provided in the Garden whether it be from the warriors or food that was provided by nature in the form of apples, etc. (Sutcliff 128). The young princess knew nothing of the world around the glen and was raised in a tranquil environment where man and nature lived in harmony. This Irish legend clearly portrays the characteristics of the Garden archetype.
The Garden archetype is clearly evident in the Bible in the description of Zion which is found in the book of Micah. Zion is the eastern-most hill in the city of Jerusalem and it is also the center of the political and cultural life of the ancient Hebrews. The name Zion later came to signify the holy hill of God and in the New Testament, Zion denotes the heavenly city of God. The hill of Zion has many characteristics that match those of the Garden archetype. The passage, But in the last days it shall come to
pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hill; and people shall flow unto it. portrays the hill of Zion as a heavenly place without violence where all of mankind lives together in peace (Micah 4:1). The Garden archetype is demonstrated in the following lines: And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Micah 4:3). This passage describes how all men shall throw transform their weapons into items that could be useful in the Garden and forget their ways of war. This coincides with the idea of a nonviolent environment, which characterizes the Garden archetype. The lines, But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. demonstrate how food will be provided to mankind at the hill of Zion and how men shall have no fear of each other because the hill of Zion will be a peaceful, nonaggressive, and nonviolent environment (Micah 4:4). These passages from the book of Micah clearly portray the characteristics of the Garden archetype.
The Garden archetype is a universal model, which is used to describe or define places, which are similar to the Garden of Eden. There are several characteristics of the Garden archetype that can be found in a vast number of works of literature, art, and philosophy. The examples that I provided all clearly portray the characteristics of the Garden archetype.