A Posthuman Autoethnography: Can archetypal symbols enrich a natural-culture continuum in primary education?

As a hopeful educator I embark on a posthuman autoethnographic enquiry to understand if symbols can support my gaze in the classroom towards a nature-culture continuum. My aims for this piece of research are as followed, to explore the significance of archetypal symbols through a posthuman autoethnographic approach and consider their relevance in today’s education; to examine seven key archetypal images to identify their key messages and analyse their significance; to critically consider how to work with primary aged children to enable a connection to numinous symbols and concepts. My methods are non-traditional and emergent. Instead of field notes, I use field sketches of numinous symbols and layer writing as a method to bring forth understanding. I find, unearthing the unconscious contents of primary aged children is not considered ethical. Instead, revealing personal unconscious archetypal symbols could guide and enhance a philosophy of practice. I arrive at a questioning stance on the limitations of tree symbolism and with the help of Deleuze and Guattari, I dig into the psychic soil and find a heterogenous kingdom of becomings, in a rhizomatic structure that has the potential to connect and equate to a nature-culture of care and equity rather than uncare and individualism. Within a posthuman immanence we find vital materialism or nature having potential for agency, and in the uncanny fashion this research has taken we find much the same in alchemical symbols analysed by Jung. However, in partnership with new materialism, posthumanism rejects the unconscious. From a Jungian perspective, where the psyche is included in the whole description of nature, I suggest this reinforces a nature-culture, immanent-transcendent binary. I push further and challenge the ‘new’ of new materialism with an indigenous ontology, giving several interpretations that nature has agency, allowing me to hold multiple perspectives equally.
That matter is imbued with something, whether it is called vital materialism, agential realism, or spirit, provides me with a rich starting point to engage young minds with a philosophical concept that could bring them into a non-hierarchical web of relations with their place. This could be the starting point to enact a nature-culture continuum, to engage with matters concerning ecology and sustainable and/or regenerative education instead of my first point of enquiry, beginning with the unconscious contents of the individual. This posthuman auto-ethnographic research reveals interacting with personal archetypal symbols can enrich a nature-culture continuum.